A good friend once offered the assertion that traditional circus is “a machine to sell popcorn”. I smiled, nodded and changed the subject. But thinking about it: is it true? And if it is, is it a bad thing? And what is the machinery of modern circus set up to sell?
I like popcorn. I eat it brainlessly, extract what wanton energy from it that I can, and discard what I don’t need. I leave at least ten percent on my clothes and on my seat. It makes me feel slightly sick when I have too much of it, but it is none the less an organic and tactile experience, bringing joy to all of my senses. I don’t eat it often, and I don’t miss it when I don’t have any, but I always look forward to and enjoy it.
In my video library is a long row of Cirque du Soleil DVDs. I like to own things. They sit there and remind me that I am a loyal consumer. I haven’t watched them all, and the ones I have watched I have watched just once. Each box and disc is identical in it’s dimensions, just as the acts encapusulated within them are identical each time I watch them (or would be, if I were to watch them).
I do like perfection: but I also like honesty. Honesty and humanity and humility. I am a fan of science and of precision, but am happy to depart from them for some occasional one-off sticky gratification.
Popcorn makes me happy.