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When memoirist and head writer for The A.V. Club Nathan Rabin first set out to write about obsessed music fans, he had no idea the journey would take him to the deepest recesses of both the pop culture universe and his own mind. For two very curious years, Rabin, who Mindy Kaling called "smart and funny" in The New Yorker, hit the road with two of music's most well-establi When memoirist and head writer for The A.V. Club Nathan Rabin first set out to write about obsessed music fans, he had no idea the journey would take him to the deepest recesses of both the pop culture universe and his own mind. For two very curious years, Rabin, who Mindy Kaling called "smart and funny" in The New Yorker, hit the road with two of music's most well-established fanbases: Phish's hippie fans and Insane Clown Posse's notorious "Juggalos." Musically or style-wise, these two groups could not be more different from each other, and Rabin, admittedly, was a cynic about both bands. But once he gets deep below the surface, past the caricatures and into the essence of their collective cultures, he discovers that both groups have tapped into the human need for community. Rabin also grapples with his own mental well-being-- he discovers that he is bipolar-- and his journey is both a prism for cultural analysis and a deeply personal exploration, equal parts humor and heart.


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When memoirist and head writer for The A.V. Club Nathan Rabin first set out to write about obsessed music fans, he had no idea the journey would take him to the deepest recesses of both the pop culture universe and his own mind. For two very curious years, Rabin, who Mindy Kaling called "smart and funny" in The New Yorker, hit the road with two of music's most well-establi When memoirist and head writer for The A.V. Club Nathan Rabin first set out to write about obsessed music fans, he had no idea the journey would take him to the deepest recesses of both the pop culture universe and his own mind. For two very curious years, Rabin, who Mindy Kaling called "smart and funny" in The New Yorker, hit the road with two of music's most well-established fanbases: Phish's hippie fans and Insane Clown Posse's notorious "Juggalos." Musically or style-wise, these two groups could not be more different from each other, and Rabin, admittedly, was a cynic about both bands. But once he gets deep below the surface, past the caricatures and into the essence of their collective cultures, he discovers that both groups have tapped into the human need for community. Rabin also grapples with his own mental well-being-- he discovers that he is bipolar-- and his journey is both a prism for cultural analysis and a deeply personal exploration, equal parts humor and heart.

30 review for You Don't Know Me but You Don't Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures with Two of Music's Most Maligned Tribes

  1. 4 out of 5

    Melki

    ***Update 1/8/14 - Just saw this hilarious video - Juggalove - a fake online dating site for Insane Clown Posse fans - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMn4LC... ...Phish and Insane Clown Posse offer fans the sense of community, identity and belonging that comes with joining a tight-knit if widely disparaged tribe with its own set of rituals, traditions, and homemade folklore. I have to admit, I've spent most of my life blissfully unaware of both of these groups. They have little in common other tha ***Update 1/8/14 - Just saw this hilarious video - Juggalove - a fake online dating site for Insane Clown Posse fans - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pMn4LC... ...Phish and Insane Clown Posse offer fans the sense of community, identity and belonging that comes with joining a tight-knit if widely disparaged tribe with its own set of rituals, traditions, and homemade folklore. I have to admit, I've spent most of my life blissfully unaware of both of these groups. They have little in common other than the fact that music critics spend more time analyzing their fan bases than they do their music, AND they both made the list of Salon's "15 Most Hated Bands of the Last 30 Years" - http://www.salon.com/2013/08/10/15_mo.... Guess I was busy directing all my energy toward hating Nickelback. Insane Clown Posse popped up on my radar a few years ago with the controversy surrounding their Miracles video, when it was pointed out that all the "miracles" could be easily explained by a crazy little thing called SCIENCE! That led to the hilarious Learn Your Motherf#@kin' Science: A Textbook for Juggalos - http://www.cracked.com/blog/learn-you... (You can probably guess that neither the video nor the parody is safe for work, but please go there if you want to learn how the f#@k magnets work.) If you're only in it for the Phish, you'll probably be a little disappointed with this book. You really won't learn much of anything about them. BUT...how can this tie-dyed group of hippie-go-luckies with their nitrous balloons and transcendental LSD trips hope to compete with the awesomely sinister freak show that is Insane Clown Posse? Phish Phans - stoned, but sweet! Or this... Juggalos. Lock up your daughters, then buy them some Faygo! Sunshine, lollipops and Ecstasy cannot compare to guest appearances by Ron Jeremy, M.C. Hammer and Charlie "Winning" Sheen at ICP's Hallowicked extravaganza. Or this... Public nudity is not an insignificant part of what makes the Gathering the Gathering. The transgressive allure of the festival is that it's a world without consequences, where everything is allowed and the only real imperative is to not harm thy fellow Juggalo or lose thy shit. Of course plenty of folks blatantly ignore the imperative not to harm thy fellow Juggalo. Just about every year at the Gathering somebody gets stabbed or killed or winds up dead. Or this... A gentleman colloquially named Dick Tricks then wandered over to our club. He sported a shockingly bright red goatee and matching fright wig, but otherwise he was pretty much wandering around naked, performing elaborate tricks of strength involving his penis and nut sack. Without much in the way of prompting, he volunteered to stick a rolled-up bill deep inside his penis. It was a stomach-churning endeavor; very few people wanted their money back, myself included. Yeah...you don't see that at a Barry Manilow concert... As you can see, PARTS of the book were interesting. There was enough material here for two good-sized magazine articles, but not a book. Yadda, yadda...universal search for belonging and acceptance...it's all good. But all the same, if you're not a fan of either of these bands, you're liable to be a little bored.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    Disappointing. Rabin falters in the footsteps of many writers who have come before him to try to learn about strange tribes only, lo and behold, to learn a few things about themselves in the meantime. John Jeremiah Sullivan's "Upon This Rock" exists in a similar space, although it's a mere feature story focusing on Christian rock festivals. I thought it was more insightful and entertaining than our current subject - but I never really thought "This needs to be a book!" And it's not a book. "You Disappointing. Rabin falters in the footsteps of many writers who have come before him to try to learn about strange tribes only, lo and behold, to learn a few things about themselves in the meantime. John Jeremiah Sullivan's "Upon This Rock" exists in a similar space, although it's a mere feature story focusing on Christian rock festivals. I thought it was more insightful and entertaining than our current subject - but I never really thought "This needs to be a book!" And it's not a book. "You Don't Know Me," however, IS a book. How to bump that page count? To tell the backstory of Insane Clown Posse for the benefit of anyone without Wikipedia access, Rabin goes into book report mode on Violent J's amazing-sounding memoir Behind the Paint. He lapses into blow-by-blow show reviews that feel like 80-year-old newspaper clippings in the Age of Twitter and aren't necessary to the story (no offense, Tom Green and The Iron Sheik). He describes Violent J's Nixonian tendencies, then, only several pages later, describes Violent J's Nixonian tendencies. The good stuff: when Rabin tells the stories of his fellow travelers and charts his own shifting relationships with the two bands. No need to be a fan of either band to enjoy this stuff. Profound discoveries by adventure's end? Well... how many ICP shows does one have to attend to arrive at the monumental conclusion that many Juggalos are just latchkey kids in need of family and a pleasant escape? That this need for acceptance + community + GOOD TIMES is something that links fans of Slayer and Bieber and Phish and ICP? Apparently a lot of shows. Mostly, though, the page count is inflated not by difficult questions (to what extent does a tough upbringing excuse boorish behavior? to what extent can a male critic overlook or even romanticize misogynistic BS at festivals as long as he's accompanied by an intellectual and independent woman who seems unaffected by it? how far should these pop-up Hamsterdams be able to push the envelope while enjoying unspoken cooperation from law enforcement?) but by Rabin focusing on Rabin, leading to a lot of overwrought passages about light and darkness and so forth. This is a pop culture writer - and a quite good one - who's ALREADY written a memoir. He's candid about his reasons for changing his approach from fly-on-wall to me-me-me. In my opinion, it was a mistake. Final question: is the atrocious cover art - seemingly custom-made for the Bargain Books rack at Barnes & Noble - a clever statement on the danger of judging books (or fanbases) by outside appearances?

