Something Wicked

‘Tradition’ is not likely a word commonly associated with Juggalos, yet when it comes to that odd and often maligned little subculture, there does exist a unique sense of custom, ceremony, and certain things which might even be considered sacred.

This past Tuesday, Oct. 31st, Juggalos from around the world gathered at the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit, MI, for a double dose of Dark Carnival sacrament, coming in the form of the 24th annual Hallowicked Clown Show.

Hallowicked—the annual Halloween-night concert put on by the Insane Clown Posse—is one of the longest running traditions among the Juggalos. Halloween has always been the most beloved holiday in the Juggalo world; it’s reliance on masks and face paint fits right in with the whole clown thing, after all. It’s a night about self-expression and freedom, which are some of the most crucial ideas behind the Juggalo culture. That’s why the night has been celebrated with the annual Hallowicked Clown Show since 1994.

This year however, Juggalos gathered anticipating even more than the yearly celebration and family reunion. At this year’s Hallowicked, ICP will be unveiling the 4th Joker’s Card of the Second Deck.

Admittedly, that does warrant a bit of explaining.

The Joker’s Cards are the central albums of ICP’s mythology—each one expanding on the key themes of the culture while providing enough shocks, laughs, and groans to keep the masses content until the next release. The albums—each a fairly simplistic face on a (usually) black background—fast become icons of the Juggalo community.

While the original set was capped at 6 cards (7 albums), ICP began a second deck of Joker’s Cards with 2009’s phenomenal ‘Bang Pow Boom’.

Since then, they have released ‘The Mighty Death Pop’ (2012), and ‘The Missing Link’ (2015), among other non-Joker’s Card releases.

The Joker’s Cards simple symbolism makes them easy rallying banners for the uninhibited passion of the Juggalos, and their more often than not highly theatrical unveilings rank among the most anxiously anticipated events short of their actual release.

The faces and names of future Joker’s Cards have been revealed by phone numbers obtained by solving riddles on side-project Eps, hidden in the liner notes of other albums, and other such creative methods. More recently however, the custom has shifted towards huge public unveilings.

At Hallowickeds, Gatherings, and other such events past, ICP unfurl giant banners revealing the names and faces of their next project, and enthusiastic chants ensue. This is the sort of event Juggalos will travel for. Sure, they’ll travel just to see the band, or to hang out with other Juggalos, or to buy Faygo—but the unveiling of a Joker’s Card—that’s something truly special!

Which brings us back to the matter at hand. At Hallowicked this year, ICP promised to share the face of the fourth Joker’s Card of the second deck, just as they did for ‘The Mighty Death Pop’ (Revealed at Hallowicked 2010), and ‘The Missing Link’ (Revealed at Hallowicked 2014). The combination of the annual Hallowicked Clown Show, and the revealing of a new Joker’s Card makes this a truly thrilling event for Juggalos worldwide.

And so, they gathered; with painted faces and countless variations of clown-themed t-shirts. With lines forming at the crack of dawn, the Juggalos descended en masse upon the Russell Industrial Center in Detroit, MI. Naturally, this was an all-day event—with myriad musical acts, wrestling matches, exhibits, and countless other attractions throughout the day. Of course, it was to be capped off at the end by the main event—the Insane Clown Posse.

So when the time came, the eager Juggalos packed together tightly, and waited. Then, they waited some more. But the stage time came and went. So did midnight.

Not until nearly 1:00am local time, with Halloween technically behind them, did the ICP take the stage and the epitome of Hallowicked begin. As soon as they appeared, the wait seemed of little concern to the frantic Juggalos.

The Clowns rocked the audience with live standards such as ‘Hokus Pokus’, and ‘Chicken Huntin’, while adding in some scary surprises befitting the occasion, covering rare Halloween singles such as ‘Halloween on Military Street’, and ‘Sleepwalker’.

As the intro to 2015’s ‘Falling Apart’ teased in the background, Violent J took centre stage to proselytize that while Juggalos are usually weirdos and outcasts, on Halloween it’s cool to be scary. Its our night!

Late in the show, ICP broke into the old family favourite, ‘Dead Body Man’, bringing the congregation to a fever pitch.

Then, all went silent.

A cryptic chanting oozed from the speakers, and the first banner fell, bearing the name, ‘Fearless Fred Fury’.

The next banner held the face.

Juggalos roared their excitement for this new chapter of Dark Carnival lore.

The beat for ‘Real Underground Baby’ began—a rare song live, this closed the gruesome 2004 album, ‘The Wraith: Hell’s Pit’. This choice of closer may prove meaningful, as both the name and face of this new Joker’s Card forebode wicked times ahead.

