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Marilyn Manson
































Marilyn Manson's legendary baby-eating transgressions seem to have grown into something far more widespread. The star, formerly blamed for everything from sunspots to malfunctioning toasters, can now chalk up another offense on his roster. Somehow, through some sort of omnipotent ability, he caused the Columbine High School shooters in Littleton, Colorado to take arms. (In a deadly rampage on April 20, 1999, students Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris killed 12 other students and one teacher before turning the guns on themselves in the second floor library of the school.)

No doubt, the incident was a tragedy, but to pin the rap on Marilyn or any other artist – which seems to be a trend, of sorts, these days – is a bit of a stretch. I'm sure if it were 1955, Elvis would be getting the blame. But alas the King is gone and Manson, the most notorious "Goth" around, clearly is not – much to the chagrin of simple-minded reactionaries everywhere.

This type of mindless detraction aimed at the more flamboyant stars of the moment has been going on for decades. As Elvis became acceptable fare, his former fans (now concerned parents themselves) turned their wrath on the provocateurs of the moment: the Rolling Stones, John Lennon, et al. As we all know, these stars were soon as publicly accepted as Wonder Bread. And so, attention turned on the next generation, Sid Vicious, the Sex Pistols, and others in the punk movement. And so the torch was passed…

In a recent interview with NY Rock, Marilyn summed up his take on the hysteria he seems to engender: "I do [things] in an extreme way, which provokes extreme reactions." As is typical, Manson explained that, in large part, what he aims to do is to provoke people into thought but, unfortunately, he added, "thinking is something that most Americans have forgotten how to do."

Reports have it that Manson stormed off the stage an hour into his most recent show to date because he noticed that someone had placed a smiley face on a stage prop. Suffice it to say, I imagine when Marilyn has a chance to discuss the issue, it will prove to be a bit more complex. In the meantime, media sources everywhere seem to feel comfortable repeating each other's speculations. Makes good copy, you know.

The fact that a disturbance ensued at the concert, in which 33 persons were arrested, is unfortunate. But in the current climate of hysteria, shit happens. Might I be so bold as to suggest that instead of finding convenient targets in today's pop idols, we focus our attention on some more substantive issues, in response to school violence. How about gun control, for starters. After all, it would be pretty hard to go on a murderous rampage with just a slingshot, wouldn't it. Why not protest an NRA convention instead of a Manson concert – the most recent one took place just 10 miles from Littleton, a little more than a week after the shooting.

In direct response to mounting public pressure, Manson has canceled his "Rock Is Dead" tour in the States and instead, is planning to spend his summer vacation in Europe, where he and band will continue to perform. It makes perfect sense, after all. When the heat was on Elvis, he joined the army and headed to Germany. And now he's got his face on a postage stamp. Look for Marilyn's likeness in a post office near you – in a decade or two.

May 1999


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