Posse Comitatus

It’s been tumultuous, and, at times, it has felt like the oppressive weight of rancorous stupidity might finally squeeze what remains of our collective rationality and humanity into a sticky, lifeless puddle on the kitchen floor. At the very least, we can all take a sigh of relief and know that the uncertainty and frenzied speculations are behind us now.

What’s that? Mid-term elections?

Oh. I was talking about Insane Clown Posse, bro. Like many others caught in the wake of Internet hype, I recently read an interview in The Guardian finally laying to rest any lingering doubts I had that Insane Clown Posse is anything less than the most breathtakingly ignorant crackers ever to sell 6 million records.

If you’ve been unable to arrive at this same conclusion because you’re deaf or have been totally amputated from your sense of human dignity, you can lean back on the authority of Blender magazine, which, in 2003, published a list of the 50 Worst Artists in History. In it, the pop cognoscenti determined that Insane Clown Posse is the No. 1 worst band ever in any musical genre full stop. Pretty impressive.

In The Guardian interview, the clown-faced, rock-rap goons elaborated on their disclosure that they’ve secretly been Christians for their entire career and have been planting hidden messages in their songs for 20 years. In some freakish pre-apocalyptic inversion of 1st Century Gnostic mythos, ICP has been covertly turning their dumbass fans to the light with songs about beating women, shooting dogs, demons, glue huffing and … rainbows.

As if American evangelism wasn’t taking enough heat already.

I’m generally successful at avoiding insignificant pop-culture trash. ICP had a busy year, though, and between The Guardian interview and the release of the completely mind-bending viral video “Miracles,” the group has managed to elevate its nuisance level on my radar from a few dumb, lost geese at low altitude to a giant incandescent dirigible right in the middle of JFK airspace. Scramble the jets and go to DEFCON 3.

While no one but their fans (who are called “Juggalos”) were watching, the clowns have managed to stitch together body parts from most of the monsters in the closet of the American psyche into a Frankenstein that is impressive for its completeness.

In my view, ICP is a polyp, which indicates the American dream metastasized and went completely ape-shit.

While Thomas Edison is probably doing somersaults in his grave over the way they have bastardized his process for mass-produced recordings of the human voice, he would surely be impressed by their business acumen. ICP has sold millions of records without radio airplay and has constructed a DIY business empire of which they are sole proprietors.

Fear of children dressing up in clown makeup, wearing stupid pants and leading each other around on leashes has led some municipalities to label ICP and the Juggalos as a threat. I read one report of a woman being pulled over in Utah for having an ICP bumper sticker on her car, which, the officer told her, meant she was a gang member.

While the acronym PMRC suggests a past only half-remembered, and Tipper Gore’s parental advisory sticker is now a rubber stamp for increased record sales, it is still feared that middle-America’s children are susceptible to suggestion, and more than a few Juggalos have been indicted in some pretty heinous murders of late.

And finally, with the release of the song “Miracles,” which signified new heights in a burgeoning anti-rationalist suspicion of reason, and the revelation that the band members are Christian soldiers, ICP has somehow grafted itself to the corpus of the evangelical right in ways that are truly stupefying and unholy.

I’m not insensitive to the trials of disenfranchised American kids who are made to feel uneasy by the looming indifference of a culture that holds them in contempt for being different, for being off. I was one when I was young, and I feel like one still as an adult.

I am hypersensitive to shitty music and to violently overt stupidity be it political, religious, intellectual or artistic.

I recently wrote about the need for a greater degree of respect in our public discourse, and I believe the need is great. It’s a steeper learning curve than I had anticipated, though, and the way is beset on all sides with hidden dangers, such as people dressed up as clowns.

I’ve always been scared of clowns.