21 Things We Talk About When We Talk About Marilyn Manson

As you queermos may know, Autostraddle dot com is a thing that occurs on a shoestring budget on the internet, and as such we don’t really have a real office in a skyscraper in Manhattan or anything like that. Rather we’re just a group of weirdos in our pajamas emailing each other frantically at all times of the day and night, just trying to make the revolution happen, one tiny post containing images of cats drinking whiskey at a time. Sometimes the daily editorial email – with senior editors, content editors, contributing editors, and interns – is pretty quiet, with all of us going about our business writing words and occasionally showering and all that jazz, but some days we get really talkative. You never can tell what will inspire us, but once we’re off it’s true magic.

Last night Carmen emailed us at 11:08 PM (EST) to alert us that Idol Worship: Alanis Morissette Feelings Atrium was ready to be published. Three minutes later, at 11:11 PM (EST) Stef responded:

my dad’s favourite thing to do is remind me about when i was like 12 or 13 years old and i gave him these really long impassioned speeches about how alanis morissette was going to change the world with her music

and also about how marilyn manson was totally NOT just an alice cooper ripoff and WHY AREN’T YOU GUYS MORE SCARED OF ME UGH I DIDN’T ASK TO BE BORN IN THE FIRST PLACE.

What happened next was a thing of beauty, pride, and joy for all of us. From 11:13 PM – 11:51 PM we exchanged no fewer than 30 emails, all revolving loosely around Marilyn Manson and what exactly he means to each of us on an individual level. The conversation continued long after 11:51 PM, but the highlights relating to Manson were really packed into that 38 minute span, and we felt it was very important for you to see the way the brilliant minds that bring you Autostraddle dot com day in and day out react when they see / hear / feel the name Marilyn Manson. Perhaps you have some additional thoughts to add; please do.

I personally was really happy when they broke up does that make me an asshole? I mean I didn't want her to marry Billy Elliot I wanted her to come date ME.

I personally was really happy when they broke up does that make me an asshole? I mean I didn’t want her to marry Billy Elliot I wanted her to come date ME.

1. Marilyn Manson always terrified me. no longer ashamed to admit it.

2. Being Jewish and listening to “Antichrist Superstar” is so anticlimactic.


3. I sat in Sean’s driveway, waiting for Mason to come back and Nick was in the backseat and Marilyn Manson was on and I felt like everything I was doing was right on the precipice of being real, but not, because Marilyn Manson was on.

4. I was v scared of Marilyn Manson and v upset that he was dating Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual.

5. I have experienced the same feelings as Vanessa re: fear and Evan Rachel Wood Bisexual.

6. Once my dad liked one Marilyn Manson song which doesn’t make any sense unless you assume my dad doesn’t know who Marilyn Manson is, which I guess is actually totally possible. My dad is a tea party member y’all.

7. “Personal Jesus” kind of freaked me out a little bit in a way that everything freaks you out when your whole bedroom is windows and you like leaving your shades open in the dark while you listen to 101.7 WFNX With Paul Driscoll.

8. I thought Marilyn Manson and Charles Manson were the same person for longer than I’d care to admit. I thought Marilyn was just his alter ego or something.

9. I also had Marilyn/Charles confusion in my youth! Is this an intern thing?

10. I also heard Marilyn Manson is joining the cast of Once Upon A Time super recently and honestly  I’d just rather have more Mulan/ladies tbh.

11. I believe Marilyn Manson was also featured in Eastbound & Down. Not that I watch that show.

12. I was so confused by the Marilyn Monroe vs Marilyn Manson thing. I mean, they had the same first name. I also knew that the president was somehow tied in and therefore thought Monica Lewinsky was the same magical person. Confusing times with M names.

13. All I know about Marilyn Manson is that he bit off the head of a bat while he was on stage at a concert. Or a puppy. But probably a bat.

14. Wait I thought that was Ozzy Osbourne.

15. Wait I thought it was Alice Cooper.

16. Okay I know less than nothing about Marilyn Manson.

17. Marilyn Manson might have been the very first thing I deemed white people shit. Ah, the joys of youth.

18. Is it weird that I had a crush on Marilyn Manson back when I was like 12/13 and I didn’t know his gender and that was my favorite thing about him?

19. No one is leaving until I find out who (allegedly) bit the head off of what.

20. I wish we could put together a listling of “things we emailed each other in rapid succession when Stef brought up Marilyn Manson.”

21. …Should I know who Marilyn Manson is?

