The Big Hurt: Wascally wappers

Plus failed massacres and reverse piracy
By DAVID THORPE  |  June 1, 2009

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Lame as MARILYN MANSON may be, I wouldn't wish his fans on him if he were my worst enemy. His name has once again been invoked in reports of a school shooting, though this one was so badly bungled that it borders on black comedy. A Louisiana eighth-grader, who seems to have drawn up detailed plans for a shooting rampage, found that the best laid massacres gang aft agley. I quote here from the Associated Press account:

"Although he apparently was intent on killing people, he was armed with only four bullets for the .25-caliber, semi-automatic pistol he had taken from his father's home during the weekend. . . . The teen yelled for everyone to get down, cursing at the class. Nobody moved. . . . The boy walked over and pointed the gun at the teacher, ordering her to say, 'Hail Marilyn Manson,' referring to the shock-rock icon. . . . She said nothing. He fired into the wall and told another boy to get up. The seventh-grader stayed in his seat, and the teen left."

The unnamed shooter then went to the bathroom, where he shot himself in the head; he didn't manage to kill himself and is now reported to be in stable condition.

Thanks to a 2007 school shooter who "worshipped" him and a tenuous but oft-stated connection to the Columbine shooting, Manson has become somewhat of a poster boy for wacko youth. "I almost feel cheated if Columbine is talked about and I'm not mentioned," he said in 2007, "because I went through so much bullshit and torment, emotionally and personally, and so much concentrated effort to destroy me that I feel I'm being left out when I'm not mentioned. No one else can take credit for or take responsibility for what I already got blamed for." Something tells me he won't be too heartbroken if his name doesn't get bandied about on this one.

I should point out that the "Hail Marilyn Manson" line is from a student's account of the proceedings, and it's unconfirmed by authorities — it sounds so much like something a school shooter ought to say that it feels made up. A little too on-the-nose.

In brighter news, it's actually been a fantastic week for music: JENNIFER LOVE HEWITT is planning a country-flavored comeback, WHITESNAKE will be re-releasing their classic Slide It In and Slip of the Tongue albums, SPANDAU BALLET are teaming up with TAKE THAT, and we're finally getting that TONIC greatest-hits set for which we've yearned so breathlessly. It's hard to maintain my usual cynical posture with all this joy and beauty in the world.

T.I. is about to begin his jail sentence; meanwhile, DMX is getting released. Thanks for the world's shittiest consolation prize, American justice system!

So taken was I with the NME headline "EMINEM 'felt like Bugs Bunny' in drugs rehab" that I was tempted to leave it uninvestigated, the better to delight in the lack of context, but my curiosity got the better of me. The good news is, that's pretty much all there is to it. "I was like Bugs Bunny in rehab, Bugs Bunny walking in the room," Eminem told a BBC interviewer. I'm guessing he meant that his fame made him appear comically out of place in the situation. Or maybe he was just thrilled to be in prime position to say "What's up?" to a doc.

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