One a year, Juggalos across the nation come together for “The Gathering of the Juggalos,” a festival dedicated to their own unique subculture (NSFW, language) that emerged around the Insane Clown Posse and their Psychopathic Records label. They also released their yearly, surprisingly long promo for this event. I implore you to watch part of it below. I have already watched it all the way through, twice.
Rated NSFW: Language, Juggalos
The Gathering of the Juggalos starts today (well, the day this was published - time is a funny thing on the internet). What ensues is a binge-fest of music, drugs, amateur wrestling, and various other bizarre shenanigans.
But strip away the makeup, nonsensical slang, and penchant for violent imagery, and it’s no different from any other counterculture group: love, belonging, acceptance, and an appreciation for qualities that might be rejected by others. And, perhaps most importantly, it encourages a rejection of mainstream society in favor of something more meaningful.
The message is clear; we’re all zombies. The culture is scary – nightmarish clown make up, violent imagery, and a dark outlook on life.
Its even scarier when you look at it from their perspective.
The opportunities for kids from middle and lower-income families are few and far between. Economic inequality grows and creates significant barriers between students and successful careers. Not multi-millionaire successful, but able to provide for a family with 2.5 kids.
This is the generation that has watched the middle class erode from their own couch. As parents lost jobs, retirement accounts, pensions, they grew up as the children who suffered the consequences of economic turmoil. The middle class life they knew was a sinking ship that did not have enough life rafts. Decades of work (and the assumptions that the government was looking out for them) had been for naught.
So what incentives do these youths, now growing into young, disillusioned adults, have to buy in to mainstream society? It’s no wonder in this video they portray their culture as being a rescue from a diseased world devoid of humanity. The imagery is so obvious as to be charming.
Okay, so maybe charming isn’t the right word.
There are some important caveats to this argument. I am sure there are Juggalos and Juggalettes (nope, I’m not making that word up) that are plenty smart, come from good homes, do well in school, hold down good jobs, vote, volunteer at their local food shelter, and do any combination of those and many other virtuous activities. It’s also worth noting that the FBI considers Juggalos a gang, and that they have been associated with drugs, simple assault, and even some organized crime activity.
I’m not here to argue for or against the merits of being a Juggalo. I can tell you that if I had a kid I wouldn’t want them anywhere near this group of crazy assholes. But I am saying that I understand that there’s more to this and really any other counter culture than an appreciation for terrible rap and violent imagery.
During their intro video above at 2:25, a guy in camo shoots a zombie with what looks to be an M60 machine gun, which is particularly effective at cutting people in half. He then looks at the camera and says, “there ain’t nothing but endless love up in here.” The message is clear: we hate what the world has become just as much as you, and we love you for that. So we’re going to do anything and everything we can to distinguish ourselves from that world, whether it be painting our faces or drinking obscure soda or denying science.
Fucking countercultures; how do they work?
[Ed. Note - no good piece on the Juggalos can exist without this video, NSFW: Language, motherfuckin' politics:]