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"God hates fags." - Michelle Shocked, 3/17/13
March 19, 2013 7:59 AM   Subscribe

Folksinger and self-described "sophisticated hillbilly" (and born-again Christian) Michelle Shocked went onstage at Yoshi's in San Francisco Sunday night for what audience members assumed would be a traditional folk concert. Into her second set, she began an anti-gay rant that included her saying, "When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back." She also reportedly told fans, "You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.'" Most of the audience walked out, and the staffers at Yoshi's kicked her offstage and banned her for life.
posted by flyingsquirrel (333 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hope she gets better.
posted by Capt. Renault at 8:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [74 favorites]


permabanned
posted by hellojed at 8:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Everyone has rights, and everyone has a right to their opinion, but not everyone's opinion has rights.

I hope she doesn't play the martyr card after the expected fallout. It's just getting ridiculous at this point.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:03 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


This sounds so over the top as to move into performance art?
posted by efalk at 8:03 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Regrettable. Born-agains always seem to get it the worst.
posted by Decani at 8:03 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Michelle Shocked anti-gay rant triggers Evanston cancellation
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:04 AM on March 19, 2013


"When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back."

If you're a Christian, wouldn't that be a good thing?
posted by Cash4Lead at 8:04 AM on March 19, 2013 [46 favorites]


Is this art?
posted by Artw at 8:04 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's fucking depressing that she turned out to be such a bigot. Especially considering that the biggest Michelle Shocked fan I've ever known is gay. This must be a terrible day for him.
posted by Afroblanco at 8:04 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Did she have a tiger blood transfusion or something?
posted by bondcliff at 8:05 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


I saw her show 20 years ago in Santa Fe. The entire event was good and sweet, and I cannot reconcile the person on stage then with the event that happened at Yoshi's. I do hope she gets help and recovers, if this was a breakdown, or rediscovers compassion, if this was a long-term change.
posted by zippy at 8:05 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Regrettable. Born-agains always seem to get it the worst.

But the really weird thing is that she was involved in the Occupy Movement. She even played the Rolling Jubilee.
Something is amiss here.
posted by NoMich at 8:05 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


"sophisticated hillbilly"

That's an oxymoron, but if you need to be fancy and au courant, everyone shortens it to just "moron" these days.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 8:05 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


What a great talent, really enjoy her music. But I always got the sense there was something a little off with her, based on her public antics over the years.

I try to separate the art from the politics, because I think the Bush fans who go to Springsteen or Roger Waters shows and come away outraged are idiots. But this is pretty bad.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:05 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Meaning, G. Bush. George. Not Gavin.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 8:06 AM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Rob Portman in favor of gay marriage and Michelle Shocked a homophobe. Welcome to Bizarro World.
posted by gwint at 8:06 AM on March 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


Michelle Shocked said what? 1990 OutLines interview surfaces

“I was with my first woman lover about a year and a half ago. To be honest, the real fear of coming out of the closet, not fear, but the real pressures of coming out of the closet had been if you had certain problems identifying yourself one way or the other.”
posted by NoMich at 8:06 AM on March 19, 2013 [18 favorites]


You know what? The more I think about this, I get mad. I'm wondering if she's really going for the backlash retort crowd. You know, after Huckabee and Palin start defending her, there will probably be a run on her CD in certain parts of the country.

...certain parts of the country that listen exclusively to country music. And she knows it.

I think, if that's the case, she's really offended homosexuals, but also offended country music listeners who aren't homophobes and born-agains, who are absolutely sick of being assumed to be such.
posted by Bathtub Bobsled at 8:07 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I hope she gets better.

Seriously. What a really weird spectacle. She's got a right to say what she wants, obviously. Clubs have a right to cancel or ban her and ensure that her career is effectively shunted into a fundies-only homophobes-only corner. I can't imagine that's a good business strategy.
posted by jessamyn at 8:08 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Maybe she had a Big Gulp and Chik-fil-eh before the show?
posted by srboisvert at 8:08 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Michelle Shocked anti-gay rant triggers Evanston cancellation.

The dates are being cancelled left and right. Her web site still shows a full calendar but if you go to the venue links, her shows are appearing as cancelled. Pretty much from now until.... well the future.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


The quote on the bottom of her Wiki page states that she said "You are going to leave here and tell people "Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots.", that's a bit different than "You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.'", I wonder which it was?
posted by HuronBob at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


That's fucking crazy. Especially considering that the biggest Michelle Shocked fan I've ever known is gay. This must be a terrible day for him.

Yeah, I'm sure it's some sort of self-selection thing happening but pretty much ALL of the Michelle Shocked fans I know are gay.

In fact...

On preview, NoMich finds some sort of proof for what I was going to allude to.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wonder if MDC know about this.

I remember when she was insisting that her cover photo for Arkansas Traveler be done in blackface. The rest of the world being somewhere between, "We know where you're coming from on this, roots music an all, but you really really shouldn't do this" and "absofuckinglutely no."

She knows when she's outrageous but I have a feeling she doesn't really have a sense of what kind of outrage she provokes. And she doesn't do irony; I doubt it was a put-on.
posted by ardgedee at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Folk-rock artist Erin McKeown writes on Twitter:

as a fan, mentee & having worked intimately w/#MichelleShocked, this is no surprise and not the 1st time.

there is no excuse for hate. NONE. but i have compassion for another persons obvious inner pain and self-hate.
posted by Bromius at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


Bigotry is not art. And it's not ironic. I sometimes wish our collective tendency, when we hear something horrible and shocking, wasn't to say, "is this real? Is this just art? No way can a person really feel that way."

People hate. Vehemently. So much so that they'd kill over that hatred.

Is it really so hard to believe?
posted by IvoShandor at 8:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Ignoring the awfulness:

As far as I'm aware, no one is proposing that priests should be forced to marry anyone they don't want to marry. Especially not at gunpoint.
posted by Flunkie at 8:10 AM on March 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


Um... wow. Sadly, I'm kinda with Bathtub Bobsled on this one: the anti-backlash may have been what she was going for. However, I think "God hates fags" may end up being too far for the Huckabees and Palins to defend.
posted by Etrigan at 8:11 AM on March 19, 2013


What if Christians actually acted the way that Jesus said they should act?

What. If.
posted by seanmpuckett at 8:11 AM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


I can't imagine that's a good business strategy.

I'm assuming you mean Michelle Shocked's business strategy?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:12 AM on March 19, 2013


"When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back."

If you're a Christian, wouldn't that be a good thing?


A "Christian" like Shocked is probably right to dread the prospect of Jesus coming back and seeing what they're doing in his name.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 8:13 AM on March 19, 2013 [23 favorites]


Old Testament god is way more fun than Jesus
posted by KokuRyu at 8:14 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Most of the audience walked out, and the staffers at Yoshi's kicked her offstage and banned her for life.

I guess they must have been...
(•_•)
( •_•)>⌐■-■
(⌐■_■)

...shocked.
posted by daniel_charms at 8:15 AM on March 19, 2013 [136 favorites]


Am I alone in thinking that before reading all of this that she was a lesbian?
posted by josher71 at 8:17 AM on March 19, 2013 [18 favorites]


Yeah, what it says on the tin.
posted by StickyCarpet at 8:18 AM on March 19, 2013


No.
posted by notyou at 8:18 AM on March 19, 2013


josher71: No, you're not.
posted by entropicamericana at 8:18 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Am I alone in thinking that before reading all of this that she was a lesbian?

Nope.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:18 AM on March 19, 2013


Look, stop all the hand-waving about her having the right to say what she wants. We all know she has the right. It's a given.

It's the same right that allows me to call her a bigoted shithead.
posted by lumpenprole at 8:19 AM on March 19, 2013 [31 favorites]


One really nice addendum to the article is the list of future shows, where nine of the ten listed are now canceled.

(Um, Wisconsin? Ya wanna weigh in here too maybe?)
posted by easily confused at 8:19 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


What is this I don't even.

Also from the linked article:
"I live in fear," she said, "that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry."

That is a very unhealthy way to live.
posted by drowsy at 8:19 AM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Good, her thoughts are known and beyond having Prussian Blue open for her, her career is over.
posted by spaltavian at 8:20 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


But the really weird thing is that she was involved in the Occupy Movement.

I don't think it's unheard of to be both a bigot and also interested in financial reform and a strong middle class.

I'm wondering if she's really going for the backlash retort crowd.

Considering her fan base I don't think being a bigot is a savvy business decision. There have been rumors about her mental health for a long time and it's really not that rare for a born-again Christian to turn their internal shame and disgust outward.
posted by muddgirl at 8:21 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


It would be great if all her cancelled gigs could be replaced with Jennifer Knapp, who made the same journey in the opposite direction, and is a devout Christian AND an out lesbian.
posted by Wylla at 8:21 AM on March 19, 2013 [10 favorites]


The Wikipedia page mentions,

"Her mother had her committed to a psychiatric hospital for a time during her teenage years."

Everyone has their struggle. It's not cool for her to go off like that, but a little Christian compassion for the woman might not be entirely inappropriate.

"where nine of the ten listed are now canceled."... "her career is over."

Quikcly, I am sure, to be replaced with other venues and new fans. Being anti-gay is not necessarily a bad business decision, but it should be.
posted by three blind mice at 8:22 AM on March 19, 2013


I don't hang out with many fundamentalists, so this is futile, and I know that. Please just let me get it out of my system.

Are you trying to follow the Way of Jesus? Trying to figure out what that means for sexual expression? Here's a rough beginner's guide:
1. If you've made a commitment to someone, following the Way means living that commitment except for under extreme circumstances. Yes, it may very well get really hard; that's why we make commitments in the first place, because we need them.
2. See #1. It's pretty important.
3. Sex is good. Don't get tricked into thinking that just because it's powerful and (very) distracting at times that it's bad. Welcome to life.
4. Are you exploiting people in their weakness (emotional, maturational, economic, etc.) to feed your wants? Are you unwilling to engage the fullness of communion and communication through your sexual expression (whatever that may be)? If "yes" to either one you have some thinking to do about what sex is to you and why.
5. There are (again, from the perspective of following the Way) some really good questions about sexuality. As you go about the process of answering them, remember that you are trying to follow the Way of Jesus, not the Way of You, or the Way I Wish the Way of Jesus Was. If you decide that you are over the Way of Jesus, be honest about it. Don't beat the plow shear into a sword.
5a. If you come to the conclusion that homosexual expression is not part of the Way, please remember that a) that is only true for people who follow the Way and b) its expression, not desire, that's off the Way. Also: porn (or whatever your weird thing is), and the plank in your eye. Remember it.
6. Arrogance. Exploitation. Deciding certain people are worth more, or less, than other people. These are the things that Jesus hates. Divorcees, people into BDSM, boys who kiss boys, and anything else you may want to put on that list are not things that Jesus hates. Ever. Ever ever ever ever ever.

You're gonna do great. Good luck. ^.^
posted by Poppa Bear at 8:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [14 favorites]



This sounds so over the top as to move into performance art?

My most charitable reading would be that it's Andy Kaufman Level performance art, which misfired leaving everyone bewildered.

But we only get issued one Andy Kaufman per universe.
posted by mikelieman at 8:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


So, it's possible that she's suffering some sort of mental illness, right? If so, I feel badly for her.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


As far as I'm aware, no one is proposing that priests should be forced to marry anyone they don't want to marry. Especially not at gunpoint.

Well the gunpoint thing is stupid, yeah, but I thought the whole idea of equality under the law is to prevent people from being allowed to discriminate against you. For comparison sake, are American priests able to refuse to marry interracial couples? (I honestly don't know, but would be kind of surprised if they were.)
posted by ODiV at 8:25 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


First, I was shocked to learn that Michelle still had a career. And after that I was surprised, because I always thought she was a lesbian and then I was contemptuous and then, when I read the Outlines interview I was shocked, surprised, contemptuous and sad. But mostly sad.

(It's been a bad week for musicians: Peter Murphy was arrested for DUI hit-and-run on Saturday.)
posted by octobersurprise at 8:25 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The quote on the bottom of her Wiki page states that she said "You are going to leave here and tell people "Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots.", that's a bit different than "You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.'", I wonder which it was?

...Why on earth does the exact wording matter?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 8:26 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's unlikely this is the result of mental illness - she's been a member of a conservative LA church for well over a decade.
posted by Wylla at 8:26 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I recognized the name from my early 90's undergrad years, but I realized I had never listened to Michelle Shocked before. Meh.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:26 AM on March 19, 2013


Quikcly, I am sure, to be replaced with other venues and new fans. Being anti-gay is not necessarily a bad business decision, but it should be.

People don't suddenly like music thy never liked before because someone made a statement she agreed with. She had a fanbase, and she alienated a big part of it. I didn't start listening to the Dixie Chicks when they opposed the war.
posted by spaltavian at 8:26 AM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


As far as I'm aware, no one is proposing that priests should be forced to marry anyone they don't want to marry. Especially not at gunpoint.

It's an article of faith among the more religious anti-gay-marriage crowds that priests and ministers will, in fact, be forced to marry gays in their churches, at the threat of imprisonment if they refuse.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:27 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I wasn't a fan before and I like her even less now.
posted by jonmc at 8:27 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


People don't suddenly like music thy never liked before because someone made a statement she agreed with. She had a fanbase, and she alienated a big part of it. I didn't start listening to the Dixie Chicks when they opposed the war.

True, but she may get invitations to play now in places that other musicians won't play, like the Boy Scout Jamboree.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:28 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


"I live in fear," she said, "that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry."

They already are, in many countries in the world.
posted by jeather at 8:29 AM on March 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Holding those kind of awful bigoted opinions would be bad enough and those would hurt her career in and of itself, even had she spoken them with less outward venom in say, an interview. But to just start spewing bile like that, live on stage... She'd better hope she has some money saved or a second career in the wings.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:33 AM on March 19, 2013


I was a fan many years ago. Saw her at this concert back in '90 but haven't really thought about her much since then. As has been said, I always assumed that she was gay so this seems so weird, religion can do odd things to people.
posted by octothorpe at 8:34 AM on March 19, 2013


I wonder if she should be checked for dementia or is having a mental breakdown of some kind; this seems so out of left...or rather, right...field. I am not a huge fan of hers, but it seems so strange to suddenly develop an intense bigotry like this..normally you have to be brought up in it. Of course, maybe she just hid it all this time.
posted by emjaybee at 8:34 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Oh my god, Peter Murphy was driving a Subaru Forester. That's far more suprising and outrageous to me than Michelle Shocked's bigotry.
posted by malocchio at 8:34 AM on March 19, 2013 [41 favorites]


"I live in fear," she said, "that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry."

