Don't bother, they're here
October 10, 2016 4:11 PM   Subscribe

Who Are the Real ‘Killer Clowns’ Terrorizing America? Insane Clown Posse weighs in on the most pressing issue in America today. (Autoplay audio)
posted by GuyZero (79 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
The buried lede here is that The Juggalo March on Washington is scheduled for 9/16/17.
posted by GuyZero at 4:13 PM on October 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Faygo Blue
posted by naju at 4:19 PM on October 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


It's been said before but it bears repeating: Dealing with a group of clowns is easy, just go for the juggler.
*ducks*
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 4:26 PM on October 10, 2016 [26 favorites]


Apparently they're here as well.
posted by Fuchsoid at 4:31 PM on October 10, 2016


That's it- release the Robotic Richard Simmons.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:31 PM on October 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


Read this before making any half-baked judgements.
posted by jonmc at 4:37 PM on October 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


Maybe read the actual linked article in Time written by Violent J before making any judgements.
posted by GuyZero at 4:40 PM on October 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Don't worry about the clowns being around. Worry what might happen after they leave.
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:41 PM on October 10, 2016 [2 favorites]


Could use an auto play audio warning.
posted by Splunge at 4:52 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Yeah, time.com sure loads your browser up with the annoying ad crap. Worth wading through it, though. I had no idea Juggalos had been targeted that way by the DOJ/FBI.
posted by notyou at 4:56 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


[Added audio warning]
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 4:57 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


It is pretty sad when we have to rely on Violent J for a thoughtful, well-reasoned opinion. And I say that as someone who totally supports ICP and all the Juggalos.
posted by Literaryhero at 4:57 PM on October 10, 2016 [14 favorites]


It’s so boring of you to make this about politics, when you could just as well blame rising global temperatures giving us a glut of worms to feed on, or astral alignments poking pores in the fabric of your universe. Why clowns? Why now? Isn’t a big sad-faced clown about to reach out for the Presidency? Aren’t you all afraid, safer than you’ve ever been in your homes surrounded by three lines of cops with military-grade weapons, but terrified of the refugees, of the terrorists, of the criminals, of whatever it is that’s lurking in the dark by the edge of the woods? It’s even worse when you psychologise. The horror of the clown is the sad man behind the painted smile, that desperate need, going back to old Grimaldi, for the unhappiest ones to make other people laugh. Learn the truth: we are not unhappy. There is nothing behind our masks. Note how in so many media reports, the clowns are not a he or a she but an it. Why are you afraid of clowns? Don’t you love to be entertained? Weren’t wars fought, cities blasted to rubble, children burned alive, all to defend your right to live in a free society in which you could live without fear and be entertained? But there’s something restless: a vague sense, as credits roll for episode eight and you know without thinking that however much you might want to do something else episode nine is as inevitable as the setting sun, that you’re wasting your life; that it may as well be over already. And at that very moment, a clown lurches out of the edge of the woods behind your house, a big plastic grin on his face, and a knife in his hand.
"A Creepy Clown Manifesto"
posted by Iridic at 5:02 PM on October 10, 2016 [9 favorites]


But despite his own contribution to coulrophobia – the fear of clowns – King has urged his millions of followers on Twitter not to worry about the rash of sightings across the US. “Hey, guys, time to cool the clown hysteria – most of em are good, cheer up the kiddies, make people laugh,” he wrote. His followers were unconvinced. “Except the ones that live in stormdrains, right?” said one, while another was clear that “nothing contributed more to my clown hysteria than It”. One Twitter user came up with a particularly creepy hypothesis. “This is exactly what Pennywise would say if he hijacked your account, ‘Stephen’,” they wrote. [via: The Guardian]
posted by Fizz at 5:07 PM on October 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


There was also some kinda clown thing mentioned in Always Coming Home.
posted by ovvl at 5:22 PM on October 10, 2016


I had no idea Juggalos had been targeted that way by the DOJ/FBI.

