Manson then and now

Marilyn Manson
Agata Alexander

The word “slut” was painted on his forehead, an expletive
hand-drawn onto a black T-shirt. A Bible rested beside him on the
ground.

Cyrus was there to see the band Marilyn Manson perform. He was one of the first people in a long line for a sold-out show.

The
17-year-old is part of a new generation of Americans who have
discovered Marilyn Manson’s music. Cyrus’ first earful of Manson’s
chaotic brand of rock music was “Fight Song,” which he heard in Michael
Moore’s film, Bowling for Columbine.

On
Feb. 5, 1997, the teen might not have been able to wait for those doors
to open without facing a group of proselytizing Christians.

That was then

Marilyn Manson’s Dead to the World tour, which ran from 1996 to 1997,  made a stop in Oklahoma City that day. In the month leading up to the
show, a group called Oklahomans for Children and Families (OCAF) petitioned the Oklahoma City Council to block the show. They collected more
than 20,000 signatures, but ultimately failed.

The
council asked the venue, the State Fair Park, to consider terminating
the contract with the artist. Fair officials chose not to, arguing that
doing so would invite litigation from the band.

Instead, OCAF and its supporters had to settle on an enhanced police presence on alert for any violations of state laws by the band.

Rep.
Paul Wessehoft, R-Moore, was the spokesman for OCAF at the time of
Manson’s 1997 visit. He said the police did not report that Manson’s
performance violated any rules, but he still believes his group made an
impact.

“The fact that
we brought all the pressure made them circumspect, made them conscious
of not violating the law,” Wesselhoft said.

Tim
Roundtree, 34, was at that concert in 1997, as well as last week’s
appearance. He recalled Manson’s reaction to the band of Christian
protesters outside the venue before the show: “He said the people
outside were going to hell.”

This is now

So why was no one standing outside the Diamond Ballroom in 2012, thumping Bibles and singing Psalms?

“It’s strange to know
that a lot of shit that I was almost killed for seems utterly irrelevant
to people now,” Manson said in the March issue of Revolver magazine.

Cyrus suggested that the lack of protest is due to a cultural paradigm shift.

“Personally,
after 9/11, I think things changed,” he said. “Things got more serious
because people weren’t worrying about [Marilyn Manson] so much; they
started worrying about

more political things.”

Indeed,
in the last six months, gay rights have taken center stage in American
politics and media, and abortion has become the flagpole of women’s
rights, with every side scrambling to reach the top first.

In
Oklahoma, hot debates have erupted this spring over the now-stagnant
personhood bill, which sought to grant constitutional protections to
fertilized human eggs.

Marilyn Manson still draws plenty of fans, but few protesters.
Mark Hancock

Wesselhoft
said that since being elected to office, he has not been approached by
any groups hoping to block a controversial performance. But he has had a
lot of people approach him about abortion.

“Pro-life issues are very important,” he said.

Wesselhoft also offered another possibility.

“Our
culture has become more tolerant of musical acts and other forms of
entertainment that a decade or two ago we would object to,” he said.
“Our culture is slipping toward Gomorrah.”

Whether
it is thanks to a change in political priorities, cultural focus or
desensitization, the folks attending the May 15 concert were able to
wait in peace.

When asked about the absence of Christian protesters, some people at the front of the line said, “They’re at the Thunder game.”

Mitch Tillison

This material falls under the archives category because it was imported from our previous website. It will eventually be filtered into the proper category as time allows.

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