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Criminology: Crime and Media (The Insane Clown Posse)

The Western society has long been fascinated by crime and justice. This is depicted in most of their media. Crime is evident wherever one may go. This can be seen in books, magazines, newspapers, films, television programs and advertisements. For example, popular shows like CSI is focused on the investigation of crimes. The mass media is the initial foundation and the main source of all information regarding criminology. Most people rely on the knowledge they acquire about crimes through these outlets (Yvonne, 2004). Sometimes, they are subconsciously infuenced through different factors in the media. This can be in the form of visuals or sounds. This is especially evident in the effects of music to people. The influence of the various sounds extend to the internal convictions of individuals. According to the popular writing service Essayedge an average adolescent spends 2 ½ hours listening to music. This means that all the messages relayed through its sounds and lyrics would all be converyed to their thoughts either consciously or subconsciously. One such music who had great influence to people is the works of the Insane Clown Posse, a horror core band. A faction and majority of their fans, the Juggalos, are considered as non-traditional gang members (Fudge, 2014). These people live their lives according to the instigation of the lyrics and sounds made by their idol. Although some Juggalos consider themselves as non-violent and promote peace and unity through the music of the Insane Clown Posse, a lot of these fans engage in criminal acts in accordance to the representation and symbolism indicated in the lyrics and sounds of the band’s songs, which indicates the huge influence on crime and aggression.

Musicians and artists are a huge part of mass media. Their works send various messages to their audience. It influences most of the people who support their work, especially their most loyal fans. It is no secret that some musicians express their opinions on things through their music. They touch various issues and relay their messages regarding them through their works. For most of them, this is called freedom of expression. For some critics, however, they call this irresponsible usage of influence. This is especially evident in the lyrics of the Insane Clown Posse, where in they touch on various issues regarding the society. They held strong opinions regarding different topics. Sometimes, they promote violence and aggression as a solution to various problems. This influenced some of the members to group themselves into a gang since the message their idol relay is that crime is alright in acceptable circumstances (Fudge, 2014). These so-called situations where criminal activities could be done are actually vague and cloudy. However, since some of the fans are hugely influenced psychologically, they tend to blindly follow the lead of some people (Martin, 2014). Sometimes, they refer to themselves as misunderstood even though they are clearly involved in deviant acts (Fudge, 2014). Their justifications are mostly illogical although they believe that their convictions are right.

The Insane Clown Posse is Music group made up of two people. They usually perform as clowns through the make up they put in their face. These two are Joseph Utsler and Joseph Bruce. The duo is known for doing songs using the hip hop genre. Their kind of music is officially called Horror Core. The Insane Clown Posse usually performs to live audiences. Their music are usually focused on the supernatural entity known as the Dark Carnival, in which various mythologies are based from. This kind of theme entails judgment towards the lives of dead people through different entities. Their songs are based on various stories called “Joker Cards”. Each one presents a particular moral or lesson that is meant to send a message to corrupt and evil individuals, for them to change their ways before they get consumed by their own actions. The lyrics present a horror-theme content. The band’s subgenre, Horrorcore, have captured the minds and hearts of today’s confused youth (Martin, 2014). It gave them a sense of belongingness and thus, they gave their loyalty the the duo. The style of the band’s music created a Juggalo subculture (Martin, 2014). This is based on the collective name of their fans.

The Insance Clown Posse have become successful due to their large and extremely devoted fans called the Juggalos (Fudge, 2014). This name was first used during a performance and became popular. Because of this, the music group began referring to themselves, their friends and family, as well as their fans as Juggalos. Being a Juggalo, however, raised concerns because these fans had some deviant characteristics that identified them as members of the group. Some of these features include:

  1. Members mostly are seen having clown-themed paints on their bodies and faces or some style that are similar to corpse paints.

  2. The members are mostly infatuated with murder, particular murder using blade weapons

  3. The members respond to, and, in turn, make “Whoop Whoop” sounds and calls

  4. Spraying the inexpensive Faygo soft drink and drinking it

  5. They do their hair in a particular way – spider leg kind of style

  6. The members put on die cast as jewelery, and most of their stuff have the Hatchet man symbol.

  7. They have to be fans of the horror core as well as other underground hip hop music

Most of these characteristics caused an uproar because of their deviant nature and this have caused a lot of people to associate the group with a lot of negative issues. Although it is unclear if it was directly instigated by the band or not, these fans perceive the lyrics of their idol’s songs as a foundation to release and vent their aggression. Most of the lyrics are filled with depictions of violence and crime. Aside from being related to the horror core subgenre, the Jugallos were also perceived as gang members who initiated various criminal activities during the past few years (Fudge, 2014). This includes drug trafficking, shooting, vandalism, robberies, and numerous murders.

Various reports claim that the Juggalo culture is divided into two. There are some who advocate for nonviolence while the other group is violent. Violent members go as far as look down on the members who do not support violence, and label them as the weak ones. There have been reports indicating that the non-violent members have also been attacked by the violent side regardless of the fact that both sides consider themselves as family. Despite the presence of non-violent advocates, the Juggalos were still considered as an organized hybrid gang (Fudge, 2014). There have been a growing number of cases of their group exhbiting gang-like behaviors that are linked to criminal activities (Fudge, 2014).

Most of the Juggalos are attracted towards this fanbase because of the sense of family they feel in the group (Martin, 2014). However, as these individuals become engrossed in the music of the Insance Clown Posse, the aggressive message gets to them either unconsciously or subconsciously. Combine this with the natural fascination of people with crime and deviance (Jewkes, 2004), these people become more inclined to commit crime. This is not only through the influence of music but the peer pressure of the majority of the Juggalos who mislead the entire fanbase into believing that they should live a life of violence and aggression. As the ultimate symbol of deviance, crime becomes the natural way in which these individuals express themselves (Jewkes, 2004). It does not help that the band itself and their affiliates were also allegedly involved in some crimes (Fudge, 2014). This strenghtens the beliefs of the violent factions within the Juggalos and confirms that their ways are correctly being done. The Insane Clown Posse were also involved in various acts that characterized them as cool individuals worthy of emulating. This includes their participation in wrestling matches during the time when a lot of people actually support it. Since people depict the actions of the Insane Clown Posse as cool and trendy, they tend to follow them. This is evident in the acts of deviance related to the various crimes they commit.

The Insane Clown Posse is now perceived to be responsible for most of the criminal acts of their followers, who are obviously fanatics that have taken their membership to the fandom on a whole new level. The public is usually influenced by the people or groups they admire. Deviance is attractive and unconventional beliefs related to it lead the Juggalos to engage in crimes. They essentially have no sympathy for victims and their idea of social justice is distorted. This kind of culture among people is very dangerous because it gradually takes over people’s mindsets and they start taking part in crimes without realizing its consequences. The Juggalo group does not want to be referred to as a gang, yet the activities that involves its members are criminal in nature. Their culture promotes criminalization and aggression through deviance as influenced not only by the lyrics and music of the Insane Clown Posse, but also by the band’s personality as well.

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