Maybe They Were Paris Hilton Fans
April 22, 2007 3:14 PM   Subscribe

"Hey, do any of you people who are leaving want to stay and talk about this or do you want to run out like cowards?" [YouTube] Over 80 people simultaneously walked out of Mike Daisey's recent performance of Invincible Summer. One of the people came onstage and poured water over his only copy of the show's outline. "And it wounded me in my heart, because I trusted these people."
posted by kirkaracha (140 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Mike Daisey was performing his monologue INVINCIBLE SUMMER at American Repertory Theatre on April 19th when the show was disrupted by eighty seven members of a Christian group who walked out of the show en masse to protest the content, and chose to physically attack the work by pouring water on and destroying the original of his show outline."

Enough said.
posted by ericb at 3:25 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I agree with his comments from the clip (paraphrashed) - "Next time find out what a show consists of before you go to see it".

Apparently the people who walked out were offended that he used the F-word.
posted by mrbill at 3:25 PM on April 22, 2007


Next up -- Fred Phelps and his Westboro Baptist Church's new music video God Hates the World.
posted by ericb at 3:29 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Comments on YouTube are, as everyone knows, usually unspeakably hideous, but this time around the comments were for the most part reasoned and considerate. A number of them were from Christians saying they feel ashamed at the actions of the Christian group who carried out this action. A number of them also remarked at how Daisey showed a lot of class in his reaction to this.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 3:31 PM on April 22, 2007


Maybe they bought the half price tickets...
posted by R. Mutt at 3:31 PM on April 22, 2007


He knows me so well.
posted by Paris Hilton at 3:32 PM on April 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


Right. As if they didn't know.

Someone gets a group of 87 evangelicals together to go see a spoken word performance -- and nobody knows what it's about. They just opened Time Out New York and went einey meeny miney mo?

This was a planned protest, not a spontaneous one.
posted by Methylviolet at 3:32 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Nice to see the nutty christians are supporting the arts.
posted by Hildegarde at 3:33 PM on April 22, 2007


OMG, I'm commenting in the same thread as Paris Hilton!
posted by redteam at 3:34 PM on April 22, 2007


Okay, what is it about an autobiographical reminiscence, a rumination about Polish wedding toasts and the history of the MTA that compelled the Xians to attack this guy? Any chance it's an inside job, ie a publicity stunt?
posted by DenOfSizer at 3:38 PM on April 22, 2007


They've made me afraid of my audience, afraid of my craft, just the smallest amount, and that's the trust I will have to relearn tonight and every night.

I know nothing about Mike Daisey, but that's awful. Shame on them.
posted by muckster at 3:39 PM on April 22, 2007


The least they could have done is explain themselves. The most they could have done is leave the poor guy the fuck alone. You don't like art, steer clear of it. Don't cast about with your miserable moralizing for a subject to expel your diseased spleen onto.
posted by Astro Zombie at 3:41 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


So... 87 people buy tickets to a Public Theater performance at, say, $20 a pop. It would seem they knew in advance what the show is about, because their protest is orderly and seems to have been choreographed.

And they have decided to spend more than $1700 in order to chastise a New York playwright for using the word "fuck"?
posted by GrammarMoses at 3:43 PM on April 22, 2007


Omigod! I'm commenting in the same thread as Mister Bill! Oh nooo!

I'm reminded of when Gene Shallit walked out on a Kevin Smith film, after making a big scene. Smith handled it very well by getting on a morning radio talk show and discussing it rationally with Gene Shallit by phone, who behaved as if he was channeling Ronald Reagan. I'm also reminded of when some fifty Improv Everywhere enthusiasts made Ghost of Pasha rock gods for one night. I'm not sure if this is because of the subject of the thread, or merely because I'm channeling Ronald Reagan.

A group of Xians are well within their rights to exorcise exercise the first ammendment by yelling hellfire in a theater, but I can't scream firefire in a movie theater. I'm so fuzzy on this whole good/bad thing. What do you mean bad?
posted by ZachsMind at 3:46 PM on April 22, 2007


When it's all said and done, more people will hear of his show for the protest and Mike will be the winner.

This isn't about religion, this is about manners. Walking out is acceptable but doing it in such a high profile fashion is more about their ego than their spirtuality.

Game: Mike Daisey
posted by Dagobert at 3:49 PM on April 22, 2007


Really, its pretty pathetic to disrupt the show that way, but the kid with the water deserved to get tackled and dragged out the back door.
posted by R. Mutt at 3:49 PM on April 22, 2007


Has anyone claimed credit for this act or were the tickets purchased with some recognizable group name or what? Not that I doubt this story - I watched the video; I just want more info on who they were.
posted by jvilter at 3:50 PM on April 22, 2007


So now we know who is this Mike Daisey guy
posted by growabrain at 3:50 PM on April 22, 2007


Hell, perhaps we should get 90 people together go to some strict church and walk out in the middle or prayer while minor-ally assaulting the preacher. Imagine the indignation we could cause!

But, yeah I'm a bit buh? about the intent behind the protest. Hopefully th' fellow got a good appearance fee.
posted by edgeways at 3:53 PM on April 22, 2007


"over his only copy of the show's outline"

Yet another lesson to all of us - make proper backups!
posted by drstein at 3:53 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


This would've been a lot more entertaining if it involved Ashkenazi Jews from Crescent Heights.
posted by phaedon at 4:04 PM on April 22, 2007


I'm also reminded of back when I was a kid and witnessed all these wealthy, white, Xians who bought heathenous record albums like Queen and the Beatles for the sole purpose of bringing them to the baptist church that Sunday night so we could have a bonfire. I was like.. maybe seven at the time. It was quite a spectacle. My sister bought a Queen record so she could participate.

I asked my sister. "So you stole them right?"

"No stupid," that was her pet name for me. "I bought them. We all bought them. God frowns on stealing."

"You all bought these records just to burn them?"

"Yeah."

"And Queen got the money?"

"Yeah."

"And you call me stupid?"

That's when she punched me in the shoulder. Right there in front of God and everybody.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:05 PM on April 22, 2007 [57 favorites]


I could come away from that video thinking some awful things about the protesters and whatever they think they're standing for, but I much prefer to dwell on the way Mike Daisey handled it.
He could have said a ton of nasty things, like recent things we've seen from Michael Richards or Alec Baldwin, but he didn't. He was obviously upset, but he handled it with class.
People are so rarely able to interact with each other civilly and without malice at the deli counter of my grocery store, let alone having been interrupted in the middle of a performance, that I really have to applaud Daisey's reaction.
Good on him, and hope that he's duly rewarded with publicity for his actions.
posted by Hadroed at 4:05 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The A.R.T. is a wonderful place btw.
posted by R. Mutt at 4:06 PM on April 22, 2007


This was a planned protest, not a spontaneous one.

Absolutely.

So...87 people buy tickets to a Public Theater performance....They just opened Time Out New York and went einey meeny miney mo?

Actually, the walk-out occurred during one of Daisey's performances at Harvard's ART Zero Arrow theater (located in the heart of PRC -- "The People's Republic of Cambirdge").

This was a planned protest by some 'wing-nut' group from whom we'll soon hear about their grievance(s) publicly.
posted by ericb at 4:07 PM on April 22, 2007


Funny, the blushing hateful puritans just gave Mike Daisey a much wider audience to spread "fuck" to. Game, indeed.

What poise and character he has... I could not imagine what it would be like to be in his position (and I've been on stage in disastrous moments). Only someone truly committed to his work and the value of his words could handle that with the maturity and dignity of Mike Daisey.

