Cognitive Dissonance Theory for Juggalos

A prankster who goes by the pseudonym of "Laszlo Thoth," one of the "scientist haters" who participated in an educational prank on a horde of Juggalos in San Francisco recently, shares this Guide to Cognitive Dissonance Theory for Insane Clown Posse fans. "It's actually a pretty good layperson's introduction to cognitive dissonance theory," he says, "with examples that most people (including juggalos) can relate to."

Update: The person who submitted this to me to post on Boing Boing doesn't have much more of a sense of humor than the Insane Clown Posse band members who confronted and threatened the Noisebridge folks at the ICP show. "Laszlo Thoth" has removed the linked-to content from Google Docs because he was offended at my re-use of the term "scientist haters" below, a reference to the ridiculous put-down the pranksters received in person from ICP. He requested that I omit the phrase, and submitted a rewrite of my blog post he'd rather see me publish, and I declined. For funny people making fun of a funny song from a funny band, I'm dismayed at the total lack of humor. Apologies for the dead link.


  1. Calm down. We closed comments on that thread because people were getting obnoxious, and in some cases outright abusive.

  2. Back to this thread:

    This is a great slide show on CD. All you Chirstheads should examine this very carefully as you consider the text of what you God of the OT did and what you want to think his nature is!

  3. Getting this back on topic, I think it’s safe to conclude that the Jessi Slaughter article has caused cognitive dissonance.

    Or in other words, bitchez be wack.

  4. I don’t mind that you deleted the troll, but now my comment just looks dumb :P

    And although I wouldn’t have phrased it quite so flamebait-y, Grahamers is right in saying that there are plenty of people apart from Juggalos who could use a primer on cognitive dissonance. Not to mention confirmation bias and a whole host of other things.

    1. “Grahamers is right in saying that there are plenty of people apart from Juggalos who could use a primer on cognitive dissonance.”

      I agree! I formally studied cognitive dissonance theory as a rudimentary prerequisite for getting a teacher credential!

      I wish this one pathological liar I used to know had been familiar with cognitive dissonance theory. The coward’s prolific lies, elaborate bullshit stories, and hypocritical douchebag betrayals made cognitive dissonance an understatement! No more miserable cognitive dissonance for me now that I only surround myself with true friends who have the balls, sincerity, and integrity to be honest and actually walk what they talk. Life is sweet! No more stress and drama. No more cognitive dissonance!

      Yay Summer 2010!

  5. I think it is worth pointing out that the person who submitted this is almost certainly NOT László Tóth. László Tóth is the man who went to the Vatican and took a sledgehammer to Michaelangelo’s “Pieta” in the 1970s while screaming “I am Jesus Christ”. This dude just took that name. For more info, see Wikipedia –

    But, given his namesake, I am not surprised to see weird behavior from someone with that pseudonym.

  6. As one of the people involved in the event, and one of the people arguing hard before hand about the need to, well, not come off as complete assholes, I’ve talked a lot about it with most of the others involved, including ‘Laszlo’.

    And the ‘science haters’ comment from Violent J came as a disappointment to many of us; not to all – there certainly were people more cynical and less naïve than me involved – but many of us were disappointed that the intent as perceived by us wasn’t conveyed.

    I do not consider myself a ‘hater’; I’ve started listening to ICP because of Miracles, because of the internet phenomenon around it, and because of our Science Fair. And I’ve found what I’m listening to inspiring – probably in ways the ICP didn’t expect, but still.

    And I’m disappointed that what we did was perceived as becoming ‘haters’: it wasn’t what I was in it to do.

  7. “For funny people making fun of a funny song from a funny band, I’m dismayed at the total lack of humor.”

    Um, apparently this person does not realize just who or what ICP is. It’s not satire. It’s not a joke. It is revelry in ignorance, pride in tribe, and the basest example of how bad humans can be, individually, or in groups. These are the bullies in school who never got past a 4th grade reading level and who harbor anger because society leaves them behind. People joke about how the fans are trailer trash or “funny” because they are so stupid. Stupid enough to form a mob and stomp your head in for laughing at them.

