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A generous barrage of narcissism
April 29, 2013 2:23 PM   Subscribe

The Amanda Palmer Problem: How did a cult musician become a figure to be mocked?

"The web offers an opportunity to fall into the open arms of fans, in ways that weren’t available before. Here’s the catch: The web also makes it near-impossible to fall into the arms of just one’s fans. Each time you dive into the crowd, some portion of the audience before you consists of observers with no interest in catching you. And you are still asking them to, because another thing the web has done is erode the ability to put something into the world that is directed only at interested parties."
posted by Sebmojo (285 comments total) 30 users marked this as a favorite

 
For me, it's the pablum that she produces.
posted by humboldt32 at 2:24 PM on April 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


The Amanda Palmer Problem: How did a cult musician become a figure to be mocked?

Metafilter will be discussing this topic. Pre-order it / get more info on the art book & gallery tour, here.
posted by Fizz at 2:28 PM on April 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


That's a nice piece, and I feel like it sums up the whole palmer thing up nicely. She can be infuriating but I do think people enjoy reading her in the worst possible light.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 2:30 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


I dunno, I think people, especially internet people, react poorly to sincerity and enthusiasm and excitement when there's lots of witty snark and negativity to be had. I've made a point since the New Year of being more open and enthusiastic about things I enjoy and the static I get that's along the lines of STOP ENJOYING THINGS GODDAMMIT is almost overwhelming. Doubly so when you're an artist and everyone thinks they could totally do what you do. And then there's the internet's default assumption that you're a terrible person if you want to make money somehow from what you create instead of just doing it for free.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 2:33 PM on April 29, 2013 [61 favorites]


The hate she generates really bothers me, especially on MetaFilter where I like to think we're above such things. I can honestly see valid criticism of many of the things she does, but people take such glee in it. I don't want to say it's because she is an outspoken, earnest, artistic and weird woman, but I don't see the same amount of vitriol directed at Rob Thomas's Veronica Mars Kickstarter for example. I've learned my lesson from past threads and won't be following this one, but I just want to say this piece is spot on and I'll enjoy Palmer's art as long as she's making it.
posted by yellowbinder at 2:35 PM on April 29, 2013 [23 favorites]


The web also makes it near-impossible to fall into the arms of just one’s fans.

Well, yes, and as they say, her marriage to Neil Gaiman (and his constant promotion of her work) puts her front and center with a lot of people who maybe don't care for her work. I like fantasy novels with witches and gods and tangly things. I'm not really into AP's work, but if I follow him she is almost inescapable.

I dunno, I think people, especially internet people, react poorly to sincerity and enthusiasm and excitement when there's lots of witty snark and negativity to be had.

Man, I really don't think so. I am pretty into earnestness and enthusiasm. Hell, I funded Zach Braff's kickstarter in part because I think Garden State was flawed, but really earnest and when it worked it did things that moved me. But I still don't like her art.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:37 PM on April 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


She's the one with the gross Evelyn-Evelyn fake conjoined twins thing, right? And the vaguly "sex workers are gross and risible" song titles? And the snarking on fat people via Twitter?

I mean, I've never heard a good thing about her politics, ever, just a sort of fake feminism where being "empowered" to make money and get famous equals feminism because she's, like, a woman and stuff and talks about sex while being cute, young, white and well off.

I think people dislike her more than other celebrities who basically do the same thing, though, because she trades on being "one of us", geeky, part of a "community", sharing values with artsy vaguely-progressive indie people. And then she acts the fool, politically, doing things that we try to keep out of our community, and expects everyone to be all smiles. A truly plastic, remote figure like Katy Perry or someone - they're not saying that they are like us, part of our community, have some small-label, independent cred, have good politics - so it isn't as loathesome when they fuck up.

Also, I think there's a certain brand of white "feminist" self-fashioning that Palmer epitomizes, and I've certainly read a lot of WOC bloggers comment on how she is basically a very public instance of a real problem within feminism.
posted by Frowner at 2:39 PM on April 29, 2013 [80 favorites]


I dunno, I think people, especially internet people, react poorly to sincerity and enthusiasm and excitement when there's lots of witty snark and negativity to be had. I've made a point since the New Year of being more open and enthusiastic about things I enjoy and the static I get that's along the lines of STOP ENJOYING THINGS GODDAMMIT is almost overwhelming. Doubly so when you're an artist and everyone thinks they could totally do what you do.

Nothing in this article or any criticism I've ever read of Palmer has anything at all to do with her daring to seem enthusiastic. On preview I see yellowbinder echoing this odd sentiment.

This article lays out the criticisms of Palmer, and they aren't that she's " an outspoken, earnest, artistic and weird woman." Would either of you mind pointing out such criticism, because there's no evidence of it in the linked piece or the comments here. Comments like the above come across as wounded fans who mistake fandom with uncritical idolization and any criticism with "hating".
posted by Sangermaine at 2:40 PM on April 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


And before the claims of internalized misogyny: I find, say, James Franco's "poetry" and such to be far worse than hers and will hate him much more gleefully (man, do I love to hate James Franco's non-acting "art" and the way that his fame legitimizes it and puts it in places where I have to experience it). But I don't think her work is good, either.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I was just debating whether or not to post this with another MeFite, so I'm glad that someone else made the decision for me. I thought this was a very balanced and thoughtful take on the way the internet affects how cult fandom plays out, and manages to be critical of AP's persona without being critical of AP as a human being.

I got to know her persona before I got to know her music, and I actually do love a lot of the overly-theatrical sincere camp she exemplifies, but it's also just about 30% too intense for me. (Also, Ukelele Anthem is fab.)

I literally laughed out loud at this segment:
"She’s politely explained and defended her choices at length on her blog, but the forum Palmer chose to unpack her philosophy as a whole turned out to be both the most ideologically friendly and the easiest to mock: She recently gave a TED talk. As TED talks go, it hit all of the right marks. She wrapped the length of her career, from street performer to lecturer, around the kind of single, simple insight that appeals to people who regularly consume fairy tales about creatively “disrupting” established business models and summoning Utopia via Wi-Fi."
Incidentally, Abebe's piece on Beyonce was also fantastic.
posted by Phire at 2:41 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


She described a fan’s family, undocumented immigrants from Honduras, sleeping in their front room so she and her band could crash on their beds, and she described herself wondering: “Is this fair?” In the morning, she was told in broken English how much her music meant to the daughter who invited her, and thanked for coming, and she decided: Yes, this is fair.
Apparently not everyone hates a tourist.
posted by fullerine at 2:44 PM on April 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


ahem...
posted by R. Schlock at 2:45 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think it's a case of her having a passionate and vocal cult following while simultaneously producing (in my opinion and I guess most people) awful music. I personally have never expended any energy whatsoever on negativity towards her or her fans, but I think the passionate enthusiasm of those fans is what rubs some people the wrong way.
posted by cell divide at 2:45 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I dunno, I think people, especially internet people, react poorly to sincerity and enthusiasm and excitement when there's lots of witty snark and negativity to be had.

Everything Amanda Palmer does is steeped in who knows how many layers of irony. That's what she claims anyway.

I don't see the same amount of vitriol directed at Rob Thomas's Veronica Mars Kickstarter for example

I couldn't care less about her Kickstarter. I care a lot more about Evelyn/Evelyn and "ironic" Klan jokes.
posted by kmz at 2:49 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Obviously there's a lot in play, though, and I expect that some of it is misogyny - woman judged harder and expected to be nicer; woman married to heartthrob [heartthrob to some, at least in my circles anyway] Neil Gaiman must be run down as "not good enough"; woman who is arrogant and entitled seen as much worse than man who is the same; male artists who create insanely twee women characters (as NG does) seen as quirky and charming, women who act twee seen as annoying; women wanting to distance themselves from her because we pick up early that women must prove that we/they are not even faintly abrasive, entitled, offensive, etc, and thus we need to police/repudiate women who are.
posted by Frowner at 2:49 PM on April 29, 2013 [17 favorites]


from the article: " it seems just as much driven by the fact that many people inevitably find Palmer herself — her manner, music, eyebrows, gender, whatever — fun to hate."

Her... eyebrows? I don't understand that. What is there to hate about her eyebrows? Or about anybody's eyebrows?


Also: Amanda Palmer to Morrissey: Let me help you crowdsource your next album
posted by boo_radley at 2:49 PM on April 29, 2013


I ... really enjoyed The Dresden Dolls. I have yet to be able to make myself like her solo work yet. It's not just because Brian hugged me when I was drunk, either. I was listening to her first album with some absolute anticipation, and then there's this song on it that is interesting, both musically and lyrically, but the production just reduced it to this ironic, trite junk and I kept thinking, "This sounds like the kind of crap that Ben Folds would make. Actually, now that I think about it ..." and there he is, producing it.

It's not just the overly-affected business. Dresden Dolls was full of that and it worked in a way that her solo career did not. She keeps tying her work back to other artists, as if she doesn't think she can stand on her own, so her post-DD work is more about connections to the famous. I don't think she's doing it as a sycophant, but she could try letting go.

Or hell, touring (and releasing) again as The Dresden Dolls. Lead Singer Syndrome is a terrible disease.
posted by adipocere at 2:49 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


The Applebee's comparison is the best.
posted by liketitanic at 2:51 PM on April 29, 2013


I think people react to her so strongly because she exudes an almost sublime level of blithe self-involvement, which is pure comedy gold.

It’s amazing how many of the decisions Palmer makes wind up exposing precisely that disconnect, between the way things look to the interested and the way they look to everyone else.

That's it! It's those decisions! They are hilariously ill-advised! It's like she's an Arrested Development character!
posted by Greg Nog at 2:51 PM on April 29, 2013 [78 favorites]


Well, I knew about her Kickstarter and the endless fiasco of guilelessly asking for free labor right after it, and that awful, stupid, tone-deaf "Poem for Dzhokhar". What else did she do wrong?

She recently gave a TED talk.

Ah. Yes, I can easily imagine that. And in that talk, let me guess, she said neoliberalish things that downplayed the importance of money in favor of some woo-woo bullshit about a [insert banalia here] economy?

Her relationship with fans, she explained, is the economic equivalent of crowd-surfing — leaping out into an ocean of people and trusting their love and enthusiasm to keep you afloat...an actual exchange is taking place between her and the audience, in an economy that consists partly of cash money, but also of art, love, care, reassurance, joy, and other literally invaluable gifts

Ugh, Jesus. There's unselfconscious privilege, and then there's well-off, successful people who prattle on about how money isn't everything. And the thing about the Honduran family giving up their own beds actually made me angry.

The more I learn about Amanda Palmer and the things she says, does, and believes, the more I grow to actively dislike her.

On preview: I totally thought Also: Amanda Palmer to Morrissey: Let me help you crowdsource your next album was an Onion article.
posted by clockzero at 2:52 PM on April 29, 2013 [40 favorites]


This one time, I saw the Dresden Dolls live, and they did this fabulous cover of "War Pigs". End of my story.
posted by Going To Maine at 2:52 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


ahem...
posted by R. Schlock at 2:45 PM on April 29 [+] [!]


Who is this Amanda Palmer?

Don't you mean Steampunk Kanye?


Haha, but seriously,even if you hate is rap he is one of the greatest rap producers ever.

I think she is a lot like Kanye that people become familiar with their shenanigans, Kanye with his "ima let you finish....." moment and Palmer with her kickstsrter, never having heard of them before. In my book, Kanye is a genius and can jump on however many stages he wants and that just proves his genius. I'm sure Palmer's fans feel the same.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:52 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


She's the one with the gross Evelyn-Evelyn fake conjoined twins thing, right?

It was her "I'm just SO sorry you were offended" non-apology for that project that really made me dislike her. Up until then, I was willing to give her a pass, being a fan of both Dresden Dolls and Neil Gaiman, and I completely had her back when she got into a conflict with her old record label when they wanted her to make her image more "sexy" or whatever.

Also: Amanda Palmer to Morrissey: Let me help you crowdsource your next album

Someone posted this to my Facebook feed, and someone else suggested that they could cover "Accidental Racist."
posted by infinitywaltz at 2:55 PM on April 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


It's not like people are just reacting to some sort of vibe she gives off. She's done some concretely shitty things: Whatever that weird Klan controversy was. The time she made fun of the concept of disabled feminists. The Evelyn Evelyn project that people found ableist. The time she had people work as her touring band for free. The time she capitalized on a newsmaking tragedy a few days after to publicize a crappy poem. All of these are debatable, but they're tangible issues, not vague gripes.

Palmer's a great talent and it's sad that she's chosen to cover that with miles of publicitycrust.
posted by threeants at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


I note that, while the Vulture piece touches on AP's to-do about her Kickstarter raising over a million dollars while asking for volunteers to play on stage, it conveniently ignores the part of the situation that really sent the web into a frenzy...That AP&Co required potential "volunteers" to submit resumes and "prove" that they were, in fact, musicians that could play to a professional level. Essentially, asking for pro (or semi-pro) level talent to play for free...with a million dollars sitting in AP's pocket. That, IMHO, was the genesis of the big wave of AP hate. Well deserved, too.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2013 [20 favorites]


Her actions?
posted by MartinWisse at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


And the vaguly "sex workers are gross and risible" song titles?

what? do you mean like songs where she talks about being a stripper?

i get the critiques of her - i do think people find a certain weird glee in it, seeing her in the worst possible light. i do think some of the general critiques of her are sexist in origin (on any article about her, any youtube video, count how many comments there are before we get to her eyebrows or her arm pits), but i don't think all critiques of her are sexist. that line gets blurred - on the superfans side by saying all critique of her is sexist which is obviously not true and on the haters side as being all "well ~i'm~ not sexist and she really is terrible!" without engaging with the valid point in some of the vitriol that surrounds her.

i happen to like her art and the people she likes to make art with. every single member of the grand theft orchestra is awesome. her producer on theater is evil created music that shook me to the core in my early 20s. i like probably 65% of the music she's made. i've financially supported her a number of times since she left roadrunner. but - i've always like the weird, attention seeking art geeks, even the ones who are sometimes problematic. i don't hold it against anyone if they don't like her art or her persona. i do suggest that if you want to see less of her then talking about her less would be helpful to that end - because every time the internet gets into the hating afp tizzy, she gains more fans and more people donate.

on preview - as a kanye and amanda palmer fan - yes, exactly, Ad hominem. as a fan, there's a whole lot of context around what they both do and i totally understand that non-fans only see the jackassery and judge them for it.
posted by nadawi at 2:57 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


MetaFilter: One of the rap producers ever.

Edit: This was funnier before the above comment was edited to include "greatest".
posted by vibrotronica at 2:58 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


What's the equivalent of "flag and move on" in real life? 'cuz I mean, Jesus, people.
posted by blue t-shirt at 2:59 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


Her... eyebrows? I don't understand that. What is there to hate about her eyebrows? Or about anybody's eyebrows?

These are her eyebrows. And more power to her, I guess!
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:01 PM on April 29, 2013


blue t-shirt: "What's the equivalent of "flag and move on" in real life? 'cuz I mean, Jesus, people."

Were you spouting frustration or offering an example?
posted by boo_radley at 3:01 PM on April 29, 2013


ok, seriously, the klan thing - that's a perfect example of how every time she peeps it gets blown way the hell out of proportion - that was a toss off line she made while on ambien at like 2am on twitter. and here we are years later and people are still eager to hang her with it. was it a clumsy metaphor, yes. does it deserve all this space in the conversation? fuck no.
posted by nadawi at 3:01 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


blue t-shirt gets it.
posted by daq at 3:02 PM on April 29, 2013


MetaFilter: One of the rap producers ever.

Edit: This was funnier before the above comment was edited to include "greatest".