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

    This is kind of a train wreck. I have a bit of a reputation as a pedant around my house and reading stuff like “In that respect it was like the most funnest summer camp ever,” makes me physically flinch. Did we as a society reach a unified literary consensus at some point that I missed & now we’re all totally okay with using words like funner, terser, blunter, annoyinger (I made the last one up)? I find that these words are popping up in everything I read lately. If we have decided to do away wi This is kind of a train wreck. I have a bit of a reputation as a pedant around my house and reading stuff like “In that respect it was like the most funnest summer camp ever,” makes me physically flinch. Did we as a society reach a unified literary consensus at some point that I missed & now we’re all totally okay with using words like funner, terser, blunter, annoyinger (I made the last one up)? I find that these words are popping up in everything I read lately. If we have decided to do away with everything I was ever taught regarding the comparative form, I wish someone would’ve let me get a word in on that decision, because I feel like I’m being smacked in the face every time I see such things. Rabin wrote a piece for Gawker a few months ago about being sued by American Express, giving the story after this story so to speak, providing a bit more nuance to his mental breakdown & financial crisis. Since I can’t go back and un-read that, I won’t know if it would be easier to have read the book first, but I will say that knowing about it makes this seem maddeningly vague. Rabin drops hints about darkness & woe but I don’t feel that he ever really explains what’s going on in his head. He talks about crying all the time & eventually he finds out he’s bipolar. He’s also broke. He calls his girlfriend “beloved” but she’s not portrayed at any point as an actual human being. Most tellingly, I don’t feel like I know anything more about either Phish or ICP than I did when I started, and yet this is the ostensible point of the book. The only lessons to be had are that everyone in Phish looks like an accountant but they’re actually pretty good musicians & Juggalos are just poor people who are looking for a group to belong to. Violent J is apparently a lot like Nixon. There are a lot of drugs readily available for purchase at Phish shows, and using them will most likely enrich your concert experience. You can also purchase drugs at ICP shows and there happens to be a whole Bridge full of them at the annual Gathering of Juggalos. If I had to speculate, I’d say that Jugglos enjoy Faygo because it’s super cheap pop with flavors like Fine Rhubarb Pie, Red Moon Mist, and Orange Chug (looking at the list of flavors is seriously making me wonder why anyone doesn’t like Faygo, so maybe it tastes a lot less awesome than it sounds) & because Violent J sprayed some on people at the beginning of his career, but I didn’t really come to that conclusion because I read this.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bryan

    This book seems both too long and not long enough. It felt too long because I sometimes grew frustrated with the way that the author would repeat himself with too similar sayings or stories, and it seemed not long enough because he doesn't analyze what seem to be key events. For example, he missed ICP perform as the main event of the Gathering one year, and so he made a big deal about seeing them perform the next year; however, his whole analysis of seeing them perform at that show is limited to This book seems both too long and not long enough. It felt too long because I sometimes grew frustrated with the way that the author would repeat himself with too similar sayings or stories, and it seemed not long enough because he doesn't analyze what seem to be key events. For example, he missed ICP perform as the main event of the Gathering one year, and so he made a big deal about seeing them perform the next year; however, his whole analysis of seeing them perform at that show is limited to three paragraphs. Why make such a big deal about the event if that's all you're going to write about it? Another example is how, early in the book, he claims that watching the video for "Miracles" was an important early part in his relationship with the woman who would become his wife, which sets up the expectation for further evaluation of the song/video. While he does return to the video, again, it is only briefly and lacks any interesting takes on it (his key idea about ICP is how guileless the band's philosophy is--I would have thought he would have wanted to contrast this idea with the band's frequently violent lyrics and imagery [to which he only alludes]). As this video (and the SNL parodies) were some of my own first impressions of the group, I really wanted him to talk more about this. Having said that, the author has made it quite clear, both in the book and in other places, that he felt overwhelmed trying to finish this book, so I suppose some lack of analysis is to be expected in exchange for simply getting it done. His descriptions of both Phish's and Insane Clown Posse's subcultures was very interesting. This book just left me wanting more.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mike Mitchell

    This book should come with a hammer so you can whack yourself in the forehead when you finish reading it. "Throughout that summer, Phish meant something very meaningful and broad to me. It meant sunlight." <---I'm not making that up... This book should come with a hammer so you can whack yourself in the forehead when you finish reading it. "Throughout that summer, Phish meant something very meaningful and broad to me. It meant sunlight." <---I'm not making that up...

  6. 4 out of 5

    James

    Another Middle-aged Pop-culture Fanboy Struggles with the Long-delayed Transition to Adulthood story. I was getting impatient with Rabin midway through YDKMBYDLM, when I had to remind myself that I keep choosing these real-life High Fidelity narratives. It would appear that I need reassurance or, at least, a little Cops-style schadenfreude. To be fair to myself, I chose this title because I wanted to learn more about Juggalos, and, apart from a sort of general interest in weird subcultures, I th Another Middle-aged Pop-culture Fanboy Struggles with the Long-delayed Transition to Adulthood story. I was getting impatient with Rabin midway through YDKMBYDLM, when I had to remind myself that I keep choosing these real-life High Fidelity narratives. It would appear that I need reassurance or, at least, a little Cops-style schadenfreude. To be fair to myself, I chose this title because I wanted to learn more about Juggalos, and, apart from a sort of general interest in weird subcultures, I think that's because, based on my recent reading, I'm a little obsessed with class issues at the moment. I'm not sure why - I thought I was long past all but the most cursory interest in politics and social justice. I think my favorite thing about YDKMBYDLM is Rabin's wholesale rejection of pop snobbery. The oeuvre of Insane Clown Posse, a duo of white, middle-aged Detroiters who don clown make-up and deliver a sort of WWE/horrorcore rap, is, for those who fancy themselves pop music cognoscenti, a musical version of Plan 9 from Outer Space, an epitomic aesthetic nadir that everyone agrees upon but few people have actually experienced. Similarly, the jam-band Phish, musical heirs to the Grateful Dead who are obsessively followed (both musically and in time and space) by nomadic trustafarians, makes music that would-be hipsters like me feel comfortable dismissing without hearing a single song in its entirety. "There's a great T-shirt from my employers at the Onion," Rabin writes, "that reads, STEREOTYPES ARE A REAL TIME-SAVER. That's certainly true when it comes to Phish and Insane Clown Posse. Buy into the stereotype of Juggalos as uneducated, violent, racist, and ignorant, or Phish fans as unemployed, weed-smoking, unjustifiably privileged space cadets, and you don't have to waste time listening to their music or actually interacting with any of their fans." By the end of his 'research,' Rabin, from his own description a music snob's music snob, is an unapologetic fan of both bands, and his obvious affection for their respective scenes and scenesters really won me over. There were way too many drug tales (a fault that Rabin acknowledges up front), too many rhapsodic passages about the woman he calls Cadence, who becomes his fiancee at the end of the book, and too much subjective exploration of Rabin's bipolar disorder, the diagnosis of which forms, I suppose, the climax of the narrative. But Rabin's scrappy defense of what is, by any standard metric of cool, indefensible, is, for this reader, utterly charming.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Todd

