this is a great post from the streisand forum about the "shut the fuck up incident."
It can hardly be a surprise to those of us who were at the concert on Monday night that the press would be having a field day over the heckling incident. What is a surprise, to me at least, is that some of her fans are upset by it.
As I recall, Barbra had already finished singing Have I Stayed Too Long at the Fair?, when the persistent heckler (fan? hardly) shouted something to her. The bush sketch was over. Barbra made some light hearted comments about the freedoms an artist enjoys in this country. Then she moved on to the next song.
What was the guy trying to accomplish, if not ruin the concert for the rest of us? Nobody paid $750 to hear from him. Heckling is rude, period. Could Barbra have made a joke about it? Sure, but instead, she flashed a brilliant Brooklyn born fire and effectively fought back against the "don't criticize our beloved chairman" trance in which increasing numbers of Americans have been suspended.
She reprimanded the guy, and later apologized for losing her cool. Both the expletive and the acknowledgement showed her to be human, honest, and open. It was thrilling to have her step outside her guard, it made me like her all the more.
When was it decided that artists have no right to interpret the world as they see it? Would anyone dare tell Picasso to forget Spain and just paint the bowl of fruit, put it in a pretty frame, and keep his mouth shut?
What of the song writers of the sixties? What of Isadora Duncan? What of every artist who has looked at what is beautiful, what is horrific, what is breathtaking, what is heart breaking, what is common, or what is miraculous, and put it in focus for us? Have they all been out of line?
When was it decided that we no longer need to have our world shown to us through the eyes and hands and vocal chords of the people whose job is to share what they percieve?
The truth is that we need them more now than ever.
How can anyone call themselves a Streisand fan without knowing what she is? Does no one remember how she rented a flatbed truck and opened her NYC townhouse to campaingn for Bella Abzug? Barbra has been active politically for almost her entire career. Could anyone be surprised that she has strong political convictions at this stage of the game?
Barbra has more than the rights shared by the Dixie Chicks or Madonna. She has experience and knowledge that most of us do not have. She could easily teach a college course in political activism, and knows what she is talking about when she criticizes the bush administration.
When she gave an interview with Diane Sawyer last year, she was ridiculed in the press the next day for having claimed that Global Warming was the cause of the strong hurricanes we have seen recently. One news program showed footage of Barbra singing Second Hand Rose, dressed in sequins, and clowning around. The caption read "Hurricane Babs." The anchorman snidely said that there was probably more politics than science behind Barbra's comments. He went on to add that if all those environmentalists would just look at history, they would see that nature goes through periods of warming and cooling as a matter of course.
Well, this was when the bush administration was still denying the existence of global warming, so that was the script the poor dolt had to work with. As we all know now, extreme changes in weather are indeed a result of global warming. In other words, Barbra and her scientist friends were right.
Remember when Barbra spoke out against the impending invasion of Iraq, claiming that Saddam had no arsenal of weapons? She was ridiculed for that, too. A Jewish woman defending a Muslim ruler? Well, time has surely shown that he had no weapons, after all. The UN inspections had worked. Barbra and her liberal friends were right.
Maybe instead of getting angry at her for daring to call a spade a spade, whether she is confronting a dishonest and corrupt administration or an obnoxious heckler, we should be grateful that we have an artist like Streisand. An artisit who is well informed and truly brave.
One more thing. Barbra has never been just a singer. Ask any girl with an unusual look, or any gay man from the midwest. She represents many things to many people, which is one of the reasons she is adored with such fervor. Most of her fans do understand this, and expect nothing less than the full package when they pay good money to see her perform.