CHARLOTTE COLISEUM AUTHORITY WISHES TO CANCEL MARILYN MANSON SHOW

by Mike Conyers

The Charlotte, NC Coliseum Authority recently met to discuss whether or not an upcoming concert by shock-musician Marilyn Manson could be stopped. Although every one of the board members present wanted to stop the band from performing, they also knew that they had no legal way to ban the concert, so... MANSON -1, BOARD -0.

In a recent Addicted to Noise article, (http://www.addict.com/MNOTW/lofi/), Greg Keith, the vice chairman of the Authority board was quoted as saying "They're hiding behind the First Amendment. We don't have any recourse. If we had some recourse, I promise you we'd take it. It comes back to the same issue: censorship. Who's to decide who can and can't come? Do you not have the Ku Klux Klan? Do you not have Louis Farrakahn? Do you not have gay events? Do you not have Marilyn Manson? Unfortunately, the First Amendment protects performances by Marilyn Manson, which we disagree with tremendously." [Ed. note: Can it be spelled out more clearly than this??? As a government official standing openly in complete disagreement with the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, ROC believes Greg Keith should be fired immmediately.]

According to the Charlotte Observer, 10/21, (http://www.charlotte.com/1021manson.html), Lori Thrift, a member on the Authority board, presented an anti-Manson petition signed by 400 people vehemently against Marilyn Manson performing in their city. Ms. Thrift went so far as to say "He dresses in women's lingerie," and that Manson is nothing in comparison to her rock-idol... Bruce Springsteen.

The seven member Coliseum Authority's last attempt at censorship was protesting and trying to ban the world-reknowned play, "Hair," in 1971. They promised to keep a close eye on Marilyn Manson when he is scheduled to appear in November. Mike Crum, the Authority Manager, has said that the security detachment at this concert will be tripled, at the expense of the promoter, and that Manson would face a harsh $10,000 fine if the band encourage the audience to rush the stage. Crum was also directed by the board to look into a concert rating system for future performances.

Crum and Carol Thompson, the Ovens Auditorium manager, will both travel to Kansas City, MO for Manson's first concert of the upcoming tour. They will report back to the Charlotte district attorney and police attorney to establish limits on the concerts, and to decide on whether attorney appearance is required to keep the band in line at the concert.

The self-righteous audacity shown by these city officials is staggering. Like so many other closed-minded organizations, they believe that someone preaching something unorthodox should be silenced. They don't seem to be aware that they are a huge part of the problem, and that their actions to undermine our constitutional rights are what are creating the hostile cultural environment we see so evidently today. How many failed demonstrations such as this one have to occur before the censors finally realize that they are acting in a manner which goes far beyond their constitutional authority?

What is the deal with the "concert rating system" anyways? If people/parents are concerned over what the concert is going to be like, then they should look at a rock magazine, or listen to whatever music is available from the artist. Shouldn't people be allowed to judge for themselves if they want to go a concert? One more time, the idea is this: If you don't like the band, don't go to the concert. That's not too hard. Not only would a ban on the concert have been a violation of the First Amendment, but just following the band around on the tour to critique them with the goal of setting limits to their presentation could be loosely interpreted as a form of harassment, when applied to a situation as this. How long do we have to put up with other people, particularly government employees, telling us what is good for us, and what is inapropriate?

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