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Kim and Kanye for the Comic Con classes
December 8, 2013 11:47 AM   Subscribe

Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer: an audience with geek royalty
posted by fearfulsymmetry (247 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
"geek royalty"?!?

I don't know where that came from but I certainly didn't vote for them.
posted by Talez at 11:54 AM on December 8, 2013 [41 favorites]


No one "votes" for royalty.
posted by sammyo at 11:56 AM on December 8, 2013 [24 favorites]


Help, I'm not being impressed.
posted by w0mbat at 11:57 AM on December 8, 2013 [48 favorites]


No one "votes" for royalty.

Supreme executive power is derived from a mandate from the masses not a farcical aquatic ceremony.
posted by Talez at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2013 [66 favorites]


Well I think Neil Gaiman writes good words and Amanda Palmer does some pretty good songs.

Just to get that in before the blizzard of loathing comes down.
posted by Sebmojo at 11:59 AM on December 8, 2013 [23 favorites]


Ah, but if you're a smelly gentile does that make you reek goyalty?
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:01 PM on December 8, 2013 [30 favorites]


"tonight, at a sold-out show in New York's Times Square, the auditorium is filled with skinny boys dressed as Doctor Who and girl goths in rainbow-striped tights and dog collars, as death-obsessed as they are twee."

They are not at all twee.

If anyone needs me, I'll be in my bedroom wearing a cardigan and listening to Tigermilk.
posted by escabeche at 12:13 PM on December 8, 2013 [43 favorites]


re: twee - yeah, it was a pretty good little glimpse of a conversation with them, but the writer seemed to just like description words for the sake of it with no care if the definitions actually matched the usage.
posted by nadawi at 12:15 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think they would love it even if the two passed three hours on stage picking their noses.

Each other's noses, surely.
posted by escabeche at 12:18 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


The thing about royalty is that some people are entertained by fawning over them and some people are entertained by their achievements and some people are entertained by compiling giant lists of all their faults and analyzing everything they've ever done wrong. So, yeah, that's pretty much right.
posted by Sequence at 12:19 PM on December 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Paddle Palms?


awwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww
posted by mannequito at 12:20 PM on December 8, 2013


Over the past few years Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman have become a kind of Kim and Kanye for the Comic Con classes

You know, I think that's actually true whether or not you like or hate any of those four guys. Also, remember that spouse swap skit Chappelle did?
posted by ignignokt at 12:20 PM on December 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


No one "votes" for royalty.
posted by sammyo at 7:56 PM on December 8


Oh dear.
posted by Decani at 12:22 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Bloody peasant.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:23 PM on December 8, 2013


"If you stuck me in a room and gave me art-making tools but told me no one would ever see the results, I don't think I'd have much desire to make art"

I don't have strong feelings about Amanda Palmer one way or the other but any future negative thoughts I may have will be justified, somewhere in my mind, by that statement.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 12:24 PM on December 8, 2013 [51 favorites]


The problem I have with "geek royalty" is that the personality assumes the same importance as the cultural product that made them famous in the first place. One of the great things about writers, at least for me anyway, is you're not really suppose to recognize them walking down the street.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:27 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


'We learned early on – you don’t complain about the marriage on Twitter.'

I guess I should be surprised that they had to learn this, but I'm really not.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 12:28 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


"The misfit heroes of the alt scene share their lives with millions of Twitter fans. What's public and what's off-limits? Hermione Hoby joins them for gluten-free crackers and a chat"

Good lord.
posted by Auguris at 12:29 PM on December 8, 2013 [13 favorites]


I like Gaiman's writing just fine, but I don't know Palmer's music--I just know she has a weird kind of business model ("hey, wanna play in my band for free?") that I think is borderline unethical.
posted by zardoz at 12:30 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I am vindicated.

Also:
"As she talks I notice something keeps attracting and holding her attention on the wall to my right. It's a large mirror. Over the next hour and a half her own reflection is the recipient of a lot of eye contact."
LOf'nL
posted by R. Schlock at 12:30 PM on December 8, 2013 [37 favorites]


Oh, snap, I didn't mean to actually flag this article. I was looking to see if there was some sort of ironic "because I hate them" option. Sorry, mods.
posted by Auguris at 12:31 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't have strong feelings about Amanda Palmer, but comparing her to Kim Kardashian seems a little insulting in a category error sense.
posted by George_Spiggott at 12:32 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I think Kim can handle it.
posted by escabeche at 12:35 PM on December 8, 2013 [43 favorites]


One of the great things about writers, at least for me anyway, is you're not really suppose to recognize them walking down the street.

...a rule that Neil totally violates. (but then, so did Vonnegut and Azimov and totally Alan Moore)
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:35 PM on December 8, 2013


I guess I should be surprised that they had to learn this, but I'm really not.

i can't seem to find the interview - but they're actually talking about a specific event. it was a tiny little tiff that wasn't even a tiff - she said something she thought was a general complaint about her day and he took it as a specific complaint about a miscommunication they had. feelings got hurt, etc. it's not like they had a fight and one of them went on twitter to be like "and here is why my spouse sucks!"
posted by nadawi at 12:35 PM on December 8, 2013


The Roundhead Neckbeards gather their forces and march on the Convention. The Royalists, scarves and fishnets flapping in the wind, sally forth to do battle.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 12:35 PM on December 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


maybe afp is kanye in the comparison...
posted by nadawi at 12:36 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


/am awaiting obligatory Bound 2 edit.
posted by Artw at 12:37 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Where is Douglas Adams and Ween when you really need a revolution.
posted by Brocktoon at 12:42 PM on December 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


Kanye will be totally pissed by the comparison, but Kim should be flattered.

And I thought if there was a "Geek Royalty", it'd totally be King Joss and his family/collaborators - Neil and Amanda are more "Hipster Geek Royalty" (as demonstrated by the formal dress rules at the gathering).

Still, if we're going to complain about Worthless Obnoxious Celebrities, let's talk about how Sarah Palin got Martin Bashir fired (another asshole, yes, but several levels less harmful to the world at large).
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:43 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The thing about royalty is that some people are entertained by fawning over them and some people are entertained by their achievements and some people are entertained by compiling giant lists of all their faults and analyzing everything they've ever done wrong. So, yeah, that's pretty much right.

