The World According To Damien
in a World gone mad – one sane voice emerges…

Damien on… “The Greatest Show On Earth”

After 146 years, Ringling Bros And Barnum & Bailey’s Circus is no more. Good.

However, while this author is no more in favour of pressing wild animals into performing “tricks” than any other right-minded person, this piece is not about that.

No, my beef is with the concept of the Three-Ring Circus – adopted by a number of circuses (circi?) but pioneered by RB/B&BC.

This idea could ONLY have come from America.

I recall how in Britain, Saturday Morning Kids’ TV fare consisted of perhaps a CFF (Children’s Film Foundation) movie – where the kids were the central characters – plus maybe a couple of kid-friendly educational programmes, with usually some sort of magazine-type show, where kids took part. And a half-hour programme of cartoons.

But in The States, Saturday Mornings featured a six-hour block of JUST cartoons (cheap, low-animation ones – later, becoming deeply unfunny, PC, computer-created monstrosities).

The thinking (?) behind this was cartoons were the most POPULAR programmes – so why have anything else?

But then, I like chocolate mouse – however, I would not want a DIET of the stuff.

These Saturday Morning TV traditions go a long way to explaining why Americans now have, on average, lower IQs than Brits.

And it is the same problem with those Three-Ring Circuses – the notion that you can never have too much of a good thing.

The centre ring is reserved for the primo acts, while the beta ones get stuck with the outer two. And they perform SIMULTANEOUSLY.


A conventional single-ring circus has its roster of acts, which run with MINIMAL pauses (except when equipment needs to be assembled or taken down – but that is done in the intermissions) and the CLOWNS are sent out to paper over those.

Thus a single-ring circus is INTIMATE, involving and immersive.

Having THREE rings is like having three TVs in your living room, side-by-side, running three different programmes concurrently.

Which is enough to turn ANYONE’S brain to MUSH.

So, Greatest Show On Earth – good riddance.


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