Monthly Archives: April 2015

…I’m Down With the Clown

 (photo courtesy of edfx.com)

Let me get one thing straight: I’m not a Juggalette .  Most people don’t know much about the Insane Clown Posse or their affiliated groups associated with Psychopathic Records.  They hear about them in the news on the few occasions that ICP makes it on, usually when their diehard followers do something stupid.  Recently the United States Government has categorized Juggalos and Juggalettes as a gang, much like the Bloods, the Crips, etc.  (For those of you who are unsure of what those terms mean, let me explain.  ICP, Twiztid, and their affiliate groups associate themselves as Juggalos.  Their listeners call themselves that as well.  A Juggalette is the female version.  A better explanation can be found here –> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Juggalo .)

The majority of people to speak out against ICP and Psychopathic Records couldn’t quote a verse from any song nor could they name a song other than to mention something regarding “Chickin’ Huntin'” which is a popular song regarding bigotry.  Whenever I ask people why they dislike them, they never have a genuine reason other than they’re stupid, which in my opinion is the most childish answer without a real reason to back it up but a definite conversation ender.

I have listened to ICP, Twiztid, and the affiliated Psychopathic Records artists since I was 14.  My mom knew I listened to them but still to this day has never listened to them herself.  I’ll give credit where it’s due; she has never said a bad word about them.  My husband has heard a few of their songs.  He has an undefinable hatred for them and all Psychopathic Records affiliates.  He refuses to listen even for a moment, and I respect that and no longer play their music within audible distance of him.  It’s a discussion we often avoid because it’s an argument that will never be won by either side.

I own every CD, all of the “Cards”, and the LP’s.  One of the characteristics of a Juggalo/Lette is a painted face mimicking a clown, usually with black and white paint but occasionally using blue and red.  Every affiliate of Psychopathic Records paints their face in the same fashion.  I DO NOT paint my face.  I don’t wear their clothing (although I have in the past).  I don’t associate with any Juggalos (although in High School the majority of my friends did consider themselves to be Juggalos).

The majority of the population considers ICP to be a “bad influence” on today’s youth.  I agree that the lyrics are riddled with obscene language and violent metaphors.  However if you look past the curse words and examine the metaphors, ICP and Psychopathic Records actually do send some good messages.  For instance: in the song “Hall of Illusions”, ICP makes the point that bigotry, abuse, and alcoholism are all horrible things that ruin your life and the lives of those around you.  In the song “How I Live” by Twiztid feat. Proof they state, “I was raised with the knowledge that you gotta do what you gotta to get paid”, making the point that sometimes you’re put in a bad situation but keep going and do what you have to do.

ICP preaches the importance of Family and they understand that their demographic of listeners may not have good relationships with their blood family.  ICP tells their listeners that Family isn’t blood, it’s emotional support.  They have created their own Family.  People relate that to Charles Manson and his Family.  ICP and Psychopathic Records have never asked their listeners to kill for them.  Nor have they attempted to brain wash their listeners into believing that some war was coming or that they needed to take refuge in the desert.  In fact it’s quite the opposite.  Amid the obscene language lies the message that you are not alone and that they understand what you’re feeling, a trait common in all music but portrayed differently depending on the demographic and although it may be tough to find that message underneath the makeup it still remains.  And the demographic, in this case, is very important.  ICP plays to kids that are considered to be “at-risk”.  The obscene language appeals to them, and sometimes, especially when you’re having a bad day, screaming “Fuck You” at the top of your lungs just makes it all better, no matter who you are or where you came from.  That’s the point.  ICP gives their demographic an outlet for all the things that they’re feeling inside.  School sucks, friends are few and far between, and when you try to explain what’s inside no one understands, but ICP does.  They understand how you feel like you could just lose your mind and break everything and they give an outlet for that emotion where no one gets hurt.

But don’t think I have dismissed the inexcusable actions of some Juggalos.  I understand that a lot of people have painted their face, threw on a pair of Tripp pants and gone on a spree of destruction, all while calling themselves Juggalos and saying ignorant things like “ICP sang about it so I thought it was ok,” or “I did it for the Family”.  These are kids that truly are “at-risk” and should have been intervened with years ago, and for that I blame the parents and school officials.  It’s their job to recognize the signs that a child may need some guidance in life before they decide to dismember cats and blow up gas stations.  If these same kids would have found Marilyn Manson instead of ICP they still would have done the same things but blamed it on Manson.  If they had listened to Rob Zombie they would have blamed it on his music.  Hell, if they would have listened to Tupac they would have done the same things.  Saying that music made you do something is a cop-out and blaming ICP or the term Juggalo for what a few people did is no different.

