Why Marilyn Manson Isn’t Actually the Devil After All


If you haven’t figured it out already (or if you’re new here), this blog is often a place where I explore things I was taught growing up & how I’ve moved away from some of those things as I’ve become an adult.  This isn’t easy for me because, whether by nature or by nurture, or more likely some combination of the two, I am a bit of a people-pleaser.  I like to help others & to make people happy.  It’s never come naturally to me to rock the boat, & thus I try to avoid confrontation as much as possible.  However, one of the best things about being a nurse is that it has forced me to become a lot more assertive & thus be less afraid of confrontation.  Furthermore, it has helped me understand that life is far too short to be anything but happy, & that Shakespeare’s words “This above all, to thine own self be true” were indeed very wise.  The older I get, the less I care about pleasing everyone else in my life because I’ve realized that I can never please everyone anyway.  And at the end of the day, no one owns my life except me, so it’s best to just be honest about who I am & what I believe & let the cards fall where they may.

That was a long preamble, but I’ve said all that to explain why today’s blog post is kind of a big deal for me. marilyn manson

One of the things I learned growing up was that Marilyn Manson was more or less the personification of evil, Satan incarnate if you will.  As someone who seems to have made a career out of making people uncomfortable & rocking the boat in every possible way, quite often it seems just for the hell of it, Manson is someone that for most of my life I just couldn’t understand.  I still vividly remember the first time I heard his version of Sweet Dreams & was mildly horrified to find that I loved the song.  I was driving to Blacksburg to visit my then-boyfriend/now-husband when the song came on the radio.  It was dark outside & I have to admit the song sent chills down my spine.  And yet I loved it.  At the time I was vaguely familiar with a few of his other pieces like The Beautiful People & The Dope Show, but none of them had ever intrigued me enough to really investigate him further or see past his “devilish” image (both literal & metaphorical).  It’s only in the past few weeks that I’ve really started to read up on Manson & try to understand him as an artist & a person, which was triggered when I read an interview with him about his new album in Revolver magazine & was surprised at the maturity & wisdom in his words.

pale emperor

Manson’s latest album, which just debuted in January, is very bluesy & quite different than much of his previous work. Definitely worth a listen even if you’re not normally a fan of his music.

To be clear, I’m still not a fan of some of Manson’s antics from his heyday back in the 90s (stuff like urinating on fans & masturbating on stage).  But if you read some of his more recent interviews or listen to his latest album, The Pale Emperor, it quickly becomes apparent that Manson has matured a great deal.  I’ve also just recently seen his interview in Bowling for Columbine & read some of the articles he wrote in response to that tragedy, & I’ve found myself nodding along in agreement with every word he said.

So today I’d like to share some of my favorite Manson quotes that I’ve gathered over the past few weeks that prove to me that he is not in fact the devil incarnate & is indeed actually a very astute, articulate artist who deserves a lot more respect & a lot less fear than he gets.  (Also he’s pretty hilarious, but in a devilish way, of course.)mm pale emperor

“A lot of people forget or never realize that I started my band as a criticism of these very issues of despair and hypocrisy. The name Marilyn Manson has never celebrated the sad fact that America puts killers on the cover of Time magazine, giving them as much notoriety as our favorite movie stars. From Jesse James to Charles Manson, the media, since their inception, have turned criminals into folk heroes. They just created two new ones when they plastered those dip-shits Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris’ pictures on the front of every newspaper. Don’t be surprised if every kid who gets pushed around has two new idols.”

