A Look at Turniphead

Time for a Nineties flashback, courtesy of one of my favorite heavy rockers, Marilyn Manson. Before he took to writing entire albums about how wonderful his girlfriend is, Manson was the bane of Christian fundamentalists the world over, at one point even being arrested for attempting to urinate on Jerry Falwell’s head.

But even back then, the chinless troubadour was occasionally emitting a funereal croak over matters other than the evils of religion and the virtues of absinthe, one example being “Turniphead” from the Antichrist Superstar album. Presented below are the results of a close reading of this intriguing song’s lyrics, a task which took me at least five minutes of strenuous cogitating and precisely two and a half minutes of research into Manson’s private life…

“She’s made of hair and bone and little teeth
And things I cannot speak
She comes on like a crippled plaything
Spine is just a string”

This entire section is thought by Manson scholars to be a reference to one-time Manson paramour Alita Snufleburger, a Goth who was much admired for her slim figure until it was discovered that she was in fact just a broomstick with a life size photo of Cameron Diaz’ head stuck on one end. Manson’s reaction to this revelation was a mixed one – on the one hand he resented having been lied to, on the other hand he finally had an explanation for all those splinters.

“I smothered her in all this oil
Sometimes called her chicken legs
She was my favorite goil
But flies will always lay their eggs”

This is a reference to Alita’s tragic end. Apparently Manson and the ill-fated hottie were in the habit of having sex while riding a mechanical rodeo bull, while at other times doing it while heavily greased and tanked up on speed. One day the drug-addled pair decided to combine the two, and this led to poor Alita being catapulted right out of pole position and whacking her noggin on a massive antique hookah Manson had recently stolen from the Robert Mitchum museum in Connecticut. Unable to part with the corpse, Manson stored his dear departed in the back room, though after a few days both the stench and the incessant buzzing led him to call the authorities.

“Take your hatred out on me
Make your victim my head”

Not surprisingly Manson felt responsible for Alita’s unfortunate end, his guilt resulting in a period of self loathing during which he contemplated a career as a television clown. Eventually Manson decided against this move, partly due to death threats from the owners of the Bozo the Clown franchise, and partly due to a genetic defect that makes it close to impossible for him to smile.

“You never ever believed in me
I am your Turniphead”

As far as I can gather from numerous apocryphal sources, Turniphead was Alita’s pet name for Manson at the time, apparently because the two met in the produce aisle, at which time Manson tried to pick her up by asking if he could squeeze her tomatoes.

“Prosthetic synthesis with butterfly
Sealed up with virgin stitch”

I have no idea what this last bit means, something about sex with virgin amputees, I presume. But hey, you can’t expect me to do all the work!

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