Great post.
posted by moonbird at 4:11 PM on April 22, 2007


This reminds me of a Philip Glass interview in which he recalled one of his early concerts with his ensemble was egged. As in, people threw eggs at the performers on stage. He laughed about it though, because you don't go to a performance with eggs unless you plan to do something with them.
posted by Dr-Baa at 4:15 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


What hadroed and moonbird said. Good on the guy for continuing on. Class all the way.
posted by quite unimportant at 4:16 PM on April 22, 2007


The footage implied that those who walked out were part of a Christian high school group. Now I understand why conservative commentators warn us about madrasahs inculcating youth with "Islamofascism". They know it works.
posted by Mercaptan at 4:20 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


There is, was, should still be a band called Little Jack Melody which is beyond awesome I mean if you haven't heard them your brain will melt listening to them if it doesn't explode first anyway what was I gonna say oh yeah...

If you're going to go see them you have to bring bubbles. Y'know those kiddie bubbles with the bubble wand that you blow on to make bubbles.. Cuz there's one song that the band does and when the lead singer goes, "ooooooh them bubbles!" in the middle of the song, everybody who's been to their shows before knows to start blowing them bubbles.

This is sort of the antithesis of egging a band. The end result is an experience that's kind of a cross between Lawrence Welk and David Lynch.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:28 PM on April 22, 2007


Yeah, I agree... it's just like the people who bought French wine & then protested France by pouring it out. As though the French economy will be felled by Americans who choose to waste their purchased wine.

Personally, I think he handled it professionally, calmly & with a great deal of dignity. In my life, hands down the most hate-filled and judgmental people I've ever met have been people who proclaim themselves to be devout God-fearing Christians. When caught on tape in a bad situation, Mike Daisey behaved in a much more "Christian" manner by trying to understand them and not returning their hatred. It was good to see that he clearly behaved like the better person.
posted by miss lynnster at 4:32 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, well screw Mike Daisy, I say. Now that I know about this jerk and have seen a clip now I want to see his stupid show but I'm 5000 miles away.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:33 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The comedy monologue was sort of lame. Any chance this is a publicity stunt?
posted by bhouston at 4:34 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well I guess it was a publicity stunt by those leaving. Just sort of nonsensical as there are things in society much more deserving of protect by the moral police that a one-man act.
posted by bhouston at 4:36 PM on April 22, 2007


OMG Little Jack Melody! I didn't know they were still around. I still treasure the cassette tape I bought at one of their shows.

As for the people who walked out of Mike Daisey's show, it would have been a lot cooler form of protest if they'd blown soap bubbles at him.
posted by needled at 4:38 PM on April 22, 2007


Ahh, Mike Daisey. I've hated him ever since "21 Dog Years" his first (?) show about his life at amazon. It was a blatant attack on funny.
posted by mrnutty at 4:40 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


ZachsMind: "...

I'm reminded of when Gene Shallit walked out on a Kevin Smith film, after making a big scene. Smith handled it very well by getting on a morning radio talk show and discussing it rationally with Gene Shallit by phone, who behaved as if he was channeling Ronald Reagan. ...


I think you mean this incident with critic Joel Siegal, not Gene Shallit, unless this scenario played out more than once. I also agree that Smith handled it well, but he did so by calling Siegal a rude-ass prick (page includes a link to the phone conversation held on the Opie and Anthony show).
posted by John Smallberries at 4:40 PM on April 22, 2007


I thought it was funny. "Oh my God, I'm Paris Hilton!"
posted by Firas at 4:42 PM on April 22, 2007


That video of God Hates the World was better than More Cowbell. The upside-down Canadian flag was genius.
posted by showmethecalvino at 4:44 PM on April 22, 2007


Well, I was thinking of getting tickets for this week and now I definitely am. Thanks for airing this.
posted by allen.spaulding at 4:49 PM on April 22, 2007


Assholes; what Christ?
posted by Dizzy at 4:51 PM on April 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


This was a planned protest by some 'wing-nut' group from whom we'll soon hear about their grievance(s) publicly.

It would be nice if they would air those grievances publically, because I can't make any sense of it at all. And it's been a few days now.
posted by cmonkey at 4:53 PM on April 22, 2007


Somewhat similar protests of Alberto Gonzalez and Minutemen, to compare and contrast.
posted by scottreynen at 4:55 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where's the LOLXIANS tag for this article?
posted by quarter waters and a bag of chips at 4:58 PM on April 22, 2007


John Smallberries: "...Joel Siegal, not Gene Shallit"

Yeppers. I got them mixed up. Guilty as charged. I was channelling Reagan. Omigod! I'm Ronald Reagan!

It's a fair cop, but I think they both wear mousetaches so it's a perfectly understandable mistake on my part. All movie critics are created equal with the sole exception of Roger Ebert.

needled: "OMG Little Jack Melody! I didn't know they were still around..."

Well to be honest, I'm not sure at the moment if they still are. They haven't updated their website in over a year. And I haven't supported local music since Nine Eleven, due to my financial situation being the suck in this sluggish economy. Must be that trickle down economics. I'm still waiting for it to rain on me.

If I ever see them again I'll be sure to tell Mister Melody you said hi, and he'll go, "huh? who're you?" Good times.
posted by ZachsMind at 4:59 PM on April 22, 2007


This was a planned protest, not a spontaneous one.

Was it planned by Daisey? Seems...odd. The whole circumstance has an odd odor.
posted by Mo Nickels at 5:05 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dignity and grace are boring.
Kevin Smith called Joel Siegel's mustache a cum-catcher!
posted by Methylviolet at 5:15 PM on April 22, 2007


Somehow I doubt he set it up, but mdaisey did post it to youtube. (As he should, imo)
posted by R. Mutt at 5:21 PM on April 22, 2007


I wonder if looking back through the archives here would reveal if mefites roundly condemned the throwing of pies at certain speakers at public events. Or if they applauded the act. If the politics here were reversed I sadly suspect that this thread would be applauding the students' and teachers' initiative for publicly rebuking someone considered noxious.

We can say that these people are wrong in the substance of their protest—and I do say that, given what's been reported—but we can't condemn their method unless we are willing to condemn similar methods by protesters with whom we agree. And am I, personally, willing to condemn some 82 liberal members of an audience walking out on the performance of some conservative performer, or even going so far as to vandalizing his work? Probably, yes, I am. Unless I felt strongly negative about the performance, in which case I might applaud them.

I don't have a problem with angrily protesting these peoples' point of view. And I wouldn't have a problem with people angrily protetsting these tactics and this behavior if I were sure that a politics-reversed event would have been equally protested. But I'm not.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:26 PM on April 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


If I were to perform something that was subsequently egged by rabid fundies I would be pretty fucking psyched.
posted by The Straightener at 5:42 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hell, perhaps we should get 90 people together go to some strict church and walk out in the middle or prayer while minor-ally assaulting the preacher. Imagine the indignation we could cause!

I would so love to read about such an event. Hell, I'd love to participate. Alas, we have no such extremist-nut churches out where I live, afaik.

EB, wtf is your point? That you can't make up your mind on how you feel about something unless you're sure which way the wind is blowing on MeFi? Grow a pair.
posted by five fresh fish at 5:43 PM on April 22, 2007


I guess I fail to see what the politics espoused in this situation where....? He said a few fucks and talked about sex. I have not a clue what his political persuasion is, as I've heard political hacks on both sides blather on about sex and use the word fuck. Politics, not only tells you what the politician thinks but strongly advocates for you to think the same way. If someone, such as Phelps, comes to town I'd have no issues with publicly protesting him because, gasp, he advocates some pretty hateful things against a large number of people. I think it is important to separate out politics and not-politics.
posted by edgeways at 5:49 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


EB, two points:

- this is artistic speech, not political speech. If I don't agree with Mike Daisey, I don't have to go. If I don't agree with, say, Alberto Gonzales, he still has power over me. I don't think it's acceptable to disrupt an actual performance to protest art.

