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.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I love the way he plays on the title of the Smiths song 'Bigmouth Strikes Again'. Did other readers notice this? Genius! :LOL: I wonder if other journalists will pick up on it and perhaps start to employ the same trick. Heaven knows Morrissey will be miserable now if he's read the article.
 

gashonthenail

Well-Known Member
The silliest idea is that Moz has somehow changed - how could the man who wrote 'it takes guts etc.' be so cruel and unkind?
Moz has always taken an extreme stance on animal rights. He supported the Animal Liberation Front in several interviews back in the 80s. And does it really surprise anyone that a man obsessed with Oscar Wilde had the temerity to suggest that maybe society shouldn't cast Kevin Spacey into outer darkness?
 

Mozmar

Well-Known Member
This is more about 'timing' than 'content' isn't it? Designed to be disruptive & divisive just as the good ship 'Moz' is about to set sail to Las Vegas. Despicable shit-stirring.
 
S

Seymour Glass

Guest
Yawn, what a complete dullard. Morrissey speaks his mind and always will. And everything he's said is true! And comparing him to Micheal Jackson who raped young boys and who's music still plays daily in every American mall or CVS??? Stay home and douche your privates idiot.
 

Arnold Friend

Pollyanna
More inane drivel from an aging white guilt leftie. I mean I assume the author is white. Minorities don't tend to get too many bees in their bonnets about pop stars' opinions. They have enough actual problems to deal with.
 

ACTON

Don't Leave Us In The Dark
Anyone who can't separate the artist from the music doesn't deserve ears. WTF do people looking at the Mona Lisa really know about DaVinci, or people who love A Christmas Carol know about Dickens and his treatment of his wife? Fuk all is the answer.

All I care about is Moz making great albums. His personal views don't influence me any more than watching Chucky would inspire me to become psychotic.

chucky-homestuck.gif
 

gordyboy9

rip roaring,free scoring,never boring, celtic.
Anyone who can't separate the artist from the music doesn't deserve ears. WTF do people looking at the Mona Lisa really know about DaVinci, or people who love A Christmas Carol know about Dickens and his treatment of his wife? Fuk all is the answer.

All I care about is Moz making great albums. His personal views don't influence me any more than watching Chucky would inspire me to become psychotic.

chucky-homestuck.gif
totally right acton.i couldnt care what he says because it has nothing to do with my life.
as for the journo,its all testicles,same old mince we have heard over and over again.
 

Emotional Guide Dog

Chairman Of The Bored
When was the point in history where Morrissey wasn't a bit of a gobshite? Great singer, great lyricist, a strong arsenal of cracking tunes but as a human being? No thanks. Some of the people (like Skinny) who are mad as hell now, I wonder who they thought they were idolising before.
 
M

Moz Fan

Guest
This kind of article hurts me as fan.

Even though I disagree with some of Moz's ideas, I wouldn't reduce him to them, and love him less.

His artistic importance is far greater than just some of his opinions.
 
V

Vegan. Cro. Spirit. 888

Guest
o_O
FFS peeps, the dork who wrote this stupid article is a well known hobo and vagrant.(n)
lives in a rusted camper with no running water and an unicycle in the shower(n)
feeds on McMuffins.:expressionless:
and coors beer:grimacing:

Pay no mind to his docile babbling, not one iota of sense does he have.:hammer:
 

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