  8. Hrm ya. I also participated and really did love Lazlo’s poster. He definitely put quite a bit of work into it. Its very sad to see that he removed access to the gdoc because of this article.

    And Michiexile is right. I wasn’t in this to come off as a hater either. Just trying to have some fun, and maybe educate some people. Many people in line for the concert were great and treated us well. They asked us questions and we all had some laughs. Though I cant say the same for the band.

  9. “scientist haters”

    Well, frankly, when I read this post when it first went up I found the phrase confusing. I wasn’t sure if the presentation was supposed to be by somebody who is pro-science or by somebody who hates science. I’m familiar with the term “haters” but didn’t see the use as being clear. It wasn’t until I went back to the older post and found the term being hurled by ICP at the pro-science people that the context became clear.

    So, the source for this post may have been touchy about the term and gone overboard, but I think he had a fundamental point.

    1. @fnc Totally agree with the sentiment, but “miracles” are, by definition:

      mir·a·cle (mr-kl)
      1. An event that appears inexplicable by the laws of nature and so is held to be supernatural in origin or an act of God

      I think that science just explains things in terms our minds can understand. I also think that we have a long way to go in our understanding, and that is just as fascinating as miracles.

    2. “An explained miracle is no less miraculous.”
      Did you just quote YOURSELF???? That’s awesome.

  10. Personally, I think the ICP would be in deep shit if real scientists began to truly hate on them.

    They could very easily turn the clowns’ lives into a living hell through the use of magnets and other miracles.

    [hmmm… sound like a good idea for a comic strip?]

  11. Hey, Xeni. Laszlo here. Your original post said:

    “Laszlo Thoth, one of the scientist haters who participated in an educational prank on a horde of Juggalos in San Francisco recently…”

    I understood what you meant, but without quotes around “haters” (or a reference to Violent J’s tweet) it seemed unclear to new readers whether you were calling me a hater, making a reference to someone else’s accusation, or making a joke about that reference. As Michiexile pointed out (and as clarified to you in my original email) this was an impression that we tried very hard to avoid.

    Anyway thanks for clarifying your intent with the rewrite and the addition of quotes around “hater”. I’m sorry that my request caught you on a bad day, I apologize for contributing to your stress on a day that already seems especially stressful, and I regret that we couldn’t resolve this disagreement in a more productive way.

    1. Submitting the content to me for blog consideration, then removing access because the post I wrote wasn’t punctuated precisely to your liking, or worded exactly the way you might have liked, is an absolutely dick move.

      That’s not a “request,” that’s being petulant and rude. You didn’t like the post, or me telling you that I didn’t appreciate being told how to compose a post on my own blog, so you removed the document from access, effectively “breaking” the post.

      That’s really uncool.

      There’s a respectful and friendly way to point out concerns, and there’s being rude. This was being rude.

      1. kudos. you can’t submit stuff to a blog and then fuss over how it is presented. if you want to control how your material is received, post it to you own blog.

      2. Xeni, my issue wasn’t some nitpick about correct punctuation, it was about the primary connotation of the sentence:

        1. The “controlled demolition” of the World Trade Center.
        2. The controlled demolition of the World Trade Center.

        1. Throngs of “violent leftists” at the G20.
        2. Throngs of violent leftists at the G20.

        1. Officer Mehserle’s fatal shooting of Oscar Grant while “resisting arrest”.
        2. Officer Mehserle’s fatal shooting of Oscar Grant while resisting arrest.

        Does anyone see a difference between sentences 1 and 2? 1 contains overtly ironic wink of self-awareness. 2 straightforwardly endorses a misconception that too many people already take seriously. It’s one thing if you’re talking about Glenn Beck, who many say raped and murdered young girl in 1990. We don’t care that he might be offended that the joke is misleading. But everyone at the ICP event – including mutual friends and commenters here – had misgivings about the way your “joke” was initially presented and not because we didn’t understand what you intended. As written it reinforced a common mistake we were trying to correct. I was offended by that, and by your careless disregard when I mentioned it, and by the accusation that I had no sense of humor, especially coming from someone with no apparent sense of delivery.