- these guys physically attacked the man's work, and they didn't have any statements to make. Even if this was political protest, it would have been both ineffective and unacceptable.
posted by muckster at 5:51 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


It's ironic that Christian extremists would chose to attack this, the first one-man show in the history of mankind that isn't about how bad Catholic school sucks.
posted by drjimmy11 at 5:57 PM on April 22, 2007 [6 favorites]


On whether this is a publicity stunt or not....

I first heard about this incident on John Hodgman's blog, from where I figured I wouldn't post it to metafilter because, like, a moment of unanticipated awesome might happen in the 24 hours after that which I wouldn't be able to post 'cause of the one-a-day moratorium, but anyway.

I don't think Hodgman shills away publicity like that. And he could have posted it to YouTube just to have somewhere to host it where he won't have to worry about bandwidth.
posted by JHarris at 6:03 PM on April 22, 2007


Some added random notes upon further contemplation...

The Xians had a right to express their opinion, but this is reminiscient of someone being rowdy in a bar. The owners of the establishment are fully within their rights to restrict your behavior and kick you out if you're going to misbehave.

In theater etiquette, it is exceptionally bad form to stand up during the show and exit. If you do so, you are to do so as quietly as possible. To purposefully exit en masse is just as bad as staying there and chanting or heckling, and makes the Xians look worse than their target of ridicule.

I imagine that the one guy who poured water on his notes did so on his own. I doubt that was part of the original plan. If it was - that just drops them down even further.

While I'm a big fan of Improv Everywhere kinda behavior, 'groupthink' can cut both ways and sometimes it can be downright scary. All these people agreeing to do this at the same time. Perhaps they planned it before arrival, or maybe they quietly motioned each other via cellphones during the show or something. Maybe just hand gestures. At any rate, it's a small example of how easily mob mentality can take hold. This was a relatively quiet demonstration of power and control.

Make no mistake. Every hive has its queen. Every pack has its alpha male. Someone orchestrated this, and he had eighty-six sheep. That's major cringeworthy.


Technical notes:

Mike Daisey needs to fire his light guy. When the man on stage who is supposed to appear to be in charge wants the lights reset to an earlier combination, the light guy needs to be on top of it and do what he's told to do. Otherwise it makes the guy who is running his own one man show look like an idiot. Fire the light guy, or at least take away his stash of beer in the control room.

Mike Daisey needs to give the brunette in the yellow sweater a fucking raise. She had a photocopy of his original outline ready and on his desk in about two minutes. If he doesn't pay her cuz she's a friend or an intern or a volunteer or whatever, he needs to start paying her. At the very least he owes her a large amount of alcohol.

Daisey handled the fourth wall brilliantly. His initial reaction was priceless (if a bit pretentious) and almost looked planned, and you want (the rest of) your audience wondering that. Essentially this is a melodramatic heckle, and he handled the hecklers well by confronting them and questioning their intelligence. That's standup comedy 101. They teach you that in Clown College.

He should hire a guy he trusts (who is big and imposing) to sit or stand near the stage and keep people in the audience from walking up to the desk during the performance with something in hand and a noticeable intent. That didn't have to be water. Coulda been far worse. If he did hire a guy to do that, and the guy wasn't there, he should fire that guy.

And no one likes minimalism in intimate theater more than me, but he does need to offer something for the eyes. This is obviously a low budget project, I understand. Still, the look is reminiscient of a high school production of Our Town. He should at least dress up a bit for the show. I ain't sayin' a suit, and give the background something with some texture. Just a black backdrop says "we want the audience to focus on the words" but it also says "we're too unimaginative to fill the background with anything."

Of course, those who can't do, teach. Those who can't teach, critique. So, what do I know? I can't even write a good five minute monologue for an Open Mike Night.

This guy's won me over though. I didn't even know his name before this MeFi post. If I hear Mike Daisley's making an appearance in my neck of the woods, I'll be more likely to pay to go see him than I would have before this event, so this is all kinds of good publicity for Daisley, and counterproductive for the Xian group who's name no one seems to know. That alone should tell them something. Not that they'll hear, since they refuse to listen.
posted by ZachsMind at 6:08 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


ZachsMind: What do you mean bad?

Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
posted by iguanapolitico at 6:27 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


As for 'is this a put-up job?'

If he can hire a crowd that size to walk out on him, he is already a much bigger deal than he appears to be.
posted by hexatron at 6:29 PM on April 22, 2007


Ah. Right. That's bad. Good safety tip. Thanks Iguana.

I just can't get over this thing. I'm living vicariously through Daisley. To think: he got heckled by what was essentially a whole church congregation. Wow! That's like major kudos for any comedian. I so envy this guy. He's so fucking lucky.

I wonder if there's enough MeFites in any part of the country where we could get fifty of us in one place and make some kind of masse demonstration like this. Nothing fancy. Just where fifty MeFites show up in a place that doesn't normally get that many people. Arrive for no reason and all leave simultaneously at a pre-determined time.

Something like this can be used for good as well as evil. Of course, your definition of what's good and evil is subjective. I'm sure the Xians thought leaving at the mention of fucking Paris Hilton was their way of walking in the path of their Lord.

Looking at the video yet again I see the water dropper guy used Daisley's own water. Didn't catch that before. So at least Daisley knew it wasn't goat piss.

Of course I could be wrong about this but I'm gonna go out on a limb and say this wasn't a planned event. How do I know? Daisley didn't have a planned punchline. He was obviously improvising it and just being himself. If he'd planned ahead, he would not have been able to resist planning something that woulda led to a punchline. Comedians are suckers for such tempation. It's what would always give Andy Kauffman away.

For example, if he'd been going for the Kaufmann angle, he would have been more acidic in his response to the hecklers, and would have tried to escalate the drama of the moment and the conflict rather than make noble and bold attempts to sensibly talk reason - where's the humor in sensibly talking reason? Daisley wasn't going for the funny in that moment.

He was looking for the funny, but he wasn't going for it. Had he planned this, he wouldn't have been looking for the funny. He'd know where he had put it in the set up for the bit. Compare this to when Jon Stewart or Craig Ferguson do bits on their show that they try to make look unplanned but are blatantly scripted.

This was just a heckler moment, which all comedians have to face in the course of their careers. This beast just had a few more legs than most hecklers.

Daisley won over those who stayed, by reacting as he did, and ultimately that's what a good comedian does in response to any heckler. No matter how many legs the beast has.

Did anyone catch what the audience member was suggesting? About five minutes and twenty seconds into it, someone suggested they do something to the notes in order to save it. Something about freezing it and taking the ice off and that will save the notes. ...huh? Anyone else have the slightest idea what he's talking about?
posted by ZachsMind at 6:33 PM on April 22, 2007


mrnutty writes "Ahh, Mike Daisey. I've hated him ever since '21 Dog Years' his first (?) show about his life at amazon."

I saw that show and liked it a lot. And I'm glad he handled this situation so well.
posted by Songdog at 6:33 PM on April 22, 2007


I wonder if looking back through the archives here would reveal if mefites roundly condemned the throwing of pies at certain speakers at public events. Or if they applauded the act

i wonder if looking back through the archives here would reveal ethereal bligh to be a persnickety blowhard who constantly decries strawman characterizations of bad behavior by his fellow liberals, like he's the mefi tammy bruce.

*looks back through archive*

yep.

one amendment, though -- he's actually the mefi camille paglia.
posted by Hat Maui at 6:33 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Ethereal Bligh - I don't comment here often but I do respect you as one of the more thoughtful MeFi folks, so I want to explain why I disliked what we saw in that little video.

I saw people walk out of something they disliked - I fully support that. It seems to me that turning your back on what seems hateful to you (even in the most contrived way) is something admirable. I doubt I would support anything the people who walked out supported. I respect their choice to do so, even if they made that choice in advance.

