Posts by: "Lucy Steigerwald"
ICP playing in front of the Lincoln Memorial

ICP playing in front of the Lincoln Memorial

I’d love to love Insane Clown Posse, if only because of my new-found respect for their song subject matter, and in fact, their general sensibility.

There are plenty of ICP songs about mystical carnival stuff. Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope also have songs with subjects that run the gamut from Charles Whitman in the University of Texas tower, to critiques of prosperity doctrine preachers, to killing rednecks, to the everyday magic of everyday life. They’re guileless, but profane. They’re morbid-minded, but full of simple joy about basic things. All of that is a little bit…me. Even if I grew up nice and middle middle class, not bottom of the heap and fighting for self-respect like those two.

The amazing thing about ICP is that they have embraced everything uncool about themselves, and their fans by extension. Pride in poverty, in bad taste in cheap soda, pride about being mocked, and taking it back–saying yes, I am a clown, that’s ok, and turning that into not just a rabid fandom, but an entire subculture who, among their many siren calls, declares each other “Fam-a-ly!”

But it isn’t just their greasepaint clown garbe, their throwing cheap soda around, or their over-dependence on A-A-A-A rhymes. ICP also has a ridiculous, borderline spiritual mythology. First it was the dark carnival, and the Joker’s Cards albums that stressed the murderous stuff. Then the album containing the legendarily-mocked “Miracles” came out in 2010.

Another song off that album was about the end of the world. “It’s All Over” it has some of the usual ICP awkwardness (and Shaddy 2 Dope’s aggressive A-A-A-A breakdown is so unnecessary), but there’s something else going on that has captivated me.

In the video, our boys are in the middle of a city. Everyone else is panicking, but they’re not. Violent J repeats the sentiment that when all of this shit is going down–every possible apocalypse at once, because ICP can’t do anything halfway– my favorite being “aliens come and eat mankind” which proves that these are funny dudes, and have never gotten enough respect for that–he’s just going to “stand on the roof, spread my arms out, and sing.”

Near the end, is my favorite part. Violent J sings  “And you’re not missing anything when you’re gone/Plus seeing it all end and what goes on/To see this great world come to an end/Would be the next best to seeing it begin.”

In one of the tear-inducing pieces on Rogert Ebert a year or two before he died, he had a line, “I was perfectly happy before I was born.” That is to say, old Ebert didn’t fear death. Neither does ICP, it seems. The band is Christian — a supposed twist, that most ardent fans say that everyone should have seen coming — and this casualness towards the end of things could be seen as a Christian confidence in being saved. But it doesn’t come off that way, even if Shaggy introduces things with an evil revival preacher voices. The perspective, still, it comes off more human than religious. More “Can the Circle be Unbroken” than God is Not Dead because the band is accepting the end, but not spitting all over feelings and life the way that hideous movie does.

It’s a funny song, crammed with armageddon overkill, so it’s hard to highlight just one source of doom. However, it doesn’t feel like a mere joke or an alienating belief in God having their backs, and that’s it. In fact, the song clarifies that “God has had enough of our shit.”

Like even the best ICP songs, this one is a big mess. But it sounds like the mess that these two guys are — it is them, not not something made in a hitmaker’s factory. The realness of ICP, even after notoriety and the mantle of “worst band of all time” is obvious after a day of research, and a day spent with the most passionate Juggalos congregated in DC. For a lot of Juggalos, it’s about the scene and the acceptance perhaps more than the music. But there are moments in the music, too. This is a very strange song about death, and the death of everything and everyone, and of all things, it’s kind of comforting and optimistic. People are losing their minds and screaming, and Shaggy and J are just walking and listening to music on their headphones. It’s got the commendable swagger of Benjamin Guggenheim saying “we are dressed in our best, and prepared to go down as gentlemen” as the Titanic listed and sank.

Plus, I really like the moment when Shaggy sits on a park bench and checks out the one woman who seems more upset about the end of the world thing, but then kind of exasperated about being check out. I am still not sure what’s happening there, but it’s hilarious.

  • sprigleBuy a copy of my father’s book about a journalistic, humanitarian, muckraking adventure in the Jim Crow South. Ray Sprigle is a forgotten great of journalism, and he made a Black Like Me trip in 1948, before just about anyone was bothering to do anything about the country’s race problem, and when “enlightened” people thought the best solution was to keep things separate, but be more polite and “equal” about it. 30 Days a Black Man: The Forgotten Story that Exposed the Jim Crow South tells the tale of Sprigle, his guide John Wesley Dobbs, and other amazing, and sadly-forgotten characters. Read it!
  • Alexis; Pennsylvania, July, 2012.

