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Morrissey: There Is a Whine That Never Goes Out

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The terrorist attack on Manchester that left 22 people dead summoned an inevitable call from a forgotten man. Morrissey, Madchester’s “favorite” son, essentially blamed the act of a crazed jackass, possibly working for a small army of crazed jackasses, on Muslims everywhere. It wasn’t subtle. Nor was it particularly surprising, given his history of rank nationalism. But it seems clearer than ever that the artist and his city aren’t quite so aligned.

Two weeks after he declared that proto-fascist Marine Le Pen had “easily won” a French pre-election debate over her centrist opponent Emmanuel Macron (who went on to win the Presidency), Morrissey responded via Facebook to British prime minister Theresa May’s statement on the Manchester attack. He lashed out at May and London mayor Sadiq Khan.

“Theresa May says such attacks ‘will not break us,’ but her own life is lived in a bullet-proof bubble, and she evidently does not need to identify any young people today in Manchester morgues. Also, “will not break us” means that the tragedy will not break her, or her policies on immigration. The young people of Manchester are already broken – thanks all the same, Theresa. Sadiq Khan says “London is united with Manchester”, but he does not condemn Islamic State – who have claimed responsibility for the bomb … In modern Britain everyone seems petrified to officially say what we all say in private. Politicians tell us they are unafraid, but they are never the victims. How easy to be unafraid when one is protected from the line of fire. The people have no such protections.”

Morrissey, if what you really want is for people to say “Get out, wogs,” then why don’t you do it yourself? Better yet, why don’t you try to sing it? Come on, Steve. Give us a tune.

Scott McMahon, replying to Moz’s post, had a probing response:

The perp was born in Manchester Moz, you wanker. Nothing to do with “immigration”. You’ve really just lost any idea of who you are, you were descended from Irish immigrants yourself, like I was … Remember the times when people were quick to blame ANYONE with Irish Catholic heritage for the crimes of the IRA?

The former Smith claims that the media refuses to call Islam out, that civilization is suffering from its refusal to indulge in a bit of old-fashioned purging. The hate that dare not speak its name, in other words. But this is lunacy. Morrissey’s world, where liberals are too polite to criticize Islam, is strikingly similar to the world the alt-right lives in, where white identity is under attack. In other words, it is the world of the privileged. A fantasy. In the real world, Muslims are bombed by rich countries every day. Yemeni families are separated into shreds and tatters by incendiaries while the strivers of NATO sip cocktails together.

In the actual world, racists scream at Muslim families and mosques are attacked. In the waking life where the rest of us abide, far from lily-white suburbs and aging-rock-star amen circles, there have been constant attacks against Muslims, like a low-level fever that never breaks. In my country, gunmen who are white and Christian shoot up schools and public places, but nobody calls for them to be expelled from the nation, or for their religion to be questioned. “How easy to be unafraid when one is protected from the line of fire,” Morrissey wrote. Theresa May may live a life of protection, but Muslims stand in the line of fire all the time. What does Morrissey know that a poor Muslim child in Dhaka doesn’t?

Christ, Mopey. Even your haircut looks like Richard Spencer. There is a whine that never goes out, all right. It is the whine of privilege.

Muslim countries weave and sew and toil for us in an unjust economic order. They live in countries dominated by strongmen. They are brutalized by the same system that allows Moz to spend his dwindling years crooning for the boomers. A just system would have him working in a slaughterhouse, perhaps, or in a Chilean mine.

Privilege has everything but wants more—namely, to be free to use its power without being called out on it: “England is mine and it owes me a living.” Bigotry is never satisfied with having unjust strength; it must be respected as well. Scott Adams wrote and drew a dopey comic, but that’s not enough; he has to have approval, so he comments in MetaFilter threads under anonymous names to label himself a serious intellectual—which is something Einstein and Jesus did during their years of teaching, if I recall history correctly.

As for Morrissey—the man who released a live album recorded at Manchester Arena, site of last week’s attack, titled “Who Put the M in Manchester?”—he’s the faded denim jacket of music culture, a good argument against taking British music too seriously—and his city knows this. He was a vocal proponent of the Brexit vote and cheered England’s departure from the European Union, as did many in the country’s working-class north, yet the people of Manchester voted to stay in the EU to the tune of 60.36 percent. There’s an easy win for you. As the Guardian reports, “More people in Manchester voted to remain a member of the EU—a 20.73% majority.” Has Morrissey spoken for anyone, as the years have passed, besides himself? His story is old, yes, but it goes on.

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