In one of those rare moments in life when the stars seem to align just right and everything falls into place as if it was meant to be, I found out that Marilyn Manson, one of my all time favorite artists, was going to be playing a show in Portland on my birthday. Suffice it to say that I was thrilled.
I’d recently downloaded his new album, The High End of Low; and the more I listened to it, the more it grew on me. And I definitely wasn’t disappointed. The show itself was awesome, even though Manson himself is now forty and slightly out of shape.
Shakespeare famously wrote, “All the world’s a stage, And all the men and women merely players,” but what does it really matter in the end if you’re not being true to yourself? Whether you’ve tried to act like a saint, or played the part of a sinner, why bother wasting time trying to be something you’re not, something you don’t even want to be, when the world will just as likely turn on you either way?
A few years ago, people hailed Manson as an iconic antihero reflecting our all-American hypocrisy back at us, saying he didn’t “pull any punches.” These same people now criticize him as a fat, washed up has-been who should quietly slink away from the spotlight—as if they’ve done anything remotely noteworthy their entire, pathetic lives and possess some kind of self-appointed authority over when other people should stop being themselves.
And all the while Manson, now noticeably older and slightly overweight, is still doing what he does best—challenging society’s ideas of what’s acceptable while defiantly giving the world the same two middle fingers—with the attitude of, in his own words: “What’re you going to do, punish me? Is there something worse than where I’m at now? Is there a prison that is worse than the one I’m in, that I put myself in?”
Yes, the once tall and slender “god of fuck,” the symbol of rebellion for a whole generation of young social outcasts, has gotten fat. And I love him for it.