Charlie Manson is dead at the age of 83.
He was, to be sure, a murderous sociopath who spent most of his existence behind bars, which is where he belonged, and, frankly, where he preferred to be.
At the time of his death, he also was the subject of multiple fan clubs, and his image has sold more tee shirts than Che Guevara, another famous sociopath popular with hipster morons. In fact, if you go online right now, you will find countless articles of clothing featuring Crazy Charlie, as well as books of his poetry and even recordings of his music. If you check out Youtube.com, you will be able to watch his infamous interviews with Geraldo Rivera, Dianne Sawyer, and Charlie Rose (who won an Emmy for his interview in 1987), and many others who wanted to polish their journalism credentials by landing a prison chat with Charles Freaking Manson.
What is observably true is that Charlie was famous, and he still is famous. In his twisted way, he became every bit as much of an icon of the 60’s Love Generation as the Beatles and Hunter Thompson.
His celebrity, however, says some pretty dark stuff about who we are culturally.
Culturally, we are sick and stupid.
Sick, because we tend to elevate villains and creeps to the height of fame, and stupid because we somehow think it is cool and edgy to do so. Charlie knew this. He always did. And he exploited the living hell out of it.
I don’t know where in the Universe Charles Manson went last night, but I do know this:
Wherever he is, he is bugging out his eyes and laughing.