    What I wanted this book to be was an exploration of two countercultures, and an explanation of their existence and beliefs. It is in fact a memoir of this dudes summer. If I cared about him at all instead of finding him a self righteous, condescending fellow I would probably want that. But I didn't. I didn't care about his breakdown or girlfriend, or the endless lists of set lists, I wanted to explore cultures I don't know. That being said he does give off the environments of the concerts exceedin What I wanted this book to be was an exploration of two countercultures, and an explanation of their existence and beliefs. It is in fact a memoir of this dudes summer. If I cared about him at all instead of finding him a self righteous, condescending fellow I would probably want that. But I didn't. I didn't care about his breakdown or girlfriend, or the endless lists of set lists, I wanted to explore cultures I don't know. That being said he does give off the environments of the concerts exceedingly well and he has good things to say about both cultures.at the very least he made me interested in attending a phish concert, and got me to listen to phish music. I wish there had been more on ICP because I already understand Phish really- I think most people loosely get it. But after the book I feel like I still don't really understand ICP or it's mythos, which was the real mystery. It was rambling and incoherent really, but he does say grand things of both groups. Depending on your goals for this book, you'll love it or hate it.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Megan Belford

    Okay, I'm very torn about this book. I've been to my fair share of phish shows (about 40) and I'm very protective of this band. So I went into this book with high hopes (I love Rabin from avclub), but with the guarded suspicion I approach anything Phish related. I was very happy but a little disappointed. I was happy with his accurate depiction of the fan base as very diverse and very educated. Perhaps I'm idealistic, but I was not happy with his depiction of the fan base as mostly under the inf Okay, I'm very torn about this book. I've been to my fair share of phish shows (about 40) and I'm very protective of this band. So I went into this book with high hopes (I love Rabin from avclub), but with the guarded suspicion I approach anything Phish related. I was very happy but a little disappointed. I was happy with his accurate depiction of the fan base as very diverse and very educated. Perhaps I'm idealistic, but I was not happy with his depiction of the fan base as mostly under the influence. I don't think this is true although I could be mistaken. His description of the transcendence of shows and the weird desire (obsession) to see shows is very very accurate. What annoyed me was his focus on drugs. By his own admission, he was in a weird place when he went on tour (he later found out he had an undiagnosed mental illness) and therefore took what I would consider to be a crazy amount of drugs at the time. He indicated that one needs drugs to enjoy shows. Now, logically, an entire arena of fans could not possibly be on drugs. I know for a fact not everyone is on drugs. There is an organization of sober fans for goodness sake. It wouldn't bother me except this has become a pretty common stereotype of Phish fans and as a responsible fan, it's irritating. I don't tend to tell people I am a fan because of this. Whatever, I'm digressing. In any event, the chapters about Insane Clown Posse were interesting because I know nothing about them. I'd be curious to see what a fan thought of his depiction of them. Essentially, it's the best depiction of Phish and their shows that I've ever encountered (including Bittersweet Motel) although some of the same old stereotypes creep in. Worth the read. Oh and by the way, referring to Phish as "Trey and the band" is really offensive.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Peter Derk

