Morrissey Thinks Free Speech No Longer Exists Because He Can't Sue The Simpsons For Satirizing Him

from the i...-just...-what? dept

This shouldn’t need to be said, but The Simpons is satire. It often makes fun of people. In a recent episode it sorta, kinda mocked the singer Morrissey, as most of the episode was about Lisa’s obsession with a band called “the Snuffs” and its moody lead singer “Quilloughby” (voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch). It was pretty clearly satirizing Morissey, and exaggerating a bunch of character traits many people associate with Morrissey, and mixing in some stereotypical character traits associated with washed up old rock stars. I can understand why some people might not like being gently mocked on a popular TV show, though I think some well adjusted folks might recognize that even being relevant enough to be mocked on The Simpons is probably a nice nod towards your cultural relevance, but apparently not Morrissey.

After his manager got all pissy and accused the show of being racist for its portrayal of Morrissey (?!?). Morrissey himself then posted a bizarre rant saying he wanted to sue and that there’s no free speech any more and none of it makes any sense at all.

This is my first comment (and hopefully my last) on The Simpsons’ episode – which I know has enraged many people. The hatred shown towards me from the creators of The Simpsons is obviously a taunting lawsuit, but one that requires more funding than I could possibly muster in order to make a challenge. Neither do I have a determined business squad of legal practitioners ready to pounce. I think this is generally understood and is the reason why I am so carelessly and noisily attacked.

For what it’s worth, Morrissey does have a decently extensive history of litigation over mentions of him in the media he disagreed with — so, uh, the idea that people would think they could attack him because he won’t sue is already almost certainly not true. He has a history of suing. So, if anything that seems more likely to create chilling effects around anyone talking about him.

But, I guess we’re sort of leaping over the larger point here: sue over what? It’s a satire. They don’t even call the character Morrissey. There is no legal basis for any kind of lawsuit. Especially in the US where The Simpsons is made. What possible violation of the law is there in lightly mocking the concept of an aging rock star? And how fucking huge of an ego must you have to think that that’s something you can sue over?

But, his comment gets even dumber.

In a world obsessed with Hate Laws, there are none that protect me.

Um. Yeah, sorry, but no “hate laws” any where are designed to protect the flailing egos of aging rock stars from being gently satirized on a popular TV show. If you think that’s what hate laws are for then you’ve got some serious ego problems.

Anyway, forgive me, we all know this because we can see how music – and the world in general, has become a mesmerizing mess, and we must let it go spinning along unbearably because free speech no longer exists. We all know this.

Wait, what? How does this even make any sense. Free speech no longer exists… because you can’t sue a TV show for satirizing someone kinda like you for “hate” speech? It’s a weird sort of brain that complains about a lack of free speech just sentences after whining about how you can’t sue someone for their speech.

Everyone reacts to being mocked in different ways, but whining about how you want to sue to silence people, while simultaneously claiming there’s no more free speech seems dumber than most options out there.

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Comments on “Morrissey Thinks Free Speech No Longer Exists Because He Can't Sue The Simpsons For Satirizing Him”

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51 Comments
crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

It’s an expression.. It means "music and the world in general has become a mesmerizing mess" has nothing to do with Morrisey not being able to sue the simpsons for making fun of him.. By substituting in "the mess of copyright law" I’m also saying that is what he is describing with his statement. Oh it’s no fun when I explain it

Jason says:

I’ll be honest, the only time in my life I can remember having heard of Morrissey was the name drop he got in Ant-Man and the Wasp. (Was that even the same guy? I truthfully have no clue.)

Maybe I’ve heard some of his music, but I’m lousy with song-artist association except when it’s something I find I really enjoy.

The chances that I would have ever connected that Simpsons character with Morrissey were approximately 0.0%. Until I read all the articles covering his complaints, anyway.

So, congrats on the publicity, I guess?

Jason says:

Re: Re: Re:

Then you missed the point. If it hadn’t been for this guy complaining about being mocked (supposedly) by the Simpsons, there’s no way I would have thought of him at all. If he’d said nothing, there wouldn’t have been any story. Maybe people who knew all about him recognized bits of him in that character, but there’s no way I would have. All he did was call attention to it and associate himself with that episode.

Thad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

You didn’t get a reference, and then someone explained it to you.

This is not as profound an observation as you think it is.

I can see how it might look slightly Streisand-shaped if I squint sideways at it, but…it’s really not.

The reference to Morrissey and the Smiths was not subtle or obscure. This isn’t Barbra Streisand calling attention to something nobody would have even known about if she hadn’t called attention to it. It’s just you needing a pop culture reference explained to you.

I didn’t get all the references to Citizen Kane or the Nixon Administration back in season 4, either. What does that say about The Simpsons? Absolutely nothing. It says something about me, which is that I was ten years old.

This comment has been deemed insightful by the community.
Anonymous Coward says:

It’s a weird sort of brain that complains about a lack of free speech just sentences after whining about how you can’t sue someone for their speech.