That's just celebrity. Nothing regal about it whatsoever.

"As she talks I notice something keeps attracting and holding her attention on the wall to my right. It's a large mirror. Over the next hour and a half her own reflection is the recipient of a lot of eye contact."

You could not make this shit up if you tried. This woman has a case of USI so bad that it will surely be studied in medical schools for generations to come.
posted by Talez at 12:43 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


I used to have no opinion on her whatsoever until I found out about the eyebrows. Something snapped there.
posted by Artw at 12:45 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Haha, I guess I should have expected that they'd start talking about their sex life pretty quickly...

My fault for clicking.
posted by destructive cactus at 12:50 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"If you stuck me in a room and gave me art-making tools but told me no one would ever see the results, I don't think I'd have much desire to make art"

I don't believe the quote is necessarily evidence of narcissism. That statement could be made by a lot of 'respectable' artists. The thing about art is that it does not exist in a vacuum. An artist is -always- making things in the context of their audience. Some want to appeal to a demographic. Others want to make a living. Still others want to piss off their parents. Performance artists of all kinds are particularly interested in how the audience responds. That's how they judge the effectiveness of their work.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 12:56 PM on December 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


Sebmojo: Well I think Neil Gaiman writes good words and Amanda Palmer does some pretty good songs.

Sometimes, when discussing a person, it helps to separate the artist from the art.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:56 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's fun when people hate people for not conforming to the invisible social rules and private assumptions they carry around in their heads.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 12:57 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


as demonstrated by the formal dress rules at the gathering

i've seen lots of pictures of amanda palmer concerts and their joint ventures and i'd be really surprised of the writer's description of the audience was actually apt - i'm sure there were some teenagers and some dressed like was said (if i remember correctly, that show happened right after the dr. who 50th anniversary show, so probably more than normal on the doctor cosplay) - but there's lots of diversity in age and dress sense among their audiences.

here is another write up of that same show.
posted by nadawi at 12:59 PM on December 8, 2013


Or sometimes people 'hate' people not because they don't conform to invisible social rules, but because they just seem to go out of their way to be insufferable.
posted by Windigo at 1:00 PM on December 8, 2013 [31 favorites]


guhhhhh these people are so annoying; Palmer has at least two or three excellent albums under her belt and Gaiman has written a few enjoyable books but gosh if they don't make it hard to enjoy their works on their own merits without feeling like you're being persona-smothered.
posted by threeants at 1:05 PM on December 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


They seem to like each other a lot, that's nice.
posted by Artw at 1:08 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Geek culture's tendency to deify people who are really only barely celebrities is my least favorite thing about it.

I mean, Neil Gaiman is a perfectly fine writer and Amanda Palmer, well, ugh, but she makes the musics ok I guess if I've got to be polite about it.

But "royalty"? They barely count as famous. I hate that people are willing to pay money to be in their presence*. In fact, the main thing that keeps me away from most Cons is the way they turn fame-whoring into a literal monetary transaction.

*I'm perfectly fine with people paying money to see Palmer perform or buy Gaiman's books, but this is a whole other thing.
posted by Sara C. at 1:09 PM on December 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


I've always thought of Amanda Palmer as a low-rent Courtney Love, who is in turn a low-rent....
posted by nevercalm at 1:11 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


That's just celebrity. Nothing regal about it whatsoever.

That's exactly what royalty has always been. We use "regal" as an adjective describing a certain bearing, like there was something deserving about people who just happened to be born into those families, but it's not like it was routinely true. Charles II of the Spanish Hapsburgs--not regal. Plenty of British kings have been chided by history for lacking appropriate levels of royal dignity. James I, remembered by history for having a giant tongue and disgusting eating habits and being prone to vulgarities.

The fact that the current crop of European royal families generally has pretty good manners does not really mean that is an inherent trait of royalty.
posted by Sequence at 1:11 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


they did an ama on reddit recently (questions and answers collected on afp's blog for easier reading).
posted by nadawi at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2013


Were any of the questions, "Why don't you just go away?"
posted by Sara C. at 1:14 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Sara C. - are you talking about the evening with amanda palmer and neil gaiman? he reads, she reads, they sing, she sings, guests come on stage and do performances - seems like a lot more than just paying to be in their presence, unless i've misunderstood you...
posted by nadawi at 1:14 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I mean, I've paid money on at least two occasions to see Amanda Palmer perform, because I really liked the Dresden Dolls and her first solo album. And I swear to god at the more recent show she spent like 30% of her show talking about twitter (it was kind of new then) and various other promo-related things. what.
posted by threeants at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


> "... hard to enjoy their works on their own merits without feeling like you're being persona-smothered."

This kind of baffles me. I enjoy both their work but know pretty much nothing about them personally except that some people on Metafilter seem to dislike them for reasons I'm not particularly curious about. I can't imagine how I would even get any information about them without deliberately seeking it out. If you don't want to hear about them, why click?
posted by kyrademon at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Yes, I am talking about the evening with Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman.

Readings are for free at bookstores or on Tuesday nights in the right sort of pub. You don't charge people for them.

Unless it's geek culture, where, as I said, everything's a transaction.

I generally hate any sort of An Evening With... type of event. It's the grossest sort of fame-whoring.
posted by Sara C. at 1:17 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


This kind of baffles me. I enjoy both their work but knows pretty much nothing about them personally except that some people on Metafilter seem to dislike them for reasons I'm not particularly curious about. I can't imagine how I would even get any information about them without deliberately seeking it out. If you don't want to hear about them, why click?

I mean, I'm not going to enter some sort of hermetic media cordon just to avoid the fact that these individuals are prolifically obnoxious.
posted by threeants at 1:18 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


i dunno, it just seems like a pretty typical variety show, which are often paid events. and it's a lot more than just readings.
posted by nadawi at 1:19 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


> "The misfit heroes of the alt scene share their lives with millions of Twitter fans. What's public and what's off-limits? Hermione Hoby joins them for gluten-free crackers and a chat"

More and more I feel like LiarTownUSA is actually just the first visible glimmer of a parallel reality colliding with our own.
posted by contraption at 1:22 PM on December 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


> If you don't want to hear about them, why click?