Why would you? (Said like a suspicious spouse.)
And I joke, but no number is known of the individuals and affiliations the DoJ and FBI have scrutinized, surveilled, agitated, profiled, and harassed before, but especially since, 9-11. What never goes before a judge is AMAZING. A local police investigator has enormous latitude to investigate through ruse or misrepresentation. God help anyone the police speculate doesn't have access to any attorney, let alone a skilled one. And I'm not talking about the abuse, repression, and murder of minorities, which is systemic (more tolerated and institutionalized than not), but anyone not a square, or is a pot smoker, online advocate-- anyone outside a 9 to 5 and normative submission to a perceived and asserted socioeconomic position.

No Number is Known
The Lives of Others was History and Prologue
posted by lazycomputerkids at 5:24 PM on October 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


They're space aliens!
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 5:33 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The Time website has enough extraneous crap that I have a hard time getting more than the first few paragraphs to load over the iffy wifi connection I have right now, but I have to say Mr. J sounds more reasonable than the Republican candidate for president. I do think Politifact needs to check out his assertion that ICP is The Most Hated Band Ever. I'm pretty sure that title belongs to Nickleback, and ICP is probably behind Creed and a jam band or two, so top five at best.

(For what it's worth, I am at a stage in my life where even if I don't care for a particular artist or genre, I still admire them for putting their artistic vision out there, and if they have fans out there, more power to them. Except for Lee Greenwood. I hate that fucking song.)
posted by TedW at 6:00 PM on October 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


In the end we learned that we were the real killer clowns.
posted by idiopath at 6:05 PM on October 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


And let me add my voice to those who say maybe the idea that clowns are scary needs to run its course. While I don't dispute that some kids do find clowns scary and there are examples of evil clowns in books, film, etc., I always find clowns funny and entertaining and hate to see them relegated to a creepy niche of live performance. Of course, I like mimes too, so what do I know?
posted by TedW at 6:08 PM on October 10, 2016 [4 favorites]


I too am complicit in adding to the overall fear of clowns. When my sister was 6 years old, I allowed her to stay up late one night in the middle of a school week and watch a certain movie with me. That movie of course, Stephen King's IT. Since then, my sister has had a life long fear of clowns. Even today, as an adult, if I make the hissing noise that Pennywise makes just before he eats a small child from within a storm-drain, that imitation elicits much screaming and rage. It was standard older brother operating procedure, but looking back, not sure it was worth it. I didn't realize it would create a full on phobia these many years later.
posted by Fizz at 6:16 PM on October 10, 2016


Politifact needs to check out his assertion that ICP is The Most Hated Band Ever. I'm pretty sure that title belongs to Nickleback, and ICP is probably behind Creed and a jam band or two, so top five at best.

It's the fanbase, not sonic aesthetics. Cops found a balance with Dead Shows, and Phish fans inherited those compromises, but ICP fans are of a different and varied (sometimes extreme) ethos. Dead heads evolved the term counter-culture, but ICP tapped frustrations beyond punk. Burning Man is the nearest analogue I can name, but with a lower cost of participation and formal education level. Like a Rainbow gathering? Juggalos mock them as pussies. Much of Juggalo culture is sketchy, arrested development exhibitionism, but also consciously embarrasses suburban ideals from which many Juggalos feel excluded. For good or ill, righteous self-medication is common among many, and many of them are very young parents.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 6:21 PM on October 10, 2016 [5 favorites]


She keeps grease paint and pencils
In her green room vanity
Let us be white she says,
Just like Joey Grimaldi
A skull cap and big wig,
Red nose and big shoes
Who knew her little car
Had an inside so bi-ig!

