PT. I • MADONNA WAYNE GACY
"Hope is the greatest evil - for it prolongs the torments of man."
Madonna Wayne Gacy plays keys for Marilyn Manson. He looks like a pudgy Anton LeVay, has an unhealthy obsession with firearms, and comes from Florida. Who would figure such a goon for a Schopenhauer fanatic?
It’s noonish at the Sydney Waldorf hotel. Gacy and I are drinking the remnants of the minibar in his room. There isn't much sauce left; the goateed Manson keyboardist had had a prostitute over for much of the morning and they'd gone through most of the drink together. He says he'd just gotten rid of her, in fact, before I showed up. Gacy loves prostitutes, but he never actually has sex with them. Just calls the agencies and has them send over their "brainiest" girl for some conversation.
"That's more perverse in my mind than any sex act I could ever think up with a prostitute", Gacy explains with a chuckle. So now that the afternoon is approaching, the MDMA is wearing off, the scent of hooker perfume thinning in the air, it's time to talk some Metaphysics. Yes, Madonna Wayne Gacy [AKA Pogo] loves a good existential essay.
So Madonna, if you are to adhere to acting in such a manner as to create the greatest good for the largest amount of people, and had the ability to time travel, would you go back in time and kill Hitler or Alan Alda - or someone similar who brought much grief to the world? Would it be a moral obligation?
"I read a Chinese story about a man who said he wouldn't give one hair to save the world. Which I totally agree with. How do you know that you're really saving the world? Maybe it would be a good thing to kill Hitler, but maybe if you kill Hitler there would be no Israel, so it would be a bad thing. The chain of events between good and evil things, you don't know where it begins and ends. Maybe the world needed Hitler. Don't get me wrong, I'm half-Jewish. I'd be in the fuckin' camps too, they'd shake and bake me too. The point is you can't really tell the outcome of events."
Well, then, say you could eradicate all the misery that Sting might create with his next five albums here and now?
"Let me put it this way: If there were Satan, I would gladly sell my soul to him to prevent Sting from making another record."
Socrates was supposedly forced to drink hemlock because he posed an unsolvable moral dilemma. By the laws of ancient Greece, you were morally bound to return all borrowed goods upon the owner's request. It was also considered immoral to kill a human being or abet anyone in doing so. Socrates asked, if a friend lent you a knife, then asked for it back to kill a fellow man with, you were morally obligated to commit an immoral act. Correct?
"I would say that the preservation of human life generally outweighs some stupid code about returning objects on time."
What if he's going to kill a real son of a bitch, though, somebody you hate?
"Then I have to think about it. [laughs]
I might actually help him: Make sure it's sharp, and get the bastard right underneath then collar bone."
Do you accept the Golden Rule: Treat others as you wish them to treat you?
"It's common sense. It's shown up in so many civilizations from so many religious and philosophical leaders that I think there's probably a simple truth in it."
But what if you're a masochist and like to be treated badly? Then would the Golden Rule dictate that you must treat others poorly?
"Well, then you're being a bit literal. The Golden Rule only works if you believe that you're just and your actions are just. And sometimes you can use the Golden Rule to do terrible things: If you're a certain strain of Christian you might believe that by going and knocking on peoples' doors at 7 in the fuckin' morning you're saving their souls. Which pisses me off, but I'm pretty tolerant - I'll allow them to knock on my door. That's the way America should be: The same right that allows them to knock on my door at 7AM with a book of fables allows me to sell my record. But probably not in their city because they'll ban it!"
PT. II • WORD ASSOCIATION WITH MARILYN MANSON
Later in the day, I read Marilyn Manson him/herself a list of certain words and asked for an immediate verbal response - a common practice used by psychoanalysts to elicit illuminating emotional and psychosexual responses that generally explain nothing whatsoever about the subject. In bold are my words, unbolded are Manson's responses.
"That guy wears more makeup than I do - disturbingly so."
"It's kinda like Florida. And now the fact that Scott Putesky [former Manson guitarist who mysteriously shows up backstage at the Big Day Out concert the day before] has shown up here, it's more like Florida. And I fuckin' hate Florida."
"This pizza I ordered [points at jalapeno pepper pizza on table] tastes real good going down, but can punish you on the way out. You do too many drugs and you shit a lot, therefore you shouldn't eat things like this because you then hurt a lot. It's like rubbing battery acid on your ass."
"My dad was in 'Nam, you know. And Pogo only dates Asian women. So I'm always worried that when Pogo's around with a date my dad might have one of his bizarre flashbacks and sink back into his Vietcong mode. I have to keep them separated."
"The only drug that I'm fortunate enough not to be involved with. Because I think it's too much of a lifestyle choice. It has inspired a lot of interesting music so there might be something good about it."
"Well, that's The Offspring, right?"
"The drugs. I like California."
"I did lose my virginity there and my parents now live there. So I guess I still have some sort of connection to it. Luckily I've been able to cut Florida out altogether. But I don't mind Ohio - I embrace my white trash roots."
EDGAR ALLEN POE
"If I were to re-write The Tell-Tale Heart today, it would be about cocaine. It would be that feeling that you have at 6AM and you wanna fall asleep, but you feel like calling up all your friends and tell them that you really love them and want to discuss everything - the math answers that you missed in ninth grade. That would be a tell-tale heart."
"I've always tried to create my own, something that everyone else wasn't doing. And now that I've become part of the celebrity death pool, I've gotten offers from all these ridiculous designers, the Versaces and Gaultiers of the world. I think it's important for me to just stick to my Loverboy 'Get Lucky' concert tee. Because in the end, when you take away everything else, all that's true is [Loverboy singer] Mike Reno."
"I respect him in some ways. Probably the most satanic capitalist in America right now. Luckily he's not religious, because a man of his wealth and power does a lot of damage if he were to start talking about Jesus or something. But as long as he just talks about Windows, no problem."
"I think that mankind is making himself less and less relevant through his creations. Technology takes us further and further away from the individual. Cell phones, tape recorders, VCRs, laptops - the more that we create the less we think for ourselves, and eventually these things will be thinking for us. We'll disappear eventually."