Wednesday, 15 June 2011

What Lay People Should Know about Marilyn Manson – The Blame on Him

by Jacy Ong

Yes indeed. Our kids were very young and innocent until the man that you fear came into the picture – Marilyn Manson.  It was a Tuesday, dated 20th in the month of April , of the year 1999, where two students, Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, embarked on a massacre, killing a total of 12 students and 1 teacher, and injuring 24 students at the Columbine High School.

“How can America hate something that it create? Its like being mad at your own shit.” 

America loves to find an icon to hang its guilt on, thus came the witch hunt. Music was immediately the focus as to why these two students went on a killing rampage. Media started blaming ‘shock’ metal bands, like Rammstein and KMFDM. However, Marilyn Manson seemed to be a better scapegoat as he was the poster boy for fear. He portrayed exactly what the media needed, to point fingers at. Marilyn Manson was only someone who sang some rock and roll songs, but the President of America himself was shooting bombs overseas. I think that’s really ironic, that nobody said “Well, maybe the President had an influence on this violent behaviour.” But no, accusations have been made persistently on him, because the two students listened to his songs when in fact, responsible journalists have reported with less publicity that Harris and Klebold were not Marilyn Manson fans – that they even disliked his music. Even if they were fans, that gives them no excuse, nor does it mean that music is to blame. Did we look for James Huberty’s inspiration when he gunned down people at McDonald’s? What did Timothy McVeigh like to watch? What about Jim Jones? Do you think entertainment inspired Kip Kinkel, or should we blame the fact that his father bought him the guns he used in the Springfield, Oregon, murders? What inspired Bill Clinton to blow people up in Kosovo? Was it something that Monica Lewinsky said to him? Isn’t killing just killing, regardless if it’s in Vietnam or Jonesboro, Arkansas? Why do we justify one, just because it seems to be for the right reasons? Should there ever be a right reason? If a kid is old enough to drive a car or buy a gun, isn’t he old enough to be held personally responsible for what he does with his car or gun? Or if he’s a teenager, should someone else be blamed because he isn’t as enlightened as an eighteen-year-old? You killed someone, took someone else’s life, and you cannot expect to get away with it by blaming it on the music, or even having the god band-aid around your forehead. Killing is killing, nothing more; nothing less. It doesn’t matter if you’re Christian or Muslim or even Atheist.

Marilyn Manson has been dealing with false rumours about him as the media saw him appropriate to be alleged of such things. The most bizarre rumour yet about him getting his ribs removed in order to facilitate self fellatio. Sure, if you were a stranger and knew nothing about the man, yes he did undergo surgery for such purposes. It’s because he looked the way that he looked – he did not wear khaki jeans and Ralph Lauren polo shirts. People dismissed him immediately of that act, when actually he had undergone that rib removal surgery because he was beaten up so badly that he had to remove his ribs.

It is at time like these where it seems that the media does not work in that self-righteous way, you know. When it comes to who is right or wrong, it boils down to how popular you are, or which religion you’re under. After the interview with Marilyn Manson in Michael Moore’s Bowling for Columbine (2002), people started to realise what an intelligent and civil man he actually is because of some of the important things he said which most people have take for granted.

“I wouldn’t say a single word to the victims. I would listen to what they have got to say and that’s what no one did.”

When it comes down to who’s to blame for the high school murders in Littleton, Colorado for example, just throw a rock and you’ll hit someone who’s guilty. We’re the people who sit back and tolerate children owning guns in America (you can actually buy a gun in Wal-Mart), and we’re the ones who tune in and watch the up-to-the-minute details of what they do with them on the television. It is terrible when anyone dies, especially if it is someone you know and love. But what is more offensive is that when these tragedies happen, most people don’t really care about these tragedies anymore than they do about the season finale of Friends or How I Met Your Mother. I was dumbfounded as I watched the media snake right in, not missing a teardrop, interviewing the parents of dead children, televising the funerals.

That is how the media works. But, admittedly, he has assumed the role of Antichrist; I am the Nineties voice of individuality, and people tend to associate anyone who looks and behaves differently with illegal or immoral activity. Deep down, most adults hate people who go against the grain. It’s comical that people are naive enough to have forgotten Elvis, Jim Morrison and Ozzy so quickly. All of them were subjected to the same age-old arguments, scrutiny and prejudice. Marilyn Manson wrote a song called Lunchbox, and some journalists have interpreted it as a song about guns. Ironically, the song is about being picked on and fighting back with his KISS lunch box, which he used as a weapon on the playground. Because back in school if you were a jock and not athletic, you can’t drink out of the water fountain. In 1979, metal lunch boxes were banned because they were considered dangerous weapons in the hands of delinquents.

