In a move admittedly more about shocking his fans and detractors than about his ideological leanings, Marilyn Manson announced today that he would be throwing his endorsement to George W. Bush for the 2004 elections. A publicist for Manson confirmed that this move was designed to shock people in much the same way every aspect of Manson's career has been so designed.
We caught up with Manson to ask him about the reasons for his endorsement and his views about shock value in the year 2004.
Spoof: "We hear you're throwing in your endorsement for Bush, but it would seem that the religious right wing would be your greatest enemy, what is your thinking?"
Manson: "I'm not sure if my endorsement will have a net impact of more or less votes, and since the right wing is in complete control and will undoubtedly rig the election again it probably won't matter, but either way it's a good thing for me. But, in the end, I think that though it's a bad thing for the world to have Bush as a leader, it's a good thing for artistic expression, so really I have nothing to lose by doing this."
Spoof: "What do you mean exactly when you say that having Bush in the White House is good for artistic expression?"
Manson: "During the Clinton years, things became so open that there just wasn't anything left to rebel against. It's gotten to the point where nothing is shocking. Forcing us back into a less enlightened time will lead to a greater sense of creativity in the artistic community, because the greatest art tends to stem from those who want to push the envelope by rebelling against the status quo, to create something that is new and provocative by the current standards."
Spoof: "So, you want people to be repressed once again so you can shock them?"
Manson: "It would certainly make my life easier, wouldn't it? I mean, back in 1989 when I formed Marilyn Manson and the Spooky Kids, our looks alone were enough to shock people, especially down in Florida where we played our first gigs. You have to remember that in the 1980s, you didn't see a lot of tattoos and piercings outside of ‘Easy Rider' magazine, other than the earrings and the occasional nose ring. Here we come dressed like rejects from ‘Night of the Living Dead' and people just freaked out."
Spoof: "But you'd say your looks don't do it anymore? "
Manson: "I mean it worked for a while. Even after the look wasn't scary anymore, I was able to do some things like the spooky dilated contact that seemed to freak people out all over again. Now there are people who do their grocery shopping looking like I do."
Spoof: "So, when you realized the look wasn't shocking anymore, did you decide that you just wanted to continue to shock people in other ways or what?"
Manson: "Exactly. Shock is my bread and butter, plus I'm an insecure person, I need the attention and this is the easiest way for me to get it."
Spoof: "So it must have been hard when you realized that your look alone wasn't doing it anymore?"
Manson: "That's correct. First the shock of our appearance wore off in Florida…even the blue hairs eventually got used to seeing us around town, and by the early 90s when we started to release albums, and gain some name recognition, that's all it took to shock the rest of the world for a while, but eventually that wore off too. So, we started becoming really blatant with our drugs, sex, Satan, and death message. We had T-shirts printed that read ‘Kill Your Parents' and ‘When I'm God, everyone dies' for the ‘Antichrist Superstar' tour. I admit we went a bit overboard."
Spoof: "But it worked!"
Manson: "Yeah, it worked so well that I was banned from playing major cities. I'd sign on to a huge tour of say 40 cities, end up playing only 10 of them, but they'd still have to pay me for all 40 gigs. I was laughing all the way to the bank. Jesus Crispies from everywhere were coming out of the woodwork to try to save the souls of people who listened to our music. I'll tell you, if there is a hell, there's no way I'm going there because of all the strangers who've come up to me to tell me that God forgives me and all the bible thumpers who've prayed for my soul."
Spoof: "But that shock also wore off eventually, didn't it?"
Manson: "Yeah, eventually most people with ½ a brain saw it was all an act, and the rest of them moved on to the cause du jour. That's when I started to wipe my ass with the American flag. That had a small shock value impact, but not what I'd hoped…I guess my fans aren't the flag waving patriotic type and the people who would have been offended weren't fans, didn't come to my shows and didn't see stories about it in the media anymore because they had already decided to find another whipping boy."
