"Reach out and touch me!"

A mash-up of Marilyn Mason’s and Depeche Mode’s versions of “Personal Jesus” has been stuck in my head for a solid week, with “Reach out and touch me” repeating over, and over again in half British pop and half scream.  I’m guessing this is because I have been reading The Long Hard Road Out Of Hell, Marilyn Manson’s memoir.  The book was an honest and graphic look at the beginning of Manson’s career.  I like trashy memoirs as much as the next gal, but Manson’s descriptions were a bit much for me at times.  Some of them are trapped in my brain forever. Naturally, as soon as I finished the book, I wanted to read more about Brian Warner and his merry band of model/murderers.  So, I immediately downloaded Marilyn Manson Talking, which is an unauthorized book about Manson. 

I had been telling my son about The Long Hard Road Out of Hell as I read it, carefully editing out certain parts.  So, I told him I finished the book and immediately downloaded another one.  He replied, “Why? Do you even know three Marilyn Manson songs?”

HMMM. Good question.  The answer is that I have only heard two Marilyn Manson songs, and they are both covers.  One is, of course, “Personal Jesus,” and the other is “Sweet Dreams.”  I do know that the concepts for most of his albums come from his own nightmares.  Does that count? 

I know why I started reading the first book. Marilyn’s a hometown boy.  Sort of.  Brian Warner formed his band of Spooky Kids in Fort Lauderdale in the early 90’s.  In fact, I actually went to South Broward High School with Gidget Gein, the original Manson bassist.  Gidget went by Brad Stewart then.  I didn’t know Brad in school.  We ran in different circles, and I didn’t even know who he was until one of my friends told me to look in my year book.  I still think it is awesome that I went to high school with an almost rock star (Gidget was no longer with the band when they made it big) and the world’s first super model.  That’s right.  Janice Dickinson is also an SBHS alumnus, but I digress.

My son’s question got me thinking.  Why do I want to read MORE about Marilyn Manson?  I wasn’t sure exactly, and since I tend to over-analyze everything, I sat down and made a list of what interests me about Marilyn.

  1. He tells it like it is.  Marilyn Manson calls out good ole ‘Merica on all of its hypocrisy.  He doesn’t hold back, and he doesn’t care if people hate him for that.  And A LOT of people do hate him.
  2. He speaks openly about his creepy grandfather’s horrific porn collection even though his family would rather he keep his mouth shut.  I have many creepy childhood stories of my own, and I would love to write my own memoir.  Something always stops me though.  I’m afraid of angering my family and hurting my mother. I don’t have much in common with most of my family anyway, so I’m not sure why I worry so much.  If I ever do write a memoir it will be called Stories That Make People Twitch because that is what people other than my husband, son, or a trained mental health professional do when I speak of my childhood.
  3. His appearance has always intrigued me.  Why would anyone choose to look like this?  Then it dawned on me.  It’s a metaphor for our broken society.  It’s also a visual reminder that we are all broken, in some way.  All of us.  Most people have their soft spot, their Achilles heel, their Kryptonite, or whatever they want to call it.
  4. Most of all, like Madonna and many other musicians that I don’t actually listen to, I admire little Brian Warner from Ohio for following his dream.  He wanted to be a rock star, and he is.  He didn’t let anyone stop him.  I admire that drive, and I envy it. I used to think I would have my own talk show by now, or a lot more published novels.  Somewhere along the way, I got comfortable and I lost my drive.  Marilyn makes me want to find it again.

So, I guess that is why I want to learn more about the man behind the white contact lens and the drug-infested road stories.  I still don’t have a big desire to listen to his music, and I will never carve his name in to my chest like some of his crazy fans.  I will admire his tenacity from a far because he truly is his own Personal Jesus.

Public Apology:  After publishing this, I learned that the opening line is actually “Reach out and touch FAITH!”  It makes sense that the word faith would escape me with my geriatric hearing and all.  So, now I just have an incorrect version of the song running through my head.  Constantly.


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