    Alexis; Pennsylvania, July, 2012.

    Donate money so that my beloved friend Alexis can see! It’s the transhumanist future, baby, and legally blind people like Alexis can be helped by devices such as eSite. She needs to raise $15,000 and I promise, she’s worth it. (I mean, not to rank people or anything, but I have a pro-Alexis bias.)

lonesomeroad

Logo by Adriana Wilson

Zach Fountain, Seth Wilson, and I are going to release monthly paranormal, paranoia, and country music-stlye chats. We may move on to a guest or two.

Next one will be on aliens. Several will be on aliens, in fact.

It’s also on iTunes! — thanks to Zach.

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Tune in! It’s a free excuse for me to hang out with my internet friends here, and the talk is going to be good and scary.

I wrote of my adventures at the RNC, which included politely crashing Yianopoulos’ event over here at Playboy. Read that. Give them and me the clicks. However, considering that the professional troll has once again caused a university kerfuffle, I figure I’d post this to provide some helpful hints as to how unlibertarian this man is. My Playboy piece doesn’t include all.

Yes, much of the time college students seem to give him just what he wants, attention and horror. But that doesn’t make him worthwhile. Have you ever seen his writing? It’s juvenile, dull, makes Ann Coulter look like Christopher Hitchens, and it’s allegedly not even written by him. Yeah, he’s got a posh voice. Yeah, he can be perfectly polite in person, and was to me.

He still used to wonder if “Internet is Turning Us all Into Sociopaths” and then became one for attention. He actually turned off his sycophantic fans by taking a photo of someone overweight who was working out at the gym. And best of all, after being hosted by Young Americans for Liberty University of Wisconsin Milwaukee, he allegedly used a photo of a trans woman and named her and mocked her in front of an audience. Yeah, she might be a liberal, so no doubt libertarians disagree with some of her goals and expectations. But yeah, she had the audacity to want to use the locker room of her identity at her college. Yeah, she noted the contradiction in policing that— if you’re female-identified, are growing breasts, but still have a penis, where would they like you to change? Male locker room? Female? A broom closet? Far away from the scared, scared administrators?

You can say what you want, bring who you want to you college. yes I am glad the ACLU defended the right to march to Skokie. Yes, I am a worried about some college students’ respect for free speech. Booking a sociopathic bully, a professional troll, a man who speaks well enough to fool people into thinking he’s intelligent is not how you do that. Try harder. Expect more from people.

Or, you know, if he comes to your college, ignore him. Just ignore him. He loves the chaos of the event, and the hatred. It’s hard to know when to ignore, and when to challenge. If the person in question is a whore for attention, I lean towards ignoring. But it’s also good to know what he actually believes (well, nothing, but professes to believe).

In closing, here is my nine minute exchange with Yiannopoulos at his RNC party. I tried to neg him at the end about his accent, but he didn’t take the bait. He’s a completely disingenuous person who pulls off a sincere persona in person. He’s good. He’s not that good. I was three beers in.

*****

LS: I missed your remarks today, but can you talk about how you feel with Donald Trump as the official, not-presumptive nominee?

MY: Yes, it’s wonderful news. It’s wonderful news for gay people. He’s obviously the most pro-gay candidate in American electoral history.

LS: That’s a bold statement.

MY: Yeah, it is. But Hillary Clinton is funded by people who murder homosexuals. She has shown no indication whatsoever of stemming the tide of Islamic immigration, or stopping our mollycoddling, and pandering to Islam. These things are direct threats. Not just to culture, but to the lives of gay people in America. Donald Trump is the only person who has shown any indication — and not just out of the two of them, out of anybody who ran for president this year — that he is going to be tough enough to stop it. And his speech after Orlando, frankly, was magnificent. To be perfectly honest with you, I didn’t know he had a speech like that in him. He really nailed it. And that’s when he completely won me over.

LS: So when you say tough enough, what do you want him to do? Not get funding like Hillary Clinton, obviously, but what do you — ?

MY: Close the walls.

LS: Entirely?

MY: Yes.

LS: How’s that going to work practically? That’s going to take a lot of government work.

