And you give him these keys, I don’t need them no more

18 03 2013

Michelle Shocked has lost it.

I saw her at the Guthrie, back in the day, a solo performance supporting Short, Sharp, Shocked. My memory of her is hazy, but she sounded good. She always had that strong, pure voice.

Well, at a show in San Francisco this past Sunday, she decided to substitute a politico-religious rant for a second set. Given Shocked’s lefty following, this wouldn’t have led to any reaction stronger than rolled eyes had she not said that same-sex marriage is a sign of the End Times and she worried that ministers would be forced at gunpoint to marry queer folk.

Then she told the audience to tweet that she said “God hates faggots.” At which point the audience began to leave.

A Seattle venue has canceled an upcoming gig, and, according to a commenter at The Stranger‘s coverage of the story, other clubs are shutting her out.

I don’t know what to think of this. I do remember reading an interview with her a loooong time ago (my first year of grad school), in which she talked about sabotaging her own studio session if she thought her record company were taking advantage of her, and of her triumph in taking less money from the company than they offered. Which I thought was odd.

(Maybe I misread her words, maybe I’m misremembering them, but while I liked her music her intensity made me wary. In any case, she seemed distressed at the prospect of fame.)

Anyway, a number of commenters at both the Yahoo and The Stranger stories seem more saddened by what they speculate is a mental breakdown than pissed off. I guess that could be seen as a compassionate response, but I’m not entirely comfortable attributing religious fervor or a political conversion to mental illness: it is possible to change one’s mind without losing it.

Still, whatever the cause of her change, I feel badly for her. I don’t know if she sabotaged herself on purpose, as a way to escape being “Michelle Shocked”, or if she didn’t know what she was doing, or if she sincerely thought a concert was the best place for a sermon, but the damage is  done.

~~~

h/t Kelly O, Line Out

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