Screenshot via OkCupid Juggalos
Something like 70 percent of the internet is people going, “Hey did you see this cute/funny/sad/tragic/OMG/WTF/fail thing?” and passing around the meme du jour—a wacky crime story from Florida, an amazing photo of natural phenomenon that just has to be seen to be believed, a fake video of an eagle snatching a kid in a park, a cat that looks like something other than a cat. Yesterday, the hot, clickable content being viewed, blogged, reblogged, shared, and no doubt monetized was a Tumblr called OkCupid Juggalos.
Juggalos, of course, are diehard fans of the crypto-Christian rap duo Insane Clown Posse, and OkCupid is a really popular free online dating site. Combine the two things, and you get awkward, posturing selfies of men and women with painted faces and poorly done tattoos, coupled with their ungrammatical statements about being “chill,” loving Faygo, and being “crazy.” Hilarious.
The site is part of a subgenre of Tumblrs devoted to pointing out people, usually men, who have bizarre OkCupid profiles that sometimes make them sound like psychopaths or rapists. (It’s such a popular trope that OkCupid Juggalos isn’t even the only Tumblr devoted to Juggalos on OkCupid.) OkCupid Goldmine documents a grab bag of creeps and weirdos; Okc_ebooks gets gullible users to respond to messages that are actually gibberish tweets from bot/poet @Horse_ebooks; the creator of OkCupid Enemies sought out people who weren’t good matches for him or her to find freakish profiles (that one’s apparently now defunct); Fedoras of OKC targets the usually nerdy, Reddit-using, neck-bearded gamer types who think they look good in fedoras; and Nice Guys of OkCupid (also defunct) went after dudes who claimed to be “nice guys” but were clearly entitled, misogynistic dicks who had some fucked-up thoughts about women.
That last one sparked a mini debate in feminist corners of the internet—is it really OK to publicly mock these guys, who are usually socially awkward and unsuccessful in love as it is? The argument made by Hugo Schwyzer in Jezebel was that it’s fine, since “mockery, in this instance, isn't so much about being cruel as it is about publicly rejecting the Nice Guys' sense of entitlement to both sex and sympathy.” So as long as you can come up with a good enough reason to be an asshole on the internet—it’s not about the individual guys you’re shaming, it’s about societal misogyny, or something—you’re in the clear.
But as Ally Fogg wrote in response to Hugo, as detestable as the “archetype” of the Nice Guy misogynist is, “archetypes don’t have to pluck up the courage to join a dating site and then go through the awkward steps of creating a clumsy profile… Archetypes don’t suffer if their fragile self-esteem is kicked into the dirt and trampled on. People do.”
That’s what makes me feel crappy when I scroll through Tumblrs like these. The
of a socially awkward dude whose main social outlet is the internet putting on a stupid hat because he thinks it will help him get a date is funny. But shitting on this guy because he’s into My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and has both a gun collection and a knife collection is just laughing at him because he’s different. Haha, his values are weird, he must be a loser. What makes it worse is that many of these people are young men who might have had rocky, awkward adolescences and are still learning how to connect romantically with others. Amid the genuinely disturbed dudes who are openly sexist and racist are people like this guy, from Fedoras of OKC:
Screenshot via Fedoras of OKC
He’s a kid who is trying his best to look good. Yeah, the tie with skulls on it and the cartoonish hat aren’t great, but he’s putting himself out there. Putting together an online dating profile that makes you look attractive and not like all the other fish in the vast, horny sea is pretty goddamn hard. Taking a screenshot and pointing and laughing is easy.
It’s even easier when your victims are already one of the most hated subcultures in America. Juggalos are obsessed with a rap group most people regard as a shitty punchline; they’re considered a “gang” by the FBI even though they organize charity activities and prayer groups. They have their own slang and soda preference and identify themselves—proudly, in spite of all the scorn—by painting their faces. And when they’re looking for love online, they don’t hide the fact that they’re down with the clown.
As McBain would say, “That’s the joke.”
If they didn’t have their faces painted and weren’t posing like extras in a low-budget remake of The Warriors—that is, if they weren’t openly celebrating the culture and music that’s important to them—the OkCupid Juggalos would be regarded as portraits of loneliness and need, and they wouldn’t be nearly as clickable. Some examples (the text overlaid on the photos was lifted from the Juggalos' profiles by the person running the Tumblr):
Is it funny that he has acne? Or that he is letting people he might want to date know about a potentially unattractive feature? Maybe it’s supposed to be humorous that he might be painting his face because he’s embarrassed about his scars?
Haha, this guy gets panic attacks and tends to get emotionally attached to people he likes! He probably has a tough time dating! LOL
The only explanation for this one being on the Tumblr is that the guy is making a weird face—surely, no one thinks it's funny he's passionate about finding homes for animals, right?
Here’s a nod to the lineage from which OkCupid Juggalos comes—this entry lets the audience bask in the satisfaction of knowing that both Nice Guys and Juggalos are worthy of derision. I guess you’re supposed to ignore the sadness of a guy who hasn’t been in a “successful relationship” trying to connect with someone online.
This kid is clearly young, not conventionally attractive, and, if what he wrote isn’t a joke, a McDonald’s employee—but he’s got a nice, self-deprecating sense of humor about his situation. If the point of putting this on Tumblr is what I think it is—Ha! Look at this dumb guy! He works at McDonald’s!—it’s shockingly mean. The humor is based on him being different, and one of the things that makes him different is that he doesn’t have much money.
“Juggalos tend to be poor and uneducated, from economically depressed small towns and broken homes,” Nathan Rabin noted in the AV Club last year. It’s not considered kosher even by asshole-on-the-internet standards to make fun of someone for not having enough money, or being born into circumstances that would make being head fry cook something worth bragging about in a half-kidding way. But if the target is a Juggalo? Apparently it’s open season on just straight-up giggling at his or her vulnerabilities and poverty and cultural differences.
Fortunately, there’s room on the internet for all of us. No doubt Juggalos will find other Juggalos and fall in love and have baby Juggalos no matter how much snarky scorn gets tossed their way. In other words, they don’t want to date you either, asshole.
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