Professor, I’ve defended the indefensible before, that’s not the issue. I stood shoulder to shoulder with Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope through the entire Great Milenko saga, even as it cost me the Walt Disney Community Service Scholarship. Don’t you remember my presentation at the graduate symposium where I revealed how the video for Chicken Huntin’ is, at its core, a vital look at the rural reclamation of Detroit? But after this year’s Gathering, I just don’t know if I can remain the participant observer anymore.
In my research I will admit I have gone overboard at times. Smoking a gigantic spliff with Tallahassee rapper Thundernutz, then sleeping through the American Anthropological Association yearly meeting was, by far, my greatest professional faux pas. But was that really so bad? I don’t see you hassling Shannon for taking Ayahuasca when she was out in Brazil with the Mundurucu. You know how walled in I feel here, how separated from the exoticism that compels my cohort. While they’re traipsing through the jungle with not a care in the world I’m navigating the urban backwaters of this country constantly putting myself in danger as I attempt to dig deeper into the mysteries of the riddlebox. Juggalos are my subject, and it has been my mission to elevate them from Detroit, Michigan to the very heart of academia.
Every morning I did all I could to be the model Juggalo. I learned how to apply my own makeup, I drank Faygo at every meal (much to my physical detriment, may I add), I wore only the most wicked clothing, listened to only the darkest mixtapes from the Psychopathic Family, and to what end? To the insults and immaturity of my class mates? Do you know that my mother hasn’t called me since I’ve changed my ring-back tone to “Hey Phatty”? Do you understand the life that I have given up so that I may live amongst these people?
Yet I persevered. I championed the Dark Carnival as a modern day retelling of the Bardo Thodol, I successfully argued that the “Juggalo Family” constitutes a new form of social organization, but now, with the simultaneous relentless parodying of “Miracles”, and the Tila Tequila Incident I fear that all my work has been for naught. Even worse though is that I now question my own allegiance to my very subject. How can I defend them? How do you begin to tease out the social and cultural factors, which lead to a public stoning of the most popular woman on Myspace? At their core the Juggalos are a modern Capite Censi, and I the Peripatetic.
Don’t think for a minute that this has dashed my hopes of being a world renowned ethnomusicologist. I have already begun to scout out new possibilities; for example, the Kiss Army are beloved, right? I know there was that whole Knights in Satan’s Service thing but that was like, thirty years ago. Hell, I don’t even have to buy any new makeup.