    Recently I've been putting on chiptune covers of albums to listen to while I write. This serves the dual purpose of giving me something to listen to and keeping my internet connection live. It also serves the purpose of embarrassing me terribly the time my headphone cable came unplugged and my girlfriend asked what the hell I was listening to, and I had to tell her. Then explain that Yes, there is a whole genre of what sounds like Nintendo music. Then I kept talking about all the different bands Recently I've been putting on chiptune covers of albums to listen to while I write. This serves the dual purpose of giving me something to listen to and keeping my internet connection live. It also serves the purpose of embarrassing me terribly the time my headphone cable came unplugged and my girlfriend asked what the hell I was listening to, and I had to tell her. Then explain that Yes, there is a whole genre of what sounds like Nintendo music. Then I kept talking about all the different bands and their styles and before I stopped, I'd said too much. Because I just can't help myself, I was reading the comments on some of the Nintendo-style versions of popular songs, such as Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." There was a lot of back and forth about whether or not "Kurt" played video games and whether he would have liked this 8-bit version of his music. It was pretty heated, and as YouTube comments tend to go, not all that thought out. There was one comment underneath all this battling that just said, "Music fans amuse me." Which sounds kind of stupid at first. Isn't just about everyone a music fan, and how does that say anything about what you find amusing, really, if what you find amusing is ALL people? But the more I thought about it, the more I found myself coming back to the well on this comment. He's right. Music fans are amusing. Everyone likes music, but I would argue that not everyone is a fan. Plenty of people like the Beatles, enjoy the Beatles. Plenty of people recognize a good percentage of their songs, especially the hits. If someone says, "Are you a fan of the Beatles?" there's a pretty common response that's either "Not really, and here's why I'm a contradictory asshole" to "Sure." Outside of that, there's a small percentage that says, "Absolutely, fuck yes, and I'd like to talk about this for as long as you'll let me." That, to me, is the difference between a person who enjoys something and a person who is a fan. Perhaps the closest equivalent outside of music would be sports. Many people enjoy different sports, but on very different levels. Some people watch a game, but it's 50% because that's what everyone is doing on Sunday, 20% nachos, and basically the rest is made up by the toppings on said nachos. Then there are the fans. Some motherfuckers are in DEEP. There was a woman at the grocery store the other day, and she was wearing the jersey of the team who would play the Denver Broncos that afternoon (The Chiefs? Let's say it was a Chiefs jersey). She loudly told the checkout person how she'd been in Colorado for nearly a year, but she HAD to represent her team. She also said a lot of other things about it, and when the checkout person asked jokingly if this lady had been in any fights that day, the woman said, "No, but people were cussing at me from their cars." Far be it from me to call this very strange, kinda crazy lady a very strange, kinda crazy lady who I didn't entirely trust. But come on. Could that really be happening, and if so, is it worth wearing the jersey? This is where we get to bands. In this book, Nathan Rabin looks at two subcultures that seem kinda different, but really kinda aren't. Let's start with Phish fans. I never knew much about Phish other than some vague idea of them being a jam band. Which I had some experience with because I was dragged to the Furthur Festival when I was about 13. If you want to know what the Furthur Festival is like, ask someone else. I was 13. I remember jammy, terrible music. I was too young to drink. And this very enthusiastic dad in front of me in khaki shorts would stand up, shake his butt WILDLY, and pretty much pull his family members out of their seats to get them dancing. I don't really remember school dances, but this dad's jerking butt is seared into my memory. I went to a few other jammy concerts, enough to know I don't like it. At all. And after I read this book, I listened to what is actually a really solid podcast, Analyze Phish. In the show, one host, who loves Phish, tries to convince the other, who hates Phish, that Phish is awesome. They go through some songs and different styles, and after several episodes the podcast ends with the hateful host conceding that he would go to another Phish show and had a good time. Although it should be noted that he was on lots of drugs. Rabin, the writer of 'You Don't Know Me..." ALSO did a shitload of drugs most of the times he saw Phish. All sorts of drugs. People who are on drugs really like Phish. I'm still unconvinced. Now, if I were friends with funny comedians like the ones from Analyze Phish, and if they invited me to have some weird drugs and go to a Phish show...I probably would. And I might enjoy it. I might end up curled into a ball and peeing continuously. But I think it's pretty likely I'd have a good time. And I think, in all fairness to the podcast, that it's a hell of a lot easier to have an enjoyable time when you've got the excitement of your good friends and drugs. Rabin was also a proponent of seeing Phish live, almost dismissing their recordings entirely. In fact, he basically said that in the case of Phish and Insane Clown Posse, the music isn't really the point. Which I can sort of see, but it's also a convenient way to explain away the phenomenon of Phish fandom if you get to say, "The only way you'll understand this is to attend a show." I get that Phish might not be about the music. But my question would be, Why wouldn't I just go see a band I enjoy AND have fun friends there AND do drugs? Would my hater podcast friend have enjoyed a Bruce Springsteen show or a Prince show or, hell, a Michael Jackson tribute band just as much, if not more? It seems to me that Phish enjoyment and drugs are almost completely intertwined. This is kind of the popular perception, and although I was open to being wrong about it, I have to say that the book and the podcast confirmed this perception as being 100% true, and also confirmed my suspicion that Phish is not the band for me. I'm not good at drugs. I really have nothing against them. Swear. I'm just very bad at doing them and don't tend to have any fun. You know how some people you can have fun with anywhere? Rollercoaster, factory tour, it's all a blast? And then there are some people who you just don't want to waste on fun times because they can manage to NOT have fun no matter what? That's me and drugs. Arms crossed, asking when we can go home. So, without going to a show, I guess I'll never know for sure. But I feel like I've done the legwork and butt(remembering)work to know, as nearly as possible without going, that I would not enjoy a Phish show. Let's switch over to Insane Clown Posse I found the ICP parts of the book a lot more interesting and thoughtful, actually. I hate to keep hammering on it, but I wonder if there was more to say about the shows and the infamous Gathering of the Juggalos because the author wasn't completely fucked up while he was there. Ruthless speculation on my part, but there you have it. The most interesting thing about this was it sent me down a little internet rabbit hole when Rabin suggested readers watch a short interview between ICP and Bill O'Reilly. I don't know how most people feel about Bill O'Reilly. I think he's definitely an asshole and a sort of villain. I think he knows what he's doing and doesn't actually give a shit about anything. So it's pretty great to watch ICP take him down a peg, honestly. O'Reilly questions ICP on things they said to kids during a signing, and ICP has good answers about why they said what they said. At one point, Violent J says something to a kid like, "Do you do drugs yet? No? Then you better go home and smoke something." Of course, Bill O'Reilly is incensed. Violent J explains this away by saying that he's messing with the kid. He's not actually saying the kid should do drugs. He just knows that when a kid meets an adult, the kid expects the adult to say something adultish. Not "better go smoke something." O'Reilly counters with a question along the lines of "What if that kid didn't know you weren't being serious?" Which is what this section of the book and this interview brought up for me, which is what sent me into that rabbit hole where I watched some other ICP interviews (always hilarious when a news anchor has to read the lyrics out loud) and then other entries from O'Reilly's Children In Danger segment that included folks like Marilyn Manson making reasonable arguments to unreasonable questions. I thought about it a lot. Are your kids in danger? It makes me think of this Babes In The Woods idea. That kids or idiots or whoever is stupid, so we have to make sure everything is dumbed down so that we're safe. We can't use humor or metaphor because what if so-and-so doesn't understand it? It's a classic argument. The pundit usually doesn't want to look dumb, so he'll say he gets it. But what about the children? What about the people who don't get it or take it literally? I think that's kinda bullshit. Seriously. This is the biggest thing I took away from this book and, god help me, the lesson I learned from Insane Clown Posse. It's time to stop with this argument where we censor because we're afraid that unnamed fools will misunderstand. Where we say I get it, but what about people who aren't as smart as me. There are plenty of people who are as smart as me or way smartster. There are a lot of people smarter than Bill O'Reilly. I'd argue that he's pretty savvy and smart, although completely devoid of a true internal ethics, or at he makes it look despicably easy to ignore those ethics at every turn. There very well might be people out there so unsophisticated that they will do anything ICP says at face value. However, does it not bother anyone else that ICP hasn't ever killed anyone? Does it mean nothing that Marilyn Manson hasn't killed anyone? We can argue all damn day about whether guns kill people or people kill people, or some combination of both kill people, but it's a fact that Marilyn Manson does not kill people. I'm sorry, but I'm just tired of hearing "what about the children?" or "what about the vulnerable populations?" when it comes to whether or not someone will understand art and relate to it in a legal, non-destructive fashion. Maybe they will, maybe they won't. To me, that argument is irrelevant in light of the simple fact that artist have the right to express themselves, and that right is not limited by the public's ability to understand that message. If we start limiting media and our messages to the public by what they can fully understand, here's a short list of shit that's got to go. +Political Ads These are often completely disingenuous and skirt the truth, taking quotes out of context and presenting opinion as information. Sounds an awful lot like the criticisms of popular music, don't it? +Advertising, in general If we feel the general public can't handle the subtext of ICP, I think it's safe to assume they don't actually know what's going on with the World's Most Interesting Man ads, for instance. So these have to go. +All News Programs Do news programs lay things out from start to finish, thoroughly examining a topic and both sides of a discussion? Come on. In fact, I would suggest that ICP is more genuine than any of these things. At least ICP isn't specifically designed with the goal of doing shady shit in the background. Art is easy to pick on because it's up for interpretation. It's the very nature of art. It causes a discussion, and art that everyone can agree on probably isn't doing its job. I have an opinion on Phish, and I read the book and listened in on a long discussion about them. I don't enjoy their music, still, but their art did create this book and a discussion I enjoyed, and it that way it's successful even for me, the non-fan. And although I don't like it, although I think people are not well-informed of the longterm damage of hallucinogens, I wouldn't ever seek to ban Phish. I have an opinion on ICP too, which is similar from the music side, although added in, I think there's the idea that they provide a unity for people who don't usually have that. ICP, perhaps more than any other band, has captured a market that is typically seen as less-than-fertile ground: America's poor. They always say millions of Elvis fans can't be wrong. I'd edit that statement: Millions of Elvis fans can be wrong, but they're wrong together. They have each other. Millions of Phish fans and ICP fans are wrong musically, from my personal perspective. But they're right to seek out something they enjoy, something they love. Whether or not they're right or wrong is irrelevant because they have their bands, and they have each other.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Reading Rabin's latest book, it's not hard for your mind to keep drifting back to "Hell's Angels," Hunter Thompson's 1967 expose on the Juggalos of his time. Like Thompson, Rabin goes in skeptical (he notes that his first book contains dismissive comments about both Juggalos and Phish fans, causing some discomfort), ingratiates himself into the tribe, and comes to love and even bond with them, drifting almost into Stockholm Syndrome by the end. His days on the road with Phish are packed with roa Reading Rabin's latest book, it's not hard for your mind to keep drifting back to "Hell's Angels," Hunter Thompson's 1967 expose on the Juggalos of his time. Like Thompson, Rabin goes in skeptical (he notes that his first book contains dismissive comments about both Juggalos and Phish fans, causing some discomfort), ingratiates himself into the tribe, and comes to love and even bond with them, drifting almost into Stockholm Syndrome by the end. His days on the road with Phish are packed with road narratives, drug wipeouts, and 4 a.m. epiphanies that read like gibberish by morning, but coalesce only when looking at the bigger picture. It's that kind of book. It's not armchair quarterbacking from a home office, nor is it an embedded reporter's view from the comfort of the press box. It comes at you live from the place where the desperate stand and burn. To be sure, Rabin admits that he doesn't have to return from The Gathering to work on a turkey farm ("10 to 20 carcasses each morning, and they smell like ass") like one Juggalo tells him, and he's not being kicked out of his bed at 3 a.m. by his father like his Phish traveling companion, Matthew. He's quick to point out that his problems at times amount to a surfeit of joy and good living. That said, "You Don't Know Me But You Don't Like Me" still gets pretty grotty. Rabin cuts his head open by taking a header running around before a Phish concerts (a loose sole on his shoe is the culprit, doubly ironic considering the Phish lyric "Always take care of your shoes"), and resists going to the hospital for stitches ("you need at least 3") in favor of being the guy that stays to watch the show with dried blood on his face. He wanders around Cave-In-Rock in an acid haze, and takes so many mollys at a Phish show that he breaks into a red-hot sweat. The anthropology on display is plenty visceral. The reason I mention Thompson is not as much for the drugs as for the glee of being absorbed into a new, freaky subculture or tribe, whether it's the Hell's Angels, the McGovern campaign, or the crowd of young idealists watching a fiery young orator named Jimmy Carter. Rabin uses his words carefully to get to the simultaneous glee and danger behind the eyes of the archetypal Phish fan, and is similarly understanding to the despair and weariness behind Juggalo braggadocio. You can laugh at them if you must, but Rabin doesn't even laugh with them. He gets on their side and observes the outside world from the inside the family, or at least tries to. Unlike the end of "Hell's Angels," though, the Juggalos don't stomp Rabin half to death. Everybody parts amiably this time. You can save the stabbings for the drug deals gone wrong on the Drug Bridge. I grew up in mid-Michigan, and I went to a college with an inevitable neo-hippie populace, so I'm more than a little familiar with both bands. As someone who never pulled the trigger on ICP but has spent one or two odd nights reading capsule reviews of their albums on Allmusic and their mythology on Wikipedia, I was happy to get a take on their work that wasn't condescending but also wasn't spinny-eyed fanatical. I like knowing that ICP used their ongoing Dark Carnival concept as a makeshift moral code/mythology for their fans as a way to give their lives a sense of direction and order that society and traditional family structures denied them. I like finding out that both tribes attract brainy outsiders, some of whom don't even drink or do drugs, and that the occasional straggler from one camp can be found in the other. I would have liked to see the camera pull back on the greater implications a bit more often, and despite the back cover blurb's focus on it, Nathan's revelation that he might have bipolar disorder is mentioned only a few times and is not often tied to the whole story. "You Don't Know Me" has a big heart and some wild stories to tell, and is an excellent piece of cultural reportage.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Sharilyn Neidhardt

