the NachtKabarett

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All Writing & Content © Nick Kushner Unless Noted Otherwise
Collaboration with Gilles R. Maurice

"Of the several sacred monograms of Christ, the Chi Rho is one of the most ancient. It is generally formed of the Greek letters chi (X) and rho (P). These are the first letters of the Greek word "XPICTOC" (pronounced Christos), which means "Christ." The monogram has been styled in a variety of imaginative ways over the centuries. Other symbols are sometimes added to the monogram to call to mind a particular attribute of our Lord."
Symbols In Ancient Christian Art & Architecture
Cover artwork to the 2004 single of 'Personal Jesus' with a 'PJ' song initial variation of the Chi-Ro sharpened like a sword. To some extents, the stylization of a Christian symbol into a weapon is reminiscent of the Holy Wood era Gun Crucifix. Common style of Christogram, the "X" is superimposed on the "P" and the symbols of alpha and omega ("'I am the Alpha and the Omega,' says the Lord God..." Revelation 1:8 ; The Beginning and the End) which Manson replaced with double M's for his own 1997 variation below.

'Antichrist Svperstar' era t-shirt, circa 1997, depicting a full band shot and the back bearing a corruption of the Christogram which would reemerge within Manson's art seven years later, on the single for the Depeche Mode cover of 'Personal Jesus' in 2004. The reverse symbol, as stated, is a stylization of what is known as the Chi-rho or Christogram; a single symbol (called a monogram), which represents the name of Christ. Used in irony of course, with a halo-ed Manson personifying the 'Anti-Christ', with his own shock symbol within the opening of the symbol's 'P' on the back art. merchandise shoppe icon featuring the, then new, 'Personal Jesus' imagery



Contributed by Giorgio D.

For the single of Personal Jesus, the cover features a red and white cross. This cross is commonly known as St George's cross. It is not to be confused with the flag of the Red Cross. It is the national flag of England, and also the symbol of Milan, Genoa, Freiburg and Montreal. In 1277 it officially became the national flag of England. After England joined with Scotland by the Act of Union 1707 a Union Flag was created which was used for all national matters, but the flag of England remains St George's Cross, and continues to be used when showing allegiance to England alone. The flag of St George is also the rank flag of an Admiral in the Royal Navy, and civilian craft are forbidden to fly it. However, ships which took part in the rescue at Dunkirk during World War II are allowed to fly it as a jack.

St. George is the patron saint of England, and various other countries and regions. He is traditionally shown killing a dragon to rescue a beautiful lady. St. George's Day is April 23rd.The Depeche Mode 'Personal Jesus' single artwork from 1989. The precursor version to illustrate Manson's interpretation and portrayal of not only the song but also the original album art.
But on his breast a bloody Cross he bore,
The dear remembrance of his dying Lord,
For whose sweet sake that glorious badge we wore
And dead (as living) ever he adored.

The legend of St. George and the Dragon is that made popular by the "Legenda Aurea", and translated into English by Caxton. A terrible dragon had ravaged all the country round a city of Libya, called Selena, making its lair in a marshy swamp. Its breath caused pestilence whenever it approached the town, so the people gave the monster two sheep every day to satisfy its hunger, but, when the sheep failed, a human victim was necessary and lots were drawn to determine the victim. On one occasion the lot fell to the king's little daughter. The king offered all his wealth to purchase a substitute, but the people had pledged themselves that no substitutes should be allowed, and so the maiden, dressed as a bride, was led to the marsh.

Some ancient myths have stated that St George slayed the dragon with a sword shaped like the Cross of Lorraine.

There St. George chanced to ride by, and asked the maiden what she did, but she bade him leave her lest he also might perish. The good knight stayed, however, and, when the dragon appeared, St. George, making the sign of the cross, attacked it with his lance. Then asking the maiden for her girdle he bound it round the neck of the monster, and thereupon the princess was able to lead it like a lamb. They then returned to the city, where St. George bade the people have no fear but only be baptized, after which he cut off the dragon's head and the townsfolk were all converted. The earliest reference in art is probably to be found in an old Roman tombstone at Conisborough in Yorkshire, considered to belong to the first half of the twelfth century. In some myths, St George's sword he slayed the dragon with, is shaped like the Cross of Lorraine, so it's probably no coincidence that the Personal Jesus Christogram has been stylized to fit in a sword-like shape too. Still in that direction, the P's lower part was made pointed, in the fashion of several heraldic crosses called 'fitched', the lower arm of which is shaped like a sword blade driven into the ground. We could thus talk here of a 'Fitched Christogram'.


ONE: What did lead you to record a cover of Depeche Mode's Personal Jesus?

MM: When I abandonned the idea of putting my duo with Shirley Manson on the album, I wasn't going well and was even about to quit music. And then I heard 'Personal Jesus' on the radio. While listening to it I immediately imagined how I would interpret this track. My interpretation is quite different than Dave Gahan's and I knew by recording it that it would allow me to say very powerful things about politics and religion.

Interview for French magazine 'One' Hors Série, December 2004.
Translation : Gilles R. Maurice.


Manson's hand stigmata, covered with the God bandaid. The theme of stigmatic features is further developped within the updates following the video release. For more on the God bandaid concept, visit the article about Biblical passages within Manson's watercolors. Image appearing during a fraction of second, while the subliminal Jesus flash is appearing, forming a tricephalous messiah with Manson's face, remininiscent of the theme of Trismegistus (a painting that surfaced during the same period).
The association of the themes of stigmata and celebrity and the way the exposed/hidden wounds are displayed, besides referring to the way Manson himself was once stigmatized and scapegoated by the media, can directly relate to Padre Pio (1887-1968), a Capuchin priest who became famous for his stigmata, usually hidden with mittens or bandages (thus making them even more visible), is said to have performed several miracles and was canonized in 2002 under the name 'Saint Pio de Pietrelcina'. His immoderate popularity among believers made him a unique case in Christianity's recent history, whose image remains omnipresent on religious knick-knack items, and even lead to his exhumation for public display in 2008, his deteriorated face covered with a life-like silicone mask.
Subliminal image of Christ appearing in a flash, in an evocation of the Shroud of Turin.Same image obtained by negative.

As for the cover art and its subtle link with the Cross of Lorraine, the video for Personal Jesus also announces the resurrection of Celebritarian ideals, even though the depiction only sticks to charismatic political leaders here. Much like in the Guns, God and Government tour scenery, pictures of characters like Christ, Kennedy, Hitler and other 'Fathers of Nations' are projected in the scene background, and even appear in subliminal flashes. While Manson insists on the fact that he doesn't plays the part of Jesus here, his stigmata nevertheless evokes a resurrected version of his celebritarian incarnation which was crucified in 'Coma White' video, and seen rotting on his cross on the 'Holy Wood' album artwork, but in a more subtle way.

Background projection and subliminal image of John Fitzgerald Kennedy, yet another assimilation of JFK to a Christ figure.
(For more on Kennedy's impact in Manson's creation, read the King Kill 33° section of The NACHTKABARETT)
Manson mimicking 'The Day the Clown Cried' in front of the same image projected in the background. Subliminal image of Adolf Hitler, the 'Fuehrer'.
Background projection of Joseph Stalin, the 'Father of Nations'. Subliminal image of George W. Bush.
Benito Mussolini, il 'Duce' (the Chief).Mahatma Gandhi, also called 'Bapu' which means 'Father'.


"It was also a challenge to make the video for a song containing the word 'Jesus' without falling into obviousness and cliché. I just spent three days for the shooting and even got a bit sick from it. There were giant walls of fire, mechanical horses, and half-naked horsewomen of apocalypse running after me..."

Interview for French magazine Rock Mag, October 2004.
Translation by Gilles R. Maurice.


Manson's sin-drenched and reinterpreted corruption of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in the 'Personal Jesus' video. All four "Whores of Babylon", representing the four Horsemen from the Book of Revelation with proper color correspondences intact. Each one can also individually be seen as a depiction of the Whore of Babylon, who is often depicted riding the first beast of Revelation.
And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer.
Revelation 6:2
And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword.
Revelation 6:4
Two depictions of the Four Horsemen scene. Left; on a 1498 woodcut by Dürer. Right; stained-glass from a French cathedral.
[...] And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand.
Revelation 6:5
And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth.
Revelation 6:8
Left ; Screen capture from the 'Personal Jesus'. Right ; Screencaps of a commercial for famous lingerie compagny Agent Provocateur starring Kylie Minogue riding a mechanical horse in underwear. It is to mention that Dita Von Teese herself starred in an hilarious commercial for Agent Provocateur entitled "She's lost control", in which she can be seen having fetish intercourse with a George W. Bush look-alike.