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Apr. 12 2010 - 2:26 am | 5,707 views | 0 recommendations | 22 comments

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.

Yet the sheer amount of text devoted to the video, with responses ranging from anger to flat-out bemusement, would make it seem as though “Miracles” is the only thing people are watching right now.

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?


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  1. collapse expand

    I love this video because it has spawned so many hilarious memes on tumblr. And because mocking ICP is always fun.

    “Fucking magnets, how do they work?” will never not be funny.

  2. collapse expand

    “If I said that magnets attract as if they were connected with rubber bands, I would be cheating you, because they’re not connected with rubber bands… If you were curious enough you’d ask me why rubber bands tend to pull back together again, and I would end up explaining THAT in terms of electrical forces- which are the very things I was using rubber bands to explain, so I have cheated very badly, you see.”

    “So I am not going to be able to give you an answer to why magnets attract. Except to tell you that they do… I really can’t do a good job- any job- of explaining the electromagnetic force in terms of something you’re more familiar with, because I don’t UNDERSTAND it in terms of anything else you’re more familiar with”.

    Richard Feynman

    Anybody wonder how Violent J would react to that?

  3. collapse expand

    Quote: “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?”

    Are you kidding me with this?
    Is it any wonder that this is one of the most asinine comments I’ve ever read?
    It seems to me that you’re suggesting that the Republican folks in the Midwest don’t believe in ‘global warming’ because the republican establishment tells them not to? Huh? It couldn‘t be that those people they do not want to be taxed to curtail their CO2 emission to prevent something that may or may not be happening. It couldn’t be that they don’t want the cost of everything to increase as companies will off set their carbon tax costs by increasing the prices of consumer goods. It couldn’t be that they want less government control over their lives so they can live as ‘freely’ as possible. Nope, it’s none of those. Not one.
    What it is, is that those Midwest republicans are dumb fucking sheeple, incapable of having an original, independent thought of their own and must solely rely on their republican overlords to tell them what and how to think. You’re right! Thank God you posted and were capable of providing me with the clarity that I so badly need.

    Seriously, can anybody post on this True/Slant forum? I’d love to have my own post so I too could post comments that are completely unfounded and purposefully ignorant.

    • collapse expand

      Thank you for your comment. And I mean that with utmost sincerity.

      I did not write this post with any sense of a defined statement: I merely wanted to draw points of generalities, which is a danger unto itself. In fact, after the sentence that set you off, I wrote this:

      “Whether or not these connections are as strong as I assert is one thing.”

      I never meant for this piece to speak to everyone and anyone who considers themselves a Republican, a Juggalo, or whatever. Merely, I wanted to draw upon some things that I’ve noticed and have people respond.

      So, thank you for sharing your concerns. This wasn’t meant to be a “be all, end all, I know everything there is to know about this subject.” Because I don’t. And I thank you for adding to the discussion.

      I wanted to write about this because Juggalo culture doesn’t get the proper coverage. These are more open-ended questions about very basic generalities which may even explain why Juggalo culture doesn’t get the proper coverage it deserves even when the number of people who rabidly consume it numbers in the thousands. The coverage of the culture is stereotyped, so I merely looked at it from that angle. It deserves a greater in-depth analysis, moreso than my post dictates.

      Anyway, thanks for your comments. And no, I don’t believe that all Midwest Republicans are “dumb fucking sheeple, incapable of having an original, independent thought of their own,” but I do believe that there is a portion of our population (of all political associations and cultural backgrounds) that do tend to follow. And even this post didn’t cover that. So thanks for that kick in the pants!

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        I agree that adults not wanting to understand basic scientific concepts, such as magnetism or gravity or whatever, are a societal problem that needs to be remedied. And if this sentiment is reflective of the Juggalo culture as a whole, then you’re right, coverage of such a phenomenon should be examined and discussed. But it seems you strayed from the point you were trying to make by taking a cheap shot at a general group of people who have a certain belief that you may disagree with, Juggalos or otherwise, even in view of your equivocation.
        Moreover, the notion that the science of magnetism is analogous to man made global warming is improper as one certainly exists, while the other may, may not.
        Thank you for responding to my comment.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
        • collapse expand

          I never meant for this to be a cheap pot shot at a particular group of people, and I realize that it appears that way now. I’ve added an addendum that reflects your insightful criticisms, and I hope it will alleviate the issues you pointed out. This post was an exercise in comparing two cultures as they are viewed in mainstream culture, and not the ultimate discussion of them. It should be seen as an allegory for how we view these two sections of society, and if it allows you to view Juggalos in a different light because of how easily they’re fit into this stereotyped model, then perhaps the post worked. But it got you to comment, and that’s all I could ask for.