Anyone who starts a sentence that way really doesn't need to finish it before stopping to reassess their life and priorities.
posted by carsonb at 8:35 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I think the priests should worry less about shotgun weddings and more about their own failings.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:35 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


However, I think "God hates fags" may end up being too far for the Huckabees and Palins to defend.

Well, in front of cameras anyway.
posted by emjaybee at 8:36 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


For comparison sake, are American priests able to refuse to marry interracial couples? (I honestly don't know, but would be kind of surprised if they were.)

Religion is a protected class, yes? And yet officiants from one religion can refuse to marry people who do not share that religion. Catholic priests can refuse to marry someone who was improperly divorced, even though their marriage is civilly legal. I don't see why sexual orientation would be a special case.
posted by muddgirl at 8:36 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's unlikely this is the result of mental illness - she's been a member of a conservative LA church for well over a decade.
posted by Wylla at 8:26 AM on March 19


Strange then that I can find many references to the head of that church (West Angeles Church in Christ) Bishop Charles Blake, having formally endorsed gay marriage.
posted by George_Spiggott at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


True, but she may get invitations to play now in places that other musicians won't play, like the Boy Scout Jamboree.

I entirely disagree. The Boy Scouts deserve all kinds of contempt for not embracing equal rights for gay people, and for giving stupid reasons for doing so. Functionally, that may be the same kind of bigotry. But theirs is a more passive aggressive bigotry. I don't see them asking people on stage who are going to start spouting Westboro Baptist level epithets like, "You tell 'em, 'God hates fags.'"
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I remember, in the nineties, some person talked to me about competing to be a White House Fellow (is that what they're called), and how Michelle Shocked was a finalist. To work in the Clinton White House. Yes, Clinton signed DOMA, but nonetheless, I think something Bad happened to her. Not to excuse her at all.
posted by angrycat at 8:38 AM on March 19, 2013


“Good, her thoughts are known and beyond having Prussian Blue open for her, her career is over.”

They've recanted somewhat, so I hear.
posted by Auz at 8:41 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good, her thoughts are known and beyond having Prussian Blue open for her, her career is over.
Last I heard, Prussian Blue had repented their ways. Given that they were little kids inculcated by their white supremacist mother, I'm inclined to forgive them.
posted by Flunkie at 8:41 AM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


muddgirl: What does that have to do with interracial couples? I missed the connection, if there is one.
posted by ODiV at 8:42 AM on March 19, 2013


For some reason I'm not really shocked by this.
posted by PHINC at 8:44 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The Wikipedia article is pretty informative:

Shocked put forward an ambiguous sexuality from the beginning of her career. Her music appealed to many people including lesbians. In 1989 she joked to a US broadcast television audience that the New Music Album of the Year award she won, beating out Tracy Chapman, Phranc, and the Indigo Girls, should have been called "Best Lesbian Vocalist".[6] After an Earth Day performance in Chicago in April 1990, she gave an interview to Christie L. Nordhielm of Outlines, a Chicago newspaper for the gay community. Accompanied by journalist Bart Bull, she told Nordhielm she felt boxed in by listener expectations that she was either straight or gay; she said, "I would like a much broader definition for myself."[3] She explained her wish to be politically and sexually subversive by saying, "I resent like hell that I was maybe 18 years old before I even heard the 'L' word. I mean, that's understood, growing up sheltered in a Mormon environment. But it would have made all the difference for me had I grown up knowing that the reason I didn't fit in, was because they hadn't told me there were more categories to fit into."[3] She said she did not condone the outing activities engaged in by members of ACT UP.[3] Since then, Shocked has been listed as lesbian or bisexual.[7][8]

In the mid-'90s, Shocked joined the choir of West Angeles Church of God in Christ. After attending for a number of years, she was born again.[2] Since her religious conversion, Shocked has made a number of statements against homosexuality, linking this stance to her religious beliefs. In a 2008 interview with the Dallas Voice, a gay newspaper, she said that she would be "honored" to be called an "honorary lesbian" but added:

“There are some inconvenient truths that I’m now a born again, sanctified, saved-in-the-blood Christian. So much of what’s said and done in the name of that Christianity is appalling. According to my Bible, which I didn’t write, homosexuality is immoral. But homosexuality is no more or less a sin than fornication. And I’m a fornicator with a capital F."[9]

posted by KokuRyu at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


When I heard about this, it reminded me of my old roommate.

He befriended me on Facebook after I hadn't heard from him in years. At the time, something seemed off about him, but I wasn't sure what it was until my sister and another friend separately contacted me and told me that he was schizophrenic, and, as my sister put it "found God. And his God is very mean to him."

Apparently God spoke to him through ATMs, and admonished and punished him severely. And his God apparently compelled him to go on a strange homophobic rant on the page of one of my gay friends.
Really hateful stuff, although he denied that it was meant to be hateful.


Not that this makes what she is saying any more forgivable but....I get the feeling that Michelle Shocked's God might be that same God, and that God is tormenting her as well.
posted by louche mustachio at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2013 [31 favorites]


Shocked, shocked I tell you.
posted by klangklangston at 8:46 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Michelle, shocked?

Who expected such a thing?
posted by busillis at 8:48 AM on March 19, 2013


ODiV, the connection is that it's an example of a religion not being forced to marry people against the tenets of that religion. Another example is that they don't have to marry people who don't actually belong to their religion.

I honestly don't know for sure one way or the other about interracial marriages, but I would be pretty surprised if the government forces churches to perform such marriages, or any other marriages. The point is that the government must allow the marriage, not that any particular religion must.
posted by Flunkie at 8:48 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Yes, you're all very clever.
posted by ODiV at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm really sorry to hear about this. I like her music a lot; still listen to it after all these years, still feel it holds up. I saw her at the 8x10 in Baltimore sometime in the early 90s and it was a great show. I kind of had the sense that she's always been more than a little on the edge of madness and it sounds like she fell over. It happens and I hope she gets the help she needs, although that isn't easy to find. Mental illness is a horrible thing.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:49 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


she seems unwell, and it seems like she's been unwell for awhile. this article might be of interest to the thread. devout mormon mom who committed her to an institution, 11 year marriage that she describes as being between 2 co-dependent alcoholics, and then there's this :
Did she consider having children?

Shocked takes a deep breath. “That was the premise for the marriage, to start a family. But as a young firebrand, I made a very radical decision.” At age 22, she got her tubes tied—largely for political reasons. “I knew there was going to come a time in my life where I would want to speak vehemently about a woman’s right to choose without having it turned back on me, saying you’re acting out of guilt and shame because you had an abortion. I made the ultimate sacrifice.”

She later tried to get the surgery reversed, without success. After countless rounds of unsuccessful in vitro fertilization, she deeply regrets her choice—although she finds solace through the church. She says quietly, “I have to put my faith on it, because otherwise I really screwed up.”
and she ends it all up with this :
She painted her bedroom to look like a jewel box: One wall is sapphire, one emerald, one amethyst, and one garnet. Lying on her gold satin bedspread, she confides, “I find that I have attention-deficit disorder in my prayers. I start praying to God, and the next thing I know, I’m worrying about all kinds of mundane things. I finally came up with a vision for what it’s really like to pray. I’m in my bedroom, but one wall is missing, and that wall is just clouds. The room is just a little particle in the big consciousness that is God. So when I’m praying, I face the clouds and I take a running leap.”
posted by nadawi at 8:51 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Michelle Cracked!
posted by 2N2222 at 8:53 AM on March 19, 2013


As an Eastern Kentuckian, I just wanted to say that some of us hillbillies are real sophisticated.

But this'n ain't one of 'em.
posted by edguardo at 8:53 AM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


Even more horrified than the audience were Yoshi's staffers. The manager, assistant club manager, and sound production engineer who were on duty shut down the show immediately, turning off the lights and cutting off the microphone, said Yoshi's representative Lisa Bautista. An apology was made and refunds were offered.

Good for Yoshi's. I hope this gets them a little extra support in the form of people going to see shows- they filed for bankruptcy in December. (I also hope not many people ask for refunds, but it's not at all unreasonable to want one).
posted by oneirodynia at 8:54 AM on March 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


One always has to be careful in labeling another's religious beliefs as delusional, but she sounds unwell, and I take this more as an expression of illness than of hatred. I hope she can find mental health in the future.
posted by tyllwin at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh my god, Peter Murphy was driving a Subaru Forester. That's far more suprising and outrageous to me than Michelle Shocked's bigotry.

I was a Bauhaus fanatic in the 80s, and back then of course I dreamed of buying a hearse, but these days, yup, I drive a Forester too.
posted by Flashman at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


To elaborate on my earlier comment, she always seemed really attention-hungry and into posturing, at least to my eyes, and this dosen't do much to change that opinion.
posted by jonmc at 8:56 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The quote on the bottom of her Wiki page states that she said "You are going to leave here and tell people "Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots.", that's a bit different than "You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.'", I wonder which it was?

...Why on earth does the exact wording matter?
Because when you're getting ready to tar-and-feather someone, the wording matters.

The first suggests that Michelle Shocked is implying that her audience has misunderstood her and that as a result, they will troop off to twitter and say "Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots."

The second suggests that Michelle Shocked instructed the audience to tweet, "Michelle Shocked says God hates fags."

Those aren't quite the same.

On the other hand, in light of all the other evidence (the staff response, the mass exodus, etc), this discrepancy probably doesn't help her escape the tarring and feathering.

On preview: Wow, nadawi. She's certainly never been afraid to lay it all out there, has she?
posted by notyou at 8:57 AM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


I was a Bauhaus fanatic in the 80s, and back then of course I dreamed of buying a hearse, but these days, yup, I drive a Forester too.

This is exactly me.
posted by jessamyn at 8:57 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Erin McKeown goes on to say, "(cont,) there is no excuse for hate. NONE. but i have compassion for another persons obvious inner pain and self-hate." If you scroll down to the bottom of that Twitter thread, there's a bit more.
posted by clavicle at 8:57 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Tangentially related, and a little more uplifting:

The House Across From Westboro Baptist Is Getting a Rainbow Pride Paint Job Right Now

Side note: WTF is with Gawker being awesome again? I don't want to like them as much as I do...
posted by zombieflanders at 8:58 AM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think we should all can the armchair diagnosis - this is not a spur of the moment thing. She pulled a similar stunt at a liberal-Christian festival in 2011. She's explicitly linked her "conversion to homophobia" to her conversion to her current church, over a decade ago.
posted by Wylla at 8:59 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


That must be some wicked self-hate involved in the hate she's spewing.

Isn't that always the way though?
posted by edheil at 9:00 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I was a Bauhaus fanatic in the 80s, and back then of course I dreamed of buying a hearse, but these days, yup, I drive a Forester too.

[azrael from goth talk voice]

Is it a BLACK SUBURU, mmm hmmm hmmm?"

[/azrael]
posted by entropicamericana at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Side note: WTF is with Gawker being awesome again? I don't want to like them as much as I do...

They contain multitudes.
posted by Artw at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Oh my god, Peter Murphy was driving a Subaru Forester. That's far more suprising

What's surprising is that, to me, nothing says "outdoorsy lesbian" like a Subaru Forester. My hypothesis: Peter Murphy stole Michelle Shocked's car.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [22 favorites]


Ugh; this is just so sad. I was a big fan of hers back in the Texas Campfire Tapes/Short Sharp Shocked days but even then there was often something a little "off" in her self-presentation; there was always a distinct "does not play well with others" vibe that would come through in interviews. It was certainly no surprise that she sang about her background of psychological troubles.

Those suggesting that this is some kind of cunning career move are really badly misreading both the person and the situation, I think. She remains an outspoken lefty on most causes, so there's no way she's suddenly going to be getting booked to open for Ted Nugent or something. She's simply fouled her own nest in some sort of quest to be a 'martyr' for her sad and shameful cause. I say again: ugh.
posted by yoink at 9:02 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I saw her about six months ago at Joes Pub and she seemed fine then; she talked about how someone who had bullied her in school now wanted to friend her on FB.

When she told the audience at an early 90's show that she was getting married there was a huge groan, then someone called out "we still love you!", which she seemed to take well.

In about 2000 someone told me that her then-husband was gay; my hunch was that it was a marriage of protection if true
posted by brujita at 9:03 AM on March 19, 2013


I worry that I'm being overly-forgiving because I like her music. I think it's possible to be detrimentally charitable - by implying that people who may be mentally ill shouldn't be taken seriously when they express an opinion. I'm sure her religious convictions are deeply-held, and it seems like an insult to her to say that we should treat her with more compassion than any other bigot.
posted by muddgirl at 9:03 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Erin McKeown goes on to say, "(cont,) there is no excuse for hate. NONE. but i have compassion for another persons obvious inner pain and self-hate." If you scroll down to the bottom of that Twitter thread, there's a bit more.

I wonder what happened with a XMas show:

Kathleen EdwardsVerified account ‏@kittythefool
@erinmckeown I think you recall our Xmas show. I agree. Clearly she's not well. Hard to find compassion when she spits bullshit.

posted by drezdn at 9:04 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ah here it is:

Kathleen EdwardsVerified account
‏@kittythefool
I did an Xmas holiday toy drive charity show where she declared, "first marines give the kids toys, then they kill them."

posted by drezdn at 9:05 AM on March 19, 2013


As they say, fear is the mind killer.
posted by b1tr0t at 9:06 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is a good reminder that just because someone can sing/play an instrument it doesn't mean they should be listened to when not singing/playing that instrument.
posted by tommasz at 9:07 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Flunkie: Yeah, I'm not too familiar with the US on this, but I would be kind of shocked if you could keep someone out of your religion based on their race or if it was against the tenets of any major religion there to marry outside of your race. Are religions allowed to keep someone out of their religion based on sexuality?