Times have not become more violent. They have just become more televised. Does anyone think the Civil War was the least bit civil? If television had existed, you could be sure they would have been there to cover it, or maybe even participate in it…”

mm destroy faith

“Responsible journalists have reported with less publicity that Harris and Klebold were not Marilyn Manson fans – that they even disliked my music. Even if they were fans, that gives them no excuse, nor does it mean that music is to blame. Did we look for James Huberty’s inspiration when he gunned down people at McDonald’s? What did Timothy McVeigh like to watch? . . . What inspires Bill Clinton to blow people up in Kosovo? . . . Isn’t killing just killing, regardless if it’s in Vietnam or Jonesboro, Arkansas? Why do we justify one, just because it seems to be for the right reasons? Should there ever be a right reason? If a kid is old enough to drive a car or buy a gun, isn’t he old enough to be held personally responsible for what he does with his car or gun? Or if he’s a teenager, should someone else be blamed because he isn’t as enlightened as an eighteen-year-old?”

“I’m a controversial artist, one who dares to have an opinion and bothers to create music and videos that challenge people’s ideas in a world that is watered-down and hollow. In my work I examine the America we live in, and I’ve always tried to show people that the devil we blame our atrocities on is really just each one of us. So don’t expect the end of the world to come one day out of the blue – it’s been happening every day for a long time.”

[All of the above quotes come from Manson’s response to the Columbine tragedy published in Rolling Stones.  I strongly encourage you to read the entire piece in all of its brilliance: http://www.rollingstone.com/culture/news/columbine-whose-fault-is-it-19990624]marilyn-manson-cat

“…but in the end you always die alone.  It’s not really a sad story, but it is the reality story.  We all die alone.  It’s what you do when you’re alive that counts.  And if you make a deal with the devil, don’t try to outrun him, because in the end, he’s always going to be there.”

“The church wouldn’t have tried to suppress music if there wasn’t so much power in it . . . It’s a really all about alchemy in the end.  It’s about turning lead into gold, & that’s what making music is.  And they fear that- that’s really the thing.  It’s not, ‘Oh, that evil rock and roll music- it makes the kids go out and have sex!’  It’s, ‘They’re stealing our market!  Those are our customers!  Give them back!’”

[The above two quotes are from the interview with Manson in the current (February/March 2015) issue of Revolver magazine which I referenced earlier in this post.  You can find the magazine at Barnes & Noble.]manson pale emperor

If you were to talk directly to the kids at Columbine and the people in that community, what would you say to them right now?

I wouldn’t say a single word to them.  I would listen to what they have to say. And that’s what no one did.”

[From the interview with Manson in Bowling for Columbine]

manson columbine

“Well, I always like to go by the motto ‘freedom of speech does not come with a dental plan’ . . . Words are just words. But to some people, they’re not just words. When they’re very fundamentalist, and whether it be Christian or Islamic or whatever it is, some people can not take jokes. And those are the people that you pretty much avoid making jokes about. That’s what I’ve learned.”

[You can read the full interview from which the above quote comes here: http://www.avclub.com/article/marilyn-manson-charlie-hebdo-onion-and-his-gold-sw-213924.  It’s full of Manson’s signature devilish humor.]

“The beast they lived in fear of was really themselves: It was man, not some mythological demon, that was going to destroy man in the end. And this beast had been created out of their fear.”

“Everybody has a light and a dark side, and neither can exist without the other.”

[From his autobiography The Long, Hard Road Out of Hell]Marilyn Manson book

“Art is a f—ing question mark, you fill in the blanks. That’s the listener’s job — that’s what music is about.”

[From this interview: http://www.spin.com/articles/qa-marilyn-manson/]

The following are quotes I really like that are attributed to Manson, but FYI I can’t find direct sources for them.

A lot of people don’t want to make their own decisions. They’re too scared. It’s much easier to be told what to do.”

“I never said to be like me; I say to be like you and make a difference.”

Manson & his dad

Manson & his dad

Music is the strongest form of magic.”

“All the drugs in the world won’t save us from ourselves.”

“The devil doesn’t exist . . . you are responsible for your own good and evil.”

manson music magic

In the end it seems that maybe Manson isn’t so evil after all . . . or at least no more so than any of the rest of us.  And maybe that’s exactly what he’s being trying to show us all these years.

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