‘Real Underground Baby’ continued as the party raged, with confetti, smoke, and eventually a full blown Faygo Armageddon—a storming of the stage and massive Faygo war which has become the traditional ending to any ICP event.

As the music faded away and the final Faygo flew, the crowds began to dwindle at last. Halloween was long over, but the feeling of Hallowicked still held strong as soaking and exhausted Juggalos filed out, dancing between chants of ‘Family’ and ‘ICP’, with grateful smiles beneath the smeared remains of their clown paint.

-Brad OH Inc.

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Playing by the Rules

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Tennessee Williams once wrote, “I have always depended on the kindness of strangers.”

It’s a terrible approach, and apt to get you killed.

Of course, there’s another thematically similar, yet significantly different expression from an unknown source, “You’ll end up really disappointed if you think people will do for you as you do for them.”

Pretty disparate points of view, to be sure.

Why is this?

It presents a strange conundrum. People, in general, try to be good. This can certainly be disputed, and there’s no doubt there does exist some number of people who are simply, downright rotten. But we can all agree on our strong dislike of those jerks, so let’s not hang ourselves on that point.

As a very broad rule, I believe it can be argued that people tend to try their best to play by the rules. For the most part, we do try. We try to be honest, to do the right thing, and to stick within the general moral boundaries of the society in which we reside.

That brings us to the topic of these so-called ‘rules’, and just where we tend to go wrong. In its simplest form, the problem is that the rules are agreed upon by all, but interpreted by the individual. Each in his or her own heart decides in the moment what is right. Therein lies the issue.

All red tape and political shenanigans aside, it’s not the most difficult task to agree on a simple set of principles behind which almost all of us may stand. The most fundamental values are very similar on every side. No one really wants innocent people to get shot, or children to be hurt, or women to be victimized, or minorities to be afraid. Admittedly, this is a broad generalization, and in this wide world there is no shortage of morally bankrupt imbeciles, but once again, we’re talking about the general population here—not those creeps.

I do believe you’d be hard pressed to find anyone who would object to any of the simple values above, nor to a litany of others we could easily agree on.

The problem then, becomes how we define these ‘rules’ in the moment, and how we react to prevent these things from happening.

When it comes to immediate interpretation, it’s an easy thing to draw exceptions based on personal mindsets, current context, or any other number of feeble yet potent personal justifications. This is wrong in every scenario. It is by drawing these distinctions for our own actions that the entire social contract begins to break down. If we cannot expect decency from our neighbour, even the best of us will falter in our application of decency ourselves.

The other side of the coin, then, is how we react to prevent these universally defined tragedies. This bit is a little more complex, and happens to be where we find the concept of political polarities. More often than not, our reactions or views on prevention are defined not by logic, values, or virtue, but rather by who we surround ourselves with, and what we are told.

Let’s use the simple example of not wanting innocent people to get shot. No matter if you are on the far right or the far left of the political spectrum, the prevention of needless death is a fairly ubiquitous desire. The response is something entirely different.

To use somewhat hyperbolic examples for the purposes of this argument, we will say that the left tends to prefer the elimination of guns, while the right prefers their propagation—arguing that the only defense against a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Both are reasonable interpretations on the surface, and both are driven by the shared value of not wanting innocent people to get hurt. That last bit is essential here.

The same—or a very similar—analogy can be made for gender neutral washrooms, minimum wages, and most any other issue being dragged across the fetid political landscape at any given moment.

Is there any solution to this madness? That’s a far more complex question. When it comes to the universal interpretation of rules, I suppose that’s where lawyers come in. If they are up to the job, then the courts can handle those who think they’re an exception.

What about the reactions? Well, as established, this tends to be a matter of what we’ve learned. If we are taught that guns protect, we’ll favour increasing ownership. If we’re taught that guns kill, we’ll tend to favour prohibition, or something in that vein. Neither approach is unreasonable on the surface, but both require a great deal more investigation, testing, and above all—knowledge.

That’s what it all comes down to in the end, as it always does. Education, and access to accurate, replicable data is one of the—if not the absolute—keys to finding a clear and actionable way to fixing the dreadful state of our society.

Sadly, in a world where science and fact are as viciously disputed as all the rest of these issues, we find ourselves in dire straights indeed.

To teach the wrong thing, or anything motivated by a pre-defined political agenda, is propaganda. And, considering where we get the vast majority of our information, this tends to be the case more often than not. Access to legitimate, unbiased information is among the only changes that can set us back on the right course. The final question then, becomes how?

That, unfortunately, is a question above my station. So, I turn it over to you the readers—what do you think? Is education truly the key to solving these problems? Is unbiased education still possible at this point? If not, what other options do we have? Weigh in by posting your comment below!

-Brad OH Inc.