Music, people, books do not make us do anything; we make our own choices no matter how mentally weak we may be at that moment.  No one went around saying that Bible Thumpers were a cult or a gang when they decided to burn thousands of copies of Harry Potter because the bible claimed it to be witch craft.  Granted, their offense wasn’t as violent as what some Juggalos have done, but the concept is the same.  The government never publicly announced that the Westboror Baptist Church was a gang and they went around protesting War Veteran’s funerals and harassing their families.  They also terrorized homosexuals claiming that they were going to Hell for sinning.

What the government seems to always leave out when on the subject of Juggalos and ICP is the good they have done in the community.  Juggalos Making a Difference (J.M.A.D.) is a group in Denver, Colorado is a charity that helps with food drives, clothing and toys for the homeless and those who need help.  The Dead Stephanie Memorial Cleanup was created in 2008 by the The Juggalo Cleanup Crew in Florida to pick up trash in honor of Stephanie Harris, a high school student who dies of diabetes.  In 2010 Psychopathic Records organized a Toy Drive to benefit children from underprivileged families.  In 2014 ICP put on a charity concert in Ohio where all proceeds when to the family of Aaron Spencer, a Juggalo who died from a debilitating illness.  In Buffalo, New York the Hatchet House and Community Outreach started cleaning up Buffalo’s East Side and created a 24/7 help line that refers community members in crisis to services and also serves as a base of operations for volunteer work and community service programs.  These are the things that the news never wants to tell you; the good things that Juggalos do.

As of January, 2014 ICP and the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan filed a suit against the FBI to remove Juggalos from the gang list and all documents collected by the CIA on Juggalos to be destroyed.  They also created juggalosfightback.com   to give people an outlet to tell their stories about unfair treatment they have received by law enforcement for being considered a Juggalo.

The bottom line of all this is that just because someone paints their face, listens to music that you may see as violent or ignorant, and calls themself a Juggalo doesn’t mean they are evil or violent or a bad person.  It just means that they have a family that they want to show to the world because they are proud of who they are and what they believe.  It’s no different from any other group.  You can’t let a few bad people define a group.  If we did, then everyone who listens to Elvis Presley would be some weird sex addict rebels and girls who idolize Miley Cyrus would be trashy whores.  The point is that you can’t judge a person by the music they like, the way they dress, or the people they hang out with and the same goes for the people who listen to ICP, wear their clothing, or paint their faces in admiration.

I know a lot of people who listen to ICP and you’d never know it by looking at them.  I know lawyers, bankers, police officers all who not only listen to ICP but own their CD’s and memorabilia.  You’d never know it by looking at them and because of that they never deal with any hassle from people who claim to know just how bad ICP and their followers are.  It says a lot about people who claim that people who like ICP are horrible, evil, violent freaks who are just out to destroy everything in their path.

I’ll end this on a simple note: I am a successful, well-educated, professional person.  I am employed, own a nice vehicle, and am married.  I have a high credit score and a loving family.  I don’t kill people or try to burn down buildings.  I don’t have a criminal record and I’ve never been to jail.  I am not a Juggalette, but I am down with the clown.

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Where

When you wonder where the years went, and then you realize how old you sound when you say it out loud and you’re only 23.  Then you realize, “Wow, I’m 23.  Where have I been?  Where am I going?  What have I done?”  And then you realize, “I’ve been nowhere, gone in circles, and done nothing.”

It sounds like a tiny voice inside your head screaming so softly that all you can feel is the vibrations rattling your skull but you’re not sure what the words are.  It’s a little like standing right next to the speaker at a concert.  You can feel it deep in your soul but you can’t make it out.  Is it even really screaming?  Are there even any words at all?

You begin to question everything around you.  Is any of this real?  Am I really even here or is this some twisted version of The Matrix?  Suddenly you think, “Oh my god!  What if I’m actually in a coma and this isn’t even life, but a coma dream?”  You pinch yourself before you realize that how would you know if it would even wake you up?  You’ve never been in a coma before.  You wouldn’t.  So maybe this isn’t life.  Maybe it’s a lie and you just made it up in coma land.  Maybe this is a bad coma dream world that you’ve created and you didn’t even know it.  How would you know if it wasn’t?

