In defense of the Juggalos

Juggalo_Nate_Igor_Smith.jpg
Nate "Igor" Smith

There's something to be said for non-conformity. We tend to think of non-conformist types as pioneers: free-thinkers, uninhibited by the expectations and opinions of others and unafraid to stand out in a crowd. We admire their courage and originality, and secretly wish we could be so brave. We've held many of these people up on a pedestal throughout human history, and as a society tend to think of their free-spirited nature as a virtue.

That is, unless those people are juggalos.


The word carries a near-exclusive negative connotation in non-juggalo circles. People deride the fans of the Insane Clown Posse and its related acts as unintelligent, white trash, criminals -- even as gang members, if you ask the United States government about it.

The last of those descriptions should be clearly seen, even by detractors, as completely ridiculous. To say that juggalos are a "gang" would imply that they are an organized criminal syndicate, complete with hierarchies and territories, constantly engaged in illicit activities. In reality, the group is largely a low-income bunch from rural communities across the Midwest (not exclusively, of course, but disproportionately so).

Many have struggled with an unstable home life and abuse -- ICP and other acts on the Psychopathic Records roster have openly discussed their own troubled childhoods, bringing birds of a similar feather into an ever-expanding flock. The label's latest signee, Big Hoodoo, is unafraid to discuss the molestation he suffered as a child. From his song "Never Had":

I was molested as a child, I never told my momma I thought it was my fault and didn't want the drama She would tell me "Boy, I really fuckin' hate you A curse on this world since the day I made you."
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Big Hoodoo.
When I attended the Gathering of the Juggalos last year, I saw Big Hoodoo perform this song. He spoke of the abuse plainly beforehand, and the crowd of face-painted kids that were watching shouted their love and support. The fact that these artists, so beloved by their fans, also had a troublesome time growing up attracts kids with similar woes. The same could be said in regards to street-life rap and poor urban communities. Or, I don't know, yacht-rock music and comfortable-shoe enthusiasts. People are attracted to art that reflects the things that they know and see in their lives -- the things that are real to them.

In this way, the wanton bashing of juggalos by so-called "normal" people can be seen an example of classism. In no small way, you are making fun of lower-income folks who have already led rough lives. It is easy to do because they painted themselves up to look like clowns and wear great big pants. But did you not consider that they saw themselves in the mirror before they left the house?

What is more tongue-in-cheek, "wink-wink nudge-nudge" than deliberately painting one's own face to look like a clown? These kids know that there is humor in what they are doing. They are in on the joke -- it is just that the joke is often taken too far by malicious people who don't understand them.

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Nate "Igor" Smith
Most recently, Kaiser, Missouri, residents were up in arms -- some literally -- over the Gathering of the Juggalos moving to their town. There were protests and petitions and everything. And yet, Party Cove is located right in the area -- a hedonistic playground that has been featured on Playboy TV, A Current Affair and Sexcetera on account of its raucous activities. The New York Times has even dubbed it the "oldest established permanent floating bacchanal in the country," thanks to its nudity, public sex acts and drug use.

So how is the Gathering appreciably different? Party Cove enthusiasts can afford boats.

There are other reasons that people might cite for poking fun as well, but those reasons also amount to a lot of bullshit.

Continue to page two.


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19 comments
Tim Stang
Tim Stang

Juggalos don't deserve to live

Earl Struggz
Earl Struggz

Surely your children will look back at the Juggalos like we currently see the hippie movement. This is counter-culture at it's finest. MMFCL, Woop woop, etc.

Earl Struggz
Earl Struggz

I am so glad this article is written. Juggalos have been treated as an underprivileged class for too long. Source: My dad is part Juggalo.

gynnady
gynnady

As a proud punk member of the rainbow family the juggaloes and their bonding resonate with me. Their defining cry is being fam and that's a holy thing. I'm not about to go to their gathering or put ICP on my Pandora but so what? I'm not going to Branson or listening to Imagine Dragons either.

Ryan Schoen
Ryan Schoen

It's all based off garbage ass music anyways

Brian Hoffmann
Brian Hoffmann

Can one be nonconformist but still adhere to a specific label or lifestyle? They're just conforming with each other. A truly nonconformist juggalo would not look anything like a juggalo.

Selena Cripps
Selena Cripps

didn't that "juggalo" thing die in the 90's?

Gail
Gail

How about not starting an article with "WE think. . " or "WE tend to think. . .". Who is this "WE"? A big hive mind? -- that would be funny, considering what "WE" think of nonconformists.

On the other hand,thanks for the article -- I had never heard of Juggalos -- it got my attention.

Sam Sneed
Sam Sneed

I didn't know these people even existed still... Lol

Arkadi
Arkadi

I wouldn't dream of making fun of that guy for growing up in a low-income or abusive household.

I would make fun of him for having dicks drawn all over his torso.

Trish Gavin
Trish Gavin

Really? Persecuted for bonding over being persecuted? Could this be a more melodramatic sob story? Lest we not forget that these are not stock sad-face-hobo clowns, they're drug addicted untreated mental patients who could use therapy and interventions more than a weepy article.

digitalprotocol
digitalprotocol topcommenter

i want to go to the Carnival of Souls 


send me CP

ElliotPark
ElliotPark

Juggalos are simply the Deadheads of the Bizarro World.

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