My impression is that priests are essentially forced to marry interracial couples right now and that they will (hopefully) be similarly forced to marry homosexual couples in future. The imprisonment and "at gunpoint" talk is hyperbolic and stupid, but it will happen and it will be a step forward. If not by legal means then by societal pressure, the will of their congregation, or the church's leadership.

(My "very clever" comment was directed at the puns on her name one-liners.)
posted by ODiV at 9:07 AM on March 19, 2013


Oh Peter Murphy, what are you doing? And why are you wearing a beige shirt in that mugshot?
posted by Kitty Stardust at 9:07 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


it seems like an insult to her to say that we should treat her with more compassion than any other bigot.

Not every other bigot was committed to a mental institution in their teens, however. There is some reasonable objective motivation for at least considering the possibility of psychological illness as part of the motivation of this latest act.
posted by yoink at 9:08 AM on March 19, 2013


I'm sure her religious convictions are deeply-held, and it seems like an insult to her to say that we should treat her with more compassion than any other bigot.

How much compassion do garden variety bigots deserve?
posted by notyou at 9:08 AM on March 19, 2013


I'm not surprised, when half the neo-con idiots in our country started life as contrarian, absolutist, Trotskyites. Extreme, black and white thinking personalities just morph forms over time.

Old story, extreme leftist to extreme rightist, the extreme is the key. Add identity instability, which needs strong statements and distinctions, and viola!

The Christopher Hitchens model.
posted by C.A.S. at 9:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


I think we should all can the armchair diagnosis - this is not a spur of the moment thing.

who's saying it's a spur of the moment thing? my comment saying she was unwell was pointing out that she's been unwell for a while. she's certainly not the first person i've heard of who got sober, didn't treat their mental illness, got hooked into a fundamentalist church, and came out the other end with a lot of hateful ideas based in fear.
posted by nadawi at 9:10 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


The first suggests that Michelle Shocked is implying that her audience has misunderstood her and that as a result, they will troop off to twitter and say "Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots."

The second suggests that Michelle Shocked instructed the audience to tweet, "Michelle Shocked says God hates fags."


You know, honestly, who cares?

So sick of this, "but you didn't understand what I really meant" excuse that gets brandied about by people in the spotlight after they say something horrible. Michelle Shocked doesn't get the privilege of saying bigoted shit and then claiming that her audience misunderstood the bigoted shit she said, because semantics.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was a Bauhaus fanatic in the 80s, and back then of course I dreamed of buying a hearse, but these days, yup, I drive a Forester too.

This is exactly me.


OH MY GOD. I'm Jessamyn.
posted by Sophie1 at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well, dang. Now I'll have to file those CDs next to the Orson Scott Card books. I'm running out of room on the Artists Formerly Thought Well Of shelf.
posted by Mary Ellen Carter at 9:12 AM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


Thorzdad: " It's an article of faith among the more religious anti-gay-marriage crowds that priests and ministers will, in fact, be forced to marry gays in their churches, at the threat of imprisonment if they refuse."

Which is kind of ironic, considering that they often seem to be the same folks that try to blur or completely eliminate the lines between church and state.
posted by zarq at 9:13 AM on March 19, 2013


Wait, I thought she was gay. Did she hit her head on the way onstage or something?
posted by wenestvedt at 9:14 AM on March 19, 2013


ODiV - the US has more protections on religious freedom than most other countries. US clergy can not be forced to marry anyone they don't want to marry on whatever grounds.

This freedom has been used by gay-friendly churches as well as anti-gay ones - for example, some churches refuse to marry heterosexual couples in states where they can not marry gay couples.
posted by Wylla at 9:14 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


(Um, Wisconsin? Ya wanna weigh in here too maybe?)

Give 'em time. The Harmony's pretty low-tech; they might not have even heard about this yet. It's a great blues joint, if you're ever in the neighborhood. If they don't cancel her I'm tempted to go and see if it's a trainwreck or if she apologizes, but I'm not sure it's worth $20 and three hours to find out.
posted by echo target at 9:15 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays,

Well this wouldn't happen if the priests had guns.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:15 AM on March 19, 2013 [25 favorites]


are American priests able to refuse to marry interracial couples?

American priests can refuse to marry anyone they please. This is because we have the First Amendment to the Constitution saying that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." If a religion preaches against interracial marriages, then priests of that religion can refuse to perform marriages. Keep in mind, that religious marriages don't have legal standing anyway (outside, I suppose, of a common law context in those states that have common law marriage).

It's an article of faith among the more religious anti-gay-marriage crowds that priests and ministers will, in fact, be forced to marry gays in their churches, at the threat of imprisonment if they refuse.

This is because these are the same people who don't understand or believe in the principles of the First Amendment. They are typically the same people who believe it is their right to force their own religious beliefs down the collective American throat, and so it simply never occurs to them that the same protections others enjoy from their beliefs also apply to practicing those same beliefs without interference.
posted by slkinsey at 9:17 AM on March 19, 2013 [20 favorites]


I'm not too familiar with the US on this, but I would be kind of shocked if you could keep someone out of your religion based on their race or if it was against the tenets of any major religion there to marry outside of your race.
First, perhaps I should be clear that I'm only talking about being "forced" from the point of view of the government compelling you to do it. Societal pressure and so forth is irrelevant with regards to what I'm talking about, as would be the idea that there are no major religions that keep people out based on their race.

With that said (and again only from the compelled-by-government perspective), I'd be shocked if what you said you'd be shocked by were not true. A relatively recent example is that the Mormon church discriminated against black people until, what, like the 1970s or something like that. Blacks were allowed to join, but they couldn't become priests.
posted by Flunkie at 9:19 AM on March 19, 2013


Well this wouldn't happen if the priests had guns.

Yeah but what happens when the gays have priests, huh? Then you're taking a gun to a priest fight and Jesus sure won't like that.
posted by cmonkey at 9:19 AM on March 19, 2013 [19 favorites]


From 1992, during her blackface minstrel controversy: "Everything's happening. It's a really good time in my life. It's all coming together at once."
posted by Capt. Renault at 9:20 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I haven't listened to Michelle Shocked for 20 years so my brain now mixes her up with kd lang.

Either kd lang needs to cut out this anti-gay crap or I need to try to remember who's who better.
posted by MuffinMan at 9:20 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


That would make a great Grindhouse film: Nuns With Guns, about a crack team of badass wimpled warriors who battle the government troops sent to force priests to marry gays.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:21 AM on March 19, 2013


Yeah but what happens when the gays have priests, huh? Then you're taking a gun to a priest fight and Jesus sure won't like that.

Djesus Uncrossed.
posted by zombieflanders at 9:21 AM on March 19, 2013


or if it was against the tenets of any major religion there to marry outside of your race.

are you saying in present day or a few decades ago? because dade christian school, one of the "segregation academies", claimed they needed to be segregated because of their religious opposition to interracial marriage.

as for current - here's a church in kentucky that banned interracial couples until it hit the news. and here we have a judge refusing to perform interracial marriages.
posted by nadawi at 9:21 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


So sick of this, "but you didn't understand what I really meant" excuse that gets brandied about by people in the spotlight after they something horrible. Michelle Shocked doesn't get the privilege of saying bigoted shit and then claiming that her audience misunderstood the bigoted shit she said, because semantics.

There's a vast world of difference between Fred Phelps-type homophobia and your average Christian "God will be pissed off with us if we let gay people get married" position and it's just kinda silly to pretend that there isn't. One wants us to actively persecute people for being gay, the other demands only that one particular right (the right of marriage) be withheld from gay people--but that in all other ways they be fully accepted members of society. Both positions are morally wrong, of course, but to pretend that there is no difference whatsoever between them is like pretending that there's no difference between being a Jew in Nazi Germany and being a Jew in late C19th Vienna.

So, yeah, there is, in fact, a significant difference if she said, in effect, "you're all going to misrepresent what I said by posting on Twitter that I said that 'God Hates Fags'" or if she said "hey, you can tell the Twitterverse from me that God Hates Fags!!"
posted by yoink at 9:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Because when you're getting ready to tar-and-feather someone, the wording matters.

The first suggests that Michelle Shocked is implying that her audience has misunderstood her and that as a result, they will troop off to twitter and say "Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots." The second suggests that Michelle Shocked instructed the audience to tweet, "Michelle Shocked says God hates fags." Those aren't quite the same.


Yeah, still not seeing the distinction. It's not like if I were upset when I heard that she used the word "fags", but then found out she actually said "faggots," my reaction wouldn't be, "oh, well that's alright then."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:22 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Forgive me, my friend
Did I forget to mention?
The path that you have chosen
Is paved with your intentions
Touch a finger to your nose
I wish you well
Walk a straight line on the road to hell

posted by erniepan at 9:23 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, still not seeing the distinction. It's not like if I were upset when I heard that she used the word "fags", but then found out she actually said "faggots," my reaction wouldn't be, "oh, well that's alright then."
The distinction has nothing to do with whether she said "fags" or "faggots". It's that what her website says she said is at least conceivably compatible with the meaning "I predict that you will go out on Twitter and misinterpret what I said."
posted by Flunkie at 9:26 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Flunkie Yeah, you're right, we did start talking about forced in the government sense and then I started talking about it in the general sense. When I said "essentially forced" I did not mean legally (as the rest of that comment hopefully made clear).

as for current - here's a church in kentucky that banned interracial couples until it hit the news. and here we have a judge refusing to perform interracial marriages.

Yes. This is what I was talking about by "essentially forced". Looks like both were come down on pretty hard by superiors and community and are no longer in a position to discriminate in this manner.

It is my hope that homosexual marriage reaches this level of "protection".
posted by ODiV at 9:27 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's that what her website says she said is at least conceivably compatible with the meaning "I predict that you will go out on Twitter and misinterpret what I said."


I've read your response four times and I'm sincerely not sure what you mean. (I am a bit sleep-deprived.) Can you dumb it down a bit?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:28 AM on March 19, 2013


Blacks were allowed to join, but they couldn't become priests.

they couldn't hold the priesthood which is so much worse than just not being able to be priests. they weren't able perform the temple ordinances which means that unless someone did the work after they died, they couldn't have an eternal family and they couldn't reach the highest level of heaven. outside of the afterlife beliefs, it also meant they couldn't bless their own children, couldn't hold callings in the church, were very much not full members of the church. and keeping the priesthood away from black men also meant that their spouses, often black as well, were barred from the full benefits of the religion.

the mormons just released a revision to their scriptures that tries to downplay this awful time in their history.
posted by nadawi at 9:29 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


. . . but I would be kind of shocked if you could keep someone out of your religion based on their race or if it was against the tenets of any major religion there to marry outside of your race. Are religions allowed to keep someone out of their religion based on sexuality?

My impression is that priests are essentially forced to marry interracial couples right now and that they will (hopefully) be similarly forced to marry homosexual couples in future.


Prepare to be shocked, because your assumptions are entirely wrong.

A US church can refuse to marry anyone they want for any reason, including explicitly race and sexuality. Furthermore I, as a gay liberal atheist who understands what separation of church and state means, would fight to support their right to exclude anyone from anything.

I emphatically do not hope that "priests...will (hopefully) be...forced to marry homosexual couples." That's not my America.
posted by General Tonic at 9:30 AM on March 19, 2013 [20 favorites]


She sounds like she's struggling with so much self-loathing and regret that it's hard not to feel a little compassion towards her. I mean she's obviously been supported by the GLBT community for the majority of her singing career and whatever weird bit of guilt, self-loathing, and conservative upbringing is telling her that she needs to demonize the very community that has supported her.

I can't even imagine the sort of desperation needed to make that sort of decision.
posted by vuron at 9:30 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


here we have a judge refusing to perform interracial marriages.

And that guy resigned after considerable pressure and was subject to a lawsuit that was eventually dropped. The guy was a Justice of the Peace which is basically a government official. There is some debate about whether he was legally allowed to do what he did, but I don't think that there's any debate that what he did was not something he'd be allowed to do and keep his job. I am also a Justice of the Peace, so I've been following this because it's interesting to me.

This sort of thing was a thing in Vermont when we got civil unions and some town clerks (government officials) refused to issue the licenses for them, for what was then the functional equivalent to gay marriages (we now have actual gay marriage). There were some lawsuits and basically the determination was that if a clerk refused because of some sort of ehtical/spiritual issue, the town still had an obligation to offer civil union licenses and had to appoint (and pay) someone else willing to do this job.

The moral panic aspect of this has made a lot oft he legislation that we see being passed in support of gay marriage have specific language in it that means churches won't be forced to marry gay people--even though as someone said above, they're not the legal part of the marriage anyhow--it's a complicated situation of competing rights so a lot of it is going to get legally sorted by lawsuits surrounding people being awful and we have to wait and see about some of it.
posted by jessamyn at 9:31 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


It is absolutely legal for religious officials to refuse to marry an interracial couple, in America. It is not legal for civil officials to do so, but bigoted pastors absolutely can -- and will, and do -- refuse to perform the marriage ceremony for an interracial couple. They may be subject to social pressure, or to discipline from higher in their order, but not from the law.
posted by KathrynT at 9:33 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]




Give 'em time. The Harmony's pretty low-tech; they might not have even heard about this yet. It's a great blues joint, if you're ever in the neighborhood. If they don't cancel her I'm tempted to go and see if it's a trainwreck or if she apologizes, but I'm not sure it's worth $20 and three hours to find out.


I'd go. I loves me some Harmony and heckling a bigotted shitbag would be just thing I need to lift my spirits after this neverending winter we're having.
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 9:35 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've read your response four times and I'm sincerely not sure what you mean. (I am a bit sleep-deprived.) Can you dumb it down a bit?
I can sure try.

First, forget about "fags" vs. "faggots". Just believe me, that has nothing to do with the distinction.

She's quoted here as saying "You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says (blah blah blah).'".

Her website quotes her as instead saying "You are going to leave here and tell people "Michelle Shocked said (blah blah blah)."

