Jeff Niesel of Cleveland Free Times reports that shock 'n' roller MARILYN MANSON, once the king of controversy, is now about as spooky as the "Phantom of the Opera". Take his role in Michael Moore's controversial film, "Bowling for Columbine", in which he dissects the "fear and consumption" at work in American culture with the acumen of a college professor. His steadfast critique has won him newfound fans who appreciate the kinder and gentler side of his persona — a side that's always been there, but hasn't really been displayed in public. When he speaks out of character, Manson, who was born Brian Warner, sounds more sane than you'd imagine, given his propensity for outlandish stage shows.
"If I had a dollar for every person who's come up to me and said they appreciated what I said in that film, it would be a different story for me," Manson says via phone from a tour stop in Canada. "It's changed the way people treat me. But the movie has a severe political agenda that I can't agree with."
Manson's politics aren't really that complicated. He draws upon fascist imagery as a form of deconstruction, manipulating the masses to show the fascism inherent in both rock 'n' roll and politics. On his latest album, "The Golden Age of the Grotesque", he makes connections between the pre-Nazi period of Germany, the McCarthyism of the '50s and the current political climate — all formulations he started to make before the Bush election.
If Manson's not so scary anymore, perhaps it has as much to do with the fact that conservative politics now seem more threatening than a guy in a girdle and black boots. Manson created quite a fury in the '90s — but controversy isn't something that can be easily sustained, especially in an age when it's so hard to shock. Read more.