    I enjoyed this book, in fact, I found it hard to put down once I started it. But I must say that I found the ending really disappointing! Mr Rabin wraps up in a neat little bow what had quite obviously become a story (and a life) hanging by only a thread, beset by crushing debt, confusion, and fairly serious threats to mental and physical well-being. In fact, the off-stage impacts of touring with these communities is only tantalizingly alluded to. And while I very much appreciated his reporting o I enjoyed this book, in fact, I found it hard to put down once I started it. But I must say that I found the ending really disappointing! Mr Rabin wraps up in a neat little bow what had quite obviously become a story (and a life) hanging by only a thread, beset by crushing debt, confusion, and fairly serious threats to mental and physical well-being. In fact, the off-stage impacts of touring with these communities is only tantalizingly alluded to. And while I very much appreciated his reporting on the experiences listening to four hours of live Phish while tripping balls in the woods, or bro-ing down with The Clown at Cave-In-Rock, his breathless fandom could have used the bracing corrective of how his life was also falling apart. For example, Mr Rabin takes a break from the road to be diagnosed (almost casually!) with bipolar disorder. But the diagnosis does not slow him down, even though it follows an episode where he cracks his head open and refuses medical attention to continue grooving to Trey's guitar. My other complaint is that Mr Rabin's girlfriend Cadence, who appears throughout the narrative and whom he credits as the primum mobile for the adventure in the first place, is never fully fleshed as an actual human with traits and desires of her own. She remains an ephemeral Beatrice to his Dantean exploration of the nether regions, reflecting his preferences and agreeing with his opinions. Cadence never gets a life of her own, through to the very last paragraph. Despite these criticisms, I really did enjoy the book. In fact, I kind of wanted more out of it! Mr Rabin obviously had a huge- life-changing adventure, I'm only disappointed that so much of it did not make it to the page. In doing so he paints a predominantly rosy picture of some scenes which obviously had some troubling and even life-threatening ramifications.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Jeffery Bowling

    To confess, I'm a Phish fan and picked up the book because of this. (I even have an unnamed cameo in the book.) The book is a fun read of a person outside the Phish scene trying to find his way on tour and making some funny and questionable choices along the way. But in general I think it does a good job of giving one a feel for what it is like to tour with Phish, if you didn't know anyone. But most of us who do tour with Phish have a huge circle of friends that dramatically changes the experien To confess, I'm a Phish fan and picked up the book because of this. (I even have an unnamed cameo in the book.) The book is a fun read of a person outside the Phish scene trying to find his way on tour and making some funny and questionable choices along the way. But in general I think it does a good job of giving one a feel for what it is like to tour with Phish, if you didn't know anyone. But most of us who do tour with Phish have a huge circle of friends that dramatically changes the experience. And this is entirely lacking from the authors account and this missed what is one of the essential elements of tour. As for the ICP sections, I found them interesting at first but by the end I just don't think feel the same way the author does. He comes to romanticize ICP and Juggalos but his argument for doing so is weak at best. While I agree that ICP is a sense of identity for many, it is unclear that they have a positive influence in the lives of Juggalos. Sure they provide a sense of family for people who come from very broken and dysfunctional families. But in the end it seems like you are trading one dysfunctional family for another dysfunctional family. I just am not sure I agree that this is some admirable. But the book is carried by the authors ability to tell a good story. And in the end, Phish tour and the Juggalos are just that, a good story.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tori

    I really thought I'd like this book better than I did. Obviously I picked it up because I'm a huge Phish fan, but I also liked the idea of a book exploring fandom in general from a sociological perspective. And to the extent the book did that, I really enjoyed it. Arguably I enjoyed reading about Insane Clown Posse, unappealing though their fan base is, even more than Phish, since their fandom pathos and ethos is so very different from both Phish fandom and my own sense of life and I knew nothin I really thought I'd like this book better than I did. Obviously I picked it up because I'm a huge Phish fan, but I also liked the idea of a book exploring fandom in general from a sociological perspective. And to the extent the book did that, I really enjoyed it. Arguably I enjoyed reading about Insane Clown Posse, unappealing though their fan base is, even more than Phish, since their fandom pathos and ethos is so very different from both Phish fandom and my own sense of life and I knew nothing about it going in. My biggest problem with this book was how much of the author's own personal struggles were tied into it. I get that his personal emotional journey is inextricably tied to his experiences with these bands, but it's kind of like trying to describe the ways in which Phish has changed my life, my attitudes and outlook on life. It's just a really intimate and private story that few people would get or even be interested in. The other issue I had with it is the author's fixation on drugs, and especially on drugs as a vehicle for enjoying Phish's music. It perpetuates a stereotype that I find really embarrassing and shameful as a fan, and in fact I think it minimizes how great the Phish concert experience and Phish's musicianship really is.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Lucas