Slapstick and goofiness
Well trained in expressiveness
Clumsy and adroit

She's a killer Clown
Might have a made up frown
Pierrot or rodeo
Can even sell you cheap French fries!
(Ronald M)

(Apologies to Freddie Mercury, although he wore a harlequin suit so hopefully wouldn't be too offended)
posted by TedW at 6:47 PM on October 10, 2016 [7 favorites]


Did somebody say clowns?
posted by Merzbau at 7:09 PM on October 10, 2016


We have to take this seriously. Hundreds of clowns can fit in a single car.
posted by bowline at 7:36 PM on October 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


Fucking clowns. Why do they lurk?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 7:37 PM on October 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


George Takei delivers.
posted by b1tr0t at 7:40 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


I'm not a fan, but I don't think ICP deserves the scorn people heap on them, especially because it's mostly class-based and music snobbery. We've been through that conversation here before ... But I am kind of surprised that the FBI labelled them and their fans a violent gang worthy of profiling. I thought we moved past that back in the '80s after the PMRC hearings debacle. Apparently, either the FBI is just as clueless as ever, or they are using this as a thinly veiled justification for stop-and-frisk and harassment of people who have very little power to prevent it or protect their own rights.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:53 PM on October 10, 2016 [14 favorites]


I had no idea Juggalos had been targeted that way by the DOJ/FBI.

I had heard about it, but I didn't know they were organizing. Good for them. I'm all for it.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:56 PM on October 10, 2016


"Good for them," meaning the ICP and Juggalos, to clarify.
posted by krinklyfig at 7:57 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Minor derail, but I do think that if you're going to send in the clowns, you should really Send in the clowns . . .
posted by Death and Gravity at 8:14 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one who has never understood the "scary clown" thing? Clowns aren't scary, and pretending that clowns are scary is kind of corny and threadbare.

I must confess that I crack the occasional LOLjuggalo joke. But I always remember the Gathering of the Juggalos documentary I watched, which made me appreciate the phenomenon as (at least a little) more than the butt of easy jokes. There are certainly elements of the subculture that are hella problematic – misogyny, substance abuse, etc. – but, for what it's worth, those things seem to be endemic in the communities that many of these kids come from. Several interviewees in the documentary said that ICP fandom provides an accepting community for "scrubs" (their term) who have been rejected and jeered and let down by everyone else.

It didn't make me fond of the Juggalo subculture, so much as it made me wish there was a healthier and less dysfunctional option available to these kids.

God, my teenage self would hate my today self.
posted by escape from the potato planet at 8:21 PM on October 10, 2016 [12 favorites]


I trust the clowns, particularly in light of what Violent J is laying down.

Local news a while back:

Doo Doo the Clown honoured for bravery after intervening in assault on women:
Clown called 911 after witnessing man punch woman in the head

posted by mandolin conspiracy at 8:23 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Apparently this weekend a creepy clown carrying a baseball bat in my town in Australia was badly beaten by a bunch of hooligans. Yes, you read that the right way around.
posted by lollusc at 8:31 PM on October 10, 2016


There is nothing behind our masks.

There was an interview on CBC with a clown being interviewed for her thoughts on the phenomenon, and it boiled down to "well, of course, these are only people dressed as clowns", which was both entirely accurate and somewhat creepifying.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 8:32 PM on October 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


As someone playing a creepy clown in a threat show right now, this... greatly concerns me.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:53 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


Theatre. Theatre show.

No threats. Just Brecht.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:59 PM on October 10, 2016 [13 favorites]


I wanted to hear more about these "threat shows" that feature clowns. Got all excited about nothing.
posted by Mister Moofoo at 9:23 PM on October 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


...threat show...

Aargh!

....No threats. Just Brecht.

AAAAAAIE!
posted by Segundus at 9:49 PM on October 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


Am I the only one who has never understood the "scary clown" thing? Clowns aren't scary, and pretending that clowns are scary is kind of corny and threadbare.

Somebody doesn't feel exactly the way you feel about something? They must be faking it! Good on you for calling them out, and we're all very impressed with how tedious you find all those people who have what is apparently a pretty common fear.
posted by IAmUnaware at 9:49 PM on October 10, 2016 [15 favorites]


No threats. Just Brecht.

