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Response to Marilyn Manson’s

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Marilyn Manson’s article on Columbine is in defense of himself concerning the blame from the media for the shootings in Littleton, Colorado. The points he brought up in his defense impressed me. I never really expected him to have that kind of outlook on things. There were a few controversial points that I was shocked to have seen brought up, like religion. He is the self proclaimed Antichrist and bringing religion into such a heated subject to begin with was very gutsy. Overall I think that his main point is that art, namely music, is not to blame for society’s problems. Instead we should look into our values and teaches as a country.

In his essay, Marilyn Manson points out that as a race, humans are not perfect. From the beginning, the Bible tells that that we are sinners and killers. The Bible also gives rise to groupies and followers of celebrities, starting with biblical leaders. He also points out that War has been a huge part of our society since civilization began, but more recently with bombs and retaliation on countries that do not fit our standards as a country. Another good point that caught my eye was that all over the country guns are in the homes of so many families. Huge rifles for hunting to small handguns for “protection” are not uncommon in our society, making weapons easily available to our nation’s youth. One point that he makes clear that I personally strongly agree with is that the media doesn’t really do anything to hinder our youth from outrageous behavior. The media swarmed the incident at Columbine making it widely known and gave explicit details during and after the shootings. After that incident many others of the same nature occurred around the country. Where do you think those kids got the idea?

After he defends and deflects the attention away from himself by pointing out numerous examples of how violence is everywhere in our society, Manson brings positive attention to artists of all kinds by saying that they allow society to identify with them by putting their opinions out there. He makes a point by saying that many people identify with artists opinions and works, letting people know that they are not alone in feeling a certain way. He then points out that religion is our first real form of entertainment. The Bible is a book of stories; church is filled with songs and people in costume coming together in support of the ultimate celebrity, God. Although his point about religion is not his strongest point, it really caught my eye and drew me into his essay because it is such a controversial subject to bring up.

A good point that Manson brings up is that the media depicts tons of violent heroes. Even the President is a violent hero. “What inspires Bill Clinton to blow up people in Kosovo? Was it something that Monica Lewinsky said to him? Isn’t killing just killing, regardless if it’s in Vietnam or Jonesboro, Arkansas? Why do we justify one, just because it seems to be for the right reasons?”(Manson, 444) I think that this is a great point to bring up, and there doesn’t really seem to be an answer for it. We, as a country, applaud our President for going to war with other countries and killing innocent people. When things like 9/11 happen to us we scream in out rage that it isn’t fair, but that is what our country does to other countries in every war and conflict. As a nation we are powerful and violent, and it reflects on us as a society.

Manson also pointed out that the media would do anything for good ratings. Sex and violence sell and they will go to great lengths to provide that to their viewers. “I was dumbfounded as I watched the media snake right in, not missing a teardrop, interviewing the parents of dead children, televising the funerals” (Manson, 444). That is a very good point. Was it really necessary for the funerals to be televised? Wasn’t it enough to watch screaming high school kids running out of the building and crying hysterically as they retold their personal experience of the shootings? After those telecasts every news station in the country was talking about the horrible incident in Littleton, Colorado and all of them were looking for someone to blame. “And the news – that’s obvious. So is entertainment to blame? I’d like media commentators to ask themselves, because their coverage of the event was some of the most gruesome entertainment any of us had ever seen” (Manson, 445). I really like that point that he makes. It is really in defense of art as an entertainment form. Music and movies might be violent, but they are most often fiction or only based on a true story. Those news telecasts were live and very graphic; there was nothing fake about it.

The point Manson made about society as the one to blame also really stuck out in my mind. “When it comes down to who’s to blame for those high school murders in Littleton, Colorado, throw a rock and you’ll hit someone who’s guilty. We’re the people who sit back and tolerate children owning guns, and we’re the ones who tune in and watch the up-to-the-minute details of what the do with them” (Manson, 443). Guns are everywhere, especially in rural areas were hunting is a way of life. Fathers teach their sons how to hold, aim, and shoot guns long before they are legally eligible to have one themselves. “If a kid is old enough to drive a car or buy a gun, isn’t he old enough to be held personally responsible for what he does with that car or gun?” (Manson, 444) This is very true and often overlooked. Our government allows teenagers to legally hold guns and cars at a relatively young age. So if we allow young people to have such large responsibilities at their disposal shouldn’t they be the ones to blame? Society has said no. The opinions have showed that they would rather blame movies and music than allow “responsible” young adults to be at fault.

I feel that Manson does a great job in his essay to deflect attention to other obvious scapegoats in our society. Some of his arguments were stronger than others, but on a whole he brought up great examples of things in our society that could be held accountable for the shootings. Most all of the reasons he brought up were far better than the reasons he was blamed. Manson makes very bold statements in his essay about society. He points out things that are very obvious, but not often looked upon because of our society’s narrow-minded view of the world. Society could never blame itself for the bad things that happen within its realm. It must be someone else’s fault because our President doesn’t kill for no good reason he does it for our protection and the protection of other countries. Our news media doesn’t blow things out of proportion for good ratings, and we as a people don’t condone violence and guns by accepting it in the media and as a part of everyday life, or do we?

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