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Michelle, now *I’m* shocked

Hat tip to Janine in the Thunderdome for the heads up on this: Alt-folk singer songwriter Michelle Shocked has gone all the way  over to the Dark Side.

Those of us who’ve followed her over the years — myself, I’ve long been a  particular fan of Short Sharp Shocked and Arkansas Traveler — were disheartened over the last couple years as she became a so-called born again Xtian and, perhaps not coincidentally, went more or less to shit musically. But according to Queerty, she’s since completely lost the plot:

Michelle Shocked, an alt-folk singer who had success in the 1980s and ’90s, shocked audience members at Yoshi’s in San Francisco Sunday night with a homophobic rant that wound up clearing out the club.

The crowd had come, presumably, to hear songs like “Come a Long Way” and “On the Greener Side,” which got airplay on MTV back in the day. (“Greener Side” was even up for a VMA against Madonna’s “Vogue.”)

Instead they were treated to a tirade that allegedly included Shocked announcing “God hates fags.”

Matt Penfield, who was live-tweeting the show from onstage called her rant, delivered during her second set, “totally sincere [and] super anti-gay and hateful.”

We’re still trying to get the full text of her speech, but apparently she told fans “you can go on twitter and say Michelle Shocked said ‘God hates fags.’”

Another Twitter user posted that Shocked “said she lives in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”

My disappointment in Shocked is only marginally leavened by fleeting amusement at a few commenters at Queerty who proudly say they’d never heard of her, as though their ignorance says anything about her importance to the Americana genre. Her descent into hate is a tragedy for the genre, and more importantly for the young people who might take her hate seriously.

One commenter over there does offer the perfect quote from a song on Arkansas Traveler, though: “The secret to a long life’s knowing when it’s time to go.”

Comments

  1. marcus says

    Nooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!! I’m very sad. Loved her music, can’t support her any more. :(

  2. Cris Waller says

    Geez, fundies got Cat Stevens, fundies got Michelle Shocked…what’s the world coming to?

  3. Lithified Detritus says

    Dammit! I knew that she had been “born again,” but this is appalling.

    A pity – I really liked her Texas Campfire Tapes. I don’t know if I’ll be able to enjoy it any more. Kind of the same way I felt about Cat Stevens…

  4. says

    Artist abuses fans, once again.

    I know they don’t owe use anything to keep pumping out the same stuff they did twenty, thirty, ten years ago…

    …But don’t they at least owe us the obligation not to misuse the soapbox we lent them to not be hateful? Ugh.

    On another forum I hung out, we had a list of ‘authors who abused their fans’ basically a list of homophobic, bigoted screeds from authors so that it’d be remembered not to invite these guys, ever. I guess there’s room on the list for women, too, it just hadn’t happened yet when I stopped maintaining it.

  5. peterh says

    Shocked who? Neverheardof.

    Didn’t Cat Stevens “go Muslim”?

    The only reassuring thing from the report is that the joint emptied upon her delivering the rant.

  6. says

    Finding God in midlife never leads to anything good. Ho hum, yet another ex-gay who starts to hate on the rest of us. At best it means some prisoner or drunk is going to try to stop being terrible.

  7. Curt Cameron says

    Short Sharp Shocked had some great songs on it. I’m from east Texas, and the song Memories of East Texas just hits home – nice and sweet, until the second verse peels back the pretty veneer. To me it’s one of the greatest folk songs ever.

    I’ve read that she’s struggled with mental illness. Too bad.

  8. says

    “I am a believer. I am a devout practicing Christian,” she told Edge on the Net in 2008. “I don’t like the ring of that because I know so many people who profess the faith, and I look at their social conscious, and I can’t see how they reconcile their faith with their politics.”

    I’m not interested in helping them rehabilitate how many people feel about “devout practicing Christian” but you know what else makes people fearful of people who label themselves that way? The hatred for groups of others that is essential to their identity.

  9. Onamission5 says

    Well damn. Michelle Shocked, lost to the depths of fundamentalism. That is fucking disappointing.

  10. Rip Steakface says

    Unfortunate, but she’s a leader in a genre I’m thoroughly not interested in. Perhaps blame my youth for that, but I’d be more shocked if Scott Ian or George Clinton unloaded a hate-filled rant at a concert (particularly with the former’s history of progressive lyrics… the latter is mostly focused on grooving harder than anyone has ever grooved before).

  11. steve84 says

    She is probably planning a career in the ridiculously inflated Christian music industry and uses this a springboard to endear herself to its managers and get her name into the news.

  12. says

    Sagan said it best: “Brains is no guarantee against being dead wrong.” Didn’t know her music, but one thing’s clear, if she can’t keep her work separate from her politics and her new found religion, then she’s got a tough old row to hoe.

  13. atheist says

    Well, you know, fine line between genius & madness, all that. Who knows, maybe she’ll pull a Bob Dylan and be a fundie for a while, and then break back out of it — we can hope.

  14. says

    You shouldn’t let it spoil the album. The work of art exists outside the artist, which is part of the reason that intent doesn’t matter significantly.

