Salon says, "Ladies, shush! People paid good money for Michelle Obama and rape"

Don't talk equality over Michelle -- or stand up against rape either -- if people have paid good money, Salon says

Hey, remember Code Pink during the Bush years?  "Why can't those old, shriveled, nagging dyke hags stop screaming about Iraq and stuff," seemed to be the reaction of most of America and the media.

Meanwhile, even many of us wholly sympathetic to their message cringed a bit in our Internet-ringside seats as the valiant fuschia-clad ladies yelled, and yelled, and yelled. Even at Hillary Clinton and Nancy Pelosi! (Clutch pearls.) And hey, they're still doing it. Even at Obama! (Clutch pearls tighter.)

Weren't they hurting our cause with all this rudeness? Why could they just sit down at their Dell Gateway computers, dial up AOL, and write a firmly worded comment on the New York Times site like the rest of us. What about civility? WHO WILL THINK OF THE CIVILITY?

Now, of course, with the distance of time and the realization of just how awful that political period was still dawning, it's like, "Thank fucking god someone was doing something real, however quixotic."

And yet, the sorry clutching of pearls in the face of female resistance continues. Why can't women just pipe down about stuff? Especially those whiny ol' man-hater ones.

If you're awake today, you're hearing about how Ellen Sturtz of Berkeley-based gay rights activist group GetEQUAL "heckled" Michelle Obama at a $10,000 per person DNC fundraiser by loudly demanding that President Obama issue an executive order protecting LGBTs from discrimination by companies that contract with the federal government. "I'm a lesbian looking for federal equality before I die," she shouted. WELL, I NEVER!

Michelle Obama left the podium, confronted Sturtz (whose description in almost every major news account incorporates the phrase "56-year-old lesbian activist" or, better, "a divorced lesbian" -- because you know what that means: shrieky shrieky!), and told the crowd that it had to choose whether it wanted to hear her or Sturtz. Sturtz replied that she'd gladly take the mic. But, duh, the fancy crowd chose Obama, and Sturtz was promptly hauled off by security -- thank god for our great country's sake, and that of general decorum also.

Of course this episode is being touted, even by liberal-leaning outlets, as Michelle's great "smackdown," a "verbal chin check," a brilliant takedown. She has had it, get huh! That angry lesbian got what she deserved.

But the most disappointing -- and frankly shocking -- take was by Mary Elizabeth Williams of Salon. In an incredibly weird and misguided post this morning called "Michelle Obama's Heckler Win," Williams decries any kind of disruptive protest, let alone one at a $10,000 per person fundraiser, my stars, because it's forcing your values on someone else

"[Sturtz] explains her actions by saying, “I simply couldn’t stay silent any longer.” And she did manage to draw attention to the issue. But she did it by being rude and boorish, so where’s the satisfaction in that? 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 than what everybody else in the room paid money to experience."

Nevermind for a minute if Sturtz paid her money, too, or that Williams is privileging money over expression and using a common rightwing troll attack trope (protesting is infringing on freedom) -- but seriously, WTF? Heaven forbid people get what they paid for at a political fundraiser ... actual politics. (Obama was on her usual schtick about 'we must help the poor children of Chicago." Pretty sure not much of that $10,000 was going South of the Loop.)

Could everyone please just sit quietly after they give all their money to Michelle Obama or whoever because FREEDOM OF MONEY? Thanks. If you're upset about something, organize your own million-dollar fundraiser. These people paid to worship Michelle, not hear about your discrimination under the hypocritical administration she's representing. Why don't you crunchy lefties understand that?

But wait, there's worse. In her Salon piece, Williams extends her "please don't ruffle the money feathers" to an incident that blew up last year when a woman, during a rape-based routine at a Daniel Tosh comedy show, stood up and yelled, "actually rape jokes are never funny!" (Tosh then suggested the crowd gang-rape the woman -- and oh boy, did Mary Elizabeth Williams have some fucked up opinions about that at the time.) Her post this morning continues:

"Last summer, a comedy club patron enticed Daniel Tosh to make some very unfortunate remarks about rape – an event that was set in motion when 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."

Um, so of course the woman "enticed" the rape remarks by speaking out against them -- she sure was asking for it. She should have just sat there and not imposed her highly unusual and embarrasing "rape is bad" values on people who paid to hear rape jokes. Williams then ends the piece:

"A no-nonsense mom like Michelle Obama could tell you that any 2-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."

So, just to recap, raising your voice for equality at a $10,000 per person fundraiser is just as annoying as standing up against rape jokes (which you caused in the first place) because you're being a bully to all these people who paid money. Don't ever speak up about injustice because you're being a baby. Live with it like the rest of us, especially here at Salon, which never speaks out about anything to grab attention. 

Got it. Mary Elizabeth Williams, you are a master troll. Not even Code Pink with 10,000 crimson bullhorns could fault your logic. Ellen Sturtz, go to your room -- with no equality for dinner.





Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 1:32 pm

"Thank fucking god someone was doing something real, however quixotic."

Ahaha not really. The kid who refused to deploy was doing something (even if I disagree with him), Cindy Sheehan was doing something. Plenty of peope have been doing something. Code Pink? This woman? Not so much.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 1:41 pm

Wow, that was one long-winded, angry rant. But I have no idea what its point was.

Posted by Ted the Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 1:47 pm

I agree. I was bout read the whole thing again, but glanced at the comments, and realized it would be another waste of time. I wish I could get paid just saying what comes to the mouth whether it makes sense or not.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 3:15 pm

Numerous past experiences have taught us that anytime a Liberal starts speaking about " it's for the children ", that one thing is for sure, "it AIN'T about the children!" (As Bill said to Monica: "Do it for the children." Monica: "Hummm,.")
Whatever it was about that Michelle was blathering about, one thing is fer dern durn sure AIN'T them children. Wonder what it was actually about?

Posted by Guest Batman on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 1:49 pm


Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 1:49 pm

Sturtz didn't pay a dime to attend the event; the money (a lot less than the stated $10,000 fee) was put up by a PAC. Forget the "But we're right, we're right, we're right!" mantra. You got skunked by a woman who has 10 times the brains and 100 times the charisma you have.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 1:54 pm

"(Obama was on her usual schtick about 'we must help the poor children of Chicago." Pretty sure not much of that $10,000 was going South of the Loop.)"

Yes! Yes! Yes! Why, if it isn't 'better half' of the lesser of two evils!

Posted by Sandwichman on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 1:55 pm

This whole flap is just silly. While I appreciate Ms Sturtz's reasoning for her outburst, and I am now and will always be a Michelle fan, this whole flap is the usual tempest in a teapot that diverts our attention from important issues, whether those issues are the poor kids in South Chicago that the author found so funny, or the bridges that may fall apart while you are traveling over them.
I mean REALLY? This is what Salon, and SFBG, find worthy of an article and a rant?!

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 2:07 pm

are kind of important issues. Yes, the flap is silly, but there's value in looking at the cultural prejudices that the flap exposes.

Posted by admin on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 2:12 pm

The comparison to Tosh's standup is where you just went off the rails. What you were trying to say was very simple. Ring up an former professor you respected or get an editor who is not 22. Keep trying though.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 2:17 pm

not the author's.

Posted by admin on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 2:23 pm

The President hasn't issued it because he's trying to get ENDA passed through Congress - something which will protect EVERY American - not just those employed by a contractor to the federal government.

Of course, as usual with your misguided political pieces (you're SO much better when you stick to nightlife Marke) you spend the entire column jousting with lions of your own imagination and creating giant strawmen to build up then knock down. The protestor was at a private event at a private home and thus disrespected the hosts and the other guests. End of story. You don't have a right to disrupt anything in a private home, even if POTUS or FLOTUS is present.

Posted by Lucretia Snapples on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 2:28 pm

Code Pink and the rest of the shrill screamers.

It's odd that crazy right wingers are a sign of general right wing idiocy, while crazy left wingers is a sign of empowerment and righteousness.

Posted by matlock on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 4:25 pm

Thank you for this article. I am glad at least someone in our community has the backbone to stand up to liberal hypocrisy. This "back of the bus" attitude is insulting and demeaning. Had Ms Obama been of any other political persuasion or of a different race, she would have been solidly reamed for her insensitivity.

Frankly, I am tired of the Obama crowd putting up with all their tantrums and insulting genuine activists.

I for one am disgusted by how the liberal media has reported this story. Heckling is a legitimate way to remind politicians of their broken promises. I think Ellen Sturtz is a brave activist and Michelle Obama is a highly over-rated First Lady.

Its sad to see how many in the LGBT community will chastise one of their own and give Ms Obama a pass. I don't think she deserves one.

Posted by Guest on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 5:37 pm

race has anything to do with it, and I actually respect Michelle Obama very much -- but yes, the way people are saying "sit down and shut up" to someone raising their voice for equality, which is kind of always appropriate, is frustrating and very strange.

Posted by marke on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 6:57 pm

I agree with the core of your comments. the press and unfortunately many of my liberal colleagues have not only given Michelle a pass here but genuinely encouraged applause for her response and behavior. underdog myths are still exactly that, even when they're built around "our" prez.

Posted by Michael Sakamoto on Jun. 05, 2013 @ 7:12 pm

Why don't you go stand on a street corner and yell this rant at people passing by? I mean, it's so effective and raises awareness, and all that other, like, stuff.

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Posted by cheap galaxy leggings on Dec. 17, 2013 @ 1:03 am

Funny how the $500 a plate dinner jumped to $10,000 a plate.

Every time you open your mouth you set the cause back 100 steps.

Posted by Ellen Sturtz Hurtz the cause. on Mar. 03, 2014 @ 1:54 pm

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