Vanessa is a queer feminist writer and photographer currently based in New York. She really misses Portland. Find her on twitter and instagram.

Vanessa has written 338 articles for us.


  1. I knew nothing about Marilyn Manson other than a) He named himself after Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson and b) That one song “Sweet Dreams” which I actually like better than the original Eurythmics version. And then I saw Bowling for Columbine, and I was like “Wtf, this guy is SMART.” And while I still didn’t love Marilyn Manson after that, I think it taught me a good lesson about judging people.

  2. The best episode of Politically Incorrect I ever saw was Marilyn Manson (who is super smart), Florence Henderson (Mrs. Brady, who is also smart and liberal), G. Gordon Libby (One of Nixon’s convicted thugs, who is not as smart as Florence and Marilyn), and some black Christian music woman who was not a factor. The topic was kids and censorship, and Florence and Marilyn wiped the floor with the conservatives.

    • I know absolutely nothing about Marilyn Manson’s music. I’m not even sure if I’ve ever heard any of it. I remember having vague feelings about him dating Rose McGowan (back in my Charmed years) but that was about all I ever knew about him. A few months ago, I randomly watched an interview with him on youtube, and ended up watching 5 or 6 more. I really liked listening to him talk. He is, as you said, very smart. I was impressed.

  3. So I JUST heard Alice Cooper talk about the chicken incident on Q, like, last week. People think he bit off a chicken’s head and drank its blood at a concert in Toronto, but the chicken in question was actually thrown onstage by some fans and Alice Cooper just tossed it back into the air, thinking it would fly away. But chickens can’t fly. When the chicken inevitably landed, the people seated in the front row grabbed it and proceeded to rip it apart.

    And Ozzy was the one who bit off the bat’s head.

  4. The first time I heard Marilyn Manson, a dude who I would later become friends with was dancing/lip-syncing to “Beautiful People” while dressed in bloodied rags at a high school talent show. I was fresh out of Catholic school and scared out of my wits.

  5. no, Ozzy got a full course of 40 rabies shots, not the rabies itself. i find it hard to believe i was so afraid of syringes in my youth as for this fact to terrify me.

    But Manson…in his case tackiness sadly is a capital crime. All i, having my roots in the true goth/industrial scene, can say.

  6. Hmmm, so I feel like sooo lonely right now.

    I’ve always been a hardcore Marilyn Manson’s fan from the very first minute, taking a great delight in looking for and defining the second-and-third-and-fourth-and… levels,totally under the charm of his intelligence and boldness, the clash-but-oh-wait-it’s-actually-awesome-and-kind-of-pretty between the glamour and the grotesque, my mind blown by the fact that most people didn’t even consider that it might be an act, which of course it is, but with a very clever message underneath.

    Also, I kind of dressed like him (not so much anymore, what with the 40s being close and all), and this whole imagery, the cynism, the tinged with love pessimism are still totally mine.

  7. Why is nobody talking about Dita von Teese?!?!?!
    I would ask that pretty much every time Marilyn Manson was mentioned in my teens (which was pretty frequent with my little alternative-issues-middle class angst bunch) She’s definitely another retrospective girl crush.

    But seriously, you guys, WHY is nobody talking about Dita von Teese?!?!?!

      • McGowan, yes, YES! :-D But those two got me in a very weird state of envy, jealousy and lust, the first two already quite unconfortable individually, very disturbing when all mixed up, especially when you throw admiration in the bunch… F** do I hate growing older, feelings and passion tend to cool off a bit, I miss this time when people I didn’t even know could make me go through all kinds of moods.

      • It has been a while! I’d forgotten about Rose McGowan. I just looked at her wiki page to see what she’s been doing lately(not a lot). Found this quote from when she was filming Fifty Dead Men Walking:

        McGowan caused controversy during the making of Fifty Dead Men Walking when she stated “I imagine, had I grown up in Belfast, I would 100 per cent have been in the IRA. My heart just broke for the cause. Violence is not to be played out daily and provide an answer to problems, but I understand it.”

        Thanks internet, you’ve just ruined Rose McGowan for me. Cheers.

    • I don’t know how to embed videos so here’s the link

      Somehow she manages to mix dominatrix fierce, pinup sexy, a Shakespeares Sister covering Joy Division (!), and a little bit of commentary on the Bush administration and it’s fucked up relationship with Tony Blair. In short, you will feel feelings.