    I can still appreciate Der Ring Des Niblungen despite Wagner’s antisemitism. The tuba is still my favourite instrument to play, despite the fact that Wagner played a significant role in developing the tuba and the way people write music for it.

  15. atheist says

    Also, hasn’t she basically been having one long mental breakdown since about 1993 or thereabouts?

  16. says

    You shouldn’t let it spoil the album.

    Listening to it now would signify to my LGBT fiancee that her humanity was of less importance than my desire to listen to an artist who would deny her that humanity, so, no thank you.

  17. Gregory Greenwood says

    Another Twitter user posted that Shocked “said she lives in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”

    Fundies always claim that ‘god is love’ in one breath, and then use the next to explain that he is a violent, genocidal sociopath on a hair trigger, and might be set off by almost anything, even something as harmless as personal sexual orientation and congruant marriage equlity (a personal sexual orientation that he himself must have created, if one buys into the idea that all of human potential is the product of the sky fairy’s artifice, as all xians must if they want to claim their book of rather nasty fairy tales is inerrant).

    So, god is allegedly personified love, but is happy to murder every human in existence for essentially no rational reason – simply in pursuit of his own bigoted and unobeyable rules.

    Somehow, fundies never quite seem to grasp the inherent contradiction in this position.

  18. mikeyb says

    She has completed step 1 in her quest to show her bona fides in her particular brand of fundamentalism. Next she needs to rant about the evils of abortion and contraception, the need for prayer and creationism in the schools. Then she can appear on the 700 club on how a former progressive has finally seen the light.

  19. Ichthyic says

    The tuba is still my favourite instrument to play, despite the fact that Wagner played a significant role in developing the tuba and the way people write music for it.

    I did not know that.

    still doesn’t change the fact I disliked Wagner for his horribly drawn out romanticism long before I found out he was a friggen nazi sympathizer.

    I mean, the romantic era contains some of my favorite works of art, across multiple genres, and still is my favorite era of music composition, but Wagner is way too over the top even for my tastes.

  20. Ichthyic says

    “said she lives in fear that the world will be destroyed if gays are allowed to marry.”

    one wonders how it is such people have such horribly short memories, or else never bothered to study the history of the generation that come before them.

    …because white bigots said the EXACT same thing about interracial marriage over 40 years ago. hell, they still do for that matter.

    funny how the world wasn’t destroyed, ain’t it?

    and what about even stepping outside your own house for a moment? marriage equality has been the norm in Canada for over 10 years now, among other places.

    Teh wurld did not end.

    Hell, MOST PEOPLE IN THE WORLD DO NOT ACCEPT FUNDAMENTAL XIANITY, and by a HUGE margin.

    yet… the world has not ended.

  21. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist, with a perchant for pachyderm punditry) says

    baroncognito has the right of it, you can separate the artist from their work, provided that that work does not espouse hateful things in and of itself.

    She’s a different person to the one who recorded The Campfire Tapes, and I don’t judge that person by the one she is today. Nor do I judge who she is today by who she was in the past. She doesn’t get cut any slack for her bigotry today just because she wasn’t always that way.

    It’s sad, but this only adds a little poignant fission to my enjoyment of The Campfire Tapes, a little wistful regret at how I’ll never see this sort of material from her again. It’s nowhere near enough to dislodge those songs from the place that have in my brain, wedged tight as they are between the nostalgia for my youthful desire to escape and my ongoing desire to create simple beauty for its own sake.

    I feel like letting her current hateful bigotry spoil my enjoyment is tantamount to letting the bigot win. YMMV.

  22. jen says

    It’s odd how formerly cool people become “born again” and go completely opposite of everything they ever stood for. My uncle was one of the coolest hippies back in the early ’70’s when I was a kid. He had long hair, was into the whole “Peace & Love” thing. Sometime in the last 15 years he became “born again” and now he’s dead set against marriage equality and gay adoption. He did everything he could to get the marriage equality issue on the ballot in Maryland because he couldn’t handle the thought of the state he lived in allowing same sex couples to get married. Even though I don’t live there, I kept track of how that referendum went all election night, and I was very happy that it went down in flames.

  23. says

    I hear you, FossilFishy, and I may think differently after a while. After all, I still listen to some things TAF(and still mainly, to be honest)KAP recorded in his J’Witness period. And delta blues, and the Stones, and such. Perhaps the age of the hurt makes a difference.

    For now, though? Yuck.

  24. robro says

    I only know Michelle Shocked from hearing her on KFOG. I wonder how they’re reacting. KFOG used to be openly pro-LGBT in the days of Dave Morey who was one of the first openly gay people in radio…and could he be open. KFOG seems quieter about Gay rights now that Dave is long gone and Susquehanna Radio sold out to Cumulus Media.

    Still, I never count on performers to have opinions that are different than the rest of humanity. Listen to the music, ignore the hype.

    @Hankstar — “Maybe she can open for Ted Nugent.” Maybe they can close together and get off the stage.

