Audience Shell Shocked at Michelle Shocked

For a couple days I saw references to Michelle Shocked having told an audience “God hates fags” without bothering to read any of the articles. I vaguely remembered thinking that Shocked was a lesbian, so it seemed rather odd and I thought perhaps someone had misheard her or she meant it ironically or something. Apparently not.

Folk singer Michelle Shocked stunned a San Francisco audience on Sunday night after breaking into an anti-gay rant in which she said, “God hates fags.”

“You can go on Twitter and say ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates fags,’” she said, to a crowd at live-music venue Yoshi’s San Francisco.

“I live in fear,” added Shocked, “that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”

And this was in San Francisco, for crying out loud. As you can imagine, about 2/3 of the audience got up and walked out. And the club turned off her microphone, shut down the show and offered to refund the ticket price to those in attendance. Now most of the clubs she was scheduled to appear at over the next few weeks have canceled those shows too. Good career move!

By the way, I’ve been to Yoshi’s. It’s a good sushi restaurant in addition to having live music. I was there with my cousin David several years ago.

35 comments on this post.
  1. tommykey:

    Considering some gays have already been allowed to marry, how many have to get married before the world gets destroyed? Is there a magic number or a critical mass that needs to be achieved?

  2. hunter:

    I listened to the relevant portions of the audio — it was fairly ambiguous, but I got the feeling she was almost parodying the perceived attitudes of evangelicals/fundamentalists. Nor did I hear the reported objections from the audience, although that may have come later.. There was a discernible sense of irony in her delivery.

    I read a couple of the reports, and as one who habitually visits the comment threads in the gay blogosphere, I might point out two possible reasons for the reaction: 1) you hear what you expect to hear, and half the people in the world can’t detect irony — or even broad satire — unless it’s pointed out to them. 2) the PC left is just as nasty and authoritarian as the “Christian” right, and includes a fair number of people who’ve taken identity politics into the realm of the bizarre — it is always about them, no matter the ostensible subject, and if it’s not, why not?

    At any rate, what’s done is done, and as I say, the negative reaction from the audience may have come later than the portions I listened to. And isn’t it interesting how times have changed — almost all the projected venues on her tour have cancelled (and on the basis of what, I wonder — the news reports/blogs?), but a very few years ago it took a lot of pressure, including street demonstrations, to get one venue to cancel an appearance by a homophobic reggae artist.

  3. Vasha:

    In this article, Shocked is identified as a born again-Christian and offers a confused sort-of apology in which she a) seems to feel obligated to repeat the message of her church about the end-times while saying she doesn’t agree with it; b) clarifies that she hates the sin, not the sinner.

    On homosexuals: Members of the singer’s audience who “applauded my so-called stance that ‘God hates faggots’” should offer gay people “mercy, not hate”.

    On her stance about Proposition 8 being influenced by her church membership: “If I could repeat the evening, I would make a clearer distinction between a set of beliefs I abhor, and my human sympathy for the folks who hold them … In this controversy, [my position] means speaking for Christians with opinions I in no way share about homosexuality. Will I endorse them? Never. Will I disavow them? Never.”

    In other words, her problem is that when needing to choose between her hate-mongering church and the real gay people that she knows, she chose the former, and is tied up in making muddled excuses for doing so.

  4. raven:

    Whoever Michelle is.

    No big deal.

    She is a born again fundie death cultist.

    Now doomed to play xian venues forever. It’s easy. Just make sure to up the crazy and hate. Gays are just a warmup. Got to get in Moslems, atheists, educated people, women, college students, scientists, nonwhites, other xians, and all the other hates of the fundies.

    “Yoshi’s” sounds Asian, probably Japanese. I do hope she remembered to get in some anti-Asian racial slurs just for completeness.

    Hitchens: Religion poisons everything.

  5. raven:

    Michelle Shocked, another example of fundie xian induced cognitive impairment.

    as well as of Hitchen’s rule. Religion poisons everything.

  6. mojave66:

    She has apologized for going off on that tangent. She’s had a mixed message in the past about her relationship to the GLBT community, so it isn’t surprising people took her horrible attempt at satire badly.