Yeah I accidentally a word. If the edit window was longer I'd delete it to make your joke funny again.
posted by Ad hominem at 3:02 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Those eyebrows are so over. She should do Spock style.
posted by whuppy at 3:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


> doing things that we try to keep out of our community

Does your community have mods yet? Maybe get on that.
posted by jfuller at 3:04 PM on April 29, 2013


woman married to heartthrob [heartthrob to some, at least in my circles anyway] Neil Gaiman must be run down as "not good enough"

Honestly, the more I think about it, I find annoying in Amanda Palmer what I've found in most of the goth chicks I knew in high school and college who were also in love with Neil Gaiman. I've never been one of those chicks--I like his books, but have declined, for example, to go on ambitious road trips to see him speak. None of that really fills me with hate, though I guess I roll my eyes a little: famous author married in twee ways to much younger twee woman, sigh. Most of my haterade is about the intersection of the two of them, from when I followed him on twitter. I'm not as in love with their love as they are, I guess. Always a danger. Anyway, life's better since I stopped following him on twitter. I roll my eyes less. Slightly.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:05 PM on April 29, 2013 [14 favorites]


"male artists who create insanely twee women characters (as NG does) seen as quirky and charming, women who act twee seen as annoying;"

I've had to ride the nerd pine for so long because I think Neil Gaiman is totally fucking overrated, and his winsome lasses are part of that. Dude is lucky that Tim Burton exists to be a more abject failure of a similar aesthetic.
posted by klangklangston at 3:05 PM on April 29, 2013 [49 favorites]


I was in a vaguely shared social circle briefly with Amanda Palmer's partner in Evelyn/Evelyn, and even there — without anything other than local UW fame and a bunch of friends who rather enjoyed his stuff — he rubbed me the wrong way in very similar ways that Palmer does. While there was a great deal of community involvement in his shows, and even at parties sometimes, it always seemed to be based around his own interests. Community building as a way to have a group of people do something to help him achieve his aesthetic goals, as opposed to spawning and inspiring bunch of independent creative talents who did their own thing like artistic community building works at its best. Amanda Palmer strikes very much the same tone for me, and it was why I was both surprised and not when I saw that they were working together.
posted by Schismatic at 3:05 PM on April 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I'm not really into AP's work, but if I follow [Neil Gaiman] she is almost inescapable.

Dollars'll get you donuts (whatever that means) that she shows up in the Age of Ultron issue Gaiman is allegedly writing, as well as in his Sandman prequels. I call this "Doctrowing".
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:05 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I gotta say I used to enjoy the Dresden Dolls though, but they are so tied up in a terribly upsetting time in my past that I can't listen to them any more.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:08 PM on April 29, 2013


The hate she generates really bothers me, especially on MetaFilter where I like to think we're above such things.

Try posting about Cory Doctorow sometime.
posted by eriko at 3:09 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I legitimately like a lot of Neil Gaiman's work, but his following is just as tiresome as hers, and the Neil And Amanda Show has kind of soured me on both of them. There are certain things where the obsessive overbearing fandom makes the thing itself less enjoyable, and the cult of personality around both NG and AP definitely fall into this category.
posted by Phire at 3:11 PM on April 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


Cory Doctorow?

Don't you mean Cyberpunk Billy Mays?
posted by R. Schlock at 3:11 PM on April 29, 2013 [67 favorites]


The hate she generates really bothers me, especially on MetaFilter where I like to think we're above such things.

Are we supposed to be above hate in general, or just of annoying pop figures you admire?

I loathe her almost as much as I loathe her husband, but I respect them for finding each other and focusing my hatred like a laser.
posted by dobbs at 3:13 PM on April 29, 2013 [33 favorites]


Honestly I've increasingly soured on Gaiman's output in the past fear years too, even before his involvement with Palmer. Shit like "a few dead Indians" doesn't help either.
posted by kmz at 3:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I had her back for the longest time--even though I didn't like a note of her music and even though I found a lot of her affectations and performances embarrassing, in a drama club kind of way. Despite all of this, I liked her, because I believed she was really onto something with the way she was carving out a new business model for herself drawing from an online community of fans instead of sucking up to some withered husk of a record label. (Honestly, don't even get me started on companies that want to throttle the artists I love to sell me a hunk of plastic...)

But there have increasingly been things that got on my nerves. Yes, the not paying guest musicians right after her Kickstarter bonanza. And the insane accounting (books, $200 each to make; CD's quoted at twice the going rate, etc.) rubbed me the wrong way, too. I started to notice how much she reminds me of the self-described "weird chick"/goth girl in every high school who "rebels" against the popular cliques by starting her own little cult of personality, with her at the center. Those girls can seem alright for a bit, but in the end, they're as awful and self-absorbed as any snotty head cheerleader.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


I've had to ride the nerd pine for so long because I think Neil Gaiman is totally fucking overrated, and his winsome lasses are part of that. Dude is lucky that Tim Burton exists to be a more abject failure of a similar aesthetic.

So is American Gods just a complete outlier of that style? It's the only Gaiman I've read multiple times, but nothing about it strikes me as Tim Burton-like. More of a lit-geek Douglas Adams, which works well enough for me.

I'm gonna continue ignoring the rest of his work in the hopes that I might never be disillusioned.
posted by Rory Marinich at 3:15 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not really into AP's work, but if I follow [Neil Gaiman] she is almost inescapable.

On the bright side, he hasn't mentioned her much since the bomber poem thing.
posted by tommasz at 3:15 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


nadawi,

that line gets blurred - on the superfans side by saying all critique of her is sexist which is obviously not true and on the haters side as being all "well ~i'm~ not sexist and she really is terrible!" without engaging with the valid point in some of the vitriol that surrounds her.

This is the problem, though. The terms you use are telling. There is no "haters side". There are superfans and then there are people who aren't superfans who aren't so into her that superfans call "haters".

Any female artist receives unfortunate vitriol that male artists don't; comments that talk about her appearance, for instance, are just stupid.

But there are many legitimate criticisms of her, and not just of some dumb tweets she made. The musician thing, for instance, was really shitty. But I don't desire her to disappear or anything; if people like her work they like her work. Phire is right above:

[T]he obsessive overbearing fandom makes the thing itself less enjoyable, and the cult of personality around both NG and AP certainly fall into this category.

The fact that Palmer seems to cultivate such fandom is even more irksome. I've also soured on Gaiman and lost a lot of respect for him after that Blackberry "Calendar of Tales" thing.

So is American Gods just a complete outlier of that style?
Rory Marinich

A lot of people became familiar with Gaiman from his 90s comic work (Sandman), which also draws heavily from fantasy but is much more goth-like in tone.
posted by Sangermaine at 3:16 PM on April 29, 2013


i paid twice retail for the vinyl copy of the record and it is easily worth it. as far as deluxe packaging goes, it's one of the nicest i've ever seen and i've seen a lot of great ones. i didn't get the cd, but from the pictures it also looks really well done. also, the pricing on the kickstarter reflected that no one was paying shipping, even to australia, we were all helping pick up the tab for that. i honestly thought that was pretty cool.
posted by nadawi at 3:17 PM on April 29, 2013


So is American Gods just a complete outlier of that style?

Man, the way people never shut up about this thing, I guess I've gotta read it one day. Guy did a pretty shitty Douglas Adams impression in Good Omens though, with that horrible little Pratchett fellow. But then, by the end, Adams was doing a pretty shitty Adams impression too, so, man, I just don't know any more.
posted by turgid dahlia 2 at 3:19 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


> nothing about it strikes me as Tim Burton-like.

Neverwhere, possibly, but I think it's a stretch. Door is not twee, and I can't imagine her in circular-striped stockings.
posted by jfuller at 3:19 PM on April 29, 2013


(1) She passed a certain threshold of popularity/recognition. The larger the number of people who know who you are, the greater the proportion of people who don't "get" you, and the greater the proportion of people who did get you, but stopped liking you because you became too popular.

(2) Neil Gaiman. When a semi- or less-famous person marries a more-famous person, public opinion of the less-famous person takes a nosedive. That person is invariably seen as a leech or starfucker and no longer their own person. (See also Trent Reznor/Mariqueen Maandig.)

(3) Neil Gaiman. Of people who like Amanda Palmer, some percentage will stop liking her because she married Neil Gaiman and they don't like Neil Gaiman, or because she married Neil Gaiman and they love Neil Gaiman.

(4) Neil Gaiman. I don't know how wealthy Neil Gaiman is, but I think most people consider him to be pretty well off, and he describes himself as "ridiculously rich." Probably a millionaire at least. Unless they have some kind of pre-nuptial agreement whereby she enjoys none of that wealth and lives in a trailer behind his estate, it looks unseemly for Palmer to continue doing things like try to solicit free services from backing musicians on tour when she can presumably afford to pay them. Even if she does it for idealistic reasons, such as maintaining her independence as an artist, it still looks bad.

(5) Neil Gaiman. Cultish adoration of Neil + cultish adoration of Amanda = pole vault over the threshold of blech.

So...basically, I guess Neil Gaiman.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:20 PM on April 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


that horrible little Pratchett fellow

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:21 PM on April 29, 2013 [101 favorites]


turgid dahlia 2: "that horrible little Pratchett fellow"

I will end you.

(he said, as nicely as possible)
posted by boo_radley at 3:21 PM on April 29, 2013 [57 favorites]


And honestly, one stupid offhand Tweet is one thing. Continued defense of and digging your hole deeper after such Tweets is quite another.
posted by kmz at 3:22 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


This is the problem, though. The terms you use are telling. There is no "haters side".

well, there's superfans, regular fans, the mildly interested, the truly don't give a shit, people who are annoyed by her, and, yes, her haters. i agree there are legitimate criticisms of her.
posted by nadawi at 3:23 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


There is no "haters side".

This is ... not true. It's probably not true of anyone famous on the Internet, certainly not true of anyone famous & female on the Internet, and extra certainly not true of Amanda Palmer. Now, whether every critic she or her fans might label a hater is one or not, is another thing. But there is clearly a group of people, who for whatever reasons, go after her publicly, repeatedly, and with the amount of vitriol, sexism, wishing her dead, ascribing various forms of malice to her, etc. If that's not "haters" I'm not sure what is.

Which is kind of the point of the article, I guess.
posted by feckless at 3:23 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


there was nothing more offensive about that tweet than a run of the mill godwin in a discussion about underwear material.
posted by nadawi at 3:24 PM on April 29, 2013


And now looking back on it all, I've never understood why Gaiman has always been so buddy buddy with Dave Sim. Like, way after Sim went off the rails. I'm not saying at all that Gaiman shares Sim's views on women, but I just don't even know how you can deal with somebody so toxic.
posted by kmz at 3:27 PM on April 29, 2013


Right but when you're a public figure there are different expectations. If I said something like that, I'd expect at least a tut-tutting from my publisher, if not for "haters" on goodreads to swear to never read my book.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 3:27 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'm not really into AP's work, but if I follow [Neil Gaiman] she is almost inescapable.

On the bright side, he hasn't mentioned her much since the bomber poem thing.


Shit. Nevermind.
posted by tommasz at 3:28 PM on April 29, 2013


Ah, AFP threads.

Come for the haterade, stay for the extra dose of "fuck Neil Gaiman."

Some folks are right, though. Even if you unfollow AFP on Twitter, you might as well as unfollow Neil Gaiman too, because sweet Jesus, it's like you never unfollowed her.

(Incidentally, I actually found her much more tolerable in person when I went to see her and Neil at Bard College. If she could just be that likable and funny online, it wouldn't be so bad.)
posted by Kitteh at 3:28 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Amanda Palmer's career and persona are predicated on the attainment and maintenance of YOUR ATTENTION. Honestly, I find the people who get all Leave Amanda alone! (sob) to be basically the yin to the haters' yang, forming this kind of weird feedback loop that never ends.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:31 PM on April 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


you don't know how you got your ego wedged into the internet or why
posted by pyramid termite at 3:32 PM on April 29, 2013 [16 favorites]


I'm not saying at all that Gaiman shares Sim's views on women, but I just don't even know how you can deal with somebody so toxic.

And Roman Polanski enjoys the support of people I normally respect the hell out of, like Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorsese. I really do not get it.
posted by El Sabor Asiatico at 3:32 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


The Internet puts us up close and personal with everyone, especially public figures. The result is often less flattering than back when communication was more inefficient. Where before you might have simply not cared for Amanda Palmer, now she might wend her way into your Twitter feed whether you like it or not.

My prescription is for everyone to get over it. Many public figures, especially performing artists, either have a narcissistic streak, or their self-promotion gives the functional appearance thereof. You don't have to volunteer for her shows if you don't want to. You can not read her bomber poems, or you can laugh at her bomber poems, or whatever. You can ignore when her husband brings her up.

NB: I actually don't like Amanda Palmer's work, although I do enjoy her husband's work.
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:35 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I can understand the ire she arouses, but come on. Theatre is Evil is a splendid album.

And as a pretty pro cellist, I am hoping to play with her when she comes to Wellington whether or not I get paid. Money's not erryting.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:40 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the article hits on two excellent points. The first is that she's a cult musician, and cult musicians typically have niche audiences but don't necessarily scale well to large audiences. But a combination of things, including her marriage and her increased visibility thanks to the Kickstarter campaign, have put her in front of a larger audience who do not share the cult aesthetic of her fans and are often irritated by it. Niche and cult audiences are self-selecting, and in-groups can actually be enormously alienating to outsiders.

But I watched her TED talked and found myself irritated by her message; she came across as treating her fans like one of those machines on Star Trek that automatically synthesize whatever you need. She wants a hat, she puts out a call on Twitter for a hat, and somebody brings it to her.

I see other people (many who I know) try to use social media like this, some of them with small amounts of local fame, and it always irritated me. They will just say on Twitter "Who is going to bring me a sandwich." Or they will use social media like Google, saying things like "Who knows what the weather is supposed to be like today?" Some do this successfully, and sort of have a small group that act as on-call sidekicks, and it always seemed crummy to me. Even a small amount of fame is easy to take overmuch advantage of -- I find the parallel in the article between male musicians who treat their female fans as just an endless abundance of responsibility free sexual objects to be interesting. Because in any group of fans, there will be a smaller group of super-fans, and while it is very easy to make use of them as free labor, or as a free food dispensary, or a million other ways, it is worth asking what the ethical boundaries are to doing this. And it is worth asking if you are giving back as much as you are getting -- because the truth is, if you're just riding the wave of a small amount of celebrity, you're not giving back, but instead taking advantage of a sketchy bit of contemporary culture, in which we are relentlessly educated that people who are celebrities are inherently more special than we are, and deserve more that us.

I don't like it when people take advantage of their fans, and I think Palmer sometimes does.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 3:40 PM on April 29, 2013 [53 favorites]


I mean, as a case study, we just had a thread here about Grimes, a woman artist who has also blazed her own trail in the music industry and who is also somewhat outspoken. The MeFi consensus was overwhelmingly sympathetic to Grimes' concerns and long-term artistic mojo. There is no doubt that all women in the public sphere deal with misogyny-- but the unique irritation towards Amanda Palmer's business persona exists on top of that.
posted by threeants at 3:41 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


See, you know so NG and AFP got married, whatever. Great for them, but I don't think it's fair to either fanbase to have these constant public affirmations on Twitter of "you're awesome", "no, you're awesome", and whenever they happen to be on different continents or different states, the nighttime messages of "I love you", etc.

