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Michelle Shocked Rambles On, Hints at Larger ‘Conversation’

Michelle Shocked / Photo by Getty Images

This past Sunday night, Michelle Shocked’s concert at the San Francisco location of Yoshi’s, an upscale restaurant/lounge, clearly did not go as planned. At least not as planned by either the audience or the staff of Yoshi’s. It has been reported that, at the outset of the evening, Shocked asked for a volunteer to join her onstage in order to live-tweet her performance. She then asked the audience to vote whether they would prefer to hear the “Truth” or “Reality.” The audience chose “Truth,” and Shocked performed the majority of her critically acclaimed 1988 album Short Sharp Shocked.

Shocked’s onstage Twitter assistant also joined her backstage at intermission, ostensibly to tally song requests for her second set. But not long after Shocked returned to the stage, the evening fell apart. Reports on Twitter and more traditional media outlets have stated that the alt-folksinger went on “an anti-gay rant,” even suggesting that “God hates fags.” Her comments quickly cleared the room and the management at Yoshi’s cut the power to Shocked’s microphone, bringing the night to an abrupt close.

By Monday, when Shocked and I talked, the first of several venue cancellations of upcoming shows had been announced, though she claimed that my mention of this was the first she’d heard of it. Later that afternoon, the club Yoshi’s had tweeted, in all caps: “WE AT YOSHI’S SF DO NOT & WILL NOT EVER TOLERATE THE TYPE OF BIGOTRY & HATRED EXHIBITED LAST NIGHT BY @MShocked SHE WILL NEVER BE BACK.”

I met Michelle Shocked approximately five years ago, after reviewing an afternoon Joe’s Pub performance for an audience of primarily mothers and their pre-schoolers, featuring music from Shocked’s 2005 album Got No Strings, which gave a Western Swing spin to songs from Disney films. Along with busker friend Michael Sullivan, Shocked also played on a traffic island just south of New York’s Astor Place subway station for the Village Voice performance series “Possibly 4th Street” that I curated. Afterwards, Shocked, Sullivan, and I had dinner at a nearby vegan restaurant.

Earlier this year, Shocked had reached out to me in an effort to wrest the “Possibly 4th Street” video from the clutches of YouTube and, by extension, Google. When the news of the Yoshi’s show broke, I sent her a text asking if she would be doing interviews. She said she’d “check in” with me following her “prayer/swim time.”

Shocked suggested that we talk via Facetime, so that’s how we began the interview. Or at least I thought we had begun the interview. I tried to establish, without much success, a vague timeline of the previous evening’s events. She mentioned someone in the audience requesting her “gospel material.” She later told me of her drive home to Los Angeles from San Francisco and her subsequent Monday-morning routine. We talked about how we knew each other as writer/interviewer and musician/entertainer and I asked, more than once, what she hoped to gain from our conversation.

Then, about 45 minutes into the interview, Shocked asked me to write down “verbatim” what she’d said the previous night at Yoshi’s. I said that I didn’t need to write it down, that I was taping with a digital recorder. Again, because I had specifically mentioned “interview” in my two messages earlier in the day, messages that she had responded to, I assumed that we were already in the middle of an interview. Shocked disagreed and accused me of recording her without consent, and insisted that I hold up my recorder to the camera while I deleted the audio file. I did so. Then, since she couldn’t tell that the file I had just deleted was the audio file of our conversation, she dictated into her own recorder the date and time that I had recorded her, and asked that I verbally confirm that I had deleted the file in question. I did so. Shocked then asked me to restart my recorder and ask for her permission to record our conversation. I did.

What follows is the transcript of the final 45 minutes of our conversation about what happened at the Michelle Shocked show at Yoshi’s in San Francisco, and quite a bit more.

SPIN: Okay, it’s recording now.
Michelle Shocked: Someone please send a tweet saying, “Michelle Shocked just said God hates faggots.”

That’s the verbatim quote.

I’d like to say it again, “Someone please send a tweet saying, ‘Michelle Shocked just said God hates faggots.'”