    I don’t think reacting negatively to “God hates fags” is in the realm of the bizarre, since it was by no means clear what she meant. It wasn’t just the GLBTs in the audience who reacted that way, either.

  7. jamessweet:

    @hunter: No, we know from follow-up comments she wasn’t trying to be ironic, despite your attempts to tar the “PC left”. Once again, every single time somebody uses the phrase “politically correct”, they are saying something wrong and/or stupid. :p

    Background for everybody else: I was very confused by this (alt folk singers aren’t exactly known for their conservative politics, y’know?) so I looked some stuff up. Michelle Shocked “came out” in 1990, but then married a man in 1992, whom she later divorced. In the early 2000s, she converted to fundagelical, and since then has been rather unspoken about her beliefs in that regard.

    So yeah, she was serious. And probably self-hating. Very sad.

  8. Raging Bee:

    And the club turned off her microphone, shut down the show and offered to refund the ticket price to those in attendance. Now most of the clubs she was scheduled to appear at over the next few weeks have canceled those shows too. Good career move!

    Having alienated her longstanding fans, she’ll now be even more dependant on support from within the Christofascist community — just like Chuck Norris, Steve Doocy and other has-beens. Which makes it FAR more unlikely that she’ll ever feel able to step up and admit she was wrong. That’s how conversion to insane cults becomes permanent.

  9. baal:

    I have some sympathy for her. She’s likely trying to ‘witness’ as directed by her church (god hates fags, but in more words) and having trouble reconciling saying those words while attempting to accept herself as a queer person. It’s likely an infinite regress between a message that serving god can bring you peace and a message that god hates her (for being queer). Being hated (self hating?) then leads to a desire for peace and the vicious circle goes round.

    I’m happily at peace with my mental demons (they are me) and focus more on trying not to harm others or to do so only when i can articulate non-laughable reasons to so.

  10. Daft Greg:

    Let’s see, second-rate has-been celebrity – check, born-again Christian – check, complete disconnect from reality – check. She should be getting her World Net daily column any day now.

  11. Doug Little:

    Let’s see, second-rate has-been celebrity – check, born-again Christian – check, complete disconnect from reality – check. She should be getting her World Net daily column any day now.

    She can damn well get in line behind Dave Mustaine from Megadeth.

  12. Marcus Ranum:

    By the way, I’ve been to Yoshi’s. It’s a good sushi restaurant in addition to having live music.

    Can you imagine how the manager felt when that happened? I bet that felt like having a 500 gallon fish tank plus ice cubes and a bunch of goldfish dumped down their pants! And they did the only thing they could do, and I hope the resultant publicity for their stand-up behavior has been good for business.

    I was at a conference a couple years ago when the keynote speaker suddenly launched into this absolutely bizzare right-wing (and race-baiting 1/4 of the world’s population) rant. Unfortunately he did it at the end of his talk. But, well, he’s never going to get his hands on a microphone again unless Ted Nugent decides to have a computer security and BBQ night in some bunker somewhere.

    The transformative effect of a microphone is interesting and can become very self-reinforcing. Ask Rush or Rush or Ted or Bill or…

  13. okstop:

    I remember coming to Shocked’s music and reading about her in magazines in the late 80s/early 90s (when she was still identifying as a lesbian), then seeing her live after she married a man, and then reading some of the stuff she posted on her website after she went fundie. The sense of a downward slide was depressing but clear. Over about a decade, she went from relatively articulate and clever to rambling, confused, and just plain bizarre. Very sad.

  14. Michael Heath:

    From the article Vasha @ 3:

    Members of the singer’s audience who “applauded my so-called stance that ‘God hates faggots’” should offer gay people “mercy, not hate”, Shocked wrote. “And I hope that what remains of my audience will meet that intolerance with understanding, even of those who might hate them.”

    So Michelle Shocked advocates Christians behave to a higher standard than their god; that’s a pretty low bar.

  15. anubisprime:

    I have never heard of Missy Michelle but she seems to be as dingbatted as Sinead O”Connor.