To pour water on the notes represents an attempt to shut down this actor. It was an act deliberately designed to inhibit from him talking.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 6:36 PM on April 22, 2007


Weird - the ART in Cambridge is a very odd place for a conservative group of any stripe. They stage a lot more radical, anti-religious, and offensive work than Daisy (which sets up a future FPP that I am working on, btw), so that is doubly strange.

Also, Daisy famously did 21 Dog Years, about his life at Amazon.com. The audio version, read by him, is excellent.
posted by blahblahblah at 6:39 PM on April 22, 2007


i wonder if looking back through the archives here would reveal ethereal bligh to be a persnickety blowhard who constantly decries strawman characterizations of bad behavior by his fellow liberals, like he's the mefi tammy bruce.

*looks back through archive*

yep.

one amendment, though -- he's actually the mefi camille paglia.


*golf claps*
posted by The Straightener at 6:42 PM on April 22, 2007


If those people wanted to leave they had the right. The reason they left is rather lame. But people don't need a reason. Pouring water on the performers prop or what ever? It's an asshole thing to do but I wouldn't make much more out of it. Daisy handled it pretty well. It's obvious that hasn't happed before. Well. Now he has earned one more chop.

I don't see it as analogous to throwing a pie as a protest becuase pie throwing is pre-meditated AS a protest. It's not about being offended it's about drawing attention to the act of protest itself. I don't think pie throwing is necessarily cool, either. But politicians kind of sign up for that kind of thing where as performers operate under the assumption the audience has an idea what it has come to see and will not be protesting the actual FORM of the performance - just meybe it's execution.
posted by tkchrist at 6:52 PM on April 22, 2007


I wonder if there's enough MeFites in any part of the country where we could get fifty of us in one place and make some kind of masse demonstration like this. Nothing fancy. Just where fifty MeFites show up in a place that doesn't normally get that many people.

There was a meetup like this- December 2005. A huge group of us showed up for one of the attendee's friend's concert in the basement of a restaurant during the transit strike. I think she started crying.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 6:56 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


ThePinkSuperhero: "I think she started crying."

Was she crying a good kinda cry or a bad kinda cry? Did she take it well or did she misunderstand the intent? You gotta be real cautious with these kindsa things cuz it easily freaks out the target. They oftentimes get defensive and behave like a victim, even if the group's intent was sincere and positive.

thatwhichfalls: "To pour water on the notes represents an attempt to shut down this actor. It was an act deliberately designed to inhibit from him talking."

Perhaps that's the crossing of the line right there. Walking out is not violent. It's not disruptive. It's shunning - a practice long in the tradition of religious sects. Fortunately for Daisey, they didn't resort to another longstanding tradition - stoning.

Pouring water on his notes was a blatant attempt to silence his voice. They were using silence to make their statement, and attempted to take his words away as well. This is admittedly how organized religion likes to work. Take words and thoughts and ideas from those who oppose you. Control the information and you control the masses. Just ask the roman catholic church they'd been in the business of that for centuries, which is why we call it the Dark Ages - a predecessor to the enlightened Renaissance.

The group had the right to walk out surely, but if they all purchased their tickets with the intention of walking out and making that statement, they were effectively tithing to their impression of the Devil. Just as church groups who buy records and videos and books for the soul purpose of burning them at church functions to make a statement to their god - it's counter-productive. They are financially feeding their perceived enemy.

It'd be one thing if each of these churchgoers realized individually that they had been misinformed, thought this would be a show for a Xian Group excursion, and after arriving they learned to their chagrin they hadn't done their homework - that this was in fact the ramblings of a heathen doomed to the pits of hell, and they'd each want to abandon this poor wretched creature lest his tainted satan-ridden heart accidently get some spooge on them.

They wouldn't all leave simultaneously, unless as the original poster postulated: all eighty-seven of them were in fact Paris Hilton fans. Maybe this has nothing to do with God at all.

But then, we knew that already. God didn't appear before that guy the night before as a burning bush and say "I want you to pour water on Mike Daisey's desk. If you do so, 86 other people will follow you, and you shall all walk together down the path of righteousness where I will lead you to Caanan!"

This wasn't about God. This was about that group feeling big about themselves. May the Lord take a likin' to 'em and blow 'em up REAL GOOD.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:04 PM on April 22, 2007


This really does seem strange, and a little fishy...we're talking about freakin' *Cambridge* here...even if they bused these people in from all over, I question whether you could find 87 people in the Metro Boston area who would raise an eyebrow over a curse word. Either there's something else in the performance that would upset people, or this guy made some enemies somewhere else...or it's all a set-up.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 7:10 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


...are we sure this was a Xian group? the more I think about this... I keep flipflopping. This has Improv Everywhere written all over it. Charlie Todd has said recently that they've been doing a lot of stuff for their upcoming television pilot. This is why they haven't been posting new stuff to their website. They're saving it for network broadcast, in hopes of getting picked up.

Granted, Boston's a little out of their usual playground, but maybe they've saturated NYC and are looking for territory and fresh reactions.

Seems like the only camera was Daisley's but part of IE's M.O. is to sneak cameras in places where they're usually not allowed. However, another part of IE's M.O. is to do their stuff in public areas, not theaters where people had to pay to get in... Although they did do a few things with Ben Folds Five in the past year. Maybe they're finding that it's safer to do stuff in more controlled locales...

...Nah! It can't be IE, can it? I mean... where's the funny? They just left. Unless some of the other people who had stayed behind were sleepercells with hidden cameras gauging Daisley's reaction, and the reaction of the audience.
posted by ZachsMind at 7:14 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


The moral is: if you want to protest something that would benefit from publicity, make sure you go after something big enough that the publicity from your protest will not help it.
posted by grouse at 7:19 PM on April 22, 2007


Nightmare.
I was doing "The Pillowman" in Boston last year and a patron was so angry with our production that he left his seat, went out to the lobby, and pulled the fire alarm. We had to stop the show when the pumpers rolled up, axes at thje ready.
Years before, I was playing Petruchio in "The Taming Of The Shrew" at NJ Shakespeare Fest and some nutjob ran onstage at the top of act 2 demanding that "my girlfriend" (Katherine, the "Shrew" of the show) be "set free" and tried to punch me in the nose.
Both times no charges were pressed because each patron was a generous donor.
Fuck.
posted by Dizzy at 7:23 PM on April 22, 2007 [5 favorites]


“I saw people walk out of something they disliked - I fully support that. It seems to me that turning your back on what seems hateful to you (even in the most contrived way) is something admirable. I doubt I would support anything the people who walked out supported. I respect their choice to do so, even if they made that choice in advance.

To pour water on the notes represents an attempt to shut down this actor. It was an act deliberately designed to inhibit from him talking.”


Yeah, I pretty much agree with you completely.

“constantly decries strawman characterizations of bad behavior by his fellow liberals”

Yep, I do decry strawman characterizations of bad behavior by fellow liberals. Thanks for noticing.

“EB, wtf is your point? That you can't make up your mind on how you feel about something unless you're sure which way the wind is blowing on MeFi? Grow a pair.”.

Yes, because you can see that if you read Hat Maui to say what he meant to say, it's clear that he's claiming that I lack the cojones to voice a contrary opinion and his search through the archives backs this up. Or, rather, not.

I was trying to say that I would support someone getting up and leaving a performance for leftist/progressive reasons. I might even support someone disrupting the act if I felt strongly enough that the act was offensive. Therefore, I don't object to these people leaving the performance because they were offended and I'm hesitant to criticize the water stunt, though I don't like it. And the important point was that criticizing their message is distinct from criticizing their behavior. I do object to their message, whatever the hell it probably is. I don't object to the behavior because it's behavior I'd applaud in other circimstances.

“this is artistic speech, not political speech.”

