"Morrissey: When Demagoguery Goes Pop" by Armond White - National Review

Discussion in 'General Discussion archive 2017 (read-only)' started by robbanks, Dec 7, 2017.

By robbanks on Dec 7, 2017 at 7:32 PM
  1. robbanks

    robbanks New Member

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    An interesting article from the conservative point of view on Morrissey...
    Published 12/6/17

    Morrissey: When Demagoguery Goes Pop - National Review
    by Armond White
    The Smiths’ former frontman changes protest music for better — and worse.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 7, 2017

Comments

Discussion in 'General Discussion archive 2017 (read-only)' started by robbanks, Dec 7, 2017.

    1. Anonymous
      Anonymous
      Probably the best analysis of Low In High School as art so far.
    2. Lustman
      Lustman
      Interesting
    3. scumbag
      scumbag
      Here's the second paragraph of the article, followed by a partial refutation:

      "Morrissey’s deviation from pop music’s liberal orthodoxy commends him to readers’ attention. That’s what makes his concert and new album Low in High School an eccentric landmark in contemporary political thinking. Springsteen embodies the archetypal pop-music liberal: a millionaire who writes songs full of working-class pretenses and who voices public support for Democratic political candidates, something Morrissey never has done. Despite maintaining the querulous temper of punk-based British rock, and giving it his own witty, adult spin, Morrissey’s disposition is to reprove authority figures and dominant institutions (though he always champions animal rights, which is a partisan cause only at its most extreme)."

      The National Review was founded by William F. Buckley, a pseudo-intellectual of the first order, in order to rehabilitate conservatism after the Second World War. And because he didn't have anything else to do. I wish the author would write about just what "pop music's liberal orthodoxy" is. That is, what defines it. Because he doesn't seem to know. Sure, Springsteen does his thing. What else is he supposed to do? And the author forgets - or simply doesn't know - that one of the NR's founder's stock lines was.... faux populism. Namely gems like "I'd rather be ruled by the first one hundred people in the Boston phone book than the faculty of Harvard." Just imagine someone saying that in a transatlantic drawl while holding a glass of champagne the cost of which exceeds your weekly budget for food. Go on.

      If Morrissey hasn't written about the working class, then a number of albums by The Smiths may somehow not exist. At least if I follow the author's exposition to its conclusion. "London"? "Girl Afraid"? "Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now"? Blotted out by the author, or simply ignored as, perhaps, inconvenient. Also, if M. 1) maintains the fighting temperament of British rock born of punk heritage and in doing so 2) goes after dominant authorities and institutions, how would he go about the second part without the first? This goes unaddressed. Maybe M. and Gustavo would sing folk songs outside a cornershop in some hipsterville. However that would probably meet with the author's ire as well despite being in keeping with the largely fictive nature of his column.

      The remainder of the column lurches much like the second paragraph.

      Now that I've purged that, I can have lunch. Baguettes like bunkers, I tell you!
      • Insightful Insightful x 1
    4. Benny Harvey RIP
      Benny Harvey RIP
      I find myself thinking of that Fry & Laurie sketch a lot recently, the one about language and if English is capable of sustaining demagoguery - if Hitler had spoken English, would we, under similar circumstances have been moved, charged up, fired by his inflammatory speeches, or would we have laughed? Is English too ironic to support Hitlerian styles? Would his language simply have rung false in our ears?

      With the rise of Trump I thought hmmm maybe that's different since it's American English... but Morrissey? Does it still count as British English? It was the Americanisms that spoiled List Of The Lost for me. Would you call him a demagogue?
    5. robbanks
      robbanks

      It think it's very fair to point out the angle that National Review comes from, but the author's characterization of "Low In High School" era Morrissey, in comparison to Bruce Springsteen as his example of the "archetypal pop-music liberal," seems fair in the paragraph you posted from the review.

      This juxtaposition with regard to Morrissey's lyrics is something that does make Morrissey unique in 2017.

      Using Morrissey as a foil to undermine Springsteen and other artists with ideas opposed to those of the author is what bothers me.

      I don't think too many people are confused by what "archetypal pop-music liberal" implies. Conservative talking heads often speak of "Hollywood liberals" and "elites." The author defines what he considers Springsteen and the "archetypal pop-music liberal" do as "a millionaire who writes songs full of working-class pretenses and who voices public support for Democratic political candidates, something Morrissey never has done." I gather the author is being condescending toward Springsteen, which makes the background of National Review worth mentioning, as well. I think it's disingenuous to suggest Springsteen isn't both justified and sincere in his convictions and motivations. A guy that does 4 hour concerts and works that hard isn't "phoning it in," so I take exception to the author's tone.

      You're right about the subject matter of Morrissey's Smiths era writing but, again, that isn't the Morrissey era the article is describing.

      It's actually the final paragraph of that review that is the most bothersome and troubling to me, because it's partisan and dismissive of Morrissey's attack of Trump.

      Keeping the nature of the author's political motivations aside, there are some thoughtful opinions offered about the album compared to a number of review links I've clicked over to read from this website.

      Also, you wrote, "M. 1) maintains the fighting temperament of British rock born of punk heritage and in doing so 2) goes after dominant authorities and institutions, how would he go about the second part without the first? This goes unaddressed." The way I might interpret the author's words would be in the context of his use of the word "querulous." Perhaps the author is implying that Morrissey is more thought provoking in the way he challenges authority versus what the author views as a more complaining tone of British punk rock. Obviously, that would be the author's broad generalization of British punk rock, but that interpretation might be more in context with his argument about Morrissey versus the "archetypal pop-music liberal." I don't really see the author setting up a challenge between the 2 ideas of the sentence that you separated, but more so as a general characterization of Morrissey's art.

      Cheers!
    6. ACTON
      ACTON
      Waffle fest.
    7. Anonymous
      Anonymous
      “A millionaire who writes songs full of working-class pretenses and who voices public support for Democratic political candidates, something Morrissey never has done”

      Isn’t this just factually wrong
    8. Charlie Cheswick
      Charlie Cheswick
      Morrissey has never been what you'd describe as a Liberal, either in a PC or a left wing way. His politics are probably closer to Libertarian than anything else - apart from when it comes to animals and freedom of movement.

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