Morrissey and Madonna: My Two Great Idols Always at War

Morrissey has always been a man unafraid to engage in a good old-fashioned feud. While his general favorites to sustain a war with have always been Johnny Marr and Mike Joyce, Madonna comes in at a close third for fitting into Morrissey’s criteria for most despicable human being. As someone who has always enjoyed the music of both The Smiths/solo Morrissey and Madonna, having to endure these bouts of ire often puts me in an uncomfortable position. It feels like I’m John Lennon being asked to choose between his parents and then causing agony by actually making a choice.

Warring views and styles
Warring views and styles

One of the peaks of Morrissey’s vitriol was in 2006, when he likened Madonna’s decision to adopt Malawian child David Banda to her skinning him to make a handbag. His cynicism about the woman he calls MacDonna (she’s fast, convenient pop culture, in case you didn’t get the reference) has yet again flared up in a recent tirade about the Brit Awards.

Morrissey on the Brit Awards
Morrissey on the Brit Awards

In an essay written for the Morrissey zine True to You (a platform which is somewhat telling of who is willing to allow Morrissey to go uncensored), the self-proclaimed ringleader of the tormentors notes of Madonna, “Thus, for 2015, we have MacDonna, who had a quiet 2014 (but who is quite usefully about to release her new album!), yet here she is again promoting her frightening career on the Brit Awards even though her music has not ever said anything at all about British life.”

Madonna at the 1995 Brit Awards
Madonna at the 1995 Brit Awards

His contempt for a woman he views as the representation of why music has become largely about effective marketing seems, however, a bit harsh–especially when considering that Madonna’s current message of positivity is “Living for Love.” At the same time, how can I begrudge a man whose lyrics see so deeply into my soul? All I know is, the sequel to Morrissey’s Autobiography is likely to have an entire hate chapter devoted to Madonna, which means, of course, I might not be able to buy it.

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