OPEN LETTER TO THE ARTS COMMUNITY
This is my official statement on what has insanely become "comfortable" gossip regarding Michelle Shocked, her coerced public identity, and now her completely unsubstantiated vilification as a "homophobe".
This whole alleged "controversy" is coming from sociopaths and / or celebrity idiots, (Billy Bragg, Margaret Cho, Tim Robbins, etc.), or from a larger and more pervasive civilian retardation which has created a society of sycophants who don't understand satire, who absorb cultural events through headlines and blurbs, who are technologically and sociologically encouraged to toe the line drawn by media's loudest and most relentless voices, and who are effectively and easily made submissive through their softness, fear, and by the ease and comfort they find in the ignorance of their self-preservation.
These scarecrows - flimsy windblown effigies of ethics and historical vantage are incapable of having any clue regarding the context of Michelle's comments during an encore at Yoshi's in San Francisco in the year 2013. Or even worse, they haven't bothered to listen to the audio recording of the show at all, and are then, in pickled hubris, writing ignorant self-important "open letters" to Michelle, ala Margaret Cho.
Somehow, it's been collectively assumed by a large segment of the media and public that at some point Michelle said "God Hates Fags". That statement is patently untrue. Furthermore, Michelle Shocked has never engaged in any form of linguistic or ideological homophobia in any setting - public or private. What she did (after repeatedly expressing how much she loved them, as both supporters and individuals) was to politely ask a digitally lobotomized audience to tweet "Michelle Shocked Just Said God Hates Faggots", and then get them to repeat the phrase over and over again. It was the ultimate Brechtian "double bind", to foster critical thought in a rigidly reactionary community. Furthermore, it was a good natured joke at her own expense, (because Michelle believes in her audience, and believes for the most part, that they are capable of understanding humor and levity in a situation that might involve some tension – because of particular projections of her as a "self-hating lesbian / born again Christian"), directed at the audience's assumption that Christianity automatically equals Homophobia. That assumption is not true, and should not ever be accepted as truth.
To be abundantly clear and willfully simplistic, in the way one might explain something to a dull, disadvantaged child - what Michelle was doing during her encore at Yoshi's was sending up the perception of her "born again" label, juxtaposed against the cultural diagnostic of her "lesbianism" - even though the majority of her catalogue of songs are about 1) fucking guys, 2) wanting to fuck guys, 3) fucking with the fucking "system", 4) being an anarchist, and 5) loving Jesus. And absolutely nothing she said on stage was homophobic in the slightest. It is beyond comprehension for anyone who knows her history - to think that Michelle Shocked is capable of even internally metabolizing an atrocious and dehumanizing system of beliefs, and then promoting it in a public forum. That's the real joke.
Also, spoken satire is like music – its intent - and moreover, its potential gentleness, playfulness, and generosity, can only be fully understood through hearing its phrasing and intonation. Sarcasm and satire don't readily translate into direct quotes, especially when said quotes are edited for maximum scandal and published, inexcusably, out of context. These "quotes" become increasingly tuneless when said "quotes" are consciously misquoted from the excerpt of a covert, unauthorized bootleg of an intimate, shared event.
Michelle should not need defending. Her history of love and support for the underdog and for the elevation of human consciousness speaks for itself. But since I am just beginning to hear the protestations of the straw dogs and the emotionally and mentally bereft, I will address this subject once, with what I consider thorough and crucial counterpoint – even though words, explanations, and constant contextualization no longer seem to be enough to decimate the ignorance and cowardice that we, as an artistic community, have allowed to conspire in the damage and degradation of one of the brightest lights in our midst.
Michelle Shocked is the most morally upright, loving, and ethical human being I've ever met, and those among us who believe in the sanctity of the arts in any capacity should be devoting a serious amount of our time and energy toward rectifying the rampant misinformation that relentlessly hounds her – we should draw her close, protect her, and make it clear that this sort of aesthetic and politically convenient fascism will not be tolerated.