I was never a fan of Marilyn Manson. Merely due to the fact that I felt he is pretentious and arrogant. Or at least, that's how we portraits himself a lot in his videos and performances. Similarly, I could never really take much out of his music, which essentially rips off the rock dinosaurs of the 1970's like T-Rex, Zeppelin, Alice Cooper, ect... Lot's of glamor, lot's of spectacle ect., and somehow not enough balls or sleazyness (read: "Appetite for Destruction" [for those that don't know ...a pop cultural reference to Guns n' Roses debut album]) to convert me.
Manson portrayed the generic rock star to me. Shock and awe without a cause... at least, I did not grasp the concept, the artist statement behind this monstrous production off and on the stage. It seemed so much like a rebel without a cause - something I am really tired of. Although, I appreciate direct and unpolished provocation if I can follow why. To just provoke merely to stage and sell an image always seemed too lame and was one of the reasons why Punk and Hardcore with its nitty-gritty youthful power and angst was more approachable to me back in the day when my musical, and even more so my ideological universe was shaped.
Manson seemed like the "enemy". Not because he was the "Anti-Christ Superstar" or anything regarding his rather predictable provocation. (Although, I am not Anti-Christian, I wouldn't exactly consider myself fancying the Christian Right in this country either! Though, I believe to understand the agenda behind it a little more today after immigrating to the States.) The "enemy" because he sold the "revolution" (figuratively speaking) via using and abusing cheap-trick, washed down provo-rhetoric that the world first saw in the 70's and 80's already (think: Black Sabbath, Dio, Slayer).
However, in regards of the entire Columbine discussion I never bought any of that white-bread protestant garbage talk tying the shootings entirely to one artist. I mean, wtf?! I've worked 6 years in the juvenile youth welfare system of the German State and I can say with downright conviction that the family, especially your parents and the parenting style are first and foremost relevant to how you will deal with the shit that happens to an individual. And of course, there is more than "just bad parenting" as well. Sure! Once a person hits puberty the peer group will most likely pose a stronger pressure and a greater influence on someone than the parents. However, the roots, the bloody roots are right there with your parents. Even, when they are hardly there, physically, mentally, or both.
Similarly, the infrastructure of your environment, things like urban planning, are not completely out of the picture either. On a more subtle level, it is significant if your town provides interesting things, spaces, and places for its youth other than the terribly monochrome shopping temples also known as America's shopping malls. I speak about YMCAs, parks, skateparks, Boys and Girls Clubs. Non-commercial spaces where you can enjoy being a kid, where you aren't harassed by the ever-flowing blabber of desire-infusing billboards and commercials. Places where the average teen can flee from the daunting isolation and solitude of the internet, the social platform website and live a life. Where they live their own life, rather than consuming others' life via TV, YouTube, Perez Hilton, and online gaming communities,where you hide in a surreal world of darkness, murder, and power-phantasies (think: World Of Warcraft for example).
Well, I am going off on tangents here. Anyway, when I watched Bowling for Columbine a few years back, my picture of Manson changed. His rhetorical capacity was more elaborate, sophisticated, and deeper than your average dim-witted rock star gibberish. And then, a few nights ago on my oh so beloveth MacBook I am on the search for Henry Rollins spoken word on YouTube and find a few skits from his much acclaimed Henry Rollins Show on the IPC network. Among other pieces I find a 2 interesting clips.
Although, I will probably never end up as a M. M. fan, I have to admit that I can see his background, motivation, thus his art from a different, more appreciative perspective. In addition, I have to point out that, once again, since I am a US resident and the relentless vile, and hateful rhetoric coming from the (religious) right in this nation I have the seen ever since, I get a more accurate picture of what may have sparked Manson's rebellish image and music.
But here, watch for yourself:
P.s.: I have to give my awesome wife some credit here. Since she is much more knowledgeable in art and art theory, of course she "got" Manson way before I did. While she always abhorred his musical contribution and cockyness, she always gave him credit for being a person that has more intellectual depth than one would assume, assessing his public persona. Well, you know... I've never been an art geek. I guess, I still am a blunt hardcore-punk kiddo at heart. To speak with Bl'ast!: "It's in my blood!"