Slate recently ran a highly amusing article entitled "The Worst Celebrity Profile Ever Written?", regarding a particularly fawning Esquire profile of Angelina Jolie, who was dubbed no less than "the best woman in the world" therein. But the completely besotted author of that article is certainly not alone in giving the rich and famous written blowjobs in national publications, and today we will discuss Jonathan Ames' "Return of the Living Dead," an ass-kissing interview with Marilyn Manson that caused me to nearly lose my tall nonfat Starbucks chai just now. (Spin, June 2007 issue)
First of all, I have to say that maybe Evan Rachel Wood isn't all that bad for Manson. He's looking pretty good in these photos (for him, anyway), and he's working a nice gothemo haircut (kind of My Chemical Romance-y). He's still wearing makeup, but he's not trying to be as purposely fugly these days. Nice job.
I should probably add the disclaimer here that although I think Manson's been kind of an underachiever as of late, I am a fan of much of his work, especially Portrait of an American Family, Antichrist Superstar, and especially Mechanical Animals. To be honest, I was rather relieved that Manson wasn't going to play the role of "I'm so angst-filled that I'm Satan" forever. I've not been terribly impressed by anything he's produced since then (although Golden Age of the Grotesque had some fun ditties), and his most recent video, "Heart-Shaped Glasses," wherein he gets into some very compromising positions with the young Miss Wood REEKS of midlife-crisis desperation. But I'm digressing. My point is, I'm not predisposed to dislike a feature article about Marilyn Manson, but I wouldn't be inclined to suck his metaphorical or actual cock either.
So basically Jonathan Ames hangs out at Marilyn Manson's place, gets drunk and high with Manson despite Ames' misgivings regarding his own "mental problems and mild liver problems," and apparently feels REALLY REALLY cool hanging out with Manson, which he proceeds to tell us all about.
"A few hours later, the sun is up and I pull into a gas station on my way to the airport. As I pay for the gas at the register, I see that amid the display of magazines is a copy of Penthouse with Dita Von Teese on the cover. The coverline reads: SEE WHAT MANSON'S MISSING. This is too strange. I buy Penthouse for the first time in probably 25 years, but I feel a little embarrassed and try to explain my purchase to the cashier, 'I know him. Marilyn Manson.' 'Really?' the cashier responds."
Well, shit, color me impressed.
In this article, we are told that Manson is a romantic, which is his most endearing quality and also that "His face is sweet, and his eyes, without his usual colored contacts, are kindly." So forgive me if I feel like I've stumbled into some Goth edition of Teen Beat. The author also leaves statements from Manson like "people would say that drugs and alcohol wrecked my marriage. But buyer beware," curiously unchallenged. He's too busy getting drunk on absinthe (ooh, scary! atmospheric! probably not as hallucinogenic as Ames thinks!) to ask any provocative questions like, oh, why do you continue to hide behind the makeup? What's the status on this Alice in Wonderland horror pic of yours? Does your nihilism in 2007 make you irrelevant? Why are you letting Evan Rachel Wood commit career suicide by starring with you in what is possibly the worst video ever made? Okay, maybe you don't think these questions are any better than "What are your sexual fetishes?", but I'm not getting paid by Spin to come up with them either.
Fortunately for Ames, Manson manages to come up with a few bon mots (I've always been a fan of his dry humor) and impart some interesting information along the way. Maybe it's because in a former life, he too was a journalist, but Manson truly is the reason that this article doesn't completely suck. For example, we learn that "Whenever someone wants to act like they really know me, they call me Brian. But not even the people I sodomize--and I'm not saying I sodomize Evan--call me Brian." This, after Lars Ulrich approaches him with "Hi, Brian." Hee! Manson also claims that Eminem asked him to sing on his first album, but Manson thought it was too misogynistic. "It was the one about killing his girlfriend and putting her in a trunk. It was on a record I could listen to, but it was too over-the-top for me to associate with. It didn't represent where I was at. First of all, I don't drive. And I wouldn't put a girl in a trunk; that's where I keep other stuff."
Oh, and WTC fans who keep score of these kinds of things? Manson claims he has no beef with Trent, but they don't talk. He also says, "He may be very muscular right now, but I'm a much more dangerous person." Hm.
So yeah, in conclusion, you would think that Marilyn Manson would be the one celebrity you could be a little blase about, but Jonathan Ames doesn't see it that way. After all, when the man you're interviewing exclaims, "I'm your number one fan! I also had a hairbrush put up my ass once!", you know you're talking to someone special.