Artistic speech is often political speech. But even if it's not, so what? We can only object to political speech? Why do you assume that artistic speech does or should have some cultural protection where even if it's objectionable no one objects? Sure, I agree that there's a certain etiquette that one doesn't disrupt performances. But that's the same etiquette that says that one doesn't disrupt a speech. I can easily imagine performances and art that I'd both object to and even disrupt. Art matters as much as straightforward political speech matters.

All that said, yes, to some extent my argument was a strawman argument and it's a tactic that I've disavowed and argued against here and elsewhere. So I was being hypocritical myself. On the other hand, there is substance behind my argument.

First, it struck me reading the thread that almost all the complaints against these people were for what they did, not their beliefs. The collective response here is that what they did is wrong, it's unjustifiable. I should have gone back into the archives and looked at the pie-throwing thread (or threads) and see a) what the collective response was, and b) if any individuals responded one way there and another way here. Really, though, be honest with me: who here thinks that if this were a performance by someone who, say, was lauding Bush and excorciating Arabs, and a bunch of students and teachers walked out and one of them even poured water on the script∴—do you really believe that the MetaFilter thread would be unanimous with condemnations of such rude actions?

I don't just criticize my fellow liberals for hypocrisy, I criticize conservatives, too. Of course, criticizing conservatives for hypocrisy is like shooting fish in a barrel. And they're not likely to listen to me because they're conservatives. But getting all in a kerfluffle about this protest and calling it uncivil and rude and whatnot reminds me of how certain conservative pundits will get their panties in a bundle when someone offends them with rudeness. Please.

This is a particular form of hypocrisy that really, really bugs me. It's when people will criticize a certain behavior of their political opponents that they condone among themselves. When someone throws a pie at a speaker, it's either a rude stifling of speech or it's a brave statement of opposition...depending upon whether you agree with the speaker's politics or disagree. Recess appointments are either a way to get around an obstructionist Congress or an undermining of the seperation of powers...depending upon whether you agree with the President's politics or disagree. A Surpreme Court decision is either a trampling of state's rights or a triumph of justice...depending upon whether you agree with the decision.

People, quite simply, can't deal with dissent and differing beliefs. As soon as they ascertain that someone is an ideological enemy, then they evaluate their motivations and behavior through the most hostile lens possible. A large majority of every counter-argument you see here on MeFi and everywhere else is an ad hominem that looks into the opponent's psychology for dark motivations. The performer is comparing these people to Nazis, for crying out loud. These people are supposedly examples of the fascist, speech-silencing conservative right. But when David Horowitz makes the same accusations against some students, we all laugh at him (and rightly). Deal with the fact that people believe different things than we do and when they act upon their beliefs, nine times out of ten they're acting on their beliefs just like we act on ours. Sometimes they act worse. Most of the time they don't. It just seems that way because we don't like them.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 7:30 PM on April 22, 2007 [4 favorites]


...are we sure this was a Xian group? the more I think about this... I keep flipflopping. This has Improv Everywhere written all over it. Charlie Todd has said recently that they've been doing a lot of stuff for their upcoming television pilot. This is why they haven't been posting new stuff to their website. They're saving it for network broadcast, in hopes of getting picked up.

Granted, Boston's a little out of their usual playground, but maybe they've saturated NYC and are looking for territory and fresh reactions.


Hmmm...ZachsMind, you may indeed be onto something here. Let the MeFi Detective Squad dig deeper ... and keep tabs on any and all developments.
posted by ericb at 7:37 PM on April 22, 2007


Well, I didn't know Mike Daisey had a new show. I laughed my ass off at 21 dog years, so I guess I'll go see this one too. Pissing off the xtians is just an added bonus.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:43 PM on April 22, 2007


Maybe I don't know much about Improv Everywhere, but the pouring of the water seems risky (what if he just socked the guy in the face?) and just mean, which they don't seem to do.

From their site: We’re out to prove that a prank doesn’t have to involve humiliation or embarrassment

The pouring water seems to not fit in that. But hey, maybe they threw out their principles for TV.
posted by ALongDecember at 7:47 PM on April 22, 2007


Maybe all those people were hired by Jeff Bezos?
posted by tkchrist at 7:55 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Who would expect anything different from the kind of people calling themselves "christian" these days?
posted by lastobelus at 8:01 PM on April 22, 2007


The comedy monologue was sort of lame. Any chance this is a publicity stunt?

I thought about that, but look at his face. It's obvious he's just totally confused, and then stunned. He'd have to be a very good actor to pull that off if it was. Plus, how could he possibly get 87 people to join a conspiracy without anything leaking?
posted by delmoi at 8:01 PM on April 22, 2007


how could he possibly get 87 people to join a conspiracy without anything leaking?

How many were involved in the Kennedy assignation and faking the moon landings?
posted by tkchrist at 8:20 PM on April 22, 2007


Was she crying a good kinda cry or a bad kinda cry?

Happy crying, for sure! I Can't Believe 25 People Showed Up To My Midnight Restaurant Basement Gig During a Transit Strike crying.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:25 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


Deal with the fact that people believe different things than we do and when they act upon their beliefs, nine times out of ten they're acting on their beliefs just like we act on ours. Sometimes they act worse. Most of the time they don't. It just seems that way because we don't like them.

::favorites x 1000::
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 8:29 PM on April 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


I think Ethereal Bligh makes an excellent point. But I do think that most libs would condemn someone going to a church, and orchestrating a disruption of the sermon by pouring water over the preachers notes on his pulpit. I know I wouldn't be happy with that.
posted by lastobelus at 8:34 PM on April 22, 2007


They've made me afraid of my audience, afraid of my craft...

Daisey's melodrama is embarrassing and unbefitting a guy whose act seems to rely on comedy. He could have joked, he could have laughed it off — instead, he sits stunned for a few moments before bizarrely throwing the word "coward" at 86 people* who were (apparently) quietly and peacefully leaving the room.

And in a world where Daisey's "monologues" get away with being termed "art," I don't think it's unreasonable to argue that this walkout constitutes a valid performance-art protest to Daisey's work. Yes, walking out necessarily disturbs the performance, but not gratuitously (like throwing pies, which simply isn't comparable).

"And Queen got the money?"

Folks keep harping on this point like it's a "GOTCHA!!", but it isn't. It doesn't demonstrate any logical inconsistency; it simply demonstrates that 87 people felt the statement they could make by staging a group walkout was worth the prices of their individual tickets.

And PS, based on that video, Daisey sucks. The way he blew that "Oh my God, I'm Paris Hilton" joke was a piece of the most amateurish telegraphing I've seen since I quit attending open-mic nights. Maybe his material gets better; but with that delivery, it wouldn't matter.

*I don't defend #87, who dumped the glass of water on Daisey's papers. That was childish, even more so than Daisey's response.
posted by cribcage at 8:38 PM on April 22, 2007 [3 favorites]


Christ, what a bunch of assholes.
posted by homunculus at 8:47 PM on April 22, 2007










I'm so fucking sick of trashy behavior.
posted by Dizzy at 8:49 PM on April 22, 2007


How many were involved in the Kennedy assignation

Well, there was Marilyn Monroe. Either John or Bobby. And according to some versions, Peter Lawford.

Mike Daisey needs to give the brunette in the yellow sweater a fucking raise. She had a photocopy of his original outline ready and on his desk in about two minutes. If he doesn't pay her cuz she's a friend or an intern or a volunteer or whatever, he needs to start paying her. At the very least he owes her a large amount of alcohol.

Not sure, but I think that's Jean-Michele Gregory, his wife.


Anyway, I thought he handled the whole thing brilliantly -- some anger and confusion, but he worked through it, as he said, with the audience. He was clearly concerned about finding a way to work back to his preferred tone for the show.

