11.21.2011

The Mansons were idiots, and while I'm at it so is Marilyn Manson

Sharon Tate
January 24, 1943 – August 9, 1969

Ever since reading Helter Skelter in high school, I've been fascinated by the Manson murders, if only because they made no sense. The Manson "family" committed a slew of horrific crimes for the sake of...well, nothing actually. The crime that sticks out in everyone's mind is the murder of Sharon Tate. The Valley of the Dolls actress was almost nine months pregnant with Roman Polanski's baby, which the murderous group took upon themselves to practically remove from her body.

It’s one thing to get past the dark history and have a new family move in to the home. That would give the Mansons less cultural and historical power. But it’s a whole other thing to try to make a profit off the tragedy. I was annoyed when I found out that Trent Reznor used it as a recording studio with Nine Inch Nails, and more so when he ushered in his little protégé Marilyn Manson to record there. Adding insult to injury, they named the studio "Pig Studios" or "Le Pig," after what was scrawled across the door in Sharon Tate's blood. It’s as if the bands needed that gimmick to make themselves more dark and interesting, because they lacked the character and personality to be at all substantial.

Even Christina Ricci agrees. Regarding Marilyn Manson, she is quoted as saying, "I hate the things they preach. They found a gimmick that sells. The fact that they're making money off all these teenage kids who actually believe in their message is disgusting."

The tragedy took place on Cielo Drive, and I recently hiked there with my greyhounds. I know the address had been switched to ward off drive-by gawking, but walk-by non-gawking with your dogs makes you look like a neighbor, and I knew where the house was.

The neighborhood was still. In fact, everything was eerily quiet as if recovering from their turbulent past. No cars drove by, no one was tending to their lawn, no smells of cooking or faint sounds of music. The opening scene of Helter Skelter shows Tate's frantic housemaid tearing down Cielo Drive screaming and waving her arms in the air. As I walked up that isolated street, this image kept flashing in my mind. The maid must have been terrified, thinking that the killers may have still been on the property. I wondered what the killers said to Tate before ending her life, and what went through her own mind. I thought about how senseless it all was. Manson gave us even more proof that if you stand for nothing, you'll fall for anything. He was a failed musician and a drug-crazed egomaniac who brainwashed a group of bored stupid people from the suburbs. That's all it was.

I stood at the gate with my dogs and stole a glance at the new house/studio built where the old home stood. Thanks goodness Trent and his crappy music factory have moved. I'm happy to say he grew up.  I then turned around and walked briskly back to my car. It wasn't as interesting as I thought it would be. I didn't think it was cool. I didn’t think it was rock and roll. The whole thing was just sad.

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