By Mogan Brown
Steven Patrick Morrissey is a bleeding-heart jackass. Known to suicidal teens and Urban Outfitters patrons alike, he’s arguably more recognizable to the public nowadays as a blissful curmudgeon whose constant rambles about animal rights often border on Kenny Powers-level delusional than as a musician.
Today is Morrissey’s 55th birthday, and although he’d probably say the very notion of this website is more of an abomination than 9/11, Columbine, and the rise of Dubstep combined, I have not come to bury Moz, but to praise him. Because for some goddamn reason, I am borderline obsessed with him.
If I’m in a bar and “Suedehead” comes on, depending on the hour of night and my level of intoxication, it’s not uncommon for me to let out a surprised shriek of joy. Sometimes, I’ll even jump out of my seat and start dancing like a toddler who’s just been promised ice cream. I once turned down a cash offer of $100 for a t-shirt I was wearing with his image on it, simply because thought I’d feel empty without it.
When it was announced that he was releasing his autobiography, I not only pre-ordered the first available UK publishing of it, but upon it’s arrival I read every God-for-fucking-saken page of the awful thing. 457 pages. No chapter breaks.
So why do I – a man whose idea of a perfect Sunday dinner is steak, who loves an IPA and/or glass of Scotch, and who counts Red Dawn as one the greatest films about diplomatic relations ever produced – hold this man in such high regard? I was recently featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune shaking hands with “Hot” Doug Sohn. He, on the other hand, wrote “Meat is Murder” and charged off stage at Coachella because he could smell meat grilling. What’s the connection here?
Now as ever, my only response is, “because he’s awesome!”
By all logic, I really should hate the guy. He meets all criteria for personality traits in the type of people I loathe. Any time he’s in the news, the story is about how he’s the most difficult person in the world.
Whether it’s saying the 2011 killing of 76 people in Norway is nothing compared to the fact that McDonald’s and KFC simply exist; losing a court case against former Smiths drummer Michael Joyce over royalties and calling it the greatest injustice in this history of mankind; or calling the practice of seal hunting in Canada “far more shocking than the Holocaust” … well, the guy just exudes awfulness.
The way the guy talks about animal rights, you’d think he’s some type of Dr. Dolittle, walking around in a top hat, arms outstretched with birds perched on them. But it really just seems like a platform that allows him to be a dick (which at the same time, you almost have to respect).
Once I get past all that, it’s Morrissey’s music that I love most about him. On first listen, it’s the kind of jangly Brit-pop that is mostly associated with what Amadeus-looking teens in John Hughes movies dance to when being comically weird. But when you get to the heart of it, its the romanticism of bitterness that strikes you.
Who hasn’t been dumped, and wanted to scream “I am human and I need to be loved, just like everyone else does, you bitch!” at our exes? We’ve all had the feeling that we’ve nearly destroyed ourselves out of love for another person, only to be given the cold shoulder in return.
He encapsulates that loneliness, isolation, and social rejection and the bitterness that comes with it and presents it as a melancholy iconoclast full of charm and wit. It’s like he’s saying,”I know you’ve really fucked me over, destroyed every stitch of dignity left in my being, and walked away, forgetting you ever knew me after your first step. But don’t worry, I’ll be fine. I packed a clean pair of pants and I didn’t really care for that shirt anyway.”
It’s that pompous yet passive confidence that makes his poetic bite so wonderfully venomous and so cathartically relatable. It’s all got a sense of macabre humor.
There’s also the fact that he’s a straight-up good looking son of a bitch, embodying James Bond-esque British elegance as well as the kind of charming handsomeness displayed by Chris Isaak in the “Wicked Games” video or Steven Dorff in those e-cig commercials.
Take, for example, his live shows; throngs of young men, gay and straight alike, flinging flowers at his feet and trying with all their might to just touch the tips of his fingers or even charge up on stage and hug him like he’s the Beatles or Pootie Tang. But instead of screaming teenage girls it’s just a bunch of regular-ass dudes. It’s like he has this man-magic, hypnotic charm over us, which also could also explain his popularity among macho factions like Straight-Edge-Hardcore toughs and Vato-Gang-Bangers alike.
But Morrissey really is the anti-Kenny Powers. On the surface, Kenny and Moz could not be two different people. Kenny is essentially a living Big Johnson shirt and Morrissey is the perfect example of an English dandy fop.
Hear me out – they’re both self-centered, out-of-touch self seen icons who are are frequently prone to delusional outbursts and who constantly blame the world for things not going exactly their way or bowing at their feet. They also see themselves as gods to be worshiped in Mexico, have overly coiffed and iconic hair and can both count Fred Durst as a fan. And thats kinda why we love them.
While Kenny’s autobiography, which is used as a narration device throughout the series and appears to be nothing but his talking about how awesome he is, making such claims like being blessed with “an arm like a damn rocket, a cock like a burmese python and the mind of a fucking scientist,” Morrissey’s own wasn’t that far off.
An example of this is his instance that insisted his book be published by the Penguin Classics imprint, something reserved for the works of authors like John Steinbeck and Charles Dickens.
When asked if he was fucking crazy, Moz simply responded that his book was, “a classic in the making.” God bless future generations of 8th graders who end up have to write a paper emphasising metaphor and structure on the damn thing.
I guess my point is that just because I don’t agree with the guy doesn’t mean I can’t love the shit out of him because his antics are so farfetched and outrageous anyway that I can’t help but take him as this almost comedic character who makes great music.
Anyway, happy birthday Steve. Don’t ever fucking change.