14- The Michigan Daily - Friday, September 24, 1999
Manson, Mc owan embellish FK death in video.
The Washington Post
Ghoulish rocker Marilyn Manson,
Superstar" and nemesis of all who
consider themselves good and
decent, is at it again.
jI his new "Coma White" video,
Manson re-creates the assassination
of John F. Kennedy.
Mlanson, dressed in a suit, portrays
the president riding in a motorcade.
Heis seated next to his real-life para-
mour, actress Rose McGowan, who
is wearing a pink Chanel-style suit
and pillbox hat. Manson as Kennedy
appears to be struck by a bullet in his
neck& then McGowan as Jacqueline
weeps as she cradles his head.
Inborrowing the indelible images
of the Abraham Zapruder film,
Manson is appropriating one of the
most painful episodes of American
history, up to and including-the first
lady's horrifying scramble on the
trunk of the car.
This time, has Manson - whose
creepy persona has led him to be
demonized as a corruptor of mis-
guided children and molester of
small furry animals - gone too far?
Tom Calderone, senior vice presi-
dent of programming and talent for
MTV, which started airing the video
this week, doesn't think so.
"If you just saw the video without
an introduction, you would say,
'What the heck is this guy think-
ing?"'" says Calderone. "But when
you hear (Manson's) statement and
then you realize the vision behind
the video, it makes a lot of sense."
In a statement released by his pub-
licist, Manson says the video uses
the Kennedy assassination "as a
metaphor for America's obsession
and worship of violence. My state-
ment was always intended to make
people think of how they view and
sometimes participate in these
He said that when he filmed the
video six months ago, "little did I
know that the tragedy at Columbine
and the accidental death of JFK Jr.
would follow. But it was telling to
see the media shamelessly gorge
itself on these events, which ulti-
mately made my observations in the
video even truer than I had original-
ly imagined." ,
MTV "Total Request Live" host
Carson Daly read the statement
before MTV debuted the video on
Monday; since then, the station has
offered Manson's insights on its Web
site and several more times on the
air. "Coma White" is currently one
of the station's most requested clips.
So far, representatives for the
Kennedy family have not publicly
discussed the video. A spokesman
for Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Mass.,
declined to comment. A representa-
tive for Maryland Lt. Gov. Kathleen
Kennedy Townsend did not return
calls, nor would a spokesperson for
the John Fitzgerald Kennedy Library
and Museum in Boston comment.
MTV's Calderone says that as of
Monday, the station had received no
"We give our audience a lot more
credit than a lot of people will," says
Calderone. "I think our audience is
smarter, and the bands and directors
take that into account - that our
audience is smart and will get it, will
understand where their vision is
Still, says Calderone, MTV was
more comfortable airing the video
with Manson's explanation. "Fairly
or unfairly, Manson is sometimes a
lightning rod for controversy, and I
think it was important for us not to
throw the video on and be exploita-
tive about it, but to actually explain
where his vision is coming from."
The "Coma White" clip arrives at
a time when music videos seem to be
looking beyond thrusting pelvises
and jiggling booties for ways to be
do to cut through all the other videos
on the channel? These videos have to
be provocative, whether through
technology or storytelling or images
and the star power. There's different
ways of going about it. There's the
comedy way, like Blink 182 has done
And then there is the art*
statement on society, like a Marilyn
Manson or Nine Inch Nails or TLC."
The song Coma White" appears
on Manson's latest albuaj,
"Mechanica! Animals." which was
.released last September and has sold
more than 3 million copies world-
wide. The song's video is included
on a new compilation of Manson's
video clips titled "God Is in the TV."
This is not the first time that
Kennedy family has beeni mvoke. ,
a pop music artist. In the early '80s.
a group of San Francisco punk rock-
ers established their anti-
Establishment credentials with their
name: Dead Kennedys.
But Manson insists he intends ho
disrespect. The video, his staterimnt
says, "is in no way a mockery. In
fact, it is a tribute to men like Jesus
Christ and JFK who have died at
hands of mankind's unquencha
thirst for violence."
Courtesy of Nothing Records
instead of Jesus Christ, Mr. Manson uses another American icon in his latest attempt to shock - JFK and the famous Zapruder film.
Sometimes they are innocuous:
The clip for Blink 182's "What's My
Age Again?" depicts the skate punk
trio running naked - parts pixelated
- through the streets of Los
The new video for Limp Bizkit's
"Re-Arranged" is a little edgier. It
depicts the band members standing
trial for inciting the rioting at
Woodstock '99 -- "Limp Bizkit:
They're Guilty Until Proven
Innocent" reads a fictional newspa-
per headline - then being executed
in a chamber equipped with lethal
C'alderone says competition for air
time is driving the phenomenon. "If
you're a band right now, and you pro-
duce a video what are you going to
3 t z
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