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Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Michelle Shocked has been saved, but from what?

Well Michelle Shocked has certainly managed to get a few peoples panties in a twist.
With a rant in front of a San Francisco audience that included the comment that God hates fags she has managed to draw an inordinate amount of attention on herself.
As of now no one knows if her tirade at homosexuals is rooted in a bit of a breakdown - rather sad if that is the case, or if she has just decided that as a born again Christian that she is looking to make a stance on the issues at hand, but none the less the whole debacle has thrown up a huge deluge of comment.
With the rest of her US tour dates, with the exception of two, now being cancelled by the venues it doesn't look as if the incident will be soon forgotten either.

Now here's the rub.
Among all the many opinions expressed there's quite a few referring to her right to freedom of speech.
Of course most liberal minded people are quick to support that right, but isn't that right sort of suited to a time and a place?
What I mean is that in an interview she can express her opinions on same sex marriage, homosexuality in general or the price of a pint of milk if she wants.
Similarly from a pulpit she can preach whatever she wishes, and if she wants to picket a dead soldiers funeral then while I would harbour a great deal of disgust about that, at the same time I can very grudgingly accept that she can do that to if she is sick enough to want to.
However if I bought a ticket on the premise that it was to see her perform some songs that she had written, then isn't that what I should expect rather than an insight into her current views on homosexuality?

Not many people are realistically calling for her to be silenced, but instead that she should have respected her audience and given them what they had paid for.

There's something rather dishonest about luring people in under false pretences.
From comments made by those who were backstage it seems clear that she was intent on giving the audience something that they didn't ask for.

Of course I totally disagree with here views.
I suppose I should just make that clear.
Her tirade was an ugly reminder that some people harbour illogical assumptions about other peoples sexuality and aren't shy in promoting their ignorance.
I can feel comfortable in saying that on my blog as no one is paying to read this and I'm not saying anything that no one hasn't heard from me before.
There's no surprise here or intent to mislead anyone.
That's me sort of exercising my rights to freedom of speech in an appropriate environment.
Maybe Michelle Shocked is thinking that she should have done the same right now, but as her thought process seems to be leaning towards the fundamental it's doubtful.

It would be rather sad if instead she is perceiving herself as a Joan D'Arc figure who feels the heat of the flames of the media and public opinion licking at her toes.

It all seems a bit hypocritical to.
Not that hypocrisy is anything that I find to be surprising whenever religion is shoe horned into a point of view.
Lets be honest here.
Those who use religious tracts to support their anti homosexual views are often just cherry picking what they want to suit an already held opinion.
I wonder if Michelle feels as strongly about everything that is written in the Bible.
Maybe when she gets back to gigging she will express some support for slavery and such as that's all in there to.
Only this time she could do us all a favour and pre-warn us that the ticket price doesn't just cover a couple of tunes, but also an uncomfortable tirade.

I've always enjoyed her music and shared her political views in the past, but it looks like we have lost Michelle to the dark side.
If that hate filled exclamation of anti homosexuality is the result of being saved then it's safe to say that you can leave me downing in my non belief.


  1. Can't agree here.
    She's always been politically outspoken and voiced her opinions from the stage so, to a certain extent, that's what her audience should expect. The problem is that her opinions have changed. Now if it was say Ted Nugent, no one would bat an eyelid but the fact is that her audience is predominantly left leaning and draws on the L(GBT) community quite heavenly. As a result this is not just seen as Christian right Rhetoric but also as an act of betrayal by someone who was inspirational to a lot of Lesbian women. Pretty much commercial suicide I would think. So what I'm saying is she should be criticised for the content of her tirade, not for there being one, she's always done that.

  2. Of course she has always been outspoken, and that's her right.
    I don't have a problem with her holding these opinions either, even though I certainly don't share them.
    However she has built a career on people engaging with her music, her politics and the persona that she has promoted.
    On that basis when people buy a ticket to see her then that's what they expect.
    Even a left leaning tirade is within the reals of what they expect.
    I don't even have much of an issue with an artist challenging their audience, and I certainly wouldn't want them to just 100% pander to them either, but I do think that to an extent she has misrepresented herself here.
    People expected to get one thing and got another.
    As you have mentioned her fan base is predominately left leaning and does feature plenty of members of the LGBT community, and these people will have been working hard to get the cash together for this small intimate gig and looked forwards to being entertained.
    I'm sure they could have managed to disagree with some points made, but her actions were beyond the pale.
    She could have had a free gig and tore in.
    Fair enough in the respect, but to expect people to pay to hear here preach on issues that she is aware that the majority of her audience will not share a view on is misguided at the least.
    There are, and will be, multiple avenues available to her to air her views.
    I still don't think this was the place for them.
    If the audience were forewarned then that's also fine, but they weren't.
    The issue for me isn't in what she said, but where she said it.

  3. Its a weird one... if an artist is 'alternative' or punkrock they sometimes feel obliged to court controversy. I don't know much about her but she must have known there would be a backlash to her comments and I for one wish I was rich enough to not care about losing shows simply by opening my gob !!!
    Paul :-)

  4. We live in rather puritanical times it sometimes seems and the left can be as fundamental in their chosen path as the right.
    I'm not sure if she will be able to come back from this.