The Guardian reports today the shock horror story of the decade – if you’re a dedicated ‘horrorcore’ hip-hop fan, anyway.

It turns out that the Insane Clown Posse – those rapper doyens of the crass, the violent and the sexist – known for such moving lyrics as:

I stab people, 4, 5 people everyday
I tried to see a shrink to stop that shit but it ain’t no FUCKing way

…and:

I grabbed her by her neck
And I bounced her off the walls
She said it was an accident and then apologized
But I still took my elbow and blackened both her eyes

…and:

If I was a king all bitches would blow me
Big bag piles of jewels for my homies
We would go to war and take everybody’s land
No clothes allowed for female citizens

…have, all this time, been Evangelical Christians.

My mind flip-flops between being flabbergasted and entirely unsurprised. Flabbergasted because I find it hard to believe that people who call themselves Christians can write these kinds of things, and then unsurprised because I guess I can. And it’s not that the Juggalo ringleaders have suddenly had a Road to Damascus moment, either – they say that they’ve been Christians all along.

Apparently, their music is all just an act, cunningly crafted to sneak up on all those unsuspecting fans of theirs and deliver the message of God under the cover of necrophilia, dismemberment, rape and murder. Not since the Spanish Inquisition has morality been so deeply confused.1

This is how Violent J (Joseph Bruce), one of the two figureheads of ICP, puts it:

To get attention, you have to speak their language. You have to interest them, gain their trust, talk to them and show you’re one of them. You’re a person from the street and speak of your experiences. Then at the end you can tell them God has helped me out like this and it might transfer over instead of just come straight out and just speak straight out of religion.

This was the same Violent J who was arrested on an aggravated battery charge after allegedly striking an audience member thirty times with his microphone at a concert in New Mexico. Apparently you need to physically show ‘them’ that you’re ‘one of them’ as well. That’s a slippery slope for which I wouldn’t want to attempt to mount a moral defense.

Recently, as part of their overt ‘coming out’ the Clowns released this video of their song Miracles, in which they apparently find everything miraculous, including UFOs, fog, and the Pyramids:2

It appears that they use the term miraculous here in a religious sense, rather than as hyperbole. In other words, they are rapping about all these ‘miracles’ as literal Works of God. The clue is the part of the lyric that says:

Fucking magnets, how do they work?
And I don’t wanna talk to a scientist
Y’all motherfuckers lying, and getting me pissed

Yep, it’s those evil scientists at it again. As one science blogger has put it, the video

…is not only dumb, but enthusiastically dumb, endorsing a ferocious breed of ignorance that can only be described as militant. The entire song is practically a tribute to not knowing things.

Indeed, in 1998 Spin magazine said that ICP were offensive “not for their obscenity, but for their stupidity” and after reading the Guardian interview I linked above, I am inclined to agree (there are some real clangers, but I’ll leave them for you to discover). In a manner that is the modus operandi of all the most blinkered fundamentalists, the ICP eschews any level of intellectuality or reason or knowledge in favour of simplistic, slack-jawed religious naiveté. What’s more, they seem baffled by the torrents of criticism they have received from the science community over their silly song. Violent J:

I figured most people would say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know Insane Clown Posse could be deep like that.’ But instead it’s, ‘ICP said a giraffe is a miracle. Ha ha ha! What a bunch of idiots.’

Yeah, see, the problem is, Violent J, that your observations aren’t so much deep as breathtakingly banal…

Plant a little seed and nature grows
Niagara falls and the pyramids
Everything you believed in as kids
Fucking rainbows after it rains
there’s enough miracles here to blow your brains

… and, to be frank, it’s terrible music to boot – the rap in this song is possibly the worst I’ve ever heard. Take away the trademark in-your-face offensiveness and Insane Clown Posse just have nothing at all to offer.

As it stands, for all their ghetto posturing and murderous carnival grotesquerie, I say that the Insane Clown Posse are nothing more than Insipid Clown Pussies. It takes guts to look the universe squarely in the face and endure all the uncomfortable consequences of the realization of the measure of your insignificance.3 Religion, especially the brains-on-the-floor flavour of religion offered by Evangelical Christianity, is the ultimate avoidance of facing up to reality. It says, in no uncertain terms, that if you trust everything to God, all will be hunky dory. It’s the easiest of cop-outs for a difficult challenge. In this respect,4 then, it is less confronting to discover that the members of the Insane Clown Posse are Christians, than it would have been to have heard they were philosophers, atheists or scientists.

The cognitive dissonance is deeply disturbing.

  1. My observation here is that if this is true, then they are treating the people that buy their music with the utmost disrespect – firstly, they are trading on being something that they are not in order to disseminate some dubious moral agenda, and secondly they think their audience is stupid. Which may be true, but doesn’t that just smack of cynical exploitation?! []
  2. How magnets, the Pyramids, UFOs and ghosts fall into the category of Miracles Wrought By God is kinda hard to fathom… []
  3. Conversely, it takes no guts at all to beat up a woman, and it follows that to write a ‘song’ about doing so is the work of a very tiny soul indeed. Don’t spin me your ‘whatever it takes to get the Lord’s message through’ bullshit, you hypocrites. []
  4. …and possibly others, it has to be said – pardon my cynicism. []