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Rock Music - A Misunderstood Genre

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On April 20th 1999, two senior pupils at Columbine High School acquired firearms and in cold blood murdered 12 of their fellow pupils and a teacher before turning their weapons on themselves. Their youthful lives now nothing but a lost memory. Their victims – who had woke up that morning unaware of the day that awaited them - now nothing but a lost memory. The USA exploded into an abomination of rage and placed the blame for this catastrophe on an industry dedicated to expression and art – rock music. Marilyn Manson received the majority of the blame and headlines such as “Killers Worshipped Rock Freak Manson” and “Devil Worshipping Manson Told Kids To Kill” began to appear. This uncalled for blame is raw evidence of the ignorance that haunts the minds of society. I’m sure this massacre had nothing to do with the fact that the criminals were bullied for 4 years or that Eric Harris was a clinical psychopath and Dylan Klebold suffered from depression. The dark sounds that they enjoyed listening to must have possessed their head and driven them wild, right?
As a fan of music that may be labelled as “dark” or “devil worshipping” by the clueless, I know that the stereotypes placed on rock music could not be further from the truth. I have found Rock music has been a consistent support mechanism if anything actually. In 2006 Marilyn Manson became a benefactor of a foundation named Project Nightlight, a foundation that encourages teenagers to speak out against physical and sexual abuse. When Manson was interviewed by Michael Moore, he was asked what he would say to the kids of Columbine if he could talk to them directly, and his reply was “I wouldn’t say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say and that’s what no one did.” I’m pretty sure that if I was a devil worshipping, violence loving fiend who had intentions to turn the world into chaos, then I probably wouldn’t be the kind of person who also offers support to those who those who have experienced physical and sexual abuse. The really appalling thing is that Manson has probably done more good for the world than the oblivious commentators who aim the voluptuous blame at him. You’d think that the moronic people who label him an immoral influence would at least look into what kind of man he is rather than hearing a glimpse of music or seeing a picture of his odd appearance and ignorantly jumping to the conclusion that his soul must be as dark as his image. I have no respect for anybody who would stupidly base their opinion of someone on something as irrelevant as appearance.
On the day of the Columbine massacre, the USA dropped more bombs on Kosovo than any other day. Whilst the President is shooting bombs overseas and murdering innocent civilians who may be clueless as to what it is that the USA have against them, Marilyn Manson is being painted as a vicious martyr for violence because he sings rock and roll music. Who has a bigger influence, the President of the USA or Marilyn Manson? Manson’s odd appearance and eerie sounding music makes him an easy target for the blame as people seem to fear what they do not understand and Manson is a mystery to many, but if society is going to put the blame somewhere other than the two young boys who committed the crimes, it would probably make sense to start with a government that encourages violence and war as a solution for conflict as if it were aspirin. It truly highlights the stupidity that haunts the minds of political commentators. How can the USA even consider pinning the blame on Rock music whilst they are promoting the use of weapons as if it’s as acceptable as oxygen?
A diary entry from Eric Harris reads “That’s where a lot of my hate grows from. The fact I have practically no self-esteem.”. Homicide perpetrators are twice more likely than homicide victims to have been bullied by their previous peers. Perhaps if these boys weren’t bullied, then they would feel more hopeful about themselves. Perhaps they would feel as if they had a future. Perhaps they would feel they belonged. Perhaps they wouldn’t feel the need for sheer brutal revenge. I think the deep resentment these boys had for their fellow classmates had to spring from somewhere. You don’t just wake up one morning and come to the conclusion that you want to slaughter some teenagers, it isn’t an automatic feeling and the idea that this motive came from listening to a piece of music is out of this world idiotic. There’s a reason why everybody is the way they are and the last thing responsible is music. A CD isn’t going to make you feel insecure about yourself – if anything it will make you feel better. Music is a refuge when the rest of the universe is a war zone.
In 1992 the American rock band R.E.M released the breath-taking album “Automatic For The People” which featured a song called “Everybody Hurts” on track 4. The song contains much simpler lyrics than R.E.M’s other work, as the song was aimed to be an encouraging message for teenagers who may be struggling. The lyrics of the song read “Don’t let yourself go, cause everybody cries and everybody hurts sometimes”. In today’s generation, the real evil of the music industry gain the most appreciation. Nicki Minaj is a martyr for promiscuity yet her debut studio album peaked at number one on the USA billboard 200. “but f*** who you want and f*** who you like” and “we’re higher than a motherf***er” are a few lines from her famous hit ‘Starships’. Despite the derogatory messages she sends out to her listeners, she is idolised by many and has been welcomed into society with arms of acceptance. Minaj has received a total of 45 awards with R.E.M. receiving just 14. It is pretty evident rock bands are examined in more detail they soar past the stereotypes with grace and more dignity than many of the popular artists that are thought of as of today hold, so it is beyond my comprehension why anybody would voluntarily aspire to be similar to the terrifying persona that is Nicki Minaj. I find her lack of self-respect and pure brainless lyrics to be more horrifying than Marilyn Manson will ever be. Yet, society continues to have selective deafness and praise her falsely for the musical genius that lives inside her superficially structured mind purely because she appears to look slightly more customary. Once again, image takes a priority.
Those opposed to rock music may say that it’s dark and perhaps frightening sound encourages a negative message. I say that this is an opinion held by those who are dominated by naivety. Have you ever felt the need to go out and brutally murder some teenagers after listening to a glimpse of music? Society needs to pull back the curtains and face the already obvious truth – these boy’s problems go greatly beyond genre of music. The various other factors involved in this case make it unusually stupid for such accusations to be pinned on rock music. It is ridiculous. Completely ridiculous. Personally, music has been a saviour for me. It’s probably even been a saviour for the others around me who have been spared from my rage due to this alternative outlet. It is completely demented to truly believe that music has enough influence to turn a good heart into a pain enthusiast. Bob Marley said “One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” I could not agree more.



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