'Morrissey, we're through' by Cameron Cook - article at Noisey

Morrissey, We're Through - Noisey
by Cameron Cook
Illustratration by Efi Chalikopoulou

"In the wake of Moz's James Baldwin T-shirt debacle, this long-term Smiths fan wonders if it's finally time to break up with his hero."

39838_1491227336089-Morrissey_noisey.jpeg
 
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Anonymous

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This isn't the part I'm having trouble with.

"However, Morrissey’s fandom does not mitigate the T-shirt’s troubling connotations. His use of the word “black” in ‘Unloveable’ is a reference to depression and sadness; when the lyric is wedded with the image of a black person’s face, it equates a white person’s depression with black reality. This then positions white people as superior. Wearing “black on the outside” sounds like a description of black clothing – traditionally associated with a post-punk aesthetic – but the T-shirt is designed in such a way as to suggest that any non-black person wearing it doesn’t feel “black” as in depressed, but black as in black."

How does it equate a white persons depression with a black persons reality. Can't they both just be depressed people depressed about similar things. It's like it insinuates that a black persons and a white person cant be similar have similar feelings about similar things. Baldwin can only be depressed about black oppression and nothing else. Did Baldwin ever feel isolated because of his sexuality. Can't a white person relate to that. How this equation positions white people as superior is also baffling to me. The only way that a white person wearing this shirt can be perceived as feeling black, as in like a black man, on the inside is if the perceiver only sees the man on the shirt as a black man and makes his race the most important factor about him. He's not wearing Baldwin, an individual known for depression, he's wearing an image black man. this to me makes the perceiver a bit racist. If I wore a picture of a black man in a black metal band with the caption I feel black would that be wrong. Would it be wrong if it was sold by a white person. As for the person who claims to be victimized well that's just a bit over the top
 
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Anonymous

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In the end I'm reminded of a South Park episode, a show that makes fun of racial stereotypes (like the Asian restaurant owner. For profit even), where the boys design a flag that has a bunch of white guys hanging a black guy with the point being that the boys didn't see it as racially insensitive since they didn't see the figures on there flag as black and white but just as people with race having nothing to do with why they designed it. If I'm trying to look beyond race and color and just see and judge people as individuals, a worthwhile goal I think, it's very hard to do when people are constantly focusing on race as defining characteristics. Especially when it's used as the defining quality of how we should look for meaning in art even something as trite as a t shirt. A shirt that has a black man, a civil rights figure, next to the line black must. S looked at as a comment about his race. If looking beyond race is a goal then this kind of thinking is counter productive and should have us think on where are now and how anxious people are about race and how unhealthy it is. Morrissey probably feels like he has things in common with baldwin. Feelings and maybe experiences he can relate to one of them being depression (given baldwins romantic upsets the line coming from a song called unlovable might even be more a nod to the meaning than just line itself) and put that man he admires on one of his shirts as homage and a nod to influence. It's a shame we can't see that and maybe relate the issues both men might have delt with to both ourselves rather than defining and limiting baldwin to a black man with black problems unrelatable and unempathizable to anyone not black simply because the line contains the word black with a different meaning. A meaning and usage of he word most people recognize and use themselves even black people
 
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Anonymous

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This isn't the part I'm having trouble with.

"However, Morrissey’s fandom does not mitigate the T-shirt’s troubling connotations. His use of the word “black” in ‘Unloveable’ is a reference to depression and sadness; when the lyric is wedded with the image of a black person’s face, it equates a white person’s depression with black reality. This then positions white people as superior. Wearing “black on the outside” sounds like a description of black clothing – traditionally associated with a post-punk aesthetic – but the T-shirt is designed in such a way as to suggest that any non-black person wearing it doesn’t feel “black” as in depressed, but black as in black."

