Thursday, July 17, 2008


Bent Sørensen of Aalberg University (Denmark) left a comment in connection with my blog entry yesterday on Susan Atkins. I encourage everyone to read the complete text of his post, but I must say I was struck by his speculation, “One wonders whether she [Atkins] does not continue after all these years to be a victim, first of Manson’s manipulations, now of the continued hatred and fear of this dark American icon.” Actually, the same thought had occurred to me as one of the reasons why a virtually helpless woman would not be released from prison simply in order to die, but I chose not to include it in yesterday’s blog, so I thank Bent for giving expression to the idea. As familiar an icon in American popular culture as Darth Vader and Nazi SS troopers, Charles Manson (whose stylized icon is pictured) has become a conventional symbol of evil (perhaps as well-known as the image of the Devil with horns and tail), even by those who know next to nothing about him or the crimes for which he is infamous. (If you don't think so, click the link to the Los Angeles Times news article I made available on yesterday's blog and look closely at the nature of the responses and comments to Susan Atkins' petition for compassionate release.)

I encourage those interested to read Bent's fascinating discussion of Charles Manson as an icon of transgression, which is available on his lectures page at his university website. I've also included a link on the list on the right to Bent's Rarerarefind blogspot.

No comments: