Portrait of An American Family

Portrait of An American Family cover
  • Release date: July 19, 1994
  • Genre: Rock, Industrial Rock
  • Length: 60:52
  • Label: Interscope
  • Written by: Marilyn Manson, Daisy Berkowitz, Gidget Gein, M. W. Gacy
  • Some lyrics by: Charles Manson, Doald Dahl

Track List

Marilyn MansonCharles MansonRoald DahlMarilyn MansonDaisy BerkowitzGidget GeinM.W. Gacy
Prelude (The Family Trip)XX
Cake and SodomyXX
Organ GrinderXXX
Dope HatXXXX
Get Your GunnXXX
Wrapped in PlasticXX
Sweet ToothXXX
Snake Eyes and SissiesXXXX
My MonkeyXXX
Misery MachineXXXX


I wanted to address the hypocrisy of talk show America, how morals are worn as a badge to make you look good and how it's so much easier to talk about your beliefs than to live up to them. I was very much wrapped up in the concept that as kids growing up, a lot of the things that we're presented with have deeper meanings than our parents would like us to see, like Willy Wonka and the Brothers Grimm. So what I was trying to point out was that when our parents hide the truth from us, it's more damaging than if they were to expose us to things like Marilyn Manson in the first place. My point was that in this way I'm an anti-hero.


Portrait of An American Family was the band's first official album, and it was composed of mostly rerecorded material from their demo days. This made it a stylistic continuation of their pre record label material, both musically, lyrically, and visually. So even though fans often refer to Portrait of An American Family as its own era, one really can't separate it from the demo tape era that came before it, which the fans nicknamed the "Spooky Kids" era (a reference to the band's original name, "Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids", which was used on most of the demo tapes).

This album, and the Spooky Kids material it is based on, was all about dispelling the façade of picture-perfect America. It was about pointing out that sinful urges and taboo fascinations still lurk behind the pretense of being a good Christian, a perfect family, a model citizen standing on the moral high ground. It was also obsessed with childhood, often transforming it into something dark and creepy to suggest that childhood isn't as innocent as people often assume it to be. This 'creepy kids' concept directed most of the artwork during both eras and was one of the things that helped the band stand out in their local scene. And finally, it was a product of pop culture, employing an unusually high number of samples from movies, songs, and interviews, something that the band has since moved away from.

A lot of this introduction is going to focus on catching the reader up on the relevant cultural references to help place the record into proper context. This article does not assume any familiarity with the Spooky Kids era. Instead, it will allow itself to supplement the discussion about the Portrait album with information taken from the Spooky Kids era whenever it is fitting.

Starlets and serial killers

The name Marilyn Manson is a combination of Marilyn Monroe, the American actress who became one of Hollywood's biggest sex symbols, and Charles Manson, who led a cult of hippie outcasts in the 60s that murdered 9 people. Marilyn Manson invented the name after noting that America seems to have the same fascination with serial killers as it does with movie stars, and thus he considered it to be a symbolic representation of American culture. During the Spooky Kids era, it was common for band members to adopt stage names that were a mix of a famous woman and a famous serial killer, a practice that continued until the release of Antichrist Superstar. Of all the killers that ever graced the stage names of the band members, one of them stood apart as being the most iconic in American culture, and also the one that Marilyn Manson had the biggest fascination with: Charles Manson.

Charles Manson

Charles Manson mug shot

Charles Manson was a troubled kid since early age, a combination of unfortunate genetics (his father was a con man, his mother a teenage mother who was eventually arrested for assault and robbery) and a system that failed at setting him straight, and in some cases even damaged him further. By the time he was 32, he had spent more than half of his life in prisons and institutes thanks to a long track record of theft, pimping, and parole violations. When he was set to be released from his second incarceration, he actually expressed a wish to stay in prison, claiming it had become his home, but his request was denied, and he was let loose upon the world.

In 1967 he began to amass a following, mostly of young women, and the group became known as the Manson Family. The Manson Family lived a communal life similar to what one would expect from a group of hippies in the 60s: recreational drug use, free love sex, and music jams. During that time, he even managed to record some of his music, although it never found success in the music business.

Some members of the Manson Family
Some members of the Manson Family

The Manson Family wasn't just a community though, but an actual cult, centered around Charles Manson's teachings. Eventually, it transformed into a doomsday cult as Manson began to prophesize a race war between whites and blacks, inspired by his interpretations of The Beatles songs. According to his prophesy, the blacks were supposed to rise up and kill all whites, except for the Manson Family, who were going to hide in a secret underground city beneath Death Valley. Manson predicted that after winning the race war, the blacks wouldn't be intelligent enough to survive on their own and would eventually turn to Manson to lead them. By mid-1969 there was still no sign of the uprising, so Manson sent members of his family on a mission to commit murder and make it look like it was racially motivated to show the blacks how to do it. They managed to perform 9 murders before the law caught up to them. For this Manson was initially sentenced to death, but this was later changed to life in prison as California abolished the death penalty.

Since his story became public record, Charles Manson had become a cultural icon for enigmatic insanity. He was an utterly broken person, with multiple psychological problems and no hope of ever leading a normal life, yet he was also charismatic and highly intelligent (he was once evaluated to have an IQ of 109), and managed to create a fantasy life for himself. As is often the case with madness and living on the fringe of normal society, this gave Charles Manson a unique outlook on the world, and so despite of who he ended up becoming, his madness came with some interesting insights, and Marilyn Manson considered him to be a gifted philosopher.

In Marilyn Manson's early work, Charles Manson references can be found in artwork, lyrics, album names, and music. On Portrait of an American Family, the song My Monkey is an adaptation of a Charles Manson song.

Cultural References

The early Spooky Kids songs are known to contain many audio samples taken from movies and TV shows, and this practice carried over to the band's first album. These samples give vital hints about the meaning and inspiration of the songs, and therefore it is useful to understand what they are about.

Children's stories and their hat wearing antagonists

Childhood was a key theme in the Spooky Kids era. It was part of their aesthetic (band members would often dress in childish costumes), it was part of their artwork, which was hand drawn in a childish manner, it was in their songs and demo tape names (such as Lunchbox, Choklit Factory, Suicide Snowman, My Monkey), and it was always twisted into something not-so innocent. The idea seemed to be that childhood is rarely as innocent as it's presented to be, and that things that are made for children often have deeper meanings. Part of that inspiration was found in children's stories such as Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory, whose shady main character and recurring themes of temptation exemplify the above sentiment perfectly. Interestingly, a lot of the stories that ended up being recurring inspirations for Manson had a hat wearing antagonist, which is something that Manson embraced into the Spooky Kids aesthetic and in some cases even lyrics.

Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory
Willy Wonka And The Chocolate Factory Movie Poster

Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory is a 1971 film adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and The Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl. It tells the story of Charlie Bucket, a poor child who wins an invitation to tour Willy Wonka's chocolate factory along with a few other kids. The chocolate factory is a sort of wonderland of candy, but it soon turns out that it's a rather dangerous wonderland, and that its owner, Willy Wonka, is a pretty shady character. For what is essentially a children's story, it skews surprisingly hard towards the horror genre.

In his autobiography, Manson said that:

I've always felt a kinship with Willy Wonka. Even at that age, I could tell that he was a flawed hero, an icon for the forbidden. The forbidden in this case was chocolate, a metaphor for indulgence and anything you're not supposed to have, be it sex, drugs, alcohol or pornography.

Willy Wonka references appear multiple times throughout Manson's early work, including lyrics, music videos, and also album art.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Movie Poster

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a children's musical film based on Ian Fleming's novel Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car. It tells the story of two siblings who grow fond of a racing car wreck that's about to be sold for scrap. After succeeding in raising enough money to purchase it themselves, they name it Chitty Chitty Bang Bang for the unusual noise its engine makes, and go on various adventures in the car. The main antagonist in the story is the Child Catcher, a hat wearing man with a large nose with which he can smell children, who tries to kidnap the children throughout the story. The Child Catcher became an inspiration for the song Organ Grinder, and also inspired the cover and name of future album "Smells Like Children".

A scene from Lidsville

Lidsville was a children's TV show that aired in the early 70s for 2 seasons. It became a cult favorite that was popular with a much older audience than the one it was aimed for due to the fact that it was incredibly weird. It tells the story of Mark, a teenage boy who falls into a magician's hat and finds himself in a strange world populated by hat people. The hat people are terrorized by a magician called HooDoo, who wears a hat and shoots lightning bolts from his hands. Throughout the show Mark helps the hat people resist HooDoo and tries to figure out how to get home. The show is sampled in the song Dope Hat.

John Waters' Trash Trilogy

Pink Flamingos Movie Poster

John Waters is a film maker who is known for making movies that are best described as an attempt to elevate trashiness and poor taste to a level of art. Three of his movies- Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble, and Desperate Living- are known as his "Trash Trilogy", and they look exactly like the name suggests, including any possible gross, taboo, obscene, ugly, and cringy activity one can imagine.

The first movie, Pink Flamingos, tells the story of Divine, a drag queen known as "the filthiest person alive", that is being harassed by a criminal couple who want to take this title away from her.

Desperate Living Movie Poster

Desperate Living is about a neurotic, delusional housewife Peggy Gravel who murders her husband and flees the law, eventually ending up in Mortville, a shantytown full of criminals, sexual deviants, and other society's outcasts, where the majority of the movie takes place.

Marilyn Manson, being a fan of all things taboo, was clearly enamored with Waters' work, as samples from his movies appear in multiple Marilyn Manson songs.

David Lynch's movies

Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me Movie Poster

David Lynch is a film maker who specializes in movies with surreal elements, although he has a few 'normal' movies as well. Marilyn Manson was a big fan of Lynch, and would even end up making a cameo appearance in one of his movies (Lost Highway) along with fellow band member Twiggy Ramirez.

Wild At Heart Movie Poster

At the time of the album's release, some of Lynch's most noteworthy work, such as Blue Velvet and Twin Peaks, had a running theme of something rotten happening beneath the surface of a picture perfect rural American town, which jives well with Manson's tendencies of exposing what's rotten behind the front of picture-perfect American culture.

There are multiple samples from David Lynch productions in this album, with the most notable one being from Twin Peaks, a mystery soap opera that takes place in a small town and follows the investigation of an FBI agent trying to find out who killed Laura Palmer.

Last Tango in Paris

Last Tango In Paris Movie Poster

Last Tango in Paris is a 1972 erotic drama film, written and directed by Italian director Bernardo Bertolucci, about the anonymous sexual relationship between Paul, who is recently widowed, and Jeanne, an engaged Parisian woman. The movie was a serious drama film, not something aiming to be simply pornography, but at the time of its release it was highly controversial, with some movie critics calling it "pornography disguised as art". It was censored in many jurisdictions, and Italy even went as far as destroying all copies of the movie and putting the director on trial for obscenity. The trial concluded with Bertolucci receiving 4 months suspended prison sentence, and his civil rights were revoked for 5 years.

