The 1st Annual Juggalo Toy Drive

“The toys have gotta’ still be in the package!”

Source: | Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010

Is this evidence that somewhere within the paint huffing, forearm cutting, stretch-marked Juggalo universe lies a successful segment producer? Or is a game of eenie meenie miny mo more likely? Did some dangling ICP tool simply get lucky in choosing an already successful segment producer for this, a-hem, Toy Drive? On both: no and no. Psychopathic Video, an arm of Psychopathic Records, founded by the Insane Clown Posse itself, produced this silliness.

If the blonde in the clip is to be held to the Juggalo canon, then she reminds me of a major-market radio DJ trying just a little too hard to “get down” with the man on the street. She may be known to ICP fans, but the lack of Juggalo face paint and meth-skin emphasizes a yearning for exposure far beyond the poverty most associated with the Juggalo army.  And when it comes down to it, Psychopathic Records’s goal is likely a larger, more commercial Psychopathic Records, and toy drives are as old a PR play as a Hells Angels Santa Claus. Still, this video is asinine fun, and insolent laughs are laughs nonetheless. Even if, this time, rather than getting them at the expense of the Juggalos themselves, they’re being brought to this hypocrite from Juggalos. I smell an expansion of the brand.

As easily dismissible as we might like to think the Juggalo phenomenon is (with its communally defiant, messy fans and celebration of all things rape, feces, and kitchen nifes [sic]), the profit machine surrounding it sure isn’t. Psychopathic events, for example, are promoted as “truly underground,” boasting an absence of commercial sponsorship and thus nailing the G-spot of inebriated rebellion while essentially splitting the take with nobody and keeping the Juggalo joke an inside one. The Insane Clown Posse empire is unique in that it has little to challenge it commercially. And since it is argued that followers of the Juggalo lifestyle are fat, obnoxious, misfit dropouts, it’s likely that the creation of Psychopathic Video was a pariah-grade necessity.

It matters little whether or not the public or mainstream production houses are afraid of ICP and its fans: what’s interesting is that this is a competent promotional tool that stays on message and true to form. Besides, who needs production value when shock value is so right now!? For starters, the clip smartly plays like an SNL parody – and one benefitting from a refreshing absence of Andy Samberg. It also exploits the meth addict lexicon and the emphatic shoulder-sways and elbow-to-wrist snaps of what I like to call “honkybonics.” Like the hand signals used with trained animals, this use of honkybonics effectively chaperones its devotees through an experimental endorsement of conventional philanthropy. This body language is a recruiting tool like no other. To an individual who pours Lysol into a shoe so that he can wear it like a gas mask, this interface will never betray. It will never grow in sophistication; lying politicians or cops or rich mutherfuckers will never use it. To employ it, well, you just can’t hire that out. Psychopathic Video is the definition of “in-house.” And bonus points: if it plays like an SNL skit, SNL skit watchers (i.e., white people with living rooms and televisions, really) will watch it and talk about it. Again, the expansion of the brand is afoot.

In the interest of full disclosure, here’s what makes me a hypocrite: I’m personally not affected by petulant Juggalos or the Juggalo Holocaust. It’s a largely Midwestern spectacle, a Michigan-Ohio novelty. I can laugh at Juggalos’ misconceptions of strength, leadership, and self-bearing because there are no ICP aficionados among my friends or family to offend. I don’t share my neighborhood with self-corralled paint wheezers. It’s easy for me to refer to ‘em as “them” and “those people.” I live in a coastal blue state; I squirm through SNL (because I can jump past the boring parts); and I can pick apart ICP videos. Moreover, a Juggalo Toy Drive appeals to my appreciation for a town idiot making good while drowning in two inches of water, so I also have the luxury of trying to decide if soliciting illiterate teen moms and penniless, bipolar crack-smokers to donate to “people who don’t got shit” is cruel or just plain predatory marketing at its finest.

I’m thinking it’s the latter.