And the reason for saying that? I mean, are you testing the power of social media or what are you doing?
No, I want my old job back, frankly. I really liked having an authentic dialogue with my audience. It’s been stolen from me, and I don’t have any reason to believe that I’ll ever get it back. But if I’m going to be held captive by social media, I’m going to use it against itself.

This is people holding up iPhones and recording videos instead of paying attention when they’re at the show? This is people taking pictures and checking text messages during performances? This is what the problem is and you’re fighting back against that?
Apparently, it’s not a problem. Apparently, it’s what people want. And I’m here to serve; I’m here to serve. It’s not what I want, but it’s what they want. And I’m here to serve. And so I’m willing to bow my head in humble submission to meet their needs, not mine.

But you didn’t feel like you could do that last night? I mean, was asking people to tweet that, was that an experiment in the same way that at, say, church camp, I’d whisper ‘Moon’ to the person next to me and they’d whisper the word to the next person and by the time it gets through 17 people it comes out as ‘Marshmallow’?
Oh God, no. It’s light years beyond that. I was in a revival [service] on Wednesday night [at West Angeles Church of God in Christ] that is livestreamed from the church’s own network, The revival preacher was from the Memphis jurisdiction of the denomination, and in the middle of the revival, he holds up his phone and he says, “This is Bishop Brandon Porter livestreaming from West Angeles. Give it up West A!” Then he takes the camera…and he says, “And this is a first. This is the first time this has ever happened.” And as the camera made its way around to me, in the choirstand, with a preacher who has just casually tossed out a fairly bigoted comment, I just prayed, “Cover me in the blood of Jesus. When that camera hits me, let people see the Jesus that’s in me and not the sinner that I am.” I don’t know. I mean, this is a meaningful thing to me, and I hear you listening very carefully.

I’m trying. I really am.
But I don’t…If it’s inexplicable…It’s a lot to take in. I’m not interested in experimenting with social media anymore than I was interested in being a recording star when a guy took a Sony Walkman and informed me that I was now on the charts in England. I told the audience, I’m passionate about two things: Jesus and liberation. But that was during the “Reality” segment of the show, and there wasn’t a lot of high-quality listening going on at that point.

Why…I don’t understand why you would say the verbatim quote, “Somebody tweet Michelle Shocked just said ‘God hates faggots.'” I don’t understand the motivation for that.
I’ll give you an example. It’s not perfect, but we’re making this up as we go along. When Christ was brought before the Sanhedrin and he refused to defend himself, they said, “Are you saying you’re the son of God?” And he said, “Your words, not mine.” And they said, “We’ve heard all we need to hear. Punish him. Kill him.” It went down just like that, and I’m in Luke and if you don’t believe me you can read it for yourself.

No, no. I’m familiar with the passage.
He never said he was the son of God. They said and he said, “Your words.”

I’m familiar with the passage. When I told you in the first part of our conversation that I wasn’t a prayerful person, I do have prayerful people in my family, and I went to church for a lot of years. I know that story from the Bible. But I don’t see that connection. You told me what you said, which sounds like you were trying to, if not hurt them, then inflame people. It sounds like you were trying to say something that would get as strong a reaction as you could get.
I know. I know it does. I know that’s what it seems like.

And I don’t understand why.
I know. And all I’m going to say to that is that after the Sanhedrin had judged Him worthy of death, they took Him to Herod. And Herod was kind of curious. Herod had heard a lot about this guy and kind of wanted to see what he had to say for himself. But after Herod talked to Him, he was like, “This guy’s a whack job. But my friend Pilate, you know, I’ve been trying to do him a favor, so I’m going to send him over to Pilate just as a sign of goodwill.” And Pilate tried putting Him in the hot seat, and he refused to say anything. And Pilate, all he was left to do was say, “Look, let me just ask the people.” So he went to the people and he said, “So you know this Passover tradition you have. I’ve got to give you [somebody who’s supposed to] go free, liberate them. So what do you say? I don’t think this guy’s really that bad.” And they said, “No, actually we want Barabbas.” Apparently, Barabbas had started some rebellion in the city, maybe had killed a few people. Pilate said, “Really? You want that guy? But this guy, he’s been really cool to you. He’s, you know, healed your lepers and made your blind see and even called out some powerful people who were being hypocritical. Really? You want His blood?” And they say, “Yeah. Yeah. That’s the guy we want.” And he washed his hands.

