Tentatively, Convenience's Reviews > The Manson File

The Manson File by Nikolas Schreck
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really liked it
bookshelves: crime, philosophy

I don't really have anything original to say about this. I'm only likely to add my voice to an already pretty substantial chorus of babble. This might be the most fair-minded compilation of Manson-related materials that I know of. I'd certainly recommend it over Bugliosi's "Helter Skelter" (wch I can't remember if I 've read but I've seen him on TV & that was disgusting enuf) or even over Ed Sanders' "The Family".

The people who compiled this know the subject. There's 'ephemera' here that only a dedicated researcher wd've found. The editors have obviously found more truth & wisdom in what Manson had to say than the mainstream press cd ever admit. Lt. Calley served a light sentence for the My Lai massacre & went on to a lucrative career as a jeweler. Manson's still in jail. That isn't justice.

Manson sd in his testimony of November 19, 1970: "I have killed noone and I have ordered noone to be killed." I believe him. Nonetheless, people were killed & the killers were part of a group that Manson was a leader of. Lt. Calley DID kill people & DID order people to be killed. He was part of a group that had a slew of leaders but these were all 'good citizens' - all the killing was done in the interests of the ruling elites so it's all A-OK.

Manson testified: "I am whatever you make me, but what you want is a fiend; you want a sadistic fiend because that is what you are." I agree w/ him. I agree w/ much of what Manson says - mainly in his observations about society & his role in relationship to it. Manson: "My philosophy comes from underneath the boots and sticks and clubs they beat people with who come from the wrong side of the tracks."

Manson is quoted here as saying or writing: "If I were boss I would take your toys - no cars no lights no power plants no electricity". It's the "If I were boss" part of this that bothers me. People who have fantasies of being the "boss" are people who want the power. Regardless of the value of Manson's ecological philosophy, I don't trust ANYONE who wants to be boss.

The tragedy here isn't just that the Tate-LaBianca murders happened. A further tragedy is that if Manson had been rich or a 'good citizen' he wd've never gone to jail. The tragedy is that if Manson had been less beaten down & more aware of just how much society wanted him & the Family to be fiends he might've succeeded in staying out of the trap. Manson's philosophy is worth studying but I wish he'd had more of the psychopathfinder in him, more of the inclination to use his energy to keep away from being "the fiend", to change this society in more subtly subversive ways.

Instead, too many disorienting drugs, too much alienation, too much hate, too much being trapped in being scapegoated results in people like prosecutor Bugliosi making his name & fortune off vicious murders & being able to point the finger of guilt at the outsider while he stays safely inside the society that created that outside w/ a viciousness rarely acknowledged.

I wish the Family members had never murdered anyone. I wish Manson had had someone produce his music. It certainly deserves it as much as many a more 'successful' pop musician's music does. But this just ain't what happened & it's too late to change it now.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
April 1, 2008 – Shelved
April 1, 2008 – Shelved as: crime
April 1, 2008 – Shelved as: philosophy

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