Actually Mike, this works perfectly well, if you don’t actually believe in rational thinking (As near as I can tell, a major section of our planets population never actually subscribed to that belief, and now we are very much noticing their voices/actions).

Anonymous Coward says:

Which one of the stoned beach-blonde bubblehead hollywood actresses was it that sued GTA because it featured a SBBBHA figure? Said it ruined her reputation or something. Hey, if she hadn’t been a well-known SBBBHA, who would have recognized the parody? And how could she know the game was parodying her rather than another of the SBBBHA’s that seem to be Hollywood’s main exportable product?

I never have watched the Simpsons, but my impression from secondary sources is that they are equal-opportunity offenders. How could Morrisey tell whether they were intending to be ageist, cultural-elitist, or some other -ist today, when he (like everyone on earth) shares multiple group identities–even assuming melanin-percentage defines a group identity?

That One Guy (profile) says:

If he thought the Simpson's made him look bad...

‘Free speech is dead because I can’t sue someone for saying something I don’t like just because it’s almost certainly legal!’

It always amuses me to read stories like this where someone famous objects to a reference or parody that they think might make them look bad, and by their actions make themselves look even worse. People are likely to just laugh off a parody as it’s expected that those will be exaggerated, but when the one being parodied does very real objectionable actions in response that’s not going to be just laughed off, that is going to be remembered.

Samuel Abram (profile) says:

A few things…

I’ll address things which I have yet to see in the comments or the article itself…

  1. Morrissey’s whole deal is that he’s a whiny woe-is-me, why-won’t-anybody-love-me? sourpuss. If you listen to the lyrics to his song "How Soon is Now?" that he did when he was in the Smiths, it all becomes clear. I haven’t listened to his other stuff, but from what I gather telling by other people who have listened to his other material, that morose egotism is emblematic of Morrissey’s personality.
  2. Mystery Science Theater 3000 made fun of him in the early 90’s and even mentioned him by name (the episode in question is called "City Limits"). Apparently Morrissey hadn’t seen it because I have no doubt that he would have found it an even bigger offense and it came out decades earlier than the Simpsons episode.
Anonymous Coward says:

I thínk he made some great music in the 80s,
He is not named on the Simpsons
He was one of the great indie songwriters
He was sorta like the Oscar Wilde of indie music cynical and literate and witty
Not macho at all
His biography is well written and readable
Unfortunately he has lost alot of fans thru his extreme political statements

The point of free speech is you can have satire about famous people and politicians
There’s no show like the Simpsons on Russian or Iranian TV
which pokes fun at famous people
He clearly does not understand the point of free speech
Complaining about not being able to sue about satire is
is like going to the desert and complaining about the heat
There is less free speech in the UK because of the laws on
defamation
That’s maybe why me too started in America where section 230
protects speech on social media

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Who has a link?

What’s weirder is that there’s people who think that piracy requires internet.

I mean seriously the movie and music industries were shitting themselves over home taping in the late 70s and these people are telling me that piracy will magically disappear if the internet is crippled?

Let’s forget for a moment that way more lucrative and profitable avenues became possible when they were forced to accept modern tech, nobody under the age of at least 70 today remembers a time without widespread piracy. They just remember when it used tech they understood.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Who has a link?

You start to see that there’s a lot of overlap between these people and the corporate executives who believe that crunch culture is good, that hard work always guarantees results, that pulling up your bootstraps will invariably net you a seat at the big boy table.

Anything that challenges that worldview is, therefore, inherently problematic and needs to be stamped out. These people become advocates for presenteeism. They turn into fervent critics of unionization. They hold onto this intensely cultish belief that anything that runs contrary to the simpler, feudal relationship of an employer and his serfs or subordinates means people will somehow magically become demotivated to contribute. And it’s a fucking shortsighted perspective to have, because their idea of a utopia is only possible because of all the cheap, expendable bodies they have to throw. They claim to want to elevate people, but realistically nobody wants to. Because these apex predators at the top of the food chain know that the moment things get better for the people they feed on, those suckers will move on.

Piracy is like this equalizer that the people at the top can’t stand existing. Matthew Inman did another comic where music makers and consumers just cut out the middlemen. And that’s what the older people are terrified of: nobody playing the game according to their rules. They’re scrambling for damage control, wondering why nobody’s drawn in by the pot of gold at the end of their rainbow. The truth is that pot has been empty for a damn long time.

Lucan Vorlov says:

Bad Meanies

"For what it’s worth, Morrissey does have a decently extensive history of litigation over mentions of him in the media he disagreed with — so, uh, the idea that people would think they could attack him because he won’t sue is already almost certainly not true. He has a history of suing. So, if anything that seems more likely to create chilling effects around anyone talking about him."

I dunno. Sounds to me like he’s priming the pump for donations.

‘Me so poor, bad meanies pick on me all the time. Please help.’

Coming soon; a pitch for crowd funding… to punish the bad meanies!!!

🙂

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