Another Day

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

At the top, you’re looking down,

It’s all that you can do,

And from below, they gather around,

And stare back up at you.

But when you see them they look small,

Their hopes seem far away,

The top to them is not so far,

Yet for another day.

But if you meet them, you will find,

Their dreams were always clear.

And so you hope, and wish, and pray,

That day is not yet near.

 

-Brad OH Inc.

The Evocation Series- ‘Landslide’

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

The following post is part of ‘The Evocation Series’. Click Here for more information about the project, and to learn how to get involved yourself!

Fleetwood Mac- ‘Landslide’

Song Link

I can remember the view from the top. Looking down upon where I’d started from was humbling and inspiring, and before me the world spread out—an unending stretch of wonder and potential.

Climbed a mountain and I turned around,
And I saw my reflection in the snow-covered hills,
‘Til the landslide brought it down.

It all went sideways fast. Then upside down. Uncertainty, and then sudden panic. It doesn’t last long, but it does stay with you. Ambition can be funny that way, especially when coupled with time and chance.

Can I sail through the changin’ ocean tides?
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Then, there’s nothing more to be done. Just let it slide away, and see where you end up. The lesson can take a lifetime to come, but ultimately, it’s learned in an instant.

But time makes you bolder,
Even children get older,
And I’m getting older, too.

In the end, you’re left with whatever remains, and you’d better make the most of it. Broken or not, you will have to make do. That’s the thing about life, and about potential—it doesn’t come easy. It was never meant to.

And if you see my reflection in the snow-covered hills,
Well the landslide will bring it down.

Sooner or later, we all fall down.

-Brad OH Inc.

Above

Under the Green Desk Lamp

Dreary doldrums dominate the distance.

My ravaged hands hold the rudder right.

I search the skies and solemn stars,

Looking for that luminous light,

Hanging hallowed high above.

Such serenity, that long sought sight,

That points my prow to proper place,

Yet never negates the night.

 

-Brad OH Inc.

Making Contact?

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Looking down on you. It’s the only vantage point available. Such a fascinating bunch you are…so many questions arise. You are a brilliant sort, unlike so many others. Such a depth of feeling, your passions run wild to the furthest reaches of imagination. A blessing to be sure, but often a curse as well.

You build wonderful works, but almost always for the wrong reasons. To celebrate hubris over humanity, to set one above the rest. It’s disconcerting to an outsider, but perhaps not entirely surprising.

You are dominated by your moods, motivated by your fears, and shackled by your doubts. You learn more from what hurts you than what moves you, and habituate to the divine too swiftly to ever appreciate it. Yet you will cling to the mundane and worthless like they’re totems of yourselves.

But it’s the language that’s most interesting. So much of your reality is defined by the words you have to apply to it. I wonder what you’d think of me? ‘I’, ‘me’, are those even the right words?

I suppose that would be up to you, and therein lies my cause for concern.

What would you call me? What would that make me? There are hundreds of words you might choose from, though none of them quite right. The choice however, would be essential, as so much of your lives are defined by the limited terms you cling to. It sets one against the other, and would almost certainly set you against me in turn.

Perhaps that would be the best thing for you. To hate something truly ‘other’ might show you all just how united you have always been. Would you finally be brought together? Or would you lose all sense of self? What would become of your stories and beliefs, if some small, unknown part of the mysterious expanse was so suddenly made visible to you?

I shudder to imagine.

What must I present you with? What can I give you to help? My very existence could bring you together or forever tear you apart. My knowledge could break you, my words would be lost on you, my abilities could poison your potential, and my compassion would be wasted against your paranoia and discord.

You kill over skin tone, draw lines on planets, and think more about mythologies than you do about your neighbours.

And so, here I am, wondering these things. Sometimes, you get what you ask for, and sometimes, you get the last thing you expect.

But there are other times, rare but relevant, when you simply get what you deserve.

…I believe it’s time for me to be going now.

Good luck.

-Brad OH Inc.

What I’d Do

Under the Green Desk Lamp…

Ideally, I’d ignite imaginations,

And turn the tides towards the truth.

Flush out the frenzy of fury and fear,

This dreadful dearth of decency.

To cure the conscience and cleanse the corrupt,

To run roughshod over the ruthless and reticent,

Rejoicing in righteous resistance.

For you I’d find favour and fight folly,

Eschew even the most enviable egress,

To stand and study in silent sorrow,

The hardened hearts of hopeful hangers-on.

Alas, in your absence,

Listless and lethargic,

I wait without wonder, wanting for whatever,

May alight within and bring ascension,

To an abode of absolute beatitude.

Until then, useless and unending,

My wait for what I would do,

For you.

-Brad OH Inc.