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Conor Oberst

Oct. 27 2008, Published 7:07 a.m. ET

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I once interviewed Marilyn Manson about being associated with the massacres at Columbine High School and the murderous teens who later inspired Gus Van Sant to do that movie with that Kurt Cobain lookalike who gives older homosexual gentlemen special feelings. What would he say to the kids who survived the Columbine massacre? I asked Manson. "I wouldn't say anything," he answered. "I would listen. If we were listening, it would have never happened." (He recycled the line two years later in Bowling for Columbine).

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In the wake of Wednesday's massacre that left nine dead (including the 19-year-old shooter himself, Robert A. Hawkins) in Omaha, Nebraska, it's time to ask that question again. But not of Manson. I'm looking squarely at the frog prince of the emo movement, Conor Oberst.


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