Michael Steele, former bass player for the eighties pop group The Bangles, released a statement this afternoon informing the world at large that due to recent and negative events in the world of politics she has made the decision to formally and legally change her name. Below is the transcript of her statement, read live to a moderately attended group of fans and reporters on stage at The Canyon Club in Agoura Hills, California.


Steele: Fellow Citizens, Seekers of Truth and Peace, STAR-FM Promo Department… thank you for gathering here today.

(She pauses to adjust her bass strap and decides to swing her guitar back behind her so it stops hitting the mic stand as she holds her notes out in front of her.)

Steele: I come before you today to ask a question. (Squints at paper.) When our freedom is compromised, what are we to do?

(…crowd mutters, sound of glass breakage in background, and a Barback yells, ‘Sorry!’…)

Steele (to crowd): I can’t heeeear you!

(Crowd quieter, more confused.)

Steele: I’ll rephrase. When something impedes upon our freedom, we have no choice but to act. Am I right, people?

She covers the mic with her hand in an attempt to mute it but is still audible, though muffled.

Steele (to someone in the wings behind her): Can somebody bring me my reading glasses?

A roadie pulls out his own pair from his t-shirt pocket and runs them over to her. He also offers her his vent brush from his back pocket, but she declines. Almost immediately, she covers the mic again and yells after him, “Why? Do I need it?” He shakes his head no, gives her a double thumbs up. She continues.

Steele: There comes a time in everyone’s life when the fork in the road ahead is bent in such a way that you can’t quite see beyond it to where it leads…and you have to make a decision.

She looks up to assess the crowd.

Steele: You. (She points to someone in the darkness.) There with the ripped Go-Go’s t-shirt. You made a decision to wear that shirt here today. Perhaps you chose to go down that road because it was the only side of the fork that still fit or was clean. But if you would have done your homework, you’d have known it brings up bad mojo. Remember 1987? The Jane Wiedlin comes on to my boyfriend incident? If you would have considered other roads, made an informed decision — a metaphorical pink and black striped spandex mini-dress, say — who knows where it would have led?

Someone in the crowd: Where’s Susanna?

Steele (steeling herself): But I digress.

She adjusts her guitar strap.

Steele: I have arrived at my fork. And I choose to take the road yet traveled.

Someone else in the crowd: Are you going to walk like an Egyptian on it?

Steele (ignoring): In recent weeks, nay months, an unrelenting nag on my psyche has forced me to a decision that will forever alter my sense of self and others’ sense of me.

The crowd is quiet, seeming genuinely interested in what she’s going to reveal.

Steele: Some might think that my parents naming me ‘Michael Steele’ was a burden from the start. Those people would be right. As a young girl, growing up with a boy’s name, I was constantly teased and chastised. I dreamed of the day I would develop breasts and could show them off to my tormentors. ‘Feast your eyes on these!’ I would say. And they would step back in awe and reverence to my luscious mounds.

Audience member: Ah-oooo-gaaa!!!

Steele (reading): But that day was not to come. I took after my grandmother on my father’s side, and grew into an extremely tall and thin thing, who eventually gained favor with her peers by being able to hide joints on the tops of door jams and paint apartment room walls without the aid of a ladder.

Possibly the same audience member: Show us your mounds!

Steele: My point is that I overcame this burden. Time, and the natural cycle of the mystery of the developing body healed some of it. And by locking down my heart so no one could penetrate it and hurt me further, my transformation was complete. I was Michael Steele. Michael ‘I Wouldn’t Fuck With Me If I Were You’ Steele.

A door opens in the back of the room, and daylight is emitted. A silhouette of a man is visible along with a dolly with boxes piled on it. The silhouette says loudly, “Where should I stack the toilet paper?”

Steele (visibly unnerved): Despite my past, and the adversity I have reconciled, in recent weeks the hardship of sharing my name with Republican Chairperson Michael Steele has become too great. The accumulation of his blunders and the imminent firing, forced resignation, or muzzle wearing that inevitably will become part of his story has landed me here. I have been mistaken for him via email, via regular mail, via Facebook – even though I have my actual face as my picture, not a photo of my cat, or the actress most people tell me I look like, or a kitschy shot of some candy I liked from childhood—

Another audience member: I like Abba-Zabas!

Steele: So even though my Caucasian, female image is displayed prominently on my Facebook wall, according to my fan page administrator, Barkley, I’m still getting messages for the black, male politician Michael Steele.

Audience member/possibly a reporter: Is it true you’ll be taking a trip to Afghanistan next month to assuage the concerns of our troops over your statements against the war?

