Let me get the reviews out of the way. ICP's 6th Joker's Card, 'The Wraith: Shangri-La' is one of the tightest album's I've heard in a long time. I don't mean 'tight' in some kind of way meaning 'cool', I mean tight as in well-put together, no slacking. This album flows in a way that is hard to describe...beautiful. Tracks one into another, making this an album that you don't put in for your favorite track, this is one you put on to hear the whole thing. It's different from a lot of what they have done, in a good way. They've done a lot of work here, and it shows. I'm wildly impressed.
Beyond that, this IS the 6th Card, i.e. 'the end of all', sort of...there is a part 2 of this album, coming out in one year's time, which will be "The Wraith: Hell's Pit". If you've kept up with the story, you know this is a big deal. So here it is, now what does it mean? Do we ever find out what the significance is behind '17'? Do we find out who 'the Butterfly' is? What happens now, and what has it been trying to say? All is revealed, between the album, and the extra DVD of the seminar from this year's 'Gathering Of The Juggalos'. Actually, watching Violent J give that seminar was really interesting, because I've never seen him so nervous. This was the revelation of his baby, the culmination of all he's done, and he knew that a lot of people might not get it, or feel it like he did, but he wasn't gonna back down now.
I'm not going into most of the details, because the Juggalos know, and if you are curious, you'll go find out, or ask me later. The long and short of things is this: the Wraith is Death, who will lead you along the path you have chosen for yourself, to the Dark Carnival: either to Shangri-La, or to Hell's Pit. The Dark Carnival is God, and the signs have been there all the way along: always, you've been shown that you could be good, or you could be evil; you could be prejudiced, or you could show love. Yes, that's right, the whole thing has actually been a POSITIVE message, ostensibly Christian, if you can dig. Who have they always spoken against? The bigoted, the corrupt...the evil. Puts them in a new light, don't it? I know that the most adamant will still look at them asd foul-mouthed, and weird, and what-have-you, but who cares? They are the very ones who continue to propagate the evil in the world.
It's been about family, about doing the right thing. These are the guys that have never bothered with the media...never cared about the 'stars'. These are the guys that have a gathering every year, for the fans, not as a concert, or self-promotion, but to have the crowd together. Let me see the 'popular' bands do that. If you could hear the Juggalos starting to chant...and it's not about how great ICP is, but several thousand fans shouting, over and over, "FAM-I-LY...FAM-I-LY...FAM-I-LY...", well, it's impressive.
Joe Bruce has become one of the only Christians that I truly respect.
Now the funny thing is that I was just starting a huge post the other day (which I hadn't finished) that this works into very nicely. I'm not sure how it started, but the meat of it was this: what is the problem with people?
We fight, and we bitch, and we hate...and there is no reason for it. Think about it; for instance, right now, we are in a foreign country, hating, fighting, and bombing them...we hate them because they hate us...and what is this all over? Apparently, it boils down to a difference of opinion about something that neither side can prove -- religion. Why is this mutually exclusive? In the end, it doesn't matter what the guy next to you believes, because your soul is judged on what YOU did, not him. WHo really gives a rat's ass whether he is the same religion as you? Shit, sucker, you can't even prove that YOURS is right, how you gonna beat him down for his?
When we were young, we started school...did you care what race, or religion, or nationality the kid next to you was? Nope...you cared whether they were nice to play with or not. As we grew, we learned who to hate, because those above us told us to. But did those people change? No, we 'learned' things about them that made us dislike them...and not things about that person, but about 'their kind'. What a sham. These are the people, this is the attitude, that I speak out against, every day. I won't quit it, and I dare anyone to stop me.
In a conversation not too long ago, I made a comment about wanting to start revolution. It's true, I do...a revolution of the mind. I'm not here to bring the sword, I'm here to bring the thought. The internal revolution must come before an external one will take. And the first thing that has to change is the blind of faith and the blind of hate.
Stop and ask yourself who you hate. I don't mean the guy that spilled your coffee, I mean the people you disrespect. Is there any REAL reason other than a difference of opinion about lifestyle? If not, rethink that hate, and let it go, dammit. When we realize that opinions mean nothing, and that regardless of how we think, we're all humans and we're all in this together, then we can get past this stagnation that we've gotten stuck in.
Maybe then, just maybe, we can actually ADVANCE toward enlightenment.