(If you’re just joining us, my choice, at my new job as editor of a music magazine, was to either put on the cover of the magazine the singer/songwriter Marilyn “There’s Something About Corpses and Blood I Find Really Attractive” Manson, or … get fired for not putting him on the cover. And, except for the part where I sometimes had to be Satan’s Cheerleader, I really loved my job.) Yeah, so I decided to lie to my boss, if that’s what it took (and it would, I knew) to keep Marilyn Manson off the cover of “my” music magazine. It wasn’t a decision at all. I opened the press kit for Manson’s upcoming show, looked at the album he was touring behind (Antichrist Superstar), read a bit of his “He’s the Goriest, Creepiest Guy EVER! YAY!” press material, and thought, “Sorry. Not going to happen.”
So that part wasn’t hard.
The part where I answered my boss for why I hadn’t put Manson on the cover, though, would be trickier business—especially given that my boss, the mag’s publisher, knew that the Manson camp was making their boy/girl/zombie fully available to us for interviews and so on. They expected the cover. They had a right to. Marilyn Manson was one of the biggest acts in the country. No other musical act scheduled to be in town when he was was even close to him in stature.
If I didn’t put Marilyn Manson on the cover the week of his local gig, I’d be … one insanely negligent magazine editor. With an angry boss to answer to.
Whoa! It’s late! It’s 4 p.m. my time. Now, tomorrow morning, see, I’m driving up Ye Oldye California Coastline a ways, to the home of Jim Burns’ wonderful HomeWord ministry, where I’ll be recording an interview with Mr. Burns around my book, I’m OK—You’re Not: The Message We’re Sending Nonbelievers and Why We Should Stop (available now at all major retail outlets except not all of them so your best bet is to order it online, via Amazon or my friends at Christianbook.com, thank you very much).
Anyway, I gotta get going. I have clothes at the dry cleaner’s I need to pick up; I didn’t want to show up at the HomeWord offices wearing my usual outfit of pajamas and mismatched socks. Plus, you should see my Ford Focus. It looks like what it’s focusing on is becoming a huge rolling dirt clod. I have got to wash that car.
Okay, so here’s how the God vs. My Job thing worked out. Astoundingly enough, I got another job before I personally ever had to help promote Marilyn (chosen to commemorate Marilyn Monroe, by the way) Manson. (The “Manson” part of his name is to honor Charles Manson. Isn’t that sweet?)
Even typing it I can’t believe it. And I didn’t get just any job, either: I got a job so cherry half the working journalists in the country wanted it. (Well. Practically. I mean, I easily knew four guys who were hoping to land that job. I had them killed. Kidding! I had them wounded. Kidding! I had them elbowed pretty darn hard.) I was hired by the humongous daily newspaper out here, The San Diego Union-Tribune, to write as much as I possibly could for the new “Entertainment” section of their then-new, multi-million dollar web site.
See, now that was an answer. Suddenly, I was making more money than I’d ever made in my life—with so many medical benefits I almost wanted to fall off a cliff, or something, just so I could get all fixed up for free—writing for a Very Prestigious Newspaper Organization. So I put in my two-week notice, accidentally knocked the 8 x 10 glossy of Mr. Manson off my desk into the wastebasket, and moved along to greener pastures.
I keep waiting in my life for the part where God works in Strange and Mysterious Ways. So far, it’s pretty entirely been “Obvious, Completely Unmysterious, Full-On Helpful Ways.” Thank God. Thank GOD!
Thank God, thank God, thank God.
(I don’t know why, but I’m compelled to say this: I actually like a lot of MM’s music. It’s some pretty solid work. It’s such a shame that someone who actually does have artistic chops packages himself in such a cheesy, attention-demanding, humanity-degrading way. Terrible. You know, I think I’ll include ol’ Marilyn Manson in my prayers for awhile now. I wish he took himself more seriously than he does. I wish he loved himself more. I wish he loved us more.)