I cull the living hell out of what comes across the bow around here but I am incessantly informed about things I totally don't care about through e-osmosis.
posted by user92371 at 1:24 PM on December 8, 2013


If you don't want to hear about them, why click?

It's a lazy boring Sunday and I's rather do anything other than chores. Hate-reading is easy.
posted by bleep at 1:27 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Unless it's geek culture, where, as I said, everything's a transaction.

It didn't used to be. In proper fandom, there's no distinction between the pro and the fan and everybody understood the thing itself is bigger than either of them.
posted by MartinWisse at 1:28 PM on December 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


i dunno, it just seems like a pretty typical variety show, which are often paid events. and it's a lot more than just readings.

It becomes fame-whoring the second people are paying admission to see you do something that would be free if you weren't famous.

You have a table at conventions charging people to take a photo with you? Fame-whoring.

You charge people to come hear you read despite the fact that every other author does it for free? Fame-whoring.

You charge admission for people to hear you sing despite the fact that you're a writer, and hear your wife tell stories despite the fact that she's a musician? Fame-whoring.

Just to be clear, I don't only feel this way because it's Geekdom's Most Insufferable Couple. I dislike the fact that a lot of people I really enjoy do this, and I won't pay to be in their presence because they're famous, either.
posted by Sara C. at 1:29 PM on December 8, 2013 [10 favorites]


neil does free readings, amanda puts on free ninja gigs all the time. people are choosing to go see a specific event. i just don't see what's fame whoring (a term i loathe) about it.
posted by nadawi at 1:32 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


i just don't see what's fame whoring (a term i loathe) about it.

They part where they're charging admission.

And, again this is absolutely not limited to the Gaiman-Palmers, nor is it limited to people I don't like. There are loads of people I'd LOVE to take a photo with at a Con, but I won't because ugh.
posted by Sara C. at 1:35 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


i dunno, it just seems like a pretty typical variety show, which are often paid events. and it's a lot more than just readings.

Last time I went and saw Seanan McGuire's book reading she was filking for free. I should let her know she should be capitalizing on her multi-faceted talent rather than giving away extra entertainment for free!
posted by Talez at 1:35 PM on December 8, 2013


You charge people to come hear you read despite the fact that every other author does it for free?

I dunno, a reading in a small-town bookstore is usually free, to be sure, but readings at the 92nd street Y, a pretty mainstream gig, are twenty bucks and up, I think. Giving paid readings has been normal for a long time.
posted by escabeche at 1:37 PM on December 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


Yeah, I'm not big fan of either party, but Sara C you have a real whacked out sense of what's appropriate to charge for and at what point it becomes inappropriate.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 1:38 PM on December 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


But if you go right down the street to Barnes & Noble, the same reading is free.

It's still fame whoring if it's at the 92nd Street Y. The venue doesn't change that. Likewise those An Evening With sort of "concert" like things where they get somebody like Sarah Vowell or David Sedaris to speak at Carnegie Hall. The fact that it's Carnegie Hall doesn't change the fact that you're paying to be in the presence of a famous person.
posted by Sara C. at 1:40 PM on December 8, 2013


It didn't used to be. In proper fandom, there's no distinction between the pro and the fan and everybody understood the thing itself is bigger than either of them.

That's still the way it works, as I'm sure you know, at proper cons. As opposed to... media cons. I almost fainted just saying the word!
posted by Justinian at 1:41 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I will admit, too, that a part of my sneering about this, especially within geek culture, is that we do this with people who would never stand the teensiest chance of filling Carnegie Hall or the 92nd Street Y, much less having the remotest chance of being asked to do any such thing.

Here I'm not talking about Gaiman and Palmer per se (who probably are at the level of those venues), but, like, minor sci fi actors who are... not that famous. Really.
posted by Sara C. at 1:43 PM on December 8, 2013


Sara C.: "minor sci fi actors who are... not that famous. Really."

And might need the supplemental income?
posted by the_artificer at 1:44 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I don't know Palmer's music--I just know she has a weird kind of business model ("hey, wanna play in my band for free?") that I think is borderline unethical.

The Dresden Dolls were quite good, imo, but I haven't cared for her solo stuff since then.
posted by homunculus at 1:44 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I would pay to be in Douglas Adams' presence, if still alive. I can't say that about these people. My bar is either too low or too high, depending on which author you like more, I guess.
posted by Brocktoon at 1:45 PM on December 8, 2013


That's kind of mean.
posted by bq at 1:46 PM on December 8, 2013


And might need the supplemental income?

They should get jobs, then.
posted by Sara C. at 1:46 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


i really enjoyed "theatre is evil" - it was a solid album that sounded great.
posted by nadawi at 1:48 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


They should get jobs, then.

Jobs like "regularly performing in public for money?"
posted by escabeche at 1:51 PM on December 8, 2013 [28 favorites]


paying to be in someone's presence is kim kardashian and paris hilton's business model. they get paid to go to parties and sit in the vip area. if you can't see the difference between that and a 3 hour performance of a variety of talents with a variety of performers, i'm not really sure we're going to get eye to eye.
posted by nadawi at 1:51 PM on December 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


I went to a Neil Gaiman book reading about 8 years ago, just before Anansi Boys (prob spelling that wrong) was published. I think the tickets were $8 but I only went because my roommate got them for free from her boss. The best part was that I only found out about it like an hour before and I happened to be coming from a recording session. Here's how I remember our brief interaction at the signing table after the reading:

Me: Hi Mr. Gaiman - I see you're mostly signing books, but do you mind signing other things?

Neil, looking impatient: Oh, I don't know, I guess. What've you got, like a t-shirt or something?

Me, opening my backpack: Uh, no, this might seem weird but I just happen to have my xylophone with me today...

Neil, eyes lighting up: Ohhhh! I've never signed anything that starts with an X before!