One part of the movie that drew the most attention was the infamous anal rape scene, which was raw and graphic, and as it would later turn out, a bit too real. Although the sex in that scene was simulated, the idea for the scene was conceived off the cuff during production, meaning that it wasn't originally in the script, and the actress who played Jeanne performed it even though she wasn't at all comfortable with the scene, citing feelings of anger and humiliation when discussing it in interviews.

Samples from the movie can be found in multiple songs on Portrait of An American Family.

Other movies

Some of the other movies who make an appearance on this album include:

  • Poltergeist 2: The Other Side. A horror story about a family haunted by ghosts. Sampled in the song Cyclops.
  • Drugstore Cowboy. A movie about a group of drug users who obtain their drugs by robbing drugstores. It is sampled in the song Dope Hat.
  • Prince of Darkness. A horror movie about a group of scientists trying to prevent the resurrection of Satan. Not actually sampled in the album, but the message from the future that the scientists hear when they fall asleep is sampled in the cover of Down In The Park which appears on the Lunchbox single.


Portrait of An American Family is unusual amongst Marilyn Manson's discography in that it also includes samples and references to music, alongside all the movie references. Here's the rundown on the ones that appear in the album:

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown
Arthur Brown performing Fire

The Crazy World of Arthur Brown was a psychedelic rock band fronted by Arthur Brown, who can be considered a sort of precursor to Marilyn Manson. Much like Manson, he had a crazy visual style, wore extreme make up, and self-titled himself as The God of Hellfire (whilst Manson self-titled himself as The God of Fuck).

Fire is their most iconic song, which Arthur always performed while wearing a burning helmet.

Fire lyrics
I am the god of hellfire! And I bring you
Fire, I'll take you to burn
Fire, I'll take you to learn
I'll see you burn

You fought hard and you saved and earned
But all of it's going to burn
And your mind, your tiny mind
You know you've really been so blind
Now's your time, burn your mind
You're falling far, too far behind
Oh no, oh no, oh no!
You're gonna burn

Fire, to destroy all you've done
Fire, to end all you've become
I'll feel you burn

You've been living like a little girl
In the middle of your little world
And your mind, your tiny mind
You know you've really been so blind
Now's your time, burn your mind
You're falling far, too far behind

Fire, I'll take you to burn
Fire, I'll take you to learn
You're gonna burn
You're gonna burn
You're gonna burn, burn, burn, burn
Burn, burn, burn, burn
Burn, burn, burn

Fire, I'll take you to burn
Fire, I'll take you to learn
Fire, I'll take you to bed
Fire, I'll take you, fire...
The Playmates
The Playmates Beep Beep album cover

The Playmates is a vocal trio with comedic elements that is most known for releasing the novelty song Beep Beep. It's a song about a street race between a guy in a Cadillac and some random driver, and as their race keeps getting faster, the song's tempo rises as well. In the end it turns out that the guy wasn't actually trying to race, but is simply stuck in second gear not knowing how to stop. Marilyn Manson sampled this song in "Misery Machine", ironically with a slowed down tempo.

Beep Beep lyrics
While riding in my Cadillac, what, to my surprise,
A little Nash Rambler was following me, about one-third my size.
The guy must have wanted it to pass me up
As he kept on tooting his horn. Beep! Beep!
I'll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn.
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
His horn went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!).
I pushed my foot down to the floor to give the guy the shake,
But the little Nash Rambler stayed
Right behind; he still had on his brake.
He must have thought his car had more guts
As he kept on tooting his horn. Beep! Beep!
I'll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn.
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
His horn went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!).
My car went into passing gear and we took off with dust.
And soon we were doin' ninety, must have left him in the dust.
When I peeked in the mirror of my car,
I couldn't believe my eyes.
The little Nash Rambler was right
Behind, you'd think that guy could fly.
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
His horn went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!).
Now we're doing a hundred and ten, it certainly was a race.
For a Rambler to pass a Caddy would be a big disgrace.
For the guy who wanted to pass me,
He kept on tooting his horn. Beep! Beep!
I'll show him that a Cadillac is not a car to scorn.
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
Beep, beep. (Beep, beep.)
His horn went, beep, beep, beep. (Beep! Beep!).
Now we're doing a hundred and twenty, as fast as I could go.
The Rambler pulled alongside of me as if I were going slow.
The fellow rolled down his window and yelled for me to hear,
Hey, buddy, how can I get this car out of second gear?
Charles Manson
Charles Manson Lie album cover

Charles Manson, the notorious cult leader, tried to make it in the music business before his cult eventually transformed into a doomsday cult and went on a killing spree. His biggest achievement in the industry was writing the Beach Boys song Cease to Exist, and recording an album called Lie: The Love and Terror Cult. Any other recordings of his music were either entirely performed by his cult members (such as The Family Jams), or done in prison.

His song Mechanical Man, from the Lie album, became the basis for the Marilyn Manson song My Monkey (and it's also referenced in Snake Eyes and Sissies). The song is sung in a monotone, robotic voice, and is mocking the "normal" life people live, saying it's an illusion. Then, the song devolves into strange ramblings, which include a short tale about a monkey. The monkey tale could be seen as an allegory for the illusion meeting reality. We think that we are safe in the confines of normalcy, and that makes us go out into the world blind to what might hit us. In this case, the monkey is almost like a child, being sent into the world unprepared by its pastoral upbringing, and gets wrecked by reality.

Mechanical Man lyrics
I am a mechanical man, a mechanical man
And I do the best I can
Because I have my family to look out for
I am a mechanical boy
I am my mother's toy
And I play in the backyard sometime
I am a mechanical boy
The past is an illusion
Postulated mocked up through confusion
(Garbled). . . in your illusion
You live in your illusion
Ban won't wear off
I had a little monkey
And I sent him to the country
And I fed him on gingerbread
Long come a choo-choo
And knocked my monkey cuckoo
And now my monkey's dead
Ban won't wear off
'Cause my monkey's dead
Ban won't wear off you
'Cause my monkey's dead (my data is running out)
There's a feather bed in your head go in and lay down
I wonder how a brown cow
Could say moo
Down the road come my jungle partner
London bridge is falling down
Your karma's turning
Your love is burning
Hey you're goin' the wrong way
I see you out there Joe
And you think your name is Joe
I see you out there Sam
And you think your name is Sam
You ain't Joe
You ain't Sam
You just am
Have you got a level?
The Shangri-Las
The Shangri-Las

The Shangri-Las was an all-girl R&B group in the 60s, singing primarily about teenage drama. Although they might look like regular girls by today's standards, at the time their image was considered "tough", and there were some rumors circulating about them that further cemented this image (for example one of them was investigated by the FBI for transporting weapons across state lines. In her defense she said that she bought a gun for self-protection). Their visual style later became an inspiration for early Punk acts of the 70s.

One of their hit songs was Leader of the Pack, telling the story of a girl who falls in love with a bad-boy biker, and is later forced to break up with him by her parents. The biker then drives away, gets into an accident, and dies. The song was temporarily banned by the BBC for promoting bike gangs.

The Shangri-Las and their song Leader of The Pack are referenced in the song "Snake Eyes and Sissies".

Leader of The Pack lyrics
- Is she really going out with him?
- Well, there she is. Let's ask her.
- Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?
- Mm-hmm
- Gee, it must be great riding with him
- Is he picking you up after school today?
- Uh-uh
- By the way, where'd you meet him?

I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That's when I fell for (the leader of the pack)
My folks were always putting him down (down, down)
They said he came from the wrong side of town
(whatcha mean when ya say that he came from the wrong side of town?)
They told me he was bad
But I knew he was sad
That's why I fell for (the leader of the pack)
One day my dad said, "Find someone new"
I had to tell my Jimmy we're through
(whatcha mean when ya say that ya better go find somebody new?)
He stood there and asked me why
But all I could do was cry
I'm sorry I hurt you (the leader of the pack)
He sort of smiled and kissed me goodbye
The tears were beginning to show
As he drove away on that rainy night
I begged him to go slow
But whether he heard, I'll never know
Look out! Look out! Look out! Look out!
I felt so helpless, what could I do?
Remembering all the things we'd been through
In school they all stop and stare
I can't hide the tears, but I don't care
I'll never forget him (the leader of the pack)
The leader of the pack - now he's gone
The leader of the pack - now he's gone
The leader of the pack - now he's gone
The leader of the pack - now he's gone

The boogeyman that is you

People have a weird relationship with their fear. They like fear but they're afraid to see themselves and their own fears.

One of the topics that often came up in Marilyn Manson's interviews from the Portrait and Spooky Kids eras was his fascination with people's fears, because of the things it reveals about their inner self and how they see the world around them.

If people are afraid of being gay, then they're going to think we're a bunch of fags. If people are real religious, they're going to say we're Satanic. Everything people say about us is more a reflection of what they think than it is about what we think...

Rather than shying away from being the subject of society's projection, Manson elected to embrace this role, and become the thing that mirrors people's fears back at them for artistic impact, a concept that he would continue to use way beyond the Portrait era. On the Portrait album there are many examples of this approach directing the style and content of the music and artwork:

  • Songs such as Get Your Gunn, Sweet Tooth, Organ Grinder, and Snake Eyes and Sissies all have lyrics that if taken at face value sound like the words of an evil person, which is a perfect smoking gun for someone looking to prove that the band is a bad influence. It becomes a task for the listener to choose to dig deeper and discover for example that the song Get Your Gunn, which opens with "I eat innocent meat, the housewife I will beat, the pro-life I will kill, what you won't do I will", is really a song about people not living up to their expressed morals, inspired by the murder of a pro-choice doctor David Gunn.
  • Using names of serial killers is also something that would undeniably make people jump to conclusions.
  • Originally, the artwork was supposed to have a childhood photo of Manson naked. In his autobiography, Manson said that the point of using the photo was that it's only controversial based on the viewer's reaction: "This is a photograph that was taken by my mother, and it's extremely innocent and very normal. But if you see it as pornography, why am I the guilty person? You're the person who's got a hard-on.".
  • When discussing the inspiration for Cake And Sodomy in his autobiography, Manson wrote that the song was "an anthem for a hypocritical America slobbering on the tit of Christianity" and that "If televangelists were going to make the world seem so wicked, I was going to give them something real to cry about".
  • The song Organ Grinder directly references the concept of Manson being a canvas for other people's fears with the lyric "my prison skin's an eyesore-mirror-sketch-pad".
  • The words "I am you" are written in the album artwork.