    Now that has some grade A incoherency in her ‘spirituality’.
    I am not entirely convinced she knows which way is up let alone posses any theistic understanding, totally twisted with a garbled surety and all with a pompous enthusiasm, she loves talking about it, but not sure many, if any, know what the fuck she is advocating and I am pretty damned sure she doesn’t either.
    She has a kind of doolally Gish gallop delivery when pontificating the nonsense, I think most interviewers orf journalists tune out through boredom and the incomprehensibility at her claims.

    This Michelle has a problem and has got her self all knotted up mentally, not sure which way is out, let alone up, and seems rather dim with it.
    Maybe she should consider joining the Westboro bunnies, seems she has a penchant for their rhetoric!

    Seems unlikely she will be back on the circuit for the foreseeable anyway, after pulling a dumb stunt like that probably for the best, there are enough big mouthed bigoted arseholes out there as it is!

  16. Jafafa Hots:

    She is not being honest about what she said in her “apology.” I listened to the full 20 minute recording, and here is a direct quote:

    “I was at a prayer meeting yesterday, and you gotta appreciate how scared folks on that side of the equation are. I mean, from their vantage point, and I really shouldn’t say ‘their’ because it’s mine too, we are nearly at the end of time, and from our vantage point we’re gonna be, uh … once Prop 8 gets instated, and once preachers are held at gunpoint and forced to marry the homosexuals, then I’m pretty sure that will be the signal for Jesus to come on back.”

    She explicitly said it’s HER vantage point.

  17. Jafafa Hots:

    (Shoulda blockquoted. Oh well.)

  18. Hairy Chris, blah blah blah etc:

    Weird. The last time I heard about Michelle Shocked – admittedly this was a VERY long time ago – I thought that she was gay herself. I can see this ending well.

  19. Jafafa Hots:

    The last time I heard about Michelle Shocked – admittedly this was a VERY long time ago – I thought that she was gay herself. I can see this ending well.

    She came out. She once talked about having her first woman lover. She also said she resented the fact that she’d never even heard of “the ‘L’ word” until late teens, and said until that time she didn’t know what she was, just that she was different.

    It appears that she is conflicted. I wonder if her Pentecostal religion has anything to do with that, or the years growing up in a strict Mormon household?

    Actually, despite what she said, I can’t feel angry at her. Listening to her, reading her words, it seems she is struggling and in pain.
    I just feel sincerely sorry for her.

  20. jnorris:

    With her concerts cancelled maybe she and Ted Nugent can both play the Boy Scout Jamboree.

  21. dan4:

    @2: “Nor did I hear the reported objections from the audience,…”

    “Objections” can take forms that are purely visual in nature (walking out of the concert, a certain, ahem, finger gesture, etc.).

  22. Jafafa Hots:

    Nor did I hear the reported objections from the audience,

    Billboard has the whole 20 minutes. Listen to it.
    After she continued her comments, there was CONSIDERABLE upset from the audience, at which she went off mike and SCREAMED at them

  23. Rip Steakface:

    @11

    A WND column from Dave Mustaine would be hilarious. Consider that he’s a fundie and conservative, while simultaneously playing The Devil’s Music ™ and a former heroin addict. I bet he’d have gotten along with Johnny Ramone when the latter was still alive (and not only because Mustaine undoubtedly idolizes the Ramones, as does everyone in thrash metal).

  24. camnotthebutler:

    How very sad. I love Michelle’s first three albums. Agit-folk, political and funny. But then she ended up becoming a christian and its all downhill since. I hope she snaps out of it and makes a really angry album again.

  25. Jafafa Hots:

    Nicole Sandler at Crooks and Liars tried to interview her. Reading about what transpired, it really looks like Michelle Shocked is having some serious issues.
    The interaction was very bizarre.

    I believe she is very ill, it seems she is pushing away friends who are trying to help her, and exhibiting paranoia.
    Sad.

  26. M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati:

    anubisprime @ 15:

    Now that has some grade A incoherency in her ‘spirituality’.

