Taking stock of people and ideas in the news.
June 29 1997 3:30 AM

Marilyn Manson

The silliness of the shock rocker.


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But there may be some consolation for Marilyn Manson himself. Here it is instructive to remember Alice Cooper, the musician to whom Manson owes most. A quarter century ago, Cooper sold the same kind of horror show to his teen fans as Manson does now: a gender-bending female name, pancake makeup, raucous music, an onstage guillotine, and preposterous gross-out legends. (Cooper allegedly filled balloons with live worms, released them above the audience, then popped them, showering fans with night crawlers.) Cooper was condemned, reviled and, for a brief time, incredibly popular. In recent years he's made a revival. He played himself, campily, in Wayne's World. He draws thousands of fans to his goofy, self-consciously bombastic concerts. Marilyn Manson is darker, more serious, and more vicious than Alice Cooper was. Even so, you can imagine a comeback in 2017: shredding Bibles to a laugh track.