When I'm in another country or another state and I miss my husband, you know what I do? I text him that shit. I don't put it on Twitter just so everyone can see how awesome we are. I'm assuming unless they really unlucky on their phone plans, they are able to privately message each other on their phones. I wish they'd do that instead.
posted by Kitteh at 3:41 PM on April 29, 2013 [13 favorites]


Thinking more on that bomber poem: why did people raise a stink about this? Why wouldn't she be allowed to write a poem about something dramatic and topical? I'm not even saying that the poem was any good, because it wasn't. My question is, why is her writing a poem any weirder than people writing articles or blog entries about the whole affair? Aside from the quality of the poem itself, why was that any weirder than, say, Harold Pinter writing a poem about the Iraq War?
posted by Sticherbeast at 3:42 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


And Roman Polanski enjoys the support of people I normally respect the hell out of, like Jonathan Demme and Martin Scorsese.

Friendship and professional camaraderie trump logic, I suppose.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:42 PM on April 29, 2013


Related:

Guidelines for playing the Your Favorite Band Sucks game:

Your favorite band sucks ...is you sharing an opinion.
Your favorite band sucks because of _______________ ...is you making an argument.
Your favorite band sucks and you only like them because of ___[failure in judgment]/[personality shortcoming]______ ...is you being an asshole.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 3:43 PM on April 29, 2013 [15 favorites]


Ah, now I get it. GG Alin and Boyd Rice and Genesis P'Orridge and all the other not pop artists that I love and cherish would be just as equally, if not more so, condemned to the hate bin by the people who hate Amanda Palmer.

It's so odd to see it in people I would normally think would understand appropriation of imagery. I guess though that was what died in the arts scenes I enjoyed. I wonder how Pink Floyd's movie, The Wall would stand up to criticism. I don't recall any disclaimers made then about their use of fascist imagery to tell a story. Though I'm sure some people walked away from that thinking that Pink Floyd was the equivalent of Hitler Youth or the Aryan Nation.

Of course, the worst of it is when those artists actually do ascribe to the horrible things they portray in their art. But, well, I guess that's just the way art is.
posted by daq at 3:44 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


you don't know your favorite band sucks
posted by hoople at 3:46 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Cory Doctorow?

Don't you mean Cyberpunk Billy Mays?


No, with his ego, Cory Doctorow is his own analogy. Cory Doctorow can be only Cory Doctorow. It's Cory Doctorows all the way down.
posted by Celsius1414 at 3:47 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


neil gaiman has a few complicated relationships - in the middle of an interview at some point, when asked if he was a scientologist, he responded that he wasn't, and went to elaborate, stopped, and then said, "i love my family." with dave sim it's probably that age old problem on knowing someone personally who says abhorrent things, but loving the person despite it. i certainly have those people in my life and i'm glad none of us are famous so i don't have to answer for it. problematic, i agree, but understandable, i think.
posted by nadawi at 3:47 PM on April 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


Come for the haterade, stay for the extra dose of "fuck Neil Gaiman."

Yeah, I didn't know Amanda Palmer all that much other than that she was somebody in Gaiman's orbit and he's an obnoxious figure in his own right, partially because of a fandom that thinks the sun shines of his arse when he was nothing more than a decent enough comics writer and a mediocre novelist.

But both of them kicked it up an extra notch in the past of couple of years through various dodgy projects: that conjoined twin thing for her, that stupid "America doesn't have old graveyards" for him, other stuff.

They both sort of seem more inclined to exploit the geek community (sic) rather than be a part of it as well.
posted by MartinWisse at 3:49 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Thanks to this thread, I have now seen Amanda Palmer's eyebrows.
posted by stoneweaver at 3:50 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


The time she made fun of the concept of disabled feminists.

Could someone actually point to this? It touches on two issues I have interest in and am wondering what it refers to.

Gaimen certainly went with almost diametrically opposed wives, from very private to very public. I sometimes think of Gaimen when I read Long Dark Tea Time of the Soul and wonder if he signed a contract somewhere that is running out. I liked American Gods, Good Omens, some of Anizi Boys and here and there of Sandman, Mirrormask was cool (but that was due to McKean) and the kids book are decent but somewhere he's drifted.. perhaps it was around THAT movie he did, or something. man I dunno
posted by edgeways at 3:50 PM on April 29, 2013


Well, I liked the Evelyn Evelyn thing, You can all suck it!
posted by 2N2222 at 3:52 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


daq: "GG Alin and Boyd Rice and Genesis P'Orridge and all the other not pop artists that I love and cherish would be just as equally, if not more so, condemned to the hate bin by the people who hate Amanda Palmer."

what in the world does this mean? I'm struggling to draw a parallel between AP and any of the three beyond "not pop artist".
posted by boo_radley at 3:52 PM on April 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Thanks for this. Excellent article about her.
posted by zarq at 3:53 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is fascinating to me how the controversy over Amanda Palmer feeds into her relevance.

In other words, this seems like I topic I would really enjoy having a divisive opinion on, but that would require me finding out who Amanda Palmer is, and that's not happening.

This strikes me as probably one of the greatest failings of the internet: namely, getting sucked in to shit you don't really give a fuck about.
posted by phaedon at 3:53 PM on April 29, 2013 [21 favorites]


stoneweaver: "Thanks to this thread, I have now seen Amanda Palmer's eyebrows."

* releases dove while Harrison Ford looks on in awestruck disbelief *
posted by boo_radley at 3:53 PM on April 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


"This is probably one of the greatest failings blessings of the internet: namely, getting sucked in to shit you don't really give a fuck about."

Fixed that for me.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:54 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


edgeways: " Could someone actually point to this? It touches on two issues I have interest in and am wondering what it refers to. "

This essay about sums it up.
posted by zarq at 3:54 PM on April 29, 2013


stoneweaver: "Thanks to this thread, I have now seen Amanda Palmer's eyebrows."

* releases dove while Harrison Ford looks on in awestruck disbelief *


Time to dye-job.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:55 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Could someone actually point to this? It touches on two issues I have interest in and am wondering what it refers to.

Here ya go. 1:40 and 2:26 if you don't have time to kill watching smarmy television people.
posted by threeants at 3:55 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


GG Alin and Boyd Rice and Genesis P'Orridge and all the other not pop artists that I love and cherish would be just as equally, if not more so, condemned to the hate bin by the people who hate Amanda Palmer.

And yet, no.
posted by infinitywaltz at 3:57 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


stoneweaver: "Thanks to this thread, I have now seen Amanda Palmer's eyebrows."

* releases dove while Harrison Ford looks on in awestruck disbelief *


I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:58 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


edgeways: Could someone actually point to [the time she made fun of disabled feminists]? It touches on two issues I have interest in and am wondering what it refers to.

This is the top search result for it and it responds to Palmer's response. On preview, it's somewhat less strongly worded than the criticism on "crip drag" and it's useful in that it offers links on disability topics that help to define the ableism debate (topics, presumably, Amanda Palmer has never read up on before launching fully into her Evelyn Evelyn project).
posted by dubusadus at 3:58 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I have to admit, I haven't heard any of her music since once opening up for the Dresden Dolls years and years ago, but I can't imagine that it's gotten any less twee and reedy. They came across as high school theater students who'd discovered Joy Division late into senior year and then tried to convince everyone that they'd been goth since they were, like, 12 years old. Inauthentic, contrived, and not just a little bit cloying.
posted by item at 4:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


her annoying Internet fans, with their "Amanda FUCKING Palmer" schtick, probably account for some of people not liking her
posted by thelonius at 4:03 PM on April 29, 2013


Huh. I'd heard about the Evelyn Evelyn thing and agree with much of the criticism, but that "disabled feminists" tweet by Palmer seems far more tone deaf than malicious. And while tone deaf is still pretty shitty when you're an adored/divisive public figure who lives your life Twitter, it also seems pretty far from the "making fun of disabled feminists" that it's read as.
posted by Phire at 4:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


ah... modern "blackface".
*sigh*
posted by edgeways at 4:03 PM on April 29, 2013


boo_radley: well, aside from some of their rather public displays of "problematic images", I'd say she sits in that little category of "artist doing art" that a lot of people don't like or don't get into because of said problematic imagery. Not everyone liked "Piss Christ" either.

infinitywaltz: care to elaborate?
I can see a direct correlation to the works of Amanda Palmer and the works of those artists. I'll even throw in Skinny Puppy and Diamanda Galas. The subject matter and presentation of their work is engaging to some, repugnant to others.

item: wow. Just... wow.
posted by daq at 4:06 PM on April 29, 2013


I find neither Gaiman or Palmer interesting or compelling. A pox on both their houses, and good for them for making each other happy. If only I never had to hear about either of them on the intertubes.
posted by stenseng at 4:08 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Schismatic: "I was in a vaguely shared social circle briefly with Amanda Palmer's partner in Evelyn/Evelyn, and even there — without anything other than local UW fame and a bunch of friends who rather enjoyed his stuff — he rubbed me the wrong way in very similar ways that Palmer does. While there was a great deal of community involvement in his shows, and even at parties sometimes, it always seemed to be based around his own interests. Community building as a way to have a group of people do something to help him achieve his aesthetic goals, as opposed to spawning and inspiring bunch of independent creative talents who did their own thing like artistic community building works at its best. Amanda Palmer strikes very much the same tone for me, and it was why I was both surprised and not when I saw that they were working together."


ah yes, the Cult Of Webley. Jason's a great guy one on one, he even helped me out of a jam once, but after seeing a dozen of his shows or so I started to almost get angry at the master/obedience vibe it gave off.
posted by mannequito at 4:08 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


well, and then there's the making light of date rape, molestation, abortion, etc. in the song Oasis. I do recall more than a few people being really up in arms when that came out.

(nb, I still find that song insanely catchy years later)
posted by ivan ivanych samovar at 4:10 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've seen things you people wouldn't believe.

I can taste your stink and every time I do, I fear that I've somehow been infected by it. Human beings are a disease, a cancer of this planet. The perfect organism. Its structural perfection is matched only by its hostility. I admire your purity, unclouded by conscience, remorse, or delusions of morality. You think the A2s are a bit twitchy? Fuck you, asshole.
posted by fleacircus at 4:11 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


What are you? Yippee-Ki-Yay Mother Russia!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Seriously though, the more I read about Evelyn Evelyn they less slack I care to give her. She seems like a unfocused attention machine. It really strikes me hard like modern blackface, but-hey-it's-ok-because-it's-INSPIRING and if you don't like it you obviously are just a disabled feminist HA HA HA, they so crazy.

ugh

neutral to active dislike
posted by edgeways at 4:17 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Thinking more on that bomber poem: why did people raise a stink about this? Why wouldn't she be allowed to write a poem about something dramatic and topical? I'm not even saying that the poem was any good, because it wasn't. My question is, why is her writing a poem any weirder than people writing articles or blog entries about the whole affair? Aside from the quality of the poem itself, why was that any weirder than, say, Harold Pinter writing a poem about the Iraq War?

Personally, I think the bomber poem proves that the internet sometimes makes it too easy to publish things. To wit: Say I am a writer of songs or poems. The Boston Marathon bombing happens, and I am moved emotionally. Then one of the perpetrators of the bombing is revealed to be a normal-seeming 19-year-old kid, and I think "Wow, that's fucked up. How could that kid have gone so wrong?" So I write some lines about it to try to understand it, because that's what writers of songs and poems do. As with most first drafts, it's not very good.

In the Before Time, that poem fragment would sit in my notebook for a while. Maybe I would write more in a couple of days. Then I would go back and edit the poem after my initial emotion had died down, and maybe I would make an actual good poem out of it, or maybe I would abandon it. But no one would be any the wiser or be able to snark on me for it.

But in the internet age, I am not only a writer of songs and poems but also a blogger and social media figure, because that's what you've got to be in the internet age. So the few, ill-considered, first draft lines I wrote get splashed across the interwebs while I'm still in the heat of the initial emotion, and now everybody thinks I'm some kind of hideous monster who is worst than Hitler.

In other words, it is possible to write a good poem about Dzhokhar Tsarnev, but it's going to take time and quite a few drafts to get the tone right. Palmer's mistake was publishing her first draft. That's why she's worse than Hitler.
posted by vibrotronica at 4:17 PM on April 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


i get why some didn't like oasis, but as a survivor i felt it really described how i felt about one of my rapes - i didn't think it was making light of it at all. some people really hate serious topics in a major key, though. i found this interesting (skip to 2:30 to just hear the minor key version).
posted by nadawi at 4:19 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


infinitywaltz: care to elaborate?
I can see a direct correlation to the works of Amanda Palmer and the works of those artists. I'll even throw in Skinny Puppy and Diamanda Galas. The subject matter and presentation of their work is engaging to some, repugnant to others.


I love Skinny Puppy, Diamanda Galas and Genesis P. Orridge (whom I actually interviewed a few years ago and found wonderfully friendly and engaging).

I like Boyd Rice; he's problematic (very intentionally so), but I find him clever, and obviously he's been very influential.

GG Alin...well, I'm not such a big fan, but he was definitely compelling, and from what little I know of his biography, a pretty tragic case, as well.

I don't get any of that from Amanda Palmer. I don't think her work is repugnant or even particularly controversial, and it doesn't seem to have the same impact or sense of message as many of those other artists (animal rights in Skinny Puppy's case, for example, or the AIDS crisis in much of Diamanda's work).
posted by infinitywaltz at 4:19 PM on April 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


I have heard very little of Amanda Palmer's music; it is not My Thing. That's cool, I think. Not everything has to be for me.

I am horrified at what sounds like exploitation of her fans. I am astonished that anyone in their right mind could write a poem sympathizing with a man who had within the week been responsible for killing and maiming innocent people. I feel like the first one is defensible if you score a little low on the Voight-Kampff and the second is completely indefensible.

I don't have a strong opinion about her music, I don't care that she's a woman, and I don't care that she's married to Neil Gaiman. I can well imagine that their twitter PDAs would be sorta gross, as would anyone's, but I don't follow them on twitter and if they gross you out, neither should you...obviously. A lot of celebrities whose work I enjoy I would not follow on twitter. There's a novelist I think is the bee's knees who has the worst taste in music of any human I can think of; I had to unfollow him because he was retweeting Buckcherry lyrics. It was a dark day but I got through it. You can, too. You can, too.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 4:21 PM on April 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


The more you do, the more you do that some people won't like, and the more visible you are, the more you're exposed to the people who won't like what you do. Plus, when you're already being publicly derided, lots of others will jump on board and add their derision, just because it's safe and makes them feel important.

And that certainly isn't unique to miss Palmer.
posted by davejay at 4:21 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Insufferability is like pornography. I know it when I see it.
posted by Sokka shot first at 4:27 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


I have a sort of grudging respect for the kind of mercenary instincts that would drive somebody to write a poem about a murderer at the peak of his notoriety and put it on their blog when they're media-savvy enough to know it'd probably get picked up and discussed by traffickers of internet buzz. Artist-types gotta get their name out there and keep it out there, right?

But when you follow it up by tweeting about how you're just taken aback with surprise that people are, like, reacting negatively to your poem, that just pushes all of my OH COME ON buttons.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:27 PM on April 29, 2013 [23 favorites]


I can see a direct correlation to the works of Amanda Palmer and the works of those artists. I'll even throw in Skinny Puppy and Diamanda Galas. The subject matter and presentation of their work is engaging to some, repugnant to others.

Calling herself Amanda Fucking Palmer is trying too hard. You knew what's the deal with Galas or GG as soon as you saw them on stage.
posted by ersatz at 4:29 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't like it when people take advantage of their fans, and I think Palmer sometimes does.

This and the Evelyn Evelyn thing are what put me off her. The article was good, though, and I'm glad I read it.
posted by immlass at 4:32 PM on April 29, 2013


ivan ivanych samovar: making light of? Really? Huh. I guess satire and social commentary isn't very well understood by a lot of people. Also, the use of the antagonist voice in literature to illuminate motive.

infinitywaltz: go listen to that track, Oasis, linked above, and then go listen to the track "God Given" by Nine Inch Nails, off the Year Zero album (sorry, can't link at the moment). Do you see the similarities? As I mentioned before with the Pink Floyd reference.

