Two Saturdays ago, I watched Marilyn Manson practically devour the stage at the Donington Download Festival; twas a great performance for all parties, full of costume changes, glam rock spectacle, and fucking great tunes, old and new!
Two days earlier, I read a rather interesting interview with the eponymous lead singer in which he talked of the influences behind his new record – namely his divorce with his wife Dita Von Teese and subsequent (or overlapping) hook-up with actress Evan Rachel Wood. It brought to prominence my recent thinking on people’s dependence on each other for any kind of validation – social metaphysics, for all the Rand-inclined people in the audience….
Basically, in the interview, he talks of how things between him and Dita dissolved to dust, making a very telling confession in the process:
After awhile, I didn’t really know if anything I did made any sort of impact on her. I can’t feel like I’m a person or feel validated unless I can make someone else feel something.
Now, I travel along two paths of thought in regard to the above quote….
Why waste one’s time on someone who doesn’t see, understand and respond to you? Why have any type of close relationship – never mind a sexual one – with a person who tolerates you at best? After all, people get involved in the fucking things to enrich their lives. I want persons in my life who value me as much as I do them – who see me as bolstering their quality of life. Relationships of mutual, selfish give-and-gain, to put it bluntly.
So, as far as wanting someone he values to return the favour, to recognize what he values of himself, Mr Brian Warner strikes me as a healthy animal.
At the same time, it’s one thing to want one’s value to be recognized by others and quite another to need this recognition in order to grant value to oneself. When some one confesses to feeling like a nothing without the outside world, do they unwittingly confess to lacking some thing essential at the heart of themselves? Could one deem it audacious to question the existence of an inner core at the heart of such a person? Perhaps I speak somewhat harshly here, but I wonder what kind of psychological damage or fucked-up indoctrination a person must have undergone to reach such a stage in their thinking.
But to be honest, perhaps I talk hypocritically to a certain extent. I remember a time – about a decade down the line – when I had a gang of friends I’d often kick around and have fun with; then, just out of the blue circa ’99, it all came to an end, not with hell ‘n’ thunder crescendo, but a silent slinking from the stage; to put it bluntly, I remember feeling pretty damn shitty and worthless for a long time after, and I have a much harder time trusting people since. Perhaps that unannounced volte-face affected me in more ways than I feel comfy discussing at this point in time, but the point stands up well enough with what I have said – at the time , I lacked a sufficient recognition of my own value. All because I swallowed up all that sick cultural programming, prevalent in the high school experience, which more or less says that one needs people to be a person , to be complete and worthy human being.
Getting back to Manson, does this hunger for external validation underlie his musical career, I wonder? Song titles such as ‘If I Was Your Vampire’ and ‘The Reflecting God’ seem to suggest this, as do the themes of dependency found in songs like ‘Coma White’. It would surprise me not if his new entanglement with Evan Rachel Wood amounts to "a pill to make [him] anything at all". During a brief discussion with a friend regarding the article, she said of Manson "he wants a fan, not a wife". Fans undoubtedly prove a vital part of one’s financial success as a musician, and one could argue that relationships constitute a two-person mutual appreciation society; but does he simply need a New Model No15 to stick it in to know just who he is?
Perhaps this high-profile relationship rebound simply exemplifies a common cancer, eating away at the parties that form many a "normal" relationship. You, I and those around us find ourselves presented with many a line of codependent coke to snort up, via Hollywood and the examples of those before our time, seemingly designed to leave us potentially suffering severe withdrawal symptoms in the absence of fulfilment.
I for one prefer to go cold turkey!
Because whatever else I admire in the Antichrist Superstar, this "coma white" doesn’t rank as one of those things….