Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Louder Than Bombs

I haven't spent a lot of time listening to The Smiths or the subsequent solo career of their front man, Morrissey. In general, I find their stuff is kinda, well, mopey. But in the wake of the terrorist attack in Manchester on Monday, Morrissey is now in the news because he didn't react properly:

I'd like to drop my trousers to the Queen

From what I can tell, we are allowed to think two things about Manchester, and Paris, and Nice, and all the other terrorist attacks. First, we really shouldn't spend a lot of time dwelling on the motivation of those who blow up young girls. And second, we need to carry on, whatever that means. As you can see from his note, mopey Morrissey is having none of that. And because he's calling the politicians out for their cheerleading, he's now a monster himself. I apologize for the profanity in the attached tweet, but there's worse at the link:

Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel
I don't think there's anything particularly controversial about what Morrissey is saying here. He's right, of course -- politicians and royals are largely immune from terror, other than ol' Mountbatten, but that was nearly 40 years ago now. The people who are subject to the ministrations of the prime minister, or the mayors of London or Manchester? Not so much. We have to call a thing what it is. The reason the British were able to endure the horrific bombing of the Nazis is because they had confidence that their wartime leaders were taking steps to bring the carnage to an end. Are we sure that the grandees are doing that now?

It's been a long time since Morrissey and his pal Johnny Marr wrote the song "This Night Has Opened My Eyes," but it seems pretty apt in this context:

Oh, he said he'd cure your ills
But he didn't and he never will
Oh, save your life
Because you've only got one

If you read the rest of the lyrics, the topic is most likely abortion, and you'll see Morrissey's trademark ambivalence throughout, but there's another reality that fits our current context as well:

So, please save your life
Because you've only got one
The dream has gone

But the baby is real
Oh, you did a good thing
She could have been a poet
Or, she could have been a fool

As long as we live, we have possibilities. The nihilists who blow up children under the banner of the Islamic State don't give a damn about any of those possibilities. I know poets and I know fools. Sometimes, they are one in the same. Morrissey might be an unlikely person to remind us of all that, but I'm glad he did.

3 comments:

Gino said...

Wow... Never thought I'd say that Morrissey is cool... But this one time, I'm with him

R.A. Crankbait said...

I thought of Mountbatten right away when I read that. I was also thinking earlier this morning, "What is the end game for all of this?" You never hear about the IRA blowing up Brits anymore. Did that generation of firebrands simply get old? Is Islamist terror something we just have to outlast? How do you even have peace talks with non-governmental entities? (Signing $110 billion arms deals doesn't classify as peace talks in my book.)

Bike Bubba said...

He's got a great point. There are people who are protected, and those who are not. As one of those who is not, I'd really appreciate it of those who were would take my risk seriously.