Love Music Hate Racism on Morrissey

Qvist

Well-Known Member
Anesthesine, one further point:

LMHR has every right to be as unreasonable as Morrissey, and to be upset with him.

No, they don't! Morrissey gets to be unreasonable because that is an integral part of 25 years of unique art, and also because he does not represent anything but himself. If he was merely someone who made unreasonable remarks in the press, he would just be an insiginificant bore who wouldn't get within ten yards of a microphone.

LMHR, as an organisation that exists to further an important element of the Public Interest, does not have the prerogative of being unreasonable, if they wish to be taken seriously.

"Upset" I'd understand, up to a certain point. But describing Morrissey as the frontrunner (and only person named) for "new genres developing with some racism involved in it" (in answer to the question "WHAT SPECIFICALLY are some of the attempts by the far right to reach out to young people?") is just way beyond that certain point.

Smith's statements, if you look at them carefully, are slyly manipulative, in part factually distorting and draws conclusions that go far beyond any expression of regret for Morrissey's choice of words. They are, in fact, considerably worse than anything NME wrote the last time around.

It is not reasonable, it is not what you can reasonably expect from a dedicated activist NGO and it is neither natural, understandable or defensible. You don't have to be stupid and malicious just because you're an activist. In fact, you could well be expected to be better than most in those regards. That's my two cents anyway.

cheers
 

Anaesthesine

Angel of Distemper
OK, OK, no one has a right to be as unreasonable as Morrissey. He's a Great and Timeless Artist, he has earned his right to be irascible and unyielding, and he speaks for no one but himself. End of. :)

LMHR is not being all that unreasonable in my view, but I will cede your point that their wording was underhanded and insinuating. As I said earlier, LMHR should have handled the situation more diplomatically, and shown Morrissey the respect that he has eared through his actions and his words over the years. Still, they are passionate activists who are emotionally invested in their cause, they are very public and media-driven, and they have the right to distance themselves from hyperbole that they find objectionable.

There are activists with NGOs who do real and lasting good without all the media nonsense. I know people who teach children in refugee camps, design prosthetic limbs for land mine victims and produce working prototypes for green, temporary housing for poor, mobile populations. They do so without fanfare or media recognition, and they speak with real authority. Would that it always worked that way, but it doesn't.

LMHR is a highly-visible, pop-culture organization. I'd love for them to be mature, respectful, thoughtful and responsible, but they are not. Morrissey pissed them off, and they retaliated in kind, with a knee-jerk, emotional response. As I already said, I'm terribly saddened by the whole sorry mess, and the toll it is taking on Morrissey's already tarnished public image. What Morrissey said was (deliberately or not) provocative, and he must have known that it would piss off the PC types who have already expressed their dismay at his words and actions over the years. Sure enough, those parties reacted true to form.
 
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Helen Bach

New Member
We have asked LMHR if they will be returning Morrissey's money as they now want 'nothing to do with him'.

Don't hold your breath waiting for the answer.

Reply received by our Kev today:

The money was received in good faith and spent on a specific event two years ago. We are a small underfunded organisation so it would be impossible for us to hand back money that was long since spent on londons biggest anti-racist carnival for 20 years. What we have done is make clear we will now not be working with Morrissey again, due to the racist comments made by him about the Chinese.
 

joe frady

Vile Refusenik
Reply received by our Kev today:

The money was received in good faith and spent on a specific event two years ago. We are a small underfunded organisation so it would be impossible for us to hand back money that was long since spent on londons biggest anti-racist carnival for 20 years. What we have done is make clear we will now not be working with Morrissey again, due to the racist comments made by him about the Chinese.

"the Chinese"?!! Anyone else think this sounds a bit...off?
 

mauve21

Long time participant
Wow, talk about reverbrations....:straightface:
What I want to hear is how Morrissey feels about the backlash
from his comment.:guitar:
 

cih

New Member
2. David Bowie, Elvis Costello, Madness, Siouxsie Sioux and Morrissey weren't actually racists in the first place, rather it was whoever wrote this twaddle and his chums who convinced themselves that a bunch of rock stars practically had KKK robes hanging in their closets because they were (and clearly remain) unable to conceive of any utterance having any other meaning than literalness motivated by the worst imaginable motive. And hardly even that, judging from his inability to even distinguish between "subspecies" and "subhuman".

So.... what is the difference?
 

Qvist

Well-Known Member
So.... what is the difference?

There are two differences, both of whom are extremely important in this context.

1. One was used by Morrissey, the other wasn't.

2. "Sub-human", unlike "sub-species", is a loaded concept with extremely clear political connotations. It's a nazi concept in origin and immediately recognisable as such - to such an extent that you have to assume that anyone using it doesn't mind taking along those connotations. Put more simply, only people who would not mind being perceived as nazis would use that word, unless they were stunningly ignorant.

"Sub-species" has no such connotations, because it has no history of racist usage.

The difference amounts pretty much to the one between "We need a bit more room" and "We must acquire Lebensraum!".

While "sub-species" is certainly heavy language and can be construed as racist if one wants to, it can also be understood as an idiosyncratic term of extreme vilification that Morrissey's discourse typically contains - it has no strong predefined context of usage in this field. If he had said "sub-human" there would have been nothing to discuss. That would have been to employ an established nazi term whose meaning is so context-loaded that it is beyond discussion.