MY: You know what, the government does a lot of stuff that it shouldn’t do — the Department of Education, for instance. Most of the federal government could be shut down. I don’t think — TSA hasn’t worked for a very long time, nothing about immigration in this country — the whole Homeland Security system in this country is totally fucked. The best thing that could possibly happen is it’s swept away and replaced by something smarter, and better, and probably more expensive, and a lot tougher. And a points-based system like Australia has zero Islamic racial immigration

LS: Do you think the government is capable of pulling that off?
MY: I think it should try for the sake of women and gays, yeah.

LS: What do you think about —

MY: Unless you want this country to turn into Sweden, or Germany, where no woman can walk out on the street beyond 11 o’clock without the risk of being raped now. In Western European countries, that is a daily reality for women in Germany, a daily reality for women in Sweden, it isn’t for the women in America, yeah? College campuses in America — these hysterical centers of crazy conspiracy theories about rape culture — are the safest places for women to be anywhere in the world. Now, some of the most dangerous places for women to be in the world are modern, Western, rich European countries. Why? One reason. Islamic immigration — it’s got to stop.

LS: I mean, stopping entirely like Trump said?

MY: Yes. I wish he hadn’t rolled back from it, I want him to do it. I want him to do it completely.

LS: Foreign policy-wise, what would you like to see happen?

MY: As little as possible. America has spent too long interfering oversees in too many other people’s wars, and too much other stuff. America’s got to look after America again. That means taking a realistic appraisal of who is actually at risk in this country, not whining feminists, or whinging Black Lives Matter activists, but gay people and women at risk from Islam. Also, so people in this country who have been treated badly, lied to and lied about. An honest appraisal of  who actually needs government attention in this country. And when all of that is done, then we can think about interfering elsewhere again.

LS: What about the fact that the Orlando shooter, a couple of the recent guys, have been American citizens? How do you resolve that, and how do you think Trump is going to resolve that?

MY: This is the other thing about Trump that’s great, the total anti-political correctness, it’s political correctness that killed in Sandy Hook, it is political correctness that killed in Orlando. People knew that these people were —

LS: What do you mean by Sandy Hook?

MY: People knew there was something wrong with this guy, and they didn’t report him. They said afterwards they didn’t report him for fear of being seen as racist or Islamophobic. People knew there was something wrong with this guy, and they didn’t say anything.

LS: Well, Sandy Hook the guy was kind of mentally ill, I think, but hadn’t done anything yet. That’s kind of a big civil liberties problem.

MY: Well, people said about him who hadn’t reported him said that the reason they didn’t was they didn’t want to be accused of Islamophobia and racism. That’s why they didn’t report him. They said that that themselves. The same thing with —

LS: San Bernardino. Sorry, you said Sandy Hook, so —

MY: Sorry, it’s been a long day, I apologize. Yeah.

LS: In terms of economics and trade, do you like Trump? You can argue that Clinton is actually more about free trade than Trump. He’s a bit more protectionist in some ways.

MY: Yes, but racial, globalist free markets hasn’t worked for everybody in America — hasn’t worked for at least the white working, or lower middle class in America don’t perceive that it has worked very well for them. It hasn’t served everybody, and a bit of protectionism — for many American voters — seems like quite an attractive thing. That’s not for me to decide, that’s for the voters to decide and many of them are saying, this slavish adherence to the cult of the free market that the Republican party has followed for decades isn’t what we want anymore. That’s not a question for me, that’s up to them. The voters seem to be voting with Trump.

LS: You like that, obviously, you’re —

MY: Yes, because I see it as wrapped up in the preservation of Western culture. And Western culture is what keeps women and gays safe, Western culture is what gave us Mozart, and Da Vinci, and Wagner, and Beethoven. Western culture is what is at risk from immigration from the Middle East.

LS: Doesn’t Western culture have a cosmopolitan, melting pot thing? If you get too isolationist, mightn’t you lose Western culture a bit?

MY: Well, the majority of Western culture came out of Europe, which is not comparable to America. It came out of nation states based on geographical and ethnic foundations. America is based on principles, a very different kind of country….The bottom line is Europe has an incredibly long, bloody history based on an excess of nationalism which has also created a lot of amazing art. The issue is that America also imported a lot of that wholesale, dropped it onto this other big continent over the sea, and that’s worked really well so far, but my view is that a little breather is necessary to make sure that — because Europe is about to fall, Sweden is going, Germany is going, France is going, America is going to be the preserver of that inheritance. And for that to happen, America’s got to take a break from foreign wars, and take a break from immigration.