It seems that a lot of people pick these bits and pieces that are meant to highlight through the use of performance and dramatic characterization, something in which we, the audience, are to try and comprehend from a different, and, most likely, uncomfortable view. I mean, even back when Palmer was with the Dresden Dolls, the lyrics of "Miss Me" are just freaking creepy if you were to take them as an aspirational series of events.

I mean, I get it. You see someone doing something publicly and don't know if they are voicing something for said disgusting theme, or trying to mock it through parody or satire. Some of the best satire is almost indistinguishable from the advocate voice. The Colbert Report comes to mind.
posted by daq at 4:32 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Roman Polanski enjoys the support of people I normally respect the hell out of

Roman Polanski is a modern jesus, about whom no disrespect will be brooked. By anyone. Ever. And certainly not here.

...as for Ms. Palmer, her greatest crime is probably the whole self-promotion-at-the-expense-of-nominal-fans thing, which is perhaps one of the oldest crimes in the book (notwithstanding murder).

I mean, hell, more or less the entire political system of every modern nation is based on it, so why all the complaining?
posted by aramaic at 4:33 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I don't like it when people take advantage of their fans, and I think Palmer sometimes does.

And that fan's name is Neil. My 'So I Guess I Don't Like You' Moment for me was the Golden Globes schtick. I mean, she's there because of her husband's work. It's his night. Don't Attention Bomb him, yo?
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:40 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


So the Flaming lips always did lots of audience participation stuff. Do they pay?
posted by jfuller at 4:43 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm not familiar with the Flaming Lips' style of audience participation. Did it involve raising a million dollars from your audience, then not hiring musicians to be significant members of your back-up band on tour but instead asking audience members to do the work for free?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:50 PM on April 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


That came out sounding sarcastic, which I didn't intended. I apologize.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 4:51 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I've only seen them once (actually twice, but the first time was years ago at Bonnaroo when I wandered into their midnight set of Dark Side Of The Moon and thought they were just a random cover band) but my experience with the Lips was that it was just a very enjoyable party that everyone was in on - they release big balls into the crowd that everyone gets to bat around as they play, confetti bazookas, etc. Even if you're not big on their music you should try to see them live, it was top 5 in pure fun out of my concert experiences.
posted by mannequito at 4:56 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


threeants: "It's not like people are just reacting to some sort of vibe she gives off. She's done some concretely shitty things: Whatever that weird Klan controversy was. The time she made fun of the concept of disabled feminists. The Evelyn Evelyn project that people found ableist. The time she had people work as her touring band for free. The time she capitalized on a newsmaking tragedy a few days after to publicize a crappy poem. All of these are debatable, but they're tangible issues, not vague gripes.

Palmer's a great talent and it's sad that she's chosen to cover that with miles of publicitycrust.
"

Amanda Palmer also performed (assisted by Margeret Cho) a mock-rape of a Katy Perry lookalike onstage at a concert.

When her boyfriend, who was a recovering drug addict, had a relapse, Amanda Palmer faked a suicide attempt to let him know how he made her feel (A few years later he committed suicide). She recorded his reaction when he found her, pretending to be dead, and years later she used it on an album. Here is Amanda Palmer telling the story herself at a fan Q&A session: https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=h57XWrFNGs8#t=313s
posted by ShawnStruck at 5:02 PM on April 29, 2013 [33 favorites]


infinitywaltz: go listen to that track, Oasis, linked above, and then go listen to the track "God Given" by Nine Inch Nails, off the Year Zero album (sorry, can't link at the moment). Do you see the similarities? As I mentioned before with the Pink Floyd reference.

You know, I've been thinking about it more and more, and the things that she does that irritate me have very little to do with her music and more with her response to criticism. She seems to want to have it both ways, this sense that "Everyone is my best friend, especially all my fans, and I just want to hug them all and share my love through art to show gratitude for the support they've given me," but then when anyone calls her out on anything, she's like, "You don't get it, man, it's art!"

Again, the Evelyn-Evelyn thing. She could've responded a couple of different ways. She could have come up with a legitimate apology, like, "Thanks for pointing out these problematic things with my art, my intent was never to disparage or dehumanize actual women with actual disabilities," or she could have gone the Boyd Rice route and just smirked knowingly, or she could have gone the Diamanda Galas route and said, "Good, it's supposed to make you angry, now do something about it," but no, she has to just get defensive and say, "Well, if it hurt your feelings, tough; it's art, and I guess you don't get it."

I don't know, I get your point that musically she has some things in common with people I have more respect for, artistically (and I'd also add Emilie Autumn, who with her "Asylum" material does the "marginalized Victorian women taking the power back" schtick much better than Everlyn-Evelyn ever did).

She still bugs me, though.
posted by infinitywaltz at 5:02 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, and apparently she's a fan of Edward Ka-Spel, so she can't be entirely bad.
posted by infinitywaltz at 5:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I am astonished that anyone in their right mind could write a poem sympathizing with a man who had within the week been responsible for killing and maiming innocent people.

I am not at all astonished. While I didn't write a poem, my first thoughts when hearing about the (younger) suspect in the bombing was to wonder what things had happened in his life to lead him to that point. People who commit horrible crimes are not "monsters". They are us. Having empathy and trying to understand "those people" even while everyone else is howling for their blood is one trait that maintains a just society. I generally avoid Amanda Palmer's stuff (never much liked her music and find the fan stuff vaguely annoying when I run across it) but this makes me like her more.
posted by R343L at 5:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


(The irony is that I read this thread at all, but I was really kind of curious about the "cult of Amanda Palmer" and this seemed a way to maybe understand it.)
posted by R343L at 5:04 PM on April 29, 2013


"When her boyfriend, who was a recovering drug addict, had a relapse, Amanda Palmer faked a suicide attempt to let him know how he made her feel (A few years later he committed suicide). She recorded his reaction when he found her, pretending to be dead, and years later she used it on an album."

Wait. What?

I'm not going to watch that for a variety of reasons but, for real?
posted by Maugrim at 5:07 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


You know, I've been thinking about it more and more, and the things that she does that irritate me have very little to do with her music and more with her response to criticism. She seems to want to have it both ways, this sense that "Everyone is my best friend, especially all my fans, and I just want to hug them all and share my love through art to show gratitude for the support they've given me," but then when anyone calls her out on anything, she's like, "You don't get it, man, it's art!"

She doesn't push many buttons for me. But I think I know one reason why she does for other people. Introspection as a place of wisdom can be a healthy thing. But introspection needs to come with a higher ordered level of self-awareness about the introspection which includes, in part, an ability to critique it. That is, as we use self awareness as a place to investigate and discover things, we need also to be able to look at that journey from a third-person, external perspective in order to inform its place to the outside world.

It sounds meta, and it really is. Multiple orders of self awareness about our thinking (i.e., I can have thoughts about my thoughts, and even have thoughts about those thoughts) is perhaps one of those things that make us uniquely human. Some people, I think, can be introspective to a great degree, but then miss something essential when it comes to connecting that introspection in a socially aware way.

I think people think that Amanda Palmer misses doing this last component effectively and is simultaneously not aware of it, and boy-howdy does that irritate people, because in their minds, it turns everything into a self-appointed soapbox that will always interpret criticisms in an illicit ad-hoc way that continues to re-justify being there in the first place. It's interpreted as not being humble in the pursuit of truth, while interpreting your place as something that was achieved by introspective merits, rather than some other kind of fortune or privilege.
posted by SpacemanStix at 5:08 PM on April 29, 2013 [9 favorites]


I'm not familiar with the Flaming Lips' style of audience participation. Did it involve raising a million dollars from your audience, then not hiring musicians to be significant members of your back-up band on tour but instead asking audience members to do the work for free?

The fantastic PnP futuristic roleplaying game Eclipse Phase posits a computer-assisted reputation economy, where you build and spend reputation. Art, in my experience, works at least partly on a reputation economy. Having an international recording artist owing you a favour is not worth zero dollars.

I have played cello for decades and like getting paid, but I'm not averse to a freebie. However I know that's paying into the reputation bank - I'm doing a favour for the person that's asking for it, I know it and they know it. Reputation won't pay bills, but a job I get because of my reputation will. It's not perfect, but it's not illusory either.

For some more perspective Nadawi pointed me towards Jherek Bischoff who does her string arrangements, and was in charge of organising these players - he gives his side of the story here (in bold, scroll down a little).
posted by Sebmojo at 5:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


I made it through about as much of that article about Amanda Palmer as I have made it through most of the Amanda Palmer art to which I have been exposed, which is to say "not very much". Clearly, I am not her target audience.

However, other than those ridiculous eyebrows I really don't have any sort of dislike for her. She makes a lot of people happy doing something she loves and really isn't that all any of us should aspire to?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


This entire article fails on his thesis sentence:

Here’s the catch: The web also makes it near-impossible to fall into the arms of just one’s fans.

Actually, before the internet, it was impossible to "narrowcast". Every artist was stuck with approaching everyone if they wanted to make a living. There was only one way to cast, and that was broadcast. The internet makes it nearly possible to narrowcast but not quite.

As for Amanda Palmer: I don't care for her music but I can't wrangle up any feelings beyond that.
posted by chairface at 5:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


This strikes me as probably one of the greatest failings of the internet: namely, getting sucked in to shit you don't really give a fuck about.

This, exactly. I dont know anything about Amanda Palmer, except she repeatedly pops up for doing something attention-grabbing that is later debated and defended by people who arguing more about what she means to them than what she did or said.

If it quacks like an attention-hungry subculture troll...
posted by graphnerd at 5:15 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


People who commit horrible crimes are not "monsters". They are us. Having empathy and trying to understand "those people" even while everyone else is howling for their blood is one trait that maintains a just society.

Well, you know, I didn't blow off anyone's arms and legs the other week. That's actually not me at all. That's somebody else. You can have empathy for that dude if you want, but I promise all he's thinking about you is what noise you'd make when you exploded.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 5:15 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


When her boyfriend, who was a recovering drug addict, had a relapse, Amanda Palmer faked a suicide attempt to let him know how he made her feel (A few years later he committed suicide). She recorded his reaction when he found her, pretending to be dead, and years later she used it on an album.

I keep trying to come up with a suitable snarky comment about Personality Disorder Bingo, but all I can do is stare at this with an open mouth and think: Jesus, what kind of human being actually does that?
posted by scody at 5:15 PM on April 29, 2013 [42 favorites]


i know lots of art students who have made fucked up art about addiction and suicide - i've even seen the faked suicide thing before. i get why people think it's awful, but i don't think it's really that far out there for a certain type. she's used her music to process that relationship a number of times.
posted by nadawi at 5:21 PM on April 29, 2013


"I keep trying to come up with a suitable snarky comment about Personality Disorder Bingo, but all I can do is stare at this with an open mouth and think: Jesus, what kind of human being actually does that?"

Yeah, I've just had to downgrade all the wacky things I've experienced in relationships from crazy to just a little strange.

Because, faking a suicide? That's a whole new level.
posted by Maugrim at 5:21 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


It is fascinating to me how the controversy over Amanda Palmer feeds into her relevance.

When we all stop talking about her, she will cease to exist.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:23 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"When we all stop talking about her, she will cease to exist."

No, I'm pretty sure that's faeries.
posted by Maugrim at 5:26 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


i know lots of art students who have made fucked up art about addiction and suicide - i've even seen the faked suicide thing before.

I work at an art museum, my dad's an artist who taught art school for many years, I know a lot of people who went to art school, and I have friends and colleagues who were directly affected by Mike Kelley's suicide last year (not to mention plenty of friends and colleagues who have been directly affected by other suicides). So forgive me if I find the "oh, it's art" excuse/explanation to ring pretty hollow. It takes a special kind of pathological disregard for other people to pull a stunt like that, and being in art school or needing to process a relationship doesn't negate that.
posted by scody at 5:27 PM on April 29, 2013 [56 favorites]


What frustrates me about Amanda Palmer is that many of the things she does could be plausibly explained as (a) impulsive and naive, (b) making a deliberate statement, subtle or unsubtle, straighforward or ironic, (c) entitled arrogance, or (d) doing whatever will make people talk about Amanda Palmer. And I never know which.

But why the hate for "taking advantage of her fans?" I wouldn't sleep on the floor for Amanda Palmer, or be her food dispenser, but there are surely people for whom I would, and I don't see how it's "taking advantage."
posted by tyllwin at 5:27 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Kinda have to disagree nadawi, it's just fucked up. Sometimes people hide behind things like IT'S ART as a means to try and deflect criticism. It can be ART and be all manner of inappropriate and being a poor human being. Can you imagine what the Askme response would be if someone asked about being in a relationship with someone who presents like ms Palmer?
posted by edgeways at 5:30 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


Having an international recording artist owing you a favour is not worth zero dollars.

This is entirely reliant on the recording artist thinking she owes you a favor, instead of thinking you are simply repaying her the debt you owe because she gave you art. Palmer's public pronouncements make me think her feelings are closer to the latter.

I am in the arts, and I find there are almost no circumstances where you work for free and the people you work for feel like you have done them a favor. Usually, they think they did you a favor -- they gave you exposure, or networking opportunities, or a resume builder, or whatever.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:30 PM on April 29, 2013 [21 favorites]


Who is Amanda Galt?
posted by notsnot at 5:32 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Can you imagine what the Askme response would be if someone asked about being in a relationship with someone who presents like ms Palmer?

I imagine it would be about five letters long.
posted by rifflesby at 5:34 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


RE: the suicide thing. Go to about the 6:00 minute mark here.

Anyway, people can carry on with the hate of her, I don't mind. For a lot of things, she probably deserves it. What I dislike is when I see blogs or articles like this one which misinterpret a song on purpose, just so they can have another barb to throw at her. That song is obviously about getting an abortion, my god.

There are plenty of reasons to dislike her, so pick one that actually exists, people.

But, when I met her in 2006 and hung out with her for a few hours, she was a really nice person who I enjoyed spending time with. This was before her fame explosion, I guess, so maybe she's changed since then.
posted by King Bee at 5:37 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


then not hiring musicians to be significant members of your back-up band on tour but instead asking audience members to do the work for free

I know this is an uphill battle, but can we stop perpetuating this? The "significant members of her back-up band" are called the Grand Theft Orchestra and they were paid salary for the tour (they were also paid for performing on the record).

She did ask locals to come up and play for beer or tickets, and she was weirdly stringent about them being "semi-professional" or whatever, but she did not have a touring band made up of hostages she kidnapped and forced to play for free every night for months.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:38 PM on April 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


Jesus, what kind of human being actually does that?"

To be fair, she was young and in love with herself.
posted by R. Schlock at 5:39 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Is she really a provocative diva or is it an act? Is she Madonna's British accent or is she speaking with her real voice?
posted by humanfont at 5:40 PM on April 29, 2013


No, I'm pretty sure that's faeries.
posted by Pudhoho at 5:40 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


She did ask locals to come up and play for beer or tickets, and she was weirdly stringent about them being "semi-professional" or whatever, but she did not have a touring band made up of hostages she kidnapped and forced to play for free every night for months.

Nobody claimed that. But many touring musicians have a band they tour with and then fill out secondary roles with professional musicians that can be hired from town to town. She tried to replace that role -- a role many regional musicians rely on for their incomes -- with free labor from her fans, who presumably were skilled enough that they could have been paid for it.

