FLYNN: Morrissey Is Hated for Loving England

Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images
Martin Bernetti/AFP/Getty Images

Spin headlined its take on Morrissey’s reaction to a Muslim killing 22 in his hometown: “Morrissey Says Something Predictably Dumb About the Manchester Bombing.”

The former Smiths singer’s words frequently provoke words—downcast, acerbic, arrogant, and bratty come to mind. But rarely do the critics dub the rarely criticized “dumb.” The Mancunian received not a pass but praise for such song titles as “Margaret on the Guillotine” and “I Have Forgiven Jesus.” You may wish for the death of the country’s prime minister and poke fun at the religious figure inspiring its flag. The country’s Muslim extremists remain off limits.

Here’s from Moz’s Facebook post:

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. The Queen receives absurd praise for her ‘strong words’ against the attack, yet she does not cancel today’s garden party at Buckingham Palace – for which no criticism is allowed in the Britain of free press. Manchester mayor Andy Burnham says the attack is the work of an “extremist”. An extreme what? An extreme rabbit?

In modern Britain everyone seems petrified to officially say what we all say in private.

Salman Ramadan Abedi, not Simon Reginald Albert, murdered 22 concertgoers. This, Morrissey’s post suggests, matters.

English people raised not to hate their country generally do not hate their country.

Namedropping John Keats and Oscar Wilde here, writing a sonic ode to Reggie and Ronnie Kray there, Morrissey strikes as a mélange of the good, the bad, and the ugly of English culture. He drinks up it all. American travelers learn the geographic quirks of London neighborhoods through the male hustlers who speak a silly “palare” in Piccadilly Circus, from a “repressed but remarkably dressed” hairdresser in Sloane Square, and via the “hope and despair” of Battersea. His oeuvre, apart from provoking antidepressant prescriptions, works as a massive love missive to his homeland.

Sure, he has lived in Los Angeles, inspired a cult following in Mexico, and declared “London is dead.” But as an earlier English poet pointed out, “What should they know of England who only England know?”

Morrissey is hated for loving—England.


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