This did have a whiff of an Improv Everywhere about it, but neither is it really their style (I mean, I hope it isn't). They seem to want to delight people with something out of the routine happening, and this was anything but. Their way of disrupting a theatrical monologue, I would guess, might be closer to having 87 people act like it's a dialogue. "So then what, Mike? No, go on." My guess.

I'm looking for clues in the Globe review and interview. Something is definitely awry.
posted by dhartung at 9:12 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


I know Mike personally, and this isn't a publicity stunt. He's a really nice and decent guy, not particularly blue in his work, and is a wonderful, funny performer.

He performed a long-ish story on my show a few months ago, live on stage in NY. Here's a link for those looking to check out more of his work.

IMO, the best response to this is for those who live in the Boston area to just buy some tickets. You won't regret it.
posted by YoungAmerican at 9:31 PM on April 22, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm pretty sure I've heard the Paris Hilton joke before, albeit referring to a different celebrity. His description of New York perfectly aligns with my feelings after a recent trip.
posted by craniac at 10:41 PM on April 22, 2007


My guess is that it was a high school field trip to a big-city show: they stayed until Daisey crossed some "f-word threshold" in the Paris Hilton joke, and one of the chaperones said, "That's it, we're out of here. Everybody: let's go. Now."
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 11:12 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


How many were involved in the Kennedy assignation

Mom, dhartung gets all the good snarks!

I'm pouring a glass of water on his notes next time he's around.
posted by maxwelton at 11:18 PM on April 22, 2007 [1 favorite]


Well, yep: at 4:15, Daisey talks about the sold-out house: "[They tell me] there's two high-school groups here, great!"

(I got it right, but that'll teach me to watch the whole clip before I comment.)
posted by AsYouKnow Bob at 11:19 PM on April 22, 2007


there's two high-school groups here

OUCH! That's like the time we performed Oh Calcutta at that kindergarten.

Kennedy assignation

Hey evurybodi a mis-spellun'! Yuk Yuk!

posted by tkchrist at 11:28 PM on April 22, 2007


"and this leaves me very emotionally available--and vulnerable, if an audience chooses to abuse that trust."

If this was a stunt, I am very confused that he would say this. Any kind of emotionally honest performance leaves you totally vulnerable to people who you don't trust until you finally get out of character. In the meantime someone could call you a disrespectful SOB and you would actually take it to heart. On the stage, you don't tell yourself that words will never hurt you, because that makes for a boring production. Which is what real life is.
posted by bam at 11:29 PM on April 22, 2007


I'd love to argue with you, bam, but it would be a total derail.

Oh, alright! I will, but just a little. The idea that the actor should be completely emotionally available onstage is pretty much an exclusively American concept, based on an inherited misreading of Stanislavski. Actually read his books--the supposed grounding of American method acting--and you'll see that that's not what he was saying at all.

But anyway, I'd definitely go with the groupthink interpretation of this odd walkout. They were some sort of religiously-oriented high school group. Individually or in small groups, they would have stayed and enjoyed the show. But they needed to look cool in front of each other, and one thing led to another. If you think that liberals don't do this too, try turning on pro wrestling at an artists' co-op house.

But as for that one kid with the water, he should have been arrested. That's no different from destroying a painting or sculpture.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:24 AM on April 23, 2007


Was that a kid with the water? A big, balding kid with a belly? Looked more like a teacher.

In any case, I'd hazard a guess that none of these people have ever created anything themselves, much less presented it for public review where there was a chance of it being criticized.
posted by Poagao at 12:39 AM on April 23, 2007


Ethereal Bligh is the John Kerry of Metafilter. Less equivocating please!
posted by The God Complex at 12:46 AM on April 23, 2007


The idea that the actor should be completely emotionally available onstage is pretty much an exclusively American concept, based on an inherited misreading of Stanislavski. Actually read his books--the supposed grounding of American method acting--and you'll see that that's not what he was saying at all.

I'm actually studying the inherited misreading of Stanislavski, mr. truck, so you'll excuse me for being defensive: You're putting words in my mouth. Do check your inbox sometime though, I'll probably have some questions for ya.
posted by bam at 1:06 AM on April 23, 2007


My guess is that it was a high school field trip to a big-city show: they stayed until Daisey crossed some "f-word threshold" in the Paris Hilton joke, and one of the chaperones said, "That's it, we're out of here. Everybody: let's go. Now."

That's exactly what I thought. Needn't been coordinated before-hand, merely directed by someone on the scene.
posted by dreamsign at 1:48 AM on April 23, 2007


The walkout was fundamentalist Christian performance art. They do it all the time. Fundamentalist Christians have always been heavily into spontaneous mob events, street theater, underground press, sermons on mounts, etc.
posted by pracowity at 2:00 AM on April 23, 2007


I'm going to completely ignore the story here, although it sounds like a pretty sickening attempt to grab some headline space for their 'cause' (whatever the fuck that is) and ask an important question:

I'm guessing that most people here are atheists or agnostics and the rest are liberal Christians who despise this sort of fundie tomfoolery. Am I pretty close?

Has anyone done a poll of MeFi regulars?
posted by chuckdarwin at 2:24 AM on April 23, 2007


I don't think Hodgman shills away publicity like that.

Hodgman used to be an agent, for chrissakes. Of course he does (or at least can).
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:51 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna jump on a simmering sub-discussion here and drop some homebrew pseudo-Jungian science on the artistic/political dichotomy. I regret the places where my phrasing gets artsy-fartsy and vulgar-romantic, but it's the best I can do just now.

Artistic, not political? Bah. All art, or attempted art, is political. It always has been—or, at least, it has been for as long as political agents have been trying to suborn art; and that is a long time indeed.

At its best, art is the projection of the Animus onto communication, onto intersubjectivity. It's animus speaking to animus with groanings that cannot be uttered, and it has a wild streak and a touch of the mystic as marks of that heritage. Conversely, politics-as-usual is the projection of the Self onto the same domain, and it works the same way there as within one subject: It will manipulate what it can and deny what it cannot.

The Self doesn't initially trust the Animus any more than it trusts the Shadow. It envies its power and fears its transcendence. Within one person, that creates all kinds of psychological dynamics, interesting and otherwise. Among people, it creates social dynamics instead. One of them is the way politics has watched the ability of art to create agendas, and has often said in its unmistakable crass voice, 'Hey, I bet I can get a piece of that action!'

But, of course, when the agenda drives the artistic truth rather than the other way round, the Animus is grieved, and when it is withdrawn, Amen to the vitality of the art. For recent examples, have a look at the commissioned works of the Nazi or Soviet regimes, with all their sad sameness. (Though there are brilliant exceptions within both genres.) And consider Orwell's excellent dissection of what politics was trying to do to the art of prose itself.

Luckily, art rises up someplace for every other place politics pushes it down. But what it comes down to is this: Politics has been resentfully whacking honest art—art where the conclusion is not foregone—for a while now, but in the last century artists have noticed. And every time somebody tries honest art, tries to reach for an unknown truth instead of merely toeing a line, politics gets whacked back.

That said, I think a synchronized walkout and water-dumping can be a great piece of performance art and an honest artistic reaction. I have taken a pretty broad view of honest artistic reactions ever since a tapestry made me stand in one place and sway in circles for sixty seconds. But whether it was art in this case, or just politics, or some other species of collective insanity, I can't say.
posted by eritain at 4:00 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


People, quite simply, can't deal with dissent and differing beliefs.

Ethereal Bligh, this statement, besides being completely unsubstantiated horseshit, is very specifically unsubstantiated horseshit with respect to your original assertion about the prevailing reactions on this site to similar situations with similar outcomes occurring to someone with opposite politics. You haven't posted one quote, not a link to single thread, where you can show specific people here who have done this, and do this regularly enough to support your assertion that it is in any way systemic. Instead of crafting a 700 word platitude do some fucking leg work and dig up some words to support your horseshit claim, narrow the focus of your high handed shaming message to those specific individuals who engage in the imaginary behavior you see so clearly formed in your mind and lay the fuck off the rest of the group with your generalizations of how poorly we behave and think, and the unjustness we habitually foist on other people.
posted by The Straightener at 4:57 AM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


Rebuttal: History.