You may not agree that this is a problem, based on the way you represented it, but it certainly had many musicians up in arms.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:41 PM on April 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


Lest people think I am misrepresenting this, here is a story on it, including Palmer's actual request.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:46 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


Wow, the people who applaud that fake suicide story--I just don't even. I mean some of the stuff she says about it is cringe worthy--that it was funny or that her response was to "make art" when it just sounds fucked up and manipulative but to applaud someone relating that? Ugh.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 5:55 PM on April 29, 2013 [10 favorites]


This woman is breaking new ground in the stodgy, turgid "music scene"? I'm her latest fan.
posted by telstar at 5:57 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


This one time, I saw the Dresden Dolls live, and they did this fabulous cover of "War Pigs". End of my story.

The Dresden Dolls 'War Pigs' (live) at Paradise 07.09.04
posted by homunculus at 5:57 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


here's jherek responding to the crowd sourced musicians kerfuffle. it's the best write up i've seen from inside the drama - it discusses why some were paid and some weren't and why a sample was asked for.

and here's one of the crowd sourced musicians talking about his experiences.
posted by nadawi at 5:59 PM on April 29, 2013


but i don't think it's really that far out there for a certain type.

True. We call that type 'awful people' where I'm from.
posted by jacalata at 6:01 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


oh, and here is unwoman discussing it all.
posted by nadawi at 6:01 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


She somehow manages to make the ukelele sound sorrowful yet calming on her Radiohead covers. So, she gets props for that in my world.

Other than that, the songs I've heard, both with Dresden Dolls and as a solo artist, really didn't move me any way. Maybe 'no reaction' is the worst reaction to her music, because otherwise, she's a pretty polarizing figure. She's like the Moxie of indie attention starved performance art musicians.
posted by spinifex23 at 6:03 PM on April 29, 2013


Roman Polanski is a modern jesus, about whom no disrespect will be brooked. By anyone. Ever. And certainly not here.

I am like 99% certain there aren't any stories in the Bible where Jesus drugs and rapes a child.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:13 PM on April 29, 2013 [36 favorites]


It's pretty self-evident that the people who volunteered to play with her would be okay with playing with her for free, and that the music director tasked with finding these people would likewise be okay with it. I suspect the people who write for Huffington Post without getting paid are likewise fine with it, although Huffington Post actually offers clear benefits beyond a hug and a beer.

That doesn't obviate criticisms that she could have budgeted for musicians on the tour and decided to use unpaid fan labor instead.

By the way, they decided not to budget for strings and horns before Kickstarter. She had tried to raise $100,000 for the recording and the tour; she instead raised $1,192,793. She claimed the additional musicians would have cost her $35,000.

This is what I meant when I said it doesn't seem like she is especially interested in quid pro quo. He fans gave her more than 10 times what she requested, and her response was to treat those of her fans who are professional level musicians as free labor.

Listen, I am somebody who does my own performance projects. My latest was also crowdfunded, to the tune of $10k. And part of that budget is that all the performers get paid. They also get a piece of any profit we might make. I cut that out of a paltry $10k, because when somebody does something for me, I look out for them too. And not just "if I have the money" -- I make sure it's part of the budget.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:14 PM on April 29, 2013 [39 favorites]


Palmer's request was a pathetic demand for scabbery flung at an underpaid trade. She was shamed into changing her policy--there was no change of heart. And she followed it up with talking about how great it was to take somebody's living space.

Her music's not bad. This is a separate issue. It just happens to be a separate issue that should inspire people to never pay for her music unless she changes the way she operates, because you'll never know if you're fueling some form of petty exploitation again otherwise.

She says some dumb things, but these are well within the spectrum of the dumb things white people with money and an ambiguous tie to intersectional issues say.

In her defence, I think she gets unfair flack for things to do with Neil Gaiman. That stuff is really about him. His personified-TARDIS Doctor Who episode was bad because it was typically lazy Gaiman writing, where someone shows up to lecture the protagonist for not being clever enough to figure out the rules, which are obvious to the audience, and thereby make the protagonist seem uncommonly stupid and the scenario especially smug. It's disappointing that Gaiman plays with the idea of Palmer as a muse figure, because it demonstrates a rejection of a radical, welcome message in his earliest work about why that's problematic, and smugging up your muse doesn't really fix that. Again, none of that is Palmer's fault.
posted by mobunited at 6:19 PM on April 29, 2013 [8 favorites]


some people might be interested in the mechanics of how it all came together and how those who participated felt about it. if you don't think that's important then you're free to skip the write ups. also, she knew she was making a lot more than 100k. if i remember correctly her back of the napkin figures were for about 500k. hitting the goal early makes more press, so you lower the goal if you're confident that your real goal will be met.
posted by nadawi at 6:30 PM on April 29, 2013


Does anyone else confuse Amanda Palmer with Laura Palmer from Twin Peaks? And forget that she is married to Neil Gaiman? Or maybe it was David Lynch? Or Trent Reznor?

I guess I should be getting my news from someone other than Jackie Harvey.
posted by tservo at 6:31 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


The only thing I really know about Amanda Palmer is that she put out one of the best music videos I've ever seen in Leeds United. That's not intended as a defense, just a statement.
posted by Ryvar at 6:37 PM on April 29, 2013


I am like 99% certain there aren't any stories in the Bible where Jesus drugs and rapes a child.

Pope Guilty, meet The Secret Gospel of Mark.
posted by R. Schlock at 6:39 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


also, she knew she was making a lot more than 100k. if i remember correctly her back of the napkin figures were for about 500k. hitting the goal early makes more press, so you lower the goal if you're confident that your real goal will be met.

Oh, I get it. It's much more understandable to me now that she didn't budget extra money for musicians when she exceeded her Kickstarter budget by a factor of 10; I had assumed she was operating in good faith from the start.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 6:47 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


That story ShawnStruck talked about is insane. I came into this thread with a bit of goodwill for her, assuming that people just hated her because she's fun and successful and has different-from-mainstream values.

But faking a suicide, recording it, using it on an album, and then more-or-less bragging about it.... that's a whole mess of personality problems.

She still made some good music, but I don't think I can like her any more. I mean, Jesus.
posted by JDHarper at 6:52 PM on April 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


I liked her, because I believed she was really onto something with the way she was carving out a new business model for herself drawing from an online community of fans instead of sucking up to some withered husk of a record label. (Honestly, don't even get me started on companies that want to throttle the artists I love to sell me a hunk of plastic...)

See, this is the part that makes people in the music community react with rage. There is no new paradigm here. Her (and maybe to a greater extent, her fans) insistence that they're doing something beautiful and brave is simply ignoring all the DIY music makers that have relied on their fans for decades. Sure, the internet is involved now, but that's the only new part, and she's not the first to do that either.

From punk to folk to hip-hop, there have been marginalized artists who have used a variety of methods to reach out to their fans. Her TED talk is shockingly tone deaf towards the footprints of previous artists that she's walking in.

Furthermore, there's a feeling that she's broken through a certain level where she doesn't need to be doing this stuff anymore financially. Maybe it's true, maybe it isn't, but it's again pretty insensitive to other artists to not even address that subject.

At heart to all of this is the 'drama kid' attitude. The attitude that the spotlight is always on her and that's as it should be.

So yeah, I like Dresden Dolls, found her solo work unremarkable, but when she opens her mouth about being an artist, I gnash my teeth.
posted by lumpenprole at 6:52 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


She and Lena Dunham and Tao Lin should all work together on a project in some kind of unholy trifecta of mefi horror.
posted by elizardbits at 6:54 PM on April 29, 2013 [28 favorites]


I've never understood why Gaiman has always been so buddy buddy with Dave Sim.

It... comforts him.
posted by Slothrup at 6:55 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


She made two and a third more than she had budgeted on the back of her napkin. By my math, that means the cost of gigging musicians on her tour would have been about .06 percent of the amount she made beyond what she expected.

Here's the thing. Sofa surfing and asking friends to sit in for free is one thing when it is being done by a broke band with a small following. When it starts being done by somebody with more than a million dollars budgeted just for that project -- well, once you start hiring personal assistants, sleeping in a fan's bed starts seeming cheap and exploitative, rather than a mutual, we're-all-in-this-together, we're doing it DIY with the fans!

She may not have realized that she's being seen by a lot more people, and they are seeing her differently than when she was that young couch surfer. But mo money, mo problems, as the man said.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 6:56 PM on April 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


"Actually, before the internet, it was impossible to "narrowcast". Every artist was stuck with approaching everyone if they wanted to make a living. There was only one way to cast, and that was broadcast. The internet makes it nearly possible to narrowcast but not quite. "

This is so weirdly wrong that I wonder if you were alive before the internet. Niche, especially mid-list niche, was a modest but sustainable living. There is no credible way to claim that, say, the '80s and '90s rise of indie/college/diy was anything but serving niche interests outside of the mainstream. Combine that with the fact that almost all media was effectively local due to high transmission costs outside of the local area, with only a few networks putting on national programming, and you've really missed the point in your haste to declare this a failure of Abebe.
posted by klangklangston at 7:01 PM on April 29, 2013 [17 favorites]


i absolutely understand that's how it came off outside her fanbase.
posted by nadawi at 7:03 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


i absolutely understand that's how it came off outside her fanbase.

Sure, and it's fair to say that she's more interested in communicating with her fanbase. I just feel like, once you hit the level of doing TED talks, do your goddam homework, lady.
posted by lumpenprole at 7:05 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I barely even realized who Amanda Palmer was until that thing she wrote about Dzhokhar Tsarnaev hit all the news feeds (not trying to come off as too-cool-here, just honestly a little out of touch with the celebrity-watching scene these days and I vaguely remember hearing about the Dresden Dolls but never really got around to giving them a listen). But after some of the things I've learned about her in this thread, it certainly doesn't seem unreasonable that some people feel she deserves criticism. My take is about the same as JDHarper's. I mean, damn, that's a pretty profound level of callousness on display right there.

Sure, the internet is involved now, but that's the only new part, and she's not the first to do that either.

No she's certainly not.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:05 PM on April 29, 2013


There are a surprising number of people in this thread talking about how strongly they feel about information they're getting at best third-hand.

I'm pretty confident that's a big part of the problem.
posted by mhoye at 7:06 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


Basically all I know about her is that she did this (NSFW probably) with Flaming Lips. Which is great.
posted by mike_bling at 7:07 PM on April 29, 2013


I don't know. She tells the suicide story herself on the YouTube up there.
posted by saulgoodman at 7:08 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Most of the discussion in this thread seems sourced back to her and people she worked with. Is there any comment in particular you're talking about?
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 7:09 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I keep trying to come up with a suitable snarky comment about Personality Disorder Bingo, but all I can do is stare at this with an open mouth and think: Jesus, what kind of human being actually does that?

A really sorry excuse for one. I can't even.
posted by MissySedai at 7:12 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I loved Amanda Palmer. Absolutely, absolutely loved her. All the internet did was expose me to a list of things which she did, advocated for, and believed in which I thought were wrong, naive, privileged, and unpleasant.

I wanted to catch her pretty fucking badly, and having a problem with her politics and her conduct is not the same as mindlessly mocking a pretentious eighties drama kid.

But fuck it, if that is what people do to Amanda Palmer? It's disingenuous to put that on the internet. That's just fame.
posted by emperor.seamus at 7:16 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


There are a surprising number of people in this thread talking about how strongly they feel about information they're getting at best third-hand.

If I had gotten the story second or third hand I would have assumed that it was being exaggerated. But no, she told the story herself.
posted by JDHarper at 7:19 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


Clearly there is a culture gap here. Guess culture versus ask culture. And then overboard into gimme gimme gimme culture.
posted by bukvich at 7:22 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am like 99% certain there aren't any stories in the Bible where Jesus drugs and rapes a child.

Pope Guilty, meet The Secret Gospel of Mark.

That story didn't contain a drugging, a raping, or a child. But OK.
posted by dgaicun at 7:29 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


The one time I met Amanda Palmer her eyebrows were strings of musical notes.

I didn't mention it.

She was very nice.
posted by Curious Artificer at 7:36 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


well, there's the wholesome family story of lot offering up his virgin daughters for a raping to save the angels, and then those same virgin daughters getting him so drunk he passed out so they could rape him multiple times to get pregnant. but, somehow the moral of that story is that gays are bad.
posted by nadawi at 7:43 PM on April 29, 2013 [12 favorites]


A friend of mine was passing through town on her way to a music festival last year, and we had a couple of hours to catch up between when her flight landed at 7 a.m. and when her bus took off from Port Authority at 10 a.m.

Ivy had taken a red-eye flight from several time zones away to see her very favorite band of all time, and by the time she met me for breakfast she was vibrating with anticipation and lack of sleep. I took her to a diner where we were the only patrons (8 a.m. on a Friday meant that even the usual Hell's Kitchen breakfast places were empty) and she could barely keep her shit together re: GETTING TO SEE BEN FOLDS FIVE IN MERE HOURS!

"That's fine!" I thought to myself, "She can gush for an hour, I can put her on a bus, and then I can go back to bed!"

That is when Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer walked in the door and sat down directly next to us.

My friend had no idea who they were and therefore made no attempt to curb her Ben Folds reverie. I was half convinced I was imagining the two of them, because what the fuck? It's 8 a.m. on a weekday morning at a shitty diner on 9th Avenue. Why are y'all dressed straight out of The Matrix and eating breakfast silently next to the only occupied table at this diner?

"That's fine!" I thought to myself, "They're like actual famous people; they'll mind their own business and we'll mind ours, and we'll all pretend Ivy isn't hyperventilating about the shrine she made to Ben Folds when she was 18!"

This plan seemed to be going well until the end of the meal, when Amanda (Fucking) Palmer swooped over to our table, dropped a napkin on Ivy's lap, and quickly left the restaurant with Gaiman in tow. It read:

"If you like Ben Folds he produced my last records, look it up -Amanda Palmer"

Amanda Palmer: eavesdropping on strangers' conversations and hustling to sell records before most of us have finished our coffee! The whole thing was absurd, but it clarified up close and personal the dedication with which Amanda Palmer faces the constant (self-directed) task of selling AMANDA PALMER.

Epilogue: Ivy has vowed to never, ever purchase an Amanda Palmer record.
posted by ausdemfenster at 7:49 PM on April 29, 2013 [106 favorites]


AFP is a friend of some friends of mine. Took them on tour once, and helped them out. Her fanbase has accepted them, for the most part, and I think well of her for that at least.

But, however, I think Twitter Discographies sums her up quite succinctly.
posted by erskelyne at 7:58 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


i absolutely understand that's how it came off outside her fanbase.

I was sort of in her fanbase. Not an obsessive follower by any means, but I liked the self-titled Dresden Dolls disc, and Yes, Virginia was in fairly heavy rotation for probably the year after it came out, and I followed her through getting dropped by Roadrunner and liked a couple of songs off Who Killed Amanda Palmer, although the whole album didn't really sit with me. She was sort of someone whose music I liked, and every once in a while, I heard something new from her and that was usually nice.

But in the last 5 years, she's become some sort of INTERNET ATTENTION MAGNET (or rather, her inner attention magnet has been mainlining internet at ever-increasing rates), and now I hear 10 episodes of Amanda Palmer shenanigans for every new song. And some of the shenanigans are sort of interesting, and sometimes they are uncool. But no matter what, there must be shenanigans drawing attention to Amanda Palmer at all cost. And maybe it's because I'm an introvert, or maybe it's because I used to tech and stage manage, so my lifetime tolerance for drama kids has been used up. But for whatever reason, the shenanigans are now just tiring, and the music reminds me of shenanigans now much more than the other way around.