How does it equate a white persons depression with a black persons reality. Can't they both just be depressed people depressed about similar things. It's like it insinuates that a black persons and a white person cant be similar have similar feelings about similar things. Baldwin can only be depressed about black oppression and nothing else. Did Baldwin ever feel isolated because of his sexuality. Can't a white person relate to that. How this equation positions white people as superior is also baffling to me. The only way that a white person wearing this shirt can be perceived as feeling black, as in like a black man, on the inside is if the perceiver only sees the man on the shirt as a black man and makes his race the most important factor about him. He's not wearing Baldwin, an individual known for depression, he's wearing an image black man. this to me makes the perceiver a bit racist. If I wore a picture of a black man in a black metal band with the caption I feel black would that be wrong. Would it be wrong if it was sold by a white person. As for the person who claims to be victimized well that's just a bit over the top

You are that bitch that feels victimized and cries 'bullying!' when people tell you to proofread your lazy posts but judge other people's feelings. What a joke
 
Why should I believe him?
Didn't Moz do a reggae tuned song like Redondo Beach?
(Which I quite like)

Maybe he changed his mind, just a tiny little bit? Only to make this song and after that he considered it vile again. And so what? He can think AND say what he likes. Or is it forbidden to have preferences in musical taste, or has it to do with saying ALL reggae is vile? So this is racist? Just asking.
If a black hiphop artist says all classical music is vile, is that racist then? Not to me. It's an opinion.


No, with hindsight Moz has to be called racist, now, today, tomorrow and always.

Funny how he rates the appreciation of his Mexican fanbase.
They are keeping schtum, ignoring his racist remarks, why?
They are all deluded of course! They delude themselves!

This fan has seen the light after 30 years of deluding himself.
I can't help but feel he was anticipating and hoping to feel enraged.
And any hero worship will end cause heroes are humans too and not perfect and will fall from their statue.
But it doesn't sound very convincing to me.
Not as convincing as James Baldwin.

By the way, I am white of course and very privileged.
O God, I feel so privileged and it's such a good feeling.
Never going to give it up, never.

yeah, but you are missing a big part of morrissey's comment. He said reggae is vile because i the glorification of black supremacy. That's why that comment is considered racist
 
There is only bad racism. Racism=prejudice+power, which why "reverse-racism" is largely a myth as minority groups by almost by definition don't have power.

Regarding the idea, "there is only one race, the human race", that sentiment, while easily dismissed as naive, is actually quite profound. Unfortunately, we don't recognize this central truth. James Baldwin explains this point more eloquently and movingly than anyone else I know in the excellent film "I am Not Your Negro". Please see it if you haven't. It explains American racism very well. Sadly, Morrissey himself saw this film shortly before introducing the idiotic and tone-deaf t-shirt. Just when I have forgiven him for everything, he does something stupid like this and leaves me shaking my head...

great comment! :thumb:
 
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Anonymous

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You are that bitch that feels victimized and cries 'bullying!' when people tell you to proofread your lazy posts but judge other people's feelings. What a joke

I didn't feel victimized I felt harassed mostly because there intent was to harass and cause harm. I felt harassed as I asked them not to talk to me and they continued to and to say the same thing over and over and over. That to me just felt like harrassment. a pop artist you like putting one of his heros on a shirt with one of his lines shouldn't doesn't make you a victim. He didn't do anything to her. She can not like him the shirt his opinions or his expressions and be done with him which would make sense but she's not the victim of anything. It's being over dramatic and makes me again think of the Chris rock quote about being addicted to being offended and feeling like a victim
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
So is he or is he not guilty in relation to the comments you made in that post? I think this is the third time you've raised that point without saying? Does he make divisive comments or not?

'I think this is the third time you've raised that point without saying?'

I don't think I was properly or directly asked, sorry if I missed the question.

' Does he make divisive comments or not?'

Well it depends on how you define 'divisive'.


di·vi·sive
dəˈvīsiv/
tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people.

If the above definition is the same as yours, then I would have to answer the question by saying it's a silly question, for no matter what one says there will always be someone to disagree with you. Jesus made divisive comments, Hitler made divisive comments, we make divisive comments. So it all comes back to my comments in post #8 that is... the clash of different belief systems and what an individual or majority of people believe is right or wrong. The problem being... that one identifies with a set of beliefs or the idea that they are separate from rather than being awake to the true realization that all of us at our deepest core are not separate from each other or from the earth or even the stars.