The first pretty unequivocally means "(Blah blah blah), and you can quote me on that."

The second might mean that same thing. But (at least out of context) it might instead mean "I bet you're going to say I said (blah blah blah)", which might very well be meant as "I bet you're going to incorrectly say I said (blah blah blah)."
posted by Flunkie at 9:35 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


to be clear, i was speaking to the idea that there would be shock if opposition to interracial marriages would be part of any major religion and i was showing examples that interracial marriage in the US isn't something that is sorted and done and everyone agrees is an awesome thing that should be performed everywhere.

i'm glad to hear that justice of the peace resigned.
posted by nadawi at 9:35 AM on March 19, 2013


Oh my god, Peter Murphy was driving a Subaru Forester. That's far more suprising


I don't find it especially so- Trent Reznor used to drive a 1978 Volvo 244GLE.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 9:36 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Y'know, I'm just waiting for some outed Republican congressman to use this one: "I'm not gay by choice, the Obama administration forced gayness on me!"
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:37 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


She's quoted here as saying "You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says (blah blah blah).'". Her website quotes her as instead saying "You are going to leave here and tell people "Michelle Shocked said (blah blah blah)." The first pretty unequivocally means "(Blah blah blah), and you can quote me on that." The second might mean that same thing. But (at least out of context) it might instead mean "I bet you're going to say I said (blah blah blah)", which might very well be meant as "I bet you're going to incorrectly say I said (blah blah blah)."

Oh, you're talking about the first part of the sentence. Okay, gotcha.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:38 AM on March 19, 2013


I worry that I'm being overly-forgiving because I like her music. I think it's possible to be detrimentally charitable - by implying that people who may be mentally ill shouldn't be taken seriously when they express an opinion. I'm sure her religious convictions are deeply-held, and it seems like an insult to her to say that we should treat her with more compassion than any other bigot.

I don't think taking her seriously is incompatible with having compassion. These are awful, hurtful things to say and believe. But it really seems from the various interviews like the inside of her head is a very unhappy place to be.
posted by enn at 9:38 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It doesn't strike me as all that surprising, really. I'd heard anecdotes going back a couple decades that made her seem a bit... difficult to work with. At least on a professional level, in strange and unreasonable ways.

And, yes, there always seemed something a bit off with her personality when I first heard her back in the 80s. So this sudden onstage hostility doesn't really surprise me much. She was going to play a venue around the block from my house this weekend that looks like it's been cancelled. Sounds like religion may have fucked her up, perhaps conspiring with pre existing personality issues to turn her into a bigger asshole than she might otherwise be. Hope things can turn around for her.
posted by 2N2222 at 9:38 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Based on her other comments in previous interviews about being "sanctified, saved-by-blood of Christ," and saying that fornication was no better or worse a sin than homosexuality, it seems much more likely to me that her flavor of Christianity is "love the sinner, hate the sin" type (which is odious bullshit, to be sure) rather than the Fred Phelps type, which is much worse, but also extremely rare. I personally have never met any Christians who subscribe to the latter point of view, and I doubt Michelle Shocked does. Now, given the more charitable interpretation is more likely to be true and doesn't really let her off the hook in any serious way, I think that's the way to take it, unless evidence to the contrary turns up.
posted by skewed at 9:40 AM on March 19, 2013


So, yeah, there is, in fact, a significant difference if she said, in effect, "you're all going to misrepresent what I said by posting on Twitter that I said that 'God Hates Fags'" or if she said "hey, you can tell the Twitterverse from me that God Hates Fags!!"

I'm sorry, but if a person makes an anti-gay rant in public and immediately claims that it's going to be "misrepresented" as anti-gay, then that person is a disingenuous jerk.

I've said it before, one can try to cover one's bigotry with religion, but at the end of the day, it's still bigotry - and if people call you out on that, well then good on them.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:41 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least one fan on Twitter believed that the "God hates f--s" line was spoken ironically, as if she were predicting that that's what her message would be reduced to. But Christine Penfield, the on-stage tweeter's wife, is one of those saying there was only one way to take what she was saying. "She said 'Please tweet that Michelle Shocked said on stage that God hates faggots.' There was no irony," says Christine, who used the hashtag "#takingmyhusbandback" as the show fell apart.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:41 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


The inside of lots of people's heads is a pretty unhappy place to be. Let me be clear - I'm not criticizing anyone else's reaction to this story. I'm examining my own urge to treat Michelle Shocked with compassion mixed with condemnation, rather than straight-up condemnation the way I react to other bigot breakdowns like Michael Richards or Mel Gibson.
posted by muddgirl at 9:42 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's unlikely this is the result of mental illness - she's been a member yt of a conservative LA church for well over a decade.

She has a documented background with paranoid schizophrenia. She claims she started going to church to study the music but went "one Sunday too often" and joined the church.

This isn't unprecedented. Little Richard came out of the closet, they got religion and slammed the door again, making publicly homophobic statements. Couple that with a paranoid psychotic episode, you have the making up a public meltdown in which the paranoia expresses itself as gay panic, which, given Shocked's lesbian experiences in the past, wouldn't be entirely surprising.

I am not a shrink, of course, but I hope she gets to one and wish her the best. If, in a year or two, she's still spewing hate, I will call her a bigot. At this moment, there is real reason to think she may be having a schizophrenic episode, and it is not my policy to rush to judgment on that sort of thing.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:44 AM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


slkinsey: "Keep in mind, that religious marriages don't have legal standing anyway (outside, I suppose, of a common law context in those states that have common law marriage)."

Say what? I'm legally married, and the only ceremony we had was a religious one.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:44 AM on March 19, 2013


SuperSquirrel -- did you get a marriage license? That's the legal part.
posted by macadamiaranch at 9:47 AM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm legally married, and the only ceremony we had was a religious one.

The power was vested in your officiant both by your religious organization AND by the State. It was both a religious and a civil ceremony. I only had a civil ceremony (no religion involved). Sometimes people in the US will get married at the courthouse, and then follow that with a religious ceremony - that doesn't mean they've been married twice, it means the religious ceremony in that case didn't have a civil component.

Gosh, it's much simpler in countries that require a strictly civil ceremony for all couples.
posted by muddgirl at 9:49 AM on March 19, 2013


Actually I'm pretty sure it's the signing and witnessing of the marriage certificate that does it. The marriage license is a legal prerequisite in most states but getting one doesn't make you married.

I believe it's typical, though it may vary by jurisdiction. that the certificate must be signed by the officiant who should be recognized by the state as such. This presumably includes ministers of organized churches.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:50 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


ODiV: Are religions allowed to keep someone out of their religion based on sexuality?

Religions aren't part it the government here. The First Amendment allows for the right of free association and freedeom of religion. Just like how I could keep you out of my private club for any reason.

They cannot discriminate in employment for certain protected classes, to the extent that trait doesn't affect the job. Hence, a Catholic church couldn't refuse to hire a Jewish person to be a janitor due to their religion, but could do so for the position of priest.

Believe it or not, this is a good thing. A religion's right to associate freely is the same right for Protest groups to form without being shut down by the government.
posted by spaltavian at 9:50 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


slkinsey: "Keep in mind, that religious marriages don't have legal standing anyway (outside, I suppose, of a common law context in those states that have common law marriage)."

Say what? I'm legally married, and the only ceremony we had was a religious one.


Legal marriage isn't a "ceremony" per se, so much as it is the obtaining and signing and solemnizing of a special legal document called a marriage certificate. You probably did this sometime at or before your religious ceremony, but the ceremony part is not required to obtain a legally valid marriage certificate. If you don't have a marriage certificate, you're not legally married.
posted by slkinsey at 9:51 AM on March 19, 2013


Oh my god, Peter Murphy was driving a Subaru Forester. That's far more suprising


I don't find it especially so- Trent Reznor used to drive a 1978 Volvo 244GLE.


Yes, but that is, to this day, a VERY bleak Volvo. A Volvo of Despair.
posted by FatherDagon at 9:51 AM on March 19, 2013 [26 favorites]


Say what? I'm legally married, and the only ceremony we had was a religious one.

If you're in the U.S. and your officiant didn't sign the paperwork and file (or someone filed it) it with the county, you're not civilly married, probably. IANAL.

Michelle Shocked was a force in the incipient queer/women's music scene. My facebook feed is full of people freaking out and being sad.
posted by rtha at 9:52 AM on March 19, 2013


Thanks for all your responses. I assumed societal pressure against racism was greater and anti-discrimination laws were farther reaching in the US than than they are, sorry. You can stop replying to my derail now. :P
posted by ODiV at 9:53 AM on March 19, 2013


but the ceremony part is not required to obtain a legally valid marriage certificate.

Further complication - every state is different. According to my officiant (a Deputy Commissioner of Marriage for a Day), in California there are indeed certain words that must be said for a wedding license to be legally solemnized (the "By the power vested in me by the State of California is one part - I don't remember the rest). That is, a ceremony of some kind is legally required. The signed witnesses are actual witnesses to the ceremony.
posted by muddgirl at 9:54 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I find it hard to believe that no one was recording this concert on their smartphones. Says something about the age profile of a Michelle Shocked concert, I guess.
posted by yoink at 9:55 AM on March 19, 2013


It's San Francisco. Everyone has smartphones.

It's more likely that Yoshi's forbids it, and the venue is small enough that they can actually enforce it. And, culturally (for Yoshi's), it may just be a thing that You Don't Do.
posted by rtha at 9:58 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Further complication - every state is different.

Indeed, for instance, you may not be legally married by a ship's captain in New York state.
posted by ennui.bz at 9:59 AM on March 19, 2013


I assumed societal pressure against racism was greater and anti-discrimination laws were farther reaching in the US than than they are, sorry.

Social pressure against racism is actually pretty strong here, and especially institutionalized racism as practiced by governments. At the same time the separation of church and state and our weird decision to have both the church AND state be mixed up in what we call marriage makes these issues thorny in the US. Interracial marriages are legally allowed in the US and it's illegal for the state to disallow them. That doesn't mean any particular church can be coerced into performing them legally though they might be through social pressure.
posted by jessamyn at 10:00 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Come a Long Way (self-link)

(not trying to pimp my blog, but this event really knocked me for a loop and I said a lot there.)
posted by Legomancer at 10:00 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I'm not an expert on Shocked, but this really looks to me like a not-well person trying to prove something in the most public way possible. I hope she gets better soon.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:01 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's the text of the OutLines interview with the formatting corrected, if you found the Dallas Voice copy too distracting.

The link that oneirodynia posted to the Yahoo! Music Blog really is the best coverage of the incident I've seen, with first-hand, close-up accounts of Shocked's weird behaviour on the night of the concert. (I found it via the links to Erin McKeown's Twitter account that a few people posted).

They're both worth reading. That she's clearly suffering in some ways doesn't give her a right to foist that suffering on others, of course, but venues are pulling out left and right, and she's effectively (and I suspect definitively this time) cut herself off from virtually her entire fan base, so she won't have much of a platform anyway. That's probably for the best all around, and I hope she gets better herself.
posted by wreckingball at 10:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


She's playing a bit of a stupid Twitter game right now, tweeting cryptic things about "truth vs. reality" and responding to one commenter's thought that she may have been attempting irony as "100% accurate." Aparrently all will be revealed in an upcoming interview.
The whole thing is pretty gross and sad.
posted by chococat at 10:09 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


She's got a lock on next year's CPAC gig....
posted by vonstadler at 10:11 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


But the really weird thing is that she was involved in the Occupy Movement.

I don't think it's unheard of to be both a bigot and also interested in financial reform and a strong middle class.

Put another way, economic justice and LGBT rights are not inherently entwined. For example, one of the biggest lawyers at the Catholic League is also a vigorous and longtime defender of the working class and of labor rights. In many ways, he's very conservative, and in other ways, he's very much not. Contrast this person with, say, your stereotypical fedora-wearing libertarian from Reddit, who may very much wish all the best for anyone on the LGBT spectrum, but who may also support policies that would very much increase income equality, and so on and so forth.
posted by Sticherbeast at 10:11 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Last response on the topic, I promise! I just find this fascinating.

That doesn't mean any particular church can be coerced into performing them legally though they might be through social pressure.

And I was under the sincere impression that social pressure was such that a priest/minister/pastor refusing to perform interracial marriages pretty much always ended up in a huge blowback necessitating their "retirement" or public contrition and promise to change.

I guess it's just a factor of the news items I happen to see out of the US rather than what's happening there, day to day.

Thanks again.
posted by ODiV at 10:15 AM on March 19, 2013


And I was under the sincere impression that social pressure was such that a priest/minister/pastor refusing to perform interracial marriages pretty much always ended up in a huge blowback necessitating their "retirement" or public contrition and promise to change.

Probably they would. If you look at that JP story, he had refused to do a few interracial marriages before this one but it was only when the people made a big deal about it and it hit the news did social pressure come into play. I'd have a hard time imagining a religious official refusing to perform an interracial marriage not turning into a thing, but I would be less surprised if there were some racist religious officials who have not been asked (and hence have not refused) to perform such ceremonies. I'm happy to chat with you over email about this if you want more specifics. Marriage laws and customs in the US are pretty strange specifically because the religious and the legal overlap.
posted by jessamyn at 10:21 AM on March 19, 2013


And I was under the sincere impression that social pressure was such that a priest/minister/pastor refusing to perform interracial marriages pretty much always ended up in a huge blowback necessitating their "retirement" or public contrition and promise to change.

That does happen. But that's a community response, not a governmental response. As long as the US government doesn't force churches to perform weddings they do not wish to, the constitution is intact.

It happens. There are churches that won't perform interracial marriages. This tends to be a pretty unpopular position, but there's nothing saying you can't take it, stand by it, and, if your church members are fine with it, you can continue to be a church, albeit one that many people will consider racist.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:24 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Here's the coverage from the local gay paper, which happened to have a reporter in attendance.
posted by gingerbeer at 10:25 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Several different news sources are citing the quote "You can go on Twitter and say, 'Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.'" In this NBC Bay Area article, the source is attributed to Matt Penfield, who was live-tweeting the event from the stage. I'm guessing it's the Wikipedia quote that's off the mark.

