This week, I finally got to see Marilyn Manson perform live. Oddly enough, I owe it to Fox News for acquainting me with the shock rocker. In eighth grade, I sat cross-legged on the floor, watching the O’Reilly Factor with my father. I fancied myself a mini-conservative back then, parroting whatever my Catholic upbringing and father told me.
Listening to Marilyn Manson discuss art and censorship with Bill O’Reilly was like hearing a giant alarm clock. The segment was on “Protecting our Children,” and the arguments Manson brought up to counter O’Reilly were too compelling to ignore. Luckily, YouTube has preserved this awesome dialogue for fans to revisit. Rather than propelling me away from the musician, the O’Reilly Factor ended doing the reverse. I was intrigued and had to learn more about Manson’s style of music and fashion.
Later that week, I walked over to Liliha Library after school, and picked up Manson’s autobiography, The Long Hard Road Out of Hell. After struggling with an identity that was condemned by Catholicism, I found a kindred spirit in Brian Warner and his confused upbringing in the Lutheran faith. I carried the worn biography in my backpack, browsing through it after stressful liturgies and mass. It was like an oasis away from the gender-segregated tasks, threats of hellfire, and lack of explanation that characterized my Catholic school experience. After junior high, I resolved never to attend a religious school again.
Since 2001, I’ve been a die-hard fan of Manson’s music and rhetoric. I’ve been following his career since the Holy Wood release, then working my way back through the band’s early albums. As a fellow writer and journalist, I look up to this artist’s journey of intense individualism and truth-seeking. I’ve spent years musing over Manson’s explorations into the depths of so-called “Christian hell,” heartbreak, and through the darkest intentions of mass media and pop culture.
After years of trying to catch a live performance, following cryptic web art (see the Celebritarian Corporation), and missing a show in Berlin, I finally got to see Manson perform in Portland two days ago. And it was completely worth it.
In a show just over an hour long, Marilyn Manson blasted through several different eras of his career. From the glam rock Omega to deviant 1930’s cabaret, Manson brought the rock. And it was glorious.
Shock Symbol Pulpit
My sister (right) and I (left). Good memories.