This summer we’re bringing you daily posts from our sister site, Jewcy.com, edited by Gabriela Geselowitz. You can find more from Jewcy here.
Because 2017 continues to be a year of Rod Serling-esque weirdness, the latest group in the ongoing battle of the left and the alt-right in America are the Juggalos.
If you are unfamiliar with the Juggalos (or Jugalettes, for women), they are devotees of a hip-hop group known as Insane Clown Posse, comprised of white men who paint their faces to look like mildly scary clowns and bear monikers like Violent J and Shaggy 2 Dope. ICP is so important to its fans that true believers have formed a subculture; there are Juggalo gatherings, fashions, rituals, etc. Juggalos don’t have a great reputation; their music of choice is mocked in the mainstream, and their deliberately crass behavior, coupled with the prevalence of Juggalos coming from poor, uneducated backgrounds means that they’re often the subject of derision. The FBI even categorized them as a violent gang.
But now, the Juggalos’ time for redemption has come. The group, led by the band members, have decried the recent events in Charlottesville and throughout the U.S., and in response to their ongoing struggle with the FBI, determined to march on Washington— the same day as the Donald Trump rally.
Reports have pointed out that for all of ICP’s flaw, the signs of their anti-Fascism were already there. Despite the performers and most of the fans being white, they’ve burned a confederate flag onstage, they decry racism in their lyrics, etc. But there’s one other important detail to their unlikely rise as heroes.
One of the most sacred events at ICP concerts is a sort of communion known as the “Faygo Shower.” Basically, band members spray members of the audience with soda.
But not just any soda. Faygo is a soda brand local to Detroit, where ICP originated— they even reference the soft drink in their lyrics. And so, as part of their devotion to Juggalo life, fans drink the stuff by the bucketful. Faygo tries to keep a healthy distance from Juggalos, but the company certainly benefited from the face-painted consumers.
ICP has helped a company thrive, a company started by Jewish immigrants.
Faygo is short for Feigenson— yes, really. The Faygo website euphemistically describes brothers Ben and Perry as “Russian immigrants,” but a quick Google search will confirm the obvious. In 1907 they began their bottling business, and soon began flavoring soda water with frosting flavors (they were originally bakers). And like something out of a novel about Jews making it in America, they shortened their name to something completely alien sounding to help the product sell. The company stayed in the family until the 1980s, and while it now belongs to the National Beverage Company (they own the likes of LaCroix and Shasta), Faygo is still headquartered in Detroit.
And so, the Insane Clown Posse, admittedly unwittingly, votes with their pocketbooks, and in their semi-obscure, highly regional, and affordable beverage of choice is one brought to us by the very people the Neo-Nazis stand against: Jews, and immigrants.
Plus, this drink can be an extra Fayg-You to Fanta. The two sodas may share letters in common, but while Faygo is the product of Jewish American immigrants, Fanta was a German product created during World War II. Which would you rather patronize?
Perhaps the Juggalos are onto something.
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Gabriela Geselowitz is a writer and the former editor of Jewcy.com.