Prelude to a 33 1/3 Book That Wasn’t: The Insane Clown Posse, The Great Milenko

A couple of years ago, Mary Rizzo and I, caught up in a fleeting obsessive fervor for the Insane Clown Posse, decided to pitch a book to the 33 1/3 series. It wasn’t my first try; I’d pitched Terrorizer’s foundational 1989 grindcore album World Downfall as a forgotten social history of 1980s Los Angeles in 2007, probably mostly because I was living in Miami at the time, sad, and missing L.A. That one got nowhere (deservedly, I’m pretty sure); this time we made the long shortlist (which drew a few snarky comments, including one that insisted the book better be written by actual Juggalos), before being cut (for a list that I must confess still strikes me as pretty bland).

I’m not sure whether the below intro is any good or not; glancing back over it now, parts seem kinda rote and others maybe pretty swell. To put it in context, we knocked it out over two extended happy hours, not really expecting it to get even as far as it got. Maybe we made it to academic-ey, though that seemed the direction 33 1/3 was going. Probably real Juggalos would have been pissed as hell at two posers narrating their scene–though I still think the book would have reached a new audience for the series.

In any case, I figured, what the hell, I’ve been too busy to really blog lately, so why not post this instead of letting it rot away on my hard drive? Thus, voila: the introduction and book proposal for our would-have-been volume on The Great Milenko, sent out 4/30/12, responded to with really commendable speed, and ultimately rejected quite politely and humanely by publishing director David Barker–so kudos to the 33 1/3 folks, even though it didn’t work out. Please forgive the wonky spacing–it’s pasted from a Word document, and WordPress for some reason adds spacing. Without further ado:

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The Great Milenko

Mary Rizzo and Whitney Strub

 Introduction: What is a Juggalo?

It had been five years since the “Cop Killer” controversy, nearly fifteen since Tipper Gore first heard Prince’s female-masturbation fantasies in “Darling Nikki,” hell, forty since Elvis first swiveled those hips, and in 1997 the media needed a new source of moral outrage. Continue reading

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tallying notches

I have been a failed blogger of late, letting this thing linger unattended for far longer than I’d have liked; this semester has kinda swallowed me whole. But just to keep track of some things I’ve done elsewhere, a quick rundown:

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The brand-new collection Understanding and Teaching U.S. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender History, edited by Leila Rupp and Susan Freeman and published by the University of Wisconsin Press, has a great set of essays by a bunch of historians whose work I admire immensely, so it’s a thrill to have a piece of my own, “The New Right’s Antigay Backlash,” included. The title of my essay, however, pales in comparison to several of the others–with the indisputable highlight, IMHO, being Ian Lekus’s “Queers of Hope, Gays of Rage: Reexamining the Sixties in the Classroom.” Seriously, I wish I had come up with that.

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Then there’s this mysterious LP, which led Mary Rizzo and I to write a two-part investigation of Moms Mabley, historical memory, scholarly wish-fulfillment, and internet knowledge-production at the Public History Commons–“Moms at the Myth,” part one here, part two here. This one was a lot of fun to write.

Marc Stein is one of my favorite historians, so seeing him give a talk in Philly last month was a real treat. Wrote about it here, in an essay called “Queer Sex in the Archives,” at the hip new history of sexuality blog Notches–and Marc’s latest article, related to his talk, just appeared in Radical History Review, scrutinizing the continued absence of the Philly-based 1960s periodical Drum from homophile historiography. Highly recommended!

Finally, I was honored to have Perversion for Profit favorably reviewed by the great Rebecca Davis in the Journal of Women’s History, alongside other important new books by Carolyn Bronstein, Elizabeth Fraterrigo, and Carrie PItzulo, and apparently I made my national television debut on an updated version of the History Channel’s History of Sex, which exists somewhere out there in the digital wasteland but I can’t quite bring myself to look (pretty sure I’m better on a keyboard than in front of a camera, in every way). But most important, we at the OMGcatrevolution tumblr only just learned that we’d been cited in the Sydney Morning Herald many months ago–now that‘s the kind of thing that I can revel in!

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On a much sadder note, however, my friend and colleague Clement Price, whose image graces the very post below this one, passed away suddenly and unexpectedly earlier this month. It’s a colossal loss, to Newark and everyone whose life he touched–a group which, judging by the wake and funeral held the other week, was nearly immeasurable. This blog would probably not exist without Clem’s influence; it was he who got me started watching Newark films, loaned me rare works like the Sightseeing in Newark VHS that opened my eyes to the city’s rich cinematic history, and regularly provided pointers and insights when I had questions. It’s a minor example of Clem’s impact, but a perfect example of his generosity and warmth. There’s an extensive list of articles, obituaries, and tributes to him here that show just how far these qualities reached. He will be dearly missed.