The thing I'm most struck by throughout this discussion is the clear division drawn between the old and the young. Here are some of the associations I've extrapolated:
Old = reality/order/news/death/love/acceptance of one's situation
Young = dreams/chaos/music/immortality/violence/sense of entitlement
The album as a whole can be seen as a treatise on this dichotomy and a story of the aging of Ziggy himself. He represents eternal youth but struggles with the twinge of desire he feels for the comfort of age - until he finally decides to accept it.
It is the mothers and the news man that are distraught by the news of the end of the world and sigh and cry. They overtly express it in acts of love (the cop kissing the feet of the preist) while the youth embrace the chaos and see it as an opportunity for violence (the girl hits the children) and material acquisition (the soldier envisions stealing the Cadillac, later Wendy steals clothes).
Ziggy is overwhelmed by the situation and knows not what to make of it. He is young, but still expresses a desire to return to "Ma."
The dream of the Infinites in "Starman" gives him hope, while simultaneously encouraging him to embrace the chaos of youth (they have an ulterior motive for this, as we find out later). He starts to believe that salvation from his hurting brain is indeed in those youthful ideas, and that he is to be the messiah of them.
So Ziggy becomes the very symbol of Youth, the Rock Star, the Prophet, the Immortal. He explicitly rejects the ideals of the old (news/TV) for the ideals of the young (music/T-Rex) and has a legion of followers to keep this idea alive for a while. When the followers start waning, he starts to doubt the value of youth. Perhaps the followers themselves are growing up and realising that there is value in the ideals of the aged?
Regardless, it ceases to matter as Ziggy has served his purpose to the infinites: he has become the ultimate embodiment of youthful immortality and has become the perfect specimen to provide the matter for their transformation to Earth beings.
The Infinites, that is, the "Black Hole Kids," don't steal his physical life or even his popularity (it's already begun to wane). Rather, they steal his youth. They made him what he became so that he could be of use to them.
Could "Rock and Roll Suicide" perhaps be his acknowledgment of his aging? Perhaps even his plea to his remaining followers that it's an OK ideal to embrace?
The Rise And Fall Of Ziggy Stardust And The Spiders From Mars is absolutely the story of a transformation. The interpretation I've offered here somewhat parallels a previous interpretation of mine that the transformation is from female to male (also represented as spider to fly and predator to prey) in that both are a transition from apparent invincibility to apparent vulnerability. The difference is that this interpretation doesn't necessarily see that vulnerability as a bad thing.
- So, what you're saying is that you manipulated me.
- Yes, exactly.