“Everything Old is New Again.” – Peter Allen (1974)
“Those Who Do Not Remember the Past are Condemned to Repeat It.” – George Santayana (1905)
“Abracadabra Boom Shaka Dae, I’m Violent J and I’m back like a vertebrae.” – Joseph Bruce (1997)
Oh 1999, can it be the party that Prince predicted has returned? It was a simpler time of intern jokes and Furbies where dancing computer-generated babies ruled the world and anyone who released a compact disc became an instant millionaire. It was also the year marred by the Columbine shooting and thirty-five days later, the Insane Clown Posse releasing an album that debuted at number 4 on the Billboard 200*. They had no radio or video play and lacked even the slightest mainstream media acknowledgement, yet their major label distribution propelled their word-of-mouth momentum to move over one million copies of The Amazing Jeckel Brothers into the homes and “homes” of millions. Not unlike James Cameron, they returned a decade later with Bang! Pow! Boom! and not only repeated their success but surpassed their original achievement. So of course with
the numerous natural disasters happening all around the world and further unrest reaching a fever pitch in Iran and the rapid approaching of a turning point with health care legislation here in America no other news stories happening anywhere in the world, this week ABC’s Nightline took an investigative look at Horrorcore and the Insane Clown Posse.
Folks, this is a must see –
I’ll give you a second to regain your composure. Yes, in 2010, the American Broadcasting Company devoted a sixth of an hour of prime time programming to the Insane Clown Posse. Further, this trusted news program beamed into millions of homes suggested these middle-aged men in clown facepaint were somehow a threat to their children’s safety. While I understand there is something to said for the appeal of the sheer spectacle that Utah, Arizona and Monroe Country, PA all consider Juggalos (the nom du clown of Insane Clown Posse fans**) a “street gang,” but it’s the absurdity of this that warrants the coverage, not the non-existant legitimacy. Instead, Martin Bashir acts like the concerned social worker that Joseph “Violent J” Bruce and Joseph “Shaggy 2 Dope” Utsler never had and attempts to guilt them into apologizing for their “music” causing bloodshed at the hands of white trash across the country. Buena Vista stockholders, this is where your money is going to.
My frustration here isn’t because I’m particularly “down with the clown” (I’m not***) but more so with the blatantly irresponsible journalism that has followed the duo for the better part of a year now. For whatever reason**** there has been growing media attention toward Juggalo-related crimes. The most bothersome was that of Richard “Syko Sam” McCroskey a 20-year-old who killed four people in Farmville, Virginia. While my sympathies go out to the victims and their families, it was infinitely aggravating to read the murderer referred to as an “aspiring rapper” and see numerous web headlines rushed to press as “Rapper Kills Four.” The kid had a MySpace, a Microsoft Sound Recorder and THAT’S IT. Records indicate he had only performed in front of people ONCE and this somehow designates him an “aspiring rapper?” You never read the name Charles Manson prefaced with “aspiring singer-songwriter” or Ted Bundy as “amateur tapdancer,” so why is it in the dwindling coverage ever offered our genre, it has to be that of an entirely irrelevant ginger caucazoid who assumably reeks of stale Funyuns and spilled Miller Lite.
This is what happens when you give the seat of the great Ted Koppel to Martin Bashir. While the man is responsible for the glorious 2003 Michael Jackson documentary, it was a work of pseudo-papparozzi crash journalism. It’s hardly what should constitute the basis for modern edutainment, but he’s brought that same exploitive edge from the King of Pop to the guys who wrote “Chicken Huntin” and carried Bill O’Reilly into a discussion that went…well…here:
What Bashir either believes or wants to draw from his audience, is the perpetual fear that these entertainers are somehow pied pipers of misguided youth and that parents are/will be powerless to stop them. He further demonstrates his absolute lack of familiarity or research of the subject matter by implying children are endangered by “Horrorcore,” a sub-sub-genre at absolute most whose name hasn’t been said in any serious manner since its absolute failure in the mid-90s. The Posse’s perpetual defense is that of Jon Stewart’s, the “we’re entertainers, look who you’re aiming your ‘credible’ journalistic rage at” and honestly, they’re right. I could use this sentence to echo their sentiments of how it’s the parents’ fault that their kids are screwed up or let music have such a power over them, but I’d rather use it to tell you THE INSANE CLOWN POSSE RECENTLY COMPLETED A FEATURE FILM AND IT’S A WESTERN! Even the harlequin battalion in question never reached the level of insanity that is ABC’s Nightline expose. If they really wanted to cover the dire effects of irresponsible musicians, why not look at how the “We Are the World” remake has had a negative effect on Haiti donations? Why not address Gang Starr’s Guru present comatose state and the legal mess forbidding visitation from the man’s own family? Instead Martin Bashir rips the scab off a long healed Faygo-related injury and cranks the Riddlebox in a way that would surely put him at the Hell’s Pit end of the Wraith. It’s these tactics that both society as a whole AND the Psychopathic Family tend to look down upon. Awful.
So until next time…Let’s Agree to Agree!
*See how I just lumped these two unrelated events together? I could write for Nightline!
**People you’ve never met before who, allegedly, can ingest Monopoly and defecate Connect Four.
***But I do want to still send MCL out to my fresh Family reading this. Woop woop!
****No, the sixth Joker’s card magnifying Shaingra-La doesn’t count as a reason.