Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Michelle Shocked, Dabbling in Crazy for Nigh on 20 Years

Posted by on Tue, Mar 19, 2013 at 1:08 PM

Yesterday, Kelly O covered the basics of the antigay onstage freak-out by Michelle Shocked, the popular-in-the-late-'80s/early-'90s singer-songwriter who this week drove a San Francisco audience to flee her show by pronouncing that God hates fags. (In the wake of the freak-out, a Shocked show scheduled at the White Center restaurant Meander's Kitchen has been canceled.)

Today, I want to take you back to the time I first heard that Michelle Shocked (whose first album I loved the shit out of) had a taste for the crazy. This was in the early mid-'90s, a year or so after the release of Shocked's Arkansas Traveler in 1992, and a friend had just come back from a national booksellers convention, where this friend had had an unfortunate run-in with Michelle Shocked and her furious husband.

The cause of the husband's fury: A claim that Shocked came out as a lesbian that apparently appeared in a book published by the publishing house my friend worked for. To make amends for this "false claim" of lesbianism, the husband angrily and loudly demanded that my friend stand in a trash can and apologize for publishing such garbage. He actually dumped out a wastepaper basket and ordered my friend to stand in it. Shocked hung back and watched the scene, along with everyone else in the vicinity. My friend did not stand in the trash can, and Shocked and her wacko dude eventually went on their way. The end.

Update: Here's a 1990 interview that might have led people to believe Shocked had come out as a lesbian. (Key quote: “I was with my first woman lover about a year and a half ago. To be honest, the real fear of coming out of the closet, not fear, but the real pressures of coming out of the closet had been if you had certain problems identifying yourself one way or the other.”)

(Thanks for the update info, Metafilter commenter NoMich.)


Comments (25) RSS

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Dougsf 1
What a fun couple!
Posted by Dougsf on March 19, 2013 at 1:13 PM · Report this
It's Ted Haggard in reverse.
Posted by Bizarro World on March 19, 2013 at 1:35 PM · Report this
AFinch 3
I'm sorry, but she was...meh...when she first arrived and really: who cares? She turns out to be another self-loathing head-case.
Posted by AFinch on March 19, 2013 at 1:36 PM · Report this
lark 4
I, too liked the first (?) album by Michelle Shocked. Especially "Memories of East Texas" and "Anchorage", two fine songs. Strange behavior. But, I had thought her a bit eccentric even before this bizarre freakout. This is just sad behavior.
Posted by lark on March 19, 2013 at 1:41 PM · Report this
sperifera 5
Glad that Miranda at Meanders Kitchen cancelled the gig. I will be sure to thank her in person the next time I go in for some of their freakadeliciousness of food. Seriously, it's an awesome, awesome place for made-from-scratch diner food. Michelle Shocked? Meh.
Posted by sperifera on March 19, 2013 at 1:51 PM · Report this
Estey 6
Who'll join me in my new band Michelle Shocked's Furious Husband?
Posted by Estey on March 19, 2013 at 1:58 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 7
She's going to start appearing on Fox News very soon, put up alongside Bill Donohue on Fox & Friends. She'll start to make the bigotry circuit, embraced by NOM, FRC, et al. After maybe six months of this, she'll let drop something something wealth distribution poverty something and THEN she'll see how quickly your supposed 'friends' will turn on you. She'll be outcast, Limbaugh will run 24/7 jokes about her, Candy Crowley will wonder aloud just how many babies she's sacrificed to Satan, etc.

