A couple of weeks ago, Combat! blog may have kind of made fun of the heartfelt artistic expression of Insane Clown Posse, the earnestness of whose “Miracles” suggested, among other things, that while they may be an evil-clown-themed rap act, they are not an evil clown-themed rap act. Since then—and, if we’re going to be completely honest, before then—”Miracles” has become something of a popular culture punchline, culminating in a parody on last week’s Saturday Night Live. The song expresses a certain, um, childlike innocence, both in its awe for the sublime in everyday experience and in its ignorance of basic science. The problem with “Miracles” is that when you listen to it, you are torn between your somewhat surprised approval of Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J’s essential message—that we should preserve our appreciation for wonder in an increasingly callous world—and your desire to mock their demand to know how “fuckin’ magnets” work. Yes, these men are idiots. Yes, the premise of the video appears to be that two Pep Boys employees died on Halloween and are now passing through the screen savers that defined their lives. And yes, we are all dicks for making fun of them. If you don’t think so, read this editorial from Violent J in The Hatchet Herald, in which he points out just how happy we all were to satirize the hard target that is two dudes in clown makeup rapping about miracles. Props to Marryin’ Megan Mahan for the link.
“If magic is all we’ve ever known / then it’s easy to miss what really goes on.” So begins the Insane Clown Posse’s music-poem “Miracles,” a meditation on man’s lamentable darkness in a blindingly bright world. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope see miracles all around them, yet their sense of the sublime is continually undercut by the suspicion that it is all a product of forces beyond their understanding. That seems likely, considering how little Shaggy and Violent understand. “Miracles” is a catalog of the phenomena that we take for granted every day, probably because our senses of wonderment have become dulled by the postindustrial world. Of course, it could also be because we have successfully completed Earth Science. The same cannot be said of Insane Clown Posse and their fans, whose childlike sense of amazement remains intact because A) they are actual children or B) they have devoted too much of their attention to big money hustlin’/rustlin’ to keep up with developments in contemporary physics and biology. Thus are Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope made the Pagliaccis of the modern world. A source of joy and laughter to the rest of us, they sit silent—their smiles painted on, mute witnesses to a joke that they don’t get. As a public service to juggalos everywhere, we’d like to take a moment to address some of the seemingly unanswerable questions put forward in “Miracles.”