Charlie is up for parole again, fat chance, which reminds me that a couple years ago, one of my little drawing pals posted a quote from him on her MySpace profile: "Look up at me and you see a god, look down on me and you see the Devil, look straight at me, and you see yourselves." Which baloney, she thought was profound. She was only 20, so I asked her if she understood who Charles Manson was, about the terrible murders, and she said "Yeah...but he said some really cool things." Somehow he managed, and still manages, to undercut the reason of people who should know better and get to some primal place in their psyche. John Douglas, the FBI profiler who was the model for Jack Crawford in "Silence of the Lambs" interviewed Manson at length, and his take on him was that he didn't fit the profile of a serial killer. Interestingly, Douglas doesn't believe Manson sent his followers out to kill people that first night, just to perform a terrifying home invasion, and he, Manson, was surprised to find out how far "Tex" Watson had gone. This put him in the position of having to condone the murders or tacitly admit he had lost control of Watson. The latter would mean losing control of all his followers, so, to save face, he went out with them the next night, entered the victim's house alone, terrified them into letting themselves be tied up, then left and sent Watson and the rest in to kill them. He himself did not want to watch or participate. Douglas does not think Manson would ever, ever admit this is how it went down, because his main drive was/is always to have psychological control of people. Allowing everyone in the world to think he intended his followers to kill all along, suits him just fine, because he'd rather be known as someone with that much personal power than as a cult leader who lost control to his second in command. His original plan was to be a rock star. In fact, he had an excellent singing voice, could play guitar well enough and compose decent songs. He certainly had the personal charisma. He blew his big break by being uncooperative and imperious with the record producer who recorded his big demo session. He was too difficult to work with. At any rate, it was that natural rock star charisma that he used to collect his followers and eventually bend them to his demented way of thinking. Rock isn't logical or coherent, but primal. Manson targeted people at that level, verbally barraging them in a berzerker kind of way with pseudo-profundities and passion. Steve Railsback did an amazing job portraying Manson in the TV miniseries of the 1970's. We have no real footage of Manson's speech in court, but I'm guessing by how much Railsback resembles and perfectly mimics Manson this performance is faithful enough: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPzKhHeDoyM Watching this, you get Douglas' point: he doesn't present as a serial killer, per se. He's a gutter Rasputin, a poor-man's Svengali. I can see how he'd collect followers before the murders. I really don't get that he still gets fan mail or that anyone could construe anything he said as "cool". It's hard to believe he hasn't been so thoroughly deconstructed as to have lost all appeal. When my friend said "He said some cool things", I was pretty shaken, and, disturbed to think I had been mistaking her, and maybe a lot of people, for being much more rational than they actually were.