OVERLAND PARK, KS–Stung by flagging album sales and Eminem's supplanting him as Middle America's worst nightmare, shock rocker Marilyn Manson has embarked on a door-to-door tour of suburbia in a desperate, last-ditch effort to shock and offend average Americans.
Accompanied by bandmates Twiggy Ramirez, Madonna Wayne Gacy, and Zim Zum, Manson kicked off his 50-city "Boo" tour Jan. 26 in Overland Park, a conservative, middle-class suburb of Kansas City.
"When we first laid eyes on Overland Park, with its neat little frame houses, immaculately landscaped lawns, and SUVs in the driveways, we couldn't wait to swoop down on it like the Black Death," said Manson, born Brian Warner in Canton, OH. "We were like, 'Welcome to our nightmare, you bloated, pustulent pigs.'"
Last Friday at 4 p.m., Mark Wesley, 46, a resident of Overland Park's exclusive Maple Bluff subdivision, heard the sound of "animal-like shrieking" coming from the vicinity of his front lawn. Upon opening his front door, he was greeted by the sight of a pale and shirtless Manson carving a pentagram into his chest with a razor blade.
"Look at me, suburban dung," Manson told Wesley. "Does this shock you?"
When Wesley replied no, he said Manson became "petulant." Recalled Wesley: "He started stamping his feet and shaking his fists, saying, 'What do you mean no? Aren't your uptight, puritanical sensibilities offended? Don't you want to censor me so you don't have to confront the ugly truth I represent?' So I say, 'Well, not particularly.' Then, after a long pause, he says, 'Well, screw you, jerk!' and walks off sulking."
That evening, Linda Schmidt was preparing to drive her daughter Alyssa to a Girl Scouts meeting when she found Manson standing on her porch draped in sheep entrails.
"I knew who he was, but I was kind of busy and didn't really have time to chat," Schmidt said. "He just kept standing there staring at me, expecting me to react in some way."
Added Schmidt: "I tried to be nice and humor him a little. I said, 'Yesiree, that sure is some shocking satanic imagery, no doubt about it. And that one eye with no color in the pupil, very disturbing. I'd sure like to suppress that.' I mean, what do you say to Marilyn Manson?"
A deflated Manson remained on Schmidt's porch as she and Alyssa drove off.
Subsequent attempts to provoke outrage were met with equal indifference.
"[Manson] was standing at my front door wearing those fake breasts he wore on the cover of Mechanical Animals," retiree Judith Hahn said. "He said, 'My name is Marilyn Manson, and I'm here to tear your little world apart.' I thought he was collecting for the Kiwanis food drive, so I gave him some cans of pumpkin-pie filling."
Undaunted, Manson and his entourage stepped up their assault on mainstream American sensibilities. On Tuesday, they arrived in the tiny Detroit suburb of Grosse Pointe Farms, where stockbroker Glenn Binford answered his doorbell to find Manson hanging upside-down on a wooden cross as Ramirez performed fellatio on him.
"I just stood there thinking, now there's a boy who tries way too hard," Binford said. "I mean, come on: Homoerotic sacrilege went out in the late '90s."
Other provocative acts by Manson–including dismembering a chicken, bathing in pig's blood, and wearing a three-piece suit of human noses–failed to arouse anyone's ire, instead prompting comments such as "sophomoric," "trite," and "so Alice Cooper."
Manson's lone brush with controversy occurred in Edina, MN, a suburb of Minneapolis. An unidentified neighborhood-watch volunteer phoned police after seeing a nude, feces-smeared Manson being led around on a leash by a dwarf dominatrix. Officers arrived on the scene, but let Manson go with a warning for parading without a city permit.
"I could have given him a citation, but I figured, how much harm is he really causing?" Edina Police Officer Dan Herberger said. "I mean, he's just Marilyn Manson, for the love of Mike."
The "Boo" tour was dealt a further blow when Manson learned that Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP had been banned from all Kmart stores. Manson's current album, Holy Wood (In The Shadow Of The Valley Of Death), is still available.
"Why are all you people outraged by Eminem? He's not scary!" Manson said. "He doesn't sport ghoulishly pale skin or wear gender-bending make-up. He's just some regular guy. I'm the one who people should be terrified by, not him! Me!"
"If you ban me," Manson continued, "I promise to rail against censorship and hypocrisy. Please? Pretty, pretty please?"
By Monday, the tour appeared to have lost all momentum. Sources close to Manson described him as "exhausted and discouraged," despite not having even completed the first leg of the three-month tour. By the time he arrived in Hoffman Estates, IL, Manson had resorted to leaving flaming bags of dog feces on doorsteps and shining a flashlight under his chin to make himself look "spooky." He was ultimately chased from a Hoffman Estates subdivision by a group of bicycle-riding teenagers who advised him to "get [his] chalk-white goblin ass" out of their neighborhood.
On Friday, Manson is slated to appear in Bethesda, MD, where many believe he will bring his tour to a premature end.
"Have you people forgotten already?" Manson told The Washington Post. "You all thought I was responsible for Columbine two years ago. Well, I was! I was! I know I vehemently denied it at the time, but, really, I personally told those two kids to shoot up the school. I'm serious. I sent them an e-mail. And I told them to worship Satan, too. You hear that, kids? Marilyn Manson says you should shoot your friends in the head with a gun! And everyone should eat babies! And rape their dead grandparents! And poop on a church! There, now will someone please be offended?"