Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Marilyn Manson not to blame for violence

Interesting article covering Asa Coon and Manson.

Marilyn Manson not to blame for violence
The Orion, CA -16 Oct 2007

After Columbine, Sen. Joe Lieberman said the problem was music.

Lieberman said violent lyrics from artists such as Marilyn Manson are "helping to create a culture of violence that is increasingly enveloping our children, desensitizing them to consequences and ultimately cheapening the value of human life."

According to one study, music doesn't just affect children. It affects college students, too.

In a series of five experiments involving more than 500 college students, researchers from Iowa State University and the Texas Department of Human Services examined the effects of seven violent songs by seven artists and eight nonviolent songs by seven artists.

The result: students who listened to violent songs were left feeling more aggressive and hostile without provocation or threat. The study's lead researcher said these aggressive thoughts and feelings have implications for real violence.

But, again, it's all up for interpretation.

Paul Friedlander, director of the music industry program at Chico State, said there is no substantial evidence that suggests music has anything to do with violent acts.

If anything, more research says otherwise, he said.

"Research has clearly indicated that there is no correlation to listening to a song and being impelled to do something," Friedlander said. "Otherwise, every time you'd listen to NWA you'd shoot a person; or (with) Doris Day, you'd go out on a field and dance in a field of daisies."

Friedlander has a point, but many suggest that a few people will act violently after listening to violent music. And some will argue that one case is enough.

The Cleveland student was described as a "goth." He had black painted nails and wore all black clothes, including a Manson T-shirt. Manson was the boy's idol, according to several reports. So naturally, just like after Columbine, Manson was targeted. Maybe not directly, but his name was mentioned.

People still blame Manson and other artists for many pointless acts of violence.

Is that fair?

Friedlander, who is also a musician, said the answer is no.

Because if that were the case, "Why not blame Elvis for the sexual revolution of the '60s?" he said. People use music simply to help create their identities, Friedlander said. And that may include how one looks.

"If I'm a certain way, I'm going to listen to a certain kind of music," he said. "If I were to listen to Britney Spears, I'd probably be a teenage girl."

The Manson fan was just a teenage boy. A teenage boy who listened to Manson because he made him feel OK for being an outcast, for being different, for being exactly who he was.

In no way did Manson's lyrics tell the boy to go on a shooting rampage. Other factors influenced the boy. What were they? Sadly, that question will never be answered. [This is not true see other articles on this case the boy had mental problems and was frequently bullied.]

Here are some possibilities, though, something that nobody - except for Manson himself in an interview with Michael Moore - seems to talk about.

The problem isn't music. It's the influence of our country and government, Manson said.

According to the National Education Association's Health Information Network at www.neahin.org, American children are 16 times more likely to be murdered with a gun, 11 times more likely to commit suicide with a gun and nine times more likely to die from a firearm accident than children in 25 other industrialized countries combined.

That's appalling.

This stat's no better: In 2005, firearms killed zero children in Japan, 19 in Great Britain, 57 in Germany, 109 in France, 153 in Canada and 5,285 in the United States, according to the site.

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