For some Manson became a symbol of the country at a schizoid impasse: Young and old right and left hippie & punk.
But the Manson murders – especially the slayings of movie actress Sharon Tate (then eight months pregnant) – four others and businessman Leno LaBianca and his wife (‘pigs’ – or affluent, ‘establishment’ types in Family parlance) on consecutive nights in 1969 – were also instant macabre folklore –
– in part due to their myriad connections to potent cultural signifiers of the 1960s: Hollywood – rock ‘n’ roll – the ruling class and the counterculture.
And Manson – a semi-literate chronically incarcerated hood seething with anti-authoritarian hostility who used a domineering charisma to exploit hippie era youth’s hunger for gurus with deadly results – remains a cultural icon of enduring if profoundly negative resonance.
This is the context for understanding both Manson’s impact on music and Sonic Youth’s song.