Never a man to worry about gauging the national mood, former Smiths front man Morrissey has criticised the Olympics, right at the height of Team GB fever.
“I am unable to watch the Olympics due to the blustering jingoism that drenches the event,” he wrote in a letter to fan club members. “Has England ever been quite so foul with patriotism?”
The author of The Queen Is Dead more specifically attacked the London 2012 Games for their connection to the British Royal Family: “The ‘dazzling royals’ have, quite naturally, hi-jacked the Olympics for their own empirical needs,” he went on, “and no oppositional voice is allowed in the free press. It is lethal to witness.”
The cost of hosting the Games during an age of austerity was a further cause of the singer’s ire. “As London is suddenly promoted as a super-wealth brand,” he wrote, “the England outside London shivers beneath cutbacks, tight circumstances and economic disasters. Meanwhile the British media present 24-hour coverage of the ‘dazzling royals’, laughing as they lavishly spend, as if such coverage is certain to make British society feel fully whole.
“In 2012, the British public is evidently assumed to be undersized pigmies, scarcely able to formulate thought.”
Many British sport fans have managed to enjoy the events themselves while also expressing dismay at the corporatisation of the Games, with official sponsors afforded vast amounts of advertising, backed by draconian brand protection measures. Morrissey, however, is not assuaged from his concern that “the spirit of 1939 Germany now pervades throughout media-brand Britain” by sporting feats. And he doesn’t like that Jamie Oliver either.
“The 2013 grotesque inevitability of Lord and Lady Beckham (with Sir Jamie Horrible close at heel) is, believe me, a fate worse than life,” concluded the You’re The One For Me, Fatty hitmaker. “WAKE UP WAKE UP.”
The rant is the latest in a long line of controversial statements by Morrissey and may, as on several previous occasions, have been driven by his vegetarianism and unswerving concern for animal rights. Burger chain McDonald’s is among the Games’ most prominent backers.
The medal table may also not have pleased him: the Chinese, whom Morrissey described in 2010 as a “subspecies” on account of their treatment of animals, are nevertheless currently top with 31 golds.