"A mistake?" asks Waterloo resident Missy Buckner, neither expecting nor wanting an answer. "No, I don't think it was a mistake. I know that the media likes to portray Michele Bachmann as somebody who can't keep her facts straight, but all I know is that she's not even president yet and already she's managed to save at least one job - mine."
For over ten years, Buckner has been curator of Waterloo Iowa's John Wayne Gacy Museum of Art, home of the largest collection of the Killer Clown's paintings, drawings, and artifacts in the world. Founded with an endowment from an anonymous European donor, the Gacy Museum has been an enormous failure, drawing only a few occasional curiosity seekers and losing money every year. It had been threatened with closing it's doors forever later this summer.
"I can't help but think that all of that's going to change now," says Buckner. "What Michele Bachmann has done is remind everyone about Waterloo's most famous resident. Sure, he might have been primarily famous for killing all those teenage boys back in the seventies, but if there was justice in life - aside from the justice Gacy got at the end of his - he would be famous as Waterloo's greatest artist. And now he will be."
"Bachmann said that John Wayne came from Waterloo. She didn't say which one and nobody asked her. The other John Wayne, well, he's not from Iowa, he's from Hollywood. And his real name was Marion Mitchell Morrison. John Wayne Gacy was using his real name. And when Bachmann said that she was just like him, I assume that she means she's an artist, too. I mean, she doesn't look like the sort of a person who would be a serial killer. Of course, I guess that's the same thing they used to say about Gacy."
"The man really had a feel for clowns, don't you think? He knew
them intimately, knew what made them tick, because he used to dress up like a clown for parades and children's parties. So he knew first hand how truly scary clowns can be and really captured that. He painted them for the entire fourteen years he was on death row, and they make up a large part of the museum's collection. We have some of his landscapes, some of his dwarfs - he liked to paint the dwarfs from Disney's 'Snow White', often with clowns - and some of his portraits of other serial killers, but I think when people visit the Gacy Museum, it's the clowns they're going to want to see."
"And people will be coming to the museum now, thanks to Michele Bachmann, I just know it. We had over a dozen visitors today, and when I asked them what brought them here, she's the reason they gave. That's why the Gacy Museum has authorized a token of our appreciation for helping us survive. An original piece, a Manson by Gacy. It's a real stunner, isn't it? I hope this small token of our appreciation lets Bachmann understand just how warmly the people of Waterloo feel about her."
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