  25. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist, with a perchant for pachyderm punditry) says

    Oh, and I should add that I will no longer support her financially in any way. Should I lose my copy of The Texas Campfire Songs I will go without. Nor will I promote her to those who haven’t heard her before.

    You know Chris (@26), despite my previous, I can understand that.

  26. says

    Listening to it now would signify to my LGBT fiancee that her humanity was of less importance than my desire to listen to an artist who would deny her that humanity, so, no thank you.

    But at the time the music was recorded she didn’t espouse those beliefs, and the music itself doesn’t expose those beliefs.

    I can understand the music being ruined if it becomes associated with the memory of what she’s said, but if you own the album already, then you’re not supporting bigotry.

    I mean, I won’t buy a new copy of Ender’s Game if I want to read it, but if I go to a used book store to pick up a copy, then Orson Scott Card isn’t seeing any of that money.

  27. Rob says

    Baroncognito/FossilFishy – like Chris I hear what you are saying. To some extent I even agree. Unlike Chris I don’t live with someone who would be directly hurt or offended by listening to that music. Part of my pleasure at listening to Arkansas Traveller was derived from a mental and emotional picture of the artist (right or wrong who knows). The sense of a joyful, free-wheeling and slightly alternative person who would be fun to hang with, who you could imagine yourself sitting around a camp fire singing along to. That fantasy is crushed like a desert flower under a cows hoof. Sure the music still sounds as good, but the mental and emotional connection feels sour.

  28. Owlmirror says

    I think she’s been horribly misled by her close peers, most likely her bible-thumping hubby.

    Who?

    As best I can tell, her ex-husband is a music journalist, and they divorced in 2004. No mention is made of him being very devout.

  29. Ulysses says

    FossilFishy @ 31

    I feel like letting her current hateful bigotry spoil my enjoyment is tantamount to letting the bigot win. YMMV.

    My M definitely does V. “Memories of East Texas” and “Anchorage” are two songs I like very much. However I will not listen to them again because I will not support a bigot. Playing her music is giving her my approval. I no longer approve of her so I won’t play her music.

  30. says

    Playing her music is giving her my approval.

    Playing her music is giving her music approval. It’s saying “This music? It’s alright by me.”

    Why is it harder to separate the artist from the art than it is to separate the scientist from the science?

  31. Ichthyic says

    As best I can tell, her ex-husband is a music journalist, and they divorced in 2004. No mention is made of him being very devout.

    there were several mentions in the various threads i followed that her husband was in fact a big influence on her religion.

    *shrug*

    I didn’t make it up.

  32. FossilFishy(Anti-Vulcanist, with a perchant for pachyderm punditry) says

    That’s the thing, the thing that I find fascinating about the intersection of science, skepticism and art. In the former two the subjective is eliminated to the greatest degree possible while the latter is all about the subjective.

    Your experience of any piece of art is subjective and should be so. If Michelle Shocked’s music is now tainted that’s fine, that’s more than enough for you to discard it.

    For me it hasn’t been, for the reasons I listed above. But I draw the line at the now bigoted Shocked objectively gaining anything from me from now one. My playing her old music and enjoying it gains her nothing unless I go around telling folks how great she is. I won’t do that now so I’m comfortable with continuing to listen to it.

  33. says

    Rip Steakface,

    Yeah, if Scott Ian pulled this, it would kill me… so I get how fans of Michelle Shocked must feel. I’m guessing that she’s some sort of hipster idol type artist, that transcends the music and you feel connected to the person too. Scott Ian is like that for a lot of us less-cool metal types. *grins*

  34. ChasCPeterson says

    Miles Davis was one of the most egregious assholes who ever walked.

    so what?

  35. Owlmirror says

    I’ve read this long interview with her from 2007, and it looks like the most powerful influence on her is the pastor of her church.

    http://www.johncodyonline.com/home/articles/2007-10-MichelleShocked

    Over the years she’s been critical of the church’s stand on homosexuality and opposition to gay marriage. She’s recently had a change of heart.
    “I can only tell you my experience. When I first went to this church I heard [a visiting Evangelist] literally stand up there in the pulpit and say ‘In the Bible it says Adam and Eve, not Adam and Steve.’ And no one laughed. And I was like; ‘You’re joking, right? This is like a comedy sketch. You’re trying to show us how narrow-minded and bigoted people can be. You’re an African-American church. You know how people can be.’ No one laughed. And at that moment I had to make a decision; is this kind of thinking going to drive me away from my salvation, or am I going to just accept that this is where people are at? And so, eventually I approached my own Pastor with the question; ‘So, what about the gays?’ As a Pastor he said that he was obligated to preach what God says about it. As a man, I felt like he kind of came down on the line of ‘some of my best friends are gay.’
    “But as a pastor – and where I’m currently on it – is that I was sitting in the choir stand four or five months ago, and the subject of the woman caught in the act of adultery came up, and Christ kneeling down and writing in the sand, and looking up and her accusers were gone. And it was really a call to order, because I have been in a relationship for going on five years now with a wonderful, wonderful man that involves, you know… and the preacher right then and there, he articulated in almost legal terms; the definition of adultery and the definition of fornication. And there was no avoiding it; I am a fornicator. I am a fornicator.
    “For a couple of weeks, I just squirmed. Now, through this grace of forgiveness, that was no longer acceptable to just keep squirming. I went to my Pastor, and I said, ‘Look; I’m not married. And I don’t want to get married again.’ And he did exactly with me what he had done on the issue of homosexuality. He’s like;
    ‘I’m not here to judge you. I’m just going to tell you what God says.’ But that same Pastor did not shy away from pointing out my sin. And,” she chuckles at the memory, “he loved when he was doing it, too – he’s going; ‘It’s getting awful quiet in here…’ So, he’s fair.
    “And so, the comfort that I have found now, is that, as I’ve read the scriptures, it’s no greater of a sin to be a homosexual than to be a fornicator. It’s pretty clear that they’re both pretty much violations of what God’s vision for our lives are. So, what I do now is I continue to fornicate, and pray feverishly.