I saw Michelle Shocked open for Billy Bragg on my college campus in 1987 (at SUNY Binghamton, in the Nelson Mandela Room, as it was called back then). Replete with cowboy boots, hairy armpits, big grin and guitar, she blew us all away, this living, breathing symbol of everything we were discovering in college, coming out of the 1980s: multiculturalism, gay rights, tolerance, love for fellow humans, and a renewed focus on activism. She was so human, so real. "Anchorage" and "The L&N Don't Stop Here Anymore" still get heavy rotation in my mixes and playlists.

I'm heartbroken, not just as a fan who will have trouble listening to these songs which helped shape my youth, but for her, who's obviously struggling with some serious issues (self-loathing? fear? guilt?). As someone who deals with mental illness, I want to refrain from analyzing and diagnosing her; none of us can really know how her choices and experiences have affected her psyche. Was it really hate speech, or was it ironic? At this point, I don't care. I feel sorry for her either way. The damage has been done, and all that's left is surprise and sadness.

Before this happened, I hadn't heard that she'd become born again. I think religion is, for some people, a hiding place where they can avoid facing things about themselves that they hate/fear. I'm not making a generalization here, just basing this on my own experience, because I've seen this happen in my family: my mother (who was born Jewish) became born again to escape the lingering effects of childhood abuse and an all-consuming, crippling depression. It was scary, how religion took hold of her. Also, Michelle Shocked was an alcoholic; my mother was addicted to narcotic painkillers. Both of them replaced their addictions with religion, which sadly (in my experience) does nothing to get at the root cause of the hunger for escape/forgiveness/absolution. It just provides another path through the darkness.

Sorry if I'm rambling, it's just that learning this news (and compiling the links for the FPP) was more upsetting than I'd anticipated.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 10:25 AM on March 19, 2013 [29 favorites]


Are we sure it wasn't just Victoria Jackson in a really good costume?
posted by scody at 10:26 AM on March 19, 2013 [13 favorites]


Why does the exact wording matter?
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:26 PM on March


Because one of those is a weary expression that she knows how this is going to be reported - in an inflammatory "Michelle Shocked hates fags" way - and the other one is an actual suggestion that people ought to report it that way. Wording really does matter. Different words carry different connotations.
posted by Decani at 10:26 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I saw Michelle Shocked perform at a progressive Christian seminary in the LA area around 2003 or 2004. I had heard of her, and was expecting a well.. standard left-wing artsy folksinger. She wasn't on for more than a few songs when she began with the "washed in the blood, born again" business, which was... uncomfortable. It struck me as completely tone deaf given the crowd. Didn't anyone tell her we weren't THOSE kind of Christians? Then she brought on her pastor, a blustery man, who began a prayer that thanked God for George W Bush and the liberation of Iraq, at which point one person in the crowd had the temerity to boo, and a few others hissed. The pastor stumbled and looked surprised. Shocked sort-of apologized and explained her new born again faith, and admitted it was an awkward fit with some of her fans, and just shrugged and said "she was still figuring things out." In the end, everyone was too uncomfortable to enjoy the show, but too polite to leave.
posted by reverend cuttle at 10:27 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


flyingsquirrel, thanks for that lovely, nuanced reading of the situation. There does seem to be some undefinable darkness and pain at the center of all this. (I saw her for the first time on the same Billy Bragg tour in '87 -- "so human, so real" was exactly what made her so wonderful.)
posted by scody at 10:29 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Quote from the article I linked above:

"But things started to fall apart for the signer during her second set, which she said was "all about reality." She immediately began a rant that left the audience stunned. She said she was tired of Christians hiding behind the cross.

"When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization and Jesus will come back," she said.

Loud gasps were heard from the audience. Many fans walked out.

"I believe the Bible is the word of God," Shocked continued. More audience gasps were heard. More fans exited and some shouted pro-gay sentiments including "Gays deserve to marry," "That is a rotten and horrible thing to say," "Jesus loves people," and "Don't bash people for who they are."

One woman shouted: "Don't say that shit in San Francisco."

Shocked replied, "Where do I go to say it?"

In response to audience reaction, Shocked offered a Spanish prayer that "God loves you. God loves us. God loves us all everywhere." Later, in English, she said: "God bless us everyone."

Many fans questioned the singer out loud: "What are you saying?"

With a broad smile, Shocked said. "You are going to leave here and tell people 'Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots.'"

That comment produced more gasps and more departures. Two-thirds of the audience had walked out by this point. Some left the club; others retreated to the club's bar.

It was then that the show ended."
posted by gingerbeer at 10:31 AM on March 19, 2013


It seems, from the progression of the interviews, that she started out attending her church just to hear the gospel music, then converted but kept her old views on sexuality more or less intact, then progressed to "its-a-sin-but-im-a-sinner-too" and then "i'm the world's greatest homophobe" over time.

It's very clear from that video of her singing in her church that she was a "silent" but very fervent member for a very long time before going public. The pastor's introductory remarks praise her for that, and for major gifts of property to the church.

As much as we'd love to believe it, she didn't just have some mental-health episode and suddenly change her views, regardless of her mental-health history...she's just been getting more homophobic, and more public about it, gradually over time.
posted by Wylla at 10:36 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am having trouble finding a link via smartphone, but I have it on good authority that Syd Straw posted on FB that for the record, she loves fags.

I heart Syd Straw.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 10:37 AM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I found this pretty comical, actually:

I saw Michelle Shocked perform at a progressive Christian seminary in the LA area around 2003 or 2004. I had heard of her, and was expecting a well.. standard left-wing artsy folksinger. She wasn't on for more than a few songs when she began with the "washed in the blood, born again" business, which was... uncomfortable. It struck me as completely tone deaf given the crowd. Didn't anyone tell her we weren't THOSE kind of Christians? Then she brought on her pastor, a blustery man, who began a prayer that thanked God for George W Bush and the liberation of Iraq, at which point one person in the crowd had the temerity to boo, and a few others hissed. The pastor stumbled and looked surprised. Shocked sort-of apologized and explained her new born again faith, and admitted it was an awkward fit with some of her fans, and just shrugged and said "she was still figuring things out." In the end, everyone was too uncomfortable to enjoy the show, but too polite to leave.
posted by KokuRyu at 10:40 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh my god, Peter Murphy was driving a Subaru Forester.

And he was in Glendale. GLENDALE, people. The least goth spot on the planet.
posted by scody at 10:41 AM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Zod hates flags.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:41 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't want to derail the thread or anything, but I need some guidance. I have an Outback, not a Forester. Can I stay on MetaFilter, or do I have to go back to Kuro5hin or to Reedit or something?
posted by wintermind at 10:46 AM on March 19, 2013


And he was in Glendale. GLENDALE, people. The least goth spot on the planet.

What, there's no Denny's in Glendale?
posted by Wylla at 10:50 AM on March 19, 2013 [7 favorites]


You can drive that car and stay, but only if you're not Robert Smith.

(Good Christ. Robert Smith was born in 1959.)
posted by notyou at 10:50 AM on March 19, 2013


She's obviously very ill.
posted by Wordwoman at 10:51 AM on March 19, 2013


Re: Peter Murphy

The bats have clearly left the bell tower.
posted by pashdown at 10:52 AM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


@yoshisSF_OAK: "WE AT YOSHI'S SF DO NOT & WILL NOT EVER TOLERATE THE TYPE OF BIGOTRY & HATRED EXHIBITED LAST NIGHT BY @MShocked SHE WILL NEVER BE BACK."

Good for them.
posted by zarq at 10:52 AM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


She's got a lock on next year's CPAC gig....

Duet with Ted Nugent. "I Got You Babe." There are worse fates. Allegedly.
posted by gompa at 10:54 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Robert Smith appears to favour Ladas (presumably a Niva if it was a 4x4).
posted by titus-g at 10:55 AM on March 19, 2013


She's obviously very ill.

That was my initial impression, too. Or at least that she's battling some demons. But perhaps this is simply who she is, now made public. We can't really tell.
posted by zarq at 10:57 AM on March 19, 2013


She's obviously very ill.

This reading seems both charitable and condescending, somehow. The problem is that this actually isn't at all obvious. What is obvious is that she has a historically complex relationship with queer sexuality. Why should she get off the hook for saying awful things that promote the oppression of queer people? Does she get a pass on exactly one public homophobic diatribe?
posted by clockzero at 11:06 AM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


Michelle Shocked said what? 1990 OutLines interview surfaces

Even though I hadn't seen this interview, I had always assumed she was a lesbian. WFT?
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:10 AM on March 19, 2013


Maybe if the Episcopal Church had more gospel music, she might have found a different kind of Christianity.
posted by john wilkins at 11:12 AM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


"When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back."

And, yes, this is the scary place a lot of the echo-chamber born-agains are in.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:13 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


I regret we are spending time and energy on this shit, which would be better spent talking about Phranc.
posted by benito.strauss at 11:19 AM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


better spent talking about Phranc.

AKA World's Awesomest Tupperware Lady
posted by scody at 11:21 AM on March 19, 2013 [12 favorites]


Blatant publicity stunt...there will be a Rolling Stone interview to follow, no doubt....
posted by littlejohnnyjewel at 11:43 AM on March 19, 2013


There's a vast world of difference between Fred Phelps-type homophobia and your average Christian ...

In related news ...

Westboro Baptist Church Founder Fred Phelps May Be Gay, Suggests Former Member Lauren Drain
A former member of the Westboro Baptist Church who recently published a book about leaving the hate-mongering group has also revealed that founder Fred Phelps's anti-gay ideology may have spawned from a gay experience.

Lauren Drain, 27, was a member of the Topeka, Kan., congregation until she challenged the group's beliefs and had to leave. She sat down this week with the Advocate to discuss her book and her journey from follower to free.

Drain suggested to the Advocate that founder Fred Phelps might have formed the Westboro Baptist Church and begun his anti-gay crusade because of a gay experience. He was a Boy Scout who graduated with honors and was headed for the military, she said. Then, at 17, Phelps changed his mind and was suddenly set on becoming a preacher to fight against "sexual immorality.

Via the Advocate:
I never understood why, when [the media asked him], “Why are you so against the homosexuals? Did you have a homosexual experience? Do you have homosexual tendencies?” And he would get so mad, he would shut down. And he’d be like, “I can’t talk to this person anymore, they’re stupid.” His reaction to that was stronger than any other question you can ask him. So I always wondered that — why does he get so mad? If I’m not gay, I’ll just say I’m not gay. And I’m not going to freak out, like, “Why are you calling me gay?” I always thought that was super strange. … I don’t know what happened there, so [speculation] is all that I can leave it at. But something happened, and something made him change his mind about the military, and in turn have kind of a crusade against sexual immorality and homosexuals.
posted by ericb at 11:50 AM on March 19, 2013


FatherDagon: "Oh my god, Peter Murphy was driving a Subaru Forester. That's far more suprising

I don't find it especially so- Trent Reznor used to drive a 1978 Volvo 244GLE.


Yes, but that is, to this day, a VERY bleak Volvo. A Volvo of Despair.
"

You might call it a ...

pretty hate machine.
posted by krinklyfig at 11:50 AM on March 19, 2013 [20 favorites]


an account of the keys I pressed upon loading up this thread:

ctrl-F stroke ctrl-F brain tumor ctrl-F brain cancer ctrl-F tumor ctrl-F brain

Maybe I'm just uber-forgiving, but whatever she's got, it's got to be something functionally equivalent to a stroke or a tumor. In any case, something has scrambled her but good. nthing the "I hope she gets better from whatever caused this" sentiment...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 11:51 AM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


My impression from reading the articles is that this was planned by Shocked. She chose to do this in San Francisco, her pre-rant tweet suggested she was nervous about it (so she knew she was going to be provocative), and she's been gradually moving in this direction since she was born again. Assuming the whole point wasn't just publicity, I imagine she believes she was speaking truth to power. Where better to come out publicly as against homosexuality in a city known for being tolerant?

Sometimes, people develop beliefs as they age that would have made their younger selves disgusted. I don't have any trouble believing that she is mentally sound and that she's grown into a "hate the sin love the sinner" type who has always been, by nature, a provocateur. And who has always had some challenges expressing herself clearly (she's sent mixed messages about subjects since I have been following her).

I would prefer to believe this was an act or a symptom of a breakdown or a sign of self loathing, but I think the simpler explanation is that she's become a religious bigot over several years of attending church.
posted by Joey Michaels at 12:04 PM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


She's obviously very ill.

I just want to say one more thing about this, and I don't mean to pile on you, Wordwoman, and hope this isn't a derail. I think that women who say awful things sometimes don't get taken to task in the same way a man would if he said the same thing, and I think it happens in part because women's speech just isn't taken as seriously as men's; this is a correlate of how's women's achievements are undermined and diminished in relation to men's. I think that's deplorable, and I feel it's not only appropriate but important to not let bigoted or hateful women off the hook for taking the side of oppression. We shouldn't make excuses for women that foreground illness or weakness unless there's independent evidence that they actually suffer from mental illness. Women have been called crazy and ill as a way to shut them up and discredit them for a very long time and I feel that it's kind of regressive to forgive a woman who spouts homophobia by making the same basic rhetorical move.
posted by clockzero at 12:05 PM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


chococat: "She's playing a bit of a stupid Twitter game right now, tweeting cryptic things about "truth vs. reality" and responding to one commenter's thought that she may have been attempting irony as "100% accurate." Aparrently all will be revealed in an upcoming interview.
The whole thing is pretty gross and sad.
"

It seems highly unlikely that she would allow her audience to walk out and Yoshi's to cut her mic off and ban her for life if she felt like she were misunderstood. Otherwise, I would think she'd immediately try to do or say something to clarify, rather than let her show and tour be cancelled before saying anything.
posted by krinklyfig at 12:06 PM on March 19, 2013


Bigotry is not art. And it's not ironic.

No, but lots of artists express bigotry in their art, and artists sometimes profess bigotry with an ironic intent.

