Here is my answer:
Being a juggalo today is being a member of a cult.
My answer hasn't changed one bit. In fact, I believe it even more today.
Before we get to the why, let's first define what a cult is.
Dictionary.com defines a cult as:
Wikipedia has a long article about cults, including this interesting block about mind control:
Now that we have an idea of what a cult is, let's list a few reasons why "juggalos" are a cult to get the ball rolling.
- First, ICP interpenetrates "God" as a traveling carnival that travels the world, murdering the wicked: an idea that is incredibly unorthodox to the mainstream (see definition 6).
- "Juggalos" are bound together with the (mistaken) belief that they are the most hated people on the planet and that it's them against the world (see definition 4).
- Juggalos dress the same, speak the same, have the same symbols (for instance, the hatchet) and perform the same rituals together (rituals including the annual Gathering of the Juggalos and chanting "Family!").
- In fact, if you see a group of juggalos chanting, "Family!" and still deny the existence of the "juggalo cult", then you're in denial.
Now, you might be asking, "If juggalos are a cult, wouldn't that make you a cult member?"
Honestly, yes, it could. Outside of my opinion, it could very well mean that I am a member of said cult. Does my opinion change the fact that juggalos are indeed part of a cult? Not at all, but I do believe that I am past the "mind control" that has sadly rendered most juggalos ignorant to the fact (amongst others).
And I don't mean mind control like subliminal messages or anything like that; I'm talking about even the simplest form of it. Like when all other juggalos claim that it's not a cult, but a "family"; if you hear something, important or not, from enough people that are close to you, your mind starts to contemplate it being true (most cults never usually claim to be cults in the first place). Not to mention that, given the negative connotation given to cults in the first place, it's no surprise that juggalos wouldn't want to be associated as such anyway. Actions speak louder than words: how you act, what you do, et cetera. And if you look like a cult, sound like a cult, and act like a cult, then you are one, whether you admit it or not.
Am I saying ICP purposely did this on purpose? No. They very well could have, or it could have just been a happy accident. But there is no denying it: if you are a juggalo, you are a part of the cult. The real issue is whether or not you'd be able to accept it.