Like, I listened to Aesop Rock back in the day, around the same time as Yes, Virginia, and about as much. And I hadn't heard what he's been up to in the last few years. Turns out, he has a new song (with Kimya Dawson of Moldy Peaches), and it's pretty good. And when I first heard it, it was a "Hey! I remember listening to that guy!" and I can just listen to it, and not think of a dozen tiresome episodes. It's so pleasant. I think that's what it's supposed to be like.
posted by Homeboy Trouble at 8:11 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


As far as Gaiman and Palmer's marriage...is it true they both come from heavy-hitting Scientology families?
posted by Windigo at 8:12 PM on April 29, 2013


Sorry, overhearing someone enthusing about a producer's name is not "eavesdropping." And leaving a note about your own record that was just produced by the enthusee is not "hustling to sell records."

A(F)P has done enough to be irritated or, indeed, angry about without adding atrocities where they don't need to be.
posted by Celsius1414 at 8:13 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


When seeing the acronym "AFP" in this thread I kept thinking it referred to Agence France Presse. Thanks to thelonius upthread for clarifying things.
posted by orrnyereg at 8:15 PM on April 29, 2013


Gaiman's dad was a Scientologist but as far as I'm aware he's not affiliated at all.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:16 PM on April 29, 2013


Amanda Palmer, Amanda Bynes, Amanda Knox. Amanda. Apanda. Asadpanda. Pandocalrissian.
posted by Brocktoon at 8:21 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


I think the whole napkin-dropping incident says a lot about her as a person. Who does that? She didn't even have the decency to start up a conversation? The whole thing is tacky as hell.
posted by Windigo at 8:21 PM on April 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


When seeing the acronym "AFP" in this thread I kept thinking it referred to Agence France Presse.

I always thing "All Fomorrow's Parties."
posted by to sir with millipedes at 8:22 PM on April 29, 2013 [5 favorites]


I am like 99% certain there aren't any stories in the Bible...

You seem to be reading the wrong Bibles.

If you'd been reading the right ones, you'd recognize the Polanski is God-in-Flesh, the Ur-Creature. The All-Named Void. He Who Must.

You cannot criticize an Ur-Creature. I know this now. I have learned. Seen.
posted by aramaic at 8:26 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


But you can see how that might have seemed like a non-weird way to say something, it's just that what she wanted to say was maybe kind of weird. I think what makes it weird is that instead of responding to what the friend was saying: "I love Whatshisname! He is so great!" with shared enthusiasm, her response was like an Amazon algorithm: "Oh you like Whatshisname? Here's something else you might like (to buy)!"
posted by Kaleidoscope at 8:27 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I'm trying to imagine coming up with an impassioned, detailed rant with stories and supporting arguments and such about a musician whose music I do not like at all.

...

I dunno. The only music I can think of that I detest, yet nevertheless know well enough to despise in vivid detail, is some of the stuff I have had to endure ad nauseum on the radio and in public places. And even then, I don't have any significant personal invective to spill about the artists -- why would I pay that much attention to the irritating personalities of musicians that I don't like?
posted by desuetude at 8:28 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


She's a sort of interesting figure. "Ukulele Anthem": fucking awesome. "Ukulele Anthem" on public transport: fucking awesome. "Ukulele Anthem" on public transport with a camera crew, so we can voyeuristically laugh at the suspicious and threatened looks of people on a train with a camera unsolicitedly in their face and a celebrity present guaranteeing that their suspicious and threatened looks will be all over the intertubes and repeatedly scrutinized: fucking terrible.

I like some of AP's music a lot, though, and I'm happy that I can buy it if I want with comparatively little interference from certain middlemen.

(Some of the Amanda Palmer Hate sounds pretty similar to the Pete Doherty Hate of recent-yore, actually. Amplifying the old Public Persona with the internet turns out to be sort of a Faustian bargain if one is not careful, I guess.)
posted by kengraham at 8:32 PM on April 29, 2013 [3 favorites]


But you can see how that might have seemed like a non-weird way to say something, it's just that what she wanted to say was maybe kind of weird. I think what makes it weird is that instead of responding to what the friend was saying: "I love Whatshisname! He is so great!" with shared enthusiasm, her response was like an Amazon algorithm: "Oh you like Whatshisname? Here's something else you might like (to buy)!"

Butt-touch factor. When people shop in retail stores, if something brushes their butts, they bolt. No one likes being accosted at a time when it's inappropriate. On the other hand, if she had come up and said something like, "Hey, I'm Amanda, and I know Ben Folds. Want me to get you something signed from him? Get me your email," or something like that she probably would have made a fan for life, just by being a stand-up guy.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:38 PM on April 29, 2013 [24 favorites]


I loathe her almost as much as I loathe her husband, but I respect them for finding each other

I'm reminded of what someone once said of Thomas and Jane Carlyle: mercifully, they found each other; because four unhappy people is twice as bad as two.

Amanda Fucking Palmer is, uh, frighteningly entertaining. I don't want her to go away ever.
posted by octobersurprise at 8:41 PM on April 29, 2013 [6 favorites]


I've had this idea gelling in my mind for a while. It's a little odd. It goes like this:
Amanda Palmer is the future.
No, wait, put the tomato down. The future of music looks like Amanda Palmer. Not her music and not her makeup and not her marriage. No, the relentless self-promotion we're complaining about.

I mean, who wants to pay for music anymore? Get a new crop of student interns every year, they all have their headphones in, I always ask them, "Say, do you buy any CDs?" They don't buy CDs. Any CDs. They don't buy T-shirts. None of them. Not a single one. I think CDs are primarily purchased as gifts now, by well-meaning grandparents. Maybe that's how it works.

Now, a musician has to get out there, get seen, get talked about. Connected. And if you're not in a label and you want to continue making a living at music, you're gonna have to bang on the drum all day. Blog posts and events and Kickstarters and ninja gigs. Collaborated.

Content creation isn't where the money is, anymore. Celebrity is where the money is. I don't even know why Kim Kardashian is famous, except she's famous for being ... famous? How? Why? Was a time machine involved to create a self-causal loop?

Just think ... Cory Doctorow. Yeah. You know how he spends a lot of time telling you about his latest thing? We kvetch about that, but he's got it figured out. Cory Doctorow is the future, too. And you can hear his drums.

So, flog on, self-promoters, with your ill-considered Tweets and projects just offensive enough to some to cause some controversy, if only to keep your name is still current. A wedding, a divorce, drying out in rehab, always crashing in the same car. As long as you're a headline, in someone's RSS feed, if you've been reposted in Tumblr, you're still alive. And flog us, too, while you're at it, because this is the business model for which we begged.

If you want a picture of the future, imagine a diner napkin with Amanda Palmer's name dropping in your lap — for ever.
posted by adipocere at 8:59 PM on April 29, 2013 [36 favorites]


The future is gross.
posted by graventy at 9:04 PM on April 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


is it true they both come from heavy-hitting Scientology families?

I don't know about her, but general available knowledge says this: his late father was very high up in the UK organization, from the 60s (his childhood) on though he may or may not have been so heavily involved in his last years. His mother and sisters are still in. His children's mother, his first wife, may be. For a number of years, when I was interested in this sort of thing, he was allegedly on the Suppressive Persons list (excommunicated/an enemy of Scientology). When he stopped answering that question in the middle of an interview and simply said, "I love my family," I take it to mean "I don't want to be cut off from my widowed mother, my children's mother, or my sisters and their families. I can't talk about it." I don't think it's a going concern, except in a Family Complications sort of way. He has definitely never come out in open support. He's also Jewish, which he talks about more than the Scientology.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:15 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


"I don't even know why Kim Kardashian is famous, except she's famous for being ... famous? How?"

Her father was a very rich and media-pandering attorney in Los Angeles. She was always going to be very rich and vaguely charismatic. Then she had a sex tape.
posted by klangklangston at 9:18 PM on April 29, 2013


she very much denies being a part of scientology - internet detectives who have "proven" he's still in take some building work her dad may have done and a fuzzy picture of him getting married in sailor dress clothes to mean that she's totally part of the church and that her kickstarter was either funded by them or that she was funneling the money to them. basically, crazy people.
posted by nadawi at 9:22 PM on April 29, 2013


The future is fame eating its own tale: Attentionwhouroboros
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:23 PM on April 29, 2013 [23 favorites]


if she had come up and said something like, "Hey, I'm Amanda, and I know Ben Folds. Want me to get you something signed from him? Get me your email," or something like that she probably would have made a fan for life, just by being a stand-up guy.

This. What she did wasn't even self-promotion so much as unadulterated bragging: "That guy you only wish you could meet? Yeah, we're basically best buds. Look it up." Most literal name-drop ever.
posted by Dixon Ticonderoga at 9:42 PM on April 29, 2013 [32 favorites]


"She was shamed into changing her policy"

Bingo. Her fans don't seem to understand that if you have to be shamed into acting like a decent human being then you probably aren't, deep down, a very decent human being.

She's horrible as both a musician and a person. But I do find her entertaining in that oblivious train-wreck kind of way, so good on her for giving me lulz.

That said, I do kind of want to jump out of a high window every time she says or writes "I wrote a blog about it."

Your shitty poem wasn't a "blog," it was a "blog post." Your shitty follow-up in which you said you had actually brought attention to National Poetry Month (!) and thus had done the entire world a great big fucking favor was also a "blog post." Your shitty defense of treating fellow musicians like dirt was also a "blog post."

Seriously, I'm a few years older than you. I shouldn't have to explain internet jargon to your vapid, self-serving, narcissistic ass.

But hey, I just did and you don't have to give me beer or hugs even.
posted by bardic at 9:43 PM on April 29, 2013 [11 favorites]


Celebrity is where the money is. I don't even know why Kim Kardashian is famous, except she's famous for being ... famous? How? Why? Was a time machine involved to create a self-causal loop?

"The past is never dead. It's not even past."

Famous for being famous, yeah, yeah, we know...hello, Zsa Zsa Gabor.
posted by desuetude at 9:52 PM on April 29, 2013


I've been following this conversation closely trying to make up my mind, Amanda Pamler, pro or con? In the absence of anything in the Pro column and the overwhelming stack of items in the Con column I feel I can no longer stand idly by. The time comes for every person to choose, to stand and be counted, and I'm afraid I must choose Con.

Sorry Amanda, seems like you could use a few fans, unfortunately I cannot be one of them.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:56 PM on April 29, 2013


Also, I'm glad Grimes was mentioned. She's pretty much the anti-AFP in terms of talent, class, politics, and for lack of a better phrase, self-awareness.
posted by bardic at 9:57 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


Amanda Palmer to Morrissey: MY TWITTARS, LET ME SHOW YOU THEM.
posted by benzenedream at 10:37 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also, I'm glad Grimes was mentioned. She's pretty much the anti-AFP in terms of talent, class, politics, and for lack of a better phrase, self-awareness.

This a million times. I was giving Grimes some probably undeserved crap in the other thread, but if there's someone I would want to actually sit down with and argue about music and celebrity with, it would be Grimes a million times over before AFP.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:37 PM on April 29, 2013 [2 favorites]


In response to Abebe's piece AFP throws herself a good old-fashioned pity-party:

"some website posted a list of the seven things i’ve done to piss people off.
then new york magazine wrote an article called “the amanda palmer problem” (which actually had some great points about how the internet makes things weird).
but then i had a nice email exchange with one of the boston journalists who slammed me. we agreed that discussing things over beer would be worthwhile.

i like being able to talk to people.

i like talking to the intelligent ones….the ones who talk but also listen.

i don’t so much like “talking” to the crazy ones….the ones who tell me over and over that i should have a bomb shoved up my vagina.

it’s just not as much fun."

Ms. Palmer in response to the Abebe article.

Obviously, violent threats are never cool. But once again, she pretty much makes it impossible to give her any benefit of the doubt whatsoever.

Does she honestly not know who Nitsuh Abebe is? He actually is kind of bending-over-backwards to give Palmer some credit and she dismisses him like that? Just because his number isn't on her iPhone he's not "intelligent"? And there's no middle-ground between "intelligent" criticism and violent fuckwadery?

She just makes me want to attach my hand to my forehead with a nail-gun.

Also, meeting a veteran in a cafe who doesn't know who you are and then forcing him to watch your TedTalk?

That's so AFP.

That's actually the Platonic fucking Ideal of being AFP.
posted by bardic at 10:44 PM on April 29, 2013 [7 favorites]


"it would be Grimes a million times over before AFP."

Her tumblr is good but her twitter feed is fantastic. And she's a Game of Thrones nerd so I'll admit, I'm biased.
posted by bardic at 10:46 PM on April 29, 2013


Amanda Palmer is the future.

You misspelled "present."
posted by speicus at 10:58 PM on April 29, 2013 [4 favorites]


I am under in the impression that Amanda Palmer cares only for Amanda Palmer.
posted by Tacodog at 11:13 PM on April 29, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Sorry Amanda, seems like you could use a few fans, unfortunately I cannot be one of them."

This is pretty hilariously po-faced though.
posted by klangklangston at 12:07 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


Ms. Palmer in response to the Abebe article.

Nice TARDIS Pants.
posted by homunculus at 12:17 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


This is pretty hilariously po-faced though

Was the "stand and be counted" too much?
posted by Ad hominem at 12:20 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I never heard of her until a couple weeks ago, and I definitely get why people hate her. But... I cannot hate the eyebrows. Sigh...
posted by smidgen at 1:47 AM on April 30, 2013


For me, it's the eyebrows. I guess I'm an old fuddy duddy--they freak me out.
posted by zardoz at 2:00 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


For me, it's the pablum that she produces.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:24 PM on April 29


For me it's the goddamned hipster ukulele. I hate that so hard it makes me spit blood. Damn that wretched instrument to the deepest, fieriest pit of hell.
posted by Decani at 2:30 AM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


Why do we hate Amanda Palmer?
Googles "tyranny of small differences"
Also "uncanny valley"

We hate her because she is like us, but she is not the same as us. And that will not stand.
posted by zoo at 3:07 AM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I think one of the final straws for me was back when she decided we all had to call her Amanda 'Fucking' Palmer.
posted by Windigo at 3:21 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Your shitty defense of treating fellow musicians like dirt

See this kind of rhetoric is the kind of thing that baffles me about the response to her. As I understand it the narrative goes:

Amanda Palmer decides to do something she's done before, and invite people to come play on stage with her. She imagines this will be a fun thing to do, and will reward the people because they get to join in and have fun. People then rightly point out that this is actually a bit shitty, because people should be paid for their labour. Amanda Palmer then responds rather grumpily, because thats what people who are wrong often do, but, after a loooot of back and forth (and hey, some musicians thinking what she was doing was fine along the way), she decides that it probably does make sense to pay people when she can easily afford to do so.

Yes some of her defences were a bit disgenuous along the way, but when I see Amanda Palmer I see a headstrong person who makes stupid choices a lot of the time, not someone who is out to treat fellow human beings badly. She is loud, and often obnoxious, and can be very bad at listening and I can totally understand why people dislike her, but this kind of language implies that people think she has bad intentions. I just never see that from her actions.
posted by Cannon Fodder at 3:27 AM on April 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


"some website posted a list of the seven things i’ve done to piss people off.

I saw that on Buzzfeed yesterday and thought it actually did a pretty good job of summing it all up.
posted by shelleycat at 3:27 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I'd say that writing that execrable poem and, at the very tippy top, including a link flogging her latest single is pretty much the definition of "shitty," both on the levels of execution and intention.

I mean, we're not talking Jeffrey Dahmer levels of shittiness to fellow human beings of course. But given her relative level of fame and cash at the time of Tuba-gate, I stand by my assessment.

