May 20, 2014

The Epic Tweet Fight of Bronies and Juggalos

These days, it seems like the juggalos just can't keep themselves out of fights [1]. From being investigated by the FBI for gang activity, to being implicitly blamed by David Cross for the mass extinction of polar bears, juggalos are under attack from all angles. And then there was this. Last fall, this flier appeared in one of the Floatingsheep home bases - Lexington, Kentucky - announcing an "epic street fight" between the "gangsterous Kenwick Bronies" and the "badass North Side Juggalos"

Quick links for those who need an update on subcultures: bronies and juggalos

While no juggalos, and only a single brony, showed up to the fight, the fact that this got so much traction nationally points to what is obviously a fundamental antagonism between the two subcultures [2]. So we fired up the DOLLY machine in order to understand the outcome of the "epic tweet fight" between these two groups, and how it varies spatially...because that is what we do. To begin, we collected all tweets referencing referencing variations on each of the terms for the period from July 2012 through March 2014 [3]. 

Bronies vs. Juggalos in Geotagged Tweets, July 2012-March 2014

We find a total of 9,237 brony-related tweets in the United States, as compared to 13,663 juggalo-related tweets. At first glance this difference could be explained by the path-dependent nature of subcultural fandom; juggalos have existed for about 20 years, while bronies have only been around for a few. A more likely explanation, however, comes from the fact that despite their ability to complicate dominant societal conceptualizations of masculinity, bronies have lingering problem with gender-related discrimination, as seen in the clear linguistic differentiation for female fans of My Little Pony, who are instead called 'pegasisters'. Bronies are still, after all, 'bros' [4].

Juggalos, on the other hand, seem to have a much more forward-thinking and egalitarian culture with respect to gender roles -- embodied in the notion of 'Juggalo Family' -- as the plural form of "juggalo" can just as easily include women, the so-called juggalettes, as men. Should bronies hope to have any chance in this battle royale, they will surely need to remedy this gender imbalance; after all as the famous proto-juggalo Benjamin Franklin once remarked "We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately". Good thing this is just Twitter and no blows have been exchanged (...yet!).

While spatial distributions of both brony and juggalo dominant counties are somewhat scattered, there does seem to be a tendency for Rust Belt areas to have more juggalo-related tweets, something that wasn't evident in our earlier analysis of the relationship between juggalos and polar bears. While the one hyperactive juggalo tweeter we mentioned in our earlier post again puts rural Pennington County, Minnesota at the top of the list for juggalo dominated counties, it is followed immediately by Salt Lake City, Phoenix, Detroit and Cleveland in the top five counties down the with the clown. Though there is no obvious clustering of bronies in the USA, Houston and San Francisco both have 650 or more tweets referencing bronies than juggalos, indicating a clear safe haven for these guys. And while a bit more subtle, there also appears to be a number of brony-dominated counties in the New York metropolitan area.

Given this lack of clear spatial patterns, we're forced to call this round of the epic tweet fight between bronies and juggalos a draw. But given their recent history, be sure that this won't be the last time that you see us comparing juggalos to some other strange countercultural group! After all, we do spend a lot of time on the intertubes...
[1] Or facetious blog posts.
[2] Perhaps it's no surprise that none of the bronies and juggalos showed up to the epic street fight at the Commonwealth Stadium parking lot, as our Twitter analysis shows that both groups tend to keep a low profile in Lexington. The city has only 9 geotagged brony tweets, and 19 geotagged juggalo tweets during the target time period, though there has been a 44% increase in brony-related tweeting since this data was collected six weeks or so ago. Juggalos beware.
[3] The exact searches we used were "brony OR bronies" and "juggalo*", in order to capture the plural form of each term.
[4] Thanks to noted brony expert (and geographer) Jim Thatcher for some clarification on some of these matters. He also alerts us to the fact that the fourth season of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic is pretty bad. So, there's that.

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