Spoof: "Did you consider doing the flag as toilet paper bit again right after 9/11…probably would have been plenty shocking?"
Manson: "Hey, I may crave attention, but I don't have a death wish."
Spoof: "So, what else have you done to shock people?"
Manson: "Well there was a period of time where I'd pull guys up on stage from the audience and fellate them. That and the whole ‘Androgynous' thing I did on ‘Mechanical Animals'. Up until a couple years ago that was pretty shocking, but now you've got Queer Eye and Queer as Folk, and that new L Word show on TV. Ellen and Melissa and Rosie are all lesbians, that dude from the Lord of the Rings movies is gay, people just don't get as freaked out over it as they used to. I mean Andy Dick alone, who the hell knows what that guy's deal is, but no one worries about his sexuality anymore, it's just accepted."
Spoof: "So, you feel then that nothing's shocking anymore?"
Manson: "Really, yeah. I mean every outrageous thing I've done over the last decade is now mainstream. Everyone who I've already shocked is either alienated to the point that nothing I could say or do would shock them further, or they've come around to a more liberal viewpoint along with the mainstream. On the other hand, I could skin and eat a live baby on stage and my diehard fans would just say I pushed the envelope a bit farther than Ozzy. The only way left to shock anyone is to migrate to the right wing…no one's expecting that. When Dennis Miller did it, some of his fans were taken aback, but when I do it, I expect all hell to break loose."
Spoof: "So, who do you think is going to be shocked by this more, your fans or your non fans?"
Manson: "Well I see this as shocking both sides. Fortunately, my fans will get the joke eventually, but the people who hate me, (people who by the way just happen to be overwhelmingly Bush supporters) will be angry. They never get the joke. I am always toying with people, but I always spell it out on my albums…it's clearly all an act and anyone with more than 2 brain cells to rub together is in on the joke. Some times I feel like I could put out an album called ‘This Is All A Joke' with ridiculous songs about Satan worship and my detractors would go, ‘there, see…he worships Satan.' I figure the people who hate me will take their anger out on Bush for my endorsement and not elect him, hoping for a more conservative Democrat, or they'll try to push me away at first, but then they'll claim they converted me and accept me as a reborn Republican. If that happens, I plan to forcibly fellate George Bush at the Republican convention while wearing an American flag as a diaper."
Spoof: "So really you're hoping to destroy Bush's chances by supporting him?"
Manson: "Yes and no. If my plan works, it will destroy him yes, but if it backfires, things could go the other way. This could polarize the right wing even further, which would put our country back in the dark ages, forcing liberal thought back in the closet, then in a couple years when I get out of jail for forcibly giving the President a blow job, I'll be poised to shock the world again."
Spoof: "So, let's assume that this doesn't work, no one is shocked, everyone either thinks it's a joke and ignores you, you don't get the attention you hoped for and it doesn't affect the political landscape in any way which you can exploit, what then?"
Manson: "If that happened, I guess I'd have to finally give up on trying to shock people and accept that nothing is shocking anymore."
Spoof: "Would you continue to record music then, and if so would you lose the persona?"
Manson: "No, I think if the shock value is truly a thing of the past for me, then I'll have to change careers."
Spoof: "If you take a new career, what do you think it would be?"
Manson: "Well, I never really wanted to be a rock star….I always wanted to be…A lumberjack!
At that point I noticed background music starting to play and burly men in plaid shirts asceding from the floor, so I decided to cut the interview short.
Spoof: "Well Mr. Manson, it's been a pleasure speaking to you as always."
Manson: "The pleasure's all mine. Oh yeah, by the way, do you know of anyplace I can find a live baby? I'm kind of hungry."
So there you have it, Marilyn Manson has announced his endorsement of George W. Bush. He is expected to campaign through the south and the bible belt using his cover of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)" set to a backdrop of Bush in his jumpsuit when he makes his first campaign stop next week in Raleigh, NC.