Dread and Circuses?

It’s something of a supreme irony that just as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is ending its 146-year operation, we have entered an era that is the political equivalent of a circus. Activists have long decried the captivity and forced compliance of the animals at the center of the circus, directly contesting the cultural aphorism that it was “The Greatest Show on Earth.” By cultivating public sentiment that ultimately yielded “mounting obstacles that even its most acrobatic members could not overcome” (including diminished attendance) these oppositional forces were able to shut down what the Washington Post referred to as an “iconic spectacle.” Does any of this seem vaguely familiar, even figuratively speaking, in terms of the present political moment? Continue reading “Dread and Circuses?”