And don't tell me that this is not apparent to LMHR, whose entire logic revolves around points such as these. Or that their mis-quoting of Morrissey isn't deliberate.

cheers
 

cih

New Member
Actually, the Nazi term 'untermensch' - 'under-man' - was in currency before they adopted it, and meant various things - not always in reference to a genetic 'sub-humanity' as such. The term 'subhuman' is the closest translation of this term with the meaning the Nazis applied to it, with all ambiguity removed, and is exactly the same as 'sub-species' when one is talking about the human race.
Just because Morrissey says it, that doesn't make it alright - it doesn't benefit him if his fans become apologists for all his errors.. As Jello Biafra sang: "don't just question authority, don't forget to question me".

Cheers.
 
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Worm

Taste the diffidence
Actually, the Nazi term 'untermensch' - 'under-man' - was in currency before they adopted it, and meant various things

Are you saying that words mean different things to different people, depending on context and intent, and that one person's use of a word might differ from another's?
 

cih

New Member
Yeah - of course, and the context and intent are provided by the surrounding words. For example, a biologist says something like - "Equus caballus, the true horse, which once had several subspecies..." etc, that would be ok wouldn't it?
But if a rock star says "You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies", then that'd be clumsy racism. I mean, hardly a blanket endorsement of genocide, given that he's not in charge of a world super-power, but nevertheless.... :)
 

Worm

Taste the diffidence
Yeah - of course, and the context and intent are provided by the surrounding words. For example, a biologist says something like - "Equus caballus, the true horse, which once had several subspecies..." etc, that would be ok wouldn't it?
But if a rock star says "You can't help but feel that the Chinese are a subspecies", then that'd be clumsy racism. I mean, hardly a blanket endorsement of genocide, given that he's not in charge of a world super-power, but nevertheless.... :)

It might be clumsy racism. It might be a lot of things. If you concede that the meaning of words is open to interpretation then it is far, far from certain that Morrissey used the word in the way you suggest. The word can also have been used naively, as Qvist described, as "an idiosyncratic term of extreme vilification that Morrissey's discourse typically contains", or as a form of camp exaggeration, as Gavin Hopps described in his excellent book on Morrissey. Perhaps Morrissey fans are defending him because Morrissey fans are uniquely qualified to understand how he uses language. More to the point, if you want to strip away all ambiguity from his utterances, you must then account for his clear statement vehemently condemning racism.
 
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Qvist

Well-Known Member
Actually, the Nazi term 'untermensch' - 'under-man' - was in currency before they adopted it, and meant various things - not always in reference to a genetic 'sub-humanity' as such.

Cheers.

Was it? That's news to me, but it doesn't really matter - current usage is in any case dominated by the nazi context.

The term 'subhuman' is the closest translation of this term with the meaning the Nazis applied to it, with all ambiguity removed, and is exactly the same as 'sub-species' when one is talking about the human race.

No, "subhuman" is the direct and literal translation of "Untermensch". And sorry, it is complete nonsense to claim that its meaning is exactly the same as "subspecies", which entirely lacks the contextual connotations that attaches to "subhuman". Misquoting Morrissey in this way is a low, dirty and cheap rethorical trick. I repeat - if Morrissey had used the word "subhuman", I would have considered it inexcusable.

Just because Morrissey says it, that doesn't make it alright

Nobody argues it does.

- it doesn't benefit him if his fans become apologists for all his errors..

No it doesn't. And we aren't.

As Jello Biafra sang: "don't just question authority, don't forget to question me".

How beautiful. That pertains to LMHR as well.

Yeah - of course, and the context and intent are provided by the surrounding words. .

NOTHING in any utterance "provides" intent. Intent can only be deduced from the statement as a whole, put in the general context the statement is made in and the person making it, and that speculatively. And "context"is provided by far more than just the surrounding words. As pointed out, some words have a context of their own.

cheers
 
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Worm

Taste the diffidence
Everyone makes mistakes when they're speaking with passion about something that angers them

Why do you say things you don't believe? To sound reasonable when all you really want to do is self-righteously proclaim your moral superiority? Hey, I'll help you out. You aren't a racist. You're better than Morrissey. You're better than the fans who defend him. Now maybe it's time to move on?
 

PregnantForTheLastTime

Hideous trait.
You're just wrong I'm afraid - and the more you defend what he said, the worse it gets. Everyone makes mistakes when they're speaking with passion about something that angers them, but this long drawn-out rationalization of what Morrissey said is something entirely different.

Why do you say things you don't believe? To sound reasonable when all you really want to do is self-righteously proclaim your moral superiority? Hey, I'll help you out. You aren't a racist. You're better than Morrissey. You're better than the fans who defend him. Now maybe it's time to move on?

Is it self-preservation? http://www.boston.com/bostonglobe/ideas/articles/2010/07/11/how_facts_backfire/ Somebody just reposted this the other day, in another thread here. It's the same answer. And then there's this: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/11/truth-lies-here/8246/.

Truth, it seems, is both useless, and extinct.
 
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