In Defense Of The Juggalo

Who is a juggalo and why am I speaking in his (or her) defense?  Although some of my readers may be familiar with juggalos as an organized group, many may not, as the term identifies those who are fans of the Insane Clown Posse, a duo of rappers [1] from Detroit known for their silliness and for the loyalty they inspire from their fan base.  I must admit that I do not consider myself to be one of them myself, for although I am fond of some of the material of the duo, especially their entertaining movie reviews, I do not find a great deal of enjoyment in much of their music, which is filled with cartoonish and hyperbolic language about violence and some themes that I dislike concerning magic and related subjects.  As someone who neither has an identity as a juggalo, nor someone who is entirely ignorant of them, I am at least a moderately sympathetic outsider to them.

Given the reasons why I am not very fond of their music, why would I be moderately sympathetic to them?  For one, juggalos are drawn from those who feel themselves to be outsiders who are misunderstood, and that is something that tends to draw on my sympathies since I have tended to feel myself as a misunderstood outsider for my entire existence on this earth so far.  Aside from that, the FBI has labeled them as a gang, which subjects them to substantial harassment from the police who might view their gatherings as criminal in nature, when in reality they are simply the sort of peaceful get-togethers that people with common interests have.  In this case they are no more dangerous or violent a group as One Direction or Justin Beiber fans have been.  Such groups are often ridiculed people people are not fond of their music–although admittedly there are songs from both of those bands I must admit that I am very fond of (“Night Changes” and “What Do You Mean?” being my favorites of their songs respectively if I am asked).  I must admit that I don’t consider myself those kinds of fans, but I have at least a great deal of sympathy with fandoms and feel they ought to cheer on the artists they are fond of with a minimum of harassment, since they are much more disagreeable the more they feel that they are stigmatized for their choices of who to support.

I have rather strong personal reasons for believing that groups ought to meet a very high threshold of danger before being considered to be a public safety threat, and also that the size of the group involved should not matter when admitting them to be a threat.  For example, I view racialist groups of both the right and the left, antifa, and a wide variety of Muslim groups as being threats among others, but I do not view the fans of a couple of comedy rappers as being a threat to the well-being of others.  To be sure, the Insane Clown Posse sings about violence, but they aren’t the sort of people who actually commit it.  The phenomenon of violence being seen as entertaining is certainly worthy of having a conversation about, but not everyone who talks about or portrays violence deserves to be stigmatized for it, especially when the violence is deliberately cartoonish.  Fans of the Acme company might as well be stigmatized for all of the violence their goods did to coyotes and were intended to do to harmless and peaceful roadrunners, or the people responsible for making Blizzard video games in the Warcraft series ought to be considered dangerous for all of the slaughtering that goes on in those games.  The cartoonish violence of the Insane Clown Posse belongs in that category, of being so obviously unrealistic as to be ridiculous rather than dangerous.

In defending the juggalo I am reminded of what was said about Nazi Germany by German pastor Martin Neimoller:  First they came for the Communists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Communist.  Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist.  Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Jew.  Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.”  If a group can be stigmatized and subject to official abuse simply because of misinterpretations and misunderstandings about what they are about, I tend to feel immediately unsafe as someone who is fairly frequently misinterpreted and misunderstood.  I may not think very highly of most of the music of ICP, and I may not identify with their passionate fans, but I do not believe it is right for anyone to be labeled in such a way that unjustly makes them subject to arrest and police harassment.  Seeing myself as the sort of person who could easily find that fate in an unfriendly country, I am not the sort of person who is going to sit quietly by while others suffer from that same unjust fate.

[1] See, for example:

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
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1 Response to In Defense Of The Juggalo

  1. Pingback: The Fan As Ambassador | Edge Induced Cohesion

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