I don't know if that even applies to the situation being discussed. I always thought she was phony and boring anyway.
posted by snottydick at 12:08 PM on March 19, 2013


Well, I hope she enjoys playing gigs in the kinds of gays-are-bad churches from now on, since she's unlikely to get gigs at the usual folky/singer-songwriter venues.
posted by rtha at 12:10 PM on March 19, 2013


Re the question of "ill/not ill" there is this bit of testimony from the audience member who was her onstage tweeting partner:
When people ask if she seemed high or drunk, she didn’t. She seemed like someone who had actually gone off medication—anxious and rocking back and forth and a lot of activity and about to explode with emotional anxiety. I have a lot of compassion for her, because she’s clearly processing some heavy emotional s---, but she shouldn't be doing it in front of a room full of strangers."
He sounds like a thoughtful, observant guy and he was actually there--up close and personal--when it all went down. It's hardly dispositive, of course, but it's an interesting observation.

Clockzero, I can't speak for others, but I can assure you that I don't suspect mental illness as the root cause of every anti-gay pronouncement, whether the speaker is male or female. In this case we have a person with a known history of mental disorders as well as the first hand account (above) that she appeared to be in some kind of deep distress on the night she gave this performance. There's room there to wonder about a possible psychological cause without that being simply a matter of idly dismissing a woman's ability to own her own opinions.
posted by yoink at 12:16 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Yoink - as several people have pointed out, she's made statements as bad as what she said last night in several other venues, and over many years, including to gay media and at a Christian festival 2 years ago, where she declared herself a homophobe and decried any notion that she might be supportive of gay Christians.

Of course she was nervous - this was likely something she planned as a more public statement of her views, in a venue where it was likely to get more attention than in a local gay paper or at a small Christian event.
posted by Wylla at 12:23 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


At least one fan on Twitter believed that the "God hates f--s" line was spoken ironically, as if she were predicting that that's what her message would be reduced to. But Christine Penfield, the on-stage tweeter's wife, is one of those saying there was only one way to take what she was saying.

And there's this:
Michelle Shocked, known for living up to her surname, cleared out San Francisco club Yoshi’s last night, and shut down the venue, after she went on an anti-gay tirade, which she summed up by saying, ”You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags.’”

... Matt Penfield, onstage live-tweeting the performance for Shocked was, well, shocked.

“Eerie foreshadowing at Michelle Shocked show,” Penfield said. “before the show she talked about how ‘people seem like your friends then they turn on you.’”

Her first set was “all cool. 2nd set, she got up went full hate speech,” he tweeted.

... Last night [Shock] tweeted: "Truth is leading to painful confrontation #shortsharpshocked".
posted by ericb at 12:23 PM on March 19, 2013


I am also really sad that this is getting so much more attention than the other big news from the new-evangelical world today, or some of the other recent statements by Christians that might be of interest. Or even the far cooler thing that happened at the same Wild Goose Festival where Michelle Shocked declared herself a homophobe.
posted by Wylla at 12:30 PM on March 19, 2013


A little Syd with the Golden Pals as a palate cleanser.
posted by klangklangston at 12:35 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yoink - as several people have pointed out, she's made statements as bad as what she said last night in several other venues, and over many years, including to gay media and at a Christian festival 2 years ago, where she declared herself a homophobe and decried any notion that she might be supportive of gay Christians.

Except those are wildly tendentious readings of her statements. In that long, fraught interview with the Dallas Voice, for example, she doesn't come across, at all, as simplemindedly homophobic. What she says is that she is struggling to reconcile her religious beliefs, what it says in the Bible, and her own feelings towards gays. Here she is in the interview:
"Right now, the evangelicals are staking out a ground. And they are saying there is reconciliation between God and man for every human being on this earth - except for gays. And I don’t know who gave them that right!

"I’m here to say, not that homosexuality is wrong. I’m here to say that there is reconciliation through the blood of Jesus Christ for every human being on the face of this earth. And no one is entitled to speak on God’s behalf and say who does and who doesn’t have that right. Because that price was paid - purchased by the blood of Jesus Christ."

To her credit, Shocked hashed out this topic with Dallas Voice for almost three hours. She was angry, frustrated, funny, brilliant and deeply concerned over how her beliefs about sin would sound to her gay fans.

"I like the sound of being called an honorary lesbian and the comparisons to black disco divas," she laughs. "But right now, I’m a dug-in-the-heels fundamentalist who’s not too happy about it."

Any chance she would ever become a minister who’ll develop a following and bless same-sex marriage?

"Now I’m about to accuse you of becoming a fundamentalist," she jokes. "Listen, I don’t have the answer for how gay marriage or the homosexual question relates to Christianity. God’s power can reconcile those whom he loves. I don’t know how, but he can do it. It’s a mystery. And I don’t have the answer, but I will point you in the right direction."
That is a pretty far cry from "God hates fags." If she'd said something like that on the stage at Yoshi, do you think we'd all be reading about it today?
posted by yoink at 12:36 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Speaking of Westboro Baptist Church: The House Across From the Westboro Baptist Church Is Now a Rainbow-Colored Gay-Pride Center.

I hope this starts a trend. That little housie is totes adorbs.
posted by Capt. Renault at 12:38 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Speaking of Westboro Baptist Church...

Thank you for posting that! I just saw that on Facebook, and was going to add it here too.
posted by flyingsquirrel at 12:41 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


What if Christians actually acted the way that Jesus said they should act?

A huge majority of them do. Check the founders and roll calls of every major human rights campaign in American history. And the Supreme Court members that gave us Roe vs. Wade and a slew of separation of church and state rulings.

For that matter check the numbers on how many Americans are Christians. Sorry they scare you, because the Christians are calling from inside your house!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 12:41 PM on March 19, 2013 [8 favorites]


lumpenprole: "Look, stop all the hand-waving about her having the right to say what she wants. We all know she has the right. It's a given.

It's the same right that allows me to call her a bigoted shithead.
"

Bigoted conflicted shithead seems more accurate. Betcha someone pressured her into finding a cure for that evil disease called homosexuality/lesbianism.
posted by Samizdata at 12:44 PM on March 19, 2013


Ted NNugent is still alive? Must be planning his 'live from Folsom'' album. Anyway, it's a shame about Michelle, she had some early good stuff and while never following her closely I thought well of her, and would listen to her stuff from time to time.
posted by edgeways at 12:44 PM on March 19, 2013


Oh, wow. My heart breaks for the self-loathing and doubt she must be carting around.

All the same, I think I'm going to have to say I'm an ex-fan.
posted by mibo at 12:46 PM on March 19, 2013


I was a guest at her wedding--my uncle was a groomsman--at Union Station in 1992. Her cake introduced me to marzipan. There were big crepe flowers and we danced in a big procession through the Mexican stands on Olvera Street.

I'm pissed that that's not cool anymore, and now all I've got is taking an order for Harry and David pears from Bea Arthur.
posted by darksasami at 12:47 PM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


Apparently she's going to do an interview on radioornot.com on Thursday that will address this, what do we call it?, shitstorm?
posted by yoink at 12:51 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


yoink >

Clockzero, I can't speak for others, but I can assure you that I don't suspect mental illness as the root cause of every anti-gay pronouncement, whether the speaker is male or female. In this case we have a person with a known history of mental disorders as well as the first hand account (above) that she appeared to be in some kind of deep distress on the night she gave this performance. There's room there to wonder about a possible psychological cause without that being simply a matter of idly dismissing a woman's ability to own her own opinions.

I see that her mother had her committed to an institution, but perhaps that happened because she thought her daughter was gay? I don't know that she has a history of mental disorders. That's speculation. What we do know is what she said. And as for that eye-witness account, to say that she "looked like" someone who had recently gone off medication is the very height of baseless speculation. The things that person described could just as easily have been nervousness or a dozen other things.

I'm not accusing you, certainly, of anything. I'm just saying that I think there's a gendered component to people feeling sorry for her and thereby dismissing the things she's saying.
posted by clockzero at 12:53 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"Folk singer Michelle Shocked, who has in recent years publicly rejected her lesbian fan base, became incensed when asked about her “position on homosexuality” by an audience member. “Who drafted me as a gay icon? You are looking at the world’s greatest homophobe. Ask God what He thinks,” she said, before shutting off her microphone to complain, “There is always someone who wants to catch me.”

Not sure how to read that in any other way, really - that's 2 years ago, btw.
posted by Wylla at 1:00 PM on March 19, 2013


Michelle Shocked, kd lang and Melissa Etheridge walk into a gay bar. Except Michelle Shocked doesn't 'cause they don't let her in.
posted by bendy at 1:04 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


That gay pride center (which is a great thing) looks kind of like Skittles World Headquarters.
posted by jonmc at 1:06 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


Re the question of "ill/not ill"

It needn't be one or the other, really; she can be mentally ill and philosophically opposed to homosexuality. She's seems to have struggled with both of those for much of her adult life. If I had to guess, I'd guess that she's a self-loathing case and mentally ill and that the two have always been all bound up together. And that's sad. Luckily, I don't have to guess, because she's a minor performer who never had much of a stage to broadcast her views and who'll now have an even smaller one. Sincerely homophobic or insincerely homophobic or crazily homophobic, it doesn't really matter much except to her and her loved ones.

not just as a fan who will have trouble listening to these songs which helped shape my youth

It's up to every individual to determine how her opinions inflect her songs for them, of course, but if you were a fan of what she produced in the past, I see no reason why you can't continue to be a fan of what she produced in the past.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:11 PM on March 19, 2013



This is so sad. I'm going to pray for her.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:21 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


literally shocked audiences on Sunday

Really, sfist? Really?
posted by chavenet at 1:26 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


One really fine aspect of this thread is that the first comment is by Capt. Renault, and it's so much more clever and on point than the obvious one which he was uniquely qualified to make.
posted by George_Spiggott at 1:27 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


if you were a fan of what she produced in the past, I see no reason why you can't continue to be a fan of what she produced in the past.

I only have five or six of her songs in my library and I don't plan on removing them. I also didn't plan on downloading any more of her work before this rant and I can't imagine I'll be buying any more still. I don't have an issue with enjoying a piece of art despite how I feel about the person who created the art.

Plus, if I am playing a song of hers and somebody else likes it and asks who sang it, it gives me a chance to get on my little soap box and talk about how she's become a bigoted idiot and isn't that a shame?
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:28 PM on March 19, 2013


Seconding Poppa Bear's comment waaaay upthread. For the life of me, try as I might, practice as hard as I can and follow the Way as diligently as possible, I simply cannot find a way into believing that Jesus Christ advocated hate, bigotry or violence against others. I can wrestle with some kind of systematic analysis of Jesus' teachings, looking for the underlying scheme and it just all comes back to radical radical love. The hardest kind of love possible: loving those who get your goat, because your goat is that part of yourself that you don't yet love. This is a really profound spiritual path, both simple and extremely challenging to follow.

I have sympathy for those that struggle in following the Way. It is not easy to commit to this worldview. Everything in society is geared against it. Love is a private emotion that is not to be spoken about or shared in the public realm. Judgement and "othering" is what society wants from us. So the practice is hard and it's easy to fall into a rut.

I don't know if Michelle Shocked has fallen into a rut in her practice of the Way, but it looks like she is caught in one of the many self-justifying eddies in the current of this practice where you get trapped in the view that you are a martyr and that martyrdom is a Christlike place to be. You close yourself to the world because martyrdom is a high calling. People trapped in these eddies believe that the example of Jesus is one who becomes a martyr for any cause.

As far as I can see though that is a complete misrepresentation of what Jesus died for. He was sentenced to death for healing people, for loving strangers and pariahs, and for challenging those who would apply law before simple human kindness. In contrast to the hate mongers, the "fags" that "God" hates are the ones closest to Christ's example - brave humans who from time to time are killed for and die for love. For them (us?) love is the most important thing and people like Michelle Shocked and Fred Phelps and others are the ones who, rather than accelerating the arrival of the kingdom of God with their pious and misguided diatribes are instead failing to see the very people who embody the best about Jesus' teachings.

For me as a Christian, and for many many many other Christians, our greatest teachers are our friends and partners and lovers and pals who are LGBTQ. Whenever I doubt the path, I turn my eyes to their struggle, and fall down humbled at the courage and example of the Christs who walk among us.
posted by salishsea at 1:29 PM on March 19, 2013 [16 favorites]


W/r/t the list of Ctrl+F keywords, I'd actually heard she'd been diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic a few years back. I've only seen folks parroting the claim rather than anything to back it up, though, so this may just be a rumor/attempt to explain the unexplainable.
posted by Rev. Syung Myung Me at 1:31 PM on March 19, 2013


... I always assumed she was gay. My brain just broke.
posted by L'Estrange Fruit at 1:32 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


the Christians are calling from inside your house!

/me eyes the cats suspiciously.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:37 PM on March 19, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm glad to be liberated from pretending to enjoy her music.
posted by john wilkins at 1:42 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


KokuRyu: "Old Testament god is way more fun than Jesus"

Jesus is a gentle lover in the sack, JHVH really knows how to get down. He likes it rough, ya know?
posted by symbioid at 1:46 PM on March 19, 2013


Jesus finds romance in perfume and oil. JHVH throws a tsunami at you for a good time.
posted by salishsea at 1:50 PM on March 19, 2013


Jesus finds romance in perfume and oil.

And feet. Seems to be a thing of his.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 1:59 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Who doesn't like a good foot rub?
posted by Pudhoho at 2:02 PM on March 19, 2013


I'm with L'Estrange Fruit, I could swear she came out years ago?
posted by Renoroc at 2:03 PM on March 19, 2013


Sorta. Read her Wikipedia page, it's a whole subsection.
posted by clavicle at 2:24 PM on March 19, 2013


Oh, one of those.
posted by Artw at 2:33 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yeah… fuck this loser. Glad to hear her shows are getting cancelled.

Go sell shoes or drop a fry basket into the oil, Michelle. You're done here.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 2:45 PM on March 19, 2013


Oh, sure, some people need "help", but it's nowhere near as many as those who are just plain assholes.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 2:49 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


I beleive this a maneuver known as playing the Orson Scott card.
posted by Artw at 2:54 PM on March 19, 2013 [25 favorites]


Jesus finds romance in perfume and oil.

