28 Jul, 2011
In a reaction to the comments the former frontman of the Smiths made at a concert in Warsaw, Poland, on Sunday, Side-Line's chief editor Bernard van Isacker decided to send the man a letter. For those who are unaware, before singing "Meat is Murder", the 52-year-old musician told the crowd: "We all live in a murderous world, as the events in Norway have shown, with 97 dead. Though that is nothing compared to what happens in McDonald's and Kentucky Fried shit every day."
Dear Steven Patrick Morrissey,
I haven't always agreed with you, though truth must be said sometimes I have, but lately I have started to consider you to be some 'ego-eccentric' musician, in desperate need of attention and recognition. You wouldn't be the first and you surely won't be the last using a shock method in order to grab the eyes of the public and especially the press. However, this time you have gone too far, way too far.
At first I thought of just describing what you said, with the video of your 'speech', followed with my usual personal remarks - subjective, yes, but also straight from the heart. However, I think I would not have been able keeping the remarks publishable. Words like dickhead, moron, lunatic, miserable fuck,... they all came to mind, and pretty quick too. But, that is exactly what you would have liked, I guess.
That's when it dawned to me that perhaps our readers would be able pointing me in the right direction of how to handle this properly. So I posted a message on our Facebook page and in no time had lots of feedback, mostly from vegetarian readers. Some were ready to lynch you on the spot, some others were less vindictive. One reader in particular posted this thoughtful remark: "Is it even worth making an article about his view on this? McDonald's and Norway are like comparing apples and oranges, and sometimes it's better to let people making a fool of themselves and not giving them more attention, making this bigger than it deserves in respect of the victims in Norway. My concern lies with the victims and their families, not what Morrissey thinks."
She's right. However. Running a music magazine does not mean we should only be there when bands and labels have new releases to promote to the public. A magazine also has the duty to point out that what is just plain wrong. That what musicians or label people do or say is strictly nothing else but a disgrace. Some Swedish band found that out a while ago, and we nailed a German label to the cross when the behavior of its label manager was nothing less but outrageous. And now this.
Honestly, I would have preferred not having to write this. As pointed out by the reader, it's better to let people making a fool of themselves and not giving them more attention. And I honestly had hoped that - except from a few exceptions - that no one sensible would try to abuse this drama to push his/her own agenda. I also thought that the big shot magazines such as NME, Rolling Stone and the lot would at least have tried talking some sense into you when reporting on this and not just give the facts as is. I guess that these magazines just don't want to spit in the hand that feeds them the most insane stories every now and then. You did after all kick a webmaster out of one of your concerts because he was applying freedom of speech on his website forum.
Freedom of speech... Don't you dare using that excuse now.
Unless you really do have a problem with constraining yourself - in that case, I suggest you go and look for a proper psychiatrist who can guide you the way to a normal way of social interaction with people - you will apologize to the families and friends of those who died in vain. In public.
Many bands have made a big effort in sharing their grief about what happened in Norway this weekend in a really respectful manner. You found no better way to desecrate the memory of the many lost (young) lives than by comparing it to what happens in fast food chains. Every creature deserves respect. But when you start praising the death of an animal as being more noteworthy than that of a human being, then there is something really wrong in that mind of you.
I hope, for your sake - and that of the many vegetarians worldwide whose legacy and beliefs you are smothering - that organizations like PETA and the Animal Rights Militia will pull their hands of you after this major cock-up. As a 'dessert', here are the reactions from (vegetarian) Side-Line readers. You might want to cruise through them.
It's sad seeing the genius that I have always admired musically being reduced by his very own actions to a miserable hateful man, a despicable you.
Bernard van Isacker
Chief editor Side-Line
PS: Check my Facebook page, you might want to throw me out as well at one of your next concerts. It would be an honor.