I’m not sure who’s who in this analogy. I mean, I understand the power of an audience, and I’m not calling last night’s audience a mob, but I do understand mob mentality. But I don’t understand who’s playing the various roles in this analogy. I’m pretty sure I’m not Herod, but I’m not positive. But I do know that you’ve been doing this for thirty years. Playing. Entertaining.
[Shocked shakes her head.]

This is the 25th anniversary of Short Sharp Shocked, and the year prior to recording Short Sharp Shocked, I had been snatched out of the tenement on Avenue D between 10th and 11th [in New York], and informed that I was now a celebrity.

Okay, so a quarter-century plus, which is still a lot of experience. Isn’t it, after a quarter-century, isn’t it a little naïve to think that you by yourself, onstage, can have a meaningful, multi-layered conversation with a large audience? I used the phrase “mob mentality,” and we’re not calling the people last night a mob, but there was a nod of recognition on your part. I mean, I’ve got to think you know what you’re doing.
I’m going to give you a big ol’ kiss. I love you for that. I love you for that. Yeah, I’m that naïve. I believe in the power of music. I believe in it absolutely. It’s never failed me. Never.

It didn’t fail you last night because you weren’t playing music?
Last night was not a failure.

How are you not more concerned than you are? I mean, there seems to be a really severe misunderstanding going on out in the world.
You know what? Let’s just narrow that term down.

They’re not misunderstanding.They’re understanding perfectly. They’re confounded, because Truth is not lining up with Reality. And they’re not quite able to figure out how to reconcile that, yet. But we’re going to discover it together, through the power of music. They’re just confounded. And you know what? Confounded is not the worst thing in the world. It’s harder to have lupus than to be confounded.

So even though you said that people should send a tweet that “Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots,” can we take the tweet part out of that? I mean, you have your beliefs, and I know the passages: “Men shall not lay with men as they do with women; it is an abomination.”
That’s not the words I spoke from the Bible last night. I quoted John 3:16, but they didn’t understand it. Do you know why?

They shouted out, “We don’t speak Spanish.” [Shocked then quotes the John 3:16 verse in Spanish.] God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son that whosoever…believe in him shall not perish but have eternal life. God so loved the world that whosoever believe in him.

Is this before or after you suggested that people tweet?
I didn’t suggest that people tweet. I said, “Somebody please send a tweet saying, ‘Michelle Shocked just said God hates faggots.'”

And they did.
I had no way of knowing that.

Okay, they did. People did.
Because I would’ve much preferred if they would’ve sent me a tweet saying, “What about your gospel material, Michelle?” I had someone [her Twitter assistant] sitting there, ready, willing, and able to navigate the conversation. It could’ve been such a civilized dialogue.

I was asking before about the motivation for saying what you did and you told me the Bible story, and I said that it sounded like you were trying to say something hurtful. Did you ever tell me that you weren’t trying to say something hurtful?
You weren’t there. How are you going to know? You weren’t there.

I’m asking you. I’m not saying that I know. That’s why I’m asking you.
I was there, okay. I know what I went there to do. Those people worked hard all week. They set aside time out of their busy lives to come and listen to me. They were hoping to receive words of encouragement. They were hoping to receive words of inspiration. I had no hatred in my heart towards any of them. No anger. I didn’t have any axe to grind. I didn’t have anything to offer them but the love that I pray every day is manifest through me. Not because I’m a loving person, but because the God that I serve loves everybody.

And it went great for an hour.
No. It went great. It went great the whole time.

I mean, that’s what I’m not getting.
You had to be there. You had to be there. You really had to be there.

It doesn’t sound like the audience thinks it went great. And you’ve been, you know, uninvited from returning to Yoshi’s and you’ve been uninvited from this place and that place.
Let’s review, let’s review. Those are the loudest voices, okay?

But that just doesn’t sound great.
No. The quiet voices and the silent voices have not yet chimed in to the conversation. The loudest voices are pretty convinced that they’re going to dominate the conversation and triumph by dominating the conversation, but they’re not going to have the last word.