'We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden'

- Joni Mitchell


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Sister I'm a Poet

If the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
I think one should take pause before accusing a member of a minority group of being overly-sensitive or paranoid when they point out what they see as racial insensitivity. Many people on this discussion thread are awfully quick to dismiss the writer's response to the the t-shirt. I wonder how many of these people have the privilege of being white and thus not knowing what it is like to walk in the writer's shoes?
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
I think one should take pause before accusing a member of a minority group of being overly-sensitive or paranoid when they point out what they see as racial insensitivity. Many people on this discussion thread are awfully quick to dismiss the writer's response to the the t-shirt. I wonder how many of these people have the privilege of being white and thus not knowing what it is like to walk in the writer's shoes?

or the writer to walk in the shoes of the one they are accusing of being racially insensitive, for how much do we really know of what M meant by that shirt? a lot of criticism based on speculation and assumptions not facts (as in a statement from M himself) will not bring us any closer to the truth.

And even if he did come out with a statement of explanation, who would care? the haters will always find a way to hate.


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Taco Tuesday

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'I think this is the third time you've raised that point without saying?'

I don't think I was properly or directly asked, sorry if I missed the question.

' Does he make divisive comments or not?'

Well it depends on how you define 'divisive'.


di·vi·sive
dəˈvīsiv/
tending to cause disagreement or hostility between people.

If the above definition is the same as yours, then I would have to answer the question by saying it's a silly question, for no matter what one says there will always be someone to disagree with you. Jesus made divisive comments, Hitler made divisive comments, we make divisive comments. So it all comes back to my comments in post #8 that is... the clash of different belief systems and what an individual or majority of people believe is right or wrong. The problem being... that one identifies with a set of beliefs or the idea that they are separate from rather than being awake to the true realization that all of us at our deepest core are not separate from each other or from the earth or even the stars.

'We are stardust
We are golden
And we've got to get ourselves
Back to the garden'

- Joni Mitchell

So, you weren't talking about Morrissey. You were talking about Jesus, Hitler, and Joni Mitchell. Got it.
 
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Taco Tuesday

Guest
or the writer to walk in the shoes of the one they are accusing of being racially insensitive, for how much do we really know of what M meant by that shirt? a lot of criticism based on speculation and assumptions not facts (as in a statement from M himself) will not bring us any closer to the truth.

And even if he did come out with a statement of explanation, who would care? the haters will always find a way to hate.
Never mind that. Someone get ahold of Joni Mitchell. Hitler isn't returning his calls.
 

g23

Always crashing in the same car
When Morrissey, the ultimate outsider's outsider, makes outsiders feel even more outside- and not in a good way, I can see where that would be something that would sting.

I love the man and his music, but sometimes I find myself wishing that he would talk less and create more.
He definitely has his embarrassing older relative moments where you just want someone to gently remind him that what flew back in the day doesn't translate well now.
 

Sister I'm a Poet

If the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
or the writer to walk in the shoes of the one they are accusing of being racially insensitive, for how much do we really know of what M meant by that shirt? a lot of criticism based on speculation and assumptions not facts (as in a statement from M himself) will not bring us any closer to the truth.

And even if he did come out with a statement of explanation, who would care? the haters will always find a way to hate.

It's not the same. It is a social reality that Morrissey comes from a position of privilege vis-a-vis the writer. I believe that Morrissey did not aim to offend. I know that he loves and admires James Baldwin. But that does not make the t-shirt less insensitive. If someone of a minority group feels hurt by racially insensitivity, is it not for us as white people to say that they have no right to be.

There are certain irrefutable realities to our social structure. Whites hold a privileged position in relation to people of color, men hold a privileged position in relation to women, straight people hold a privileged position in relation to gays, native born people hold a privileged position in relation to immigrants. It is not fair to deny this reality by claiming that this is not true. Saying that the dominant group member gets to define what racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. is is ridiculous.

The s0-called President of the United States says that he is not a sexist or a racist. Does the fact that he denies it make the sexism and racism that women, racial minorities and immigrants recognize behind his statements and actions less true?
 
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I think one should take pause before accusing a member of a minority group of being overly-sensitive or paranoid when they point out what they see as racial insensitivity. Many people on this discussion thread are awfully quick to dismiss the writer's response to the the t-shirt. I wonder how many of these people have the privilege of being white and thus not knowing what it is like to walk in the writer's shoes?

