Thursday, March 21, 2013

Shocked, Shocked

One of the odder show biz stories of the year: in a recent concert, Michelle Shocked went on a rant about homosexuality, stating "When they stop Prop 8 and force priests at gunpoint to marry gays, it will be the downfall of civilization, and Jesus will come back," among other things.

Michelle Shocked is generally thought to be of the left--certainly her fans tend to be--but apparently she's got religious beliefs that go strongly against her audience's regarding homosexual issues.

Anyway, reaction was swift, and now ten of eleven upcoming concert dates have been canceled by the venues. I guess they're free to decide whom to schedule, just as people are free to listen to what music they like, but this leaves a bad taste.  It's straightforward blacklisting for political beliefs.

About ten years back, in the early days of the Iraq War, you might recall Natalie Maines of the Dixie Chicks insulted George Bush and the war at a concert in England, which led to some boycotting their music.  Others sprang to their defense.  They ended up on the cover of Entertainment Weekly, naked except for tattoos essentially proclaiming them free speech martyrs.

Around the same time, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were disinvited from a celebration of Bull Durham at the baseball Hall of Fame due to their very vocal opposition to Bush and the Iraq War.  Many thought this action against them was foolish, and Robbins got to speak at the National Press Club where he stated "A chill wind is blowing in this nation."

So here it is, a decade later, and someone else is being punished for speaking her mind in a way many find offensive.  Shocked seems to be apologizing (as did Natalie Maines).  It'll be interesting to see what happens next.  Will the venues change their minds?  Will her fans stick with her?  Will any big names come to her defense--not agree with her, but simply say she should be allowed to speak her mind without being afraid for her livelihood?

PS  The video above was a Michelle Shocked fan methodically destroying one of her CDs.  Didn't take long for him to take it down.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Know Your Audience.

You didn't mention Cat Stevens/Yusuf al-Islam

3:03 AM, March 21, 2013  
Blogger LAGuy said...

I didn't mention Mel Gibson either. Not sure what your point is.

10:22 AM, March 21, 2013  
Anonymous Lawrence King said...

The double-standard is the real problem. I can see an argument against all blacklisting (let the public decide whether to buy tickets), and an argument in favor of blacklisting (if a venue associates with someone whose politics are unpopular, it may hurt that venue's business). I prefer the former, but if someone were consistent I would still respect them.

But everyone now agrees that blacklisting Pete Seeger was cruel, even though Seeger sang strongly isolationist songs while Hitler and Stalin carved up Poland and the Baltic States, and then became super pro-war the day Germany invaded the USSR. He has always been quite frank about his reason: he was a member of the Communist Party and that's what he was told to do.

Now, like it or not, Stalin killed a lot more people than Proposition 8 has. So if you are going to support just one blacklist, I think the choice is clear. Even so, I oppose both blacklists.

Of course, even without a blacklist, individuals are free to boycott an artist because of their politics. But in general, I think that's pretty silly too. My CD shelves are full of music from Christians, atheists, neopagans, Jews, communists, capitalists, liberals, anarchists... and Bob Dylan, who seems to have been most of these things at one time or another.

5:28 PM, March 21, 2013  

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