What counts as cheating according to the Antichrist Superstar?
The Antichrist Superstar, Reverend of the Satanic Church, Brian Hugh Warner, better known as Marilyn Manson, has been a figure surrounded by mystery and controversy throughout his career. I was nine when I first heard about him. It was from the terrified yet excited whispers of my classmates at the Catholic elementary school. When I asked who “she” was (yes, I thought he was a woman because of his artistic name), one of my classmates told me he was a man and a musician “I shouldn’t listen to because he made Satanic music.” I was told that he celebrated Black masses, had sold his soul to the devil, killed animals on-stage, and drank their blood. For a few years after that, the only thing I knew about him was this infamous description and the accusations of how his music encouraged people to commit the worst actions you could imagine.
Then eventually, I started listening to his music and realized that most of his dark and scary image comes from the public persona he created, false accusations, as well as his subversive lyrics and performances. The scandals that surrounded him turned him into a scapegoat for the Columbine shooting, and mainstream media blamed his music for turning teenagers to violence. So, it’s no wonder why so many people believed he was corrupting teens.
Despite the controversy, the self-named God of Fuck hasn’t shied away from his anti-religious and anti-institutional lyrics or from his shocking performances that denounce the hypocrisy behind society's most powerful institutions and the empty values they promote. The best way to understand Reverend Manson’s artistic persona and his infamous career is through his 1998 autobiography The Long Hard Road Out of Hell. In the book, he tells his life’s story, since he was a “maggot” with an uptight Christian upbringing, until he became an anarchist rock superstar. He also included behind-the-scenes photographs from his Dead to the World Tour and rare footage that sparked accusations from ultra-conservative groups, like his photo with Anton Szandor LaVey, founder of the Satanic Church.
Always ironic and provocative, he included a set of rules for activities that defy conservative norms, like drug use and cheating. The latter are 16 rules that state what Marilyn counts as cheating. He uses a tongue-in-cheek tone to write these rules, while talking about wild lifestyle that many rockstars are said to have. According to him, despite the frenzy of his life as a rockstar, he has never cheated on his girlfriend because he has always followed these golden rules that have kept him from giving in to the temptation of infidelity. These are four highlights among his sixteen commandments:
"You can squeeze fake tits because they’re not actually real, so you’re not cheating."
Let's begin with rule number one. From the beginning, Manson settles the ironic tone of his guide with a comic and illogical rule such as this one. To begin with, he highlights that the mere fact of setting rules to delimit whether something has to be considered an infidelity is as ridiculous as attempting to follow those rules. Because no matter how many laws and guidelines you create, there are loopholes, phrasings, and ideas that can allow you to get away with your actions without actually "breaking" the rules. In this case, the idea that allows you to not cheat is the way we tend to equal "natural" body parts with "real," as if parts of your body stop existing once they undergo a surgery.
"If you are in Europe, Canada, South America or Japan, your marriage license is not valid, so you can sleep with anyone you want."
Another jewel of his guide on cheating, especially because if you think about it for a while, it might be true. Here he proves how our attachment to laws and the way they function are quite relative, even fragile if you like. You might have certain rights and follow a set of rules in X town, but as soon as you change of country, you'll have to follow its rules. Again, it has to do with loopholes made by the way the laws work, allowing you to remain, in theory, faithful to your partner.
"If you remember the name of a girl that someone else had a one-night stand with, then you cheated because you thought about it more than the person who got laid did. If you don’t have a girlfriend, this just makes you desperate and counts as one cheat against your future girlfriend."
After having reading the rest of the rules, if by the moment you get to this rule you truly believe this is a serious set of guidelines to get away with cheating, I'm afraid, my friend, that you have to re-read them again from the beginning, or in fact, reconsider the way you've been approaching to Manson. We just have to think logically. Can someone actually have a count of cheats against people you don't even now? This is the best example of the artist's dark sense of humor, because he's even low-key poking fun at the idea of having feelings for someone after a one-night stand.
"If the girl has a tattoo with your name on it, then it’s just common courtesy to have sex with her."
Here is one of the best ways to see how Marilyn Manson plays with the unbridled sex life of many rockstars and their groupies. He makes a caricature of the mindset of a rockstar that has sex with his fans, as well as the idea of tattooing the name of someone that's important for you. With his acid sense of humor and irony, he means to equal sex to an act of courtesy to those fans whose idols are so important they get a tattoo to remember them.
I hope that after this informative read, you're more clear about what counts as cheating, according to one of the most revolutionary minds in rock of the last decades. If after reading the God of Fuck's commandments, you’ve decided to follow them, good luck. Just remember that Reverend Manson isn’t exactly a follower of rules, but a questioner. If, on the contrary, these rules have reinforced your idea of Manson as a corrupting force on young people, that’s good too. However, I should tell you that by doing so, you're keeping alive the legend of the Antichrist Superstar. The thing is that Marilyn Manson wouldn’t have become the figure he is nowadays without those disapproving rumors and far-fetched portrayals of him as a real-life Antichrist with depraved morals, destroyer of decency, and promoter of chaos.
So, could you live the life of a rockstar without jeopardizing your relationship?
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Source: Marilyn Manson, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell