Mimes: the other clowns

Something Different: A Science Book Disclaimer
Buddy Who?

Eight Mimes
Marcel Marceau

Submitter: I work at the library of [University] in Linz/Austria.  We did some weeding this summer, sadly I didn’t come across too many ridiculous books (only hundreds about Turkish tapestry, who needs that?) – but I did find this precious item.  To me, this qualifies as an Awful Libary Book. I may be freaked out by it, because of my fear of mimes or all things street performance…but there certainly is a creepy quality to it. There is no text, only pictures of various mime poses.

Holly: Which is creepier, mimes or clowns? Ok, ok, there’s nothing really wrong with this book except that mimes are, admittedly, creepy.  Some people are into miming, though, so we have to have a well-rounded collection that includes their needs.  Is this book making an artistic statement about miming by not having any words in it?

Mary:  If you are into mimes, I know Marcel Marceau is your man.   Not that I want to inflict my personal issues with clowns and mimes on a collection, but for a theater arts collection, of course, this is a keeper. Anyone remember Marcel Marceau’s cameo in Mel Brooks’ Silent Movie?

  1. Thank you to you both for stating outright that this book doesn’t deserve to be weeded. (At all, but especially simply because some find mimes “creepy.”) And, yes, the idea of mime is nonverbal communication, which includes the written word–signs and the like are prohibited from use in most classic performance styles.

    1. Again, each collection has a criteria for weeding that reflects the community’s needs. In my tiny library this book would be weeded in a heartbeat if it wasn’t getting used. One person’s weed is another library’s core item!

  2. I was just put in charge of a very small rural Iowa high school library and just this week we weeded not one, but two books on mimes from the collection! I can’t figure out if there was an outbreak street performance in small town Iowa in the 1960s, or if the librarian had way more money on her hands then than I do now!!!
    The really sad thing is the English teacher was upset that we were removing them from the collection, because someone might want to read them someday (of course, they had never been checked out yet). We offered them to her for her classroom shelves and she declined. They are now on a cloud in mime heaven, trapped inside an invisible box!

  3. I hate the whole “Ooo! Clowns/Mimes are creepy!” thing. They’re just entertainers! They work every single bit as hard at their craft as any actor or musician. Just to bring joy to peoples’ lives.

    Besides, MM is the only person to have an actual speaking line in Mel Brooks Silent Movie. That’s got to count for something!

  4. This book does not deserve to be weeded or trashed. Marcel is a legend. The absence of any words is in keeping with Marcel’s art aesthetic.

  5. To me, clowns are creepy because of the face paint. But I will also admit that not ALL clowns are creepy, mostly depending on the way their face paint is done. And there are obviously other characters I find creepy because of the face paint.

    Marcel Marceau in Silent Movie was a fun surprise. I love when people play against type. (and I believe it is a hilarious movie as well, although not a lot of people agree with me!)

  6. Marcel Marceau is the Frank Sinatra of miming.

    Even though Miming is not my cup of tea, I can’t call this an Awful Library book.

  7. Submitter: ” (only hundreds about Turkish tapestry, who needs that?)”

    Well the obvious question is : ‘is there a sizable Turkish Studies / Fabric Arts/ ???’ department at your freaking university? Maybe if a university has people who study a field their library will accumulate books about it????

  8. @Above:

    If there was one, they’d know it. Don’t think that academic librarians don’t know what is and isn’t taught/researched at their institution.

  9. I think some people find clowns and mimes creepy because they fall in the “uncanny valley”. There’s just something “not quite human” about them.

    (John Wayne Gacy and “IT”/”Poltergeist”/”Killer Klowns from Outer Space” also add to the reasons to be unsettled by them.)

  10. This one is far less creepy than the alphabet book. And yes keep this in the collection its nostalgic value in film and performing arts is far mopre valuable! At least he isnt miming the alphabet where “s” is for suicide… Or something sinister.