I would guess a lot of them are white but it's impossible to know. Part of it I think is that the subject has already been discussed a bunch before this thread which makes people have some ready responses. In my own case it's mostly based on what reasons he gave for the shirt being offensive and is based on his own words about being hyper aware like his example of being called the black kid in the morrissey shirt. I mean thats probably based on the fact that there aren't as many making it a more defining characteristic, an observed rarity, rather than people being surprised a black person likes morrissey when they should intrinsically like hip hop. By his own admission he says he's often one of the few black people at indie shows which only reinforces the idea that's the case. No I won't know what's it's literally like to be black like I won't know what it's like to be a woman gay overweight handicapped etc but I can listen empathize and understand another persons experience and reason enough to give an honest opinion on when I think someone's being overly sensitive. Maybe I'll be wrong and change my mind based on someone else's opinion but this guy didn't say anything to make that happen. Humans with different experiences aren't incomprehensible aliens. To a large degree, at there core, people are the same everywhere. In a way it's sorta funny as when I grew up the line was that people of different races and skin color are the same underneath, people are people, and now it almost seems seems like the idea is that people are fundamentally different based on race and there experiences impossible to comprehend
 
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Anonymous

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It's not the same. It is a social reality that Morrissey comes from a position of privilege vis-a-vis the writer. I believe that Morrissey did not aim to offend. I know that he loves and admires James Baldwin. But that does not make the t-shirt less insensitive. If someone of a minority group feels hurt by racially insensitivity, is it for us as white people to say that they have no right to be.

There are certain irrefutable realities to our social structure. Whites hold a privileged position in relation to people of color, men hold a privileged position in relation to women, straight people hold a privileged position in relation to gays, native born people hold a privileged position in relation to immigrants. It is not fair to deny this reality by claiming that this is not true. Saying that the dominant group member gets to define what racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. is is ridiculous.

The s0-called President of the United States says that he is not a sexist or a racist. Does the fact that he denies it make the sexism and racism that women, racial minorities and immigrants recognize behind his statements and actions less true?

This is true what you're saying about social structure but I don't think people are saying that a person this person has no right to feel hurt but rather that they don't agree that they this person should be and that the reason they're hurt could be due to projecting, same with the white people who think the shirt is racist (overly sensitive for perhaps different reasons) and seeing looking for something that isn't there. No one group or person in any group should be able to define what is racist or discriminatory and I don't think anyone who disagrees with the author has done that or is suggesting that. everyone should have opinions. Not every black person agrees what is racist and what isn't. Being black doesn't make a person an expert on racism or unbiased or well reasoned. The historical collective black experience in America makes me sympathize with this author and black people who might feel the same way and want to have the conversation but it doesn't make me agree with it or feel like I can't be honest about the topic and my feelings on it. If anything I think being overly patronizing would be a disservice to equality
 

bun bun

baklava
Why do some people feel the need to be so prescriptive about when / how to be offended or feel victimised?
 

Sister I'm a Poet

If the body were not the soul, what is the soul?
I would guess a lot of them are white but it's impossible to know. Part of it I think is that the subject has already been discussed a bunch before this thread which makes people have some ready responses. In my own case it's mostly based on what reasons he gave for the shirt being offensive and is based on his own words about being hyper aware like his example of being called the black kid in the morrissey shirt. I mean thats probably based on the fact that there aren't as many making it a more defining characteristic, an observed rarity, rather than people being surprised a black person likes morrissey when they should intrinsically like hip hop. By his own admission he says he's often one of the few black people at indie shows which only reinforces the idea that's the case. No I won't know what's it's literally like to be black like I won't know what it's like to be a woman gay overweight handicapped etc but I can listen empathize and understand another persons experience and reason enough to give an honest opinion on when I think someone's being overly sensitive. Maybe I'll be wrong and change my mind based on someone else's opinion but this guy didn't say anything to make that happen. Humans with different experiences aren't incomprehensible aliens. To a large degree, at there core, people are the same everywhere. In a way it's sorta funny as when I grew up the line was that people of different races and skin color are the same underneath, people are people, and now it almost seems seems like the idea is that people are fundamentally different based on race and there experiences impossible to comprehend

Hmm, I appreciate your candor, but I am stumped that you didn't find anything in the article to help you understand the writer's point of view. I found it very compelling and convincing as a personal testament. And, in fact, he doesn't say that he will never listen to Morrissey again or that he hates Morrissey. He just says that it is harder and harder for him to be a devoted fan every time Morrissey says or does something insensitive.

I can remember how I felt, for example, when I heard him call the Chinese, "a subspecies". How could anyone not find that statement offensive, no matter what the context? I still love Morrissey immensely, but I can't say that I admire him in the same way that I admire someone like Billy Bragg who takes pains to be politically and culturally aware....
 
