Marilyn Manson

This is a partial transcript from The O'Reilly Factor, August 20, 2001.

BILL O'REILLY, HOST:  In the Children at Risk segment tonight, we continue our reporting on the corrosive effects of the popular music world on some American children.

Marilyn Manson has sold almost 5 million records since 1995 and has delivered some shocking concert appearances.  I talked with him last Wednesday, and one day later, authorities in Michigan issued a warrant for his arrest for lewd conduct on stage.

Manson denies it, but there is no denying that he is a strange, and some say, disturbing force in the pop world.


MARILYN MANSON, MUSICIAN (singing):  And I'm a black rainbow and I'm an ape of God.  I've got faces made from violence and porn. And I'm a teen distortion, [a] survived abortion, a rebel from the waist down.



O'REILLY:  What's your message?  What are you trying to get across in the lyrics to these songs?

MANSON:  It's always about being yourself and not being ashamed of being different or thinking different.  I try and take everyone's ideals, common morals, flip them around, make people look at them differently, question them, so that you're not always taking things for granted.

O'REILLY:  All right, noble.  But why the bizarre getup?  I mean, why the eye, why the nail polish, why the Satan stuff?  You're a minister in the Church of Satan, right?

MANSON:  No, not necessarily.  That was...

O'REILLY:  Well, I mean...

MANSON:  ... that was the...

O'REILLY:  Publicity stunt?

MANSON:  No, no, no.  It was a friend of mine who's now dead who was a philosopher that I thought that I'd learned a lot from, and that was a title that I was given.  So a lot of people made a lot out of it.

O'REILLY:  Yes, but, I mean, look, if you're a reverend in the Church of Satan...

MANSON:  It's not a real job.  I didn't get paid for it.

O'REILLY:  But why -- if you want to get those kids, those lonely kids, and you want them to be able to be creative and burst out of that, why the bizarre presentation, which can be misinterpreted?

MANSON:  I think everybody's got a presentation.  Everybody looks a certain way because they want to convey a certain image.  You look a certain way because you want people to listen to you in a certain way.

O'REILLY:  Are you an exhibitionist?

MANSON:  I'm kind of shy, and I think that I take that out by performing in front of a lot of people.  That's how I get out my shyness.  So it's...

O'REILLY:  But you've done some pretty bizarre things on stage.  I mean, they tell me that you engaged in a sex act with another man on a stage in Miami.  Is that true?

MANSON:  To a certain degree, to a certain degree.  It wasn't so much a formal sex act.  No one was aroused.

O'REILLY:  But why did you do that?  Why would you do that?

MANSON:  Somebody ran on stage and pulled down their pants.  So rather than let them make a laugh out of me, I grabbed them and turned the joke around on them.  My parents were in the audience, and...

O'REILLY:  Your parents were in the audience?

MANSON:  ... and I introduced my father to the gentleman that came onstage, so my father approved of it.  I don't see it to be that shocking.

O'REILLY:  But it was shocking.

MANSON:  It was entertaining to me.

O'REILLY:  To you.

MANSON:  To me.

O'REILLY:  But if kids saw that, if they saw you simulating or actually doing whatever happened, a sex act with another man, maybe they would go out and do it too.

MANSON:  Well, I can't be blamed for something like that.  You have to blame Richard Simmons and Liberace and people like that.  I don't encourage people to choose any sort of sexuality.  But I think I just try and entertain people.  That's an odd example, because it was a rare occasion.  Someone ran up on stage and took off their clothes.  It's not something that I would normally do.

O'REILLY:  But you...

MANSON:  But I thought it was funny to me at the time.

O'REILLY:  You have the stand on sex.  You encourage kids to have sex.

MANSON:  No, I don't -- I do have a lot of sexual imagery in my performance.  But I don't think it's ever encouraging anyone to have sex.  I think I just show my own sexuality, but I don't think I've ever really written about having sex or anything like that.

O'REILLY:  You...

MANSON:  I think that's, again, another thing that parents should be deciding.

O'REILLY:  OK, but remember now, a lot of kids don't have parents that really care about them.

MANSON:  Sure, sure.

O'REILLY:  And those kids tend to gravitate to people like you, who they see.

MANSON:  If some kid -- if a kid asked me, Should I have sex?  I'd say, How old are you?  And I'd say, Well, I lost my virginity when I was 16, so there's my inspiration to you.

O'REILLY:  All right.

MANSON:  And I would have tried sooner, but I just couldn't find any girls that liked me.

O'REILLY:  You're a pretty well-spoken guy, yet in your records you use a lot of F-word, a lot of swearing and this and that.  Again, is it necessary to get your message across to use that kind of language?  Is it -- you use the sexual imagery, you use the shocking physical appearance, you've done some bizarre things on stage, and you use profanity.  All that necessary?

MANSON:  Sometimes.  I think sometimes when you're making a point, I don't think that my lyrics are over-laced with profanity, because I myself don't speak using a lot of profanity in normal conversation.  But I think when you're making something aggressive and you need to get a point across, if you're angry, sometimes profanity is necessary.  It's better to use a curse word than to hurt somebody else, I find.

O'REILLY:  You can take some of your lyrics as, you know, "You'll understand when I'm dead."  I mean, disturbed kids could take the lyrics and say, you know, When I'm dead, everybody's going to know me.

MANSON:  Well, I think that's a very valid point, and I think that that's a reflection of a -- not necessarily this program, but of television in general.  If you die and enough people are watching, then you become a martyr, you become a hero, you become well-known.  So when you have things like Columbine and you have these kids that are angry and they have something to say and no one's listening, the media sends a message that if you do something loud enough and it gets our attention, then you will be famous for it.

Those kids ended up on the cover of "Time" magazine.  The media gave them exactly what they wanted.  And that's why I never did any interviews when that happened, when I was getting blamed for it, because I felt that I would be contributing to what I found to be reprehensible.

O'REILLY:  So you don't believe that your songs reflect any kind of suicide wish or anything like that?

MANSON:  No, I feel that my songs talk about getting through feelings like that.

O'REILLY:  What do your parents think of you?

MANSON:  My parents, you know, at first weren't sure what I was doing.  They wanted me to be a writer.  I started out as a journalist.  I still feel that I am a journalist, in a way, because I see things and I report them back to people in my own fashion, in songs or in interviews.  My mom was always a big fan of Elvis.  She made me listen to Elvis when I was a kid.  I hated it.  And I think now I've kind of grown up to fill in some of the sort of controversy that he created back in his day, but in a much more extreme, modern sense.

O'REILLY:  Never before in the history of this country have so many corrupting influences descended upon children at one time.

MANSON:  Sure.

O'REILLY:  And that most children don't understand what you're doing and why you're using the F-word and why you are acting bizarre.  And this can be very, very troubling to children who don't have direction, who don't have responsible parents.

MANSON:  Anything can be misinterpreted.  People can look at Christ on a cross and think, This is an image of murder, this is violent, this has sexual imagery in it.  And it just -- I think it's my job as an artist to be out there pushing people's buttons and making them question everything.

And I respect you for challenging me, and that's why I came on the show.


O'REILLY:  Marilyn Mason is currently overseas.  We'll keep you posted on the legal action.

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