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End of an Era: Charles Manson Dead, Cursed, & Celebrated

End of an Era: Charles Manson Dead, Cursed, & Celebrated
November 20
09:21 2017

ADAM LUEBKE
out of retirement for one day

The news that Charles Manson had died last evening spread across Southern California like an illness that seems to have suddenly infected everybody all at once.

Lurid expressions of both loathing and joy overtook Twitter and other social media platforms. It was a social bloodletting for a generation of digital sunbathers who soak up memes and icons like warm summer days and denigrate them in 140-characters or less to subconsciously relieve their angst and weariness. Users let Manson know how they felt about his ghost by condemning him to hellfire or expressing triumph over his passing. Meanwhile, Debra Tate, sister of the slain Sharon, prayed for Manson’s soul.

By 9.30pm, Charles Manson’s Hollywood Star on the famous Walk of Fame was covered by a single bouquet of flowers, as well as an array of trinkets, baubles, and even a few crude ornaments.

Nobody knows who these secret fans are, but some people suspect they are the intellectuals among the music scene, most notably the learned among the fans of the Beach Boys. Several of these fans have paid their respects online.

Very few people understand the role Manson and his musical act, The Family, had on Dennis Wilson’s contribution to the Beach Boys. Besides drugs and girls, Manson supplied Wilson with an inexhaustible energy and spirit that found its way into the Beach Boys’ music. After Wilson’s relationship with Manson turned sour, Charlie was dismayed to learn they’d stolen one of his songs, “Cease to Exist”, and re-titled it as “Never Learn Not to Love”.

He remains uncredited for his contributions, which is maybe just as well, since the outlaw musician used and abused one of Wilson’s luxurious homes and his Rolls Royce.

Despite their musical differences, cultural philosopher Hubert Humdinger [pronounced hum-din-jer] asserts that Manson instilled a depth of purpose into the Beach Boys’ music.

“It was all surfing in the sun and puppy dog love. Simple, syrupy music,” Humdinger said over a shaky Skype connection. “Manson, for all his misdeeds and misdirection, did what he could to round out the Beach Boys’ sound. Any second there’s a flourish of musical genius, or lyrical superiority in a Beach Boys album from 1967 onward, it’s Charlie Manson’s unacknowledged influence leering in the background.”

Humdinger later qualified that his words should be taken with two grains of salt because he “never listens to music” and he “certainly never listens to the Beach Boys.”

The news of Manson’s death zipped its way across the globe, and most noticeable were the condolences sent over from North Korea’s Kim Jon-un, who was pleased to find out he was the very first of the world’s dignitaries to call the White House with his condolement.

Kind words did not stop with Beach Boys fans and world leaders, but were extended from readers of this very site.

Jason Burber wrote: “Man, Charles Manson got me through graduate school. I burned so many dismal hours that I should have been writing my dissertation watching Manson interviews from prison where he kept saying how free he was. He didn’t have a job to worry about, or social commitments, and he knew how to say no and stick up for himself. If he could have so much control over his happiness and well-being in prison, I imagine I could do better with the freedom I’ve got. He may have been a bad cat, but there are lessons to be learned from his life.

Kyle Unger wrote: “Any time I feel the world’s against me, or everybody I know is getting down on me, I just remember Charlie and how the whole world really did hate him. He took it like a champ. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anybody so confident in himself. Even if you hate the guy, you can draw something solid from his character.

Barbara Bush (not the Barbara Bush, I don’t think) wrote: “That man was a surprising source of strange insight and comfort. Just when I got so lonely sitting at home and I couldn’t think one more thought, I’d think of how lonely that man must have been, sitting in his cell alone for over forty years. I don’t care who you are, you can draw inspiration from just about anybody if you take the time to listen.

Kim Jong-un (in his letter to the White House): Charles Manson drop total annihilation and utter complete destruction on your peace of mind for forty-eight years. He take hostage a hundred million people who don’t know nothing but themselves and it’s one square inch past their noses they can’t think. He force your people take looks long in the mirrors which show their slavery to the paycheck to the hopeless material fulfillments.

Manson, outlaw musician and notorious leader of men, passed away in Kern County Hospital. He was 83.

*Many thanks to Hubert Humdinger for proofreading this article.

[Manson header photo courtesy of Sarah Stierch, from Crime & Punishment Museum, Washington D.C.; Wikimedia Commons // Manson Walk of Fame photo is my own]

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