So to this day I still have a bit of soft spot for him, even if I haven't read anything that really impressed me since American Gods. I guess he's happy with Amanda but in pieces like this I feel like all the geek celebrity culture kind of strains his patience. I have to wonder if it has affected his writing.
posted by mannequito at 1:52 PM on December 8, 2013 [23 favorites]


Palmer really should be less of a flashpoint by now, especially given how many people in entertainment and related fields are equally relentless self-promoters. Speaking as a fairly geeky fellow, she's not that hard to ignore unless you're particularly devoted to a particular brand of alt-cabaret (the Palmer bit) or to reconstructive popular fantasy (Gaiman's particular milieu). I mean, these are subcultures *inside* subcultures.

Some of the anti-Palmer sentiment seems like gross sexism or biphobia and trans*phobia from those outside the subdivision of geekdom that is Palmer fandom, and some of it is that she's increasingly bought into what started as her stage persona's pronounced theatricality and (now un)ironic pretension. If Morrissey hadn't turned out to be so shockingly, genuinely racist, I'd compare her to him -- or rather, him as people saw him within a few years of the Smiths break up and before the anti-immigrant comments started making the NME -- in terms of apparent temperament and foot-in-mouth syndrome.
posted by kewb at 1:53 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I don't think you go into the "being famous" business because you want to have a real job.

I dunno, Gaiman seems a pretty cool dude, I'd pay to see one of his readings and his writing is often great. Palmer? Eyebrows.
posted by Artw at 1:53 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


i love "ocean at the end of the lane" so much that i can't force myself to finish reading it. i keep reading 10 or so pages at a time. it's a beautiful little book thus far. i'm glad he's getting all the sales and awards from it.
posted by nadawi at 1:55 PM on December 8, 2013


if you can't see the difference between that and a 3 hour performance of a variety of talents with a variety of performers, i'm not really sure we're going to get eye to eye.

Are those performances and talents things those people are I Will Pay To See This level, with? Like, I probably wouldn't pay to see Amanda Palmer read some shitty haiku she wrote if she weren't Amanda Palmer. I probably wouldn't pay to see Neil Gaiman stumble through a three-chord rock song on acoustic guitar, like, period, with no other draw. It's neat that their fans are less discerning, I guess? Yay, capitalism?

It's still lame and shitty and one of my least favorite things about celebrity culture.

And, again, this is nothing at all to do with my opinions on either of them as people. I also hate people who make you pay to subscribe to their podcast, people who charge for autographs, etc.
posted by Sara C. at 1:56 PM on December 8, 2013


I don't think you go into the "being famous" business because you want to have a real job.

This, in a nutshell, is EXACTLY my problem with the whole thing.
posted by Sara C. at 1:57 PM on December 8, 2013


What's worse than bullies? Haters. If it ain't you're thing, move on. You don't have to try to impress us with your not liking someone or something.
posted by fungible at 1:59 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


Performers should be paid for their performances. Whether it's a concert, a lecture, a puppet show, or whatever. That's how they make their living. It -is- a job. Just because you don't like it doesn't make it wrong or somehow inappropriate.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 2:01 PM on December 8, 2013 [32 favorites]


i've paid to see a lot of subpar talent from non-famous people in a variety/cabaret show format. i'd honestly wager that's the norm - there's an appeal to see performers stretching out of their comfort zones. i'd also say that most of the bands i've seen in a 5 bands for $10 format were not good enough, objectively, to be paid for their talents, but i still appreciate being allowed to pay artists to make art i like/have a good time with. i like that people are still putting on weird shows like this as opposed to the huge stadium shows by britney spears et al (even though i think those have their place too).
posted by nadawi at 2:02 PM on December 8, 2013


Some of the anti-Palmer sentiment seems like...trans*phobia
?????

I am really curious what you mean. I'm sort of with you, but prior MetaFilter Palmer 2 Minutes Hates linked to things where she is very callous about a former lover's suicide and not paying performers, etc., which I, as a fence sitter who's enjoyed a few of her songs without knowing much about her, found really gross.

The backlash against Gaiman has long been a thing, and while I started reading him more casually after American Gods (but still love Sandman and Stardust to death), I think part of it is that he did get lots of girls and women reading comics, which Geek Culture seems to have very conflicted feelings about.
posted by byanyothername at 2:03 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Some of the anti-Palmer sentiment seems like gross sexism or biphobia and trans*phobia from those outside the subdivision of geekdom that is Palmer fandom

Perhaps. But in addition: one of the primary substantive critiques of Amanda Palmer is the time she had a giggle on TV very mockingly dismissing the opinions of, and the very concept of, disabled feminists. If it had been, say, Taylor Swift making those comments, she would have been literally (not literally) crucified for such disrespectful discourse. If Amanda Palmer's fans are cool with her actions there, that's their own issue to deal with I guess, but it's not like all the critiques come down to tone or style or something.
posted by threeants at 2:04 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


i think it can be true that there's a lot of legitimate critique and also that some of the other critiques comes from a sexist, etc place. those aren't mutually exclusive.
posted by nadawi at 2:07 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Truth, fair enough.
posted by threeants at 2:08 PM on December 8, 2013


byanyothername: I'm thinking more of the way Palmer has cultivated a non-traditionally feminine appearance and has commented on her own cultivation of same.

threeants: My sense is more that she thinks that aestheticism and theatricality give her a pass on ableism, sexism, etc. I certainly think Palmer can be a victim of structural injustices and still act unreflexively as a carrier wave for some of them as well, just like most people.
posted by kewb at 2:08 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Performers should be paid for their performances. Whether it's a concert, a lecture, a puppet show, or whatever. That's how they make their living. It -is- a job. Just because you don't like it doesn't make it wrong or somehow inappropriate.

Sure. But performers should keep in mind what the conventions of their particular art form are.

It's generally not done to pay an author give a reading. Readings are typically free, and not even remotely at all the primary way of making money as an author. Authors make money selling books. Anything beyond that, where money is asked? Kinda shitty and fame-whorish.

The case of a musician doing some other kind of performance is sort of an edge case, because people do usually pay musicians to perform and that's their main source of income. Though it doesn't give them carte blanche to charge for anything. Amanda Palmer performs in a play? I'll pay to see that. Amanda Palmer gives an interview, or tells stories about her life, or reads from her new book of poems? Nope.
posted by Sara C. at 2:11 PM on December 8, 2013


i've paid to see a lot of subpar talent from non-famous people in a variety/cabaret show format.

