Blame Marilyn: The high crimes and misdemeanors of Marilyn Manson
Is the '90s shock-rocker really all that bad? We find out
Marilyn Manson is still going strong, but Brian Warner, the man behind the pancake makeup, is a 40-year-old relic of the ’90s. Nowadays, it’s hard to believe this industrial shock-rocker ever caused as much as a mild rash, but it wasn’t all that long ago that Manson was music’s Public Enemy No. 1, pegged by nervous suburban moms and professional outrage harvesters as the vanguard of a wave of teen degeneracy that would soon consume all of our children. These days, of course, the biggest crime Marilyn Manson is guilty of is riding on his sputtering reputation. But how much of the stuff he used to get blamed for really his fault? In advance of tonight's show at The Rave/Eagles Ballroom, let's run down the accusations.
The crime: Columbine
The charges: In the wake of the horrific student massacre at Columbine High School in 1999, reports emerged that killers Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were fans of Manson, who somehow “influenced” them into committing the terrible crime.
Culpability: Nonexistent. It later became clear that neither shooter was a fan of Manson's music, and the easy-explanation crowd shifted their attention to video games.
The crime: Columbine II
The charges: In 2007, a teenager named Asa Coon shot five people, including himself, on his Cleveland high school campus while wearing a Marilyn Manson T-shirt.
Culpability: Miniscule. Coon was at least a fan of Manson, but so are millions of other teenagers who don’t go on to shoot up their schools.
The crime: Teen suicide
The charges: In the mid-’90s, Manson touched off a moral panic, and a number of political figures, including Joe Lieberman, Bill Bennett, and Sam Brownback—no strangers, it should be noted, to pandering—publicly denounced him as a threat to the social order. The nadir of all this occurred during public hearing before the U.S. Senate Subcommittee on Oversight of Government Management and Restructuring, when Lieberman trotted out a man named Raymond Kuntz to claim that Antichrist Superstar was responsible for his son’s suicide.
Culpability: None. The sight of some unfortunate parent hopelessly blaming a child’s death on a heavy-metal band is by now a common sight, but no more edifying that it ever was. Blaming Marilyn Manson won’t help depressed, miserable kids get help any more than blaming Judas Priest or Ozzy Osbourne ever did.
The crime: Cradle-robbing
The charges: Manson has long been linked with high-profile romantic partners, from actress Rose McGowan to burlesque queen Dita von Teese. His most recent girlfriend, however, was Evan Rachel Wood—who was barely 19 when she started dating the then-37-year-old Manson.
Culpability: High. Manson’s love affairs have always inspired a blend of jealousy and ickiness along with an always-amusing goofiness factor. (He’s apparently still locked in a custody battle over his and Von Teese’s cats.) But a dude in his late 30s dating a teenager is unpleasant, even if he doesn’t wear fake boobs in public.