The silliness of the shock rocker.
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.
David Plotz is the Editor of Slate. He's the author of The Genius Factory: The Curious History of the Nobel Prize Sperm Bank and Good Book. He appears on Slate's Political Gabfest.