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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Filed Under: free speech, lawsuits, morrissey, satire, the simpsons


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  • icon
    PaulT (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:01am

    "free speech no longer exists"

    Says the guy whining that he can't sue someone because they exercised their... free speech. Hmmm....

    Luckily for other people, he's just provided yet another reason for them to use their free speech to mock him further!

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Jeremy Lyman (profile), 22 Apr 2021 @ 4:26am

      Re:

      Seems like they Simpsons addressed this phenomenon 25 years ago:

      I used to be with ‘it’, but then they changed what ‘it’ was. Now what I’m with isn’t ‘it’ anymore and what’s ‘it’ seems weird and scary. It’ll happen to you!

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    crade (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:01am

    To be fair, Anyway, I can see how music - and the world in general, has become a mesmerizing mess.. and you could make an argument for free speech no longer existing being a cause.. But what does the mess of copyright law have to do with the price of tea in China? There you lose me

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:09am

      Re:

      But what does the mess of copyright law have to do with the price of tea in China?

      ...That's a very good question. Are you aware that you're the one who brought it up?

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        crade (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:38am

        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

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 12:48pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I know what "what does that have to do with the price of tea in China" means.

          You're the one who brought up copyright law. And then immediately pointed out it was a complete non sequitur. That's an accurate criticism, but...it's not a criticism of Morrissey, it's a criticism of you.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Jason, 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:11am

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Thad (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:23am

      Re:

      Sometimes I wonder why people feel compelled to post comments on an article just to let everyone know they're not familiar with the subject of the article.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • identicon
        Jason, 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:32am

        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.

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 1:01pm

          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.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Thad (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 4:45pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Though one thing about it that is pretty Streisandy: I haven't watched The Simpsons in years but I might watch that episode just because it pissed Morrissey off so much.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:12am

    And here we have another example of the “I have been silenced” fallacy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:19am

    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).

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 11:59am

    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?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    kallethen, 21 Apr 2021 @ 12:01pm

    Wait. Waht?

    There's no free speech because somebody's free speech is being protected?

    Does he realize how paradoxical he is being?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 12:31pm

    "Free"

    free speech no longer exists

    Speech has never been "free"... there are consequences for the speech you make, but you have the "freedom" to speak the words you want.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 1:20pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 1:31pm

    He can't sue The Simpsons because free speech still exists.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 1:44pm

    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.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 2:01pm

    Who?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • icon
    Mononymous Tim (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 3:14pm

    O..k.. Morrissey

    I've noticed that people who throw fits just to throw a fit usually don't make a lot of sense.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 3:21pm

    Morrisey is on the record saying the Chinese government dictatorship is better than anything in the UK or the EU.

    One of 2 things must be true:

    either he's a sellout to the CCP and would say anything for money, or would happily condemn people to torture, rape, sterilization and supports genocide

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 21 Apr 2021 @ 4:04pm

      Re:

      either [Morrissey is] a sellout to the CCP and would say anything for money, or would happily condemn people to torture, rape, sterilization and supports genocide

      I don't think those options are mutually exclusive.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 3:24pm

    Basically aging rockstar (with lets be honest shitty music that people have already forgotten) that actively condones the rape of Muslims and the genocide of "undesirables" complains about free speech

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 3:58pm

    I would like to see him try and sue, but I'd bet he'd cancel the court appearance the night before.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 4:15pm

    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

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 21 Apr 2021 @ 5:31pm

    Morrissey's still alive? Guess the pension and residuals aren't paying off like they used to.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Peter, 22 Apr 2021 @ 3:29am

    Who has a link?

    Before I did not know the parody existed. Now I wanna find the Simpsons episode just to see if the cartoon Morresy is as whiny as the real Morresy.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 22 Apr 2021 @ 3:35am

      Re: Who has a link?

      Impossible

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • icon
      Samuel Abram (profile), 22 Apr 2021 @ 5:48am

      Re: Who has a link?

      What country do you live in? If it's in the US, it's probably on Hulu. After the season is finished, it'll be on Disney+.

      Outside the US, I don't know where, but there's always a way on the internet…

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      • icon
        techflaws (profile), 22 Apr 2021 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re: Who has a link?

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Samuel Abram (profile), 22 Apr 2021 @ 2:48pm

          Re: Re: Re: Who has a link?

          That's what I was alluding to.

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        • icon
          Scary Devil Monastery (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 6:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Who has a link?

          ...and to think there are still people who believe piracy will ever go away...

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 12:06pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

            reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 28 Apr 2021 @ 6:14pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

              reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lucan Vorlov, 22 Apr 2021 @ 1:48pm

    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!!!

    :)

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 23 Apr 2021 @ 6:49am

    I haven't watched the Simpsons in ages. I see it's really staying topical. Morrissey?????????

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    3spos (profile), 25 Apr 2021 @ 3:41am

    thanks

    thx so much
    <a href='https://3s-pos.com/'>3s-pos</a&gt;

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    icon
    Bigosport (profile), 26 Apr 2021 @ 5:28am

    thanks

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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