The Null Device

¡Oye Esteban!

¡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)

There are 3 comments on "¡Oye Esteban!":

Posted by: Buster Hihmenn Mon Aug 19 20:06:05 2002

See also:

"It's a curious phenomenon -- all over the sunny Southwest, Latino teens enthralled with the mope-rock saint of Manchester -- but it's no weirder than middle-class white boys thumping along to "Fuck Tha Police." Alienation knows no borders. And it's thrilling to see it, a subculture free of all the strained nostalgia and wink-wink irony that accompany most retro trends. These kids aren't in it for the camp. They love the Smiths. They need Morrissey, alchemist and worker of wonders, to make their misery a source of pride, to take away their loneliness and give it back to them transformed into something noble, beautiful even."

That quote from this article would describe one of my roommates from college, freshman year who introduced me to the Smiths. Except he wasn't lonely. He always seemed to be surrounded by attractive women. But oddly enough, I can't remember him ever dating any of them. He was into 80s music... and had lots of female friends...hey wai

Posted by: Graham Tue Aug 20 08:53:50 2002

Strange, I remember blogging that laweekly one a few months back...

Posted by: Buster Hihmenn Tue Aug 20 17:37:11 2002

As did I in May, which is why I brought it up. It's just one of those random things, like Germans loving David Hasselhof.

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