News Comment 11/23

The biggest death this weekend (and mind you there seemed to be a lot including AC/DC guitarist Malcolm Young and former Partridge David Cassidy) was Charles Manson. Many news cites decided to cover this news. The first place I saw it was on the TMZ Facebook page Sunday night where the headline was “Charles Manson has died. We will refrain from RIP.” ┬áSince I don’t really consider TMZ as “reliable news” I waited until today (Monday) to check “real” news cites.

The NY Times has 24 stories about Manson in the last 24 hours in a number of their “genres” of stories. I have decided to focus on the Arts section story about how he was an “Unhinged Pop Culture Figure.” I think this is a perfect framing of Manson. He has been a big figure in pop culture for my entire life and the biggest thing I know about him is that he was crazy and he could manipulate people in to killing for him.

I found this story in particular interesting because instead of retelling the stories that most people are familiar with they decided to take a look at his impact on Pop Culture. I find this very appropriate and timely as the newest season of American Horror Story which just ended had a VERY strong Manson Family influence, going so far as to reference the family and the Tate murders directly. I also really enjoyed the inclusion of the videos to supplement the text.

This is news worthy because of the celebrity status of Charles Manson. He has been a figure that, as this story puts it, “loomed large over America.” I mean, I was born in 1996, 30 years after the Tate murders, and I still know the exact story of the murders as well as all about Manson and the Manson Family because they have had a lasting influence. I can’t even count how many movies/TV shows I have watched (yes I have kind of odd taste in movies and TV shows I choose to watch) that haven’t in some way referenced the Manson legacy.

What I thought could have been done better in this article is they could have used the same length of article and had more varied examples. They have some very good examples here such as the multitude of books, the tie in with the Beach Boys, and the addition of the Opera (which I will be looking up later) as a more our of left field entry but I think they could have expanded into film and TV choices especially since American Horror Story, which I mentioned earlier, just ended.

1 Comment so far

  1.   fuglsang on November 27th, 2017

    You were a bit early on the death of David Cassidy. I almost commented over the weekend.

    This is a really interesting way of approaching Manson. In your discussion you don’t mention Marilyn Manson. Charlie has been the boogie man for quite some time.

    I think your critique is a good one, but before Manson was MANSON, he tried to be a rock star, which is the focus for this story. What other people did with him, and how he influenced other media, is a different story.

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