Steele: Can you see me? (Back to her notes.) And so, just as my parents made the decision to name me Michael Steele, setting me on the arduous path that would become my life for lo this many 40 something years, I have made the decision to take back my name… and make it my own. From here forth, thanks to the jackassery of both my parents and the politician Michael Steele, I present you with the new me… the me of my choosing… Michelle Steele.

Number one fan: Hi, Michelle!

Steele: I thank you for your time. And I thank you for respecting my and my family’s privacy during this transitional stage.

Yet another audience member: Do we have to re-like you on Facebook?

Steele: I’m honestly not sure how that works.

Audience member: Can we expense our drinks to the Republican National Committee’s tab?


Questions from the audience were taken for another five or so minutes. When the press conference was officially concluded all in attendance were treated to a sound check by Ms. Steele’s newly formed band Rush Limbaugh.


Author’s note: The “Ms. Steele” depicted here is a figment of the author’s imagination. The real Ms. Steele simply had the misfortune of sharing a name with a current political figure. Which got the author thinking. And it devolved from there.

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RACHEL POLLON is a native Los Angeleno. Her writing has appeared online at The Nervous Breakdown, The Coachella Review, The Rumpus and The Weeklings, and in paperback form in The Beautiful Anthology and Teen Girls’ Comedic Monologues That Are Actually Funny. These pieces and more can be found on her website SeismicDrift.com. On Twitter she’s @RachPo and on Instagram @RachPoWills.

71 responses to “Michael Steele of The Bangles vs. Michael Steele Republican Party”

  1. Matt says:


    THIS is what TNB 3.0 has been missing! A little “Pollon-ation!”

    Welcome back!

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Thank you SO much, Matt. The bullets I’ve been sweating this morning as I hovered over the “publish” button could definitely take out that scorpion… if I could just find him/her. Thank you for the lovely comments and I’m so glad you liked!

  2. James D. Irwin says:

    I’m with Matt, minus the questionable yet affectionate name based pun.

    Hilarious and absolutely brilliant.

    • Matt says:

      You’re just upset because I got there first.

      • James D. Irwin says:

        Ordinarily that would be true, but I’ve already made two classic rock based puns on Tyler’s post. That’s enough satisfaction for me…

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Thank you, James! So very much. You know, I was realizing that I haven’t seen any updates from on my FB wall and I double checked and it’s not like I nixed you by accident so it’s super strange. I’ll have to manually check your page from time to time to see what you are up to. Thanks for reading, and glad you enjoyed!

      • James D. Irwin says:

        For the last few months I’ve had either limited internet access or none at all, so I’ve been Facebook inactive as well as real life inactive.

        And now I have the internet all I post are links to my own TNB post and 80s rock videos…

        • Rachel Pollon says:

          Well, that explains it. And really, what else does one really need on their FB wall but links to their posts and rock videos? Have you seen my Diana Ross on The Muppets video? Wait, that’s probably not rock enough. I posted a great Who video a few days back. From some show (I believe British) I hadn’t seen before.

        • James D. Irwin says:

          I think I must have missed both of those. I shall have to dive back and search them out.

          Was it from the Rolling Stones Rock and Roll circus?

        • James D. Irwin says:

          The Who clip I mean, not Diana Ross and the Muppets…

        • Rachel Pollon says:

          Ha! No, The Who clip was from some show that sounded vaaaguely familiar but that I hadn’t seen before. And I used to be a Who freak. I did my senior essay project for English class on The Who. (It sucked but I was passionate… and probably lazy… or rather thought my deep feelings for The Who weren’t going to truly come across on lined and three-whole-punched notebook paper, so why try. No one understood me, man. I was a mod… etc.) Anyway, if you have a chance check it out.

        • I’m always a little bit embarassed by my slight indifference to The Who.

          It’s not like I want to kill the Queen or drink coffee instead of tea.

          I just couldn’t write a passionate essay on them— I’m sure it was great.

          I mean, I love Who’s Next. That’s about as perfect as an album gets. And I love The Real Me. But the rest I’m not crazy about. I don’t dislike it. I just don’t get the fuss.

          Please don’t tell Becky, she loves ’em.

          They were great at Woodstock. Peace… Love.. and GET THE FUCK OFF MY STAGE!

        • Rachel Pollon says:

          My essay was not great, but my obsession was. Well, what can you do? Not everyone is going to love everything. Maybe if the members of The Who were on the Patriots you’d feel differently. And so it follows would I. 🙂

  3. Zara Potts says:

    Funny stuff! Thank you for the morning laugh, Rachel!
    It’s been far too long between posts for you… Glad you are here!

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Thank you, Zara. And, uch, I know — it seems I need the impetus of old pictures of large stuffed penises or maddening politicians to get my posting fires going. 😉 Glad to make you laugh… and to be here!

  4. Greg Olear says:

    Where’s Susanna?


