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I understand that if you're some sort of group or organization and you haven't figured out how to weasel cash out of the government just yet, you're going to need to come up with funds in order to keep whatever it is that you do going. In order to raise these funds, said groups will usually hold some sort of "fundraiser" (Clever, no?) where they will typically sell something to raise money. Usually, the thing that they sell is in some way related to the organization and what they do. Girl Scouts sell cookies. (Granted, cookies aren't exactly related to being the actual scout, but they've been doing it for so long, that's just how it is. You say "Girl Scout", I think "Mmmm...cookies.") Livestrong sells yellow things. And the list goes on.
The graduates of San Francisco's Clown Conservatory Class of 2008 (Yes. There is a Clown Conservatory. Clown College, if you will. I guess calling it a "conservatory" makes it sound more serious, though I don't know what the point of that would be. They are clowns, thus the lack seriousness factor is automatically implied.) had been talking about how great they felt, physically, from all of the training that they were receiving. They also talked about how they felt like they had bonded to each other. (Well, what do you expect when you're crammed into a little teeny car with 50 other clowns? You're going to get close!) They decided that they wanted to do something that would make them feel great by doing it together. And what better thing for a bunch of recently graduated, fit feeling, clowns to do than to make a nude clown calendar to sell. Wait. What?
According to the folks over yonder at the Contra Costa Times, the lead clown on the project, a one Chad Benjamin Potter, explained the theory behind the idea by saying, "Our goal was to create this sort of craziness in your mind. When you think of clowns you think of costumes and makeup and hair. When you think naked clowns, that's something else entirely." Well, he got that right. I do think of something else entirely when I think of naked clowns. Come to think of it, I've never thought of naked clowns before now and I'm not sure that many other people have ever thought of naked clowns either. (If you have, just admit it; you're a perv.) But I'm thinking about it now! And I really don't like the entirely different thought that pops into my head at the thought of it. Ugh.
Chad went on with his attempts to justify this sort of thing by adding, "But of course we wanted to do something that everyone can enjoy." And if that was really what they wanted, it's a complete mystery as to why they went with the "naked clown" theme, as that seems like something next to no one can enjoy. He says it offers a "touch of modesty". "I am going to sell (the calendar) to my grandmother and I also want to sell it to my niece and my nephew." Hey, Chad. You know what else offers a "touch of modesty"? Right. Clowns that are not naked! Wearing clothes, be it on clowns or others, is the very definition of a "touch of modesty". It's really a rule to follow at all times. Want to be modest? Wear clothes! It always works.
The article goes on to explain that "Sales of the calendar will help raise money for the Judy Finelli Fund, a non-profit organization set up through the Circus Center. Finelli, 60, is a lifelong clown who co-founded the San Francisco School for Circus Arts, now the Circus Center. In 1989 she was diagnosed with MS. Today she is quadriplegic." And while I will be the first one to admit that this sounds like a fabulous cause, I will also be the first one to say that selling calendars with naked clowns in them is not the way to raise money for such fabulous cause. Selling calendars with naked clowns on them is the way to horrify the public in general and cause a decrease in the number of circus-goers in the future. You know. For fear of all of the nakedness running rampant amongst the clowns, as evidenced by January through December, 2009.
An art student, a one Gabriela Alonso, took the photos of the naked clowns. She did so "in a studio and, secretly, in public places." Secretly in public places? How do you accomplish THAT? And who is it a secret from exactly? The public or the clowns? (Dear God, please, please let it be the public. Please let there not have been naked clowns traipsing about the city.)
The overall goal here, is to raise (get ready for this lofty ambition) $1 million. A million bucks. From selling a 16 month calendar with naked clowns in it? Um, how much is this calendar in the first place? $100,000 each? Because I could maybe see you guys finding ten weirdos to buy one of these things, but I'm having a hard time seeing you guys finding around $100,000 weirdos to buy one of these things. A million bucks? Come on, you clowns! You have to know that's completely unrealistic. Why do you do things like that? Is it because you're clowns and therefore you cannot be serious about anything? Including reality and basic economics? This will not end well. I can see it coming.
But, look, if you're interested or whatever, the Naked Clown Calendar has a website (of course they do) and you can check it out and even purchase it (for $20, not $100,000) from there. I have no doubt that however much money they raise will be put to good use. And if I thought I could stand to look at naked clowns all the live long day for 16 months, I might buy one. But I can't, so I won't. And while the cause is good, this still seems strange to me. And I can't help but think it's going to turn out like the time that those seven ladies over there in Madrid (that's in Spain) did a nude calendar to raise money for their kids' school and ended up with 5,000 extra calendars and a lot of debt. And judging from the picture below, I'm sure you can understand why that was. Let's hope the clowns as a bit more successful in their naked endeavor. (There's a sentence I never thought I'd write.)