A secular saint to a certain sliver of Gen-X and millennial music fans, Mancunian singer, songwriter and provocateur Steven Patrick Morrissey has done things in his 40-year career — most of them good.
On top of being the frontman of the seminal band The Smiths and a successful solo artist, the legend who goes by his last name only has forwarded queer issues, been a tireless (and sometimes tiring) advocate for animal rights and a icon and source of inspiration for many a lonely teen.
That's when he's not grabbing the issue of the day and offering a scolding, highly inappropriate, racially insensitive, needlessly anti-Monarchical hot take on it. If you thought today — when the singer's hometown and nation are still on alert and in shock after the bombing of an Ariana Grande concert in Manchester Monday night — would see him take a seat on the bench and not offer up some of his trademark bluster then you just don't know the Moz.
"Celebrating my birthday in Manchester as news of the Manchester Arena bomb broke," the singer wrote on his Facebook page in a comment that, true to form, began centered on him. "The anger is monumental."
While stars and civilians alike have expressed sympathy and understanding through cries of sorrow and pleas for peace, Morrissey instead offered a distinctly Trumpian take on what went wrong and why the terror situation may be intractable.
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?
There are just so many things here. Above, Morrissey faults his prime minister for being too pro-refugee (there was at the time of writing no concrete proof that the attacker or attackers weren't born in Britain) despite the fact that Theresa May has a less than accommodating immigration policy.
He then scolds her for not identifying bodies in the Manchester morgue (not her job) and seems to suggest that London Mayor Sadiq Khan is enabling such attacks by not condemning ISIS (he has.) It's a line of argument that President Donald Trump and his supporters have used against former President Barack Obama in equally invalid efforts.
Let's let the bits about the Queen and the "extremist rabbit" lay, shall we?
Moz continues, "In modern Britain everyone seems petrified to officially say what we all say in private." This again, channels Trump's longstanding war against the political correctness that he feels is one of America greatest issues. It also assumes that, "we all say in private," what Morrissey, who has a very unique mind, thinks. We don't.
It's yet another frustrating moment from a man who, while giving us much joy, seems determined to produce almost as much rage.