What does the new Insane Clown Posse video say about America?
Maybe you’ve seen the new Insane Clown Posse music video. Maybe you haven’t. It’s entirely plausible that you’ve missed the sheer insanity of the “Miracles” music video, considering it’s netted a little more than 400,000 views in close to a week. That’s chump change in viral video terms.
So what’s all the hubbub about? In case you’ve missed it, check out the video below:
Finished? If you haven’t keep watching. I know it’s hard, but it’ll be worth it.
Done? OK, great.
Well, not great. Really, really terrible.
What’s so bad?
Well, here’s a multi-platinum rap act preaching a lesser-known form of science than that of alchemy: a belief in miracles. And there’s one thing to be wide-eyed at all the wonders of the world, but there’s something downright ignorant about grown adults removing the basic explanation for, say, rainbows from the equation. So, yes, the mass amount of hate-blogging is easily explained.
What isn’t addressed, however, is how did this come to be? How did “Miracles” get produced? And I’m not talk about the mechanics and behind-the-boards studio wizardry. Moreso the culture behind “Miracles,” and the band that reared the culture: Insane Clown Posse.
Though ICP’s “Miracles” has a more “upbeat” foray than their other tunes (one could say it’s even “family friendly,” if you ignore the smattering of cursing), something about it still speaks to Juggalo culture. An oft-ignored subculture, the very nature of Juggalos seems indebted to the modern era of the iconic Republican image. There’s a certain working class sentiment, a focus on the communities ignored by metropolitan areas, and there’s a certain folksiness to it all.
Sure, all those “motherfuckins” that fill ICP lyrics ain’t quite what some may consider “folksy,” but with the purveyance and popularity of hip-hop in modern America, it’s very much a folksy twist on that familiar breakbeat. After all, ICP broke out in the late ’90s, when nu-metal was stealing the hearts and minds of young adolescent males across the country with its mix of rap and metal. Perhaps this down-home sentimentality is what’s kept ICP going strong while the Limp Bizkits of yesteryear broke up or faded away.
Even after the mainstream left ICP for dead and moved onto the newest musical fad, the fans stuck around. As The New York Times‘ Jon Caramanica wrote in a review of Juggalo act Twiztid, they’re not just fans:
These fans, known as Juggalos, refer to themselves collectively as “family.”
Family. A term that strikes the very heart of this nation. It’s something that politicians – particularly Republicans looking to capture middle America – stick to their guns on, every time, all the time. Family is important, and in the Juggalo-verse, it’s as much a part of it as the music.
Caramanica opened his piece by listing the locations of the biggest Juggalo festival of the year:
Every summer for the past 10 years, there’s been a Gathering of the Juggalos. Novi, Mich.; Pataskala, Ohio; Cave-In-Rock, Ill.
Not exactly New York City or Los Angeles. Just as many hard-right Republicans claim an allegiance towards middle American everytowns, it’s these very locations that provide the very grounds for Juggalo culture to thrive. Or at least party for a few days.
In the baffling listing of everyday miracles ICP’s Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope ramble off, this little gem drops right in:
Fucking magnets, how do they work?
And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed
It’s been a sticking point for a lot of online jokes, including the creation of the hilarious textbook for Juggalos at Cracked.com. It’s also been the source of a lot of the bemusement and anger launched at the song, video and band. Yet, it may be explained by the very nature of the existence Juggalo culture lives in.
This is, after all, the same day and age where the Texas State Board of Education can selectively decide what may be included in their state’s history textbooks based on an allegiance towards a particular political party. Is it any wonder that an artist representing a culture often preyed upon by the Republican Party would feel spite towards the scientific community when Republican leaders continue to hold skepticism about the veracity of global warming?
Whether or not these connections are as strong as I assert is one thing. However, ICP and the number of Juggalo acts affiliated with that group have a significant following. The real question here shouldn’t be “how can an adult think of scientists that way?” It should be “what can we do to ensure that this type of thinking dissolves itself?”
Anger seems to be the most immediate response. Both for the members of ICP when it comes to the science community, and those who find ICP’s “Miracles” a complete mockery. Yet anger isn’t the way to approach the problem of self-inflicted ignorance on the part of ICP.
What is the “answer” to such a query? I’m not sure. But whatever conclusion can be drawn, I’m sure it will come with a healthy dose of “you betcha.”
**UPDATE/ADDENDUM: Please take this post with a grain of salt. It’s not meant to represent Republicans, Juggalos or anyone else as a whole. Merely, consider this post to be a reflection of how both Republicans and Juggalos are perceived in our greater mainstream culture: Often in a stereotypical form. I wrote this post using generalizations so as to not speak for each and every Republican, but as a way for one to reconsider the ways these different individuals are discussed in our culture, as well as discussing their similarities. It’s an extreme image, but, aren’t Juggalos (and some Republicans) viewed in an extreme vision?