“Morrissey’s Brexit love affair makes him the last true rock’n’roll rebel” is a headline from a recent Brendan O’Neill piece; “Morrissey is probably the only remaining music ‘celebrity’ in the world who tells the truth about politics.” tweets Paul Joseph Watson of Infowars. If you worship the very idea of Brexit, hate political correctness in all forms and spend a lot of time taking down millennials for being “snowflakes” then Moz is one of the great pop cultural icons of our age. Only, this is really weird when you stop and think about it. Morrissey, after all, isn’t just a snowflake himself; he is the Godfather of snowflakes. He is the ne plus ultra of snowflakery.
Here are just three snatches of lyrics from Smiths songs that underline my point:
“I wear black on the outside because black is how I feel on the inside”
“I was happy in the haze of a drunken hour, but heaven knows I’m miserable now”
“I don’t dream about anyone, except myself”
Those aren’t even the most snowflake-like lyrics to have come from the pen of Morrissey – those are just the ones that immediately sprang to mind when I stopped to think about it. “I know I’m unloveable/you don’t have to tell me/message received loud and clear” – “I am human and I need to be loved, just like everybody else does” – I could do this all day long. I actually like some of those lyrics myself – yet I would never attempt to pass them off as anything other than snowflakey dialled up to 11.
Like I say, I really like the Smiths and indeed a lot of Morrissey’s solo work. It’s just that, even as a teenager, I was a bit put off about what a precious little snowflake he is. There was a show on British television about a decade ago called “I’ve Never Seen Star Wars”, the premise of which was to get famous (or at least, semi-famous) people on and then expose them to pop cultural items that were both ubiquitous enough to be recognisable to most of the viewing audience yet had somehow escaped the purlieu of the featured guest. Nigel Havers was a guest and he was exposed to the Smiths for the first time. He liked some of the tunes enough, but was a bit put off by Morrissey’s preciousness. “I don’t understand his angst,” Havers said. “I don’t know what he’s got to be depressed about.” Asked if he didn’t feel a little alienated himself as a teen, Havers said “Well, we just got on with it”. Havers did mention that he found Morrissey a little scary. The host, Marcus Brigstocke, asked if that was because he was worried Morrissey might whine him to death. The crowd laughed in recognition.
Perhaps I’ve got this all wrong though: maybe it is Moz’s snowflakery itself that is part of the big appeal to the socially conservative, as opposed to something they just look past. A big portion of the Right over the past decade has relinquished what you used to be their defining feature: that people, once they reach an appropriate age, are responsible for themselves and whatever they do. People are just supposed to “get on with it”. This concept has been chucked aside by a great many people defining themselves as being on the Right: now, everything is someone else’s fault. So much so that they took on King God Snowflake as their idol without noticing how ironic that might be.