Las Vegas Weekly: "Should Morrissey Fans Allow His Ugly Recent Rhetoric To Affect Their Love Of His Music?" by Geoff Carter (August 26, 2021)

Here's a (somewhat) balanced attempt by Geoff Carter to grapple with the issues around Morrissey fandom these days, in Las Vegas Weekly.

Text below:

In August 1986, I saw The Smiths perform in Irvine, California. My friend and I went to the show on a last-minute impulse, snagging tickets from Tower Records and driving directly to the show. Before that night I was, at best, a passive Smiths fan, but the crackerjack 75-minute set delivered that night opened my eyes. And Morrissey, whom I’d previously underrated as a frontman, wowed me with his energy, sincerity and his intensely personal connection to the audience.

“I hope that the security don’t ruin your night too much, but I’m sure that they’ll do their best,” he said, after a yellowshirt handled a fan too roughly for his liking. “But never mind. They’re outnumbered.”

It was a proper piss-off, and it won me over instantly. After the show I bought every Smiths single and LP I could get my hands on. I internalized the lyrics of “The Boy With the Thorn in His Side,” “Nowhere Fast” and “How Soon Is Now,” contorting my very American teenaged perspective to align with that of an outspoken, possibly celibate vegetarian from Manchester, England. And when The Smiths dissolved a year later, and Morrissey embarked on his storied career as a solo artist, I kept listening, though with less fervor and fidelity. Generally speaking, I lost touch with Morrissey’s career shortly after You Are the Quarry in 2004.

That being said, it feels strange to say that I’m on the fence about checking out Morrissey’s weeklong residency at Caesars Palace. I mean, it’s Morrissey, right? “Everyday Is Like Sunday?” “First of the Gang to Die?” “Suedehead?” There’s little doubt that, were I go to one of these shows, I’d hear several songs I like and several more I unequivocally love. And though I haven’t seen Morrissey perform live since the late 1990s, friends tell me he hasn’t lost a step as an entertainer—provided, of course, that he actually shows up. (Morrissey has canceled so many gigs over the years, punk parody site The Hard Times got a solid piece out of it without much effort. The headline: “Morrissey Ranks His Most Iconic Canceled Performances.”)

But I can’t get past his big mouth, which—to paraphrase a Smiths classic—strikes again and again. Morrissey has always been outspoken, but his ire used to be directed at the British royal family and anyone currently eating a cheeseburger, whereas his recent interviews have been marred by intolerant, nationalistic and seemingly racist statements.

In a September 2010 interview with The Guardian, he described the Chinese people as a “subspecies” due to what he perceived as a systemic mistreatment of animals. In a 2017 interview with Der Speigel, he casually dismissed Hollywood’s victims of sexual assault: “[Throughout history], almost everyone is guilty of sleeping with minors. Why don’t we throw everyone in jail?” And in recent years, he’s put his support behind the anti-Islam group For Britain, even wearing its pin during a Tonight Show performance. The context around these comments—nearly always tied, in some way or another, to animal rights issues—doesn’t mitigate them.

It comes down to an essential question Los Angeles Times writer Randall Roberts asked in an October 2019 article about Morrissey: “Which is more powerful, the thrill that rushes into your spirit when you connect with a song or album, or the disappointment that comes with realizing you don’t share essential values with its creator?” It’s a question we’ve all had to ask ourselves these past few years—about J.K. Rowling, Michael Jackson and many others. It’s not as easy as “separating the art from the artist,” when the art is so deeply personal. How does “It takes guts to be gentle and kind” (from “I Know It’s Over”) sit comfortably along Morrissey’s June 2019 assertion that “everyone ultimately prefers their own race?”

I can’t answer this. Not yet. And I won’t judge the decisions made by others. I have a number of friends—many of them Mexican-Americans, a community in which Moz enjoys Elvis-like stardom—who are going to one or more of the Caesars shows, and I’m not about to tell them they’re wrong to do it. And truthfully, Morrissey would probably be grossed out by me, as well—a typical clueless Yank, seconds away from his next In-N-Out Burger. But I’ll continue to wrestle with this in my heart long after Morrissey’s Vegas residency has come and gone. His ugly rhetoric hasn’t yet diminished my love for The Smiths, but he’s trying his best.
 
England is a wonderful Country and Morrissey dreams of England from 1954. There is nothing wrong with that. At all.
Just like I wish I lived in England in the 80s…what a mixed up world; but people who wish they lived in the past are more imaginative as we have to be creative in a world we do not feel comfortable in. So I suppose it keeps us alive and wants to kill us at the same time.
 
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Stephen Hofmann

Well-Known Member
And what exactly are we supposed to 'learn' from that? Some immigrants commit crimes, often heinous ones. So what? Some British-born people commit heinous crimes too. What's the difference?

