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Merilyn Manson – the body as a tool to alienate the audience.

Hi there! Today I want to discuss Marilyn Manson today for two reasons. First of all the theme of the body is predominant in almost all of their videos. Secondly, I think that their approach to the theme is pretty straightforward.

While deconstructing the videos we need to take a closer look at the image of the band. We must note that it is incredibly consistent. The makeup is part of experiencing the music. They show on videos, in concerts and even in interviews with their makeup. This creates a very strong connection between the band members and the messages / style of the music.

In that sense, in order to understand the music of Merilyn Manson better, we cannot just “skip” everything that goes with the music – the make-up, videos, etc – the artist take great care in what they doing and obviously it matters a great deal to them how they “present” their music and therefore the “style” is integral part of the music.

They are not the only band that does this. It is very important for being a successful artist in the begining of the century. (Just look at Pink, Guane Stephanie, Beyonce etc. – they all have their own “style” that either doesn’t change at all or changes slowly. ) Because it is common (it is “mandatory” if you wish) – we can easily say that it is a “phenomenon” and I personally I have mixed feelings about it. My favourite comedian – Lewis Black – said in a show that “MTV is to music as KFC is to chicken” and (I am paraphrasing) “Music goes in the ear and video – in the eye and if the picture you see in your head when you listen to music matches what you see on the screen… kill yourself”).

Clearly Lewis is making the statement that music is an independent art form and according to him it should be pursued as such. However I think that “video” can enhance greatly our experience of the music and offer us an interpretation of the meanings that would otherwise remain hidden.

No matter what are your feelings on this matter, we can safely say that we cannot understand fully MM without careful examination of the videos they produce.

always has the goal to alienate it’s audience. For example in “This is the new shit” they sing “This is the new shit / do we want it? – yes”. It is a clear message for the consumer culture, part of which are their fans.

Although it is not my goal here to put value on the band, I think Marilyn Manson is very important cultural phenomena that is worthy of analysis, because by doing that we can inquire a better understanding of the late 90s and early 00s. In some sense I think they are the most “post-modern” band out there, because they always try (and succeed) to pushes the boundaries of what can be expressed. They help us see beauty in the ugliness. They make art out of sex and violence, perversion and pain.

This created a lot of controversy in the beginning which means that they succeeded in their endeavor.
What are the visual tools that MM uses to “alienate” the audience? Well, there is only one tool and it is the human body. The interesting thing is that there are two direction of alienation – one is purely visual – creating unpleasant images with the body, by deforming it and the other uses the “cinema” as the medium for moral alienation – by excessive nudity.

Sex and deformity are the two main ingredients in almost all of their videos. They just use them in different quantities. For example “The Dope show” has almost excessively “Deformity” while “mOBSCENE” is an example of carefully balancing between the two: head in a cage, the dancing girls had rotten mouths, there is something wrong with the girl in the giant martini cup but I don’t know exactly what. (Maybe it is the “dirty” martini.??) . I cannot clearly decide whether I would “bang” the girls in this videos – there is something wrong in all of them. The producer/director did a wonderful job finding the thin line between the two states – sexual desire and repulsion.

Télépopmusik – Breathe and the Topic of Unnatural Perfection

I like this video a lot. It is very rewarding to the careful viewer because if you watch it enough times and spot the little details, you can make sense of it. It offers an intellectual challenge (as well as an aesthetic one) just like a good crime novel will give us all the clues to reveal the criminal.

Lets start with the intelectual challenge. Did you watched the video? Do you think you saw everithing there is to see? OK then, here is what I found.

There are two very strong visual clues that can help us understand what is going on in this video (this is the “story”, and is different from the “theme”).

The first one is this:

Well obviously the kid is an android! Look at the video again. Notice the way the kid walks. Notice that her expression – it is not frowning really, this is just her normal look that doesn’t change though the video.

If you look at everybody else you will see that they are expressionless too. Even they people that are kissing at the end of the video do it completely without emotions whatsoever.

So it turns out, they are androids too.

We do not need to complete the “intellectual” challenge to do the “aesthetic” one. Even without realizing the ongoing “story” in the video, we can see that the video raises the topic of “unnatural perfection”.

We are situated in a beautiful place around astonishingly beautiful people… they all have perfect tan, and perfect bodies and perfect hair… well all of them except the guy in the gray shirt. He is skinny and… wears a gray shirt.

You would probably agree with me that the video is really “trippy”. But what creates this feeling? I think it comes from the unnatural way the people are beautiful – they are just too perfect. The lack of facial expressions heightens this feeling. Only humans feel, express emotions, dream. These creatures are something completely different.

So who do we symphatize to? The guy that kills the butterfly or the beautiful people? I think this is the main challenge because… well admit it! You like beautiful. If you are like me (a human being and not a robot) you like pretty girls/guys and would much more easily symphatize a cute girl/guy than an unsympathetic one. This is the ugly nature of humans. In this video the only visually imperfect thing, the only thing that was trully human and truly real got removed.

Do we want to be perfect or do we want to be human? We have to make our choice, because we cannot be both.

Здравей, свят!

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