What are they trying to accomplish? Because everybody that was there either works for Yoshi’s or came to see you. And one would assume that they paid money to come see you because they really like you and your music.
Okay, so let’s try it this way. You weren’t there. I was there.

According to what you’ve read, what was the last song I played that night?

Nobody said. They said you played Short Sharp Shocked for the first set and then you’ve already told me that you didn’t get to play a song in the second set because people asked for “Reality.”
Oh, no. I played a couple of songs. It wasn’t a set. It was…

It was an abbreviated set.

The set became abbreviated.
No, actually, they, Yoshi’s, made the judgment call and they gave me the hook. They pulled the plug on the PA. Did that get reported?

Yeah. Yeah. And again, that doesn’t sound…Look, in every instance, I’m deferring to you because you were there, you were the one who said or didn’t say. I’m not saying anything happened. Everything I think I know is what has been reported. I am more than happy for you to clarify anything you want to.
No, but that’s like…I don’t know. As a reporter, have you ever talked to someone immediately after an incident has taken place? And you know that they’ve done studies on people’s power of recollection. It happened pretty fast. I’m not the most reliable source. It’s possible that the collective reportage of what happened is what really happened. I wouldn’t even trust that, honestly, but I can tell you, as being the alleged instigator of the incident, that it was not a failure. It accomplished something really, really positive, but the results aren’t in yet.

Can you tell me what it accomplished that was positive? Because the world at large, right now, thinks that you’re a hateful person. And I know you and I’ve talked to you and I know that you go to a church that does not preach hatred.
That’s right. Yeah, you’re right.

So we’ve got a disconnect here. And God bless you for being stronger than I am, but my feelings would be all kinds of hurt if the world thought I was a hateful person when I wasn’t.
That is the power of prayer. That is the power of prayer. You know, it gets so dismissed and overlooked as, like, “Who’s listening?” You know, it’s just sending noise into the ether. But I’m telling you, prayer is so incredibly powerful. It keeps you in perfect peace. And that’s all you’re seeing. In my prayer time, it’s, “Take me out of this, you know.” If you want reality for a minute, I’ll give you, you know, a glimpse behind the curtain of the real Michelle Shocked, but what you’re seeing now is a woman who’s just come out of the water forgiven of all of her many, many trespasses, praying fervently for her enemies, that they be forgiven, that they receive the blessings of peace and love and joy that she’s been granted, not because she deserved it, but just because God is so good, sincerely.

You called the night “great.” You called the ride home “wonderful.” You said that today’s been wonderful. And, you know, that’s great that you have that warm, fuzzy feeling that you get from your faith. You told me something was accomplished last night, even though Yoshi’s gave you the hook.
I can give you another example.

Tell me this: You said something was accomplished last night. What was accomplished? And was it the same thing that you were trying to accomplish? Because again, to the outside world, the accomplishment seems to be that you’ve convinced people that you’re a hateful person. And even since your conversion, even since you became born again, you have talked with much more acceptance about homosexuals than what was quoted last night. So, if something was accomplished last night, what was it? And was it what you hoped to accomplish?
Yes and yes. Last night, the conversation, a very important conversation, a long overdue conversation, a much-needed conversation, a conversation that people’s hearts have been breaking to have but didn’t have a safe place to have it, started. It just started. And right now, the loudest voices are the ones being expressed, but that’s how it always is. The loudest voices come in first. But at some point the timid voices, the heartbroken voices, the quiet voices, the voices that have not been heard are also going to join the conversation. And when they do, there is a going to be a light shining in that darkness, and everyone is going to be lifted, everyone.

Are you simply a vessel here?
I’m not answering only because I’m enjoying the irony of a writer asking me that question.

Is the conversation larger, the conversation that you’re referring to, the conversation that you say just started, is the conversation larger than homosexuality?
[Shocked nods her head.]