  36. Rob says

    Why is it harder to separate the artist from the art than it is to separate the scientist from the science?

    A fair question. My answer is that I don’t become emotionally attached to either the science or the scientist who did the work. It’s all about the facts. Music is not all about the facts (for me anyway, I don’t understand much about the structure, just whether I like it or not). If a scientist started trying to put a twisted interpretation on their science to support an agenda that the science did not correctly support, or did junk science to do so, then I would form both an intellectual and emotional view of both the science and the ‘scientist’. Chas, I know some people worship Miles Davis music. Personally I’ve never cared for it.

  37. says

    Why is it harder to separate the artist from the art than it is to separate the scientist from the science?

    That’s easy. Because science is largely impersonal and based in large part on the ability to replicate results exactly. Art is personal, and based on the artist and the audience sharing in a communicative experience.

    A scientist is conducting an experiment and capturing data. The data should be the same for everyone doing the experiment in the same way.

    An artist is supposed to capture an emotion and transmit it to an audience. That connection depends on the artist and the audience being on the same page, having shared experience and perspective. Knowing that the artist is a bigot takes away from the shared experience and perspective.

  38. PatrickG says

    Finding God in midlife never leads to anything good

    No kidding. Bob Dylan anyone? He still had some good music, but dayum….

    God gave names to all the animals
    In the beginning
    A long time ago

    Yeah, that’s creative genius right there. Vomit.

  39. PatrickG says

    Oh fuck me, that’s MAN gave name. MAN. Religious song though. So I stand by my vomitus.

  40. Ulysses says

    Miles Davis was one of the most egregious assholes who ever walked.

    I didn’t care for his music before I knew that.

    Wagner was mentioned previously. He wasn’t a Nazi mainly because he died in 1883, six years before Hitler was born. Wagner was an odious man in many respects; antisemitic, racist, a supreme egotist, but he was a major influence on music up until today (I’ve always liked Rossini’s comment: “Wagner has wonderful moments and dreadful quarters of an hour.”). Because of his racism and antisemitism, I do not listen to his music whenever I’m in a classical mood and I don’t own a single CD with his music on it. I cannot separate the bigot from the composer.

  41. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Michelle Shocked has at least one show cancelled, in Evanston, Illinois.

    Evanston’s SPACE has canceled singer Michelle Shocked’s May 5 performance at the club following reports of her anti-gay rant from a San Francisco stage Sunday night. “After speaking with the promoter of that show about the nature of the remarks, it’s clear that this is no longer a show we’re willing to put our name on,” the club announced on its website and Facebook page Monday, offering refunds to ticket-holders.

    Reports from Sunday’s show at San Francisco’s Yoshi’s say Shocked, a born-again Christian, railed against gay marriage and told the crowd, “You can go on Twitter and say, ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates (anti-gay slur).’” The Twittersphere reacted accordingly.

    SPACE general manager/talent buyer Jake Samuels, who had booked Shocked previously without incident, said he confirmed with the San Francisco promoter that Shocked’s comments were “ugly in nature and not meant to be artistic or satirical in any way … It wasn’t a very hard decision for us.”

  42. Jack Krebs says

    Hmmmm. I’m disappointed her life has gone this way, and I have no interest in giving her any kind of support now, but I don’t think that changes my feelings about music she did long ago. (By the way, Captain Swing is my favorite of her albums.) Similarly, even though Dylan was obnoxious during his Christian period, he wrote some good songs then. Although some of it was religious schlock, some of it was edgy and powerful.

  43. says

    In regards to the cancellation Janine posted about, I doubt it was the last. Cue the marytrdom stories from right wing talking heads who a few years ago would have written her off as a lefty, because of course all entertainers are lefties.

  44. Alexander the Good Enough says

    Wow. So sad. She’s totally lost it; she’s done. Nearly every gig on her upcoming tour has canceled, and for obvious reasons. And I just unsubscribed from her mailing list.
    .
    *Sigh* I knew her, liked her & her work and hung around with her some back in her Short Sharp Shocked days. But in recent years she’s certainly gone over-the-top weird and may have mental problems, but this certainly does it for me. I really can’t add much more than that to the excellent comments above except to say that for me, personally, it’s so very sad.

