Pimpin’ and Smackin’ Ho’s at the Circus

What do drugs, whores, pimps and violence have to do with the circus? Generally nothing, unless it’s the UniverSoul Circus. No really…the grand finale – the climax of the show – circles around the tale of a redeemed hooker. What ever happened to plain old dancing ponies and tigers that leap through circles of fire?

I was channel surfing on the radio with the girls in the car yesterday, only half way listening because I was on the phone, and I heard Ryan Cameron say the words “circus”, “cocaine”, “stripper” all in one sentence. Herh? I turned up the radio. UniverSoul Circus? Isn’t that where Nadjah and her GIRL SCOUT troop were going this weekend? What in the world?

If you live in Atlanta, perhaps you saw the story on the news this week. An offended mother walked out with her 8 and 5 year old kids following the show’s finale. What could affront a mother’s sensibilities so badly that she would gather up her brood and walk out of the circus, I wondered? A heart wrenching, soul searching look at life from a whore’s eye view, as it turns out. I shouldn’t say “whore”…the subject of the last act of the show is actually a stripper, but that may very well be splitting hairs over terminology. (The full story is here in this link

“There are ladies pretending to strip, men throwing money at her, then a pimp comes on the stage and the woman’s boyfriend sells her to him and the pimp slaps her when she refuses to cooperate,” Brown (the offended mother) said. “They’re pretending to smoke marijuana and sniff cocaine.”

A circus spokesman defended the act, saying it has a message. “Our show is about positive messages and sometimes to get to those high you have to go to those lows,” said circus spokesman Hank Ernest.

Ernest told Philips (the spokesperson) the gospel-themed finale ends with the main female character giving her life to Christ and starting over.

After reading this account, I had mixed feelings about sending my kid to the show (that we’d already paid for. I hate to waste money.). Should I do the morally upright thing and pull her from the activity? Should I allow her to go and expose her to this very real life lesson, and HOPE that she learns something other than how to let a man abuse her? What were the other moms going to do? I was sure that my husband, who is far more prudish and has a lower tolerance level for ignorance than I do, would balk at this circus scenario, and would insist that I pull Nadjah from the activity. I pulled up the news story for him to read.

“What’s wrong with that?” he asked when he had concluded reading.

“Huh? What do you mean ‘what’s wrong with it’?”

“They’re proselytizing,” he said. “It’s a redemptive story about Christ. That’s great!”

“Babe,” I said, my forehead beginning to pound, ”it’s the circus. It’s an audience full of 4, 5 and 6 year olds. If they want to talk about Christ, they need to have a blind man that gets his vision back or a lame person who becomes a trapeze artist because Jesus healed them…not a story about a murderous, cocaine sniffing stripper who accepts salvation!”

“Yeah, but it’s real life,” he interjected.

“But it’s not the kind of real life story you want to flash at a group of 4, 5 and 6 year olds!”

Gosh. Maybe I was being overly sensitive. Maybe it WAS alright.

Nah. It couldn’t be.

I immediately sent a text to my friend Algi, who is one of the Scout moms, and an authority on what is acceptable and what is just a load of hot crap.

“We’ve been discussing what to do amongst ourselves,” she informed me. “I go to the circus to escape reality…”

“Not to be confronted with more of it!” I finished for her.

We were on the same page.

The game plan is to have all the girls leave after the Russian acrobatic troop does their stint. Apparently, the whore –err, stripper – gets slapped, does her coke, shoots her pimp and gets saved after that.

Good old Girl Scouts. Because the last set of questions I feel like answering this weekend are those centered around the use of crack and/or any of its slang references SUCH AS: “Mommy? What’s booty dust and nose candy? If daddy pimp slaps you, will he make up for it by buying a white pony at the store?”

And my kid will be the one to ask.