If you’re conservative, they’d rather not have you in their audiences. In 2004, Linda Ronstadt famously admitted:
“It’s a real conflict for me when I go to a concert and find out somebody in the audience is a Republican or fundamental Christian. It can cloud my enjoyment. I’d rather not know.”
Barbra Streisand concurs:
Streisand effortlessly crooned through a select repertoire of the hits she’s amassed during her four-decade-plus career. But night’s most riveting moment came during what was perhaps the only unscripted _ and truly uncomfortable _ episode in the three-hour show.
There was Streisand, enduring a smattering of very loud jeers as she and “George Bush” _ a celebrity impersonator _ muddled through a skit that portrayed the president as a bumbling idiot.
Though most of the crowd offered polite applause during the slightly humorous routine, it got a bit too long, especially for a few in the audience who just wanted to hear Streisand sing like she had been doing for the past hour.
“Come on, be polite!” the well-known liberal implored during the sketch as she and “Bush” exchanged zingers. But one heckler wouldn’t let up. And finally, Streisand let him have it.
“Shut the (expletive) up!” Streisand bellowed, drawing wild applause. “Shut up if you can’t take a joke!”
With that one F-word, the jeers ended. And the message was delivered _ no one gets away with trying to upstage Barbra Streisand, especially not in her hometown.
Once the outburst (which Streisand later apologized for) was over, Streisand noted that “the artist’s role is to disturb,” [Gee, imagine Sinatra, Crosby, or Nat Cole ever saying that–Ed] and delivered a message of tolerance before launching into a serenely beautiful rendition of “Somewhere.”
Of course, to be fair, if you to go to a show performed by an entertainer with as rampant and public a case of BDS as Barbra has, and are surprised at her polemics, you really only have yourself to blame.
As with the Cinema of Self-Congratulation that Roger L. Simon explored yesterday, and the wish-fulfillment TV that Steven Den Beste discussed today, it’s not like artists feel any sort of need to bridge the gap between a polarized public these days. At least Ronstadt came clean about how segregated she’d prefer her ideal audience to be.
(And as with Ronstadt’s 2004 profile in The San Diego Union-Tribune, note how the gushing AP columnist simply ignores all of the contradictions in Streisand’s messages. And admired her use of the F-Bomb.)