It’s the most recent place on earth to host the Gathering of the Juggalos, the Insane Clown Posse’s annual four-day festival, which everyone has an opinion on, including everyone who learned I’d be attending.
Now in its 16 year, this convention is mythical — literally. Five years ago, my good friend (and this article’s photographer) Jason Shaltz explained the appeal of the Juggalo identity to ’s Camille Dodero in the most universal terms possible: “People who identify with this culture have had some relatively turbulent times in their lives and it helps them deal with it.” Shaltz has attended the Gathering six times and shot a video for ICP proteges Twiztid; I have to admit that, while me and my friends have joked for years that we should go to this thing, it wasn’t a serious consideration until I met him.
It started small at first, and to be honest, I don’t believe Tim ever really took to Juggalo-ism, not the way his buddies (and unfortunately all their kids) did. Now, I’m not trying to knock teenage parents here, but Juggalos take “teen parenting” to the next level.
I think to truly understand what it means to be a Juggalo, you need that perfect mix of drug use, second hand smoke exposure as a child and fetal alcohol syndrome, which Tim simply didn’t have. Then he waves his hands as if to say, “OK, an analogy”: “If you’re trying to fuck a girl, but her mom’s home, fuck her mom!
Shaggy: First thing, I could never love you, you sound like a witchy bitch yo fuck you!
But if I did, I'd probably show you that I care by takin all these other mutha fuckas outta here I'd go through your phone book and whack em all, I'd find contestant number one I'd break his fuckin jaw (what! ) anyone that looked at you would have to pay, I'd be blowin fuckin nuggets off all day I'd grab your titties Stretch em down past your waist, let em go and watch em both spring up in your face I'd sing love songs to ya the best I can. We go to tha beach and walk though the sand I throw a little in your face and say I'm just playin as you spit it all out, I rub your back, and grab your underwear and wedge it up your ass crack!
Whit grew up in the Midwest and probably would’ve been a Juggalo if he hadn’t gone to grad school (joke).
But a few years ago, my partner, Whitney Strub and I became fascinated enough by the group and the discourse around it that we bought several albums, went to see them when they played Philly, and proposed a book about their album for the 33 1/3 series. My dissertation and forthcoming book examine whiteness, masculinity and race and, in one chapter, analyzes the ICP’s much more successful competition in the white boy Detroit rap game, Eminem.
Unlike most subcultural festivals, your friends and possibly family know what it is, and they all have tales of what it must be like, without ever having witnessed it with their own eyes. The 35-year-old Flint native-turned-Brooklynite exhibited a photography show in Brooklyn in 2010 called A girl in makeshift clownface asks a white guy with dreads, “Do I look like I belong here more than I did yesterday?
” After he answers in the affirmative, she mutters, “I’ve got psychos in my family.” There are levels to that statement; “family” is one of the key words of this weekend, chanted almost as often as the trademark “Whoop whoop!
” greeting (one of the first vehicles we walk past is a pickup truck with the license plate number WHOOPX2) and “psychos” could mean brothers in arms.