  45. Owlmirror says

    Cue the marytrdom stories from right wing talking heads who a few years ago would have written her off as a lefty, because of course all entertainers are lefties.

    As best I can tell, she was and still is a lefty. As the Yahoo writeup says, she’s a member of a prominent African-American Evangelical Church, and: ” It’s far more common among black evangelicals than among white churches for parishioners to steer well to the left on most political issues but still adhere to highly conservative views of sexuality.”

    *shrug*

  46. says

    I suppose there are some musicians you just listen to (think: Chet Baker, Billie Holliday, Miles Davis, Bob Dylan) and decide whether or not you like the music, and there are others where sometimes you want to feel like you have some kind of relationship with the artist beyond the music. It’s the latter case where the relationship can go sour if you suddenly discover there’s something icky there beyond the music.

    That’s why I consider being a “fan” to be dangerous and risking compromise. There are actually two musicians I am a “fan” of and I’ve met them both and they both seem pretty cool – but now I feel like if one of them cracks off and starts godbotting non-musically, I’ll care.

    Maybe Shocked was listening to Henry Rollins’ old rant about how if you’re a racist or a homophobe, why not have the courage of your convictions and just stand up and scream out what you really feel. Of course you might lose all your ‘friends’ and implode your career, but you’re keeping it real and you’re being a bigot with integrity. Now we get to see if Shocked is a bigot with integrity and says, “OK, so my career is over now but I still want to give you a great big fuuuuuuuck you!” — or if there’s some pathetic apology or weird story about how she was channelling for a space alien named Fred.

  47. says

    I mean, I won’t buy a new copy of Ender’s Game if I want to read it, but if I go to a used book store to pick up a copy, then Orson Scott Card isn’t seeing any of that money.

    It’s mediocre, anyway. (shrug) Actually, it’s quite horrible, without tackling the questions it’s horrible about.The most horrible part about it is how ridiculously predictable it is.

  48. says

    It’s a sad but not uncommon occurrence that people escape from or even rebel against a very strict religion when they are young but return to it (sometimes with a vengeance) in middle age or later. Evelyn Waugh wrote Brideshead Revisited in his 40s but then recanted in his late 50s, re-writing it to remove the scathing indictments of Catholicism in his original text. Nothing recommends a person’s youthful work quite like the older self condemning it.

    Nonetheless, as with FosilFish and Chris Clark, I have no intention of purchasing any of Shocked’s earlier work. Not while she’s alive, anyway.

  49. Rip Steakface says

    @43

    So far as I can tell, she’s Bon Iver-ish (to us metal heads it all sounds the same [though of course I know it's significantly different, I just don't know how], don’t harass me for getting it wrong) folk music.

    At least in metal, people don’t try to hide so long as they’re not playing a character. Varg Vikernes is openly a fascist asshole. Scott Ian is openly a progressive, smart lefty. Even despite guys like that, the music is often unaffected – only with more punk-influenced bands (like Anthrax) will politics enter the picture. Most of the time, metal artists are content to write about death, dying, disease, torture, pain, war, Satan and other fun topics without injecting an ounce of politics.

    (Note to those who would decry metal for dark subject matter: we don’t listen to metal for the lyrics… or at least very rarely [for every Cynic, there 30 Manowars). It’s all about the musicianship, riffs and solos, with the occasional dose of emotional content such as in beautiful songs like Voice of the Soul by Death. At least, that’s what it’s about for me.)

  50. left0ver1under says

    Rip Steakface (#19) –

    Scott Ian once reported that Anthrax received hate mail and angry letters from white supremacists after the collaboration with Public Enemy (sorry, I have no link to cite). Those…individuals (to avoid using a regrettable word) lived under the assumption that Anthrax and heavy metal were somehow a white-only genre or “pro-white”.

    Unsurprisingly, Ian said that he couldn’t care less if such people stopped listening to or buying the group’s music.

  51. Draken says

    Apart from the cases of Michelle Shocked and Cat Stevens, there’s Nina Hagen who ‘found Jesus’ a few years ago. Now that’s shocking, if you remember Warum soll ich meine Pflicht als Frau erfüllen? Für mich? Für dich? Ich hab keine Lust meine Pflicht zu erfüllen, für dich nicht, für mich nicht, ich hab’ keine Pflicht!

  52. leilah says

    What she said was inexcusable, but it is worth noting that earlier at the same show she was also talking about an invisible man on stage with her. She’s had a lot of trouble with mental illness, and it’s possible a lot of this is coming from that kind of headspace. I loved the campfire tapes, and I respect who she was… I hope that she can get get head straight and leave that church… but I’m admittedly not optimistic about that happening. I’m LGBTQ myself, and while I won’t tolerate assholes saying this kind of thing, I’ll cut some slack to people whose relationship with reality is that sketchy.

  53. Dabu says

    When Michelle Shocked grew up, she wanted to be an old woman. Instead she’s become a bigot, a term that doesn’t suggest growth in any positive sense of the word. She’s been like this for a while, given her statement about being the world’s greatest homophobe at the Wild Goose Festival nearly two years ago. While I was never a great fan of her music, it’s sad to see a woman who once lived as she pleased now living to please.

