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.
 

Gregor Samsa

I straighten up, and my position is one of hope.
How many times before have we read the exact same article? And how many more times will they be written and published and printed? When will someone with an original thought put pen to paper?
 

Bizarro

Spotlight. It's time the tale were told !
The guy should just stay the feck away from any Vegas show, easy.
Probably be better off listening to Biden ramblings instead.
 

bredbasket

Member
More evidence of white guilt lmao

If people want to see Morrissey, people will go in droves still. If not, just shut up. No one except grovelling ex-Smiths fans who are overwhelmingly white will listen to you.
 

DaveJCarr

New Member
This is a perfectly reasonable article. Why is it that Morrissey and a fair number of Morrissey fans who always *demand* Morrissey be taken seriously cannot handle it when he and his statements and interviews are taken seriously?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This is a perfectly reasonable article. Why is it that Morrissey and a fair number of Morrissey fans who always *demand* Morrissey be taken seriously cannot handle it when he and his statements and interviews are taken seriously?

I agree with you, Dave. This is a reasonable article that sets some of his statements in context and even then what he has said is not cool. Between his mouth and the pandemic, none of the shows have sold out. Hopefully he puts together a really fan-friendly setlist to encourage more ticket sales.
 

Hovis Lesley

Well-Known Member
This is a perfectly reasonable article. Why is it that Morrissey and a fair number of Morrissey fans who always *demand* Morrissey be taken seriously cannot handle it when he and his statements and interviews are taken seriously?
Who isn’t handling it? People are simply disagreeing, surely?
 

DaveJCarr

New Member
Who isn’t handling it? People are simply disagreeing, surely?
Fair enough point. I think folks who frequent fan spaces and follow Morisseey's music closely do feel like it's the same old S.OS, but local newspapers probably aren't in the trenches, so to speak.

Besides, I think most Vegas residencies try to appeal somewhat to a general, non hardcore audience- who again wouldn't necessarily have been following all of the pitstops of the past decade as closely as the rest of us
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This is a perfectly reasonable article. Why is it that Morrissey and a fair number of Morrissey fans who always *demand* Morrissey be taken seriously cannot handle it when he and his statements and interviews are taken seriously?
Reasonable? Mmmh. I'm not a writer but I have skills. And I know that it might have been nice to question how many songs from the 2021 Album, Bonfire of Teenagers will be covered, what's the venue like, how big is it, is there a special deal available for folks buying tickets for every concert, are vegan mince pies available, how many times did Elvis play there. And so on.

One of the issues is that Journalists just cannot have a unique view of their own making it seems (again and again.) They jump on a bandwagon, that actually is not a wagon at all. It isn't moving.

England is a wonderful Country and Morrissey dreams of England from 1954. There is nothing wrong with that. At all.
 

born to mourn and yawn

Well-Known Member
Thank god, Morrissey gives him something to write about in his utterly boring and disappointing life and externalize his painful disappointment with his own dull self and life on a rock star instead. What a dull piece of writing.
 

NealCassidy

FREE SPEECH #FBPB
Free speech
 

Nerak

Reverse Ferret
This is a perfectly reasonable article. Why is it that Morrissey and a fair number of Morrissey fans who always *demand* Morrissey be taken seriously cannot handle it when he and his statements and interviews are taken seriously?

No it's not.

It's a perfectly lazy & puritan article.
 

ThePoliticalRevolution

Well-Known Member
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.


This guy should really spare us all with his reactionary idiocy. Morrissey will be fine.
 

gashonthenail

Well-Known Member
The same tired old list. In other words, things Morrissey has said that some people disagree with. And as for JK Rowling - she has been cancelled for simply speaking the truth.
 

Banbury Moz Army

Active Member
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.
This is about as original as the "stone Island jackets" being flogged at my local market.
 
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