Viva Hate?

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, February 3, 2008 02:33am | Post a Comment
Many of my fellow Mexicano/Chicano peers that have much respect and hold Morrissey in high regard. One of them is L.A. Weekly’s Ask A Mexican writer Gustavo Arrellano. In his excellent article written back in 2002 by about Morrissey and his Mexican following, Arrellano asked then doctorate candidate Colin Snowsel why he thought why Morrissey and Mexicanos were so closely connected.

“Morrissey was, in short, providing to lower- and middle-class Mexican-Americans the same dual utopian message that he had once provided a decade earlier to predominately Anglo fans in the United Kingdom," he writes. And what did he offer Anglos? "Escape from the injustices of a social order that confines them to the margin, but escape also from the limited identity options entrenched in peripheral, working- and middle-class culture."

It was disheartening in reading that at the end of last year. Morrissey was in the news for his comments made about immigration to NME magazine. In the article it suggests that one of the reasons that he no longer lives in England is due to immigration.

“ With the issue of immigration, it’s very difficult because, although I don’t have anything against people from other countries, the higher the influx into England the more the British identity disappears.”

Seems quite odd for someone who resides in Los Angeles, one of the most diverse cities in the world and with a large following of Non-Anglos to say something like that.  Morrissey supporters are quick to mention that he is a life long liberal and defender and lover of people all over the world. In his rebuttal to the NME, Morrissey states that, “Racism is beyond common sense and I believe it has no place in our society.”

Also in his defense, Morrissey explains,

Conor (NME Editor Conor McNicholas) would be repulsed by my vast collection of world cinema films, by my adoration of James Baldwin, my love of Middle Eastern tunings, Kazem al-Saher, Lior Ashkenazi, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison, and he would be repulsed to recall a quote as printed in his magazine in or around August of this year wherein I said that my ambition was to play concerts in Iran.”

In response to Conor’s article, NME writer Tim Jonze wrote,

"it's Conor's view that Morrissey thinks black people are OK ... but he wouldn't want one living next door to him."

This is not the first time Morrissey has gotten heat about racist/anti-immigrant stances. His song, Bengali In Platforms, released back in 1987, offended many and caused and outrage with the line,

“That life is hard enough when you belong here.”

Morrissey has explained in the past that Bengali In Platforms is a song about not losing one’s own cultural identity in assimilating into dominant society.

In part two of this series, we will get opinions from L.A. area Chicano artists who are fans of Morrissey on the subject of his music, his views on life and whether they feel if Morrissey is a racist.

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Morrissey (44), Nme (3), Gustavo Arrellano (1)