Much larger?
Yeah, I really, really hope that before the conversation is over that we’ll get to the thing that is nearest and dearest to my heart, which is this amazing, amazing initiative that came out of Occupy Wall Street. I really want people to have this conversation. And, you know, I think it could be probably argued God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son. People are like, “Yeah, yeah, we get that, but how are you going to feed us on that?” And this is being called a Year of Jubilee by Strike Debt. We’re abolishing debt, and we’re going to declare a strike; we’re going to go on strike against a debt system that holds people in bondage to slavemasters that we never agreed to serve.

I understand that argument. I don’t see the connection with God hates faggots.
[She holds up her iPhone with a picture of a bull charging towards a matador holding a red cloth.] You see that red flag?

I do see that red flag. And I see the bull behind it and I see the matador.
Okay, so who’s the matador in this picture?

I don’t know.
Who’s the red flag? That would be me.

Okay, you’re the red flag.
And who’s the bull? That would be the debt system.

So who’s the matador?

Well, in terms of this conversation, I’m going to have to guess Christianity.
[She shakes her head.]

That’s humanity.

I am here to serve, and this is the larger conversation. But people think this is a joke. People think this is just a bunch of idealists who got their hands on a few little Internet gadgets and think they’re going to change the world. But this is real. They just liberated a million dollars in emergency-room medical debt for $50,000 they collected on a telethon called the “Rolling Jubilee.” Now, the Jubilee is an ancient tradition, out of the Hebrew tradition, that says after seven years all debt is eradicated. And if it sounds too good to be true, it’s because it is. But a thousand-plus Americans got a phone call the day after they liberated this emergency-room debt that those people were not being profligate to incur. They seriously needed medical attention. And instead of debt collectors buying that debt on the derivatives market, and then hounding those people to death trying to collect on a debt that they couldn’t afford, Strike Debt liberated that debt.

It sounds like a bait-and-switch.
I know. It sounds like a bait. It does sound like a bait. But let’s talk about the show on Saturday [in Los Angeles].

You’re not from L.A., so you don’t know who’s running for mayor.

You don’t really have much of an opinion about it. You’re not a stakeholder.

There are four candidates.

Did I say four candidates? I’m sorry. There’s three. Because one was determined to be not viable before the campaign ever began. [African-American councilwoman Jan Perry, who had served three terms as the 9th District’s representative to the Los Angeles City Council, was not eligible to run for a fourth term.] Her father and mother both served as mayors in a town where, when she was a little girl, she woke up in the middle of the night and there was a cross burning on her front yard, and her father stood up to that hatred and that bigotry and within five years had turned that situation around, and was now mayor of that Ohio town. And later her mother was mayor of that Ohio town. That little girl grew up and moved to Los Angeles and became a member of the City Council.

Jan Perry was declared not viable in spite of years of public service. There were two candidates who were considered viable on the Democratic ticket, and there’s now a run-off between those two candidates. One would be Eric Garcetti. Does that name sound familiar?

That’s because you may have heard of the O.J. Simpson trial. [Gil Garcetti served as Los Angeles District Attorney during the time of the Simpson trial.] So that’s his son. The other is a woman named Wendy Greuel. You probably haven’t heard of Wendy Greuel because she was in the lowly role of City Controller. She knows where the money comes and where the money goes.

But she was also in the higher levels of the Clinton administration. [Greuel was a field operations officer for southern California for Henry Cisneros, the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development.]

The third candidate is kind of, in theory, up to the voters to decide if they’re going to vote Republican this year. You do have a sense of Los Angeles’s political tenor, right? It tends to be what?

It’s a very mixed city.
That traditionally votes what?

Okay, do you want to speculate on the gender of this Republican candidate for mayor of Los Angeles?

My guess would be male.
Okay, do you want to speculate on the race of this candidate?

I would guess white.
Now do you want to guess on the sexual orientation of this candidate?

I would say straight.
Absolutely not. He’s an out-of-the-closet gay, white, male Republican.

Which means he’s rare.
He’s not rare.

He’s as affordable as any other politician. Name your price and you can have any kind of politician you want.

So, you were talking about this one man in particular from the stage in San Francisco?
I never mentioned any of this. It has nothing to do with San Francisco.