        This kerfuffle of mutually petulant rudeness clearly began with good intentions on both sides. I acknowledge, regret, and have publicly apologized for my role. I’m bothered by your failure to recognize yours, and I resent the implication that this happened in a vacuum. I’ve got as many misgivings about sending you exclusives as you do about blogging them, but it’s still too bad that we couldn’t resolve this disagreement in a more productive way.

  12. Hey Xeni. Sorry to see people are giving you so much trouble. I am a big fan of your writing and your humour, don’t fret about people nit picking, you do an awesome job and have tons of very real fans.

  13. Maybe the better juggalo psychology primer is witnessing juggalos being so easily offended at others for not doing things the way they would like.

    For example, the link being taken down. Another example, the ICP guys confronting and threatening the Noisebridge folks.

    Is having a chip on the shoulder part of being a juggalo?

  14. It seems like this back-and-forth is over something pretty minor that actually did get fixed. Isn’t it okay not to be mad at each other now? Let’s forget who the real bad guys are – Juggalos!

  15. A little bit of calm insight into Juggalos vs. ICP themselves.

    They wrote six aggressive and angry albums full of hyperviolent, butthurt, mildly misogynistic lyrics. This spoke directly to a young (mostly) male audience that felt marginalised and under-appreciated.

    The capper of their seventh album was a whiny piece (badly written even for them) where they sang “we’re not sorry that we tricked you” to the tune of ‘nyah nyah nyah-nyah nyah’ as they proclaimed how holier-than-thou they were.

    The fan reaction is worth a graduate dissertation in sociology or psychology. The vast majority of Juggalos refused to acknowledge that album, and some left while the ‘xtian-receptive’ types stayed partly because they had nowhere else to go.

    An unconventional way to look at ICP today would be as fringe preachers. Not quite as scary as an actual cult, about the same if a little different from a faith healer.

    To many late-20s fans, ICP is just another judgemental and abusive authority figure, another betrayal.

    (In case it matters, I am late-30s woman who dislikes all their songs — I’m just sympathetic to a few fans I’ve met)

  16. Meh. People who cry ‘cognitive dissonance’ at anyone who disagree with them are pretty much at the ass end of the debating spectrum anyway. In much the same way that Anais Nin’s “We see the world as we are, not as it is” has devolved into an insult — just an elitist way among literary types of saying, ‘I’m rubber and you’re glue’, so have the terms ‘cognitive dissonance’ degenerated into, rather than a tool to illuminate the world, a blunt cudgel aimed directly at other people’s opinions with which one disagrees. Just scratch up some balls and call them hypocrites; no need to add the ‘more-academic-than-thou’ edge to it with your objective-*sounding* vocabulary: it’s unnecessarily pompous and it doesn’t actually make you any more objective. If you think it does, then I don’t think you really get what the theory of cognitive dissonance was supposed to be about. If you did, then you would realise that you can’t investigate your opinions and declare yourself ‘consonant’ no more than you can get out an e-meter and declare yourself ‘clear’.

    This meme is so over.

  17. Xeni et all,

    Point is, we tried to make this a constructive prank, rather than a destructive one. Due to information floating around on the internet we made enemies of folks we were trying to befriend, learn about, and teach.

    Many of us are still concerned that the ICP and their fans still think our goal was to disparage and mocking them, rather than to celebrate the amazingness of science and the world.

    You’ve got a loud voice here on BoingBoing, so we all winced a bit when you used wording that might cause folks who weren’t familiar with Violent J’s tweet to get the wrong idea. We know that wasn’t your intention, but we’re all a bit nervous about the way the event is presented, given our goals and how far we came from reaching them.

    This isn’t a defense of László’s decision to remove his presentation. I feel it rarely turns out well when a request devolves to the point of “unless you do X I will do Y”.