Cabaret is kind of an odd beast. I've paid a cover to see cabaret at a bar. Burlesque, too. Though usually the fee is commensurate with the performer's skill level. I'd definitely shrink at paying $50 for the privilege of seeing Neil Gaiman play the banjo.
posted by Sara C. at 2:19 PM on December 8, 2013


Holy hell, MetaFilter, I have a bunch of things that I criticize Amanda Palmer for and I am not COMPLETELY over the moon with Neil Gaiman (though I like him a whole, whole, whole, whole lot) but some of the criticism here strikes me as revealing a lot more pathetic stuff about the commenters than it does about the couple.

They seem like a lovely and intelligent duo, and if they don't make exactly the kind of art I like to consume and they go about doing things in ways that I sometimes find very objectionable, it doesn't make them any less so. Looking at yourself in the mirror is not pathological, especially if there's a mirror of you in sight while you're sitting in basically any place, and wanting to make art for people that aren't you is one of the best reasons to make art fucking period. There's a reason I wrote blogs in high school and college instead of keeping a journal, and it's that there's something incredibly gratifying about sharing things about yourself to a broader audience. I sing to myself but I only record music in the hopes that someday people will listen to it. This is not that perverse of an intention.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:21 PM on December 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


Also, Amanda Palmer is both problematic and annoying, but I'll be honest and say that I resent her fans not for forgiving her in those things, but because massive enthusiastic fandoms make life so much easier and I totally wish I had one of them already also. "Problematic and annoying" describes me pretty well, and when I become famous I'm sure there'll be a whole cotillion of people hating the shit out of me as well, whether I give them a good reason to be or no.

The hate and the criticism, in other words, are two totally separate things, and the hate is kind of ridiculous while the criticism makes a ton of sense since AFP has behaved in ways that are definitely worth criticizing.
posted by Rory Marinich at 2:24 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


shrink at paying $50 for the privilege of seeing Neil Gaiman play the banjo.

What about some random comedian? Or an amateur clarinetist?
posted by sammyo at 2:24 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


This is kind of a gross thread.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:30 PM on December 8, 2013 [26 favorites]


The comparison between a 2 hour stage performance that had extensive planning and rehearsals and a 10 minute reading at the back of a bookstore is at the least disingenuous. The local bookstores that book super popular authors at a nearby theater often charge a small fee ($5?).
posted by sammyo at 2:33 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


i dunno, i still just don't get why putting on a multifaceted performance that people want to see makes them famewhores - i mean, a good 1/3 of the show is afp doing exactly what she does for a living, singing and playing music. the show in question had cabaret performers, meow meow & lance horne, show up (who later that night went and did another variety show like thing with alan cumming). to classify it as neil doing a barnes and noble type reading and playing the banjo seems to be off.
posted by nadawi at 2:35 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


"Sure. But performers should keep in mind what the conventions of their particular art form are."

Nonsense.

At the very basis of any performance art is this: entertainment. That's the thing that binds it all together. Do you put on a show that is worth the money that the audience pays? If so, then more power to you. You'll make your fans and they will come to your shows and you will make a living.

No musician will ever make a living who doesn't entertain. Nor will any actor, mime, puppeteer, or whatever. And if they can broaden the scope of their performances then more power to them.

Trying to dictate how a performer can or can't make their living is silly.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 2:36 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


This is kind of a gross thread.

No kidding, where do the extremes of artist worship/hatred come from? There are some performers I do not care for at all, I have a special technique to avoid them, click.
posted by sammyo at 2:36 PM on December 8, 2013


Steve Martin is actually really good at the banjo. Like, award-winning and everything.

That said, the railing against paid performance is really weird.

AFP has done a lot of gross things (Evelyn Evelyn and KKK jokes even before getting to the Kickstarter stuff). Just as there are sexist critiques of the Twilight books, that there exists sexist critique of AFP doesn't mean there's not tons of shitty stuff she can be critiqued for.
posted by kmz at 2:41 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


extremes of artist worship

Ok, self correction, I had the good fortune to meet Dame Margot Fonteyn briefly once in a rehearsal studio, she was much older than me, but a crook of her finger and I would have followed her anywhere. The most exquisitely beautiful person in every way imaginable. So ok, some worship is understandable.
posted by sammyo at 2:43 PM on December 8, 2013


I can understand why people have a beef with Amanda Palmer. She's said and done quite a few things that have pissed a lot of people off. But to say that she's not doing it right in spite of the evidence that her shows are well attended and successful smacks of sour grapes. If you don't like her, fine. Move along and let her fans have their fun.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 2:43 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


It's generally not done to pay an author give a reading. Readings are typically free

I'm not sure about that - I've paid to see many different authors give readings. Maybe we have different expectations for a reading? I'd expect maybe 15 mins of actual reading, possibly 15 minutes of directed questioning from some kind of host and at least 30 mins of audience Q&A. So, 50-60 mins of entertainment, which is definitely worth some filthy lucre in my book.
posted by MUD at 2:46 PM on December 8, 2013


I think the "haters" (who are also "geeks") don't like the implication that they are now obligated to accept these people as "geek royalty", which seems understandable to me.
posted by Brocktoon at 2:47 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


What about some random comedian? Or an amateur clarinetist?

Yeah, that's the sort of thing I think is silly and fame-whorish.

I don't reserve the criticism only for people I dislike, as I've said numerous times.

Steve Martin is a bit borderline, though, because he actually is somewhat famous for playing the banjo and has included it in his comedy work on numerous very famous occasions.
posted by Sara C. at 2:48 PM on December 8, 2013


I'd expect maybe 15 mins of actual reading, possibly 15 minutes of directed questioning from some kind of host and at least 30 mins of audience Q&A.

Yeah, no, this sort of thing is typically free in my experience, at any large bookstore. 30 minutes of Audience QA is pushing it a bit, but I really don't think that's what pushes something over the limit of "nevermind, would totally pay". If anything, more than 10-15 minutes of audience QA and they should be paying me.

Once you leave the bookstore venue and go to something like Carnegie Hall, I've definitely seen a ticket charge, but again that's where we sort of leave "promotional book tour" behind and get into fame whoring.
posted by Sara C. at 2:52 PM on December 8, 2013


That said, the railing against paid performance is really weird.