In an interview for The Miami Herald, Manson summarized the point of this concept as follows:

We try to show people what they are afraid of. If they are disgusted, they need to ask themselves why.

Song Analysis

Prelude (The Family Trip)

This is an introduction track, recreating the boat ride scene from Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory. In the scene, Wonka invites the families that are touring his factory to enter a boat which will take them to their next destination. Once the boat enters a tunnel, the ride quickly becomes hellish as the boat gains speed and horrific images appear on the tunnel walls. Amidst all this chaos, Wonka starts to recite the poem below, and then orders to stop the boat as they suddenly find themselves docking near their destination.

There's no earthly way of knowing
Which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're rowing
Or which way the river's flowing
Is it raining
Is it snowing
Is a hurricane blowing
Not a speck of light is showing
So the danger must be growing
Are the fires of hell glowing
Is the grizzly reaper mowing
The dangers must be growing
For the rowers keep on rowing!
And they're certainly not showing
Any signs that they are slowing!
Stop the boat

Cake and Sodomy

In his auto-biography Manson described the exact moment when he wrote this song:

In their [some people he knew from his home town] hotel room, the cable system had public-access channels, a completely new phenomenon to me. I spent hours flipping through the stations, watching Pat Robertson preach about society's evils and then ask people to call him with their credit card number. On the adjacent channel, a guy was greasing up his cock with Vaseline and asking people to call and give him their credit card number. I grabbed the hotel notepad and started writing down phrases: "Cash in hand and dick on screen, who said God was ever clean?" I imagined Pat Robertson finishing his more-righteous-than-thou patter, then calling 1-900-VASELINE. "Bible-belt 'round Anglo-waste, putting sinners in their place/Yeah, right, great, if you're so good explain the shit stains on your face." Thus "Cake and Sodomy" was born. I had written other songs I thought were good, but "Cake and Sodomy" was more than just a good song. As an anthem for a hypocritical America slobbering on the tit of Christianity, it was a blueprint for our future message. If televangelists were going to make the world seem so wicked, I was going to give them something real to cry about.

The song mostly describes in rather unflattering terms America's obsession with sex, saying that a façade of normalcy and of being a good Christian doesn't change the fact that they are still deviant white trash deep inside.


The song begins with an instrumental section in which various sound samples play one after another.

  • Some woman saying "oh it hurts" and then moaning as if being fucked.
    Source: unknown, although I wouldn't be surprised if it's from a porno.
  • A woman yelling "White Trash!", repeated multiple times.
    Source: The 1977 John Waters film Desperate Living, said by the main character Peggy Gravel as she delivers a scathing monologue criticizing the trashy denizens of Mortville right before they execute her.
  • "Go on and smile you cunt!"
    Source: The 1972 movie Last Tango in Paris, taken from the scene in which Paul is speaking to his wife's dead body, finally telling her in death all the angst about their relationship that he kept to himself while she was alive.

Before the guitar solo kicks in, someone yells "cunt fucker!".
Source: unknown.

I am the god of fuck, I am the god of fuck"I am the god of fuck" was originally said by Charles Manson to one of his followers, and Marilyn Manson adopted the phrase to describe himself. It's a fitting phrase for a song that places a porn performer and an evangelist on the same societal pedestal, claiming that they're equally god-like by society's standards.
Virgins sold in quantity, herded by heredity
(thinks) "Who said date rape isn't kind?"
"Herded by heredity" means that these virgins are grouped (herded) according to hereditary criteria (like attractiveness). The wording is meant to compare the way sex is marketed with the way livestock is marketed.

Rednecks, to those unfamiliar with the term, is a derogatory term applied to crass and unsophisticated white Americans who live in rural areas. They're the quintessential white trash, and the last line in the verse further paints them as sexually brute.
Porno-nation, evaluation
What's this, "time for segregation"
Libido, libido fascination
Too much oral defecation
"Segregation" is a reference to racism. It refers to the "segregation laws" which were enacted in the United States in the 19th century that tried to separate blacks from whites by dictating various limitations on African Americans like where they could live or work.

Oral defecation is just a convoluted way of saying "talking shit".

So, these white thrash people are obsessed with sex, are racist, and talk shit.
White trash get down on your knees
Time for cake and sodomy
The name of this song is obviously a juxtaposition of the normative and the obscene. It should be clear by now why the sodomy part is in there, but what about the cake part? Why is it cake and sodomy, of all things? I think the main clue is in the phrase 'time for cake'. Usually when people say that it's "time for cake" it's because we've reached the dessert part of a special occasion meal (special occasion because cakes aren't an everyday food, or at least they aren't supposed to be).
Such structured, multi-course meals are a common feature of hosting guests, which is a social activity as well as a performance of normalcy, because when a family invites guests over, they attempt to display a picture-perfect version of themselves for the guests. You can say that such meals are like a symbol for the façade of being 'proper', hence it is used as contrast for sodomy.
I am the god of fuck, I am the god of fuck
VCR and Vaseline
TV-fucked by plastic queens
Cash in hand and dick on screen
Who said God was ever clean?
This is the verse that was inspired by Manson's viewing of public access TV, the first part being about pornography and the second part about Pat Robertson.

VCR and Vaseline are gear for masturbation. The VCR is for watching porn and Vaseline is to use as lubrication. The word "plastic" in "plastic queens" is meant to be a metaphor for someone who looks so perfect that it seems unnatural, like a plastic mannequin. It's a criticism that is sometimes directed towards looks-based professions (model, actress, porn star) that take the quest for perfect aesthetic too far.

Cash in hand and dick on screen
Who said God was ever clean?

A recurring theme that will emerge in Manson's work over time is this idea that being on TV makes you God-like because of the immense cultural power that TV has, and this is one of the earliest examples of that notion.
Bible belt 'round Anglo waist
Putting sinners in their place
Yeah, right, great if you're so good
Explain the shit stains on your face
The term "bible belt" is the name for a region of the southern United States in which socially conservative evangelical Protestantism plays a strong role in society and politics. But here Manson transforms it into an actual belt that beats down sinners. This is a common technique in Manson's writing: using symbolic phrases like idioms and metaphors as if they are literal imagery.

"Anglo" refers to Anglo-Saxons. The WASPs (White Anglo-Saxon Protestants) were a dominant social class in American society for most of its history, which is why Manson ties them in with the bible belt.
White trash get down on your knees
Time for cake and sodomy


In 1979 metal lunchboxes were banned from schools in the United States to prevent children from using them as weapons in fights, so Marilyn Manson's song depicts a kid who fights school bullies with a metal lunchbox and dreams of becoming a rock star. The lyrics are written in a childish manner to reflect the age of the song's protagonist.

Related trivia: Marilyn Manson used to collect lunchboxes.


  • During the guitar intro: a woman saying, "It's just one more way that Satan strangles our society".
    Source: unknown.
  • Throughout the song: the line "I bring you fire" is repeated multiple times.
    Source: The 1968 song Fire by The Crazy World of Arthur Brown.
    I believe it appears in the song because Arthur Brown is in many ways like a precursor to Marilyn Manson, sharing many of the characteristics that Marilyn Manson would later embody, so within the context of the song he represents the "rock star" that Marilyn Manson the kid would be dreaming of becoming.
  • Before the chorus: a man saying, "I'm making my lunch!".
    Source: The David Lynch movie Wild at Heart.
  • When the interlude starts: "thanks mom *punch*"
  • During the interlude there's this conversation:
    Paul: "Did you have fun as a child"?
    Jeanne: "It's the most beautiful thing."
    Paul: "Is it beautiful to be made into a tattletale, and forced to admire authority? Sell yourself for a piece of candy?"
    Source: Last Tango In Paris. It's a conversation between the two main characters. In the scene they are hanging out in bed after having sex, talking about their life experiences.
Next motherfucker's gonna get my metalThis line is said by a young boy. Although uncredited, this is the voice of Robert Pierce, the 6 years old kid who sings on the song "My Monkey" and would also star in the music video for Lunchbox.
Bring you down
On we plow

The big bully try to stick his finger in my chest
Try to tell me tell me he's the best
But I don't really give a good goddamn cause
I got my lunchbox and I'm armed real well
I got my lunchbox and I'm armed real well
I got my lunchbox and I'm armed real well

I want to grow up
I want to be a big rock and roll star
I want to grow up
I want to be
So no one fucks with me, yeah

I got the pencils in my pocket, try to put me down
Want to go out, gotta get out to the playground
Gonna throw down at the playground
I want to go out

Next motherfucker gonna get my metal
Next motherfucker gonna get my metal
Next motherfucker gonna get my metal
Next motherfucker

Pow Pow Pow, Pow Pow Pow, Pow Pow Pow, Pow Pow Pow

I want to grow up
I want to be a big rock and roll star
I want to grow up
I want to be
So no one fucks with me, yeah
I want to grow up
I want to be a big rock and roll star
I want to grow up
I want to be
So no one fucks with me, yeah
He is a kid, he's being a tough motherfucker, armed with a metal lunchbox ready to kick bully ass, and dreams of being a rock star.

Organ Grinder

An Organ Grinder and his monkey
An Organ Grinder with his monkey

This song is about the relationship between parents and the controversial figures that they hate but their children adore. A classic example for this is Rock stars, who are often wildly popular with the youth, but reviled and considered dangerous by the parents. In this song, Manson cranks this dynamic up to the max by evoking the image of a child molester who sells candy. The parents see him as the child molester who wants to snatch their children and ruin them, while to the kids he's the distributor of awesomeness.

Because of the child molester theme, the song is full of sexual double entendre, and the song name itself is also a sexual word play. Organ Grinders used to be street musicians who played a portable organ. They were often accompanied by a small monkey who was part of the performance. A monkey is also slang for penis, and an 'organ grinder' could also mean someone who rubs his "organ", that is- his penis. In other words, a masturbator. Through this word play, the "organ grinder" represents both the child molester and the musical performer, which makes the imagery a very good fit as a metaphor for the rock star specifically, although you could of course choose to project it unto some other character as well.


The samples in this song are all of the Child Snatcher character from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The samples include:

  • Here we are children. Come and get your lollipops. Lollipops! Come along my little ones!
  • If there are children here my friend, you will die.
I am the face of piss and shit and sugar
I do a crooked little dance with my funny little monkey
What I want, what I want is just your children
I hate what I have become to escape what I hated being
I am the face of piss and shit and sugar
He has a face composed of things that are disgusting, and also things that attract children.