    I simply hope that you understand a bit where we’re coming from. We were not trying to censor your writing or rebuke your choice of words. We were just asking for you help.

    1. In the end, all art has got to stand for itself. No amount of explaining or interpretation is going to change what the audience has already decided.

      Street performance art is the least controlled canvas/venue of them all. You put your heart and soul into something, and then watch the press completely misunderstand it and re-present it as something completely different.

      And then when all that’s left is the news reports, any further critique is trying to put another coat of paint over a corpse. The next crowd at the next event is going to know little or nothing about what happened at the last one, it’s necessary to invent a whole new moment.

      I’ve had so many conversations about this kind of thing before and after street protests and cacophony events… if you’re doing it for the press coverage, you’re gonna be disappointed.

      I would never have heard of this outside of BB, and I’m really glad you guys did it. It appears that a whole new front is trying to open up on the culture wars, and I’m proud to see my agenda being represented.

      Thank You!

  18. I’ve just decided to change my rapping name to Cog Dis. It’s a lot better than my old rapping name, Ice Pick.

  19. To do the cartoon rates there should be more to imply the two thoughts are coming from the same person.

  20. If you disemvowel ICP you get CP. Get it? See pee!

    There’s miracles all up in that joke, y’all!

    Science just slows me down.

  21. Having read the two posts related to this

    I have to say I unexpectedly have sympathy for ICP. and less so for the ‘Science’ clowns.

    ICP;s song is a far cry from the stereotypical gansta rap and basically describes a sense of wonder about nature. It doesn’t criticize the scientific process, it simply says, all these phenomena seem wonderful and breathtaking. I’m sure many scientists share that feeling and it has certainly come out as a message in such classic science shows as Cosmos by Carl Sagan.

    Now if you’re with a group of people, and someone exclaims “Rainbows are beautiful!” and you respond,
    “they are just light passing through raindrops , it happens all the time and is nothing special simply something that can be explained by ordinary means”, Then really, who’s being the jerk in that situation ?
    while I am a big science fan, I would say the Science clowns misunderstood the song and were the real clowns in this situation.

    1. Noooo, that’s not how I view what we did. Not at all how I view what we did. There is however, I’ve noticed increasingly, and partly due to this event, a severe division that makes communication difficult between the people who respond to “Rainbows are beautiful!” with “Yes, aren’t they fantastic?! And isn’t it amazing that they happen because light slows down when it enters water, and speeds up again when it goes back into air?!” on the one hand, and the people who respond to THAT with “Oh no! You’ve ruined all the magic in rainbows! Now I’ll never think they’re beautiful again!!”

      Some of us (I identify myself with this phenotype) believe beauty to be enhanced by understanding.

      Some, though, react to understanding by disillusionment and grief over the lost opportunity to fawn over beauty mysterious.

      To the latter, I’ll recommend a viewing of Tim Minchin’s Storm; though I expect the ten minutes they spend watching it will influence them as little as his dinner conversation influenced Storm herself.

  22. Incidentally, ICP is literally the dregs of hip hop, or more specifically the mocking and disrespectful repudiation of hip hop. A complete trainwreck of peripheral nothing that is in no way affiliated with the roots of that vibrant art form.

    THIS guy is the legitimate and sincere heir to the tradition.

    Immortal Technique is Chuck D to ICP’s Vanilla Ice (who, BTW, will be making an appearance at the 11th annual Gathering of the Juggalos along with Gallagher at Cave-in-Rock, IL).

  23. Do you guys realize quite how patronizing it is to set out to “educate” and “teach” people who never asked to be educated and were just trying to have a good time?

    Or to project your Dawkins/Feynman rainbow culture wars on a bunch of concertgoers?

    It’s hard to imagine how you could’ve handled this more ineptly. Not that I’m all that impressed by the self-entitled “pulling down your content that I linked to is an Absolute Dick Move” comments of our host, but that’s a different story.

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