For my part, I see Jesus in the clumsiness of young and awkward lovers.
posted by Joey Michaels at 2:58 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


Gay marriage is a great reason for Jesus to come back. Jesus loves weddings. If he showed up at your lesbian wedding he would magic up barrels full of sweet delicious booze.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 3:18 PM on March 19, 2013 [11 favorites]


Oh, sure, some people need "help", but it's nowhere near as many as those who are just plain assholes.

You may be my first Metafilter crush. (blushing bashfully)
posted by MoxieProxy at 4:03 PM on March 19, 2013


Well, I hope she enjoys playing gigs in the kinds of gays-are-bad churches from now on, since she's unlikely to get gigs at the usual folky/singer-songwriter venues.

Sunday School Teacher... From Hell.
posted by KokuRyu at 4:14 PM on March 19, 2013


"When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back."

At first I was a bit confused by this bit, since I always thought that many priests (at least the Catholic ones) aren't supposed to get married in the first place and how can you force someone to marry a gay person against their will. (Hey priest, see that gun? You will take Neil over here as your lawfully wedded husband right now, and tonight he will get to consummate your marriage, harharhar...)
posted by sour cream at 4:21 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back.

Shouldn't this make her in favor of same-sex marriage? I mean, if it will hasten her getting to meet Jesus, I'd think she'd be all for it.
posted by scody at 4:26 PM on March 19, 2013


I'm 87% sure this is not an entirely thought through from first principles belief, scody.
posted by zippy at 4:35 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


The "holy sacrament" of marriage is extremely tenuous guys, it's like a rotten pair of windowshades, if you yank them open too quickly they disintegrate and fall to the ground and the sun shines through forever. You don't want too much light in your little room of religious artifacts because pretty soon people will start investigating them all and that's when they call in the people from Hoarders. Before you know it baptism is in an industrial skip in the front yard and people are wandering past and picking it out and turning it over in their hands.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 4:38 PM on March 19, 2013 [1 favorite]


if it will hasten her getting to meet Jesus, I'd think she'd be all for it.

I'd like to say that Christians are not Cthulhu cultists, but frankly some of us are. Consider the American cattle ranchers who are trying to breed a spotless red heifer. They believe that a blood sacrifice of exactly the right kind of animal is needed to open the Hellmouth consecrate a new Jerusalem Temple and summon Nyarlathotep begin the End Times.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 4:49 PM on March 19, 2013 [9 favorites]


I beleive this a maneuver known as playing the Orson Scott card.

Good one!
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 5:23 PM on March 19, 2013


.
posted by humanfont at 5:36 PM on March 19, 2013


I saw her in the early '90s with a band made up of members of Ireland's Hot House Flowers and a drummer from Tower of Power, in Jackson MS. The band was outstanding, and they put one of the better shows I had ever seen to that time. She hung out with the crowd later on, and seemed open and unusually friendly for even a minor artist with a national following. I remember that she called Jackson's Old Skool Soul and blues label Malaco "the only independent label in America." So yeah, I could see the attraction to black gospel, even if I don't think her voice was quite right for the music she was into.

I read about her label troubles later, which echoed Prince's at the time (she borrowed his line about being a slave, the one he literally put on his cheek, but argued it more boldly, as a 13th Amendment claim) and then went all indie, like Malaco. (I would not habe remembered, if not for reading this again yesterday.) And she propmtly fell off the pop cultural radar.

Sad, this. There was much more wrong with her than biz issues, obviously.
posted by raysmj at 5:36 PM on March 19, 2013


hey are you guys talking about that new Fox News Music Correspondent Michelle Shocked?
posted by fallacy of the beard at 6:14 PM on March 19, 2013


I saw her a million years ago at the Kerrville Folk Festival, on the main stage, she blew the place apart. A great set. Really something. I've always had good feelings for her, about her -- a set like that, wow.

This is just sad, that's all.
posted by dancestoblue at 6:22 PM on March 19, 2013


A 'Christian' like Shocked is probably right to dread the prospect of Jesus coming back and seeing what they're doing in his name.

"If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up."
-- Max von Sydow in Hannah and Her Sisters
posted by kirkaracha at 8:05 PM on March 19, 2013 [2 favorites]


"...Somebody hold me tight. I'm in a whole lot of pain..."
posted by applemeat at 8:26 PM on March 19, 2013


I met her and got to play with her a long time ago. She was doing this thing where she opened the show with pick-up bands from the audience, playing her old tunes, and then did all new stuff with her band. We had a little practice backstage and then we did our set. She was very nice, but she seemed a little high-strung. I considered that likely to be simply due to the pressure of touring. It was a pretty great experience, and this saddens me.
posted by thelonius at 8:36 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wylla: "It's unlikely this is the result of mental illness - she's been a member of a conservative LA church for well over a decade."

So, mental illness.
posted by dunkadunc at 8:54 PM on March 19, 2013 [6 favorites]


"If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up."

Counterpoint:

"If the real Jesus Christ were to come back today, he'd be gunned down cold by the CIA". - Matt Johnson.
posted by pompomtom at 8:54 PM on March 19, 2013 [3 favorites]


"If Jesus came back and saw what's going on in his name, he'd never stop throwing up."
-- Max von Sydow in Hannah and Her Sisters

posted by kirkaracha at 10:05 PM on March 19
Written, of course, by Woody Allen. It's funny, I almost posted this same thing in this thread, it's a favorite Woody Allen line for me. And of course delivered with perfection by von Sydow.
posted by dancestoblue at 11:27 PM on March 19, 2013


You know, researching Michelle Shocked more, it seems that she's been engaging in this sort of behavior for a long time, including trying to remove the band Two Nice Girls from a benefit concert at SXSW back in 1992, which was widely credited to the band's overtly lesbian image.

So I rescind my compassion based on her history of mental illness and no longer think this may be a temporary breakdown. She's been pulling this shit for years, and it is not okay.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 11:36 PM on March 19, 2013 [5 favorites]


Man. If you are an alt-country singer who feels compelled to make this kind of statement on stage, it's a fair bet that God hates you.
posted by running order squabble fest at 5:07 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


Denzel Washington and Stevie Wonder are members of the same church. Stevie has, of course, written a new song called, "Love's in Need of Hating Gays Today." Denzel will be playing a gay pilot in his next movie, one who kills everybody but himself on a plane the day after a big gay orgy.
posted by raysmj at 5:09 AM on March 20, 2013


I'm 87% sure this is not an entirely thought through from first principles belief, scody.

I'm 87% sure this was not entirely thought through from the seventh wild assumption.
posted by eriko at 5:59 AM on March 20, 2013


Denzel Washington and Stevie Wonder are members of the same church. Stevie has, of course, written a new song called, "Love's in Need of Hating Gays Today." Denzel will be playing a gay pilot in his next movie, one who kills everybody but himself on a plane the day after a big gay orgy.

Wait, what?
posted by zombieflanders at 6:01 AM on March 20, 2013


Bunny Ultramod: You know, researching Michelle Shocked more, it seems that she's been engaging in this sort of behavior for a long time, including trying to remove the band Two Nice Girls from a benefit concert at SXSW back in 1992, which was widely credited to the band's overtly lesbian image.

Wow, I did not know that! Around '90-'91, Two Nice Girls played at my college (the same one Michelle Shocked played at, per above). At the time I was a deejay at the college radio station, and I helped organize the TNG show. When they (there were four of them) needed a place to stay, I invited them to crash at my apartment, which my roommates thought was both odd and crazycool.

They were very, very open about being gay, especially onstage -- so yeah, this is even more revealing about Michelle Shocked's mindset. I guess she's been struggling with her own sexual identity for a really long time. Who knows. I just come back to it being really, really sad.

:-(
posted by flyingsquirrel at 6:46 AM on March 20, 2013


(Um, Wisconsin? Ya wanna weigh in here too maybe?)

According to Billboard:
The only U.S. date that has not canceled Shocked at this point is the Harmony Bar in Madison, WI, where a person answering the phone Tuesday evening responded, "I won't know a damn thing until the boss comes back in eight days."
posted by taz at 7:24 AM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


zombie: That was called sarcasm. I could have also called it, "I Just Called to Say I Hate Gay People." (The point was that not every member of this church goes out and says stuff like this, so her attending this church for years is not an explanation, in and of itself.)
posted by raysmj at 7:57 AM on March 20, 2013


Slightly more seriously, this raises an interesting question. Is there a hate-friendly tour circuit and music-buying audience big enough to support a singer who has said something like this, either for purely ideological reasons or because they like the music and are not turned off by the ideology?

I have no idea how you would go about examining that market - there will be overtly right-wing bookers and venues, but it probably extends down into a whole set of Mirror Universe Wedding Band scenarios (ex-gay weddings, hardcore Christian alternative proms, abstinent Spring flings, gay-panic-parented Sweet Sixteens and so on). If you can withstand the bathysphere-crushing psychic pressure of this kind of gig, can you end up making a better living out of it this Qwardian circuit than from being a faded alt-country singer of the 120 Minutes era?
posted by running order squabble fest at 9:09 AM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good news, everyone! She was just being ironic in order to expose her audience for the humorless jerks that they are. That makes sense.
posted by scody at 11:52 AM on March 20, 2013


so she's been playing the years long irony game?
posted by nadawi at 11:54 AM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


It was art!
posted by Artw at 11:57 AM on March 20, 2013


We've been trolled. Sweet!
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:59 AM on March 20, 2013


Double irony: now she only gets to play to audiences who are against a woman's right to choose and gay marriage. Likely also fundamentalists.
posted by b1tr0t at 12:02 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


TBH I suspect she is genuinely crazy.
posted by Artw at 12:03 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


From the survey at that L.A. Times article: "Do you think Michelle Shocked was making a joke?"

No -- 91%
Yes -- 9%
posted by ericb at 12:03 PM on March 20, 2013


"I'm very sorry: I don't always express myself as clearly as I should. But don't believe everything you read on Facebook or Twitter. My view of homosexuality has changed not one iota. I judge not. And my statement equating repeal of Prop 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: it was a description of how some folks –- not me -– feel about gay marriage."
Bullshit!

Her full statement is here.
posted by ericb at 12:06 PM on March 20, 2013


The important thing here is that she gets to be a great big martyr. All else is mutable.
posted by Artw at 12:08 PM on March 20, 2013


Dear Michelle: The only place "ironic" homophobic/racist/sexist/etc. comments are likely to not cause a total shitstorm is when they're made in the company of people who know you well personally. And even then, it's not a guarantee.

And the idea that any audience of yours - especially on in San Francisco - needs to be "educated" out of their "humorlessness" regarding homophobia is juvenile and ignorant.
posted by rtha at 12:32 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Thanks, Michelle. The usual right-wing assholes are already trumpeting about "PC gone mad" as if it was joke that everyone but Dem Humorless Liberals got. Another setback, no matter how small, in acceptance just makes every GLBT person's life harder. If you truly believed in supporting gay rights, you just actively fought against it.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:47 PM on March 20, 2013 [2 favorites]


On the plus side, I got to trim my Facebook feed down by a couple more people in the last hour.
posted by zombieflanders at 12:48 PM on March 20, 2013


if only there had been some tool she could use to more rapidly clarify her position as it blew up over blogs and news sites, something to help her correct any misinformation or misunderstanding. maybe something that would allow her to 'broadcast' a message, perhaps using some emerging internetworking technology toward a social or public relations function.
posted by fallacy of the beard at 12:50 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


What we've seen of a pattern of statements and behavior over years argues against the acceptance of this nonsensical statement as an actual reversal.

I think that the "apology" is equal measures of side-stepping and untruth. And then there's this curious analogy:

Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband.
posted by Morrigan at 1:04 PM on March 20, 2013


From scody's link:
To a fan’s question of “What are you up to?” on her Twitter account, Shocked replied, “Just my usual troublemaking, at the expense of dear friends who trust me, even when I appear to be gay-bashing.”

She also tweeted, “I’m neither against a woman's right to choose nor gay marriage. Am a fundamentalist tho.”

Other fans ventured the idea that Shocked, who has been known for provocative statements and actions previously, had been intentionally ironic with her comments.
The link gingerbeer posted yesterday to the Bay Area Reporter noted that Shocked left the stage sobbing after the show:
After the performance Shocked was off the stage and talking with three fans. The B.A.R. asked her to clarify her comments. She seemed interested but a reporter heard one of her fans tell her, "It's a gay paper." Shocked again said, "God bless us everyone." She thanked her fans, began sobbing, and ran from the stage.
I don't know what to think about this whole thing anymore. She seems very conflicted. And the hate speech, ironic or not, was offensive as hell.
posted by zarq at 1:16 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am reminded of the Rowan Atkinson sketch Fatal Beatings.

"It is preposterous... or at least it would be, if it were true."

Shocked: "I don't always express myself as clearly as I should."

Yes, I think that's been consistently true through her career. My recollection of her interviews over the years makes me think she's sort of a compulsive troll - she shoots from the hip, tries to get a rise out of people and doesn't always recognize that the reaction she is getting isn't the reaction she thinks she's getting. To whit, she's a poor communicator who has been mistaken for a good communicator.

Irony is a very advanced communication tool. Even people who are expert at employing it are frequently misunderstood (I'll point to the occasional Onion article that gets picked up as real news - or, heck, Stephen Colbert being mistaken for a real conservative). Taking Shocked at her word, if this was indeed an instant of her trying to be ironic, she failed spectacularly and should probably make a point not to attempt to use any figures of speech more advanced than bawdy wordplay in the future.

That all said, I find her "explanation" to be a little bit insulting. There's a hint of "you readers don't understand me" to it. Furthermore, her history of saying similar things makes it a little hard to swallow.

Folks wonder about my sexuality, but denying being gay is like saying I never beat my husband.

Here is an example of her being unable to communicate successfully.

Unpacking this sentence, I think the second part is meant to be a reference to the standard example of loaded questions "when did you stop beating your wife?" However, the way she's phrased this is ambiguous. If you're not making the connection with the "loaded question," it sounds like she's saying "I did, in fact, beat my husband, so asking me about my sexuality is a valid thing because, just as I beat my husband, I am, in fact, gay."

