|"I will never hurt you...without a safe word"|
While the exact motivation Mr. Shannon had for bringing up his storied Grandfather are a mist of ether, cocaine, and mysterious Toro powder, one thing is for sure, that man doesn't represent him. Raymond Corbett Shannon who was a medical entomologist specializing in Diptera, who might have, or have not, faked his own death to take part in a Dixiecrat conspiracy, the world rarely knows, but it isn't Michael!
What is known, is that Michael Shannon is strong, impervious to conventional weapons, and wants to live a life beyond the shadow of secretive southern aristocrats and intellectuals bent on racial dominance. He just likes channeling himself into his art, and only maintains a collection of his grand fathers things as a personal museum and sensorium, and a sentient crocodile he periodically wrestles with to establish mating dominance, for artistic purposes.
One thing is for sure, while everyone called 5-year old him a liar when he said his dead grandfather immolated himself to stop the spread of a terrible infection, after telling him how much he loved him and his father, but hated his bitch mother, which also happened to be the first and only time he met his Grandfather, was a formative experience.