    Brill. I. Ant. (That’s what the Black Eyed Peas guy would change his name to, if the RNC chair were a buffoon named Will.i.am).

    I can’t remember which one she is. I now have to go find the $#@! video for “Walk Like an Egyptian,” which will be in my head for the next week. Karmic payback for my “Piano Man” piece, I guess…

    • Total payback. It makes me want to transform my severe teenie crush on Susannah Hoffs into a post conjecturing where all the characters from Hero Takes A Fall might be these days….thank you, Rachel, for legitimizing my secret Bangles lust.

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Har! Well, Mr. Chairman is trying to work on his street cred so he might dig some of these suggestions. Sorry to make you hunt down the video and about putting the song in your head… sort of. 🙂

  5. Cynthia Hawkins says:

    Hilarious! “… gained favor with her peers by being able to hide joints on the tops of door jams” — ha! That makes two of us. Loved the crowd questions as well. “Are you going to walk like an Egyptian on it?” So funny.

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Thanks, Cynthia! It was fun imagining what it would be like to be a tall person and what advantages they’d have in any given situation. As a short person I had to hide all my joints in my socks. It was a painful time.

  6. Art Edwards says:

    When she dropped her drink, did they bring her more?

  7. Lisa Rae Cunningham says:

    “Can somebody bring me my reading glasses?”
    This is the point at which I burst out laughing. Awesome. The flippin Bangles! I love it.

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Glad to make you laugh, Lisa Rae! I bet the real Michael Steele has perfect vision and is in complete command of her audience. But where the hell is the fun in that?

  8. Irene Zion says:

    I adore you, Rachel, but I make it a practice not to read anything that has the slightest hint of anything political. But I wanted to leave you a comment. I bet this is really funny. Too bad I’m allergic to politics.

    • Art Edwards says:

      I agree, Irene. Rachel is kind of taking herself a little too seriously here.

      I mean, yes, save the rain forest. We get it.

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      I’m not entirely sure if both or neither of you is taking the piss out of me. Art might have my back. It’s early and I need more coffee.

      Irene, I totally get not wanting to read about politics. Maddening and depressing. I never feel better than when I haven’t watched or read the news for a period of time. And this does have a hint… a soupcon… but really it’s not about that at all. However I appreciate you assuming it’s funny and that’s really all a girl can ask and I’m glad to leave it at that.

      • Art Edwards says:

        I’m being silly, and I think your piece is pitch-perfect. My fav part, among many:

        “He also offers her his vent brush from his back pocket, but she declines. Almost immediately, she covers the mic again and yells after him, “Why? Do I need it?” He shakes his head no, gives her a double thumbs up.”

        • Rachel Pollon says:

          Thank you, Art. So very much. I read your Wilco piece last night and was trying to think of a clever comment but couldn’t at the time. I think my head is just woozy enough from my summer cold to be successful this morning. I’m going back to it tout suite!

        • Art Edwards says:

          Any excuse to drink Nyquil is a good excuse.

          So glad you were prompted to comment on my Wilco list. I’m currently working on a new list: The Ten Least Gracious Notes Penned Inside Graduation Thank-You Cards. If you like, save your energies until then.



      • Irene Zion says:

        Whoa! Rachel!

        I love everything you write!
        I didn’t read this because I get crazy about politics.
        I hate politics of all kinds.
        I only didn’t read it because of the political name in the title.
        But, I wanted you to know that I love your writing and there is something terribly wrong with me that keeps me from reading anything political.
        That’s why I commented.
        I’m sorry if it all got misconstrued.
        Forgive me?

        • Rachel Pollon says:

          Wait — no misconstruing! And no forgiving necessary! I understand. My piece is really about the musician Michael Steele and the politician is just my highway there. But I’m happy to have you adore me from afar and think wonderful thoughts about me without my having to do anything to prove it. 🙂 xo!

  9. Joe Daly says:

    Absolutely freaking hilarious!! The dialogue, complete with the crowd interjections, was perfect.

    Like Art, this was my fave:

    >>A roadie pulls out his own pair from his t-shirt pocket and runs them over to her. He also offers her his vent brush from his back pocket, but she declines. Almost immediately, she covers the mic again and yells after him, “Why? Do I need it?” He shakes his head no, gives her a double thumbs up. She continues.<<

  10. Irene Zion says:

    See? If I hadn’t commented, you might’ve thought I didn’t think you were funny and I didn’t want that.
    Maybe I should just not have commented.
    I think that’s clear now.
    Sorry, again.

  11. Simon Smithson says:

    “Someone in the crowd: Where’s Susanna?”


    Love it, Rachel. Especially the crowd commentary. So nice to see you on TNB again!