Well, I’m trying to…I mean, you say it doesn’t have anything to do with San Francisco, but if the conversation’s just started and we’ve gone from San Francisco to debt, then I assumed there was a connection and that you were drawing the attention, as the red flag, of the people to try to focus them on Strike Debt. That’s wrong?
You said that sounds like a bait-and-switch, and I acknowledge that it does very much sound like a bait-and-switch. But I’m going to go back to my position: It’s simply that the conversation really needs to take place. It’s a really important conversation.

The debt conversation.
No. THE conversation. @MShocked. Twenty-five years of Short Sharp Shocked. There’s a lot of people who have invested a lot of years in listening to that album, who have come to my shows, who have given those songs a home in their heart, who are depending on me to conduct myself with integrity above all else.

Before you asked me to turn off my recorder, I mentioned my dad and you talked about triangulating the conversation. And I said that I told him that when people yell at you, you don’t listen to them. You try to get away from them. And “would somebody please tweet, ‘Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots,’ sounds like yelling. Are you going to be a part of the conversation if this is how you get the conversation started?
You weren’t there last night, so I’m going to tell you: I wasn’t yelling. There was a lot of yelling going on, but I wasn’t yelling.

I’m sure you were not literally yelling. The language. There are certain words that weigh more than others.
Like when you put things in caps. Yeah, I get it.

And “somebody please tweet, ‘Michelle Shocked said God hates faggots,’ doesn’t need to be in all caps. That’s really loud stuff. Do you think you can say that and still get to be part of the conversation? Or do you think people have already said, “Oh, Michelle Shocked said blah blah blah. I don’t care what else she has to say?” I mean, is that not a risk?
I was married to a journalist [former SPIN writer/editor Bart Bull], so I really appreciate how much you’re personally investing in this. This is not just an objective question that you’re asking me. You’re really invested in my answer here.

I’m not sure where my subjectivity comes from, but I have had some interaction with you, and what was reported last night doesn’t…And we said this to each other 20 minutes ago: It doesn’t sound like the you that I know.

I know you’re feisty. I know that you don’t like to be personally labeled, that you will do the Twist or the Watusi or whatever you’ve got to do to get out of somebody labeling you. And what’s been reported from last night not only doesn’t jive with the Michelle Shocked of my experience, but it kind of sounds like somebody put a red flag in front of you, and you not only went for the red flag, but you grabbed it and you wrapped yourself in it. I don’t see you as a hateful person. Most of America who now knows the name Michelle Shocked, who might not have known it yesterday, thinks you’re probably a hateful person. You know, I don’t understand.
You’re confounded, right?

I am confounded. I don’t understand what happened, and I don’t understand why. Because I’ve seen you with audiences. I’ve seen you sing “Little Bunny Foo Foo” with four- and five-year-olds and you were the literal Pied Piper. I know what you can do. I know what you can do with a guitar and your voice. We damn near made traffic stop out by that sculpture in Astor Place. So you may want me to think you’re naïve, but I also know the power that you’ve got, and I’m really having a hard time thinking this is accidental.
Okay, so gently, sincerely, I am not playing with you. We’re going to just play back in our minds to that pivotal moment in our nation’s history when Bill Clinton was put in the spotlight’s glare and when asked a simple question, he parsed the answer. He said, “I did not have sex with that woman,” okay? So I’m now going to parse this, but I’m not parsing to frustrate you in any way. I’m parsing it to help you understand what little grasp I have of the power that I am trying to channel in positive, life-giving directions, okay? To me, there is a huge distinction between saying, “Somebody please tweet, ‘Michelle Shocked says God hates faggots,'” and someone tweeting, “Michelle Shocked just asked me to tweet, ‘God hate faggots.'” It’s a parsing, and it’s a very nuanced parsing. And I don’t want you to think I’m either naïve or that bright about social media. But I’ll add one last fact. I’ve got now, ever since my arrest at Occupy L.A., I’ve got the Internet talking to me through my e-mails. I don’t have a newspaper. I don’t have a television. The only thing I have for a source of news now, and it’s like taking Fox News down ten more levels of hell, are the little blips that Yahoo sends me, that they have editorially decided is news. And somewhere along the way, I started realizing that not only am I under surveillance, but I am being squeeze-played. I am being forced. My hand is being forced. And so, what I saw yesterday was that Lil Wayne is in a coma.