          And I apologize if the connections I made between magnetism and environmental issues appeared to be too simple. It was, in effect, merely an example of an extreme perspective, and, as I mentioned, not the be all end all.

          And, seriously, I must reiterate: Thank you for your comment in the first place. I don’t pretend to know all the answers, and Juggalo culture is hardly an area of expertise. And I hope you don’t consider that I would ever think of all Republicans to sign to a certain perspective – it was merely an examination in generalities, an experience I normally stray from.

          Anyway, I care about reader response – it allows me to reconsider arguments, re-bolster or re-tool them, and have a conversation. Which is what makes True/Slant so great: It provides me with a forum to do that.

          I usually try and respond to comments that come with insightful critiques such as yours: If something I wrote made you want to respond in a positive or negative light, I want you and others to know that I am paying attention. Otherwise, that would be reiterating a purposeful ignorance, which I couldn’t sit with at all.

          So, once again, thank you.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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          If you take the time to read something other than Drudge or FoxNews, you’d learn that 95% of climate scientists agree that man is making a serious contribution to global warming. The icecaps are shrinking and the ocean temps are rising more quickly than ever before. That may not mean much to you but to those of us in the reality-based community this is reason to take global warming seriously and even (shudder) make sacrifices so that our great grandchildren don’t own ocean front property in Ohio.

          As to how gullible you are, I can’t say. I will notice that you seem to subscribe to the republican narrative that “freedom” means some kind of idealized wild west scenario where we all do whatever we want without the big bad gubbmint gettin’ all up in our shit. I can only assume that when you retire you will refuse social security and medicare to avoid the socialist influence of those government run programs.

          You sound furious because corporations, and by extension the rest of us, may have to pay to do what little we can to slow global warming. I suppose that it’s a coincidence that the republicans are using this anger to get elected and then cater to the whims of the wealthy while leaving the rest of us to twist in the wind.

          So comparing the influence this song might have over the Juggalos to the influence the extreme right wing seems to have over you doesn’t appear so far fetched to me.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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          Sorry hungry dude, as a professional geologist with over 30 years of practical experience I must inform you that global warming is real and happening right now. If anyone is telling you otherwise they are either lying or badly misinformed. The serious debate was whether the increased rate of heating is due to the actions of man or an acceleration of warmth due to natural earth processes. The verdict is, yeah we are really heating things up with our fossil fuels, pollution, misguided land use, etc. and, yeah there are some very tangible things that we can do to reduce and/or eliminate these human components.

          I’m sorry that you are appalled at the thought of us having to clean up our acts. That’s life, get over it. I really didn’t want to start wearing a seatbelt when it was mandated by the Feds. Now, I feel uncomfortable when I am not wearing one. You know, in case of a crash….”to prevent something that may or may not be happening”.

          Big difference between informed prudence and denial/ignorance..

          In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            Oh, you wackadoos.
            Clearly, Donnie, you have no idea what you’re talking about.
            Show me a reliable source stating that 95% of all climate scientists believe that global warming is due to carbon dioxide or that warming is even happening in the first place? But wait, could you be making up those statistics? Yep, I’d say that’s it. Hey Donnie, I can do it too. 87% of all republicans want to live in a Wild West society where they can do whatever they want without the ‘gubbmint’ getting’ all up in their shit’ and ‘cater to the whims of the wealthy’. Wow, it’s easy to make up convenient correlations and assert them as fact without any substantial evidence.
            And Donnie I do take time to read material not linked to Fox News and Drudge. I obviously read this article, didn’t I? Oh wait, 91% of people who comment on blogs didn’t actually read the material written in said blog. Odds are I didn’t actually read what was written, ass hat.

            Kim, as a PhD chemist with, sadly, only 5 years of experience, I’d implore you, as a fellow scientist, to be more skeptical about the source/causes of the warming, if said warming is really occurring.
            Are you certain the source of warming is carbon dioxide? I sure as hell am not. How does any one know that warming is not due to water vapor, methane, chlorofluorocarbons, Michelle Obama’s halitosis? If the ‘gubbmint’ is going to control one, then they should control and regulate the others too, for the sake of the children. The problem is no one knows the source of the warming.