  54. says

    God gave names to all the animals
    In the beginning
    A long time ago

    Yeah, that’s creative genius right there. Vomit.

    Not to mention that it’s incorrect. According to the bible, Adam named the animals. It always annoys me when they can’t keep their own mythology straight.

  55. Ichthyic says

    Moe’s alley! man, haven’t heard that name in a while.

    Yes, can’t imagine Santa Cruz would be too keen on a homophobic bigot performing a rant for them.

  56. thumper1990 says

    “Xianity warps another mind”. Colour me “Shocked”.

    … I’ll get my coat.

  57. Cholmondely Haberdash says

    Never heard any of her music, as far as I know. But I am curious:
    does the title Short Sharp Shocked refer to The Mikado?

  58. atheist says

    @Cholmondely Haberdash – 19 March 2013 at 6:38 am (UTC -5)

    Never heard any of her music, as far as I know. But I am curious:
    does the title Short Sharp Shocked refer to The Mikado?

    The title is supposedly a reference to either electroshock treatment for psychiatric disorders, or some form of acute punishment. To give an idea of how big a change this current situation for Ms. Shocked, consider the lyrics to her 1989 song (off the “Captain Swing” album), “God Is A Real Estate Developer“, which are an ironic mockery of religion.

  59. Jack Krebs says

    P.S. But I’ll point out that Shocked’s gay bashing is much worse than Dylan going through a Christian period – her “God hates fags” remark puts her right up there with the despicable Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church.

  60. kalkin says

    This totally surprises me. I was a big fan of hers and I think Sleep Keeps Me Awake At Night is one of my favorite tunes ever. As atheist has pointed out, this is a pretty big change from 20-odd years ago. Makes me wonder what events triggered such an about-face.

  61. dianne says

    Nina Hagen who ‘found Jesus’ a few years ago.

    NINA HAGEN found Jesus? Perhaps she felt it was safe to do so now that she’s postmenopausal.

    I suspect Shocked is trying to, well, shock people. I remember seeing a quote from her back in the 1980s where she expressed annoyance that the system she was criticizing was praising her rather than denouncing her. Maybe she’s finally found a way to be the martyr she wants to be.

  62. ck says

    Why is it harder to separate the artist from the art than it is to separate the scientist from the science?

    For one, the scientist doesn’t generally get paid every time the science they did is used. On the other hand, every time the artist’s art is reproduced, transmitted or performed, the artist is owed royalties. So, when you support the art, you support the artist.

  63. consciousness razor says

    That’s the thing, the thing that I find fascinating about the intersection of science, skepticism and art. In the former two the subjective is eliminated to the greatest degree possible while the latter is all about the subjective.

    Your experience of any piece of art is subjective and should be so.

    Experiences can’t be anything except subjective. So what do you mean by saying it “should be so”? If I could somehow have a “non-subjective experience,” if that were possible, what would be the use in telling me I shouldn’t do it? Since I certainly can’t anyway, it doesn’t seem to have any use.

    It’s just a confusing thing to say. There are two different issues which get tangled up here: (1) your subjectivity, the fact that you have a perspective which isn’t shared by anyone else, and (2) what associations there are between your (or an artist’s) work and everything else you do.

    If Michelle Shocked’s music is now tainted that’s fine, that’s more than enough for you to discard it.

    Why? I agree that we should evaluate science that way, because its value can be (but not may not be) independent of the person’s other beliefs/actions; but I don’t see any reason why it should be any different with art.

    I think I agree with Marcus Ranum in #56: sometimes you do feel like there is (or should be) a kind of personal relationship with the artist, which isn’t literally a relationship in the usual sense since you’re not hanging out with them or whatever; but the feeling is that they’re nevertheless communicating something personal and emotional that you can connect with through that medium. That’s fine, but there’s no need to look at every artwork that way. Generally, there’s all sorts of things you don’t know about any given artist, and you can still appreciate their work without that kind of information.

  64. says

    Some of her music deals with her childhood struggles against conservative Texas and an ultra-religious mother.

    Looks like she’s surrendered to the past.

  65. UnknownEric is high on Mountain Dew. says

    After all, I still listen to some things TAF(and still mainly, to be honest)KAP recorded in his J’Witness period.

    Rainbow Children is just so completely bizarre that I can’t wrap my head around it. And every album since then has wrapped 3 or 4 great tunes in about 40 minutes of filler.

    But yet I still keep buying every record he puts out.

  66. twosheds1 says

    I’ve read that she’s struggled with mental illness. Too bad.

    That explains a lot, like her finding religion.

    Miles Davis was one of the most egregious assholes who ever walked.

    Miles, however, never stood for non-assholism, or anything else, publicly. Michelle Shocked did, and has reversed that position.

    I will go out on a limb here and say that I think Yoshi’s was wrong in pulling the plug on her show. It is not their place to censor speech they don’t agree with, even if it is hateful. How would we react if some had pulled the plug on Ani DiFranco or Billy Bragg because of their political views?