"'E's threatenin' our bourgeois complacency with scathin' social satire!"

"Get 'im, boys!"
posted by No-sword at 10:01 PM on October 10, 2016 [20 favorites]


I wanted to hear more about these "threat shows" that feature clowns. Got all excited about nothing.

I mean, we are for sure creepy clowns, but it's a show about the French revolution so on review I guess there are threats but they are only against the bourgeoisie.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:04 PM on October 10, 2016 [3 favorites]


(*Mods, please extend edit window so I can give my characters goofy French accents instead.)
posted by No-sword at 10:08 PM on October 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


I went hiking with a friend of mine last weekend, and his son told us about five times to beware of clowns. His tone bore a considerable amount of sincerity.

There were no clowns.

...that we saw.
posted by quillbreaker at 10:20 PM on October 10, 2016 [5 favorites]




Look, clowns aren't necessarily evil. Some are just 7 feet tall, very sad, and sing with a lovely baritone.

Here's more.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 10:28 PM on October 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


While I'm not afraid of clowns exactly, I do have a hard time not hating them. And that goes back to childhood, where clowns themselves taught me to. I learned early on that they were the ones who would get all up in my face no matter how uncomfortable it was making me, because they were Happiness and Joy and Playing and had the Right to be Fun at me. And if I wasn't having fun it was my fault and if they just did it more maybe I would smile like I was supposed to.

And I learned they did have that license from society, and my parents wouldn't protect me. Adults, who often didn't understand the differences between their words and their actions, who had said I could tell strangers "no" if I didn't like what they were doing, clowns weren't that kind of stranger apparently. We kids were always supposed to like them and play along, consent or no consent.

And that continues: every time there's a "creepy clown" thing, there's pushback from the professional clowns about how they're Happiness and Joy and Playing and if we don't like them we're making it all up as a meme or something because we're the ones who are doing it wrong.

No deal. To my mind, Pennywise isn't even close to the embodiment of what a "scary clown" is. Adventure Time has it.
posted by traveler_ at 10:33 PM on October 10, 2016 [19 favorites]


This is all a smoke screen to distract us from the truly frightening phenomenon, mimes.
posted by Splunge at 10:57 PM on October 10, 2016 [1 favorite]


The really scary thing about the lurking clowns national panic is that we are surrounded by people dumb enough to believe in it. Next up, these clowns will be opening Satanic daycares.
posted by benzenedream at 11:37 PM on October 10, 2016 [6 favorites]


So, in talking about this, I was reminded of something on twitter, where someone asked if the clowns being talked about were actual clowns, or people dressing up as clowns. The response, which was true gold, was basically "What in fuck is an 'actual clown'?!"

From there, my mind wandered, thinking about yet another random horror movie scene (some day I'll actually try to write some of these down): Just a normal, happy scene of a birthday, with a clown. Happy children, happy clown, nothing at all sinister. Shot in a totally safe, happy way, with honestly happy music, no irony. Just fun.

Cut to the clown, after the party, sitting down at his makeup table. He wipes off the smiley happy clown makeup revealing the twisted, terrible clown face underneath. He reaches up, and pulls out the fake pleasant looking teeth hiding the jagged fangs underneath.

No idea what comes after or before that. Just that, at the moment.
posted by Ghidorah at 11:45 PM on October 10, 2016 [8 favorites]


The scary clowns are now in rural North Dakota. I hereby declare this craze Officially Over.
posted by weathergal at 11:52 PM on October 10, 2016


I wonder how much clown phobia has to do with the way the makeup distorts the face, too. I mean, most of us have experienced encountering a doll whose face was just "off" and looked really creepy as a result, right? Or an old advertisement where a poorly-executed child's smile just comes across as demonic and leering.

I don't have a fear of clowns, but I also find them deeply, deeply boring and kind of sad. I like a skillful mime, though.
posted by Kutsuwamushi at 1:40 AM on October 11, 2016


The scary clown thing has reached the UK now and professional clowns are worried about it.