Next.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 5:20 AM on April 23, 2007


Well, your calm and reasoned objection certainly proves Ethereal Bligh wrong. Well-played!

(I think Bligh's point, whether one agrees with it or not, is a philosophical one that can't really be justified with footnotes and a list of works cited -- it's unsubstantiated, but also inherently...uh...unsubstantiate..a...ble? So it's kind of unfair to be all like, "Prove that we're intolerant or FUCK OFF!"...you know? It IS fair to ask whether a point that can by defintion be neither proven nor disproven belongs in the conversation, though...)
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:36 AM on April 23, 2007


Well, your calm and reasoned objection certainly proves Ethereal Bligh wrong. Well-played!

And perhaps not just because his tone was angry and mocking. It's possible that at some point in the future The Straightener will have occasion on MetaFilter to decry what he sees as a general tendency of people to be intolerant of dissent and differing beliefs, an assertion he just claimed is “horseshit”. If so, I might guess that he finds the assertion felicitous only when he's not its target. Which would validate my essential point. Oh, hell, who am I kidding? The Straightener doesn't deserve my suspicion. I have no doubt at all that he will never claim that people are intolerant of dissent and differing beliefs. It's entirely dishonest of me to even consider the possibility that he might be hypocritical in this fashion. I have no basis, no evidence.

It IS fair to ask whether a point that can by defintion be neither proven nor disproven belongs in the conversation, though...

Yes, it is. It's not only fair, it's important. I mentioned in my previous comment that I admit to hypocrisy in my first comment because I've written elsewhere (and I believe what I've written, I'm just not as virtuous as I'd like to be) that making charges of hypocrisy against some amorphous group because one member's behavior is not in accordance with some standard of behavior or belief that we ascribe to the group is pernicious in (especially) political discourse and just isn't fair. I've vowed to myself to not do it, and here I am doing it in this thread.

But this thread brings into stark relief for me the problem with a blanket ban on charges of “group hypocrisy”. Sometimes we know in our gut based upon past experience with a group of people how they behave and that they are being hypocritical. I think that's true in this case. Providing a specific example of hypocrisy is possibly unrealistic. In this case, what would I do? I went back and looked at the Ann Coulter pie-throwing thread. The result? No one in that thread is in this thread (I think). But, on the other hand, no one in that thread condemns the pie-throwing. Yet on the first hand, The Straightener and others would argue that the two situations aren't comparable. On the other hand, he would argue that—how likely is an exactly comparable event?

And obviously the criticism is valuable if it's correct.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 6:12 AM on April 23, 2007


Mike Daisey left this comment on John Hodgman's blog:
It was a Christian group on a trip from another part of the country who randomly chose my show, presumably because they somehow thought it would be full of rainbows, unicorns and absolutely no explicatives. That, combined with poor leadership from them and (what appears to be) a number of out-of-control teachers led to the incident.
Hodgman also says, "I am frankly too slow and lazy a blogger to pass along a scurrilous meme to you people."

Daisey says person who poured water on the notes is older than Daisey, and Daisey's 34.

Not sure, but I think that's Jean-Michele Gregory, his wife.

That's correct.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:48 AM on April 23, 2007


Before I read the entire thread above, I'll give this reaction:

If their goal was to demonstrate how composed, professional, and reasonable this guy was, they succeeded. If their goal was to make his name known to people who had never heard of him (for instance, me), and cause me to want to see his shows, they succeeded.

Nice job, fundies.
posted by odinsdream at 7:05 AM on April 23, 2007


I've walked out on ART performances before, but at least waited until intermission. I wouldn't have even had to do that if the performance came with the warning: "DANGER: This Production of Richard II has a wading pool on stage FOR NO APPARENT REASON. Also, the guy playing Richard is channelling Billy Corgan and we can't make him stop."
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:01 AM on April 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


ALongDecember: "Maybe I don't know much about Improv Everywhere, but the pouring of the water seems risky..."

You're right. Unless Daisey was in on it. IE's recent antics with Ben Folds appeared on the surface to be a gag against Ben Folds, but then he comes on stage and punches his impersonator, so the gag's actually on the audience. Nice bit.

I agree tho that this is slightly over the top for IE. I've slept on it and have since flip flopped again a half dozen times. I honestly can't decide if it's real or if it's a publicity stunt. Or if it's real and Daisey is trying to turn it into a publicity stunt, which he's fully within his rights to do.

IE woulda done something like all of them stand up at the same time and pantomimed random positions, probably while listening to an mp3 of Steve.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:04 AM on April 23, 2007


Oh, stop being so blasé, Zachs. Why is this so hard to take at face value?
posted by Firas at 9:14 AM on April 23, 2007


ChuckDarwin: "Has anyone done a poll of MeFi regulars?"

SubGenius Christian here, veering towards Jeffersonian deism while simultaneously believing in the possibility of everything. I'm a speculative fractal quantum revisionist who incorporates everything I want to believe in through a distorted filter of the Many Worlds Theory of quantum mechanics. Anything that can happen either has, is, or will be and if it can go wrong it will - so I also believe in Murphy. You'd probably just pigeonhole me into 'liberal Christian.' Whatever. Meh.
posted by ZachsMind at 9:23 AM on April 23, 2007


Firas: "Why is this so hard to take at face value?"

Uhm... Cuz I've seen episodes of the Jamie Kennedy Experiment?
posted by ZachsMind at 9:25 AM on April 23, 2007


FAKE!

Huh? This isn't youtube?
posted by yeti at 9:26 AM on April 23, 2007


Wait. A donor to a Shakespeare festival jumped on stage to set a character free? I'm going to have to start going to the theatre more often...
posted by armacy at 9:53 AM on April 23, 2007


Season ticket holders are an odd bunch of people.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:34 AM on April 23, 2007


I know I'll get in trouble for saying this, but just as streetwalkers hate their johns, most actors I know secretly loathe the season-ticket holders.
I know, I know.
But it's true.
posted by Dizzy at 11:45 AM on April 23, 2007


(I think Bligh's point, whether one agrees with it or not, is a philosophical one that can't really be justified with footnotes and a list of works cited -- it's unsubstantiated, but also inherently...uh...unsubstantiate..a...ble?

Surely the type of behaviour cited has either happened on MeFi or it has not.

If it has then i think its only fair for a user to do the leg work rather than make vague generalisations toward everybody, if it hasn't then the point has no business being made at all.

I don't see anything philisophical about it.
posted by Reggie Knoble at 2:11 PM on April 23, 2007


vague generalisations toward everybody

That happens a lot, don't it?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:20 PM on April 23, 2007 [1 favorite]


I was doing "The Pillowman" in Boston last year and a patron was so angry with our production that he left his seat, went out to the lobby, and pulled the fire alarm. We had to stop the show when the pumpers rolled up, axes at thje ready.

I really liked "The Pillowman" - it's playing now in DC, if you have a chance to catch it, you should - but I'm not surprised that much at his reaction; it's a bit unsettling.
posted by me & my monkey at 7:37 PM on April 23, 2007


I'm gratified you enjoyed your evening.
You are the reason I do what I do.
I could not exist without your patronage.

And yet--

I was " a bit unsettled" when Vader revealed to Luke that he was his father.
Got all het up.
But I didn't call the fricking fire department.
posted by Dizzy at 8:47 PM on April 23, 2007


I remember it like it was yesterday. Many years ago, I was sitting in class when some professor told me that glycosylation was just as important as phosphorylation in protein regulation, if not more important. Nothing had prepared me for that. I threw my phone through the projection screen, I was rolling in the aisle tearing at my hair and clothes, screaming; I just wanted it to end. I never went back to that class -- how could I? My understanding of protein function was shattered that day.