With the loaded question idea in mind, I think she means to say there's no way she can answer a question about her sexuality that will satisfy anyone (specifically her critics).

It is an incredibly poorly phrased sentence (and I should know, having written many spectacularly phrased sentences in my lifetime) and illustrates her point about not expressing herself particularly well.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:16 PM on March 20, 2013 [3 favorites]


Her agent obviously told her that she had better turn this around, and fast, or her career will be OVER.

And she's probably got bills to pay. I do wonder if she's off her meds.
posted by dunkadunc at 1:22 PM on March 20, 2013


And the Wisconsin show got cancelled after all.

"• Cancelled: May 4, Madison, WI, Harmony Bar. My sister in Madison called the Harmony. Oy:
I just got off the phone with Harmony. He sounded a little stressed. They must have had a lot of calls. "The Show's Been Canceled." Even before I asked!"

From here: Little Australia.
posted by spinifex23 at 1:49 PM on March 20, 2013


Looks like ALL the shows have been cancelled.
Curious about all those tentative European summer gigs on her website.
posted by antiquated at 1:55 PM on March 20, 2013


And she's probably got bills to pay. I do wonder if she's off her meds.

I wonder if she was under some pressure (whether implicit or explicit) from her church to Do Something about the rising tide of LGBT victories lately. This isn't pressure that would fall on other celebrities in her church the way it would fall on her, since none of their careers were initially built on being a poster child for gay rights.
posted by scody at 2:16 PM on March 20, 2013


Well, someone's gotta play guitar at the Phelps family church, every now and then.
posted by markkraft at 2:17 PM on March 20, 2013


From the NYT:

"Then in 2011, she became incensed when a member of the audience asked her position on gay rights at the Christian-oriented Wild Goose Festival in North Carolina, Religion Dispatches magazine reported.

“Who drafted me as a gay icon?” she said. “You are looking at the world’s greatest homophobe. Ask God what he thinks.”"
posted by rtha at 2:46 PM on March 20, 2013


Gawker provides the audio of her San Francisco rant.
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:00 PM on March 20, 2013


Methinks we're dealing with a massive case of self-loathing.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:16 PM on March 20, 2013


Yeah, Towleroad had it too. Her quote was: "If someone would be so gracious as to please tweet out, ‘Michelle Shocked just said from stage, God hates faggots.’ Would you do it now?"
posted by klangklangston at 4:28 PM on March 20, 2013


That was a really shitty, unbelievable backpedal, too.

She SHOULD have said: "I've been going through a lot of depression, self-loathing and other psychiatric problems, and that outburst doesn't line up with what I really believe".
posted by dunkadunc at 4:40 PM on March 20, 2013


and that outburst doesn't line up with what I really believe

And TBH I'm not even sure it isn't what she believes, maybe it's just not how she'd like to see what she believes described.

Who knows? She probably doesn't.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on March 20, 2013


Yeah that's kind of the thing with mental illness. Perceived reality and belief systems tend to shift a lot more rapidly than "normal" folks, and often gets worse when one is under stress. Maybe when she said it she did mean it. And maybe she doesn't now. Or maybe the words came out wrong and she freaked out and didn't know how to save it. I don't know what the truth is, and it's possible she doesn't either. Especially since "truth" is so slippery and time-variant when one is sick.

The problem is that when you're being paid to be up on stage there's an expectation that you'll present yourself in a consistent fashion; to be and do what people have paid money with an expectation of you being and doing.

All in all it just seems really tragic. I hope she finds some clarity soon.
posted by seanmpuckett at 6:33 PM on March 20, 2013 [6 favorites]


I haven't listened to any of her music since short sharp shocked, but I loved it.
It was full of compassion, but sad and heavy with the ugliness and mediocrity of humanity.

It takes a toll on people who confront that ugliness and make the rest of us face it too, and if she has ended up bitter and hateful,
I want to cut her a little slack.

she wouldn't be the first person, weary from experience to retreat into a little ball of jesus happy. Or the first person to keep their little bubble clear and free of doubt with a nasty world view that pumps all the loathing and despair out on to everyone else.

I hope it's not permanent.
posted by compound eye at 11:34 PM on March 20, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think all those cancelled gigs are God's sign that she needs to take some time off to get her shit together.
posted by Capt. Renault at 7:40 AM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Shocked says she's "Damn sorry" and misunderstood.

*YAWN*

Your fry-basket and 100% synthetic collared-shirt w/ matching visor is this way...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:23 AM on March 21, 2013


From Margaret Cho's reaction on her Huffington Post blog, posted last night:

"Hatred and homophobia can never be underestimated. And the effect of someone saying 'God hates fags' can never be underestimated either. It's a license to kill. It's a death sentence. It's not funny. It's not OK."
posted by flyingsquirrel at 11:11 AM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Michelle Shocked Bails on Radio Interview

Bails, but listens in, and starts a Twitter war with the radio host.
posted by Capt. Renault at 11:28 AM on March 21, 2013


Your fry-basket and 100% synthetic collared-shirt w/ matching visor is this way...

Really don't do this. It's ugly talk. Fast-food workers are told they're the lowest of the low as it is.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:37 AM on March 21, 2013 [20 favorites]


Bails, but listens in, and starts a Twitter war with the radio host.

I skimmed through it and for someone who's already said she doesn't have the greatest communication skills, twitter is not helping.
posted by rtha at 11:41 AM on March 21, 2013


The blog Little Australia, which has done a great job of chronicling this mess, has comments on the audio, and also links to this article about Shocked's offstage behaviour toward the interviewer who chronicled her onstage "homophobe" outburst at Wild Goose Festival in 2011.

Another sad thing about this whole episode is that the Wild Goose Festival is getting trashed wherever the 2011 incident is being discussed. I've never been to Wild Goose and probably wouldn't ever have a reason to go, but religious friends took me to its UK parent (Greenbelt) a few times, years ago. If Wild Goose is like what I saw of Greenbelt, it really doesn't deserve the drubbing it's getting. Its sad that Shocked's implosion might take their (not 100% successful, but still unique in the US) attempt at an inclusive Christian festival down with it...
posted by Wylla at 12:31 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


OK, wow, just read this interview with Shocked at Spin and I wish to amend my earlier statements. It sounds like she's out of step with reality. Whether she's in a religious fervor or having some sort of serious mental event, I am not qualified to say, but she comes across as an incoherent person who is absolutely convinced that she is being coherent. It made me sad.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:43 PM on March 21, 2013 [6 favorites]


I was just going to post a link to the SPIN piece (but then work wanted me to work! can you imagine!).

I don't understand hardly anything she was saying. I'm also sad.
posted by rtha at 2:09 PM on March 21, 2013 [3 favorites]


After I read the SPIN interview and the recounting of the aborted radio interview turned Twitter heckling, I think I am probably a lot more comfortable coming down in the "She's mentally ill" camp.

That wasn't just some side of religion I didn't agree with. She sounded like the wheels were not all on the ground. She didn't remind me of the far-out born agains I have known. She reminded me of how, say, Sly Stone sounds these days. Not in the words, but in the word salad, you know?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 2:48 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


That was... a surreal conversation. Not coherent. Not understandable. I was uncomfortable saying anything about mental illness or breakdowns before, but I agree with you, Joey, that she sounds like she's out of step with reality. I wonder if she understands that she's hurt and disappointed a lot of people.

I don't get it. Very sad. :(
posted by zarq at 3:08 PM on March 21, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah... It sounds like these distinctions are totally clear to her - what truth is, what reality is, how they interact - and she can't really process that her whole involved ontology doesn't mean anything to anyone else. That it is not obvious and self-explanatory, and that people's confusion is sincere, not a conspiracy to misrepresent her.

I have seen that kind of conviction before, and it has not gone well.
posted by running order squabble fest at 3:25 PM on March 21, 2013 [5 favorites]


Oh man, that Spin interview. Sheesh. That really is pants on head crazy.

This is all just really sad. When you listen to the actual audio of the event its a kind of WTF thing throughout. I mean, it's not like she really made a clear "god hates fags" statement and is now running around talking gibberish about it--the whole thing was gibberish from the get-go. The audience laughs at the original statement about priests being forced to marry gays at gunpoint because they seem to take what she is saying as being simply "this is the crazy thing that fundamentalists believe"--and even when she says that line about tweeting that god hates fags, they seem pretty much to take it as "ha ha, this is the silly way that people will misrepresent what I'm saying." It's just that things go so loopy from there on out that the crowd begins to turn on her, and obviously reevaluates what it had heard sympathetically earlier.

I do think that she's going through some kind of breakdown and I hope she gets some professional help. I'm fairly sure her career, such as it was, is over.
posted by yoink at 3:46 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


Late to the thread, with a previous post to the blue about Ms. Shocked.
posted by pxe2000 at 4:03 PM on March 21, 2013


Late to the thread, with a previous post to the blue about Ms. Shocked

I'd completely forgotten that thread. The signs of an impending crackup were not that hidden, I guess. Interesting to see the way people projected what they wanted to hear into that particular piece of loony rambling.
posted by yoink at 4:11 PM on March 21, 2013


That SPIN interview is terrifying. I am not a mental health professional, but it is clear to me that she is. . . damn, I'm having trouble finding a neutral way to say that she is not interacting with reality, I mean with the way reality is put together, in the way that the vast majority of people are. I'm not comfortable saying that she's necessarily having pathological mental processes, but this is definitely atypical.

Plain language version: I don't know if she's CRAZY, but I'm pretty sure she's not sane.
posted by KathrynT at 5:55 PM on March 21, 2013 [1 favorite]


she's trying to say something about the mediation that happens between public performers and their audiences when social media becomes involved - i think she was trying to say, like jesus did before herod, something passive-aggressive, such as "i'm what you say i am" - she's dealing with how she feels stereotyped and limited by other people's views of her religious beliefs - it's like she's responding to some collective straw man that she feels has been created here - i listened to the first few minutes of her talk and she kept going on about how she was a fan of "the invisible man" meaning god - which is something internet atheists do like to say

the spin interview did make a certain rambling sense to me - (perhaps i'm crazy, too)

but, here's my take on it - first, she chose the most awful way of expressing it she could find - a "red flag", as she said

second, she's not only deeply conflicted about mediation, but she's deeply conflicted about sexuality

third, she really hasn't thought it through very well and doesn't have the concepts or mental toolset to think it through well - she's emoting, not thinking, and with these kind of subjects that doesn't go well, especially when ...

fourth, she's trying to establish a theraputic relationship with her audience so they can help her work it out, or discover together what consequences social mediation can have and how to make them better for everyone involved - using a really badly conceived meme - "you can go on twitter and tell say michelle shocked says god hates faggots"

she's deeply disturbed by her quandaries - and she's not processing the results of her "therapy" very well - she said everything that night "went great" - but according to another report i read, she was sobbing after she got off the stage

we, the social media audience, can't be her therapists, her pharisee jury, or her allies in deconstructing mediation

she needs a real therapist for that - and i think she needs to retire from being michelle shocked and find something else to do with her life - it's not good for her any more, if it ever was, and i think she's given us what she was meant to give with her talent
posted by pyramid termite at 6:16 PM on March 21, 2013 [4 favorites]


After listening to the unparseable confusion in the recording of the show, and reading the bizarre verbal hash of that Spin interview I must say I am surprised at how lucid her apology/issued statement actually is.
posted by anazgnos at 10:49 AM on March 22, 2013


After listening to the unparseable confusion in the recording of the show, and reading the bizarre verbal hash of that Spin interview I must say I am surprised at how lucid her apology/issued statement actually is.

I would be willing to wager a pretty large sum of money that she didn't write that statement. I think she sat down with a publicist, the publicist wrote a statement and persuaded her that it needed to be released.
posted by yoink at 12:10 PM on March 22, 2013 [2 favorites]


Or, possibly, the publicist listened to her ramble for an hour, wrote something down, showed it to Michelle, who said "sure, that is not in contradiction with anything I matador elephant Occupy."
posted by KathrynT at 12:21 PM on March 22, 2013 [11 favorites]


Michelle Shocked Announces McCabe's Appearance; 'She Is Not Welcome,' Says Club's Concert Director.
posted by ericb at 9:30 AM on March 23, 2013


That article had a decent summary, to me, of the weird disconnect here. From the guy at McCabe's

I think she might have been trying to make a point about ‘I love both bigots and queers,’ but if so, she did a crappy job of it," he said. "If you want to make a point about the hypocrisy of racism, you don’t go into the First AME Church and lob the N-word and then expect to get a reasonable debate going.
posted by jessamyn at 9:48 AM on March 23, 2013 [6 favorites]


Folks might also be interested in MS's written statement to the copyright office (pdf) when they invited commentary on some proposed changes to the copyright laws. She's sort of been ... quirky like this for a while.
posted by jessamyn at 12:37 PM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]


And in this evening's news:
Face covered and mouth taped shut, alternative folk and rock singer Michelle Shocked staged a sit in outside a Santa Cruz nightclub that canceled her show.
A few links to Youtube videos and Twitter.
posted by jamaro at 10:56 PM on March 28, 2013


Coverage of the Santa Cruz appearance at SF Gate.
posted by zippy at 3:23 PM on March 29, 2013


"Silenced By Fear"?? Oh, boo hoo, Michelle.

Does she have no one in her life that will tell her she's making it worse with these public tantrums?
posted by SuperSquirrel at 4:12 PM on March 29, 2013


Does she have no one in her life that will tell her she's making it worse with these public tantrums?

Prior to this incident I had not even thought of Michell Shocked in 10 years.

Now people are listening, debating, taking sides....
posted by Tell Me No Lies at 11:55 PM on March 29, 2013


Now people are listening, debating, taking sides....

Good point. We may have been trolled. "Poor fundie folksinger tormented by liberal elites."
posted by Mental Wimp at 12:57 PM on March 30, 2013


A bit more on Shock's appearance in Santa Cruz: “I kind of view it as a lost opportunity,” said Horne. “If she had come to us and said, ‘Hey, I want to do this performance-art piece,’ we would have been open to that and things might have turned out differently. But as it was, it was just weird and creepy.”
posted by rdr at 6:19 PM on March 31, 2013


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