Whatever Happened To The Noble Art Of Heckling

The Glutteratti

Own your heckling, Powerhecklers of America! What, are you too noble to enunciate your vowels? Is it more authentic to make people look at you with amazement as they wonder, “What is that nutcase talking about?”

While Medea Benjamin insisted that she’s no mere heckler, she’s a protester, newest delicate media flower,GetEqual’s Ellen Sturtz, was “taken aback” when she shouted at Michelle Obama, only to have the First Lady get off the podium and right into her face. “One of the things I don’t do well is this, understand?” said Mrs. Obama, and offered to leave while Sturtz took the mike: crowd’s choice. Astonishingly to Sturtz, the crowd chose Mrs. Obama, instead of joining Sturtz in demanding that Michelle use the Power Of Pillowtalk to persuade her husband to sign an Executive Order offering protections to gays working for military contractors, rather than achieving that goal through legislation.

Talking to the Washington Blade, Sturtz described the encounter thusly:

She cut me off immediately and leaned over podium, sort of her put her big hand towards me and said something to the effect of ‘You don’t do that to me’ or ‘I don’t do that.

Strutz also was somewhat vague on whether she had planned to talk to the First Lady’s Big Hand: GetEqual’s site includes a press release which seems to imply that the interruption was planned..

Most media outlets are omitting the fact that the crowd which had forked over a minimum of half a grand to hear Obama, was gathered at the home of “Power Couple” Dr. Nan Schaffer and Karen Dixon. (ActEqual had ponied up for Sturtz’s entry, too). So it may be presumed that Sturtz was not the only one there who’d known the pain of living a closeted life; she was just the only one shouting at Michelle Obama about it. And the only one to be surprised when the First Lady had the temerity to answer her back.

Posted by Mrs. Polly on 06/05/13 at 04:29 PM • Permalink

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How interesting that Sturtz, in her interview with the Blade, applauds herself for being “an abrasive old lesbian” who doesn’t have to be “nice” anymore. 

But when FLOTUS shows she doesn’t appreciate being dis-respected ... Woah.  Somebody’s being not just “assertive” but “pretty aggressive”, waving “her big hand” and getting in Sturtz’s apace.  Who does FLOTUS think she is and where are her manners?  Why, she was almost ... uppity.

@MaryRC - glad I’m not the only one who thought there was some dog whistling in those comments.  The “Big Hand” thing was particularly offensive.  Plus you loudly heckle the speaker and then bitch to the press about how you were so totally the victim? Please.

so 3 days before the event Sturtz was trolling for compatriots on twitter.  Apparently she found 2.  Debbie Wasserman-Shultz was also heckled by the other two.  Emoprogs are the new media darlings defending this bullshit rudeness to FLOTUS. They may have finally pushed me into giving up on MSNBC. They are obviously not into making new friends.  Or interested in keeping old allies.  So just who is behind ActEqual anyway?

I love the choice the first lady offered- you can take the mic or let me speak.  Now that’s the way to handle a heckler.

“YOU get up on stage, bunghole!”

... then bitch to the press about how you were so totally the victim?

Which inevitably overshadows any positive message she might have used the media exposure to get across.

Activism 101: The media will screw with your message and make the story about anything else, given half a chance. Don’t give them half a chance.

Way to take gay rights all the way to compassion fatigue.

Why is this not surprising?

Sturtz, originally from New York, lived in Sacramento before moving to the Central Coast in 1993 to become the county cable franchise coordinator. Her primary job was to provide oversight for all issues relating to cable television in the county, a job that eventually led to repeated clashes between her and Charter Communications. The position was abolished in the early 2000′s and Sturtz left Los Osos for Los Angeles before eventually moving to Washington, D.C.

California Clashing. Apparently a familiar tune to the Delicate Heckler.

How interesting that Sturtz, in her interview with the Blade, applauds herself for being “an abrasive old lesbian” who doesn’t have to be “nice” anymore.

As a card-carrying “abrasive old lesbian” I officially disown this character.  There was a time, when people were dying, that it was not only appropriate but imperative that gays “Act Up.”  But for every “high profile actor” there have always been hundreds of intelligent, polite, hardworking gays going about the business of working, loving, raising their families, and supporting their communities without any fanfare.

Both contributed mightily to the “Good as You” place that our society has reached, today.

When I was in the business world, I learned from salespeople that it’s very important not to talk beyond the sale.  Take yes for an answer with grace.  Ellen Sturtz may not want to give up being abrasive but she should learn to choose her targets more aptly.

the Power Of Pillowtalk

This is just perfection. Also, Sturtz’s idea that paying her way into the event gives her license to heckle reminds me of theater patrons (oh, here we go again!) who somehow think buying a ticket means they can text, talk, puke in the aisles, put their feet on the seat in front of them, or do whatever else their poorly-raised Special Little Snowflake selves desire. The OTHER people there ALSO paid money to hear the First Lady, and I think it was brill that she turned it over to the people in the room to decide.

@nelicote:  I gave up on MSNBC a long time ago.  The ratcheting of the outrage meter makes my head hurt.

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