I do a crooked little dance with my funny little monkey
Doing a dance with his funny little monkey could either be taken literally (organ grinder street performer), or as slang for masturbation ("monkey" is slang for penis).

What I want, what I want is just your children
He is a disgusting, perverted monster that is after your children.

I hate what I have become to escape what I hated being
This line is kind of out of place in this song. There's an idea in the lyrics that the organ grinder character hates himself and feels trapped in his own persona. It seems like a tangent from the main concept of the song, which raises the question of why it is in the lyrics? I think it's in the lyrics because Manson is kind of talking about himself.

In one of the documentaries made about Marilyn Manson, one of his childhood friends said something along the lines of 'at this point it was starting to be hard to relate to him. I mean, how do you relate to someone who goes on stage every day and does the things he does?'. This says a lot about what kind of sacrifice Manson was making by pursuing his transformation from Brian Warner to Marilyn Manson. It was done with a lot of mixed feelings, which he essentially talks about in the album Antichrist Superstar that came out a few years later. So, the line 'I hate what I have become to escape what I hated being' is probably putting into words some of those mixed feelings.
Calliopenis envy from your daddy
You're not gonna hear what he don't want to hear
What I say, disgusts him
He wants to be me and that scares him
Let's do a funny little dance with my funny little monkey
The black keys
This verse introduces the idea that even though the parents revile this character, they are also in a way attracted to him. It's said outright ("he wants to be me and that scares him"), but also symbolically in the first line ("Calliopenis envy from your daddy"):

"Calliopenis envy" is a word play on the concept of penis envy, which was proposed by the psychologist Sigmond Freud who postulated that one of the stages in female psychosexual development is a stage of feeling anxiety upon realizing that she doesn't have a penis. However, it's usually interpreted in a more literal sense by laymen, who simplify it to just "wanting to have a penis", and Manson's use of it in the lyrics is more in-line with this pop culture interpretation.

Here, the penis envy is from the dad, but instead it's "Calliopenis envy". A calliope is a portable steam organ, so in other words, the dad is envious of the musical instrument; He's envious of the Rockstar. Driven by the cognitive dissonance of being attracted to something he reviles, the dad proceeds to censor it away from himself and his kids. The kids aren't gonna hear what daddy don't want to hear.
Here is my real head
Here is my real head
I wear this fuckin' mask because you cannot handle me
Here is my real head
They try to blink me not to think me
Don't want to bring me out
I am the rotten teeth, my fists are lined with suckers
My prison skins an eyesore-mirror-sketch-pad
I am your son
Your dad
Your fag
I am your fad
More on the theme of "they try to ignore who and what I am", and the juxtaposition of being vile (rotten teeth, fists) and attractive to children (suckers).

His "prison skin", in other words the persona he is trapped in, is multiple things.
  • It's an eyesore.
  • It's a sketchpad, meaning you can write on it whatever you want (you can draw him into anything you want him to be).
  • It's a mirror that reflects the viewer back to themselves. This evokes the idea of projection. Projection is when the way you interpret a person or a situation is biased by your internal self. For example, if you are judgmental, you will be much more likely to interpret another person's actions/words as being judgmental, because subconsciously you feel like you yourself would be judgmental in their shoes (this is just one of the many ways in which projection can manifest itself). So, when he says that he is a mirror, there's this idea that the things you see in him are the things you are familiar with from your own psyche. When you look at him you see yourself.
  • He is within everybody around you (because deep down a Rock star taps into core human experience).
  • Your fag (someone you hate).
Here is my real head
Here is my real head
Well I wear this fuckin' mask because you cannot handle me
Here is my real head


This song is about how society confuses people about reality.


At the beginning of the song: "God is in his holy temple".
Source: the movie Poltergeist 2: The Other Side.
This is the first line in a song that the creepy preacher ghost Kane, who is the main antagonist of the movie, likes to sing.

Cyclops woman got one eye in her head
Mascera-clotted vision she is fed
I think the point of her having one eye is to draw attention to the idea that she can see only one thing. This narrow view of the world is mascara-clotted. Mascara being a beauty product implies that she sees things through the lens of beauty, and she has been fed this point of view by others (perhaps society as a whole).
Cyclops woman can't see nothing at all
She got a pin-prick-spiral hole
And she is essentially blind to reality.
Spiral eyes
Spiral eyes are typically used to represent a person who has been hypnotized. Also, the pin prick hole in the center is a very small hole, and it would be hard to see through it. So, she's hypnotized and with her eyes essentially shut.
She can't see nothing, nothing at allI'm a bit conflicted about his use of "can't see nothing" because Manson is a writer, and he knows perfectly well that "can't see nothing" is a double negative, meaning that she "can see something". However, given the rest of the lyrics it seems fitting for her to really see nothing, so this is what I think the intention is.
Cyclops woman dying in her shell
Guilt got her trapped in nailed in well
Guilt is an interesting emotion because it can be a tool of oppression. Usually when people think of oppression, they imagine rightwing totalitarian regimes using force to obtain submission, but another way to cause a person to submit is to make them oppress themselves, which can be done through the use of guilt. A person ridden with guilt will judge themselves as wrong and sentence themselves out of desire to repent, and it's an emotional mechanic that leftwing totalitarians like to employ to evoke the desired social result. In such cases the guilted person becomes trapped within themselves ("in their shell"), not able to fully live in the outside world as who they truly are.
Cyclops woman is the eye of the world
Who's reflection's in the retina?
If she's the eye of the world, does that mean that this is what the world sees? Is the whole world blind?

"Who's reflection in the retina?" sounds like a leading question, suggesting that it's you who she's looking at.
She can't see nothing, nothing at all
Dialate, dialateOpen your eyes.

Dope Hat

This song is about the relationship between a drug dealer and his drugs, as well as his customers. It depicts the image of a hat wearing magician, who entertains children with hat tricks, but even though it seems like he is the controller of the hat, it's really the hat that controls him. Since the hat in this case is a dope hat, meaning it represents drugs, that means that the performer who entertains children with the hat has to be a drug dealer, which makes the children his customers.


This song has multiple samples from the children's television series Lidsville, most of which are from HooDoo, the show's antagonist. All samples can be found in the first episode World in A Hat.

  • The Great HooDoo will perform a feat of prestidigitation". HooDoo says this right before trying to curse Lidsville with bad weather for refusing to pay their hat tax to him.
  • "Prepare to meet- oh ho- your doom!" said by HooDoo, followed by a scream "help!" from Weenie the Genie. In this scene, HooDoo catches Mark and the Genie as they try to escape from his lair, and is about to curse them in retribution.

The Lidsville samples were chosen because the TV show starts when Mark, the star of the show, falls into a magician's hat, and the song uses a magician as a metaphor.

At the end of the song there's the sample "who put the goddamn hat on the bed?" from the 1989 film Drugstore Cowboy. It is said by Bob Hughes, the leader of a group of junkies that rob drugstores for a living. Bob has a lot of superstitions about things that can cause a hex of bad luck, and the most egregious one is about having a hat on a bed. In the sample's scene he walks into his group's rented hotel room after a particularly bad raid, and finds a hat on a bed.

I peek into the hole
I struggle for control
The children love the show
But they fail to see the anguish in my eyes
Fail to see the anguish in my eyes
He peeks into the face of his drugs (hole of the hat), and struggles to control himself from indulging in them. His customers (children) love his supplying them with the drugs (the show), but can't see that he is suffering from addiction himself.
I scratch around the brim
I let my mind give in
The crowd begins to grin
But they seem to scream when darkness fills my eyes
Seem to scream when darkness fills my eyes
It's no surprise
He teeters at the edge of the drugs, and gives in to temptation.
Darkness fills his eyes when the drugs make him crazy.
Fail to see the tragic, turn it into magicHis spectators can't see him as a tragic figure, so they interpret what they see as something magical (an amazing performance!)
My big top tricks will always make you happy,
But we all know the hat is wearing me
The hat is wearing him, meaning the drugs are what controls him, rather than him controlling the drugs.
My bag is in the hat
It's filled with this and that
My vision's getting fat
The rabbit's just a monkey in disguise
Stars and pills and needles dance before our eyes
A "bag of tricks" is a phrase that means a collection of tricks, so this might be why he has a bag in the hat. It's his bag of tricks (which is really a bag of drugs).

This part of the verse seems to turn into a drug trip mid-way. I believe that the "stars and pills and needles dance before our eyes" imagery might've been inspired by a similar depiction of drug use in the Drugstore Cowboy movie, which is sampled at the end of the song.

Dancing needles from Drugstore Cowboy
They will bite the hand
If it is slower than
The quickness of their scrutinizing eyes
This line evokes the idea that he is performing a sleight of hand trick, which has to be done fast. In this case failing to be fast enough means his customers will bite his hand (which feeds them drugs). It's a comment on the fact that there's an inherent tension between the drug dealer and his customers, who might actually turn on him if he slips up.
Fail to see the tragic, turn it into magic

My big top tricks will always make you happy,
But we all know the hat is wearing me
Chicanery will always make you happy,
But we all know the hat is wearing me

Get Your Gunn

Dr. David Gunn
Dr. David Gunn

This song was inspired by the murder of Dr. David Gunn, who was an OB/GYN that performed abortions. He was murdered by an anti-abortionist fundamentalist Christian Michael F. Griffin, and for this Manson described the murder as the ultimate hypocrisy he witnessed as a young adult.


This song contains a sample from the suicide of politician Bud Dwyer, who shot himself during a press conference after being found guilty on 11 counts of conspiracy, mail fraud, perjury, and aid of racketeering. The sample taken from the event is of Dwyer saying "No... no... don't... this is gonna hurt someone..." as he backs away from the screaming audience, and then the sound of gun shot and screams.

Goddamn your righteous hand

I eat innocent meat
The housewife I will beat
The prolife I will kill
What you won't do I will

I bash myself to sleep
What you sow I will reap
I scar myself you see
I wish I wasn't me
I am the little stick
You stir me into shit
I hate therefore I am
Goddamn your righteous hand
Goddamn, goddamn, goddamn, goddamn
This song appears to be written from the point of view of someone who grew up in a culture that creates people like Dr. Gunn's murderer. This becomes more apparent as the song progresses, as subsequent verses speak about being taught violently and being a teenager, but for now the first verse just describes the kind of person this culture results in.

The first 4 lines could've been a good way to describe the mentality of someone like Dr. Gunn's murderer, but instead it seems to describe the same kind of person who is on the opposite end of the political spectrum. Instead of being against abortions, this person hates pro-lifers. I think this approach is part of Manson's attitude of mirroring people back to themselves. If they find the person described in this verse to be despicable, they should have an equal vehemence against someone like the person who murdered Dr. Gunn, so the question becomes: do they have the same response, or is a part of them thinks his actions were justified?