    Nathan Rabin’s “You Don’t Know Me, But You Don’t Like Me” was an enjoyable enough read. I like Phish and, like many others, have a curiosity about ICP. The book was fun and you can definitely tell Rabin is a fan of both groups and their subcultures. The biggest issue with “You Don’t Know Me” for me is Rabin’s need to cram his personal life into the book relentlessly. I don’t care about your girlfriend (the arc isn’t there and there’s no payoff) or your mental health. I’m here to read about Phish Nathan Rabin’s “You Don’t Know Me, But You Don’t Like Me” was an enjoyable enough read. I like Phish and, like many others, have a curiosity about ICP. The book was fun and you can definitely tell Rabin is a fan of both groups and their subcultures. The biggest issue with “You Don’t Know Me” for me is Rabin’s need to cram his personal life into the book relentlessly. I don’t care about your girlfriend (the arc isn’t there and there’s no payoff) or your mental health. I’m here to read about Phish and ICP fan culture, not your memoirs (which he shamelessly plugs a few times). While I enjoyed the content around the Gathering and Phish shows, the book is dragged down by me not caring at all about Rabin’s personal life... the biggest thing that I took away is that Nathan Rabin is raging narcissist.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Trillian

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. I was constantly engaged and wondered where this crazy road trip would end. The end of the road was beautiful! I believe though, my enjoyment of this book circled around my brief love affair with Phish and my hate for ICP. I can say, with no irony, this book made me respect Insane Clown Posse and their tribe of Jugglo fans to the point that I am considering reading Violent J's manifesto. I never, ever thought I would come to this point in my l I enjoyed this book way more than I thought I would. I was constantly engaged and wondered where this crazy road trip would end. The end of the road was beautiful! I believe though, my enjoyment of this book circled around my brief love affair with Phish and my hate for ICP. I can say, with no irony, this book made me respect Insane Clown Posse and their tribe of Jugglo fans to the point that I am considering reading Violent J's manifesto. I never, ever thought I would come to this point in my life and here I am, thanks Nathan Rabin! My freshmen year of college, into my sophomore year I had a brief 6 month affair with the band Phish. It all started when I befriended a graduate student. Nathan spends a good part of the book explaining that the friend you make on Phish tour are either a brief glimpse into someone's soul during the shared experience or drug friends, neither group you want to linger in for too long. As I look back on the friendships I made during that time and how Phish was tangled into the breath of all those friends I no longer talk to I must suspect that they fit one or both of those Phish friend groups. For me though, my affair with Phish started with being forced to listen to them on end in the basement of someones house I hardly knew. In circled in a haze of alcohol and drugs. Lets be honest, you have to be completely f'ed up to enjoy Phish's music. It's just a fact. Truth is my favorite Phish songs spoke to my true nature as they were covers of Jay-Z songs and the Jigga man himself was featured on a couple. It was during this affair with Phish that their 2008-2009 tour was announced. My Phish friends planned an epic journey that I was way to poor to join in on, but they got ticket for me to the Pittsburgh show. One of the few shows Rabin did not mention in his book. The Pittsburgh show was late in the tour and many of my Phish friends were making it their last show. By this time, my peaceful group of educated liberal Phish friends were hardly speaking as the tour brought out the worst in people. I was promised that the Pittsburgh show would be a face melting, mind bending experience. It would be a day to never forgot and barely remember. Sadly, what I was promise didn't happen. I was bored at the show. I didn't like the music, no one wanted to show me The Lot and besides for a few joints that I pre-rolled and shared with my friends I was basically sober. That day was the day me and Phish ended our affair and not long after my Phish friends faded into my past. They are just a mere memory of my college party days and the brief time I called myself a Phish Fan. While reading this book I so desperately wanted the experience Rabin had at my one and only Phish show. I wanted to be the fan he became. I felt a sense of nostalgia reading his words. Being emerged in the world for a short time I got why people loved Phish, I understood what the band meant to them, but Insane Clown Posse I could never wrap my head around, until now. When people talk about school cliche I always mention Jugglos and over the years I have found that unlike my school Jugglos do not dominate the hallways of most high schools. That it was unique to my school. I now understand it is because a lot of poor white kids went to my school. I never knew the ideology of ICP being a proud badge of honor to be a poor white kid. To drink off brand soda and create chaos. Now, in my area I have heard some crazy, mostly untrue, Jugglo stories. My favorite being that they chopped down a telephone pole with a hatch and that's why we lost power one day in our school. I laughed so hard when I heard this because the idea was so untrue because I lived literally next to the pole that was supposedly cut down and it never was and the fact it would take hours if not days to get through telephone pole with a hatched, but it's those kind of stories make the philosophy of Jugglos. I get how that's a rumor and I also get why people believe it. I myself could not get into the music and I don't like clowns in the first place. I never understood why so many people were SO into them. As time has passed it seems that most of the crazy Jugglos I knew in high school have claimed down. Yeah, they still have a Hatch Man tattooed on their arm and there are still a few people who are hardcore fans, but for most part it seems that as people have grown up, had kids, started making money that many of them have claimed a little on their outburst of love for ICP. Nonetheless, I do enjoy this change of mindset I have now. I no longer will think of Jugglos as a joke, as something to poke fun, as a toxic group I refuse to be apart of but as message for kids who were lost at one time and found something beautiful in a moment of hopelessness, that found family when they didn't have one. I still think they are goofy, but Violent J and Shaggy2Dope are well aware that they are goofy.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cassie

    1.5 stars. I came to this book having read some of Rabin's writing about the Gathering of the Juggalos and was informed of the existence of this book through NPR's best of 2013 widget. I liked Rabin's Juggalo article and thought a hybrid immersion journalism / sociological study of two reviled music subcultures would be interesting. And it kind of is, when Rabin is actually talking about the subcultures and doing some of that good old-fashioned journalism thing he ostensibly got paid to do. You kn 1.5 stars. I came to this book having read some of Rabin's writing about the Gathering of the Juggalos and was informed of the existence of this book through NPR's best of 2013 widget. I liked Rabin's Juggalo article and thought a hybrid immersion journalism / sociological study of two reviled music subcultures would be interesting. And it kind of is, when Rabin is actually talking about the subcultures and doing some of that good old-fashioned journalism thing he ostensibly got paid to do. You know what's NOT interesting in a sociological study? A drug memoir mixed with endless rambling about the author's love for his girlfriend. If I wanted to read your memoirs, buddy, I'd read the memoir YOU ALREADY PUBLISHED. The one that's marketed as a MEMOIR. There are few things I can imagine caring less about than some stranger's catalog of concert drug binges except maybe his endless declarations of love for a woman who is even more of a stranger. Practically ALL of the writing about Phish was more about Rabin's troubling recreational drug use than the band or its fans to the point where he acknowledges that other people's drug use is interesting only to the user, which - oops! - means you're probably pretty damn bored right now. This meta revelation is pretty much his most important insight about the band's fans. -_- To be honest, Phish's appeal isn't all that mysterious. As a diehard Dave Matthews Band fan, it's not much of a stretch for me to imagine what Phish fandom would be like and I think Rabin did them a huge disservice by conflating it so much with its drug culture. His portrayal of Juggalo culture was much more nuanced. When you break it all down, it's only the ICP chapters that attempt a bit of critical journalism and that's maybe half the book. And in that half he quotes and analyzes ICP member Violent J's memoir Behind the Paint fairly often. I really didn't glean much more than what he originally wrote about the Gathering from his Onion AV Club article, so this was mostly a waste. But if you like to read endless, redundant descriptions of people tripping out on drugs during Phish shows, this will be right up your alley.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Courtney

