ICP: RIP, Part 3

This is the third installment of a three-part essay. Part 1 can be found here; Part 2 is here. The release of the Insane Clown Posse’s sixth joker card album, The Wraith: Shangri La, did not mark the end of the world, but for many Juggalos, it may as well have. On the album’s final track, “Thy Unveiling,” the duo revealed that their mission as musicians had always been to serve a higher power: “When we speak of Shangri-La, what you think we mean? Truth is we follow... Read More

ICP: RIP, Part 2

This is the second installment of a three-part essay. Part 1 can be found here; Part 3 is here. In recent years I’ve watched the reemergence of Weird Al Yankovic with a bewilderment bordering on irritation. As a child, I always responded to his music with something like a feral baring of teeth; he was the kind of goof I spent my childhood trying to maim with dodgeballs. (It saddens me to admit that I was that kid whose popularity, looks, athleticism and cruelty peaked... Read More


This is the first installment of a three-part essay. Part 2 can be found here; Part 3 is here. If Internet memes are in fact like viruses, a certain unhealthy fascination with the Insane Clown Posse seems to be one bug that our collective body has at last overcome. Rewind eight months, when most of us contracted (or re-contracted) Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J on YouTube, that great incubator of digital contagion. There we discovered, with mingled joy and revulsion, that around... Read More

Defenseless Marriage

I have to start this piece with a sort of humbling retraction. A few months ago, I wrote an essay for this blog about the recall of three Iowa Supreme Court justices due to their having ruled in favor of legalizing same-sex marriage in that state. I also remarked on the fact that, despite a red tide giving Republicans majorities in state legislatures across the country, Democrats in my adoptive home state of Illinois kept their grip on power in Springfield: Read More  Read More

Searching for Authenticity

Men sporting galoshes and long un-ashed cigarettes zip by me on their turret trucks and I half sit on a ledge to make room. As it turns out, I also half sit on a cutting board used to slaughter fish, leaving a perfect line of blood on the butt of my new khakis. I duck into a footpath to catch a glimpse of huge frozen tunas being cut with electric saws and almost knock over a Styrofoam box of unidentifiable, but presumably edible, inky sludge. Read More  Read More