Aside from being violent, this person takes what belongs to others, hates himself (I wish I wasn't me), is self-destructive (scar myself, and bash myself), and driven by hate.
Towards the end of the verse, we finally get the idea that someone is stirring him into shit, which is the first line that says something about why he is the way he is.

"I hate therefore I am" is a play on the famous phrase "I think therefore I am" coined by Rene Descartes. Rene came up with it when he was trying to figure out what about the world can we know for sure. He considered that maybe our senses are an illusion, and our memories are false, and so on, until he denied just about anything he knew about the world. But the one thing he was left unable to deny was the existence of the self that was evident by the fact that he was thinking his thoughts, hence 'I think therefore I am'. In this verse the phrase is twisted to suggest that for this person, hate is what wakes his being self-evident, which implies the importance hate plays in his life.
Pseudo-morals work real well
on the talk shows for the weak
But your selective judgements
and goodguy badges
Don't mean a fuck to me
It's easier to talk about your morals than live up to them. They boast about their own morality in talk show TV for the social clout, but the whole thing is just a show. They don't actually live up to what they say, meaning the morals presented are fake, and Manson concludes that he isn't impressed by any of this.

Michael Griffin, Dr. Gunn's murderer, is an example for such a person. A self-proclaimed Christian, he is supposed to be one of the good guys, and yet he resorted to murder.

It's possible that Manson borrowed the term 'goodguy badge' from Anton Szandor LaVey, who used the term in his book of essays The Devil's Notebook, released two years prior to Portrait of An American Family. You can find a more in-depth review of LaVey in the Antichrist Superstar article.
I throw a little fit
I slit my teenage wrist
the most that I can learn
is in records that you burn
Get your Gunn, get your Gunn,
get your Gunn, get your Gunn
This verse describes an act of childhood rebellion, with the implication that it's a response to an oppressive environment that tries to control what you think (most that I can learn is in records that you burn).
Pseudo-morals work real well
on the talk shows for the weak
But your selective judgements
and goodguy badges
Don't mean a fuck to me
I am the VHS
Record me with your fist
You want me to save the world
I'm just a little girl
If he is the VHS, then recording him, that is inserting information into him, is equivalent to teaching him. In this case he is being taught with violence.
The final lines seem to say that he doesn't believe in himself. Children are often a canvas for adults to project their hopes about the future. On some levels, adults do hope that children will save the world, since they are all unfulfilled potential, and who knows what this potential will manifest into when they grow up? But the song's subject doesn't seem confident in his ability to do anything.
(Backmasked): False Christians see the world by killing themselves, now!This isn't part of the official lyrics, but can be heard if the song is played backwards.
Pseudo-morals work real well
on the talk shows for the weak
But your selective judgements
and goodguy badges
don't mean a fuck to me
Get your Gunn, get your Gunn,
get your Gunn, get your Gunn... get

Wrapped in Plastic

In an interview Manson said that this song was about:

How the typical American family will wrap its couch in plastic and the question, "Will it keep the dirt out or will it keep the dirt in?" Sometimes the people who seem the most clean are really the dirtiest.

More specifically, it describes a culture of guilt and fear that takes place within a family that is ironically preoccupied with appearing clean and proper.

The song has a bunch of samples from the David Lynch show Twin Peaks. It's a show that follows the investigation into the death of Laura Palmer, a local teenage girl, with the big reveal being that she was murdered by her own father, so it wasn't outside the family where the horror lied, but within.

Twin Peaks opens with a scene where a fisherman finds the body of Laura Palmer, lying by the river naked but wrapped in a plastic sheet. He phones it in to the local sheriff, and describes it exactly like that: "She's dead. Wrapped in plastic."


Right at the beginning of the song there's a sample that to me sounds like the word hallelujah but is actually supposed to be "meanwhile". This is followed by a scream. Both the word and the scream are from a scene from the TV show Twin Peaks. The scene in question takes place in the mysterious red room, which is located outside of normal reality and occupied by a mysterious dwarf who calls himself The Hand. The show's protagonist, agent Dale Cooper, visits the place multiple times as he investigates the murder of Laura Palmer, and in one of those visits, Laura is in the room with the dwarf. She's the one who says 'meanwhile' and starts screaming, causing agent Dale to back out of the room in fear.

The reason why the word 'meanwhile' sounds so strange is because of the way the dialogue for those scenes was recorded. In an attempt to make the red room's inhabitants sounds unnatural, the actors had to speak the dialogue backwards, and then the audio was reversed to make the words sound in the right direction.

Guilt is a snake we beat with a rake
To grow in our kitchen in the pies we bake
Feed it to us to squirm in our bellies
Twisting our guts make our spines to jelly
This verse describes a culture of guilt that a family subsists on.

A snake is symbol for an evil that slithers its way into our safe territory, and a rake is used for preparing soil for planting seeds. They grow evil guilt and feed it to their family.
Stay, don't want to go now
Drove the children from their chores
Handcrafted housewives into whores
Fear of the beast is calling it near
Creating what we're hating
It's only fear that is here
The first two lines are better understood if you preface it as such:
[The beast] drove the children from their chores and handcrafted housewives into whores.

They fear a something that will corrupt their family, but paradoxically the fearing of it is what causes it to manifest like a self-fulfilling prophesy. One classic example of something like this happening is when you don't want your children to listen to evil music, so you ban it, and that just makes them 10 times more curious about it than they otherwise would've been.

It's only fear that is here suggests that the obsession with fear becomes all-encompassing within that family unit, so that becomes all there is.
Stay, don't want to go now
Come into our home, won't you stay?
I know the steak is cold, but it's wrapped in plastic
And now it's as if the family is talking candidly to a potential guest.
Sure, the steak may be ruined, but at least we gave it the appearance of being clean and neat... is like saying 'sure we are a terrible family, but at least we have a manicured image for the outside world'.
I'm only as deep as the self that I dig
I'm only as sick as the stick in the pig
The stick in the pig might be a reference to Lord of The Flies, where there's a scene in which the children stick a pig's head on a stick. This part of the lyrics seems unrelated to the rest of the song...
"Thin and so white, thin and so white"
Daddy tells the daughter
while mommy's sleeping at night
To wash away sin you must take off your skin
The righteous father wears the yellowest grin
And this is just a description of a father who molests his daughter. Sounds like the father is religious, since he uses religious concepts to goad his daughter into compliance.
Yellow is an American idiom for "cowardly".
"Don't wanna go now"
Stay, don't wanna go now, stay

Come into our home, won't you stay?
I know the steak is cold, but its wrapped in plastic


This song describes people's tendency to look for someone to blame whenever something bad happens. It does so by evoking the witch burnings of the early modern period, which have become an icon for scapegoating and mob mentality. It's a very simple and condensed song, that is basically summarized in two lines:

"Burn the witches, burn the witches
don't take time to sew the stitches"

There's a wound (a bad thing that happened), and it's bad enough to need urgent attention (it's deep enough to require stitches), but people still care more about finding someone to blame (find some witches to burn), than about taking care of the crisis.

Past versions of the song did have more lyrical content, but the general idea was the same. When it was known as Same Strange Dogma in the Spooky Kids demo days, it had some lyrics that further emphasized the witches metaphor:

  • "Levi, Crowley, Golden Dawn, same strange dogma on and on"- these are all people or organizations that studied magic and the occult

...and the wound metaphor:

  • "We don't viscerate, your mind masturbates"- meaning "we're not cutting anybody, so your wound that needs stitches can't have been caused by us, your mind is just bullshitting".

...and the fact that these "witches" aren't guilty:

  • "no age, no pain, no grey hair, same strange dogma I don't care"- as in "we don't even look like witches, but they blame us nonetheless".

But, for the portrait version a lot of this was cut out, leaving us with a condensed version. During the recording of Portrait the song's name was changed to "Dogma (Citronella)", before finally being shortened even more to just Dogma. Citronella is an essential oil that is very effective at repelling mosquitos, so I guess the idea was to compare the kinds of people this song talks about (those who look for scapegoats for society's evils) to annoying pests, and that this song is meant to repel them.

When talking about the Same Strange Dogma song in an interview, Manson said that it was:

about dealing with prejudice and ignorance and certain people that are in authority positions. Um, specifically it is directed toward the PMRC, and uh, that whole scenario, and we are not the first person to sing about this and I'm not trying to jump on the bandwagon. I just want people to know how we feel about Tipper Gore, and that she is speaking her mind when she shouldn't.

What Manson was talking about there was an initiative by Tipper Gore, who was the second lady of the United States at the time (wife of Al Gore) to establish the Parents Music Resource Center (PMRC), an organization that advocated for placing parental advisory labels on records with profane language. There isn't really anything in the lyrics themselves that tie it to Tipper Gore and the PMRC, but it's interesting to note that this was on Manson's mind when he wrote the song.


  • "Burn, you fucker!"
    Source: Pink Flamingos. Said by Connie Marble as she burns down the trailer in which the movie's protagonist Divine lives.
  • "They're afraid of the dark, imagine that. Come on mother, I want you to meet my friend!"
    Source: Last Tango In Paris, said by Paul as he gives his mother a tour of his failing hotel.
  • "Can you play with me".
    Source: unknown, though it sounds like a creepy little girl from a horror movie.
Burn the witches, burn the witches,
Don't take time to sew your stitches
Burn the witches, burn the witches
This part has been discussed in the introduction. It's describing people's tendency to look for scapegoats whenever something bad happens.
Good is the thing that you favor
Evil is your sour flavor
You cannot sedate
All the things you hate
The rest of the lyrics is just about rejecting this scapegoating mentality, saying that you can't force things you don't like to go away, and that he's not going to be ruled by their hate.
Burn the bridges, burn the bridges,
Don't take time to sew your stitches
Burn the bridges, burn the bridges

Good is the thing that you favor
Evil is your sour flavor
You cannot sedate
All the things you hate

Sweet Tooth

This song is about a father who abuses his daughter, which the song strongly hints is very young. This makes it a song about the destruction of innocence because the child being abused is at a stage in which they are the most defenseless, and the source of the abuse is the same person who they depend on for safety.

