As expected, this news was met with great public outcry on the part of Nobles across the United States who see the Clown Units as part of an ancient, sacred tradition. In response, Units across the country have threatened to go underground, or even break away from Shriners International altogether.
While this announcement came as a shock to many, some Shriners saw it coming. Noble Jim-Bob Snowjob, from Durka Durka Shrine Temple in Bluefield, West Virginia, made the following observation: "It makes sense to me. Many 'muricans find Shriners creepy even when they don't dress up like clowns. 'Specially them Jesters folk. Billy-Joe down the street was dressed up as Bubbles the Tramp last month for the Labor Day Parade and he got chased almost outta' town when the townfolk mistook him for one of them maniac clowns that's been terrorizing the young 'uns 'cross the country."
Perhaps most unsettling was the fact that this announcement left thousands of Shriners across the country without a suitable Halloween costume this year. During his announcement, Noble Joe Snow specifically cautioned those now-former Clown Unit members against donning their costumes and attempting to take part in Halloween festivities: "Shriners International strongly encourages all Nobles to refrain from dressing in contraband [read: clown] attire this Halloween, especially if you intend to imbibe alcohol or any other substance that might lower your inhibitions and make you a target for anti-clown mobs"
While this writer of The Past Bastard seems to have his coulrophobia in check at the moment, he wholeheartedly agrees with one thing: this creepy clown situation isn't funny.
-SK Bro. Mason Burhmaster