The Null Device

Posts matching tags 'denial'


LA Times journalist Joe Mozingo always thought that his family name was Italian, or possibly Basque. Then he discovered that it was Bantu, and the first Mozingo in America was a slave from the Congo, given the name Edward, who bought his freedom and became a free man in the brief period that was possible; over the next few generations, the Mozingo family line bifurcated and spread; the exact details were lost to history, but when the name next emerged, some of its bearers were considered white, and others considered black.

Mozingo then went to track down as many Mozingos in America as he could. Some had discovered the truth and had more details. Others had elaborate theories about why Mozingo is a proper white European names—tales of it being very common in certain Italian cities (whose phone books revealed not a single Mozingo), or of famed mountains named Mont Zingeau in France or Switzerland (of which no geographical records exist), of bogus Spanish etymologies, even an acceptably Caucasian founding myth involving an Italian boy named Moses Mozingo. One self-assuredly non-African Mozingo was a fount of racial prejudice, and spoke of family members—also named Mozingo—who had been in the Ku Klux Klan (making them, in the author's words, the only Bantu white supremacists in the US).

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¡Oye Esteban! Miserablist pop star par excellence Morrissey has become a cult figure among young Latinos in Los Angeles, and nobody quite knows why. Morrissey's new fans aren't mopey white suburban kids (no, those have rap-metal and industriogoth to angst along to), but marginalised Mexican youth in the space between Hispanic and anglo-American culture but not quite belonging to either. And thus, tattooed, macho homeboys openly cry along to Smiths songs, whilst refusing to believe that Morrissey might be gay.

"Some nights I lay in my bedroom and I listen to 'There Is a Light That Never Goes Out,' and I cry," he tells me. "I cry and cry and cry. I cry like a little bitch, man."
"People are always asking me if I'm gay because I have a photo of Morrissey hugging Johnny Marr," says Alex Diaz, a 16-year-old Smiths fanatic who plans on joining the marines when he's old enough. "My friends always ask me, 'Why do you like these queers?' But, you know, he's probably just bisexual. His songs aren't all about guys. Look at 'Girlfriend in a Coma'--that's about a girl. I think there probably would be some people who'd hate it if Morrissey ever came out and said he was gay, but, personally, I don't really care. And like I said, he's probably bisexual."

Mind you, the few remaining aging anaemic, besweatered wallflowers from the 1980s who haven't grown out of their Smiths phase don't quite know what to make of the new Morrissey fan subculture, one which they are as much outsiders in as they were back in high school:

"People have actually said to me, 'You like Morrissey? That's weird for a white guy.' And I find that completely bizarre," Hensley tells me, momentarily dropping his veil of irony for a grain of semi-sincere annoyance. "Most of the other people here wouldn't even know who Jarvis Cocker is. They only like Morrissey. We just came here to make fun of people."

(via Plastic)

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