  67. says

    I will go out on a limb here and say that I think Yoshi’s was wrong in pulling the plug on her show. It is not their place to censor speech they don’t agree with, even if it is hateful. How would we react if some had pulled the plug on Ani DiFranco or Billy Bragg because of their political views?

    Have we been trolled here? It is precisely their place to pull the plug: It is THEIR PLACE. Censorship doesn’t come within a hundred miles of what Yoshi’s did.

  68. says

    I’m seeing a lot of cries of censorship about it on Facebook too. I think a lot of people don’t really understand what censorship and FOS really are.

  69. PatrickG says

    It is not their place to censor speech they don’t agree with, even if it is hateful.

    Horseshit. It’s precisely their place. As in, the place belongs to them. They absolutely have the right to shut down something taking place in their venue that they don’t want to be there. Not to mention that their patrons were voting with their feet:

    By that point, much of the audience had walked out in disgust, and Yoshi’s management later cut the mics and turned on the lights, as Shocked continued to perform.

    Are you really that dense?

  70. says

    I will go out on a limb here and say that I think Yoshi’s was wrong in pulling the plug on her show. It is not their place to censor speech they don’t agree with, even if it is hateful.

    Excuse me? Is stupidity the special du jour here? Of course it’s their place, it was their place, ffs. You can spout off all the freeze peach you like in your own living room. Places privately owned by others and all public places? Not so much.

  71. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Are you really that dense?

    Freeze peach absolutists are. They keep confusing private venues versus the public commons. Can’t seem to wrap their walnut brains around the difference.

  72. says

    McCabe’s in Santa Monica has also cancelled her concert. There are now two left.

    It’s sad that she could be fooled this way, since the sin of Sodom was cruelty to travellers—hello, immigration rules! Homosexuality hadn’t been invented in the Old Gonad-grabbing Oath [Testes statememt] and the sin was better expressed as hypersexuality, licentiousness, and fucking everything that moved. The sin St. Paul railed against could be translated as “bed-hopping” or “sleeping around.” So she has strangled her compassion, spit on the people who supported her, and moved her career to Christian variety shows for a mis-translationo—a mess of wordage.

  73. katkinkate says

    Sounds like she’s fallen into a bad crowd. Peer pressure can get you to do things you normally wouldn’t but she’ll probably moderate her stance as she ages, if not completely do another 180 degree turn around. So don’t write her off completely yet.

  74. says

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  75. bargearse says

    @92

    I give you a D- for effort and an F for the content. You need to work harder, you’ll never get into bible college with trolling grades that poor.

  76. Ichthyic says

    I think a lot of people don’t really understand what censorship and FOS really are.

    indeed. likely the same people that think preventing them being able to openly discriminate against people curtails their “rights”.

  77. Ichthyic says

    I will go out on a limb here and say that I think Yoshi’s was wrong in pulling the plug on her show.

    It’s like making a decision to walk out on a limb, where you can actually see someone actively sawing off the base of it.

    one indeed might reasonably conclude you are blind, but you even seem to have not heard the saw.

  78. Ichthyic says

    How would we react if some had pulled the plug on Ani DiFranco or Billy Bragg because of their political views?

    I wouldn’t… IF I PAID TO SEE THEM SPEAK THEIR VIEWS.

    otoh, if I paid to see a concert, and instead got an angry rant… i don’t care WHAT the fuck they would be saying.

  79. twosheds1 says

    Excuse me? Is stupidity the special du jour here? Of course it’s their place, it was their place, ffs. You can spout off all the freeze peach you like in your own living room. Places privately owned by others and all public places? Not so much.

    Interesting how, rather than responding to what I said, you call me stupid and walk away.

    Section 2000a of Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code (42 USC 21) prohibits discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation. Places of public accomodation include concert halls and the like, including privately owned. I think the only defense Yoshi’s and the other venues that cancelled her appearances could mount is that she misrepresented herself. I am reminded of the Dixie Chicks’ statement about GW Bush, and how country stations after that wouldn’t play their music. The stations were probably within their rights not to play them, but my personal view is that they were not morally right in doing so.

    That’s the funny thing about freedom of speech: it applies to speech we don’t like, too. Honestly, had I been the sound guy at Yoshi’s, I might have shut her down too, citing “technical difficulties,” but that doesn’t make it right.

  80. ChasCPeterson says

    Section 2000a of Title 42, Chapter 21 of the U.S. Code (42 USC 21) prohibits discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation.

    “…on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.”

    try harder.

  81. PatrickG says

    @twosheds: I do not think Title 42 means what you think it means.

    Try this on for size: They didn’t deny her entry based on her religious beliefs. They chose to end a performance early because it was impacting their business.

    Which brings us to a somewhat relevant point: if you’re going to cite law, you might want to actually, y’know, cite law. For your edification:

    All persons shall be entitled to the full and equal enjoyment of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, and accommodations of any place of public accommodation, as defined in this section, without discrimination or segregation on the ground of race, color, religion, or national origin.

