Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

In the days before television, entertainment sometimes included the exploitation of people who suffered from various physical and mental afflictions.  Traveling circuses and tawdry theaters often had freak shows and geeks who performed for the paying masses. The freaks were given a very small percentage of the take and room and board during their tours–as long as they exhibited their symptoms.  For a small fee, the average citizen could see: pin heads; little people; bearded ladies; children with deformed or fused limbs; people with odd skin conditions; hermaphrodites; conjoined twins; the morbidly obese; and those with severe mental deficiencies.  People would gawk at these people in wonderment and pity; thanking their lucky stars that they, themselves, did not suffer from such afflictions. The promoters often claimed that they provided the freaks a good living and were doing them a favor–after all, none of these people would have been able to make it in the real world.  Promoters believed that being in a freak show was the best-case scenario for these people.

Since these times we have come a long way in aiding those who really need it.  The circus freak has gone the way of the Dodo bird since we understand more about diseases and conditions some people have.  These people can live, work and thrive without having to be exploited or exhibited to entertain “normal” citizens.  We no longer need to gawk at the less fortunate to feel better about our own condition, feel better about our place in society, feel better about our intelligence and…

Um, nevermind.

Freak image courtesy of ExpirationChug. Jersey Shore cast image courtesy Fashion2010.

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About The Sassy Librarian

Librarian. Writer. Curmudgeon.
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4 Responses to Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

  1. imaginarymen says:

    This is awesome.

  2. Pingback: Tweets that mention Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. | Sassy Librarian -- Topsy.com

  3. Chris says:

    your best post yet.

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