I don’t know if that’s true or not, but yes I read that last rites had been prepared.
Okay. And the week before I had seen a picture of Justin Bieber, who I was pretty sure is a clean-cut young boy, in bondage gear.

At least it was his head.

I’m not saying that he wasn’t. I’m laughing at the idea of Justin Bieber in bondage gear. I’m sorry.
I saw the picture. So I have pretty good reason to think that I’m a pretty disposable component of this. If Lil Wayne can be in a coma, and good close friends are sending out tweets assuring us that the story is a little overblown, if Hugo Chavez is dead and they’ve got the photos of mourners proving it, and if asteroids have somehow made it through our missile-defense system and are magically appearing over Russia, I’m pretty sure there’s a distinction between a tweet that says, “Michelle Shocked says God hates faggots,” and Michelle Shocked asked me to send a tweet saying, ‘God hates faggots.'”

But didn’t you tell me earlier that you weren’t experimenting with social media? That this wasn’t an experiment?
If I knew social media well enough to be experimenting, I wouldn’t have needed an avatar up there onstage operating my Twitter for me. I barely can, like, “How do I find the reply?” I’ll give you an example: I mean, we sent out that tweet . . . okay, I still have it up on what was your last tweet, I guess. [Shocked sent me a tweet earlier in our conversation and she’s now looking at it on my Twitter account.]

Yeah. Yeah.
So now, my best faith effort is to say, “If I go to [my account], let’s see what happens here. Okay, there’s me. Oh, there’s the tweet I just sent you: “God loves everybody so much that He sacrificed His son and didn’t try to triangulate the dialogue.” Now, what little I know is that there have probably been some responses to that tweet.

But honestly, what I’m showing you, this is the real deal. This is as much as I know about Twitter, but I also know that a regime was overthrown in Tunisia because they didn’t have political capture on Twitter, and that they were able to shut down the entire Internet for three days, until they got control again. I don’t know if that’s experimenting, but I wasn’t in Tunisia when those kids were experimenting with social media.

You said there’s a conversation that needs to be started.

So, was there a misunderstanding last night? Was a mistake made last night? Do you have anything at all to apologize for from last night?
If I have something to apologize, I want to be the first one to step up and make that apology. I don’t want anyone to broker it for me. I don’t want anyone to take the hit for me. If I have anything to apologize for, I’m only human. I’m prone to making mistakes.

But that sounds like you don’t know whether or not…
Mysteriously, your Facetime has just gone silent, but I’m likely to believe that that’s not an accident.

You can’t hear me? Really?
I see your lips moving, but I know that they can easily dub in anything that they want.

I don’t know what to tell you.
I know that it appears that I am saying, “I apologize. I apologize for saying, ‘God hates faggots.'” I never meant to say that. What I meant to say was that God loves everybody.

So you do have…
I still can’t hear you. I can see your lips moving.

Okay, I don’t . . .
I see you saying, “Okay.” I’m not a lip reader, but I kind of know when you’re nodding your head that you’re agreeing with me, that you can understand that it doesn’t matter what I say here. If they can have Beyonce lip-syncing the National Anthem at the Inauguration, and have a lot of controversy about the lip-syncing, they can easily put any words in my mouth that they want. And because it’s my mouth, people are going to believe it. It’s going to look really credible. I apologize, America. I didn’t mean to call you to repentance. You’ve done nothing wrong. You’re not arrogant. You’re not bigoted. You’re not greedy. You’re not corrupt. I never meant that, okay? So, will you love me again?

I can’t hear you, but if you want to give me a “Right on!” or a “Blood of Jesus” or “Keep on rockin’, girl!”

[Laughs] I don’t know my hand gestures.
How about the twinkly fingers? That was a real big hit at Occupy. All right? All right. I think we better go now. I think the question that they needed you to ask me has been asked, and I think that the apology that they needed from me has been given, so it’s been nice talking to you and let’s do this again real soon. Meanwhile, you work on that YouTube video, all righty? All the best.