I'd planned a vegan product review post for tonight. But that will have to wait because I've had a life-affirming (yet brilliantly horrific) experience. Morrissey played in Memphis for the first time ever tonight, and I had the pleasure (and the privilege) of seeing the show.
I'll admit — I'm not some old-school Smiths fan who has loved Morrissey forever and ever. When The Smiths were big, I was blasting Tiffany on my little pink boombox on the playground (hey, I was, like six or seven). I fell into Morrissey through my veganism and my animal activism years later. I heard "Meat Is Murder" by The Smiths after going vegan in 2004 and well after seeing the slogan on PETA leaflets.
But just like with nooch, if you're a vegan, you probably love Morrissey. He is, after all, the god of all things vegan. All of his stuff (new and old) is great, and over the past couple years, I've begun amassing a little Morrissey/Smiths collection in my iPod. I even love his new stuff — "World Peace Is None of Your Business" and "The Bullfighter Dies" from his soon-to-be-released new album.
The show tonight was absolutely brilliant. Stephanie and I swayed along to "Every Day Is Like Sunday" and "First of the Gang to Die" and plenty of other songs, old and new. But near the end of the show, there was a purely magical moment that basically affirmed why Morrissey is the greatest vegan on the planet. If you've seen him play live before, you've likely seen this. But it was new to me and many people in the room since Moz has never played here.
As the opening notes — and those horrific screams of cows and other "farm" animals — of "Meat Is Murder" played, scenes of cows having their necks slit, chickens' beaks being chopped off, and pigs being brutally castrated flashed onto the screen behind the band. And it went on and on and on. For at least 10 minutes, with the guitar noise and thrashing sounds making the heinous scenes seem all the more traumatic and brutal.
People in front of us held their hands over their eyes. I watched as one girl squirmed, averting her gaze as often as she could. They were a captive audience, and I can almost guarantee that the majority of the people at the Orpheum tonight were not vegan when they walked in. They may be now. Or a few weeks from now, however long it takes that seed to sprout. Screening that footage to that many people who paid good money for their tickets and were trapped in the theater was basically an animal rights activists' dream come true. If only we'd had that kind of audience back in the day when we were leafleting every weekend at KFC and the circuses that came through town.
I watched the entire video, never once moving my eyes from the screen. I hate watching that stuff but it's real, and it's awful, and there's no sense in turning away from the truth. I could only handle it by continually reminding myself that I am not a part of that violence and that, by being vegan and writing this blog and pushing vegan recipes, I'm doing everything I can to end that disgusting violence against animals.
Our Food Awareness members, Vaughan and Nicole, were asked my PETA to hand out "Go Vegan" leaflets and stickers in the Orpheum lobby. I truly hope some people picked up a few Vegetarian Starter Kits and made a change tonight. Thank you, Morrissey for all that you do for the animals.
(And to the asshole who yelled, "Wooo, let's go get some ribs!" after the show, you're a sad, insensitive soul masking your own guilt behind immaturity. No one thinks you're funny.)