As Lon Chaney was reported to have said "clowns aren't funny in the moonlight". Personally I've been really scared of clowns since encountering a mechanical laughing clown at the seaside as a small child. Also ventriloquist's dummies - terrifying.
posted by ElasticParrot at 3:12 AM on October 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


We are a ridiculous species and I think the only reason we've made it so far is because we killed of the other upright walking monkeys. Bet they weren't afraid of clowns.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 4:21 AM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


Well, driving home after 10 tonight I saw two teens walking down the street, both with identical ill fitting scary clown masks, so it's made it to my rural Australian city/town.
posted by freethefeet at 4:40 AM on October 11, 2016


Yeah, I just threatened to expose a kid I caught planning this in my town.
posted by mobunited at 5:00 AM on October 11, 2016


Hey, let's talk about the article:
On September 16, 2017, at the National Mall in D.C., the Juggalo family and our allies in other civil action groups will march on our nation’s capital.
It's hard to know what "allies" means, since they don't list any actual groups. Does it mean fans of other horror rap groups? Does it mean #blacklivesmatter groups?
posted by HeroZero at 5:05 AM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


It's all just a plot by Slenderman's upbeat cousin, Splendorman! (yt)
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 5:56 AM on October 11, 2016


lol their whole argument is "no YOU'RE the weird clown"
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 5:59 AM on October 11, 2016


Blankets- How do they work?
posted by Bob Regular at 6:01 AM on October 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Of course, I like mimes too, so what do I know?

I love mimes and hate clowns. I think it's very similar to what traveler was saying. Something about the way they invade your personal space.

That of course really only goes for the default party clown. Theatrical clowning is great fun.
posted by mayonnaises at 6:03 AM on October 11, 2016


I like the happy face clown; the sad face one can fuck off.
posted by thelonius at 6:08 AM on October 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


Mimes aren't scary because you can trap them in that invisible box.

Put me in the "funny" camp, clowns were my favorite part of the circus with their madcap antics and goings-on.
posted by dr_dank at 6:18 AM on October 11, 2016 [3 favorites]


We are a ridiculous species and I think the only reason we've made it so far is because we killed of the other upright walking monkeys. Bet they weren't afraid of clowns.

And they paid for that, didn't they.
posted by Etrigan at 6:21 AM on October 11, 2016 [11 favorites]


One of the things I find difficult to sympathise with regarding this scary clown trend is who the targets are. Children and lone women seem to be favoured. People who, for whatever reason, are scared by the sight of a clown (possibly with a knife) are fairly unlikely to benefit from the experience of some random person scaring them on purpose. The same people may choose to watch a horror movie or go on a roller coaster, but a figure looming out of the darkness at them when they are on the way back from the supermarket with bags full of shopping is an entirely different matter.

If a knife wielding figure loomed out at the dark at me you better believe I would be reacting with a fight or flight instinct, there's nothing funny about that.

If these clowns (ha!) were targeting smarmy armchair warriors or other bloviating online bullies I might have some sympathy with their actions. But they are not subverting anything, they are just being jerks.
posted by asok at 6:45 AM on October 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


Who Are the Real ‘Killer Clowns’ Terrorizing America?

The House of Representatives?
posted by entropicamericana at 7:41 AM on October 11, 2016 [5 favorites]


I'll say this for Violent J... his writing is light years ahead of his music.
posted by prepmonkey at 8:00 AM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


I blame video games. Specifically, The Sims: Livin' Large.
posted by Segundus at 8:25 AM on October 11, 2016


Police in Utah recommend against shooting random clowns

Is shooting clowns in Utah something like shooting Welshmen in various English border towns, in the sense of still being legal because nobody has bothered to repeal the law?
posted by acb at 9:47 AM on October 11, 2016


This is all a smoke screen to distract us from the truly frightening phenomenon, mimes.

