Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

As some friends of the decanter may be aware, it is Ol’ Robbo’s habit, when the weather is not too hot, of devoting his weekday lunch hour to a brisk walk ’round the National Mall.  (I generally do a sort of figure-eight between 15th Street and 3rd Street, with an extra loop round the reflecting pool in front of the Grant Memorial.  All told, and counting the distance to and from my office, it’s about 3 1/2 miles.)

In addition to the exercise benefits, Ol’ Robbo frankly enjoys people-watching, and just generally getting a sniff of the air, watching the latest hatches of ducklings grow up, and looking at the clouds and feeling the cycle of the year.

Another benefit is seeing the various seasonal displays and installments come and go.  Right now, the big to-do is the annual Smithsonian Folklife Festival.  This year, the theme is “Circus Arts“.

I suppose I haven’t been paying that much attention, but I’d had no idea that the “Circus” has gained such airs and pretensions in recent years.  From the Smithsonian’s promotional copy:

Circus arts have evolved over time to reflect changing social tastes and values, technological innovations, and performance styles. Immigrants from all over the world continue to contribute their creativity and skills, foods, languages, rituals, and other customs that enrich the circus arts.  Across the country, emerging youth and social circuses and schools provide new opportunities for artistic expression.

Well, la-dee-freakin’-da.

What I actually saw today as I strolled along was a collection of cheap canvas tents and clowns.

I hate clowns.

Not so crazy about cheap canvas, either.

Also, among all the circus-themed attractions this year, there is a singleton pavilion devoted to “On the Move: Migration Across the Ages”.  I gather the “link” is supposed to have to do with the numbers of “immigrants” who traditionally have gone into circuses (Gypsies, anybody?), but it looks to me more like a thinly-disguised stick in the Administration’s eye over clamping down on border security.

Eh.   Whatever.

Oh, what you won’t see?

*No exotic animals will be involved in the program.

But of course.  That’s yer “changing social tastes and values”.  And if said changes have to come via lawfare waged by fanatical interest groups, well shut up, peasants, because we know what’s good for you better than you do.

Indeed, the theme of the Festival is damned ironic, considering  Ringling Bros. had its final show just over a month ago, having been hounded out of biznay by the PETA crowd over its elephants, camels, tigers, and so on.  Ol’ Robbo remembers going to see that show several times in his misspent yoot, and the parade of elephants was always one of his favorites.