Ag Policy Blog
Chris Clayton DTN Ag Policy Editor

Monday 08/12/13

On Rogue Clowns and Butter Cows

We were talking last week at the Ag Media Summit about dealing with social media, advocating for agriculture and reporting on extremism.

These issues are coming together today because of separate events in the state where I was raised and in the state I now call home. One event involves free speech, race and decorum. The other event involves a criminal act against Americana.

On Sunday, I saw this photo, video and blog surface about the Missouri State Fair rodeo. A clown is wearing mask of President Obama, a cowboy hat and jacket. Two clowns stoked the crowd, which cheered quite a bit. I saw this first on a Twitter feed. The scene and the crowd response offended someone who wrote about it. By early Monday morning, it's on the Google news feed. Missouri's Republican lieutenant governor commented, "We are better than this." Before noon Monday, other Missouri politicians weighed in, the rodeo announcer denied his participation and both the state fair board and rodeo association issued apologies. A lawyer declared the rodeo clown went rogue.

Yes, the rodeo clown went rogue on us.

Talk about going viral on social media. Some people are livid over this. The reaction is so fast; the perception is so quick. What are we going to do about this? Well, let's boycott Missouri.

All of this because of some clowns one night at a state fair. We have little tolerance for unsanctioned crudeness at President Obama's expense.

I thought we have right to make fun of our elected leaders. There is seldom anything classy about it. Just thinking of people in Richard Nixon or Bill and Hillary Clinton masks, I have seen individual acts of perversion so profound and disgusting that decorum prohibits listing them here -- to steal from the famous Doug Niedermeyer.

I wouldn't be surprised if the clown is drinking a cold with the president before the end of the week.

Why Do that to the Butter Cow?

The Iowa State Fair also suffered vandalism Sunday night. Someone had to make a point by defiling the butter cow.

Whoever did this -- I want you to know -- you are screwed. You would be better off turning yourself in because if they have to go hunt you down it's just going to add to more time in the Big House.

You threw paint on the butter cow. Why would you do that? The butter cow is one of those items everyone asks you about when you return from the fair. "Did you see the butter cow?" As the Des Moines Register wrote, the butter cow is a fair tradition going back to 1911. People wrote books about Norma "Duffy" Lyon, who was basically known as the "Butter Cow Lady."

A group called "Iowans for Animal Liberation," formerly known as "Idiots R Us," took "credit" for pouring red paint on the cow and painting "Freedom for All" on the window. The group claims there were symbolic reasons for defiling the art at the state fair. Who cares? This entire event will only anger people in Iowa and agriculture, in general. It was a crude stunt pulled off by an anonymous group that has no legitimate public sway, so it went for shock value. The people in this group don't have the right to inject their beliefs into the state's traditions and culture in such an offensive manner.

Now I have some concern about the reaction to the vandalism. I'm taking my family to the fair on Thursday. I want to see what's in store at the butter cow. Is everything normal, meaning a long line of people who slowly gawk at this dairy shrine? Or is there now a memorial? Or will there be guards to keep everyone off the glass? Or security people do the worst thing that could happen by stepping up their game and cordoning off the area to keep viewing a minimum of 20 feet away. Maybe we implement x-ray scans before we enter the building.

In other words, I hope this stupid act doesn't change the way we go pay homage to the butter cow.…