Steve Albini was pretty much spot on:

"I have no fundamental problem with either asking your fans to pay you to make your record or go on tour or play for free in your band or gather at a mud pit downstate and sell meth and blowjobs to each other. I wouldn't stoop to doing any of them myself, but horses for courses. The reason I don't appeal to other people in this manner is that all those things can easily pay for themselves, and I value self-sufficiency and independence, even (or especially) from an audience.

If your position is that you aren't able to figure out how to do that, that you are forced by your ignorance into pleading for donations and charity work, you are then publicly admitting you are an idiot, and demonstrably not as good at your profession as Jandek, Moondog, GG Allin, every band ever to go on tour without a slush fund or the kids who play on buckets downtown."

Reminder: never cross Steve Albini.
posted by bardic at 3:52 AM on April 30, 2013 [17 favorites]


I kind of like naxuu's "not Amanda Palmer" Kickstarter proposal from September last year:
@naxuu: kickstarter rewards include 'not meeting amanda palmer' and 'not being hugged by amanda palmer'
I would totally get behind that.
posted by Sonny Jim at 3:56 AM on April 30, 2013


i absolutely understand that's how it came off outside her fanbase.

How delightful. Except her tone-deafness and inability to listen to her fans when they offer her anything other than blind adoration is actually killing her fanbase.

I used to be a fan. I'd bought everything that she produced with the Dresden Dolls, her first solo album and a fair bit of Who Killed Amanda Palmer swag as well. I even chipped into that Kickstarter.

But the issue is just as much that there is one set of rules for Amanda Fucking Palmer and another for everyone else. She's allowed to ask her fans to pay for her artwork, but if her fans ask to be paid for their time as back-up musicians, suddenly that shit ain't cool. She's allowed to engage with her fans to ask for input, but the minute that her fans start suggesting that hey, actually, the whole crip drag thing may be less than cool, those fans get labelled as "haters" and thrown out.

There are a surprising number of people in this thread talking about how strongly they feel about information they're getting at best third-hand.

I mentioned back in the AFP TED talk thread that I saw her play a "ninja gig" at which she talked at length about how artists and performers work just as hard as anyone else and deserve to be paid. Into my ears, not to any third hand source. This is why I became quite disgusted when it transpired she thought that only applied to her, not to her backup performers. There's plenty of evidence that she can be perfectly obnoxious all by herself. The Kickstarter party I helped to fund has been pushed back, for a start, but after the last few rounds of narcissism I really am contemplating writing off the couple of hundred bucks I chipped in and just not going.

Because I was a fan when I put into the Kickstarter, but she's worn the shine off in the intervening time.
posted by Jilder at 4:51 AM on April 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


I didn't realise she was so hated until Metafilter - the Dresden Dolls were always a bit too naff for me, kind of like a twee-er Interpol in the firmament of 'bands who want to be Joy Division - but I was quite pleased Oasis existed, as a record where a woman sings unapologetically about getting an abortion. I mean, what existed before that - Brick by Ben Folds Five, where it's all from the man's point of view about how it is The Saddest Thing Ever? The casual treatment of date-rape aside - though she does sing 'it wasn't my fault' - this is stuff women are not encouraged to talk about - and the song's video was banned in the UK, despite abortion as a topic being less hot=-button here.;

However, I knew nothing about her as a person, and I kind of left behind my interest in Neil Gaiman when I broke up with my sixth-form boyfriend.
posted by mippy at 5:09 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yes some of her defences were a bit disgenuous along the way, but when I see Amanda Palmer I see a headstrong person who makes stupid choices a lot of the time, not someone who is out to treat fellow human beings badly.

When I see Amanda Palmer I see someone who can't be out to treat fellow human beings badly because to her, there are no fellow human beings, only fodder for her "art". I mean that literally, not sarcastically. So humans just happen to get treated badly when she's around.
posted by tel3path at 5:37 AM on April 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


I must admit though, I like the eyebrows.
posted by tel3path at 5:38 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Amanda Palmer is the future.

Look, I've been trying to "hustle" my art on the Internet since 2003. Other people have been doing it for longer, but in 2003 I was only 13 years old, so I have the nice distinction of having been hustling for almost the entirety of my remembered life. Add to that that I got my first web site in 1999 and was trying to use that to hustle, unsuccessfully, and I'd say this phenomenon is not unknown to me.

I went to art school, so I know a bunch of people who are all desperately trying to self-promote their music, and they're all realizing that hustling your music when you're early 20s almost guarantees you'll be pissing a bunch of people off. Few young twentysomethings have enough of a fanbase that they can make a living with their music, and the ones that do usually piss people off anyway (fuck Bo Burnham). I was talking to a musician friend of mine whose EP dropped yesterday and he talked about how frustrated he is with another friend of ours whose approach has been: don't think about the music, think about making people like you. Do whatever it takes to make people like you. Which is a valid approach, I guess, but when you're in music to make music, it sucks to be told that you've got to spend your time doing other things. It's part of the business, sure, but the "business" isn't what most people sign up for, at least not at first.

So as he was talking to me about figuring out game plans and asking me what forums he could spam his music on without getting in trouble, I told him this: Advertising by being a nuisance is a wonderful short-term solution. Long term, you have to figure out a way to make people want you in their lives. If all you're known for is being a pest, eventually you're going to stop figuring out ways to be inflammatory and then you're done. Kaput. And then you have to start all over again, with the added challenge that crowds of people don't want anything to do with you.

But irritation is not the only way to get somebody's attention. Look at the social circle of webcomic writers who get paid to do what they do: Ryan North, Kate Beaton, Andrew Hussie. They all got started basically by making interesting things, sharing them with people who shared them in turn with their friends, and then hitting the critical point where they could sell a thing and make money out of it. It has always astounded me how chill and nice everybody in that community seems – they all work on cool side projects, they all are playful and silly every time they get interviewed, and they all seem to be slowly moving their way towards being filthy rich. I mean, Hussie's been on hiatus for two weeks and the Internet has exploded with fans making homages to his work whilst going into withdrawal. It's a seriously amazing thing.

Palmer's got her die-hard fans, so she's not going away anytime soon. Unfortunately, having those fans means she doesn't have to stop acting like an ass anytime soon either. But her approach is strictly unnecessary. It gains her nothing, it wins her no extra favors among her fans, and it limits her from growing with people like me, who think she's talented and knows how to write a song, but won't bother listening to a thing by her because talented people are a dime a dozen nowadays. Eventually some nicer people will learn to do the same shtick but better and Amanda Palmer will become one of those bands whose concerts are full of fat fiftysomethings cursing in each others' direction. And then we haters will laugh and high five and tell each other gleefully that we saw this coming.
posted by Rory Marinich at 5:56 AM on April 30, 2013 [9 favorites]


No, wait, put the tomato down. The future of music looks like Amanda Palmer. Not her music and not her makeup and not her marriage. No, the relentless self-promotion we're complaining about.

That (and the general culture of cynicism around artists these days) played a big role in my finally deciding to quit trying to make music as any kind of serious career (at least for now). You have to be a relentless self-promoter to get any traction at all anymore. Forget tasteful, subtle self-promotion, too. It's got to be aggressive and in peoples' faces or no one seems to notice. I don't mind a little tasteful self-promotion, to a point, but more and more, at least in music, it's just got to be constant, relentless, and completely without regard for any aesthetic considerations.

Look, I've been trying to "hustle" my art on the Internet since 2003

I started trying to hustle mine on the internet in the late 90s, so I feel your pain.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:11 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


When I see Amanda Palmer I see someone who can't be out to treat fellow human beings badly because to her, there are no fellow human beings, only fodder for her "art". I mean that literally, not sarcastically. So humans just happen to get treated badly when she's around.
posted by tel3path at 8:37 AM on April 30


Fair enough.

But I'm going to repeat my personal AFP story because I only know her in the context of how she treats other human beings. I personally know nothing else of her, only that she was incredibly good and kind and sweet to my teenage daughter, and my daughter would be pissed as hell if I didn't come in here, not to defend AFP, but to just shine a little light on a side of her that seemed to come from a place of genuine goodness, which, I think, connects nicely with this comment I made the other day about putting on rose-colored glasses by sharing something nice you've seen someone do.
posted by kinetic at 6:24 AM on April 30, 2013 [5 favorites]


"Few young twentysomethings have enough of a fanbase that they can make a living with their music"

Gonna have to get all old man-y/Michael Azerrad on you and suggest that, first off, making a living off of art has always been an uphill battle. Despite the mythology of the Springsteen/Lennon working-class hero, most rock bands come from some version of a trust fund and/or parental support (as you mention, just consider how many bands come out of meeting in college). I'm sure Amanda Palmer ate plenty of ramen noodles in college, but she went to Wesleyan ffs.

Second, plenty of twentysomethings have made it off of their art, in spite of the odds. Many of them did it before the internet existed, which is kind of hard to grok in 2013.

I mean really, it's quaint how someone can complain that they can't make it in 2013 with all the resources available now, from social networking to basically free production software (meaning complete artistic control and no shitty A&R assholes to deal with). Not that it isn't still a struggle, but jesus it's a hell of a lot better than driving a shitty van through a North Dakota winter to a show for which nobody might show up and you might or might not get paid. It's hard today, no doubt, but it used to be really, really, really hard.

As I said in the TEDTalk thread, you only need one word to refute everything Amanda Palmer is about: Fugazi. Or these days, Grimes. The difference being, the former two are artists who definitely put/used to put their artistic goals above all else.

Self-promotion is always part of the game, but it's so obviously the focus of what she's about and IMO that makes her a horrible, screechy ego-monster.
posted by bardic at 6:27 AM on April 30, 2013 [7 favorites]


but jesus it's a hell of a lot better than driving a shitty van through a North Dakota winter to a show for which nobody might show up and you might or might not get paid.

Well, the internet's great and all, but most artists I've known who were living the dream (excluding the trust fund types you mention who can afford the promotion and other services that make it possible to get the engine turning otherwise) still pretty much have to drive the shitty van through the North Dakota winter. Internet sales don't amount to much for most smaller artists, with a handful of notable exceptions (but to put that in context, even Coulton started buying promotion services as soon as he could afford to, and it was only once he did that he really started getting the national press' attention). Even more established artists pretty much had to stay on the road constantly to make it work, last time I was still in the loop (a little more than five years ago now).

But your points are well taken.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:35 AM on April 30, 2013


Self-promotion is always part of the game, but it's so obviously the focus of what she's about and IMO that makes her a horrible, screechy ego-monster.

To expand a little more, I think this is exactly what musicians are finding more and more: there's more and more pressure to behave this way and the focus is a lot heavier on promotion and managing the business now than on the music as a matter of necessity. Whether that's the internet or the culture and the economic drivers more generally, though, is debatable.
posted by saulgoodman at 6:43 AM on April 30, 2013


I hate to say this, but I'm almost glad Mark Sandman died before Twitter and before having to sell your personality above selling your music and art. Can you imagine how someone who was as private as he was would feel about creating this kind of cult of personality that exists above and beyond the art -- the actual art -- he made?

As for Palmer, I don't participate in these threads as much as I'd like because we're about the same age and both grew up in Boston, so I'd be worried that anything I'd say would be read as sour grapes. That said, one of the big problems I have with her work is her disingenuous response to criticism. Annaham of the Feminists With Disabilities blog wrote of her problems with Evelyn Evelyn as a fan of Palmer's music, and Palmer threw her and others with objections to the project under the bus (scroll down for a link to Palmer's appearance on Australian TV). Likewise, Amy Valliancourt Sals was one of the first people to criticize Palmer's decision to recruit free musicians, and Palmer more or less wrote her off. If you put yourself out there the way Palmer does and people who are fans (or otherwise on your side) come to you in good faith and find fault with a problematic aspect of what you're doing, and you ignore them or offer fauxpologies in the best case scenario, that's a problem. The fact that anyone who's not on board 100% with her is generally branded a "hater" turns off your real and potential fans.

She's also done some things that have been out-and-out problematic and has refused to apologize for them. Like the Klan tweet (which I believe is still on her Twitter timeline), or the Katy Perry "rape", or using the N word in a song, or the Dzokhar Tsarnev poem. Just to use the Klan tweet as an example, there were any number of ways she could have handled the PR fallout from that -- ending the tweet with "Adbusters" instead of "the Klan"; posting a sincere apology the next day (one without the word "if" in it), or just acknowledging that she made an offensive joke instead of just minimizing it and writing it off as a "kerfuffle". When Neko Case dealt with a similar issue last year, she eventually came around and recognized that she'd done something wrong, engaged some of her fans (and not just those who worshipped her unconditionally), and apologized for it. Palmer keeps saying horrible things and playing the BECAUSE ART card.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:58 AM on April 30, 2013 [6 favorites]


The best thing I can say about Amanda Palmer is that everything about her is one big "HOLY SHIT LOOK AT ME!", and a number of people really want to pay attention to people like that.

Good on em, I guess.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 7:02 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I was a fan of Neil before I was a fan of Amanda. I stopped following her on twitter a while ago because I grew tired of being treated like a potential dollar bill. As much as I enjoyed the early writings of Neil Gaiman, lately I've considered leaving his fandom as well.

I have no problem supporting the artists I consume but there is something about these two that has turned me completely off crowd-sourced funding, promotion.
posted by Fizz at 7:35 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


The future of music looks like Amanda Palmer.

Unsurprisingly, Amanda Palmer agrees with you.

You have to be a relentless self-promoter to get any traction at all anymore.

There's promotion and then there's promotion as Rory points out. The improv/avant/new music scene has its own share of beefs and attention-seekers, but IME, there's a lot less Palmer-style self-promotion and a lot more old school driving the van through North Dakota and selling records on the merch table. (Musician is good look at Ken Vandermark's career.) Most of these people are musicians who make music, record on little labels, and promote themselves by touring and performing, largely.

Amanda Fucking Palmer isn't the future of music, though maybe she's the future of a certain kind of music. These days, if someone wants to be famous badly enough, they can be famous for something. If they want to be a working artist, they can still be a working artist. Once in a while someone gets to be both, but that takes the same amount of work and luck it ever has.
posted by octobersurprise at 9:21 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


I'm only a casual fan, but my very surface level take is that Jonathan Coulton is working a similar social-media driven niche market angle, but from a lower-key, "Sure, I've got time for all of you guys," kinda way. Is that accurate or: a) is he not working from a comparable fan base; or b) is he going to disappoint me in some way if I delve into him as well?
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:32 AM on April 30, 2013


I know a lot of musicians and even two or four that make a decent living out of it, one could even be said to be about at Palmer's level of income/fame. None, zip zero zilch of them have even remotely approached the sheer marketing wankerdom Ms Palmer has crafted. Yeah, most of it is the driving to North Dakota, but you know you gotta pay your dues somehow. So I really don't buy this is what you have to do to be successful schtick. But... you know.. perhaps it's what she thinks she needs to do to be successful... which would be telling.
posted by edgeways at 9:37 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate to say this, but I'm almost glad Mark Sandman died before Twitter and before having to sell your personality above selling your music and art.

As a former friend of Sandman's, I'd prefer if he were here.
posted by kinetic at 9:42 AM on April 30, 2013 [15 favorites]


As a former friend of Sandman's, I'd prefer if he were here.
I apologize for my comment. I know what an intensely private person he was, and how intrusive the music industry has become in the years since he died. That said, it was wrong for me to say what I said, and I am sorry I said it.
posted by pxe2000 at 9:48 AM on April 30, 2013 [15 favorites]


kinetic: As a former friend of Sandman's, I'd prefer if he were here.

As for me, I hope he's sitting on the back porch, drinking red wine, singing ohhhhhhh.....
posted by DirtyOldTown at 9:49 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


Amanda Palmer is one model for how to do the arts in the modern world. There are a lot of models out there. I actually saw her participating, or perhaps even spearheading, a different model a few years ago, where she curated a series of short movies and presented them -- I think it was a small tour, although I saw it in Minneapolis, very near where she lives, so it might have been more of a local thing (doubtful, though; she is barely a presence in Minneapolis.)