It took time, but eventually I made my peace with glycosylation; I can talk about it now. I hope that, by telling my story, I can help others who might be facing a similar situation. I pray that no one else ever has to experience the pain of exposure to new ideas.
posted by Methylviolet at 10:46 PM on April 23, 2007 [3 favorites]


Boston Globe: Student protest has ART upset.
posted by ericb at 9:11 AM on April 24, 2007


The protesters were "87 students and staff visiting Thursday from Norco High School in Southern California."
posted by ericb at 9:13 AM on April 24, 2007


"'If a patron in an art museum objected to a painting and slashed it, we'd be clear that that's a criminal act,' the ART's artistic director, Gideon Lester, fumed yesterday. Seems the school group did inquire about the content of the show, called 'Invincible Summer,' and was told it includes profanity and adult subject matter. They decided to buy tickets anyway. Daisey has since talked to Cindy Lee, Norco's activities director, and received a halfhearted apology. 'They keep saying it was a "security issue" ... They had to get their children out because of these words,' he said. 'It's ludicrous.'"

Fucking assholes!
posted by ericb at 9:16 AM on April 24, 2007


"Security issue." Heh.

Have we started harassing these guys yet?
posted by roll truck roll at 9:18 AM on April 24, 2007


Incidentally, I see no indication of this being a religious school. Their clubs include Amnesty International and Gay and Straight Alliance, so they can't be that bad.
posted by roll truck roll at 9:20 AM on April 24, 2007


Norco sounds like the kind of place that belongs in a Mountain Goats song and nowhere near anything decent like Cambridge or art. I think I'll wear a t-shirt when I see Daisey that reads "My rich white family and Norco High School paid thousands of dollars to fly me East and buy me tickets and all I got was a fucking lousy education and a sense of entitlement to make Paris Hilton envious."
posted by allen.spaulding at 9:24 AM on April 24, 2007


And it wasn't a student who poured the water on his outline...

"...one of the chaperones poured water on Daisey's notes in an act the performer dubbed 'an anti-baptism' on the ART blog.' *

"'It was most shocking when the person destroyed the original of the show's outline — both in terms of how he came into my physical space and the look on his face as he was doing it.' Daisey said the man had 'a look of hatred and complete and total arrogance and contempt. . . . and [a feeling of] superiority.'" *
posted by ericb at 9:25 AM on April 24, 2007


"According to Katalin Miller, a spokesperson for American Rep, the protesters were a visiting choral group from Norco Senior High School in Norco, Calif., a suburb in the San Fernando Valley just west of Riverside. A woman from the group called the box office Thursday afternoon and wanted to order 87 tickets, Miller said.

The woman asked if the performance was suitable for high school students, said Miller, who added that the woman was informed that the material contained strong language and adult situations.

'She didn't have any problem,' Miller said, and ordered the tickets. 'Once the F-word started flying ... the adults led them out.' Miller added that the students didn't seem to have a problem with the material, but the adults did. It is uncertain who poured the water on Daisey's notes, but it was a man who seemed to be in the early stages of male-pattern baldness.

At Norco Senior High, a man who answered the phone in the choir office but would not give his name said, 'There was no protest. This has been blown completely out of proportion.' He would not say whether he was on the Boston trip or what other teachers were.

A call from Back Stage to the school's principal, John Johnson, was not immediately returned. Daisey has also not returned a call seeking comment." *

Here's a picture of one of the panty-twisted Norco chaperones.
posted by ericb at 9:30 AM on April 24, 2007


Mike Daisey's followup post, including his phone conversation with the guy to poured water on his notes.
posted by kirkaracha at 4:59 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]


Whoops, correct link.
posted by kirkaracha at 5:00 PM on April 24, 2007


I'm proud of Dalsey and how he dealt with all of this.
His compassion instructs me.
Thanks for the followup, kirk!
posted by Dizzy at 7:05 PM on April 24, 2007


Incidentally, I see no indication of this being a religious school.

True, but -- from Daisey's follow-up post to which kirkaracha links:
"The group responsible for the incident is from a public high school, though they identified themselves to me as a Christian group as they fled the theater--it's barely audible on the YouTube clip, as an adult tells me they are a Christian group, then flees for the door, refusing to engage with me. Then in the lobby of the theater and on the phone to the box office they identified themselves again and again as a Christian group--I don't know what that says about the division of church and state in Norco, California. As a group, the people in charge freely identified themselves as a Christian group, until reporters call and they remember they are from a public high school."
posted by ericb at 7:45 PM on April 24, 2007


I have sent an e-mail to the principal -- John Johnson -- of Norco High School and left a voicemail mesage [john_johnson@cnusd.k12.ca.us | (951) 736-3241], suggesting that he clarify the school's position on the behavior of the school's chaperones during the choral group's attendance at the ART.
posted by ericb at 7:59 PM on April 24, 2007


I've held back about this, because I was so angry about this group's behavior.
(You can reference my comments above.)
But my mother was for several years a Vice-Principal at Norco High and my step-dad was the District Superintendant.
We talked about this on the phone today and she mentioned that the prevailing culture at that high school years back was very, very, very conservative.
Norco ("North Corona", California) is mostly rural-- horse country.
Although located in a cosmoplitan state, this area remains dusty, isolated; most kids were called "goat-ropers"-- not used to varying viewpoints, or big cities, or ideas outside of a small town.
They were the sons and daughters of farmers and ranchers.
Most would assume their parents jobs.
Most would not go on to post-secondary education.
Hard workers. Fearful.
The School Board was unrelentingly fundamentalist.
Certainly this trickled down to the students' minders and mentors and chaperones.
My mom was caught in a political crossfire regarding some unrelated issues and was forced out of her position, but she stressed that they were mostly good kids who obeyed the Grown-ups.
Just wanted to take a leaf from Dalsey's book and identify some root causes.
The adults were the dicks. The kids just followed.
posted by Dizzy at 8:34 PM on April 24, 2007


From reading the follow-up post ericb and Boing Boing linked to, it seems that David (the attacker, from the Christian group) has been repressed all his life out of fear of the world, and because of it suffers from bursts of rage.

Now note, for a moment, the two ways to react to this news:
- One could say "Yeah, well tough beans. He still attacked him, he still did wrong, he should still be punished. Nothing at all has changed."
- Or, one could say "Hmm. That explains (though doesn't excuse) things. Maybe he will seek help. It isn't cool it happened, but everyone is different. What a horrible problem for him to have."

From the new post:
It wasn't all agreement--he reiterated the administrator's line that it had been a "security issue" (his words) and that "we had to get our kids out of there". He said at one point, "You're probably more *liberal* than I am" and the word *liberal* had this hook on the end of it, one that he probably didn't even intend, but it was unavoidable for him--it sounded edged, like a slur.

I cannot help but wondering if David (the guy who had poured the water) had seen someone else doing this to a person he didn't know, which reaction he would have. I know which reaction Jesus would have.
posted by JHarris at 12:21 PM on April 25, 2007


You missed the part where Daisey said he was raised Catholic and suddenly David's attitude changed and he started treating Daisey as brethren by discussing Jesus.

I firmly believe that Jesus' attitude would've had little in common with that of the majority of people who claim to be his disciples. [I have fundamentalist family members, so I've spent quality time around said people.]
posted by miss lynnster at 1:01 PM on April 25, 2007


Now there's a man who could use a laminator.
posted by tomble at 11:11 PM on April 25, 2007


Hmm, it also makes me rethink my play The Invincible Summer of Piss Christ
posted by tomble at 11:17 PM on April 25, 2007 [1 favorite]


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