The First Amendment of the United States Constitution allows all American citizens the right to choose, practice, and share their own religion, express themselves through speech and media, and to peacefully assemble. Although these are rights of all American citizens, individuals and groups of American citizens often become offended by the acts of others. Author, actor, artist, singer, songwriter, Brian Warner, more commonly known as Marilyn Manson, is known as one of the ?notorious and controversial entertainers of the 1990s? (Gray 147). Since his debut with his first album ?Portrait of an American Family,? thousands of people, from forty-seven states and seventeen countries, have protested his work claiming his lyrics and actions are ?obscene? and ?sickening? (Gray 149). The content produced by Manson is said to have provoked underage sexual activity, anti-Christian behavior, animal cruelty, drug use, and teen violence. Former senator Joseph Lieberman of Connecticut described Marilyn Manson as ?the sickest individual ever promoted by a mainstream record company? (Manson, Road 262).
Despite the controversy, Marilyn Manson has released several valid statements that not only defend his position, but also prÃÂ©cis and challenge the notions and actions of the American society.
In a public statement written by Marilyn Manson and released by The Rolling Stone Magazine, Manson states, ?People tend to associate anyone who looks and behaves differently with illegal or immoral activity? (Manson, Columbine par. 7). In the quotation?s context, Manson is defending himself against Americans who have held him responsible for the 1999 Columbine High School shooting in Littleton, Colorado. Manson explains that Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold were reported by several ?responsible journalists? not to be fans of his music (par.6). He later explains, based on his controversial lyrics, image, and production he was an easy target for an ?Anti-Manson-Society? to blame (Par. 8-10). Another example of Americans associating people who stand outside the norms of society with negativity occurred following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Immediately Arab, Muslim, South Asian, and Sikh Americans were discriminated against and many members of society presumed them responsible for the attack. Within seven months of the terrorist attacks, Alexander Acosta, the assistant attorney general in charge of the civil rights division, had reported investigating more than six hundred acts of violence and discrimination against Arab Americans (Zher 193). These acts also affected children. Acosta noted an ?Okalahoma school district suspended a Muslim girl for wearing a hijab, or head scarf?, and ?A California teacher allegedly accused a Sikh student who wore a beard of being a member of the Taliban in Afghanistan? (Zher 193). A Zogby survey of Arab-Americans showed, ?One in five said they had ?personally experienced discrimination since the attacks,? and 45 percent said they know ?someone of Arabic ethnicity or with an Arabic-speaking background? who has faced discrimination since September 11? (Schneider 87). For centuries traditional Arab-Americans have lived and dressed slightly different than most Americans, due to their religious and cultural differences. Their differences were targeted following the terrorist attacks, just as Marilyn Manson?s were following the Columbine High School shooting.
On the homepage to his website, Marilyn Manson raises the metaphoric question ?Is adult entertainment killing our children? Or is killing our children entertaining our adults?? Since 1994, organizations such as the Christian Family Network, Knights of Columbus, and the American Family Association have protested at Manson?s concerts urging people not to attend the event claiming he performs ?sexual acts on band members, uses obscene language, and urges children to kill their parents and God? (Manson, Road 252). Manson refutes these allegations by saying ?All of my concerts require attendants to be above the age of sixteen. I do suck Twiggy?s [a band member?s] dick and get mine sucked. I do not urge my fans to kill anyone? (Manson, Road 253). He claims ?people get so involved in protesting my music that they raise their children to be Anti-Manson beasts? (Manson, Road 253). Another example of people ?killing? their children?s minds through their negativity reflects upon the modern Barbie Doll. The doll, produced by Mattel, has recently been discovered to be modeled after a German ?street walker,? Lilli, who was sold in the 1950?s as an adult novelty. Mattel bought the patent in 1959 and transformed Lilli into Barbie. Since this transformation became recognized in the late 1990?s, thousands of parents have prohibited their children from playing with the dolls (Quan par. 2-5). The outraged parents stirred up enough commotion to persuade a small toy store in Vermont to stop selling the doll (Quan par. 7). Children do not understand the lyrical content of Marilyn Manson or the origins of Barbie; parents who take the experiences from their children ?kill? their children?s development.
