I wrote a short entry
a while ago about the latest music video by Insane Clown Posse titled Miracles
. To my surprise, some of the readers said they were fans of the duo, even attending their yearly Gathering of the Juggalos - a mega-festival for horrorcore rap bands. There was some back-and-forth in the comments in regards to the band's allegedly terrible music and gimmickry, so I wanted to give my two cents. I was being a little dishonest in that linked post when I said I had no association with the culture since, admittedly, I've had a fascination with juggalos since high school.
I experienced my share of fads as a stupid, hormonal pre-teen and dabbled in just about everything. From the gangster wannabe to the weepy emo kid. But after a while, you have to draw a line and realize that you can't be so obsessed with one facet of your life that you base your livelihood on it. We can't cling to fads as we grow older without expecting at least a little social backlash, especially when the way you dress and act deviates from social norms. That's the kind of mindset I want to have when I talk about juggalos.
Frankly, the culture has always seemed like a huge marketing gimmick to me. I've listened to the earlier albums by ICP (The Jokers Cards) and there's a lot of lyrical emphasis on being an outcasted freak. Most of their popular songs (Homies
, Juggalo Family
) just constantly reiterate a mantra of what it is to be a juggalo that it's almost like they're
not even convinced that being a juggalo is great, like a really half-hearted sales pitch. I think what they do is they prey on impressionable kids by force-feeding them a message of being around people who are just like you, building a sense of brotherhood through music and concerts and hawking their merchandise all the while. Not unlike a cult.
Okay, maybe that's a little harsh. There are, I believe, some redeeming qualities to juggalo-ism. One of my old friends in high school was a juggalette. When it came to personality, she was the sweetest, if not a little strange. She had only a few friends who were willing to label themselves as juggalo, so the bulk of her juggalo "family" she met through gatherings. Whenever she attended shows, she would tell me how much fun she had and how awesome everybody was. On the flip side to what I feel is a self-mocking gimmick of a musical subculture, there's a lot of emphasis on family and friendship and lending a hand to fellow juggalos when they're down on their luck. I guess that's pretty cool since you don't see that with a lot of subcultures that are birthed from music.
I've been told that being a juggalo is something you have to experience first-hand in order to judge. And that you'll know, "in a blissful shower of Faygo cola, that the members of the Dark Carnival have welcomed you as one of its own" - a direct quote that a juggalo sent me a while ago. That doesn't sound too appealing to me, but to each his own, I guess.What do you guys think of Juggalos?