Right-wing paranoia, that's all this is. Reds under the bed, paedos on every street corner, scary Muslims 'invading' the country so they can bomb your train and rape your kids. It's been going on for decades, it's the same old media-fed, sensationalist, fact-free bullshit and it's always sucked up by angry, frightened right-wingers every single time. Grow up.

Fact-free? Have you been living under a rock for your adult existence in the uk?
 
Sorry, but this guy is comparing artists whose views differ to his, to PEDOPHILES? He seriously puts M and Rowling in the same category as MICHAEL JACKSON.. Can't deal with someone like this.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Fact-free? Have you been living under a rock for your adult existence in the uk?
Why don't you try addressing my question rather than petty point-scoring? A response like that serves only to further the impression that you are an intellectual featherweight.

Come on big man, answer the question. It's simple enough. Why is it that immigrants committing crimes is more unacceptable to you than British people committing crimes?
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
Sorry, but this guy is comparing artists whose views differ to his, to PEDOPHILES? He seriously puts M and Rowling in the same category as MICHAEL JACKSON.. Can't deal with someone like this.
Was MJ a pedo?
 

Stephen Hofmann

Well-Known Member
Why don't you try addressing my question rather than petty point-scoring? A response like that serves only to further the impression that you are an intellectual featherweight.

Come on big man, answer the question. It's simple enough. Why is it that immigrants committing crimes is more unacceptable to you than British people committing crimes?

Why would you want people you've let into this country committing crime? You can't deport people born here, unfortunately.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
Why would you want people you've let into this country committing crime? You can't deport people born here, unfortunately.
I don't want that. But I don't think they should be treated any differently than people who were born here and commit crimes. I guess this is because I see them as 'people', not the slightly dehumanising 'immigrants' that you prefer to see them as.

You still didn't really answer the question but I'm guessing that's a close as we'll get. So let's take a look back at this - it says a lot...

You initially posted implying that a terror attack by the Taliban was evidence that Islam is sinister and evil. It was pointed out to you that the terror attack was actually by ISIS not the Taliban, and that it's unfair to blame an entire religion for the actions of a small number of deranged followers because you wouldn't do the same for terrorists who practised any other religion.

Your response to this was to state that "stupid people never fcuking learn" alongside some facts about a random crime committed in the UK by immigrants. You were then asked why you considered crimes by immigrants to be less acceptable than crimes by British-born people, and your response was "you can't deport people born here".

Fella - with scattergun processes of logic like that, it's no wonder you're vulnerable to right-wing propaganda. You can't see the wood for the trees can you?
 

Stephen Hofmann

Well-Known Member
I don't want that. But I don't think they should be treated any differently than people who were born here and commit crimes. I guess this is because I see them as 'people', not the slightly dehumanising 'immigrants' that you prefer to see them as.

You still didn't really answer the question but I'm guessing that's a close as we'll get. So let's take a look back at this - it says a lot...

You initially posted implying that a terror attack by the Taliban was evidence that Islam is sinister and evil. It was pointed out to you that the terror attack was actually by ISIS not the Taliban, and that it's unfair to blame an entire religion for the actions of a small number of deranged followers because you wouldn't do the same for terrorists who practised any other religion.

Your response to this was to state that "stupid people never fcuking learn" alongside some facts about a random crime committed in the UK by immigrants. You were then asked why you considered crimes by immigrants to be less acceptable than crimes by British-born people, and your response was "you can't deport people born here".

Fella - with scattergun processes of logic like that, it's no wonder you're vulnerable to right-wing propaganda. You can't see the wood for the trees can you?

Differentiating between the evils of two psychotic Islamic death cults? The majority of terrorism in the last 30yrs in Europe has been committed by Muslims, either foreigners or those born here, whatever guff the government try to spin about the evils of far-right terrorism. You seem to be a stick my head in the sand kind of guy, which those on the left are very adapt at being.
 

The.Truth.

Every.Single.Time.
Differentiating between the evils of two psychotic Islamic death cults? The majority of terrorism in the last 30yrs in Europe has been committed by Muslims, either foreigners or those born here, whatever guff the government try to spin about the evils of far-right terrorism. You seem to be a stick my head in the sand kind of guy, which those on the left are very adapt at being.
Shouldn't you be down at Tesco's counting the non-white employees?
 
N

No 27

Guest
Differentiating between the evils of two psychotic Islamic death cults? The majority of terrorism in the last 30yrs in Europe has been committed by Muslims, either foreigners or those born here, whatever guff the government try to spin about the evils of far-right terrorism. You seem to be a stick my head in the sand kind of guy, which those on the left are very adapt at being.
2105731193-fun-motivate-42.jpg
 

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