Then a song comes on and it brings you a memory but before you can fully enjoy the memory you wonder if it ever even happened or if your mind is just fucking with you, creating a life that never existed.  Would you be able to tell if you were closer to life, or closer to death?  Does death even exist, or did your brain make that up too?  Is anything real?  You wouldn’t know.

You start to look at everything around you differently, looking for inconsistencies that may lie just beyond your eye sight.  You look in the mirror every day for some flicker of change that wasn’t there before but you can’t remember if it was there yesterday.  Was there ten minutes ago?  You look at your walls, your bed, your hair and wonder if they were there before and maybe you just didn’t notice.  You wake up and look for signs of change, but you can’t remember if there are any.

You start to chew over your words because now they don’t sound right in your mouth.  Everything looks the same, sounds the same but it’s not and you can’t tell why.  Everyday molds into another and it’s all the same except it’s not and you can’t explain how.  Your words back up on your tongue and won’t release from your lips but you say them anyway just to see how they feel.  Are they different?  Is today different?  You can’t tell, but maybe.

Your scared.  Are you real?  Is anything real?  How can you tell if your alive or dead or in a coma?  Is this a dream?  If you jumped in front of that moving bus would you die?  Or would it bring you out of the coma?  Or would you get back up and walk away?  Would you be fine again?  Would anything change?  You wouldn’t know.

Is this normal?  Does anyone around you think these things?  Are you even thinking these things right now?  Or is that just the coma talking?  Are you so much more?  Or so much less?  Who, what can you trust?  Is anything real?  Is anything normal?  Are we all bags of flesh strung up in some old warehouse waiting to rot?  Are we flowers stuck beneath the dirt waiting to bloom?  Would we ever know?

Where have the years gone?  Where have I been?  Where have I gone?  What have I done?  Would I ever know?


A.W. – Closure

March 12th was the day you died.  You were so young and intelligent and artistic.  It has been so many years since you left my reality but I remember you as though I had stared at you for an eternity.  Your smile, you’re laugh, your bleach splattered work pants.  I remember all of the emotions I had for you, when I was around you.  I remember holding your hand though the haunted house on 17th and that old abandoned restaurant outside of town.  I remember you as though you never left.

I never told you how I felt and neither did you, but we both knew I believe.  I have to believe that, otherwise I would go crazy at the thought of knowing that I could never tell you.  I still know, so many years late, that I should have, could have done more and I didn’t.  I didn’t place the importance on the situation that I should have.  I betrayed you by not trying harder that night and it eats a tiny part of me everyday.  But I have to belive that you know that.  I have to believe that you know or I’ll go crazy.

I was so young.  We were both so lost in this crazy big world but we didn’t care, at least that’s what I thought until the next day, the day after I should have tried harder.  If I had then maybe you would be here and I wouldn’t be asking myself what if all of the time.  I didn’t know.  I didn’t know until the next day.  Until it was too late.  If I had…

Sometimes everything comes out all at once and it’s hard to push it back down.  I forgive you.  In fact I never blamed you at all.  I pushed everything down for as long as I could because I didn’t want to face it.  I wasn’t sure that I could.  No one understood.  We were all … ambushed and we didn’t know what to do.  I was so young and I didn’t know.  I know now and now it’s too late.  The next day it was too late and every day after it’s too late.  But I have to believe that you know.

I know now and I cherish that.  I hold dear the memories we had.  Sometimes I sit and think when no one is looking and relive those times in my mind.  I believe that you do that too.  I have to believe.  Sometimes I’ll drive passed something or hear a song and it all comes flooding back to my mind all those things from you and me.  The late night youtube videos and adventures.  The Friday the 13th escapades.  All those damn dishes.  The douchey cooks.  The knives in the prep kitchen.

I know that you know.  Sometimes my selfishness takes over and in my head I scream that you come back, just for a minute, just so I can see your face or hear your voice.  I damn you for leaving me here, leaving me with all these questions that I can’t ever ask you.  I scream at everything because I couldn’t save you.  I know that you know.  I have to, or I’d go crazy.

I miss you every day.  I don’t know if this earthly internet signal will ever reach you or if you even have the time you read this in your eternal sanctuary, but I have to believe that it will.  If I don’t…

A.W. – January 27th, 1985 to March 12th, 2007