LS: But again, what do you do with the Muslims who are already here — perhaps even citizens?

MY: If they’re citizens on terror watchlists, and there’s reason to suspect they might commit terrorists acts, they should be locked up or deported.

LS: But the watchlist and the no-fly list, the Democrats want to use that to ban guns and such, they don’t have due process.

MY: Yeah. My answer is lacking in subtlety, because I think the response has to be lacking in subtlety. There is a gigantic problem that an entirely new branch of government needs to be invented to fix. And I don’t know whether Trump’s the guy to do it, but he’s the closest of the field.

LS: What did you think about the rest of the convention besides Trump?

MY: Dull.

LS: Dull?

MY: Very dull.  Low energy. The fun things are the things I’m at, like this.

LS: How would you describe your politics? I know you’ve used different words over the years.

MY: In some degrees, libertarian. I’m socially conservative in some things. I don’t know a label that fits, honestly.

LS: In person you seem incredibly sincere. Obviously on twitter you seem to be a bit trolly.

MY: No, I like whimsy and satire, and that’s what Americans like so much about Brits. We bring subtlety and sense of humor that you sometimes lack. We have a very long history of importing Brits like Christopher Hitchens who are better at it than Americans are.

[drunk rando]: You know John Cleese.

MY: No, but the point is there’s something whimsical, satirical, and silly about British humor, which Americans have always enjoyed, and lots of us come over here because we have an audience of people who enjoy it.

LS: Do you have lots of American fans because your accent sounds so fancy?

MY: No, I’m losing it! Honestly, I spend three weeks here and I go Mid Atlantic. I sound like Madonna in 2008. Honestly, I don’t think it’s anything to do with it.

War. Good God, y’all. Etc. Have had many fine adventures this summer, only some of which involve David Icke or Donald Trump. Regardless of that, here is the speech I gave at New York City’s Liberty Fest on September 10.

lucy-steigerwald-previewI understand the premise of the insult when a cascade of neo-Nazi trolls suggest that I am ugly, un-doable, and/or Jewish. Nobody wants to be ugly, and a woman is supposed to be extra skittish about the very idea of someone thinking her repulsive. (Obviously calling someone Jewish isn’t an insult, but Nazis, those poor dears, are trying.)

But what to make of the folks who send me emails insulting my nose ring, calling my a bull and a cow? They know I chose the nose ring, right? It was something I selected and paid for, not a tragic birthmark. Calling attention to a fashion choice seems like an oddly ineffectual way to be cruel. “The thing you like is bad, and I am pointing that out!” I must know that my taste is making me less attractive to them. It always comes down to the type of men who believe in reporting what their pants are doing. Strange Women Must Know Whether I Find Them Hot, and If So, How Hot!

Twice while clashing on Facebook with people of the right, I was called a cross-dressing, or someone dressed in men’s clothing because at the time my profile pic was of me wearing a tie and suspenders. I also had long hair, lipstick, and a fairly femme look, as you can see above.

Piercings are not exactly breaking new fashion ground in 2016. Ladies in men’s wear is tragically underappreciated, but far from unprecedented. And yet, these people seem genuinely disgusted and troubled by this small aesthetic choices (mustn’t show them my legs then).

I see this in other reactions. A libertarian former coworker gets bangs and people find it proof that she was always a wicked leftist. Bangs plus glasses with any thickness is suspect. Odd colored hair, piercings, glasses — a definite look that I have some overlap with, but not entirely — is tagged as leftist, slutty, threatening. Why can’t they be blonde and wholesome like Women Were Before? Why can’t they like my aesthetic, not that ugly girl aesthetic?

This is why trans people, femme gay men, tough lesbians are amazing. Not trying to condescend about special flowers and the youness of you, but people are assholes a lot. And more to the point, they’re weirdly terrified of anything outside the norm. And to a surprisingly large number of them, outside the norm involves a nose ring or a tie on a woman. To kick gender roles and “normal” identity in the ass is an amazing thing. It’s very cool, and it’s actually brave (not like wearing a tie).

It doesn’t have to be teenage rebellion, or pretense of having a wholly original look. You’re not a maverick for daring to pierce your nose (or even BOTH SIDES OF IT). But I love my nose piercing more than I ever thought I would — it’s like my face is fancy every day!

Freaking out the squares is so oddly easy.