(If you don’t know who Morrissey is you have no taste in music or poetry but I will give you a chance to reedem yourself by reading up on him. Start with the wikipedia article on Morrissey and then continue to read this entry after.
I have said it before and Ill say it again… I like animals both as pets, food and clothing. I am also a Morrissey fan and have been it for many years.
I discovered Morrissey in my late adolescence, early adulthood, and found the Smiths music and lyrics touching on some really important existential issues that most people touch on in puberty but never really goes away, even when becoming adult. Even though we like to think we get passed those types of anxiety at the end of our teens. To quote a movie I also like, American Beauty (1999)
“Janie is a pretty typical teenager. Angry, insecure, confused. I wish I could tell her all that’s going to pass. But I don’t want to lie to her.”
Lester (American Beauty)
So Morrissey never really goes away. In his song Rubber Ring he kind of addresses this.
“The passing of time, and all of its sickening crimes is making me sad again. But don’t forget the songs that made you cry and the songs that saved your life. Yes, you’re older now and you’re a clever swine but they were the only ones who ever stood by you!”
Morrissey can be reduced (although perhaps shouldn’t) into a few keywords that sums him, his persona and his music. I would say these keywords are loneliness, unsatisfied attractions, a bit homoerotic, free speech and vegetarianism. You may have some other keywords that would be just as fitting and please feel free to share them below, but right now I wanted to focus on the two last ones as lately they have been very important>; His free speech and his vegetarianism.
Since the very beginning Morrissey have been outspoken about many varied subjects from racism, sexuality, celebrities, royalty, politics and vegetarianism. Time and time again this has provoked many. He has also always shown a self insight and self irony about this. Most apparent in his song “Bigmouth strikes again” where he sings stuff like:
“Sweetness, sweetness I was only joking when I said I’d like to smash every tooth in your head. Oh … sweetness, sweetness, I was only joking when I said by rights you should be bludgeoned in your bed.”
He likes, like many great artist, to use hyperbole to get his message across. To quote the serial killer in Seven (1995):
“Wanting people to listen, you can’t just tap them on the shoulder anymore. You have to hit them with a sledgehammer, and then you’ll notice you’ve got their strict attention. ”
Although I dont condone religious inspired massmurder, I see what John Doe means by this.
So Morrissey uses hyperbole to get his message across and sometimes he says “offensive” stuff. In Norway the last couple of years Morrissey’s big mouth has made him focus of many articles. Just after the Utøya massacre he stated
“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.”
Morrissey’s strong worded vegitarianism wasnt a secret for long. On the Smith’s second album it was written pretty clearly that Morrissey thought Meat was murder.
This quote didnt fare well with the Norwegian people. Now, I love my country and I love my culture, but I can’t deny that Norway is filled with small-minded people. I blame the very socialist ideals that has infiltrated our world view for many years. We don’t like conflict and we don’t like dissenting opinions. It could even be argued (but not from me. No, sorry, Bob! Not me! I would never..!) that this conflict aversive attitude was the reason for the massacre in the first place.
Norwegians dont debate problematic issues. Or more correctly we don’t debate as much as moralize problematic issues. Many Norwegians are skeptical to the changes that Norway is going trough but every time someone voice those opinions, and God forbid should use hyperbole, it is met with anger, character assassinations and downright cruelty from what many calls the “elite”.
To quote one of Morrissey’s songs again:
“I’d like to drop my trousers to the world. I am a man of means (of slender means). Each household appliance is like a new science in my town. And if the day came when I felt a natural emotion I’d get such a shock I’d probably jump in the ocean”
-Nowhere fast (The Smiths)
We Norwegians have kept this small minded small town attitudes close to our chest. A feat that has been very easy since Norway is mostly build up by small towns. In many ways, Norway is just one big small town and so the massacre felt very close to all of us and the thought that someone could say something like that shocked many of us.
When then Morrissey was invited to play at the Nobel Peace Price concert this old grudge blew up again and people wrote articles upon articles with all the small minded character assassinations again. Morrissey was “outdated” who once was big, but now only was an old bitter man with nothing better to do than to provoke. That the only way Morrissey could be relevant today was to say evil stuff like this. Cuz, you know, Morrissey did never say provocative things before *wink, wink*.
Norway decided that we were going to conquer adversity trough song and flowers. We choose the rose of the labour party and the song My Rainbow Race*
What is ironic is that the media in Norway has shown more outspokenly hostility towards Morrissey’s words than they have ever shown the mass-murderer. What the media and many left-wingers in Norway wanted to show themselves and the world after the massacre was a kind of lovebombing reaction. Where as I for one felt the need to lie down and feel the void, many people went out in the streets singing songs and carrying roses. A very strange, perhaps pathological reaction to a horrible event.
“We were not going to let that man brake us down“, we said. After we had understood who did it and why, it was all about moving on. Not having the massmurderer “winning” by us acknowledging that he actually took us completely by surprise and destroyed our “innocence”.
Before the massacre on Utøya we believed our self to be a peace nation. A peace loving nation who had not done any acts of war since Nazi Germany occupied us. A nation with no terrorist threat, were everyone loved everyone ,and that those few who didnt, didnt matter.
More roses and singing.
But then it happned, and then we tried to conquer it and then Morrissey came and said what he said. And “how DARE HE?!” we said. Here we had worked so hard to pretend everything was okay. That love would conquer everything and that peace was a common goal and this man decides it’s okay to hurt us with WORDS!
I am not a psychologist but I will still try to use a psychological term here. I think Norway projected unto Morrissey the hate we were not allowed to feel towards the massmurderer. After spending days in rose-parades and singing and holding each others hands didnt really cleanse our anger towards this man who decided killing children would somehow solve Norwegians issues, we decided that our anger should instead be directed towards a singer from another country who was just making a vegetarian statement on how he perceives killing animals is wrong.
Do I agree then with Morrissey? Do I think that slaughtering animals is just as bad as slaughtering children? Hell, no! I am not a vegetarian or an atheist (not saying that Morrissey is an atheist) so I will always think that humans have a special place in this world. That is not to say that I am not a misanthrope, but I do make a distinction between killing animals and killing people.
But that being said; I do not get offended or provoked by that statement either. I understand where Morrissey is coming from, and I do distinct words from actions. Morrissey said something where the massmurderer did something. One thing is innocent another is cruelty. And I am sure that Morrissey did not expect that amount of backlash that came from that comment, said during a concert in Poland.
Then Morrissey said something else. He said that the holocaust wasn’t worse than what’s going on in slaughterhouses as well. And that is the genesis for this entry. As I have said, I do not get provoked by Morrissey’s strong worded vegetarian views, but I do get kind of tired of him beating that vegetarian non-pigskin drum of his.
I don’t love Morrissey for his vegetarianism. I accept and respect it, but that is not what appeals to me. In fact the song “Meat is murder”, although a fascinating song, is my least favorite of all his The Smiths work. I know his views on Meat-eaters. It has been stated time and time again. To quote another song from him:
“Ouija board, ouija board, ouija board would you work for me? I have got to get through to a good friend.
Well, she has now gone from this unhappy planet with all the carnivores and the destructors of it“
His annoying, broken record complaints make me tempted to spell out what the ouja board spelled out. “s.t.e.v.e.n [I love you but] P.u.s.h.o. double f.”
Blog 2.0 – “If its not love than its the bomb that will bring us together”
*The Norwegian version of My Rainbow Race named Barn av Regnbuen do have some changes to the lyrics and the focus being less on globalization and more on pollution and environment.