Because the father's sickness in the song is that he likes to frighten his daughter, it's possible that the song was written as a dramatization for the culture of fear that young Marilyn Manson was exposed to in the Christian school that he attended for most of his childhood. The teachers in that school would constantly pump the students up with fearmongering stories about the devil, sin, the world ending, and Satanic music with hidden messages from the devil. It's possible that what Manson did in this song was to take the concept of authority figures feeding their children fear, and exaggerate it into a sickening story of a sadistic parent abusing their child with fear. Constructing extreme imagery by exaggerating the qualities of a song's subject is a hallmark technique of Manson's writing style, which you can more clearly see in the song Organ Grinder, which exaggerates the rockstar/parent/child dynamic into child-molesting-candyman/parent/child, or in the song The Beautiful People on the album Antichrist Superstar, where he translates the disparity in social power between "beautiful" and "not beautiful" people into a description of a fascist dictatorship.

Her heart shivers in my hand,
She's melting on me like cotton candy.
I make the faces that make you cry,
I want you more when you're afraid of my
Disease, disease is draining me,
Anymore you're not so "pretty please".
Disease, disease is draining me,
I want you more when you're afraid of me.

I will break you inside out,
You are mine; you are mine.
The imagery in this song establishes that the daughter is very young, as in- early single digits young. This is done using:
  • The candy references (sweet tooth, cotton candy).
  • If her heart shivers in his hand, it implies that it's a small heart.
  • The line "she's melting on me" reminds me of the way small children attach their entire self to their parents when the parent holds them.
  • "I make the faces" line is a reference to how very small children are highly entertained by their parents making silly faces, so much that making faces becomes an actual game for them.
  • The "pretty please" line. "Pretty please" is essentially how little kids say "please", if not in words then in spirit, in order to be seen as good little kids by their parents. So, when he says, "any more you're not so 'pretty please'", it's like saying "you're not a nice, eager-to-be-good little girl anymore now that I've fucked you up". I think this is the most tragic line in the whole song, because it means that the father is punishing the child's most basic instinct of seeking their parents' approval, which is rooted in perceiving the parent as a figure of safety.
  • In the artwork of the album, next to the lyrics of the song is written "I'm a good baby. I love you mommy", which again hints at the child's age.
Regarding the nature of the abuse, I think that it's tempting to want to interpret a father-daughter abuse scenario through the lens of pedophilia, but I don't think this is what the song is about, as it is clearly focused on fear, not sexual abuse.
Her hair hangs in swollen strings.
I'm choking on her; it feels so sickening.
I make the faces that make you cry,
I want you more when you're afraid of my
Disease, disease is draining me,
Anymore you're not so pretty, please.
Disease, disease is draining me,
I want you more when you're afraid of me.

I will break you inside out,
you are mine, you are mine.
The "swollen strings" imagery reminds me the way hair looks when it hasn't been washed for a while. It becomes greasy and that makes the strands of hair stick together in clumps. This seems congruent with the way the line "anymore you're not so 'pretty please'" from the previous verse is altered to "anymore you're not so pretty, please". It seems that the daughter is also being neglected as well as abused, and it's taking its toll on the way she looks.

The line "I'm choking on her" suggests that the father is devouring his daughter. You can say that metaphorically, this is exactly what happens. He has an appetite for scaring her, and he gorges on her until he destroys her. In that way we could say that the song's title could be a double meaning. "Sweet tooth" means someone who likes to eat sweets, and it's a term that often applies to children. At the same time, we could also interpret it to mean that it's the father who has a sweet tooth for his daughter (after all, she's melting on him like cotton candy), and so he devours her.

Snake Eyes and Sissies

This song uses gambling slang to describe a man-child bully with a drug and gambling addiction.


  • Killing is killing whether done for duty, profit, or fun.
    Source: an interview with serial killer Richard Ramirez.
Wrench is just a household god
But I carry mine with pride
I don't work but I can work with it to split your smile
Run you down without a twitch
Your car's just not as big as mine
Tear the son out of your bitch and sprinkle your remains with lime
Here we have a description of a violent person who drives like a maniac and is unemployed.

"Your car's just not as big as mine", suggests that he values being big and strong and sees it as something that allows him to do whatever he wants, which is a very bully-like mentality.
I ain't no workin' man
I do the best I can
I got the devil's hand
Rollin' sixes
I am the habit man
I use up all I can
I got the slacker's hand
The first two lines sound like a reference to the Charles Manson song Mechanical Man, which begins with "I am a mechanical man, a mechanical man, and I do the best I can".

The Devil's Hand is Poker slang for three-of-a-kind sixes. Together with the "rolling sixes" line it establishes that this person has a gambling problem.

Him being a "habit man" is a reference to having a "drug habit", hence "use up all I can". So, he has a gambling problem and is also a drug addict. The "slacker's hand" is not some known slang or phrase, so it simply means that he is a slacker, which makes sense for an unemployed drug user.
My afternoon's remote control
Daydream milk and genocide
Tranquility with broken knees, silly putty enemies
Butter knife in your side
What I got I got for free
Middle finger technology
What's yours is mine, yours is mine, told you fucker, yours is mine
Snake eyes for sissies
This verse introduces some childish themes.
"Milk and genocide" is likely a play on "milk and cookies", since there aren't any other famous phrases that fit the "milk and X" mold.
Silly Putty is a clay-like material that is sold as a toy for children. The phrase "silly putty enemies" sounds like he enjoys making enemy figures out of silly putty for the fun of later squashing. Bullies generally like to pick on the weak, those who can't defend themselves (silly putty opponents).

"What yours is mine" - another bully-like line.

"Snake eyes" is gambling slang for a two-die roll result of 1-1. It's the lowest two die roll that can possibly happen, and is therefore a slang for losing. So "snake eyes for sissies" is saying in gambling slang that "sissies lose". Bullies that enjoy power dynamics consider "sissie"- that is, someone who is weak- to be the most contemptible thing to be, and make such people the target of their harassment.
I ain't no workin' man
I do the best I can
I got the devil's hand
Rollin' sixes
I am the habit man
I use up all I can
I got the slacker's hand
I was prophesized by the Shangri-Las
I am the leader of the pack
I am the pedophile's dream
a messianic peter pan
just a boy, just a boy, just a little fucking boy,
I can never be a man
A "pedophile's dream" is an adult child, someone who satisfies their attraction criteria without being illegal to pursue. An adult child, or "man child", is also a derogatory term for an immature adult who still acts with a child's mentality despite being a grown up. Peter Pan is the eternal child. The fact that this character considers himself to be "messianic", suggests that he has delusions of grandeur.

The first two lines in this section are not part of the official lyrics (although they do appear in the artwork next to the lyrics).
The Shangri-Las was an all-female R&B group in the 60s, singing about teenage drama. One of their hit songs is called The Leader of The Pack, which tells a story of a girl who falls in love with a biker, and then her parents pressure her to leave him, and he drives off and gets into some accident and dies. The leader of the pack in the song is the stereotypical bad boy biker, so it wouldn't surprise me that a bully would see himself that way.

The fact that the song's character thinks he was prophesized by the Shangri-Las brings to mind how Charles Manson was able to see a prophecy in The Beatles songs, so maybe this is Marilyn Manson's version of that.
I ain't no workin' man
I do the best I can
I got the devil's hand
Rollin' sixes
I am the habit man
I use up all I can
I got the slacker's hand
I ain't no workin' man
I do the best I can
I got the devil's hand
I am the habit man
I use up all I can
I got the slacker's hand
(oh no, oh no)

My Monkey

This song features some lyrics from the Charles Manson song Mechanical Man. Because of that, the song was rather contentious for Interscope Records, the label that owned Nothing Records, where Marilyn Manson was signed. A short while prior, Axl Rose of Guns N' Roses got into some trouble for covering a Charles Manson song, and that made Interscope very reluctant to include My Monkey in the album, even though it wasn't a Charles Manson cover and only used his lyrics in select portions of the song. They insisted that the song be removed from the album or else they wouldn't release it, a demand which Marilyn Manson was unwilling to meet.

Luckily for Manson, Trent Reznor, who headed Nothing Records, stood by Manson, and invoked a clause in his contract with Interscope that allowed him to release the album on another label, and eventually Interscope relented and agreed to release the album with My Monkey in it.

The song essentially achieves two goals. First, it is a tribute to Charles Manson, because aside from using his lyrics it's also loaded with samples from his interviews. Second, it's the ultimate poster-song for the Spooky Kids aesthetic: here we have a creepy little kid singing a song that to him is just an innocent nursery rhyme, but to everybody else is this terrible thing, a song written by a crazy cult leader that initiated a bunch of murders. That's the Spooky Kids aesthetic in a nutshell. In the demo recordings, Manson used a vocal technique to imitate the sound of a creepy little kid, but for the Portrait version they had Robert Pierce, an actual 6-year-old kid, sing guest vocals with Manson.


All the samples in this song are of Charles Manson.

  • In the beginning of the song: "Why are the children doing what they're doing? Why does a child reach up and kill his mom and dad and murder his two little sisters and then cut his throat?"
  • "Sanity is a little box."
  • "Raise up children, kill your moms and dads?"
  • "...break you." and "...make you."
  • "Look out!" Source: the song Helter Sketler covered by Charles Manson
  • "...where nothing is real but the medication and their numbers and then they cut their wrists and write 'I love you God' all over the walls and hang themselves on the ventilators."
I had a little monkey,
I sent him to the country,
and I fed him on gingerbre
Along came a choo-choo,
knocked my monkey coo-coo,
and now my monkey's dead
At least he looks that way
but then again don't we all?
These are the lyrics taken from the Charles Manson song (except for the last line). The Charles Manson song was about how the life of normalcy people live is an illusion, and the monkey lyrics act as an allegory to that illusion meeting reality. The monkey has a very pastoral upbringing, but it gets destroyed once it's set out to the real world.

This interpretation of the allegory is rooted in the context that is provided by the rest of the lyrics in the Charles Manson song, but these lyrics are missing in the Marilyn Manson song, which means that the monkey story doesn't quite play the same role as it did in the Charles Manson original. Instead, in the Marilyn Manson song, the lyrics are really there to serve the Spooky Kids aesthetic of a childish nursery rhyme written by a crazy cult leader being sung by a little kid.
(What I make is what I am, I can't be forever)You can't be forever, but if you make something, that legacy will live on after you're gone. Making something is how you achieve immortality.
I had a little monkey,
I sent him to the country,
and I fed him on gingerbread
Along came a choo-choo,
knocked my monkey coo-coo,
and now my monkey's dead
Poor little monkey (What I make is what I am, I can't be forever)
We are our own wicked gods
with little "g's" and big dicks
Sadistic and constantly inflicting a slow demise
The word "God" is supposed to be capitalized when it is used like a name, which is the case when the god we refer to is the Judeo-Christian God.
So, when Manson says, "we are our own wicked gods", he then clarifies that it's "gods" with uncapitalized g's. We are our own gods, not the Judeo-Christian God. Tying the gods to big dicks is the same juxtaposition we saw previously in Cake And Sodomy. It's "I'm the god of fuck" all over again.

