This week actress Evan Rachel Wood tossed a snowball that grew into a roaring avalanche of shame that has flattened the career of one Brian Warner, a man popularly known as the shock-artist, Marilyn Manson. Ms. Wood claims that when they were a couple Manson subjected her to mind control and physical abuse. As of this writing eleven more women have joined a swelling female chorus against the man. The engines of Cancel Culture have swung into action against him too, as he finds himself unceremoniously dismissed from his talent agency, his own long-time manager, and even his very own record label.
In his defense Mr. Manson has submitted a claim that all his relationships have been consensual. Additionally, Manson’s former wife, the famous model Dita Van Teese, along with his current wife have submitted claims in support of their relationships with him. Listening to the claims of Ms. Wood and others, I do very much get the impression that we have sadomasochistic kinks in play with Mr. Manson here. That’s always difficult to explain and impossible to defend! (Why live on the edge of such a knife??) But it’s no matter — any defense of Manson is released to the winds like a mere whistle in the roar of the looming avalanche that is steamrolling that sucker flat.
I ask myself, “Why now? Why this sudden uproar against Marilyn Manson?” For did anybody ever have the crazy idea that this man was at any point possessed of a single virtue? And if so how is that possible because his entire career has been a giant, open revelry of nihilism. To delve into the world constructed by Manson is to delve into pain and rage. Manson literally screams against every sort of order — societal, religious, economic, political — even as he celebrates killing, murder, revenge, rape, tortures. Manson and members of his original band in fact named themselves, each one, after various serial killers. Early on in his career Manson hooked up with the high priest of the Church of Satan, Anton LeVey, who made Manson a reverend. Manson has labored over the problem of creating the biggest spectacle possible, promoting his celebrations of evil and dark things.
Note well that all these things were not only perfectly fine with kingmakers of the music industry, but they were why Manson was given a career. Don’t kid yourself about the entertainment industry. Talent is great but talent is no predictor of success. Some might agree and add, “Yes, it all comes down to making a quick buck!!” But that position is also naive, for the entertainment kingmakers are not merely serving a space that is organically creating itself. No! Never! The kingmakers of this realm are very well acquainted with the importance, their need even, to create these public spaces and to guide people through them. Marilyn Manson was a made man. If he wasn’t evil enough in the beginning, he was pushed in that direction! That was his allotted role.
Manson must be sitting bewildered and amazed in his castle tonight. For he is the same man that he has always been, and none of his flaws nor his evil have ever been hidden. No, he has flaunted them!! What has changed, why is he suddenly cast out? It could be that he’s simply beyond his useful expiration date, and now the cost of protecting him is more than he’s worth. That is a weak argument because, truth be told, he was never worth much. He was always a performance artist of limited value. If he was not up to the task of going forth to beguile, an eager legion of others stood ready for a turn!
The better answer is his limited value has become a liability instead. Manson and his followers are rebels and always were, always raging against every kind of order. That makes them useful only to a group that is seeking power. The Manson Family becomes a liability, however, once that power is gained. And so they must be cast aside before they turn on their makers – as Satanists everywhere always will do.