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Anonymous

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Hmm, I appreciate your candor, but I am stumped that you didn't find anything in the article to help you understand the writer's point of view. I found it very compelling and convincing as a personal testament. And, in fact, he doesn't say that he will never listen to Morrissey again or that he hates Morrissey. He just says that it is harder and harder for him to be a devoted fan every time Morrissey says or does something insensitive.

I can remember how I felt, for example, when I heard him call the Chinese, "a subspecies". How could anyone not find that statement offensive, no matter what the context? I still love Morrissey immensely, but I can't say that I admire him in the same way that I admire someone like Billy Bragg who takes pains to be politically and culturally aware....

Well I understand what he says his point of view is, at least I think I do, I just don't agree with it and feel like some of the things he says to justify it are vague and are in part due to being defensive and in his words hyper aware and looking for something to be percieved as discriminatory. This is also in part based on my own experiences at indie punk art rock shows where there were black members of bands and audience members some of whom were my friends and had wonderful inclusive experiences. I didn't mean to imply if I did that I thought the author hated morrissey. I've nothing against him and personally if I knew him would probably say the same things I'm saying here. I do agree that the Chinese comment quote was pretty terrible. Sure you can hate part or even a lot of a particular culture, I for one don't care for female circumcision found in some cultures, but to lump an extremely large group of people together and declare them inhuman is going to far and is wrong imo. I don't worship morrissey or think him an all knowing sage. I think he was pointing out something he doesn't like about Chinese culture and got carried away and said something wrong and hurtful. I dont know what his real feelings are, I don't know him, but I also don't think he should have been let off the hook or not criticized for his comment either. Same with the reggae comment. I haven't looked at that comment for a while and don't know if he was being funny or what the context to it was but to me it just sounded like he's ignorant of a lot of reggae music. I'm not an expert on it either. I think morrissey really does relate to Baldwin in the way the line expresses. I also think he was baiting people's white guilt and others over sensitivity to see race as the defining quality of every situation and maybe to provoke a conversation on human empathy which is something I actually liked about the shirt. I'm not a race relations expert or a great artist either but I do find the subject of cultural appropriation really interesting with the emmitt till painting controversy an ongoing saga and so many articles being written in the subject like the recent Atlantic one I posted and the daily beast one I read today. Even the billboard sign that got pulled down for saying sometimes it's ok to throw rocks at girls featuring a picture of gems and rings annoys me as being politically correct to an unhealthy degree. I think it unreasonable to say that it makes light of violence against women but here we are. Im not an americas to politically correct guy milo yiannopoulos loving guy who just wants to excuse obvious hate and trolling but I think taking it to far does my side of the political spectrum a dis service. Society as well
 

Ketamine Sun

HANG THEM HIGH VERONICA
It's not the same. It is a social reality that Morrissey comes from a position of privilege vis-a-vis the writer. I believe that Morrissey did not aim to offend. I know that he loves and admires James Baldwin. But that does not make the t-shirt less insensitive. If someone of a minority group feels hurt by racially insensitivity, is it not for us as white people to say that they have no right to be.

There are certain irrefutable realities to our social structure. Whites hold a privileged position in relation to people of color, men hold a privileged position in relation to women, straight people hold a privileged position in relation to gays, native born people hold a privileged position in relation to immigrants. It is not fair to deny this reality by claiming that this is not true. Saying that the dominant group member gets to define what racism, sexism, homophobia, etc. is is ridiculous.

The s0-called President of the United States says that he is not a sexist or a racist. Does the fact that he denies it make the sexism and racism that women, racial minorities and immigrants recognize behind his statements and actions less true?


yes, I agree with your post and the other one I replied to. I'm just saying that people are basing their opinions on assumption and speculation of what they think M meant by the t-shirt.

That said, opinions will vary depending on ones belief system that's shaped by personal experience or a belief forced upon them by an outside force. To some the t-shirt will be 'insensitive' to others 'not insensitive'. As I've said before, it was clumsy of M to try and tackle or express himself on this subject through poetry on a t-shirt of all things (that's if that is what he was trying to do, I could be wrong).

Until M releases a statement of explanation then and only then can anyone make judgments based on truth and fact. Otherwise we're all just swinging at a imaginary target in the dark. A bit loony if you ask me.









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