Grab your popcorn.
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on March 19, 2013 at 2:04 PM · Report this
skidmark 8
Can't even play Rat City
to the tune of "Ain't gonna play Sun City"
Posted by skidmark on March 19, 2013 at 2:04 PM · Report this
Sandiai 9
I like(d) her music quite a bit... and always assumed she was a lesbian.
Posted by Sandiai on March 19, 2013 at 2:28 PM · Report this
very bad homo 10
Never trust an ex-gay.
Posted by very bad homo on March 19, 2013 at 2:32 PM · Report this
Fnarf 11
All but one of her current bookings have been cancelled.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 19, 2013 at 2:36 PM · Report this
She makes Victoria Jackson seem sane.
Posted by DJSauvage on March 19, 2013 at 2:39 PM · Report this
I believe she was "born again" in recent years. That never turns out well.
Posted by longball on March 19, 2013 at 3:01 PM · Report this
@6- I'm in if we can call the first album "Shorter, Sharper Shock" or "ex-gay" or "god hates flags"
Posted by Chris Jury http://www.thebismarck.net on March 19, 2013 at 3:08 PM · Report this
ScandalMgr 15
@11 - Fnarf - where did you find that data?
Posted by ScandalMgr on March 19, 2013 at 3:50 PM · Report this
Matt from Denver 16
@ 15, I found this:


It says that two dates have not yet been cancelled, but all the rest have.
Posted by Matt from Denver on March 19, 2013 at 4:19 PM · Report this
Fnarf 17
@15, I'm seeing it all over. I just saw on Pam Spaulding's Facebook that all US shows are now cancelled. Next up: a few festivals in Europe -- this shit ain't gonna fly in Belgium or Germany either.

Oh, and she's been booted from the Telluride Bluegrass Festival, with which she has a 20-year relationship, as well: http://www.heyreverb.com/blog/2013/03/19…

Her career is over. Like that.
Posted by Fnarf http://www.facebook.com/fnarf on March 19, 2013 at 4:37 PM · Report this
I think her comments on gay marriage and Prop 8 are repulsive enough, but I'm sort of concerned that the the "Michelle Shocked says "God Hates Fags"" quote was out of context. It seems likely that she said "you are all going to go on twitter and post "Michelle Shocked says God Hates Fags" which is a little different, IMO. She's still a dirty, nasty self-loathing lesbian bigot, but it's possible the most egregious quote is wrong.

On the other hand, the lack of response from the Shocked camp suggests otherwise.
Posted by slob on March 19, 2013 at 4:40 PM · Report this
Lurleen 19
All US dates have now been cancelled http://www.johnmbecker.com/2013/03/19/mi…
Posted by Lurleen on March 19, 2013 at 4:54 PM · Report this
ScienceNerd 20
I'm shocked!

Really? I can't be the first...
Posted by ScienceNerd http://stanichium.tumblr.com/ on March 19, 2013 at 4:58 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 21
Her ex is Bart Bull: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bart_Bull

"Bull was the editor of Sounds, a monthly music newspaper in mid-1970s, West Coast Editor of Spin from 1985 to 1988, West Coast editor of Vogue, West Coast editor and a founder of Details."
Posted by Max Solomon on March 19, 2013 at 5:09 PM · Report this
I read somewhere that she was diagnosed as a paranoid schizophrenic. In a comment somewhere, so I have no evidence.

Anyone remember her blackface album cover?

And I was at that bookseller's convention and, yes, it happened.
Posted by M. Wells on March 19, 2013 at 6:56 PM · Report this
Ballard Pimp 23
Her mother had her committed when she was in her teens. Maybe Mom was right. And she described herself as lesbian and/or bisexual in several interviews from 1988 to 1995 when she had her "born again" experience and came out as a bigot.
Posted by Ballard Pimp on March 19, 2013 at 10:22 PM · Report this
If she has mental health issues and she faces that and explains what happened and apologizes, I'm willing to forgive her. However, it sounds like this just wasn't a one-time freak out, that she has been drifting in this direction for a while.
Posted by floater on March 19, 2013 at 11:55 PM · Report this
I think it's become obvious to all that Ms. Shocked is either bipolar, or something even more serious. I hope she gets some help.
Posted by SheNeedsHelp on March 22, 2013 at 10:44 AM · Report this

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