It's a model of mutual promotion and mutual cooperation. It's a model of community building. It's increasingly one I am exploring. I have started to realize that I expect a community to support me as an artist, but I have not done much to support that community in return. And so I have spent the past year figuring out ways to reverse this -- most of the work I do now is support the various communities my art intersects with. I am trying to create systems of support for fellow artists, and am trying to be a citizen of my city and my neighborhood and my artistic community.

How has it worked? I am almost 45 and have been in the arts my entire adult life. I am a fairly successful playwright and a songwriter who has, at times, managed to attract international attention through exactly the sort of relentless self-promotion Palmer does. And yet this is the first year I have made my living exclusively in the arts. It's not a very good living, but, then, I have only been at this model for about six months, and it is starting to present more opportunities than I have ever had before.

I'll check again in another six months and see how it's going. I don't know that this is a better model than the one Palmer currently seems to be pursuing, at least publicly (it sounds as though she engages in some private support that is more along these lines.)

I do know that this is a model of making art I prefer.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 9:55 AM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Bunny, she's actually based out of Boston. (Neil apparently lives here, too -- some of my friends have seen him on the street.)
posted by pxe2000 at 10:03 AM on April 30, 2013


Boston and Minneapolis; they own a large house near the Twin Cities.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:04 AM on April 30, 2013


One of my Minneapolis friends is their beekeeper. I have had Gaiman's honey.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:05 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


One of my Minneapolis friends is their beekeeper. I have had Gaiman's honey.

Who knew you could pack that much wrong into two short sentences?
posted by R. Schlock at 10:14 AM on April 30, 2013 [13 favorites]


I have had Gaiman's honey.

I am picturing this as Werner Herzog doing a dramatic reading of bad fanfic and oh my god it is glorious.
posted by elizardbits at 10:33 AM on April 30, 2013 [16 favorites]


Herzog would have said "tasted".
posted by R. Schlock at 10:35 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I HAVE FELT THE SWEETLY BITTER STING OF GAIMAN'S HONEY UPON MY TONGUE
posted by elizardbits at 10:36 AM on April 30, 2013 [8 favorites]


> I think one of the final straws for me was back when she decided we all had to call her Amanda 'Fucking' Palmer.

Who's "we?" And what's she gonna do, punch your lights out if you don't?
posted by desuetude at 10:39 AM on April 30, 2013


Oh, you can hear me taste of the honey. The 3/26/12 episode of my only three-episode podcast, Bunny and Coco Get Smashed.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:40 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Bunny Fucking Ultramod, everybody.
posted by R. Schlock at 10:41 AM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


HIS VISCOUS AMBER STAIN UPON MY LIPS
posted by elizardbits at 10:44 AM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


I have had Gaiman's honey.

I HAVE FELT THE SWEETLY BITTER STING

HIS VISCOUS AMBER STAIN UPON MY LIPS


You guys should be aware that you're basically crowd-sourcing lyrics/title tracks for AFP's next Kickstarter album.
posted by Fizz at 10:46 AM on April 30, 2013 [18 favorites]


Sweet, sweet honey.
posted by drezdn at 10:46 AM on April 30, 2013


There are in this world a few things that can drive a man to madness. In this group, I would place the honey of Gaiman, which I have tasted, once, in a fit of imprudent hunger. I overlooked the anger of the bees when I thrust my hand into the hive to draw forth this golden fluid. The fierce aggression of their stinging I hardly noticed. The taste of this honey, which I smeared generously on a thick black bread, was intoxicating. Its effect on my mind, however, was like to destroy the world.
posted by R. Schlock at 10:50 AM on April 30, 2013 [18 favorites]


AFP's next Kickstarter album.

God, I hope so. Think of the glorious FPP on our multimillion dollar lawsuit!
posted by elizardbits at 10:52 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Was the "stand and be counted" too much?"

I could see the flags swirling ;)

"Like the Klan tweet (which I believe is still on her Twitter timeline), or the Katy Perry "rape", or using the N word in a song, or the Dzokhar Tsarnev poem. Just to use the Klan tweet as an example, there were any number of ways she could have handled the PR fallout from that -- ending the tweet with "Adbusters" instead of "the Klan"; posting a sincere apology the next day (one without the word "if" in it), or just acknowledging that she made an offensive joke instead of just minimizing it and writing it off as a "kerfuffle"."

I actually just saw the Klan thing because of this thread, and I honestly go the other way — it's so obviously a joke that taking it seriously as an indictment of her character is kinda bullshit. There is literally zero way that anyone sincerely thought she was advocating for product placement for the Klan. I'd a told people to get the fuck over it too — she was more gracious than me.

"I am picturing this as Werner Herzog doing a dramatic reading of bad fanfic and oh my god it is glorious."

Some see the bees as wondrous fairies of nature, but I look in their eyes and see only unthinking pain and death.
posted by klangklangston at 10:55 AM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


I have had Gaiman's honey.

Somehow I hear Patrick Stewart's voice.







And it is beautiful.
posted by kinetic at 11:26 AM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


it's so obviously a joke that taking it seriously as an indictment of her character is kinda bullshit. There is literally zero way that anyone sincerely thought she was advocating for product placement for the Klan.
If you say so.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:37 AM on April 30, 2013


klangklangston: ""Was the "stand and be counted" too much?"

I could see the flags swirling ;)

"Like the Klan tweet (which I believe is still on her Twitter timeline), or the Katy Perry "rape", or using the N word in a song, or the Dzokhar Tsarnev poem. Just to use the Klan tweet as an example, there were any number of ways she could have handled the PR fallout from that -- ending the tweet with "Adbusters" instead of "the Klan"; posting a sincere apology the next day (one without the word "if" in it), or just acknowledging that she made an offensive joke instead of just minimizing it and writing it off as a "kerfuffle"."

I actually just saw the Klan thing because of this thread, and I honestly go the other way — it's so obviously a joke that taking it seriously as an indictment of her character is kinda bullshit. There is literally zero way that anyone sincerely thought she was advocating for product placement for the Klan. I'd a told people to get the fuck over it too — she was more gracious than me.
"

It's still a shitty, tone deaf joke to make, especially if you're a white person.

A lesson in good vs. bad irony thanks to Amanda Palmer

Also from an update in that entry, here was her response to those that pointed out how messed up her saying something like donating to the KKK was ironic even as a joke:

"for those of you out there who can't bear the thought of the ku klux klan used ironically...you'll LOVE this!!: http://bit.ly/awIOOX " screencap

The link is to video from a play about the Jerry Springer Show which shows the KKK being invited on to the show.
posted by ShawnStruck at 11:41 AM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Right. A Taste of Gaiman's Honey is going to be my new Taste of Honey cover band.
posted by octobersurprise at 11:49 AM on April 30, 2013


If the punchline of the tweet had been "...something ironic, like Adbusters", we wouldn't be having this conversation.
posted by pxe2000 at 11:51 AM on April 30, 2013


"It's still a shitty, tone deaf joke to make, especially if you're a white person."

Nah, fuck that. The Klan isn't a real going concern anymore, and more to the point, it would take a general context of racism from AP to qualify that the Klan isn't the ironic punchline there. The whole joke is based on the fact that we all know the Klan is fucking reprehensible and no reasonable person would support them. In order to be upset by it you have to believe that either AP supports them or that mocking the Klan tacitly supports them.

And yeah, that's a snarky response to people who have already decided to hate AP first and fit everything into that context second.

"If the punchline of the tweet had been "...something ironic, like Adbusters", we wouldn't be having this conversation."

That doesn't really matter, honestly. And the Klan should be a fucking punchline. They're a bunch of inbred, gas-huffing simps with intelligence just barely sufficient to get cross stains out of sheets.

Not only that, but neither of those jokes — Klan nor Adbusters — is particularly funny.
posted by klangklangston at 12:54 PM on April 30, 2013 [2 favorites]


Missed this: "If you say so."

Hey, if you want to make a case that people sincerely believed that, go ahead. But they'd be idiots.
posted by klangklangston at 12:57 PM on April 30, 2013


PhoBWanKenobi: I dunno, I think people, especially internet people, react poorly to sincerity and enthusiasm and excitement when there's lots of witty snark and negativity to be had.

Man, I really don't think so. I am pretty into earnestness and enthusiasm. Hell, I funded Zach Braff's kickstarter in part because I think Garden State was flawed, but really earnest and when it worked it did things that moved me. But I still don't like her art.
I'd like to think theres's a fairly sizeable tract of land between "I don't like her art" and "reacting with lots of witty snark and negativity"

I don't much like Billy Ray Cyrus' music, nor most of what little I know about him as a person, but I'm not motivated to put out bile-laden posts about some faux-pas he did once-upon-a-time. Better things to do.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:15 PM on April 30, 2013


but IME, there's a lot less Palmer-style self-promotion and a lot more old school driving the van through North Dakota and selling records on the merch table.

There's still a lot of that among the better artists (at least, there was back when I was still actively engaged in music), which is what I was getting at with a different comment here. For some the internet hasn't necessarily changed all that much of the business, apart from offering new ways to communicate with fans. But most of those bands aren't raking in the bucks either, and there are a lot fewer bigger indie labels around anymore to support them (and to minimize the legwork/expenses of handling their own promotion). And I don't give a damn what anybody says, there was a time in recent history when it was much easier not to be a relentlessly self-shilling idiot and keep a career as a recording artist going (Nilsson and XTC, offer a couple of examples). The days of recording as a self-sustaining art form with mass appeal in itself are over and done, and I know a lot of people don't agree but I think that's a shame. (Before I start a fight, let me clarify, I don't mean that people aren't making good recordings anymore, only that making and selling good recordings alone isn't generally sustainable anymore and there was a time when for many artists it was.)
posted by saulgoodman at 1:20 PM on April 30, 2013


"they" don't own a house near minneapolis. he owns a house there. she's based out of the cloud club in boston and has been since the dresden doll days. late last year they rented a house in cambridge to be close to her friend with cancer (this is the first time they've technically lived together). she also seems to have a stomping ground in new york - but i think just a place to crash. they discussed renting a place in new york but those plans seem to be on hold.
posted by nadawi at 1:25 PM on April 30, 2013


I'd like to think theres's a fairly sizeable tract of land between "I don't like her art" and "reacting with lots of witty snark and negativity"

Huge tracts of land, even.
posted by octobersurprise at 1:59 PM on April 30, 2013 [1 favorite]


And yeah, that's a snarky response to people who have already decided to hate AP first and fit everything into that context second.

That's like a pastime for some people around here. I mean, faking a suicide is fucked up seven ways from Sunday, but she explains she did it when she was 18, and when I think about some of the stupid shit I did when I was young then I can understand it in that context. No doubt putting a recording of that onto an album is an even more fucked up thing to do, especially since she supposedly had matured since then and should've been able to have a little bit of an idea of what a fucked up thing it was to do in the first place. But with that said, as some are claiming above that she was bragging about it onstage is a really disingenuous read of that video. She stopped herself like 3 or 4 times, and yeah she kind of brushed it off as "art" but she also stated pretty clearly that it was a fucked up thing to do. Simply put the guy asked the question and she answered it.

I guess I just don't really get the idea that if I dislike someone or something I don't need to make up reasons to hate them past what I already hate.
posted by P.o.B. at 2:59 PM on April 30, 2013 [4 favorites]


Didn't stop her from using the recording on one of her records years later. Not a particularly persuasive way to show remorse, IMHO. I honestly don't care, though. Talking about celebrities is just about one of my least favorite things to do anyway. Back to real life with me...
posted by saulgoodman at 3:55 PM on April 30, 2013 [3 favorites]


That was pretty much the same sentiment I just expressed.
posted by P.o.B. at 5:41 PM on April 30, 2013


I haven't made it through the entire thread, apologies. It just strikes me that it is somewhat problematic to label criticism of an artist as misogynistic and "you are afraid of strong women" - a vibe I saw in both the Thatcher thread and this thread.

Why do I find it problematic? It strikes me that by calling criticism an act of misogyny, the person reacting is him/herself guilty of misogyny by assuming that any criticism has to be a result of the artist's (or politician's) gender. I rarely see criticism of .. say, David Bowie or Barack Obama .. as being labelled "misandry".

Of course if criticism is misogynistic, then having that discussion is completely valid. There's a huge difference between "I don't like Amanda Palmer's work and performances" and "I don't like Amanda Palmer's work and performances because she's a girl". The first is fine, the second is not cool. I just see a tendency to jump to the second conclusion a lot - what is it about AP that inspires this? I'm curious.

It's maybe a weird point to want to make, but it's something that's been brewing in my head overnight.
posted by kariebookish at 2:54 AM on May 1, 2013 [4 favorites]


Well some of it, I'd guess, is just a lazy way to try and deflect criticism. I think it may spring from legitimate roots in that the bar for criticizing women in positions of power/public-view is much much lower and THAT is without a doubt sexism.
You speak of Obama, and in that instance there was not misandry (well perhaps in that primary back in the day, and H. Clinton without a doubt was subjected to misogynistic attacks as well), but racism. A lot of criticism of Obama, especially early on was dismissed as racism. And, without a doubt some of it was/is. But some of it was/is not racism.
Just as I think it's likely some of the Palmer criticism could be misogyny. It can be hard, especially for those who like a particular figure, to separate out what might be misogyny (or racism or...) from legitimate criticism, because, well, they feel under attack even though the criticism is not directed at them personally. And that's understandable. Or even if you are trying to be fair and are not particularly committed to a particular personality it can be frustrating to separate the legitimate from the idiotic.

I come from a family of pretty strong women, and came to this thread pretty neutral on AP. Some of the charges leveled as proof she is, um, not the clearest thinker in the world seem pretty thin. But some of them do stick, pretty hard even. As alluded to above by someone, I think her biggest faux pas' have been the tone deafness to when she does make mistakes, or does cross a line, these seems to be no humility, no recognition that yeah perhaps that wasn't the best choice of words or the best action to undertake. Rather it's full steam ahead with the AP experience and screw those who might take offense. That is either arrogance, or just really well disguised insecurity. I really can't abide arrogance, especially in an entertainer. And I am not a psychologist and so will not pretend to diagnose a self esteem issue from afar.
posted by edgeways at 6:40 AM on May 1, 2013 [2 favorites]


Julie Klausner starts out this week's How Was Your Week with thoughts about all this. ("She's like Wesleyan college as a human being!" "She seems like an Egon Schiele painting" and "If you want to talk about bad ideas, [Palmer's endeavors] are all tines on the same fork.")
posted by psoas at 8:26 AM on May 3, 2013 [2 favorites]


This is an interesting perspective on artists' online presence and how quantity might trump quality. Could it explain AFP's ill-considered poems/tweets?
This dynamic of the audience self-screening for their favorite content makes the risks associated with releasing undesirable content fairly low, while enhancing the potential rewards of releasing beloved content. The opportunity costs for not releasing work quickly rise as audiences becomes less discriminatory and more participatory. Thus aesthletes rationally adopt a lottery-like gambit of releasing as much work as possible: The more they release, the more likely one will become a hit.
...

Athletic aesthetics amounts to the supply-side gamification of the art attention economy. Notes, likes, and reblogs serve as the quantitative basis for influence in an art world where critics’ written word has been stripped of power.
...

In an attention economy, there is more value in being ubiquitous than scarce, especially when there is no added cost to publicizing more works and no depletion of digital content’s aura, given that it permanently exists only as a copy for all.
posted by spamandkimchi at 2:59 PM on May 11, 2013


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