Let’s make America the Greatest Show on Earth Again.
I was very sad to learn that after 146 years of big-top entertainment the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is folding its tent and leaving town.
This comes a year after the circus, due to mounting pressures from animal rights activists, got rid of the elephants.
It is not really much of a surprise. The Big Top for years has been experiencing dwindling attendance. And despite efforts to be relevant to an ever more sensitive population of circus goers, including introducing the first African-American Ring Master and the first female Ring Master, the circus has failed to keep up with populist tastes.
Gone is the lion tamer and his lions. Gone are the men and women on the flying trapeze. Gone is the high wire and brave acrobats. Gone is the human cannon. Gone is the strongest man in the world. Gone are the nets and the clowns and the cotton candy and the da-ta-daddle-daddle-da-ta music and the ever shifting entertainment across three rings.
Gone is the opportunity for young idealists to run away and start a new life.
Operational costs also had a lot to do with the downfall of the circus. Let’s face it, it is expensive to maintain the Greatest Show on Earth. And ticket prices kept rising as costs and debt increased causing disaffection among many circus patrons, particularly in the rust belt.
And let’s not forget all of those neon clowns with their big shoes and painted faces and squirting lapel flowers. Clowns are just not cool anymore. In fact, they are a little scary. Especially when they emerge in large numbers from limousines.
Changing tastes being what they are, the circus in the end finally ripped under its own weight and shall entertain us no more. You could say that tent just didn’t stand up to the polls.
But wait! Ladies and gentlemen and children of all ages, hold onto your hats! Hurry, hurry, hurry to the center ring if you will, to what we call the executive branch. It’s Inauguration Day and there is a new Ring Master in town!
Band, if you please . . . Da-ta-daddle-daddle-da-ta-da-da . . .
The Greatest Show on Earth is back! Look, look, look if you will. Cabinet nominees are flying through the air, even if not with the greatest of ease! A death defying campaign manager is traversing precariously across a high wire without a net! A lauded Russian animal trainer is hacking lions into submission!
Even El Chapo, the infamous Mexican drug lord, has been brought into the country just hours before the Inauguration, presumably to be shot out of a cannon over a wall back to Mexico!
The elephants are back. And this time they are in all three rings under one big tent. And the new Ring Master is laying claim to being the strongest man on earth. At least on Twitter.
And the clowns?
Well, I suspect they will be back from some new swamp with grossly painted smiles across their faces very soon.
They don’t call the political process a circus for nothing.
And I, for one, would not want to see it leave town, no matter how apprehensive I may feel about clowns.