Quite a few smart people I know seem to think that shit is really about to hit the fan. I'm talking hysteria, riots, complete global market collapse, extreme chaos. We'll see. If the apocalypse does arrive, I hope I can scalp my ringside seats. It's in that spirit that cultural critic Mark Dery took a look back at his classic millennial meditation, the 1999 book Pyrotechnic Insanitarium: American Culture on the Brink. Mark has decided to offer up essays from that must-read in PDF form on Scribd, starting with "Cotton Candy Autopsy: Deconstructing Psycho-Killer Clowns." From the essay description:
Using as his point of departure Lon Chaney's chilling observation that "there's nothing funny about a clown in the moonlight," Dery deconstructs the postmodern archetype of the psychopathic clown. In this perversely funny, closely argued essay, Dery ranges broadly over the psychic geography of American culture. Balm for the souls of those scarred for life by childhood encounters with balloon-twisting bogeymen in fright wigs.
Keywords: evil clowns, clownaphobia, John Wayne Gacy, Cacophony Society, culture jamming, Batman, The Joker, R.K. Sloane, Shakes the Clown, Jim Knipfel, The Fool, Stephen King's IT, Quentin Tarantino, American pathologies, Bakhtin, the carnivalesque, Arkham Asylum.