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Aimsel Ponti

Aimsel Ponti is a Content Producer at and a music writer for and the Portland Press Herald. She has been obsessed with - and inspired by - music since she listened to Monkees records borrowed from the town library when she was six years old. She bought her first Rolling Stones record at a flea market when she was in 7th grade and discovered David Bowie a year later. She's a HUGE fan of the local music scene and covers it along with national musical happenings in her "Face the Music" column and with artist interviews that appear in print in the Portland Press Herald and online at You'll also find her out and about absorbing live music like a sponge and roaming around local record shops and flea markets. Aimsel is also the host of Music from 207 on 98.9 WCLZ and appears monthly on the News Center Maine TV show “207” to talk of course.

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Posted: March 21, 2013

Michelle Shocked bails on radio interview

Folk singer Michelle Shocked promised Nicole Sandler, host of The Nicole Sandler Show on the progressive internet radio station Ready or Not Radio that she’d appear live on the show this morning.

The purpose of this interview was to give Shocked an opportunity to respond to and/or defend herself for the anti-gay remarks she made during a St. Patrick’s Day performance in San Francisco.

Here’s a good recap of what went down, in case you haven’t heard yet, from New York Times blogger James C. McKinley Jr.: Michelle Shocked Draws Fire for Anti-Gay Remarks

But here’s the thing; Shocked didn’t answer her phone. It was one of most intense hours of radio I’ve ever heard. Shocked opted to use Twitter in the same cryptic, oddball way she’s been doing since this happened. See for yourself here:

Here’s one example:

“God is my ever present Help. He that is in me is greater than He that is in my world”


At one point Sandler actually reached Shocked but it was inaudible because Shocked seemed unable to grasp the idea of turning down the sound on her computer. At one point, we were able to hear Shocked speak but she just quoted a few lines from her own strangely written statement that was released yesterday. Here’s Shocked’s “apology” that ran in The Guardian

Sandler all but begged Shocked to speak to her and everyone listening so finally Shocked called back on a different phone line. But, Shocked was angered by the several second delay that often goes along with live broadcasts and in frustration told Sandler that she would only speak in “real time” via Twitter. She then prompty hung up. At this point, Sandler had had enough. She voiced concern for not only Shocked’s career but her mental health and well being. Sandler ended the hour-long segment by spinning the last Michelle Shocked song she would every play which was the tune “Come a Long Way.”

I’ve been scratching my head since I first heard about this all on Sunday night. And you know something? I STILL AM.

Were the remarks Shocked made on Sunday night at that show supposed to be ironic or art or a statement of some kind? Was it a poorly delivered joke? A train of thought that got derailed? We’ve all done that, but most of us can then look back and see why people didn’t get what we were trying to convey. Then we apologize. Or at the very we least clarify. And yet Shocked has made matters worse with her confusing Tweets and written statement.

As for me, the jury is still out. But it’s not looking good for Shocked. That said, I 100% hope she is OK and if she is going through some kind of personal or psychological crisis, may she seek help.

I want the Michelle Shocked I used to play on my college radio station back. I want the Michelle Shocked I’ve seen live back. I want the Michelle Shocked back I sing along with on the radio when local stations play her and the one who has stood up for many causes I believe in.

People change. I get that. We learn, we evolve, we grow, we struggle, we falter, we hope and we do a lot of other things as we navigate through life. But I hope that we at least don’t try to hurt each other. And right now, I’m hurt.




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