Note: this past weekend our colleagues at St. Louis' Riverfront Times risked life and limb to cover the 2014 Gathering of the Juggalos outside Thornville, Ohio.
Life sucks. There is a multitude of reasons why, and no one has come to terms with this inescapable truth better than Juggalos. Zen masters of nihilism and partying, they have become unquestionable experts at finding creative ways to cope with the unrelenting pain of reality.
Behind the fun-at-any-cost, consequences-be-damned attitude of these clown-painted fiends lies a cache of truly virtuous and respectable traits. You might be unable to comprehend that people who seem so strange might have something profound to teach you, so we've put together this list, outlining just what it is that makes Juggalos better than everyone else.[jump]
10. Juggalos Are Direct
Juggalos look you in the eyes when they talk to you. After accidentally brushing up against your oversized backpack while somersaulting away in a hurry, they'll still find the time to stop to earnestly apologize. And if a Juggalo is angry at you, he or she will let you know it right away -- probably in the form of a loud chant about how "You fucked up."
9. Juggalos Are Reckless But Miraculously Competent
You should never fire off a Roman candle in the middle of a crowd. Unless, of course, you've already done it 20 times that night without a single error. One of the more incredible things about going to the Gathering of the Juggalos is the number of times that you stare directly into the face of danger and shrug your shoulders, because, "shit, no one else here seems to be dead yet."
8. Juggalos Are Generous
These are the sort of people that walk around with giant bottles of vodka, yelling into the sky as they offer free shots to everyone they pass. They hand you food that they're bored of eating. They show you their boobs if you just ask, and randomly give you a dollar to buy a bottle of water if you are thirsty.
If you smell weed, you can ask for a hit without hesitation. Or if you happen to find yourself passing out on a grassy field after taking unexpectedly powerful hallucinogens, they just might provide all of the aforementioned things over the course of five minutes.
7. They Didn't Kill The People From VICE
Hey, they were nice people, don't get me wrong, but they were obviously out of their element. They dressed like German tourists, and we caught them taking selfies at the Gathering -- twice. Plus, they actually used the cell-phone charging station. Thanks to the benevolence of the Juggalo people, they made it out of this psychotic mess of a festival without being disemboweled. So that is pretty cool.
6. Juggalos Are Brilliant at Chanting
While the most common chants are "Fam-i-ly", "Magic Magic Ninja What," and the aforementioned,"You Fucked Up," we also heard some other choice hollering:
"Suck His Dick!"
"Fuck Jay Leno"
"Fuck Johnny Carson"
"Fuck Jack Paar"
"Fuck Steve Allen"
"Fuck Ed Sullivan"
"Fuck Her Right In The Pussy"
Basically, if a phrase is about dicks or has the word "fuck" in it, Juggalos will gather en masse and scream it in unison at the top of their lungs.
5. They Are Peacekeepers
You know that argument that psychotic conservatives give all the time about how if everyone had a gun, no one would ever commit any crimes against each other? Well, that's bullshit -- but in Juggalo culture, it actually kind of applies. Throw a punch at a Juggalo and you better prepare for a hailstorm of fists to rain down upon the land from every direction.
Because of this principle of mutually assured destruction, there's a silent sense of order and underlining respect, and order is maintained -- their reputation for violence and classification as gang members by the FBI are absurd. In fact, the only time we ever felt remotely threatened during the four days at the Gathering was by some old dude hanging out in the parking lot the whole time (pictured above) who spoke extensively of how he would shoot anyone who messed with him.
Story continues on the next page.