Goth or Not: the Question of Marilyn Manson

Many, many faithful readers have sent missives taking the Lady of the Manners to task for her seeming dismissive air toward a current musical icon; “Why are you so down on him?” these faithful readers cry. “Here, read this interview with him! He seems Goth, why do you keep saying he isn’t?!” In light of these touching questions, the Lady of the Manners decided she had better take a stand and answer the question once and for all.

Marilyn Manson’s *MUSIC* is not Goth. It would more properly be categorized as metal. Fun concerts, full of over the top spectacle, but *not* Goth.

Now, what about Mr. Manson himself? That is the concern some faithful readers seem to have. As to that, well, the Lady of the Manners doesn’t have a definitive answer, nor would she claim to. However, based on the interviews with Mr. Manson that the Lady of the Manners has read, the evidence does seem to mount up. He has a striking, decadent, and dark personal style. He’s espoused an interest in decaying and (again) decadent ideas and themes, and prefers to present a highly stylized image whenever he is in the public eye. And, according to interviews with his friends and romantic partners, he is a perfect gentleman; courteous, considerate, and well-mannered. All of which means, in the Lady of the Manners’ book is that, yes, Wednesday and Pugsley, Marilyn Manson IS a Goth.

(The Lady of the Manners is sure that Mr. Manson has been waiting with bated breath for the Lady of the Manners’ validation of his gothness. Sure of it, she tells you, and don’t you try to convince her differently.)

Now, the thing that amuses the Lady of the Manners the most about this whole topic is the fact that the Lady of the Manners is considered an arbitrator of gothness by some, while other people are rather dismissive and suspicious of the Lady of the Manners’ whole existence. In fact, one posting board embroiled themselves in a heated discussion/ flame war about the Lady of the Manners’ “Friends don’t let friends dress like The Crow” column. The posting board was for enthusiasts of The Crow; many of them took affront at the Lady of the Manners’ statement that dressing like The Crow is just the teensiest bit of a cliché in the Goth scene (apparently, many of them didn’t read the part of the column that says that if that’s what truly makes you happy, then go right ahead and do it). Not only did some of them get a wee bit indignant about the whole thing, but started casting aspersions on the Lady of the Manners’ gothic credibility. (The Lady of the Manners’ favorite comment about that was someone who was *convinced* that the Lady of the Manners was actually a balding, middle-aged man. The Lady of the Manners laughed and laughed and laughed at that, then went and had a cup of tea.)

While the Lady of the Manners would love to be the universal arbitrator of What Is Goth (and What Isn’t), she is completely aware that she really isn’t that powerful. She’s tickled pink by the letters from various people asking her if they are a Real Goth, make no mistake.
But, as the Lady of the Manners has said in previous columns, if you suspect you are a Goth, you probably are.

The Lady of the Manners has also received many letters from younger readers who, after listing their gothy interests and traits, invariably go on to say that there are *other* local Goths who sneer at them and call them poseurs or wannabes. This brings a nostalgic sparkle to the Lady of the Manners’ eyes, because she remembers going through the exact same thing. It is a cruel fact of gothy life that if there is a group of Goths in a town, some of them will think the others aren’t Real Goths, that they’re fakes who are just trying to be Goth to be cool. Nothing will change these people’s opinions; the Lady of the Manners thinks the best way to handle this sort of never-ending social spat is to smile sweetly at the person calling you a poseur, then deliberately and pointedly ignore them. Acting as if their opinion is important to you will only make them sneer at you more, but politely ignoring them will aggravate them.

With that, the Lady of the Manners is going to wrap up this month’s lesson, and go off to re-organize her closet, which is currently a chaotic vortex of black velvet and lace that hindering the Lady of the Manners’ ability to get dressed for work in a timely fashion.

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