Nobody's doing that.

I'm railing against being asked to pay to see a celebrity do something that is usually free.

Seeing an amateur perform is usually free.

Seeing an author of any caliber read from their work is usually free.

Snapping a photo or asking for an autograph from a celebrity you see on the street is free (and also rude, but still, free), and meet-and-greet style signings/promotional appearances are also generally free to attend.

Tickets to be in the audience for interviews and promotional events, outside a convention setting, are also usually free.

So, yeah, it is kind of hinky to be expected to pay for the privilege, simply because it is what the market will bear.
posted by Sara C. at 2:56 PM on December 8, 2013


It's generally not done to pay an author give a reading. Readings are typically free, and not even remotely at all the primary way of making money as an author. Authors make money selling books

Bit of a "yes, but" thing cropping up at my local bookshop at least. It has authors two or three times a week. About half who appear (generally those with names you would recognize) stipulate that the audience buy the book to attend the talk. Don't know if this makes sense from a career POV, but it is a thing.
posted by IndigoJones at 2:57 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


What's worse than bullies? Haters.

Oh, shit, what an excellent point! The fact that something is disliked obviously implies personal characteristics on the part of the disliker, and automatically lends credibility to the disliked thing and its fans.

You want me to godwin that for you, or should I leave it as an exercise for the reader?

Am I saying that AFP is worsethanhitlerTM? No, I just think the whole concept of a 'hater' is one of hip-hop culture's stupidest gifts to the greater world, and using such a lazy piece of non-thought as an insult implies, ironically, poor personal qualities on the part of the insulter.

tl;dr: I'm a 'hater'-hater

posted by hap_hazard at 3:03 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'd like to regail you all with a story of a man named Brady. Not that Brady though. A man named Wayne Brady. A very talented and popular man of comedy. He was coming through my home city so I decided to take my then girlfriend to his show expecting to be thoroughly entertained.

So anyway, Mr Brady did a rather amusing 45 minute set and then the tone changed. He started going on about his love of dancing. There was nothing in the advertisments for said show that indicated he would be switching gears halfway through or that we'd be enjoying his dancing talents. Needless to say, I was not entertained by it and ended up leaving ten minutes into the dance set when it became clear that this was the rest of the show.

After spending a tad over USD$100 per ticket for each of us I was kind of pissed after that show. I felt like I had been used. Batied and switched. That his dancing act couldn't stand on its own so he had to force it down our collective throats and self-promote during his own far more successful act.

And that's why I really can't appreciate this blurring of lines between promotion and entertainment. Especially when they're charging for it. You want to do promotion? Do promotion. Do it the way it should be where people don't pay to be recipients of your self-advertisment. It's just plain fucking rude and insulting and I won't be a part of it. Don't slapdash some shit together to fill the rest of the space to justify a cover. You want to entertain people for money? Do a proper show at a proper venue.
posted by Talez at 3:03 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


stipulate that the audience buy the book to attend the talk

Do people have to show receipts?

The way I've seen it, usually there are piles of copies everywhere and tons of promotional materials, posters, ads, etc. all around. Also, often authors will not sign books not purchased that day/at that event.

I've also seen, for really huge names like Bill Clinton, an arrangement where buying the book gets you a bracelet or hand stamp that guarantees a seat at the reading later that day. But that's done for crowd control and to make it fair for people who came out and bought the book. The money doesn't go to Bill Clinton.
posted by Sara C. at 3:03 PM on December 8, 2013


Isn't a lot of the money used to pay for the venue, staff, etc?
posted by littlesq at 3:04 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Talez I can't tell if you're actually complaining or if that's sarcasm so straight-faced that I must hate you forever for being so much better at straight-faced sarcasm than I am.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:07 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also this thread is making me sad, but I just wanted to say if I really loved a performer/artist/whomever and they did a random show I would be delighted.
posted by littlesq at 3:08 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


if anyone went to "an evening with" not knowing what they were getting that's really on them. afp & neil had the idea to do the shows and had a kickstarter to see if people were interested, they did the shows and had enough money to record and release an album, and then they planned another mini tour to promote the album - you know, like basically everyone who releases an album. you'd have to be really not paying attention to not know what you bought a ticket for.
posted by nadawi at 3:09 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


had a kickstarter to see if people were interested

Wait sorry they had a kickstarter to "see if people were interested" in BUYING TICKETS TO SEE THEM ????????

OK all pretense I had that this isn't about Amandeil Palman just went out the window.

The nerve of those assholes...
posted by Sara C. at 3:11 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also this thread is making me sad, but I just wanted to say if I really loved a performer/artist/whomever and they did a random show I would be delighted.

There's a big difference between surprising talent and "I'm completely shit at this but let me force it on you".

For instance, if Ed Helms comes out on stage with a banjo and begins belting out "Take Me Home Country Roads" it would be the proverbial awesome.
posted by Talez at 3:14 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


nope. they had a kickstarter to raise the money to hold the shows - which was basically people buying tickets and the cd through the kickstarter to finance it.
posted by nadawi at 3:14 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I thought it was a Kickstarter to get the album (turned out to be albums), with the option to get tickets if you wanted. I got about 3 albums worth of songs for $1. I really don't know what you're so angry about. If only more musicians/writers/musician-writer combos were so open with their work.
posted by CrystalDave at 3:15 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


yeah - i think they originally intended it cd for just the backers but with all the interest it made sense to release it and do another mini tour. i forgot the intention was to record it the whole time, though...
posted by nadawi at 3:16 PM on December 8, 2013


I'm guessing the Kickstarter was a down payment on a ticket or something. Calm down. How many times have we had gushing threads about the latest Doublefine game or whatever and people are more than willing to get excited and spend their money on that. But when it's Amanda Palmer suddenly everyone's an "asshole"? Please. At least acknowledge that you're just riding the Your Favourite Band Sucks train instead of trying to make it about some high moral judgement.
posted by fight or flight at 3:16 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


After spending a tad over USD$100 per ticket for each of us I was kind of pissed after that show. I felt like I had been used. Batied and switched. That his dancing act couldn't stand on its own so he had to force it down our collective throats and self-promote during his own far more successful act.

