So this song has taken a lot of flack. I know, J and (expecially) Shaggy aren’t the most articulate human beings. But that’s not the point, or even the goal.
The magnet thing has gotten the most hate. Ok, so lemme say this.. we know WHY a fucking magnet works. What the song is asking is HOW. Scientists answer the WHYs of life.. and philosophy asks (and sometimes answers) the HOWs.
I think most of the people who hate on Juggalos are the people who cannot see life beyond the literal. I’ve met lots of individuals with this problem, and none of them can comprehend that being a juggalo is about more than the F word, murder, facepaint, hottopic, and faygo.
I live most of my life outside the box, mentally. I think creativity has a lot to do with it, but I also believe it’s just pre-coded inside some of us to lust for MORE. But everyone doesn’t process information the same way. That’s why there’s something for everyone.
Honestly, if it wasn’t for Psychopathic Records, I wouldn’t believe in God. I wouldn’t question things the way I do. I wouldn’t be constantly searching for answers. I wouldn’t have met some of my best friends. I wouldn’t be the person I am today.
All that’s just to say, I like this song. And I get it.
I know, it’s too easy. Making fun of juggalos is like shootin’ fish in a barrel. I can’t resist this tho’, this sentence absolutely boggles my mind: “Scientists answer the WHYs of life.. and philosophy asks (and sometimes answers) the HOWs.”
It’s a perfect koan of fail.
This blog entry also embodies the two main issues I have with the Psychopathic “lifestyle”. One, like Jews for Jesus, it’s a trap, a cheap vehicle for conversion to Christianity. You start listening to shitty rap rock and wearing clownpaint thinkin’ it’s all about smokin’ dope and girls doing lewd things with microphones, and next thing you know it’s church on Sunday and Jesus making magnet miracles.
Two, the juggalo party line is that being a juggalo is the only refuge from square, mainstream society. To some degree, I have no problem with that, because everyone has to start somewhere. Oftentimes, mainstream groups that portray themselves as dangerous, free-thinking and radical but who play to mostly suburban youth (think Marilyn Manson or Rage Against The Machine) can serve as a gateway to the actual counterculture (such as it is, in our post-everything world). I have faith (and have seen myself) that there are kids out there listening to ICP and calling themselves juggalos who will use that curiosity about the darker things in life as a springboard toward things with lasting relevance, and shed their juggalo identity in time.
There’s only one problem: juggalo culture is inward-looking to an unprecedented degree, so that process might be much more complicated than it sounds. Now, there is no denying that “alternative” culture is as slaved to clearly codified significators of belonging as mainstream culture. It goes without saying that the more different people try to look, the more they look the same. Go to any heavy show, and you will see 95% of the audience wearing black, the uniform of separation from the mainstream. There is a sense of automatic belonging that occurs when you’re at the right place, at the right time, in the right clothing. You belong. You’re family. This is an idea that Psychopathic Records and its surrounding subculture has elevated to a pure marketing juggernaut.
Unlike, say, general metal or punk culture, where allegiance to the genre splits the participant’s attention between the arguably competing elements of the “scene”, juggalo culture is keenly focused on a handful of bands on the same record label who share extensive slang and iconic imagery (hatchetman, clown paint). Together with the cultural product they create (music, movies, wrestling federations), these bands have created a one-stop shop for all your subcultural needs. Unlike say, a punk fan, who might start off identifying with Green Day, and end up digging through the various nooks and crannies of the genre and ending up with Iggy or the MC5, juggalo culture begins and ends with Psycopathic Records, which through the extensiveness of its offerings leaves very little need for the average juggalo to dig beyond its confines. At least in a more generalized subculture participants have somewhat varied choices of who to throw their money at.
The monopolizing of people’s attentions and wallets is compounded by an ambiguous ideology. Insane Clown Posse’s music, on which the entire subculture is founded, delivers an interesting double message. On the one hand, it embodies the violent, brainless, directionless spite and casual misogyny that we’ve come to associate with the b(r)and. On the other, it delivers convoluted morality tales with underlying religious messages. Once you’ve entered the fold (as easy as even casually identifying with any part of the subculture, juggalos will be quick to point out), juggalo culture delivers as much or as little moral and philosophical guidance as followers wish to find. Is the answer to life’s hardships the nihilistic destruction of all you encounter, or the faithful devotion to an all-seeing god? Yes. The message is equivocal enough that whatever you choose is probably right, and who doesn’t like to be right all the time?
This kid isn’t that different from any of us. We all want to be accepted, to feel like we’re part of something, and to figure out what our place is in life, but we should all beware of people bearing easy answers and automatic acceptance, preacher’s robes or facepaint notwithstanding.