            Back in the early 21st century some scientists believed that laziness, violent behavior, the desire to masturbate excessively, being a vagabond and so on were inherited traits, and were not due to living circumstances/family life. This belief was based on a few ancestral studies done on poor/destitute families which showed a relationship between the aforementioned negative traits and progeny. The scientists took their evidence, which they believed to be fact, and convinced many states to enact mandatory sterilization laws. This was an unjust outcome based on shady anecdotal evidence, which we now all know to be completely absurd. The point is, and I acknowledge that mandatory sterilization is nothing like a minor tax, that the government doesn’t have the scientific support/evidence to infringe on our rights to pursue a free life, happiness and liberty by imposing a carbon tax on us, just like they didn’t have the solid science back in the early 21st century to sterilize the poor people, thereby eliminating their right to pursue a free life, happiness and liberty.

            The problem Kim is that you and your ilk (ie Donnie) expect rational critics and the unknowing public (ie Donnie) to faithfully trust the obscure/complicated/convoluted/weighted analysis done by the theoretical climate scientists on the subject of global warming modeling. And as is the current case, those that don’t fall in line and accept their models results are insulted and talked down to.

            In response to another comment. See in context »
  4. collapse expand

    But all these things really are miracles, even if we understand their how and why.

    ICP might be promoting a bit of the stupid, sure, but even I can sit and ponder the nature of my left hand and wind up feeling amazed and very small.

    That’s what they are getting at, I think.

    • collapse expand

      An excellent point! It’s one that’s also been overlooked in a lot of the discussions of “Miracles,” but that could be, in part, due to the relatively terrible flow and lyrical content.

      Then again, the whole “And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
      Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed” sentiment re-calibrated the entire emphasis on the song to make it appear as if they are promoting “a bit of the stupid” more than being taken by the wonderment of our world.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      Stephen, asking question like “fucking magnets; how do they work?” isn’t a result of deep, introspective thinking. This song is pretty much what goes through your mind in the first few minutes of being stoned. It’s one thing to really be amazed at some of the overlooked phenomena around us, it’s another thing to strew along a bunch of half baked bullshit into what is surely going to be a worldwide joke by the end of the year. Make no mistake, these are no armchair philosophers, just the kings of an asinine drug culture borne out of Michigan and Minnesota.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
    • collapse expand

      icpmiracles.tumblr.com

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  5. collapse expand

    What gets me about this whole thing is the fact that — no matter how lame one may think the music is — they employ pretty “miraculous” hardware and software in order to make it, yet they use all that advanced gear to tell us how they “don’t wanna talk to no scientists.”

    This is the same sort of vibe I got when watching the techs employed at Kentucky’s “Creation Museum” where they use advanced animatronics and the like to show us Adam and Eve riding dinosaurs.

  6. collapse expand

    With the way science has behaved over global warming thing and been shown to be deliberately manipulating the very “science” to guarantee a specific outcome, I don’t think it’s uninformed to be skeptical.

    Throw in the financial ties that Al Gore and his buddies from Goldman Sachs who have large stakes in the proposed market for carbon swaps and whatnot and Pelosi’s and her husband’s own huge financial interest in a bunch of us peons being taxed as a result of this science and…I have to say the most dangerous thing in America today might actually be a bad mix of financial self-interest and science.

    Now…magnets…that’s just stupid, but no more stupid than you’re equating ICP’s comment to stupid Republicans who don’t believe the obvious incorruptible facts about global warming. IF (and that’s a big if because I think ICP are idiots) their comment about magnets is a metaphor for the behavior of the scientific community around the topic of global warming and the huge disservice they’ve done to themselves by not being entirely forthright and bedding up with some questionable financiers…well…good for them.

    • collapse expand

      I have to wonder if you even bothered paying attention to the actual content of the post instead of the argument about the environment in the comments. I never equated ICP’s comments to Republicn skepticism on global warming – I was merely drawing upon similarities based on the representations of Juggalos and Republicans in the media.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
  7. collapse expand

    you sound like a very intelligent person, maybe a little out of my league conversation wise but I would like to give you a link to a very interesting look on icp. http://www.paoracle.com/?archive=77

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    About Me

    I write about music here at True/Slant. I'm also a freelance writer for the A.V. Club Chicago. I've previously written for The Boston Phoenix, Bostonist, Rock Sound and some school publications.

    I used to book shows. I helped put on concerts featuring: Girl Talk, Man Man, Mission of Burma, The Twilight Sad, A Place To Bury Strangers, The Dirty Projectors, Parts & Labor, Maritime, White Rabbits, Ian MacKaye and countless others.

    I'm in grad school at Medill.

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    I’m currently a graduate journalism student at Medill. Aside from my True/Slant work, I freelance for The A.V. Club, the Washington City Paper, The Boston Phoenix and blog at Perfect Lines. I’m also working on a book, America Is Just A Word: Post-Hardcore, Emo and American Culture.

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