Grise Paint


“Behind the baroqueness of images hides the éminence grise of politics.”
 — Jean Baudrillard

Please “Send in the clowns;” we need a distraction from the baroque and agitprop morality play under our big top, where our designed-to-be-rational democracy is ruled by parochial passions and where the corporate eminences “grise” nibble away our liberties bite by bite. No, songwriter Sondheim continues, “Don’t bother, they’re here.”

But his song is about regret over mistakes, anger about loss and hopelessness in love, not politics—or images.

So here I—with apologies—expand his metaphor. You know, he said by clowns he meant fools, and that we are those fools? Then to the ironic strains of the ever-so patriotic “Stars and Stripes Forever,” the tune that signals distress at circuses, the ongoing tragedy of elected fools and the clownish “Charivari” meant to distract us from it become one.