youdon'tknowmeYou Don’t Know Me, But You Don’t Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, and My Misadventures with Two of Music’s Most Maligned Tribes is an odd mixture of memoir and pop culture journalism that works despite itself.  Phish followers and Juggalos seemingly have little in common, but Nathan Rabin’s two-year journey following Phish and the Insane Clown Posse (ICP) helped him explain why both groups are typically scorned or ignored in mainstream culture and how that cultural disinterest has helped strengthen the bond between the groups and their respective fans.

The former head writer at The Onion’s AV Club and the author of three previous books, Rabin is a talented writer with a really strong grasp of pop culture (he coined the phrase “manic pixie dream girl”) and this is especially evident in his chapters about ICP and the Gathering of the Juggalos.  His connection with ICP and their fans develops from professional to personal, and his analysis of the socioeconomic and social factors that lead people to ICP is fascinating.  Rabin really made me examine my own snap judgments and cultural snobbery, and it was refreshing to hear a media critic talk about how much he enjoys something.  There are times when the book goes off the rails a bit (these tend to involve lists of the songs Phish played and their respective greatness), but the overall thesis and writing are strong enough to help carry through the moments of weakness. Recommended for fans of Chuck Klosterman, Marc Maron, and Dave Eggers.