Overall, this is a very cynical verse, saying that we are twisted and fuck everything up. Again, there's an irony and a level of creepiness to the fact that such a cynical (and obscene) verse is sung by a little kid.
I had a little monkey,
I sent him to the country,
and I fed him on gingerbread
Along came a choo-choo,
knocked my monkey coo-coo,
and (k)now my monkey's dead
The primate's scream of consonance
is a reflection of his own mind's dissonance
The more disorder you have within you, the more vigorously you will demand harmony from outside yourself (to make up for the harmony that is missing within). Put another way, the more people seem to care about being proper, the more it is because they aren't like that themselves deep down.

Misery Machine

Abbey of Thelema in 2017
Abbey of Thelema in 2017

This song is essentially a tribute to the occultist Aleister Crowley. It describes a hellish person/car fusion driving to the Abbey of Thelema, the temple and spiritual center that Aleister Crowley founded.

The song's title is a reference to the Mystery Machine from the animated series Scooby-Doo, which was featured prominently as artwork in the band's demo days. Lyrically, it is the first instance of something that would later become common practice in Marilyn Manson's lyrics: describing a person in car terminology. It's an idea that reaches deeper than simply aesthetics:

Us humans have the capacity to mentally fuse with our instruments. Whenever we operate a car, we don't think of it in terms of performing operations by proxy ("I will turn the steering wheel, which will turn the car's wheels, which will cause it to turn to the left"), but rather in terms of "I turn left", "I accelerate", and so on. It seems that once we master a tool, it becomes transparent to us, and we adopt the capabilities it gives us on a personal level. This makes the car metaphor a good extension of the person itself, so if the car seems hellish and frenzied, that is also what its driver is like.


  • At the beginning of the song, a man saying: "I would like to face reality, let me tell you there's over three-thousand groups operating in this country today and the number is growing. As Christians we gotta take on the armor of Christ and go to battle against Satan".
    Source: unknown
  • Beep beep. Beep beep. His horn went beep beep beep.
    Source: the song Beep Beep by The Playmates. The song is famous for having a rising tempo, but on the Manson song it is ironically slowed down, which imbues it with a sinister aesthetic more fitting for the lyrics.
  • At the end of the song a woman screaming: "Go home to your mother, doesn't she ever watch you? Tell her this isn't some communist day care center. Tell your mother I hate her, tell you mother I hate you".
    Source: John Waters movie Desperate Living. Said by main character Peggy Gravel as she's having one of her neurotic hysteria episodes.
  • About 10 minutes of a phone ringing immediately following the above sample. The ringing of the phone is also from the same movie.
  • "I want my son off of your mailing list. I have already contacted the post office for your pornographic material that has been received in the mail. My next stop is my attorney. I do not want this number called anymore and do not want anything delivered to my address. If I receive anything else from this band or this group, my next phone call will be my attorney and you will be contacted. Thank you and good bye."
    Source: a message left on the Spooky Kids answering machine by an angry mom, talking about their mailing list material.
Man in the front got a sinister grin,
careen down highway 666
We wanna go, crush the slow,
as the pitchfork bends the needles grow
My arms are wheels, my legs are wheels, my blood is pavement
We're gonna ride to the Abbey of Thelema, to the Abbey of Thelema
Blood is pavement
Most of the song is just visual imagery, describing a sinister man-machine fusion. But some lines require a bit of explanation:

"As the pitchfork bends the needles grow" is a play on the phrase "as the twig bends so grows the tree", which is an old proverb that was coined in the 18th century by the poet Alexander Pope (in a slightly different phrasing). It means that early influences have a permanent effect down the line. The twig will later grow and influence the shape of the tree as a whole. In Manson's version, the twig and tree are replaced with a pitchfork (which is a symbol for mob prosecution) and needle, a symbol of drug use. As prosecution enacts its effect, the drug use intensifies.

Abbey of Thelema is Aleister Crowley's school of magic. 666 is the number of the beast.
The grill in the front is my sinister grin,
bugs in my teeth make me sick sick sick
The objects may be larger than they appear in the mirror
My arms are wheels, my legs are wheels, my blood is pavement
We're gonna ride to the Abbey of Thelema, to the Abbey of Thelema
Blood is pavement
For those unfamiliar with car terminology, the car's grill is the opening in the front of the car for allowing air to enter. Cars also have "faces": the headlights are like eyes, and the shape of the grill forms the mouth. This is something car designers are aware of, and take into consideration when designing the visual aesthetic of the car. Being at the front of the car, sometimes bugs can get lodged in the holes of the grill as the car collides with them, hence "bugs in my teeth".

"The objects may be larger than they appear in the mirror" is often written in the side mirrors of cars as a warning to the driver.
"When you ride you're ridden, when you ride you're ridden"

I am fueled by filth and fury
Do what I will, I will hurry there, there
"Do what I will" refers to "do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law", which is one of the tenets of Aleister Crowley's teachings.
My arms are wheels, my legs are wheels, my blood is pavement
Blood is pavement


Album artworkAlbum artworkAlbum artwork

The overall design for the album liner notes resembles the artwork in the Refrigerator demo tape. It's a white text on black background sleeve that has twisted little drawings and scribbles decorating the lyrics, often related to the lyrics themselves:

  • Cake and Sodomy
    The words "go ahead and smile" and "cunt fucker", which are both samples in the song.
  • Lunchbox
    Drawings of Marilyn Manson lunchboxes, and the words "Did you have fun as a kid? Ever sell yourself for a piece of candy?" which is a paraphrase of a sample that appears in the song.
  • Organ Grinder
    This song evokes the image of a filthy child snatcher who tempts children with candy, so the artwork has images of candy and needles. The words "lollipops for the little children" and "here kiddie winkies" are inspired by lines from the Child Snatcher character from the movie Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, which is sampled in the song.
  • Cyclops
    Nothing of interest.
  • Dope Hat
    A magician's top hat, and the words "The great HooDoo" which are from the children show Lidsville that is sampled in the song.
  • Get Your Gunn
    The words "Oh lord", which are sampled in the song. Images of a gun, a bible, and a coat hanger. The song was inspired by the murder of Dr. Gunn, an OB/GYN who was shot to death by a pro-lifer for the act of performing abortions, hence the gun and the bible. A coat hanger is an unofficial symbol of self-abortion. In the past, women who weren't able to get a medical abortion had to resort to all kinds of improvised measures, one of which was sticking a coat hanger into the cervix to induce an abortion. The coat hanger was actually adopted as a symbol by the DC Abortion Fund, who gave out tiny silver coat hangers to their donors.
  • Wrapped in Plastic
    An image of hands clasped in prayer, and the words "Meanwhile", and "Don't hurt me, don't hurt me, don't stop".
    "Meanwhile" is from the TV show Twin Peaks, which is sampled in the song. The image of hands clasped in prayer is probably also a Twin Peaks reference, referring to the angel image that Laura sees in the prelude movie Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me.
  • Dogma
    3 dice, each showing the numbers 6. 666 is the number of the beast. The words "hand shake ring sign snake eye bite mine" used to be part of the song's lyrics in the demo version.
  • Sweet Tooth
    An image of candy and the words "I'm a good baby, I love you mommy". It gives hints for the age of the child described in the song.
  • Snake Eyes and Sissies
    "I was prophesized by the Shangri-Las. I am the leader of the pack.", which is an unofficial lyric for the song.
  • My Monkey
    An image of a creepy tree and "coo-cco my monkey" written backwards. The backwards writing is a reference to The Shining. One of the iconic scenes in The Shining involves a small kid holding a knife and writing the word 'redruM' on the wall ('Murder' written backwards), which fits with the creepy kid theme of the song. Although Portrait of An American Family doesn't have samples from The Shining, Manson says 'redruM' at the end of the demo version of the song, so this is likely where the inspiration for the backwards writing came from.
  • Misery Machine
    The words "Beep Beep" and a symbol. Beep Beep is a reference to the Playmates' song of the same name that is sampled in the song. The strange symbol was invented by the serial killer David Betkowitz, who drew it on some of the letters he wrote.

The artwork was originally intended to include a picture of Manson as a child, sitting naked on a sofa, which was taken by his mother, but the record label's lawyers refused to allow it. In an interview that was reprinted in his autobiography, Manson said that:

I wanted to use a photo in the album's booklet of me naked on a couch when I was a kid. When you hold up something to people, usually what they see in it is what's inside them in the first place. And that's what happened because the lawyers at Interscope said, "First off, that picture's going to be considered child pornography, and not only will no stores carry the album, but we're subject to legal retribution from it." They said if a judge were to look at it, the law states that if a photograph of a minor elicits sexual excitement then it's considered child pornography. I said, "That's exactly my point. This is a photograph that was taken by my mother, and it's extremely innocent and very normal. But if you see it as pornography, why am I the guilty person? You're the person who's got a hard-on. Why aren't you punished?" That's still a point I'd like to make. People's morality is so ridiculous: If they get excited by it, then it's wrong.

Another idea that was scrapped was to use John Wayne Gacy's clown pictures as the cover art.

Instead of the above ideas, the artwork looks like photos from a nightmarish American family household. There are creepy and broken toys, a boy and girl doll arranged like the boy is sexually assaulting the girl, a TV that looks like a monster, and of course the creepy clay sculpture of the entire family on the album cover.

Album artwork: male doll assaulting female dollAlbum artwork: creepy dolls

There are also some TV related images in the artwork. The TV would later become a prominent symbol in Manson's work, and here we see some of its early use.

Album artwork: TV monsterAlbum artwork: TV showing Manson's face

Beyond The Record

During the Portrait of An American Family era, 3 music videos were produced, resulting in two singles. Two B-Sides were recorded, a cover of Gary Numan's dark sci-fi song "Down In The Park", and an ambient track called "Revelation #9".

Music videos

Get Your Gunn

The Get Your Gunn music video shows two sisters who live in a dark and oppressive Christian household. The father is an evangelist, and is both strict and violent. The sisters get corrupted from watching Marilyn Manson on TV. When the father discovers what they've been watching, he begins threatening them with violence, so they kill him and run away from the house.


The Lunchbox video is about a kid who gets bullied on his way home, then gets angry, toughens up, and decides to become a Rockstar. He then comes to a skating ring where the band performs, and gives Manson a lunchbox as a ritualistic offering, which Manson sets on fire. The video has numerous shots where the kid and Manson or the guitar player mirror each other, implying a spiritual link between them. When the kid gets his hair pulled, Manson gets his hair pulled. When the kid waves his lunchbox around and smashes it to the ground, Manson does the same. Some shots of the guitar player switch to a shot of the kid with an electric guitar.

