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Rodeo clown’s Obama act brings out the worst in the web

  • The Kansas City Star
  • Published Monday, August 12, 2013, at 2:58 p.m.
  • Updated Wednesday, August 28, 2013, at 12:08 p.m.

If this is how America most often uses the vast resources of the Internet, we’re in trouble.

By 11 a.m. Monday nearly 6,000 people thought it crucial that they post an online comment about the antics of a stupid clown act at the Missouri State Fair over the weekend. The news article about the rodeo clown in a Barack Obama mask had drawn more than 142,600 views by that hour, an astounding amount of attention. The posts got so full of ugly slurs that The Star had to disable the comments section.

CNN took to running a crawl update on the Missouri clown along the bottom of the screen, as if this was LIVE/BREAKING/EXCLUSIVE news.

It’s all embarrassing — the initial event and the reaction. Politicizing a family fair event, winding up the crowd for a buffoonish depiction of the president about to be trampled by a bull is not funny.

Watching the rodeo crowd get riled up was the worst part, mostly because it didn’t seem to take much cajoling on the clown’s part. But it is hardly worthy of mass outrage, coaxed along by the Internet or otherwise.

There isn’t a U.S. president within the last 50 years who hasn’t had a mocking plastic mask produced of his face. Wait a few months for Halloween, if you doubt.

Political cartoonists have long sketched presidents with exaggerated expressions, posing in slapstick charades. Depending on your political leanings, you either think the work a hoot or offensive. Same thing occurred around the Missouri clown incident. Much of the commentary separated into either Obama supporters or antagonists. And the name-calling flew from there.

Disliking Obama does not make someone a racist. It’s just as true, however, that far too many people remain clueless that some anti-Obama rhetoric is tinged with racial bias. One would think that in 2013, people might be better versed. At least enough to voice an opinion backed by a few facts and by using full sentences.

Rodeo clown proves otherwise.

Unfortunately, the Internet tends to magnify sophomoric tendencies. Post an event that can prompt weighing in as either staunchly liberal or conservative, a kitten in trouble or even just the implied jiggly body parts of a woman….and the web views will pour in.

The ratcheted up angst about a clown’s stunt is just the first example of the week.

To reach Mary Sanchez call 816-234-4752 or send email to msanchez@kcstar.com.

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