Yeah, if this is serious, clearly the far larger problem is anyone paying $100 USD (appx) for WAYNE BRADY.
posted by nevercalm at 3:19 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I think it's great when people, including artists, are paid for their time.
posted by Mavri at 3:22 PM on December 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


So let me get this straight.... they have a show where they wanted people to volunteer and perform for free and people get pissed off. So now they have a show where people pay and presumably some of the money goes to the performers, venue, etc and people get pissed off.

I honestly don't understand the vitriol.
posted by littlesq at 3:23 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


"If you stuck me in a room and gave me art-making tools but told me no one would ever see the results, I don't think I'd have much desire to make art"

I'm not an artist by most people's definitions, but I am arguably a "creative" person. And while I'm paid embarrassingly large amounts of money for the things I do create, I would create things anyway even if I weren't paid. Creation is an impulse; I have to do it. I can't imagine not doing it. Sure, I'd be creating different things if there weren't money involved -- but to stop entirely? Unthinkable!

And that's why that quote rubs me wrong.
posted by Slothrup at 3:23 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


she started as a living statue, she often puts on free performances. i don't think it's explicitly about the money, that quote is discussing the audience.
posted by nadawi at 3:25 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


I like the irony of the internet commentariat who are angry at people paying to see/buying merch from Amanda Palmer are also angry that Amanda Palmer has spoken about not paying people who work with her. How is she supposed to be generating that salary if not through ticket sales? It doesn't make sense.

Or maybe people are just bored and like being pissed off about stuff on the internet and figure Amanda Palmer et al are easy targets because sad teenage goth girls, amirite? Nobody likes them!
posted by fight or flight at 3:27 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry, Sara C. (and sincerely so, since I generally agree with you) - maybe i'm a victim of capitalism - maybe I'm just jaded - but I've come to expect that having the opportunity to see anyone do anything for my enjoyment comes at a cost to me. Maybe it's a function of privation: I live in an area of NA where I just feel grateful when someone whose work I enjoy visits, so I'm fully prepared to make it worth their while financially. Maybe I'm just enabling their expectations when they visit your local Y.

Perhaps I'm missing the heart of your argument. Is it about the integrity of the artist? Is it the position of an artist in capitalist society? I confess I'm a bit bewildered. If someone offers to entertain me, and I am prepared to pay for that entertainment, who is injured in this transaction? That doesn't seem to be your argument. You seem to feel that the artist is in the wrong for offering whatever it is that they choose to do on stage (whether it is their primary "medium" or not) for $.
posted by jackrational at 3:29 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


"I'm not an artist by most people's definitions, but I am arguably a "creative" person. And while I'm paid embarrassingly large amounts of money for the things I do create, I would create things anyway even if I weren't paid. Creation is an impulse; I have to do it. I can't imagine not doing it. Sure, I'd be creating different things if there weren't money involved -- but to stop entirely? Unthinkable!"

But that's not what the quote says. The quote said, "...but no one would ever see the results."

It's not about money. It's about whether anyone sees the art. Every artist I know (yeah, yeah, anectodal) makes stuff to be shared. Whether it's via twitter or gallery shows, it's all about sharing the art with the world once it's done. They don't make stuff and then not show it to anyone. That's defeating the purpose of the art.

I'm a musician and while I like playing in my living room, I'd have stopped long ago if I couldn't share my love of music with other people.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 3:35 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Some art is capable of being solitary. Some art is intended to be sociable. I don't think Palmer was saying that she'd never sing again if she weren't paid for it, but what she does is performance art and so the performance is a necessary part of it. I know a lot of people who write fanfic and did not write before they wrote fanfic because part of what they get out of it is the process of sharing it with other people. Other people are very happy writing alone. I don't think one or the other of those things is better. Different people create for different reasons.
posted by Sequence at 3:40 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Metafilter: This is kind of a gross thread.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 3:42 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


they had a kickstarter to raise the money to hold the shows

Yeah no sorry that is not what kickstarter is for and now I officially hate them both forever.

I could see raising the money to add several nights of free quirky off-brand Neil And Amanda Variety Hour Plus Audience Q&A events to a pre-existing tour. Or, hell, if they wanted to do a tour like this but couldn't justify the ticket price for a random evening of things that are usually free.

But once you start selling tickets, sorry, nope. Nope nope nope nope nope.

One thing I really don't think that Amanda Fucking Palmer's fans grasp is that concerts are a for-profit moneymaking venture for a musician. It's how they make their money. Amanda Palmer MAKES MONEY by touring. Otherwise she wouldn't tour. Because that's what touring is for. You don't need to hold a fundraiser to go on a for-profit concert tour.

You gotta hand it to AFP, though. She really found a way to work the old Barnum adage about a fool being born every minute.
posted by Sara C. at 3:45 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Is it about the integrity of the artist? Is it the position of an artist in capitalist society? I confess I'm a bit bewildered. If someone offers to entertain me

I hate the idea that someone sitting in the same room with you becomes "entertainment" by default because they are famous.
posted by Sara C. at 3:47 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, we get it.
posted by The Hamms Bear at 3:47 PM on December 8, 2013 [16 favorites]


I hate the idea that someone sitting in the same room with you becomes "entertainment" by default because they are famous.

You've said this 23 times in this one thread already. I think you've made your point sufficiently clear that you needn't say it a 24th.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 3:51 PM on December 8, 2013 [17 favorites]


I spent Thanksgiving dinner talking about the Ocean at the End of the Lane and how it's subtly different than Neil's pre-AFP works while not trying to emphasize the F in AFP in front of my grandmother.
posted by RainyJay at 3:52 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


It's generally not done to pay an author give a reading. Readings are typically free

Authors are paid to speak all the time. I saw Kurt Vonnegut speak years ago at Penn State and I didn't pay to get in but the university certainly paid him a speaker's fee plus probably paid for his travel and hotel. Writers have been paid to speak for generations.
posted by octothorpe at 3:53 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Wait Sarah Palin had Dr. Bashir fired? What did Garak have to say about it??
posted by Teakettle at 3:54 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


The only good genetically modified doctor is an unemployed genetically modified doctor.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:58 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


...sorry, nope. Nope nope nope nope nope.

