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