I can be found on Twitter @ChrisClaytonDTN

Posted at 1:22PM CDT 08/12/13 by Chris Clayton
Comments (14)
The clown event was much more then making fun of a president, I saw the video of the event and all that was missing were the white robes and hoods. The event demonstrates the intense hatred that those of the "cracker barrel" states of being under a black president. I have no problems with people making fun of presidents but this event was very racist and that I have an issue with. The clowns mask had very exaggerated features and another clown played with his large lips in a racist jester. The event reeked of violence and invoking hatred from the audience. I guess this is just how Midwest folk have fun,,, nothin like a good old lynching to liven up the day?
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 8:51PM CDT 08/12/13
So we can poke fun at the rest of the Presidents, but not Obama? Is that not discrimination?
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 5:49AM CDT 08/13/13
"Cracker barrel" states? A discriminatory slander from someone claiming opposition to discrimination! As for the butter cow, other low information people can't seem to understand how much vandalism disgusts the rest of humanity and turns us off to their agenda.
Posted by Curt Zingula at 7:01AM CDT 08/13/13
Same argument that was used against civil rights Bonnie. It was argued that people had the right to serve only those they wished so Blacks couldn't eat at their restaurants, had to sit at the back of the bus,,, I heard it all but thought we got over that. Anyhow the republican governor of Mo. condemned the clown act, a Mo state rep admitted it had racial overtones, the Missouri Rodeo Association said they were all proud of their country and president, and Mo. State fair banned the clown for life,,,, looks like he will have to find asylum in a State a little further South. Maybe Texas? I am sure Hanity and Rush will have him on to explain how discriminated against he feels and the Tea Party will martyr him and canonize him to saint hood.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 7:02AM CDT 08/13/13
Democrats have no credibility. See
Posted by John Olson at 7:44AM CDT 08/13/13
Part of my point is, like the Florida situation, too many are making too much of an issue out of these types of occurances. If the liberal news media and others would leave some of this alone, things would be better. For what it is worth, one of my roommates was black 50 years ago. We had some fun and thought nothing of it. As with anything, when things get carried away, one lives it down, which I believe is happening. So why is there not an uproar in the media defending the agriculture and livestock image in this situation? The answer- Who cares about farmers and cowboys, they are not worthy of defense and will not make the headlines.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 9:43AM CDT 08/13/13
Liberals are always upset about some trivial thing that gets their sensitive side. We need them around to show us the fastest and surest way to failure and mediocrity. Besides it is a lot of fun watching them flail around trying to explain why all their ideas crash and burn. If you get away from either coast and away from our major universities. a lot of people are quite normal. The reason the President goes to colleges to give most of his speeches is he doesn't want to deal with adults. Late night comedy shows are great too, they don't ask hard questions.
Posted by GORDON KEYES at 12:48PM CDT 08/13/13
"If you get away from either coast and away from our major universities. a lot of people are quite normal",,,,,, is that right Gordon???? Well guess where I saw your hero Ted Cruz speak? Princeton University a couple months at an alumni conference! Guess where the holy child of conservatism went to school??? Yeah and Harvard! So like Obama Ted Cruz must be speaking where he doesn't have to deal with the rodeo clown folk! I can't beleive that Ted did so well in a bastion of free/open minded thinking when it looks like his heart is with those that condemn higher education and progressive values in favor of religious intolerance but contrary to what you just stated your divine hero speaks at one of the most prestigious, liberal institution and graduated from 2 ivy league schools. But I will say his audience was far more child like then the audience of the much deeper thinking guests! gotcha Gordon!
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 6:46AM CDT 08/14/13
Bonnie, An innocent young man was shot to death in that "Florida situation". I think the news - liberal or "normal" as Gordon might think, has every obligation to "make too much of an issue" from it.
Posted by Don Thompson at 11:26AM CDT 08/14/13
It is quite apparent, Don, you are quite biased in reaching your opinion. The young man was not on trial. As he was not charged with a crime, the constitution guarantees innocense untill proven guilty. Likewise the allegded criminal has been found -Not Guilty- Why do you Libs. insist on prosecuting an innocent man who was found? NOT GUILTY!
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 8:40PM CDT 08/14/13
Hey Bonnie,,, what did you say when OJ was found not guilty? What if Travon was a lily White 17 year old suburban girl walking home and Zimmerman was a Black man and the situation was exactly the same??? You and Rush would be screaming like you guys did about OJ, am I right? I have heard Rush and Hanity, the horrible way they spin this death, well you neocons have your hero and he is a child killer exercising his stand your ground and 2nd amendment right. Id much prefer being a sensitive progressive then a conservative who's ideal world involves shooting 17 year olds and laughing at racist clowns. I really believe you guys are much better then this but this is what happens when you listen to hate radio all day.
Posted by Jay Mcginnis at 9:16PM CDT 08/14/13
Is the only defense some of you have for your twisted sense of reason in many areas the race card? The situation would not have occured if a neighborhood watch program was not needed.
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 6:41AM CDT 08/15/13
Bonnie, Sorry if you thought calling me a"Lib" was an insult. The Founding Fathers were "Lib", and by today's standards, Ike, Reagan, and Nixon are Libs. I am biased in coming to my opinion, just as you appear to have the opposite bias in coming to yours. I hope my biases do not include an intrisical need for disdain of people different from me. Not guilty does not mean not responsible.
Posted by Don Thompson at 7:02AM CDT 08/15/13
How fortunate Don. Thank you. You exemplify the problem. One assumes another is trying to insult you. Then try to twist the introverted bias toward another. Which is the issue in many instances. The clown was a stupid mistake. Leave it at that, so it can go away. Was there protests and a Presidential statement when OJ was found not guilty, Jay. Not hardly. Who the heck has time to listen to the radio and play on the computer all day?
Posted by Bonnie Dukowitz at 9:43PM CDT 08/17/13
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