hey you with the face

10/26/09

This story – if indeed you can call it that – came out a few days ago: apparently a study showed that Cellphone Users are Too Distracted to Notice a Clown on a Unicycle. If I may quote…

“According to a study involving a unicycle, a clown, and 150 college students, cellphone users were half as likely as others to notice a red-nosed, unicycle rider.

Ira Hyman, Jr., a researcher at Western Washington University sent a student unicycling around campus wearing a clown costume and then asked people who’d walked past if they’d ‘noticed anything unusual.’ The cellphone users were less than half as likely to have noticed, but Hyman speculates that it may not be the technology itself which distracts them, but instead the concentration required to maintain a conversation over that particular medium.”

500x_clown.jpg

Here’s what I think the study gets all wrong: most people fucking HATE CLOWNS [except Bozoette Mary, who’s awesome – ed.] Even kids are scared shitless of clowns (unless they make balloon animals, and then they’re merely means to an end). I would say that cell phone users, like most humans, sensed a bad clown in their peripheral vision and instinctively turned away, sublimated, or blotted out the experience entirely.

It’s not even that clowns are scary, they just make unreasonable demands on your time, and they’re not funny. I know there’s a very sophisticated clown school in New York, and the tradition winds back through Commedia dell’arte to ancient times, but when most people see a motherfucker in a clown costume on a unicycle, their first thought is EVASIVE ACTION.

I will do almost anything to avoid interaction with a clown. Lucy, Tessa and I sat in the first row of the Cirque de Soleil KOOZĂ… show because I didn’t think it would have actual clowns. Indeed it did, and one of them made me stand up in front of four thousand people so he could make fun of my hair. At least my hair’s REAL, asshole!

I know this cell phone article is supposed to make some larger point about how much mental processing power a cell phone takes, thus extrapolating to dangerous driving, but they shouldn’t have used a clown. I think I speak for all of us when I say they should have used BOOBIES.

0 thoughts on “hey you with the face

  1. Anne

    I cannot WAIT to see “Bozoette”‘s comment on this post!
    So, I don’t get the clown hate. How do you feel about mimes? The trained walrus at Sea World that blarghhs water all over the first 10 rows of spectators? A pre-surgery teenaged Michael Jackson going out and getting random audience members to sing into the mic during “Dancing Machine” with the Jackson 5 on Merle Griffin? (cf: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lD2OsUcgb00 — go to 2:45:00) Jeez, that middle-aged guy was terrible, but at least he laughed at himself.
    Also: it’s not the cell phones per se, I would postulate, that makes kids effectively blind and deaf, but TEXTING. My kids disappear into those tiny keyboards; I have to throw a dish towel at them to get their attention. :-)

    Reply
  2. CM

    Ah, I thought you were going to get to the larger point: A clown on a unicycle is not unusual.
    These days, we’ve seen everything.
    The kids coulda thought it was just a frat hazing thing. We’re all taught to ignore stuff like this.
    If the boobies were real and this took place in LA, then that would be unusual.

    Reply
  3. Mike V.

    I find the people-hate-clowns deduction from the study far more interesting than the no-shit-people-aren’t-paying-attention-when-they’re-on-cell-phones hypothesis. Excellent :)

    Reply
  4. ms. four

    My reading of this was, “There’s nothing unusual about a clown on a unicycle on a college campus.”
    I don’t get the hate-the-clowns thing either. Seems more like a THING rather than an actual personal hate. Or maybe it’s Jungian.

    Reply
  5. Neva

    During my recent trip to Party City with my kid I noticed all the clown costumes were on super sale. Made me think not only do people hate to see clowns they don’t want to be one either.
    I, however, being the cheapskate I am, tried hard to persuade my daughter that was the costume for her! No such luck – alas, instead she is “Ruby, the pirate beauty”, wearing two pieces of cheesy polyester likely made by child labor that cost an arm and a leg.

    Reply

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