Wednesday, June 05, 2013

Quote of the Day

"The headline-grabbing outburst is a common ploy, one that, it depresses me to say, is far too often used by those of us here on the crunchy left. We can say that dire circumstances call for extreme reactions, but really, all that heckling does is broadcast to the world, 'What I feel right this moment is more important what everybody else in the room paid money to experience.' We see it again and again, and never satisfyingly. Last summer, a comedy club patron enticed Daniel Tosh to make some very unfortunate remarks about rape – an event that was set in motion the woman decided, 'I felt that sitting there and saying nothing, or leaving quietly, would have been against my values as a person and as a woman.' In other words, much like Sturtz, she decided that her values should be made known to everyone in the audience, because they were more important than anything anybody else was saying or doing. Certainly more important than what the person the rest of the assembly had paid their money to see was saying and doing.

I believe in vigorous debate and fighting with all the passion we have for the issues that matter. And that is not possible when we are selfish, self-appointed arbiters of what the person in the front of the room with the microphone ought to be talking about. There is plenty to be pissed off about in this world. I’m in the Yes to Equal Rights, No to Rape camp too. I think that Rick Santorum actually looks better covered in a sparkly dusting of glitter. But the moment we play the 'I just couldn’t help myself' card we shut down meaningful conversation. Yelling at someone is not 'interaction.' Sure, we get noticed, but it’s easy to get noticed. A no-nonsense mom like Michelle Obama could tell you that any two year-old in a WalMart can get noticed just by throwing herself on the floor of the sporting goods aisle. That doesn’t mean anybody is going to take her seriously."

-- Salon's Mary Elizabeth Williams on getEQUAL activist Ellen Sturtz's highly ill-advised attempt to shout down Michelle Obama at a fundraiser last night over the subject gay rights

Fuck. Yes.

This sums up so much of what I've said before about both the ridiculous Code Pink-style protest model of screaming, shouting, and general disruption and why heckling a comic opens you up to just about whatever abusive response consequently comes your way.

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