About Cody Walker

Cody Walker's most recent book is The Self-Styled No-Child (Waywiser, 2016).

AWP: When Writers Attack

Last week, on a flight from Detroit to Los Angeles, I read Chuck Sambuchino’s When Clowns Attack: A Survival Guide. I was preparing for the AWP Conference—an annual 12,000-person pileup that I look forward to, in a way, but that…

Vocabulary Lesson

What’s the relationship between being able to appreciate something and being able to speak about it? Last month I saw a performance—Black Girl: Linguistic Play, by Camille A. Brown’s dance company—that interested me to the point that I wanted to…

“Clown” as Epithet

In the 1924 film He Who Gets Slapped, the scholar Paul Beaumont (played by Lon Chaney) is betrayed by his patron, the Baron, in front of an academy of scientists. “He slapped me, Marie,” Paul tells his wife. “I would…

Clowns and War Stories (Part Two)

Nicholas Kristof imagines, in a recent New York Times op-ed column, “President Donald J. Trump in a tense international crisis, indignant and impatient, with his sweaty finger on the nuclear trigger.” It’s a vision that should give even the most…

Clowns and War Stories (Part One)

In last week’s New York Times, Jason Zinoman wrote about sad and creepy clowns.* His central question: “How did red noses become such bad news?” Zinoman identifies the late ’80s and early ’90s as a transitional time for clowns, as…

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