    Finishing this book gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Now that I've read all of it, I can critique it! First of all, there's a conspicuous lack of structure in You Don't Know Me. There's no framing mechanism to establish WHY Rabin is focusing on these two particular musical groups. Rather, it seems like an arbitrary pairing that reflects the tastes of his sweetheart. Dating someone who loves two different bands is not a solid premise for a pseudo-ethnographic exploration of music su Finishing this book gives me a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Now that I've read all of it, I can critique it! First of all, there's a conspicuous lack of structure in You Don't Know Me. There's no framing mechanism to establish WHY Rabin is focusing on these two particular musical groups. Rather, it seems like an arbitrary pairing that reflects the tastes of his sweetheart. Dating someone who loves two different bands is not a solid premise for a pseudo-ethnographic exploration of music sub-cultures. Speaking of sub-cultures, Rabin makes no attempt to take account of the differences between Phish's fan culture and that of ICP. Both can be analyzed as sub-cultures, but ICP is more staunchly associated with counter-culture. Its oppositional ideology can't be conflated with Phish's groove-centered fandom. Although Rabin seems to position himself as a pop culture critic turned ethnographer, there isn't enough substance, context, or structural integrity to make these rambling observations coherent. There are some interesting moments, but the author's lack of reflexivity hampers even the best passages. For example, Rabin notes the sense of melancholy that seems to permeate music festivals and their participants. Unfortunately, he doesn't offer any insight into the existential quandary of outsiders/disaffected individuals finding solidarity through an ephemeral concretization of fandom. I was also put off by the flippant manner in which Rabin dismisses troubling aspects of Juggalo behavior, such as the blatant objectification of women. While attending a Gathering, he notes the frequent incidents of men asking/commanding women to bare their flesh, but writes it off as a playful quirk. Unacceptable, Mr. Rabin. You're better than that.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Becca

    Expectations: A book about two bizarrely disparate but equally fanatical fanbases and how "at the heart of it, we're all just people, man", and how certain bands inspire such rabid devotion in people that it actually creates an entirely new subculture, and why some artistic projects and ventures have "fans" and others have "fandoms". Reality: A weirdly meandering road trip story where the author whines incessantly about his slow descent into madness but never offers up anything more substantive Expectations: A book about two bizarrely disparate but equally fanatical fanbases and how "at the heart of it, we're all just people, man", and how certain bands inspire such rabid devotion in people that it actually creates an entirely new subculture, and why some artistic projects and ventures have "fans" and others have "fandoms". Reality: A weirdly meandering road trip story where the author whines incessantly about his slow descent into madness but never offers up anything more substantive than "I took a lot of drugs and lost a lot of money". It's not so much a cohesive account of the author's experiences as it is a bizarre series of chunks of information. I imagine the pitch for this sounded something like, "First, we'll talk about Phish! Then about Juggalos! Then about Phish again! Then about bipolar disorder, but only in a relatively general way so I don't embarrass myself! Then about Juggalos some more! And the last chapter will be an obtuse open love letter to my wife!". There's no unifying thread that ties all the separate elements together, and I don't feel like I came away from reading this having contemplated any new ideas or having learned anything at all. Chuck Klosterman (a commonly cited example of a self-indulgent writer, but at least I find him funny) does this thing where he takes two completely disparate ideas and puts them together in one short essay, tying everything together quite tidily in the end. It feels like that was the shape of the idea that Nathan Rabin had for this book, but nothing ever really comes together. I was bored by the time I was two-thirds of the way in. This, incidentally, is almost certainly the first time anyone has ever united the concepts of "bored by" and "juggalos", ever. Wouldn't recommend this one.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Robert Morris

    This book is irritating. It sells itself as one book before you buy it, and another as you read it, and ends up being neither. I bought it because I thought the idea of learning more about the two subcultures was intriguing. There is some back-story on the cultures, but it is only cursory. It is mostly a story about Nathan Rabin partying with these people. Rabin is a great writer, so it is interesting, and he also grabs you with the story of his impending break-down, and with foreshadowing of ho This book is irritating. It sells itself as one book before you buy it, and another as you read it, and ends up being neither. I bought it because I thought the idea of learning more about the two subcultures was intriguing. There is some back-story on the cultures, but it is only cursory. It is mostly a story about Nathan Rabin partying with these people. Rabin is a great writer, so it is interesting, and he also grabs you with the story of his impending break-down, and with foreshadowing of how he "almost loses everything". Then the book ends. He doesn't lose anything. It turns out that his breakdown was the fact that he spent a summer doing acid with these two groups he used to despise. If you're writing a book trying to redeem a subculture in your audience's eyes maybe you shouldn't write about how hanging out with its members is a sign of great instability. I don't want to be unduly harsh. My understanding from friends that have read his other book is that Mr. Rabin has overcome obstacles I can't imagine to get where he is today. Maybe I should have read that book. This one declares that he has arrived, and is experiencing a not particularly compelling mid-life crisis like any other boring white dude. Well written, but it wasn't really worth my time or money.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Kirk Gipson

    Whatever you do, no matter how enamored the author is with the music of Insane Clown Posse, no matter how eloquently (it varies from page to page) he writes about their hidden brilliance, do not actually try to listen to the music of Insane Clown Posse. Just trust me on this one. The book presents two subcultures fairly well, although primarily using/quoting other sources so generously as to invoke Plagiarism (repeated be thy name). The infusion of the author's personal problems (debt, drug abus Whatever you do, no matter how enamored the author is with the music of Insane Clown Posse, no matter how eloquently (it varies from page to page) he writes about their hidden brilliance, do not actually try to listen to the music of Insane Clown Posse. Just trust me on this one. The book presents two subcultures fairly well, although primarily using/quoting other sources so generously as to invoke Plagiarism (repeated be thy name). The infusion of the author's personal problems (debt, drug abuse, mental illness) was questionable and unwelcome. From reading the finished product, you get the feeling that Scribner forked over money for a book about subcultures and got a story of transgressive immersion back. If that had actually been fun to read, no problem, but the publisher should have demanded the book promised (or the advance back). This is a great example of a book that could have been fascinating but was instead superficial, sloppy, and mostly boring.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Hannah

    Disappointing - I actually thought this book started out really strong. About halfway through it became a chore to read - actually, the exact moment I felt over it was when he hit his head at the phish show and talked in excruciating detail about it like he had survived a near death experience. I couldn't quite tell if he was being a total tool or if he was going over the top to pretend to be a total tool about something so uninteresting, but, either way, it was extremely eye-roll inducing. I wa Disappointing - I actually thought this book started out really strong. About halfway through it became a chore to read - actually, the exact moment I felt over it was when he hit his head at the phish show and talked in excruciating detail about it like he had survived a near death experience. I couldn't quite tell if he was being a total tool or if he was going over the top to pretend to be a total tool about something so uninteresting, but, either way, it was extremely eye-roll inducing. I was hoping to walk away with a little more of an understanding as to why people are into these two groups/subcultures. Personally, I think the ICP side was a lot more interesting - I felt like the phish coverage got way too into fanboy territory and I just couldn't dig it. Rabin is a talented writer, and his observations are great, but there's a lack of direction overall that makes this book hard to finish.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Everything about the Insane Clown Posse was fascinating, particularly looking at how the hatred for the band and fans is so very class-based and predictable. Everything about Phish was less interesting, mainly because it was all about drugs and had no insight or original perspective. Everything about Nathan Rabin himself was frustrating. Being as this book ended up being almost entirely about himself, I was waited for there to be a pay off, a turning out point where he actually figures something Everything about the Insane Clown Posse was fascinating, particularly looking at how the hatred for the band and fans is so very class-based and predictable. Everything about Phish was less interesting, mainly because it was all about drugs and had no insight or original perspective. Everything about Nathan Rabin himself was frustrating. Being as this book ended up being almost entirely about himself, I was waited for there to be a pay off, a turning out point where he actually figures something out. I guess it's there, but it's so utterly unconvincing it might as well not be. And everything about his girlfriend/wife was uncomfortable and weird. He sounds desperately obsessed and helpless, but we're supposed to believe (as he seems to) that this is intrinsic to pure, everlasting love. Eek.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Nate