“I think guilt is the biggest problem in America. People are always feeling guilty about being themselves.”

“Should you follow the rules that the world has set up for you? Or should you make your own? I choose to make my own.”

Everything is so televised nowadays that you don’t really know what is right or wrong, what to believe and what not to believe. They’re supposed to make you fear, and consume. It is the campaign of fear and consumption, to keep everyone afraid so they’ll consume.

Even Marilyn Manson was a journalist himself before he formed the band. He got fed up of the same sort of stories everyone is feeding him over and over again, he decided to turn over and do the talking.

“I was once a journalist myself and I do understand how the media works. I don’t like the media, in general. But I don’t have a problem with most journalists. The journalists I usually meet are people who are interested in what I’ve got to say. Most of the journalists who write all the rubbish that I’m a devil worshipper and stuff like that are people who don’t know me, who never even bothered to talk to me.

When I started working on the album it was important that there wasn’t any communication, that I could concentrate on the album, but that changed. Right now it is important that I can talk about it, that you ask me about it and I answer the questions. We’re both just doing our job.

I don’t mind talking to people, answering questions about my work and explaining my motivations. In a way, I feel it’s something I have to do – to explain what drives me. I still see myself as some sort of journalist. We’re both doing the same job. You write articles to express your feelings while I create music to express my feelings and try to express what goes on in the world and in my head. That’s another kind of journalism.”

There was no doubt that more controversies arose when he released his album titled Antichrist Superstar. It was bound to get refuted by both the people and mass media. However, this album was about being your own Antichrist, it was about killing off old ways you’ve been told to adhere to, killing off what you’ve been told that you have to believe, and not what you want to believe, and believe in yourself. Be your own God. The most terrifying thing about him is that he’s trying to advocate and encourage individuality because at the end of the day everybody wants a world where people can do and say whatever they want, but nobody wants to accept the responsibilities that go with that.

“Stop relying on the crutches of religion that has failed us in the past and believe in yourself.”

“Everybody has the potential to be their own god. It just takes writers, philosophers, music, and others to get them to realize that.”

Most people think that Marilyn Manson doesn’t believe in God, he has actually found his own God, but in a different way. In America, religion, morality; it’s basically just created to benefit the people who made it up, not the people who are controlled by it. He does believe there is a higher power in nature, but not necessarily worshipping it.

“Do you believe in the existence of Satan as an entity?” Manson replies: “I think Satan is a word that you can use to describe your animalistic side if, as a whole, everyone’s animalistic nature - I guess Satan exists in that sense - that part of everyone’s personality. I don’t believe in it as a “being”. It’s a word that represents rebellion, represents Man, represents a defiance towards society and God and the things that are forced upon us and are considered to be normal and acceptable.”
—An Interview with Marilyn Manson at the Capitol Ballroom,
Washington, D.C.,November 9, 1995.

“I think that human nature is a desire for, or always pushing toward, destruction. Man has created the idea of heaven and hell; man has created apocalypse, no other species has. So, if there will be an end of the world, it’s something we brought upon ourselves.”

“Kid’s should think for themselves. Not to be like your friends who think they’re individuals, but to be like you. Not to be like us, but to be what YOU are.”

Man’s greatest fear is chaos. It is no wonder that kids are growing up more cynical; they have a lot of information in front of them. They can see that they are living in a world that’s made of bullshit. In the past, there was always the idea that you could turn and run and start something better. But now America has become one big mall, and because of the Internet and all of the technology we have there’s nowhere to run. People are the same everywhere. Sometimes music, movies and books are the only things that let us feel like someone else feels like we do. He has always tried to let people know it’s OK, or better, if you don’t fit into the program. Use your imagination – if some geek from Ohio can become something, why can’t anyone else with the willpower and creativity?

You may still think that Marilyn Manson is an evil, ugly, and hateful man.

But he really isn’t.

If you have done your research and still think that it justifies you saying that he’s evil, I’m afraid I may need a word with you because I am willing to walk the extra mile to prove to people that Marilyn Manson is not what you think. And you sir, have been fooled by the media. We’re a copy staring at another copy so much that it degenerates, we do not know which came first, and that is where we are at right now. That is what I’d like to leave you guys with.
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