So, here’s the big question: is it wrong to have circus freaks?
When I was a young man, in my home town of Hutchinson Minnesota, every year the carnival would roll into town. From where they came, I have no idea, but with them, came a host of sundry characters and one really pretty girl.
Oh what a fun time that was, too. My friend Paul would always get the wrist band for unlimited rides, because his parents were “rich.”
Me, no wrist band. I was too poor for that. Oh, I went on a few rides here and there, but not unlimited like my wealthy friend. He also had a full refrigerator at his house and the only time we ever had a full refrigerator was after Thanksgiving dinner.
Anyways, I remember very distinctly passing a trailer. A big, extended trailer with giant air-conditioners hanging out of the back and a canned barking reel going, that said, “Come see the fattest woman in the world. She’ll keep you warm in the winter time and cooool in the summer time!”
Well. I was fifteen years old and this was a good, Christian town, mind you, and right there in the middle of this Puritan settlement was…this? Coooool in the summer time? Huh?
I didn’t go see her, I was too scared, but damn it if the image of what may have been in there ever leaves me. I can only imagine.
So, is this immoral to have such spectacles on display? I don’t think she was enslaved against her will. I am quite certain she went willingly where ever the carnival traveled. And got paid too.
The most famous example is, of course, Joseph Merrick, otherwise known as The Elephant Man. I mean, what else was Merrick to do? He made his living as a freak.
Bearded Ladies have always been a mainstay of the freak show.
Now, I am not saying this isn’t sad, for certain it is, I am just wondering if we should consider it…well, immoral.