    I've been a Phish fan for 20 years and a reader of Nathan Rabin for almost as long. I wasn't familiar with ICP, but I am generally interested subculture. So I was quite interested in this book. I was disappointed in the absence of Nathan's expected pointed criticism, but a rambling, repetitive, disjointed drug journal. He basically admits that he wasn't sure he would be able to complete the book for a variety of reasons, so it is what it is. Although a Phish fan, I've been concerned about the Lot I've been a Phish fan for 20 years and a reader of Nathan Rabin for almost as long. I wasn't familiar with ICP, but I am generally interested subculture. So I was quite interested in this book. I was disappointed in the absence of Nathan's expected pointed criticism, but a rambling, repetitive, disjointed drug journal. He basically admits that he wasn't sure he would be able to complete the book for a variety of reasons, so it is what it is. Although a Phish fan, I've been concerned about the Lot and show drug scene for a long time and this book seemed more to exploit that than anything else. For those unsure readers, IT IS POSSIBLE TO ENJOY A PHISH SHOW SOBER! I did find the Juggalo bits interesting, but I would have preferred that there be more cultural context than just "Juggalos are losers" over and over again. Overall, an easy, interesting read, but not in anyway profound.

  24. 5 out of 5

    ken roberts

    It was very good, but I didn't find it as enjoyable as most of Rabin's writing on web or in "The Big Rewind." However, that's a ridiculously high standard, since he's one of my favorite writers. Knowledge or interest in Phish or Insane Clown Posse are not required for enjoying this book. I'm one of the rare casual Phish fans and I've watched a few of those absurd Gathering of the Juggalo informercials and their spoofs on SNL. That added to my interest in the book, but my primary interest in readi It was very good, but I didn't find it as enjoyable as most of Rabin's writing on web or in "The Big Rewind." However, that's a ridiculously high standard, since he's one of my favorite writers. Knowledge or interest in Phish or Insane Clown Posse are not required for enjoying this book. I'm one of the rare casual Phish fans and I've watched a few of those absurd Gathering of the Juggalo informercials and their spoofs on SNL. That added to my interest in the book, but my primary interest in reading things that come out of Rabin's mind. If you have curiosity in Phish or ICP, read this. If you don't, read Rabin's other works first, then read this when you need more. You should need more.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ethan

    I really enjoyed this book. It's both funny and insightful (and sometimes a little sad) and does a very good job of making Phish and ICP fans more sympathetic. Granted, there are a few passages that are a bit too gushy, or vague to the point of meaninglessness -- for example, I struggled to understand Rabin's personal crises and the psychology behind them -- but overall I gained a new appreciation for the cult followings of two very different bands. I've never seen a Phish show or been to Hallow I really enjoyed this book. It's both funny and insightful (and sometimes a little sad) and does a very good job of making Phish and ICP fans more sympathetic. Granted, there are a few passages that are a bit too gushy, or vague to the point of meaninglessness -- for example, I struggled to understand Rabin's personal crises and the psychology behind them -- but overall I gained a new appreciation for the cult followings of two very different bands. I've never seen a Phish show or been to Hallowicked, but at this point I'm interested in doing both. This book actually changed my point of view, and for that I'm grateful and slightly amazed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Naomi

    "At the risk of losing what little journalistic credibility I have left, I came to enjoy listening to the music of Insane Clown Posse. Make of that what you will. You might be tempted to write my newfound appreciation off as a critical case of Stockholm Syndrome. Alternately, you can attribute my affection to the untreated head injury I incurred at Bethel Woods. In that case, feel free to dismiss the following as the incoherent rambling of the pop-culture world's answer to 'Regarding Henry.'" Had "At the risk of losing what little journalistic credibility I have left, I came to enjoy listening to the music of Insane Clown Posse. Make of that what you will. You might be tempted to write my newfound appreciation off as a critical case of Stockholm Syndrome. Alternately, you can attribute my affection to the untreated head injury I incurred at Bethel Woods. In that case, feel free to dismiss the following as the incoherent rambling of the pop-culture world's answer to 'Regarding Henry.'" Had the above appeared on page 3 (as opposed to 208), I would have known to say "when."

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    When talking about going from objects of derision to fandom, the book finds its strengths in the rituals and mysteries surrounding the spectacles of Phish, ICP, and their respective fans and how easy it is to go from derisive sneer to appreciation. It does falter considerable when discussing the writer's own issues that made themselves known while the book is being written. It has a tacked on feel not just because everything else is described in intricate detail, but Rabin is known as a very ope When talking about going from objects of derision to fandom, the book finds its strengths in the rituals and mysteries surrounding the spectacles of Phish, ICP, and their respective fans and how easy it is to go from derisive sneer to appreciation. It does falter considerable when discussing the writer's own issues that made themselves known while the book is being written. It has a tacked on feel not just because everything else is described in intricate detail, but Rabin is known as a very open and honest writer. I never thought I'd say this, but I wanted more time inside Rabin's head!

  28. 4 out of 5

    Josh Drimmer

    The personal and the cultural don't quite meld in this book, which has a slight feeling of being written under a big deadline. Mentions of Rabin's failing finances and bipolarity are so fleeting as to almost be negatives, rather than a real addition to his narrative through Phish and Insane Clown Posse shows, and we don't get much of a better sense of the woman this book is, supposedly, all centered around. Rabin is an excellent cultural writer, and his take on these two subcultures is full of i The personal and the cultural don't quite meld in this book, which has a slight feeling of being written under a big deadline. Mentions of Rabin's failing finances and bipolarity are so fleeting as to almost be negatives, rather than a real addition to his narrative through Phish and Insane Clown Posse shows, and we don't get much of a better sense of the woman this book is, supposedly, all centered around. Rabin is an excellent cultural writer, and his take on these two subcultures is full of insights deep and silly, but this simply isn't the book it could have been.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Erik

    I was drawn to this book because of the subject matter. It really sounds like a fascinating subject matter (and it proved to be so). In addition, I have a serious appreciation for the music of Phish and a voyeuristic curiosity about the popularity of Insane Clown Posse. Unfortunately, as the book progressed I found that I was becoming more and more saddened by the self-destructive drug use of the author and the "characters' around him. I was drawn to this book because of the subject matter. It really sounds like a fascinating subject matter (and it proved to be so). In addition, I have a serious appreciation for the music of Phish and a voyeuristic curiosity about the popularity of Insane Clown Posse. Unfortunately, as the book progressed I found that I was becoming more and more saddened by the self-destructive drug use of the author and the "characters' around him.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Forrest

    If you have any passing fascination with the worlds most hated music fandoms, phish and ICP, pick up this book. Knee jerk reactions aside, it enlightening and entertaining. Still, the book could have used a bit more editing. There's an unusual level of over used and repeated terms. He revisits the same tired ideas too many times. Despite the editing, it spins a compelling narrative worth checking out, if for nothing else, to quell the fascination you know you have. If you have any passing fascination with the worlds most hated music fandoms, phish and ICP, pick up this book. Knee jerk reactions aside, it enlightening and entertaining. Still, the book could have used a bit more editing. There's an unusual level of over used and repeated terms. He revisits the same tired ideas too many times. Despite the editing, it spins a compelling narrative worth checking out, if for nothing else, to quell the fascination you know you have.

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