MARILYN MANSON surprised an unsuspecting class of students Monday (Nov. 22) at Temple University in Philadelphia when he became the Professor of an Art and Society class for the day (photo), as part of MTV's "Stand-In" series. Manson's spin as a philosophy professor was the latest in a regular network feature that has included Sen. John Kerry, Snoop Dogg, and Jesse Jackson.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the students gasped when Manson — decked out in a black suit, shirt and tie, platform shoes with a chrome toe box, his trademark dark lipstick and bulbous sunglasses — entered with a small entourage.
"Oh my god, it's Marilyn Manson," one student said, and the class burst into applause.
The routine with the blackboard aside, Manson quickly established that he did not plan to be a typical substitute.
"I'm not Edward James Olmos," he said, referring to the actor who starred in the 1987 film "Stand and Deliver".
But the absinthe stayed in the bottle, and for an hour Manson led the class on a rambling but fascinating tour of his controversial political opinions and religious beliefs, as well as his definition of art and the shortcomings of the mass media.
"I'm not someone who doesn't respect religion," Manson said in response to a student question. "But I don't care for the way religion is used to manipulate people."
He said later: "We create our own gods. We create our own devils."
Manson's comments were mild compared to many he made in the 1990s, when he was at his most popular and his most controversial. Religious and civic groups frequently picketed his concerts.
But as he spoke with students, Manson was fairly reserved, frequently waxing appropriately philosophical.
"Art, for me, is a question mark. I don't think it should ever be an answer," he said.
MtvU is MTV's 24-hour college network, reaching over 700 campuses across the country. MTV has scheduled the program to air on December 6.