    Let’s just settle on a rule right here: people who insist that “spirituality” is important (or even something to consider at all) don’t get to say shit to the rest of us until they decide on a consensus view of what “spirituality” entails. Because the non-superstitious crowd has no reason to take on the ridiculous multitude of supernaturalist beliefs until the crowd promoting said beliefs can settle on what, exactly, they are collectively promoting,

  27. brucegorton:

    I have long held that being born again kills talent. Bob Dylan was never quite as good after finding Jesus for example.

    This stuff requires empathy, and I think empathy kind of dies once you accept the idea that a being that would destroy the entire world because the wrong people love each other should be worshiped.

  28. valhar2000:

    Drugs are bad.

  29. anubisprime:

    M, Supreme Anarch of the Queer Illuminati @ 26

    Completely agree with you.
    This is what struck a chord , so to speak, with these two muppets Sinead O”Connor & Michelle Shocked …neither seems to have a cogent view as to what they actually believe and what ‘it’ supposedly actually is, and have seemingly even greater problems explaining it to themselves or anyone unlucky enough to ask…it ends up as all kinds of weird and wacky and in the main contentions absolutely incoherent.

    This tends to be the fate of most of the ‘outliers’ of some form of supernatural gobblygook, not completely sane.
    In the case of O’connor done more to appear ‘interesting’ or more then two dimensional…I afraid she fails big time in that ambition, just comes across as a tad dumb and facetious.

  30. Michael Heath:

    Jafafa Hots quotes Michelle Shocked:

    “I was at a prayer meeting yesterday, and you gotta appreciate how scared folks on that side of the equation are. I mean, from their vantage point, and I really shouldn’t say ‘their’ because it’s mine too, we are nearly at the end of time, and from our vantage point we’re gonna be, uh … once Prop 8 gets instated, and once preachers are held at gunpoint and forced to marry the homosexuals.

    It won’t be a gun that eventually holds bigoted Christian preachers hostage if they refuse to marry gay couples, but instead the IRS will use these church’s own checkbooks. The states which are passing equality laws for gays are mostly also passing laws insuring conservative Christian denominations can continue to discriminate against gays.

    However, at some point in the future when society at large will no longer tolerate bigotry towards gays, it will become exceedingly hard for people to accept their government subsidizing the anti-gay bigots’ religious enterprises as we currently do now. At that point the bigots will have to either pull their mouths from the government teat and go it alone like Bob Jones “University” (Omigod – freedom!), or marry gays if they want to continue to enjoy government subsidies. So this one a legitimate fear; though one of the very few they express that’s based on arguably true premises.

  31. andrewryan:

    @Hunter: “You hear what you expect to hear, and half the people in the world can’t detect irony ”

    That argument doesn’t work because the audience were EXPECTING to hear a liberal lesbian – as that is what Michelle Shocked has previously appeared to be – speaking in a city where gay acceptance is pretty much taken for granted. It’s not like Sarah Palin got up and made those remarks at a GOP convention if Texas.

  32. frankb:

    Michael #30 The government forcing priests to marry gays is a lie told by the wingnuts to scare the sheep. Don’t even pretend that it is true. Churches are private clubs that don’t offer marriages to the public. The government can’t force them to do it. Tax exemption is a totally separate matter.

  33. Dr X:

    An open letter of response published yesterday, that, if anything, reveals that she is a very confused person who has trouble saying what she means, perhaps because she doesn’t know what she means.

    http://www.texasobserver.org/michelle-shocked-speaks/

  34. Doug Little:

    Rip @23,

    Speaking of the Ramones the tribute concert and resulting documentary for Johnny right before he died is well worth a look, has a lot of influential artists doing Ramones covers. Too tough to die

  35. raven:

    I have long held that being born again kills talent.

    That is covered under the theory that being a fundie xian kills brain functioning. The theory of fundie induced cognitive impairment.

    There is a lot of data for it. Even the statistics say fundies score low on IQ and education.

    Or just look at internet trolls and the two MIchel(l)es, Bachmann and Shocked.

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