A mime is the hybrid offspring of a human and a clown.
posted by Faint of Butt at 9:51 AM on October 11, 2016 [4 favorites]


This isn't so much a new-new thing as it is a currently trendy (but also not new*) manifestation of an old thing. The people doing it are the people who would be doing much the same thing under other guises if clowns weren't the thing right now. They'd be making threats and menacing people, just wearing different outfits.

It's kind of bugging me how a lot of the media is treating it like some sort of big coordinated effort. It is not. It's a bunch of different people with a bunch of different interests and motives who are doing things they'd probably be doing anyway, just wearing clown costumes. Some of them are making threats, some are just trying to seriously creep people out, and some are probably just trying to amuse people.

Clowns are a pretty obvious choice for any of those things. A lot of people find clowns creepy, partly because of the uncanny valley, partly because of media influence, partly because some of them are objectively creepy. That's not new, it's just a little more common right now.

But the reason that manifestation is so common right now is the media. They keep running stories about it, making it nationally newsworthy that a person put on a weird outfit and stood around doing nothing, and that kind of creeped one or more other people out. Of course more people are going to do it if that's the reaction it gets.

* Chicago in particular has a long history of creepy, evil, and tragic clown stuff, but scary clowns are hardly limited to any time or place.
posted by ernielundquist at 9:55 AM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


We have to take this seriously. Hundreds of clowns can fit in a single car.

Beware of tiny cars in the HOV lane!
posted by boilermonster at 10:09 AM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


My sister once told me, back when she was taking classes for psychology at college, that clown phobia is the most commonly claimed phobia in the US, whether people are really phobic or not. I suspect that many people are simply latching on to its popularity, but whatever. I am not phobic, but they do make me deeply uncomfortable. I am very afraid of dolls, and puppets. Seriously, fuck puppets. I think clowns may be sort of phobia-adjacent, for me.
posted by backwards compatible at 10:36 AM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ugh. The children at my kids' school are all worked up about rumours of "killer clowns". I will be glad when this thing passes.
posted by fimbulvetr at 12:24 PM on October 11, 2016 [1 favorite]


Ugh. The children at my kids' school are all worked up about rumours of "killer clowns". I will be glad when this thing passes.

Our high school had something similar and they even issued a statement about it to the kids. A lot of it is kids riling up other kids. But as Violent J says, you're more likely to be shot by a clown in a blue suit.
posted by GuyZero at 12:34 PM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


... interestingly enough, more than two years ago my kids were showing me videos of creepy clowns scaring people on YouTube which resulted in the 12-year old dressing as a clown (just a clown - he felt they were creepy enough) last Halloween, then this past Friday having social network rumors essentially nearly shutdown an entire school-district...

... so, this has been brewing for a couple years, interesting to see it come to a full-on panic boil (ala the Satanic "D&D" panic of the 80's, then the various cult panics of the 90's)...

... either that, or viral marketing for the upcoming reboot of "IT"... (IIRC the sudden outburst of crop-circles, prior to "Signs" being released)...
posted by jkaczor at 2:18 PM on October 11, 2016


"Excuse me, are you a clown?"

"Me? Oh, no - I'm just dressed as a clown."

"You're dressed as a clown, but ... you're not a clown?"

"Yeah, I'm just, you know, being playful with it. Just clowning around."

"No - you're disrespecting it, you're mocking it - you fucking CLOWN."
posted by the quidnunc kid at 3:41 PM on October 11, 2016 [2 favorites]


How bad is the "Creepy Clown" trend? McDonald’s has announced Tuesday that the company’s long-standing mascot, Ronald McDonald, will be keeping a low profile. And he is NOT very creepy... not like he was when they first introduced him.
posted by oneswellfoop at 6:55 PM on October 11, 2016


Scariest clown I've ever seen: Raging Hard-On Decorative Clown. Don't say I didn't warn you. Bad quality of the picture is because I did not want to look at it for any longer than absolutely necessary.
posted by Too-Ticky at 2:10 PM on October 12, 2016


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