    First, last time I checked the right to be provided a venue for speech was not fully and equally enjoyed by every person who walks into Yoshii’s. Hell, I’ve been to numerous concert halls and musical venues — none of them would let me up on stage! They didn’t even give me my own mic! Galloping Jehovah, I wasn’t afforded full and equal enjoyment of the facilities! DISCRIMINATION!

    But I digress. Let’s return to the code, shall we?

    (j) The term “religion” includes all aspects of religious observance and practice, as well as belief, unless an employer demonstrates that he is unable to reasonably accommodate to an employee’s or prospective employee’s religious observance or practice without undue hardship on the conduct of the employer’s business.

    Yoshi’s shut down a performance and issued a statement that Shocked would not perform there again because their patrons were literally leaving the premises in disgust. You know, the people who buy food, drinks, tickets… i.e. the people who the employer depends on for business. Yoshii’s could clear this legal standard so fast they might win a medal in hurdles. Er, I mean, wait, CENSORSHIP!

    Also note that reasonable accommodation is a very specific legal term, and is rarely applied as a post hoc standard. For example, in disability law, I can’t expect an employer to accommodate me on the fly. I have to be very specific about what I can and cannot do — then the employer has to reasonably accommodate me. When did Shocked approach management and say “my religious beliefs require me, as a necessary condition of employment, to say hateful things about gays during my performance”?

    Further, are you really trying to argue that the right to say absolutely anything in a public space should be reasonably accommodated by any employer anywhere? That Shocked’s specific beliefs and claim of religious inspiration — which apparently had no impact on her ability to perform per contract — actually fall in this protected class? Think hard about that before you answer.

    Hint: note that had Shocked not, well, shocked people, her religious beliefs would have had no impact. It was her decision to exercise speech at odds with management policy that led to a cancellation of her contracted appearance. And I’ll bet she still got paid for her appearance.

    Next, please.

    P.S. Where the hell are all the libertarians that normally claim that private businesses are demigods in their own right with the power of life, death, and paycheck? It’s almost like they’re inconsistent on these subjects.

  82. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    but my personal view is that they were not morally right in doing so.

    My personal view is that it is not morally right for you to be an absolutist. See, that’s the problems with opinions in black and white in a gray world.

  83. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    Places of public accomodation include concert halls and the like, including privately owned.

    And the category error you make is that is to protect the patrons of such places. Entertainment is under a separate contract. She broke her contract when she stopped entertaining, and started proslytizing/spewing hatred that isn’t part of what she was contacted to do. Ergo, she can be fired. Funny how absolutists don’t understand the basics.

  84. Ichthyic says

    aside from the false free speech issue being touted by the thougtless, one could easily argue that Shocked was in breach of contract.

    the contract was for her to do a set of music, not some music and a long political rant.

    she has no leg to stand on here, not free speech, not contractual, nothing.

  85. What a Maroon, el papa ateo says

    She’s apologized, and it seems sincere.

    “I do not, nor have I ever, said or believed that God hates homosexuals (or anyone else). I said that some of His followers believe that. … When I said, ‘Twitter that Michelle Shocked says, “God hates faggots,” ‘ I was predicting the absurd way my description of, my apology for, the intolerant would no doubt be misinterpreted. … And to those fans who are disappointed … I’m very sorry: I don’t always express myself as clearly as I should. … And my statement equating repeal of Prop. 8 with the coming of the End Times was neither literal nor ironic: It was a description of how some folks – not me – feel about gay marriage.”

    Shocked said her own sexuality isn’t an issue here. “I’d like to say this was a publicity stunt, but I’m really not that clever, and I’m definitely not that cynical. But I am damn sorry. 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.”

    IOW, hate the sin, love the sinner seems to be what she wanted to say.

    OK, that’s still not a great message, but is it close enough to the bounds of decency that I can go back to listening to her music?

  86. Ulysses says

    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.

    Michelle, I’ve got a suggestion. Why don’t you keep your opinions and beliefs to yourself unless specifically asked about them? You’re a entertainer, not an apologist for homophobia.

    BTW, I don’t believe your “apology.” You’ve realized that people will stop coming to your shows and buying your CDs now that we know what an asshat you are. As a B List entertainer, a bunch of cancelled shows could mean the difference between you working as a singer and you working at Walmart.

  87. Alexander the Good Enough says

    Well, there’s an audio track out now http://tinyurl.com/bwb78ld of the whole sorry episode. It’s rather hard to judge fron the audion alone without seeing the action as well, and perhaps Michelle has some points in her “apology,” but in any case it’s just pathetic.

    Religion poisons everything.

  88. Azuma Hazuki says

    @91/Markita

    That’s interesting…where did you get that interpretation?

    I heard something (and sadly misremember it now) along the lines of “Paul says ‘para phusin’ or ‘beyond nature’ rather than “contra/anti phusin” (against nature)” and was wondering if this is what you meant.

  89. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    twosheds1, evidently you have reading comprehension problems. I know you are trying futilely for a “gottcha” moment.

    No club has to hire anybody to work for them. Such contracts are easy to cancel too. The problem is where?