In the end we see an image of the kid layered over a burning lunchbox. The lunchbox in the shot is a Rambo lunchbox, which was the last metal lunchbox manufactured before new safety guidelines forced the switch to plastic lunchboxes.

Burning Rambo lunchbox in the Lunchbox music videoRambo lunchbox

It's possible that the shots where Manson gets red lipstick smeared over his face were inspired by the movie Wild at Heart (which is sampled in the song). In the movie, Lula and Saylor are two lovers who run away together, and this drives Lula's mother, who never liked Saylor, crazy. In one scene, she paints her face red with lipstick out of rage:

Wild at Heart: Lula's mother painting her faceLunchbox: Manson with painted face

Dope Hat

The Dope Hat video recreates the famous Wily Wonka boat ride scene, with Manson playing Wonka. In the original story, while riding the boat, the factory visitors are exposed to various horrific images, and that is also the case in the Marilyn Manson version, except that the horrific images in the music video are all joke images, like a stuffed bear getting decapitated, or a dog jumping at an Oompa Loompa dwarf.

Dope Hat music video: boat is sailing into Charles Manson's mouthDope Hat music video: Manson as Willy Wonka
Left: the boat sailing into the mouth of Charles Manson. Right: Manson as Wily Wonka on the boat with tied up kids.
Dope Hat music video: drummer with chicken in the bass drumDope Hat music video: guitar player with a cunt on his head
Chickens have become an in-joke for the band by the time this music video was filmed, hence the many chicken related shots.
Left: One of the easy to miss chicken appearances: there's a chicken in the bass drum.
Right: a cunt placed on the head of the guitar player Daisy Berkowitz. Daisy's relationship with the rest of the band began to slowly deteriorate since the recording of the Portrait album, so it's possible this was their way of covertly making fun of him.

A lot of the imagery was inspired by the movie. Some examples:

Dope Hat music video: Oompa Loompa shots reminiscent of the movieOompa Loompas in the Willy Wonka movie
Oompa Loompas are the dwarf factory workers in Wily's chocolate factory. The movie includes a musical scene where the dwarfs sing a song, and instead of displaying the scene as a normal full screen picture, it's displayed as small frames over a black background with the song's lyrics dancing around. Left: Marilyn Manson's version, right: the original movie.
Willy Wonka lickable wallpaper scene
In the movie, Wonka leads the visitors into a room that has lickable wallpapers. The wallpapers are adorned with pictures of fruits, and Wonka encourages the visitors to lick the drawings, saying "lick an orange, it tastes like an orange. Lick a pineapple, it tastes like a pineapple".
Dope Hat music video: lickable wallpaper scene
Manson's version of the scene is a bit less innocent...
Correct way to read the text: The girls taste like girls. The boys taste like boys.


Get Your Gunn single coverLunchbox single cover

Two singles were released during the Portrait era: Get Your Gunn, and Lunchbox. Get Your Gunn had a remix of its namesake track, and the only original B-Side from the portrait era: the dark soundscape track that is Revelation #9, while Lunchbox featured multiple remixes of its namesake track, and also a cover of Gary Numan's dystopian sci-fi song "Down In The Park". The Lunchbox single is noteworthy for the fact that its artwork pays tribute to Marilyn Monroe's famous red velvet photos.

Marilyn Monroe red velvet pictureMarilyn Manson red velvet picture

The Marilyn Monroe reference is also reinforced by the fact that Manson is wearing blue eye contacts, which is otherwise out of character for him (Marilyn Monroe's eye color is also blue).


Mother Inferior Got Her Gunn

Usually, remixes are not noteworthy because they are just rehashing of the track material, but this remix is different because it has some new content.

The title is a play on the Beatles lyric "Mother Superior Jumped The Gun" from the song "Happiness Is A Warm Gun".

New Content
Woman: I can't hear you
Man: Why do you often touch my [???] goddamn
Unknown sample.
You spoon fed us Saturday morning mouthfuls of maggots and lies disguised in your sugary breakfast cereals
The plates you made us clean were filled with your fears
These things have hardened in our soft pink bellies

We are what you have made us
We have grown up watching your television
We are a symptom of your Christian America
The biggest Satan of all

This is your world in which we will grow and we will grow to hate you

Hallelujah, motherfuckers
Speech by Marilyn Manson.
The court's decision in Roe vs. Wade was wrong, and should be overturned. And I think that when it comes to abortion, there is a better way. The way of adoption.A sample of a man commenting on the supreme court decision in the famous Roe vs. Wade case of 1973.
This case was brought to the court on behalf of Norma McCorvey, a woman from Texas who wanted to perform an abortion, but was denied by Texas law that only approved of abortion if the mother's life was in danger.
The law was ruled as unconstitutional by the Texas district court in 1970, and the ruling was upheld by the supreme court in 1973, essentially striking down all similar anti-abortion laws in the entire United States.
God I'm not gonna do it
Oh yes you are
oh no I'm not
yes you are
no I'm not
yes you are
no I'm not
Yes you are
No I'm not
Yes you are...
No I'm not...
Sound like anybody you know?
The source of this sample hasn't been tracked down yet, but it sounds a lot like David Ring, an evangelist known for having Cerebral Palsy which caused him to have distorted speech.

Revelation #9

Revelation #9 appeared on the Get Your Gunn single, and is inspired by the Beatles song of a similar name (Revolution 9). Like the Beatles song, it's an experimental soundscape of samples. There's an eerie ambient drone that plays throughout the track, and various samples are layered on top of it, some of them in reverse, meant to be heard when the song is played backwards. The ambient melody sounds the same when played backwards, so along with the backwards samples there's essentially two ways to experience the song. The following transcription does not attempt to be a perfect recreation of the contents of this track. Words and samples that repeat multiple times are not repeated in this transcript, and it's also likely that the transcript is missing some samples or details. Nevertheless, it should contain most of the track's content.

[Marilyn Manson]
are you listening?
are you listening to me?
are you listening to me?
[Marilyn Manson]
we are our own wicked gods
with little "g"'s and big dicks
sadistic and constantly inflicting a slow demise
Lyrics from My Monkey.
[A long phone conversation between two women]This is a call between Manson's mother (Barb Warner) and grandmother (Blanche Wyer). It was later turned into a track called "May Cause Discoloration of Urine and Feces" on the album "Smells Like Children", so go check that out for the transcript.
We are all... We are all...This sample sounds like it's taken from the demo version of the song Cyclops, as it appears on the demo tape After School Special.
The full quote is "we are all evil inside". It's part of the lyrics that Manson himself sings, but it also appears as a distorted sample which I'm pretty sure isn't Manson himself. It's unknown what the origin of that sample is, if in fact it is a sample.
[Marilyn Manson]
I'll spread me open
stick it to my ribs
are all your infants in abortion cribs
we run like roaches
we try to die
I know your poison in our space we'll...lie
to an obscene god we will dance and spit
The first 3 lines would later become part of the song Man That You Fear from the album Antichrist Superstar.
[Marilyn Manson]
Don't tell your momma that I brought you here
you're on the other side now
there ain't no going back
you hear boy?
don't tell your momma that I brought you here boy!
'cause there ain't no going back now boy
Don't tell your momma that I brought you here
'cause there ain't no going back now boy
Don't tell your momma that I brought you here
[...] to call back [...] give me a call [...] Alright [...] I changed my mind I don't know if I want you to call back because I don't want you to be masturbating with tos(?) you know? and I'm not tos(?) myself when it comes to [..] if anything I'm not [...]
But nonetheless I see that.. heh.. everything is virtual an um...
Music is kinda like a soundtrack to our.. virtualized popularity and um... from what I can tell [??] I don't know, how much of a joke is this? I mean it sounds nonetheless interesting, noisy, but virtually disturbing, you know... I'm not disturbed by it personally, it's pretty interesting, it all is quite disturbing nonetheless, and I'm not interested in doing any of that.

This is Coy(?) are you from that group or something like that? I changed my mind one more time, call me back. I wanna hear more from what you have to say and I want you to realize that Christianity is not about opressity, it's actually about uplifting, and about understanding what is real and what is illusion. You know? A lot of what we see with our eyes and understand with our minds and rationalize is an illusion. After all, everything can be rationalized. Although Christianity CAN be used as a force of oppression and those are people who are megalomaniacs and are foul. But Christianity is not about oppression. If you look through it... if you look into it yourself and not what other people think it is, you'll see it's not about oppression. You call me back, I changed my mind Brian, I wanna talk to you more.
Unknown person leaving phone messages. It's likely that the messages were left on the band's hotline.
Don't you tell your momma
Don't you tell your momma
Don't you tell your momma
Don't you tell your momma
Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Red & yellow, black & white
They are precious in his sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world
Lyrics taken from the children's Christian song Jesus Loves the Little Children, originally composed by George Frederick Root.
Onward, Christian soldiers, marching as to
With the cross of Jesus marching on
This is a lyric taken from Onward, Christian Soldiers, a 19th century English Christian hymn. Words by Sabine Baring-Gould, music by Arthur Sullivan. It was originally intended to be a processional hymn for children walking from Horbury Bridge to Horbury St. Peter's Church. The hymn has been adopted by The Salvation Army as its favorite processional.

In the sample, the last words of each line are missing.
There's no earthly way of knowing which direction we are going
There's no knowing where we're going or which way the wind is blowing
Is it raining? Is it snowing? Is a hurricane a-blowing?
Not a speck of light is showing so the danger must be growing
An excerpt from the poem that accompanies the boat ride scene in Willy Wonka and The Chocolate Factory.
[Angry man]
Hey Jew, let me thank you for wasting our time! Fuck your time! Asshole!
Fuck your shit, you fucking... shit! Fucking ho! Fucking ho! Come on, rape her!
Get her!
[Marilyn Manson]
Manson has probably killed the pigs, hit him again!
[Marilyn Manson]
If anyone's playing this backwards, how you doin? How you doin?
Your mother fucks the sausage, your mother fucks the sausage. Hahahahaha!
Hallelujah, motherfucker! Hallelujah!
Goddamn millionaire! Goddamn millionaire!
If you call 407-997-9437...
Don't you tell your momma I brought you here!
You're on the other side now!
You're on the other side now!
Don't you tell your momma that you were here!
You're on the other side now!
You're on the other side now!
Don't you tell your momma I brought you here!
You're on the other side now!
There ain't no going back once you've been here, brothers and sisters!
There ain't no going back!
You're on the other side now!
You're on the other side now!
There ain't no going back!
Don't you tell your momma you was here!
You're on the other side now!
Don't you tell your momma you was here, you hear me?!