DISSECTING MARILYN MANSONGavin Baddely
Plexus Publishing
2000

Marilyn Manson is more than a mere rock star — he is a cultural phenomenon. He has created a phantasmal world of freaks irresistible to a generation of disaffected youth, while generating unprecedented controversy and protests from conservative and Christian organizations. In Dissecting Marilyn Manson author Gavin Baddeley performs a cultural autopsy, examining the seminal influences and psychotic sources that have created this fascinating Frankenstein’s monster. With its heavily visual approach, the text and pictures form a pathological scrapbook that explore the Manson mythos in an irreverent but deeply authoritative manner. Each chapter explores a different facet of the Manson persona, with its corresponding influences and obsessions: the cultural archetypes — murderer Charles Manson and sex kitten Marilyn Monroe — that gave birth to Marilyn Manson; Satanism, and the dominant shadows of Anton LaVey and Aleister Crowley; childhood fears and subversive pre-teen fantasies; the gothic and industrial music subcultures; the Internet; science fiction; drugs and disease; cross-dressing and glam rock; sexual fetishes and sadomasochism; fascist imagery and the philosophy of Nietzsche; hallucinatory cinema, and Marilyn Manson’s Holy Wood film project.

Yeah, yeah, another book concerning one Marilyn Manson. What can I say, I find the concept interesting. And what drew me to this book was the fact that it wasn’t another biography on the band / man; instead, Dissecting Marilyn Manson really does take a good hard journalistic approach towards the man, the myth, the self-proclaimed Antichrist Superstar himself.

The author, Gavin Baddeley, has had a pretty good career as a journalist reporting on the darker side of things, including the industrial, goth, and metal scenes. And like Manson, Baddeley is an honorary member of the Church of Satan. And while that may scream “biased!”, Baddeley actually takes a very detached approach toward the subject, touching on the history of the band as well as the front man, then delving into the various multi-faceted aspects behind the wackiness. The book touches on the Goth, Industrial and Punk histories, as well as the roots of the Satanist philosophies and dark mysticism, the twisted pop culture, fascism, sexual perversion, and the other influences intertwined in the music. Along with the general text of the book, there’s all sorts of interesting side bars to keep one’s interest. Very good bathroom reading at the very least, and I did find this rather informative on many aspects…

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