  8. Listening to his version of “This Is Halloween” is practically an annual tradition for me. Even though I dislike quite a large quantity of his songs, I’ve always really liked Coma White / I Don’t Like The Drugs (bit of an ironic pairing).

  9. I think I’ll always have this weird affection for Marilyn Manson because of my Parents Just Don’t Understand angst phase in high school. Though I’ve always loved his covers more than his actual songs? Sweet Dreams, Tainted Love, Personal Jesus, You Spin Me Round, and This Is Halloween are all songs I still jam to occasionally.

  10. I started appreciating Marilyn Manson only recently. I think his music appeals to a previously unacknowledged wild streak within me. Like Rachel R, my favorites of his are mostly covers, except for Wight Spider and Running to the Edge of the World.

    I saw a YouTube a while ago of him, makeup-free and dressed in a suit, reading a poem at some poetry conference. It was very surreal.

    I’m looking forward to seeing him as Pan’s shadow on Once Upon a Time. Beautifully creepy.

  11. I have SO many Manson feels! He scared me until I got to high school and got super moody/frustrated with society and at that point he became a voice I loved. I found out he was actually a well spoken individual…I watched “Bowling for Columbine” and was enthrall end with his opinion. I mean shit got weird for a whole minute and then he released that CD with “heart shape glasses” and it didn’t appeal to me in the slightest. He got too sad for my liking.

    I could have this conversation for much longer than 38 mins. but I need a keyboard to do it typing on an iPhone is irritating!

    • That was meant to be a play on “I love you.” Like “I love you guys but also how you make me feel.” But then it came out really self involved and like I thought we were the best ever but then I couldn’t go back.

  12. I loved Tainted love and mOBSCENE (sexy video IMO). I used to think I was strange because I never met any other ladies of color who enjoy this kind of music. Anyway, glad to know I’m not alone!

    But now I’ve going down a YouTube rabbit hole – Manson, Rammstein, Katatonia, Porcupine Tree, etc. Possibly Fear Factory.

  13. Back when Marilyn Manson was married to Dita von Teese I remember thinking that it would be funny to watch them fight over the mirror putting their make-up on in the morning. Then I remembered they are very rich and successful and surely have plenty of mirrors to go around, but I was still amused by the thought.

  14. I guess you kids are too young to remember that urban legend about him being the same actor who played Kevin on “Mr. Belvedere.”

    That’s one of my most vivid memories of high school: two of my friends outside, devastated, chain smoking, informing me of what they thought was true news.

  15. I’m absolutely fascinated by MM. He’s incredibly intelligent and has fantastic taste in women. I never found him or any of the other goth rockers from my youth frightening. I mean come on, they turned that whole goth/emo attention seeking movement into art form and got paid to boot, so you better recognize.

    • i’d rather have the underground culture’s ‘attention seeking’ than mainstream media approved ‘art’, thank you. Seriously the difference is the exact same one between the folks from ‘Paris is Burning’ and Madonna’s accompanying dance group. Or between Crowley and Polanski for that matter.

      i can’t believe i, an old woman, am instigating a true punk- or goth-ness argument in 2013. Obv we don’t grow up or change as much as we want to believe. *sigh* guilty, i know, but still.

      • Old women are entitled to be a little cantankerous, if they can keep their sense of perspective, I reckon. After all, come Halloween we’ll all be dancing to the Time Warp, once again…

        Here’s to pointy (and stompy) boots, old band t-shirts and eyeliner!

  16. Since I was a teen I’ve always had a huge soft spot for him and his music. I strive to have his “I don’t give a fuck attitude.” And to one day be half as brilliant and well spoken. Plus, he got to date Dita, still jealous about that.

  17. I was super, super into Marilyn Manson when I was in high school… it was my angry atheist phase and I was totally obsessive about it… I even wrote an essay about one of MM’s albums for one of my English classes where I think I dissected the meaning of the lyrics to just embarrassingly excruciating detail.

    But then again I probably got to this thread way too late and no one will see this comment anyways, so maybe we can all just pretend that never happened ;)

  18. Woa, I’m frankly a bit shocked by the lack of knowledge about Marilyn Manson. But also tend to think all things I know a lot about is common knowledge, which obviously is not the case because I have a nice bundle of strange interests.

    But yes, been a fan of Marilyn Manson for about six years and I’m not ashamed of it.

    As for the bat thing, it was Ozzy, but if I remember correctly it was supposed to be a plastic bat, but someone had changed it to a real on and he had no idea. Poor fella.

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