Neil Godbout: Send in the clowns? Not a good idea

Blame it on Charles Dickens. The great Victorian writer was the one who first wrote about a “scary clown” in The Pickwick Papers, according to a Time magazine article posted online Thursday morning, right about the same time Prince George schools were put on lockdown after an Instagram post of a cartoon image of three menacing clowns holding guns with the post “every school in PG about to be hit.”

The Time article, written in response to the wave of clown sightings across North America since late August, explains the fascination and fear of clowns, dating back to court jesters in the Renaissance era and the Punch and Judy puppet shows. Shakespeare included a fool in King Lear and Puck, the mischievous elf, in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, both precursors of the modern clown.

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