    Also: what is an Abba Zabba? I think I saw Dave Chapelle eat one in a movie once. Is it a chewy kind of deal?

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Thanks, Simon. The crowd commentary was a hoot. I’m not sure if it was relatively easy to conjure because I *am* the crowd or I’m a keen observer. 😉 Regardless, writing for the oblivious is incredibly fun.

      Yes, an Abba Zaba is an incredibly chewy candy that has a combination hard/chewy white (taffy?) shell with peanut butter inside. It’s a sort of delicious torture. I’m sure whatever Dave Chappelle did with it was terrific. Follow this link:


      • Simon Smithson says:

        Dave Chapelle’s line was “Abba Zabba, you my only friend.”


        • Rachel Pollon says:

          That explains why when I searched “Abba Zaba” on Facebook so that I could “like” it a slew of groups called “Abba Zaba, You’re My Only Friend” came up. I didn’t know what it referred to. Thanks for the 411, Simon.

  12. JM Blaine says:

    Wow, see I think about these things all the time.
    Like if when they elected Clinton
    a switch in the ticket meant
    actually George Clinton
    was president.
    I thought about that
    entirely too much.
    Bootsy War Party.

    I hate STAR-FM.
    Why not play In Your Room
    now and then?
    Why do you always play Walk Like a Egyptian
    at the same time every day?
    How about swapping it with Eternal Flame?
    Have you ever noticed Manic Monday
    & Raspberry Berry are the same song?
    See, now I’ll be pondering this all night.

  13. Rachel Pollon says:

    Wait, do you live in Los Angeles, or is there a STAR-FM elsewhere that plays, sounds like, the exact same playlist?

    “Manic Monday” was most probably an outtake from the Around The World In A Day sessions and Prince gussied it up and tossed it off to the girls so it wouldn’t go to waste. (I just googled “Raspberry Beret” because I couldn’t remember the name of the record it appeared on and Wikipedia mentioned the B-side which I looooved at the time “She’s Always In My Hair.” Why didn’t he put that on the actual album? Oh, Prince, you are forever a mystery.)

    Lastly, I would not be surprised if George Clinton was part of President Clinton’s team of super secret, funky advisors.

    • Meg Worden says:

      I was forever calling “Bill”, “George” during that administration. A Freudian slip cluing anyone to the kind of country my subconscious would like to live. Honestly, I’m still waiting for my Mothership Connection.


      Hilarious, Rachel.

      • Rachel Pollon says:

        Please forgive my tardiness, I meant to respond weeks ago, to say thanks, Meg. And stay funked up, y’all!

  14. This is so interesting. I was just talking to someone about the Bangles just last night. Wonderful post, Rachel. Definitely brought a smile to my face. And that’s not an easy thing to do, seeing as I haven’t even finished my first cup of coffee.

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      Some people say there are no coincidences, but I don’t know what the hell they’re talking about. Interesting indeed that The Bangles came up for you just last night. They (them again) say things happen in threes… Perhaps there’s a Tea Party candidate waiting in the wings named Susanna Hoffs. 😉 Glad to bring a smile! *** Update, in a strange twist, my husband shares the same name as Mark Williams, freshly ousted Tea Party spokesman… will I be compelled to go down this road for a satiric TNB post? Mercy.

  15. Brin says:

    Just a funny coincidence to mention, Michael Steele was Mike Tyson’s brother-in-law during his second marriage.

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      I read that while I was doing a little research on Mr. Steele! But I didn’t know the timeline — was this before or after Robin Givens? She’s the only wife of Mike Tyson’s that I knew about. (I’m about to read your MT piece, by the way…)

  16. Tawni says:

    This cracked me up, Rachel. Thanks for my starting my day with a smile. (:

    • Rachel Pollon says:

      I’m very glad to help start your day off with a smile, Tawni. And, please, if you do find yourself needing to punch a video, use an uppercut, I think there’s less impact to your fist that way. Actually, you should probably consult Brin on this.

      • Tawni says:

        Although my personal self-defense favorite is an esophagus-crushing throat punch, the best punch according to Yahoo! Answers is an uppercut right to the jaw.

        God, I love the internet. I would never punch the internet.

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  19. Annabelle says:

    Hey Rachel.
    I read somewhere that Michael Steele of The Bangles was born Susan Thomas. Then I read from another source that she was born Michael Suzanne Steele. I wonder, which one of these two sources is right? Do you think maybe you could ask her for me? I would kindly appreciate it.

  20. Loren Rz says:

    Some people say he changed his name to an Illuminati pact. Suzzane Thomas by Michael Steele, as Alice Cooper born as Vincent Damon Furnier. It seems that Suzzane could not fulfill or move forward with the pact.

  21. Sonia says:

    You did a fantastic job! This post seem quite nice.

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