After the release of his 1996 album, ?Anitchrist Superstar,? a Music Television (MTV) host interviewed Marilyn Manson focusing on his intentions behind the title. Manson responds, ?I am not against God; I am against the misuse of God? (Antichrist par. 2). In his autobiography, The Long Hard Road out of Hell, Manson explains ?Religion is more of a hat that people put on when it?s convenient if they're trying to make money or to make themselves feel as though they have something worthwhile in their life? (159). Manson defends he is an Antichrist, which holds it meaning from the Greek origin meaning ?instead of Christ? (158). He feels his conflict with some Christians comes from Christian eschatology which interprets the Antichrist as ?a person or image of a person that is the embodiment of evil and opposed to the truth, while convincingly disguised as a wholly good and bringer of truth? (158). In countless interviews and his book, Manson expresses his resent for Christianity claiming followers are ?hypocritical, fake, controlling, and lack true spirit? (Gray 151). Another example of many Christians misusing God occurred at the 59th annual Red Rocks Sunrise Easter Service, in Morrison, Colorado. Reverend Joseph Nixon from Shorter African Methodist Episcopal Church presented the offering and noted the service cost twenty-thousand dollars to put on. He then mentioned that if there are ten-thousand people at the service, everyone needs to contribute two dollars, and someone in the audience has to contribute four dollars for themselves and the baby they were holding. The pamphlet passed out at the service noted a special thanks to the Gay and Lesbian Fund for Colorado for their fifteen-thousand dollar grant for the occasion. The offering manipulated the attending Christians and went against the bible. Including the fifteen-thousand dollar grant, the cost of the service would have been five-thousand dollars, meaning everyone there needed to contribute fifty cents. King James Version of the Bible reads, ?Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it [is] abomination? (Leviticus 18.22). The same version also reads, ?If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death? (Leviticus 20.13). This shows the Bible?s resent for homosexual activity. The service coordinators should not have accepted the grant from the Gay and Lesbian Fund of Colorado nor have insisted worshipers contribute a specific amount.
Opposing the idea that Marilyn Manson?s views on the American Society are valid, Civil Rights Leader and Minister, Johnny Lee Clary, has an entire website devoted to his resent for the performer. On his website, Clary refers to Manson as ?Satan?s Little Helper,? and ?Charles Manson? (par. 2-3). He urges people to ban the music of Marilyn Manson and claims the entertainer is responsible for the Columbine High School shooting and is a transsexual (par. 17 and 21). Clary also uses bible phrases to influence his Christian audience such as, "Shall your brethren go to war, and shall ye sit here?" (Num. 32:6). He urges his fellow Christians to stop Marilyn Manson through protest and ?publishing the names of those who rent their halls to the freak? (par. 39). Although Johnny Lee Clary has a lot of resent for Marilyn Manson, he fails to examine the views and works of the performer. Clary renames Manson as ?Satan?s Little Helper,? and ?Charles Manson,? though the entertainer has no association with Satan or the murderer. There is no evidence supporting Clary?s allegation that Manson is responsible for the Columbine High School shooting. Marilyn Manson is not a transsexual, although, he did wear ?a jumpsuit, with breasts, on the cover of ?Mechanical Animals?? (Gray 147). Clary manipulates his fellow Christians by using the words of the book they worship to urge them to stop Manson. If Christians did not follow his actions, as described in the Bible, they would feel they are forsaking their religion. This is a prime example of Clary ?misusing God.? In Conclusion, Marilyn Manson has said several valid expressions that characterize the American society that strongly opposes him. He has shown that society discriminates against everyone, including himself and Arab-Americans. He threatens the way Americans view themselves and their children in relevance to Adult Entertainment and puts adults in a position of blame. He also has explained he is ?not against God?, as many Christians have believed. He is however, against the way Christians misuse the word of God to gain power, money, and control over one another. Clary has a right to dislike the work of Marilyn Manson, though; he should have reasoning for his resent. As one of the most influential, positive and negative, entertainers of the 1990s, Marilyn Manson has been protested and condemned, but his voice has still been heard.
Works Cited ?Antichrist Superstar.? MTV. 1996. Music Television Network. 4 May 2006. .
Clary, Johnny Lee. ?The Truth About Marilyn Manson? Johnny Lee Clary Ministries. 4 Jun. 2006. 4 May 2006. .
Holy Bible. King James Version. New York: Oxford, 1980.
Manson, Marilyn. ?Columbine: Whose Fault is It?? Rolling Stone. 28 May 1999. 4 May 2006. .
Manson, Marilyn. The Long Hard Road Out of Hell. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1998.
Quan, Tracey. ?The Littlest Harlot.? Mother?s Who Think. 2000. 30 Apr. 2006. .
Schneider, Troy K. ?Polling Arab-Americans.? National Journal. 33.42 (2001). 5 May 2006. .
Zher, Mary Ann. ?Justice Dept. Asks Schools to Fight Post-9/11 Bias.? Education Week.
24.2 (2004). 5 May 2006. .