Yep yep yep yep yep

posted by sammyo at 4:00 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Regarding certain someones, self-awareness is primarily meaningful if it comes with a second-order level of awareness that can adjudicate when the ego-train has gone to crazy town.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:02 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


You know, I am perfectly willing to believe that some very real percentage of the hatred of Amanda Palmer has nothing to do with sexism.

But I have also noticed a repeated pattern of female celebrities being loathed with the fire of a thousand suns for reasons which seem ... pretty minor.

M.I.A.? GRR NOT PUNK ENOUGH FOR MY DEFINITION OF PUNK! Lady Gaga? GRR USES STANDARD CHORD PROGRESSIONS! Suzanne Collins? GRR ONE OF HER BOOKS SHARES CERTAIN SIMILARITIES WITH AN EARLIER JAPANESE BOOK! Amanda Palmer? GRR A REPORTER SAID SHE LOOKED AT HERSELF IN A MIRROR SOME! Diablo Cody? GRR I DID NOT LIKE HER DIALOGUE AND I HATE THAT MANY PEOPLE DID! Britanny Murphy? GRR SHE IS NOT TALENTED ENOUGH FOR ME TO CARE THAT SHE DIED! Anne Hathaway? GRR I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THE DEAL IS HERE!

I am not saying men never get any blowback - although I cannot help but notice that the reaction to Neil Gaiman on this thread is considerably muted in comparison. I'm am not, again, saying there are no real reasons to dislike any of these people. But I am noticing what I think is a real trend. There is what I see as rage and anger that I frankly do not understand, far out of proportion to the stated reasons for it, directed against women who are public figures.

It bothers me.
posted by kyrademon at 4:04 PM on December 8, 2013 [23 favorites]


Your favorite band is uniquely bad in a way which speaks volumes about their fans and I think some of them are here right now, look out
posted by Teakettle at 4:05 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Sara: I'm afraid your response hasn't clarified anything for me... It seems to me that a thing/a performance/an event only becomes "entertainment" for ME (second level: read, "worth allocating $ to") if I believe it it to be. Perhaps you're suggesting that I'm blinded by the "fame" of the recipients and am spending my entertainment dollars on unworthies?

Let me give you a real example from my life: I think Craig Ferguson is funny. I like him - by this I mean that I think that he is the kind of guy I'd like to close a pub with. He is performing in my city soon, for the first and perhaps only time, but the price point for a ticket is disproportionate with my valuing of the performance. I won't pay it, so I won't go. Do I resent Craig Ferguson or his management for this? No. I don't even resent the folks that think it is the right price point and are reinforcing Craig's/his management's estimation of his value. I try to only pay for what I value.

I think fans of Amanda Palmer and/or Neil Palmer make similar decisions - regardless of what anyone thinks Kickstarter is "for".

Cordially yours, but still lost,
Jack
posted by jackrational at 4:06 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Kind of a tangent but what really pisses me off is paid celebrity appearances at charity events. If I'm donating to a charity I don't want to find out that they paid some big name asshole $100K to show up and pretend to give a rat's ass about it. There should be a rule for non-profits that they must disclose in any advertising how much the celebrity is getting paid to appear, right below their name, in the same size type.
posted by George_Spiggott at 4:08 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Good piece on a truly interesting couple and unique talents, although how anyone can put talentless Kim and way overrated Kanye in the same class as Gaiman and Palmer seems over - way over - the top.
posted by Vibrissae at 4:08 PM on December 8, 2013


But I am noticing what I think is a real trend. There is what I see as rage and anger that I frankly do not understand, far out of proportion to the stated reasons for it, directed against women who are public figures.

I dunno, I think we've seen male celebrities, as well, that have received similar treatment. I think it's a pretty predictable variable, actually, that brings about the reaction: ascribing oneself a level of celebrity/expertise/talent that was self-appointed rather than appraised by the public and served with a healthy dose of lack-of-humility.
posted by SpacemanStix at 4:09 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


the reaction to Neil Gaiman

It would take a thousand years for me to express my deep-seated loathing of that hack with his banal and badly-written books, starting with Sandman, which was such absolute ridiculous rubbishy aspiring to be middlebrow tripe that I didn't even manage to finish the first one. Not a single thing the man has done since has convinced me that he's anything but a fourth-rate recycler of ideas he steals from much more accomplished artists, it's just that for the most part his fans haven't read the sources from which he loots his most interesting ideas so they're amazed at the profundity of the fin-de-siecle fantastic fiction he regurgitates with the serial numbers filed off and the writing dumbed down for the modern audience.

Does that make you feel a bit less like everyone who dislikes Amanda Palmer are in it for the sexism? I have loathed Neil Gaiman since the early nineties and when I heard he married Palmer I felt sorry for her for hooking up with such a pretentious twaddle-peddlar.

With the wisdom that comes with time I think they deserve each other.
posted by winna at 4:16 PM on December 8, 2013 [9 favorites]


It's generally not done to pay an author give a reading. Readings are typically free, and not even remotely at all the primary way of making money as an author. Authors make money selling books. Anything beyond that, where money is asked? Kinda shitty and fame-whorish.

What.

No. I say this as an unfamous and poor (hey, I just qualified for Medicaid today!) author. Authors get paid for readings all the time, and they should because they're hard fucking work--you lose a day of writing (or day job income) and have to deal with travel and performing and being entertaining. Book store events are different simply because you hope to sell copies (and even that is a crapshoot) but I'm only six months into this published author thing and even I'm done with doing free events.

The audience doesn't always pay--often it's the venue that does. But again, this shit is work and authors should be paid for it.

And I say all of that as someone who finds the Gaiman-Palmer complex pretty insufferable.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 4:16 PM on December 8, 2013 [34 favorites]


Really there's a percentage of people that hate anyone more distinguished or popular than themselves, usually for spurious reasons, and mistake over-the-top bile and sarcasm for some kind of useful cultural criticism.
posted by Ghostride The Whip at 4:17 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


"death: the high cost of living" got me interested in comics. it was probably the first one i read that i really, really loved.
posted by nadawi at 4:22 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


>Do people have to show receipts?

The venue in question has a separate room for author talks. Never gone to one, so I have to assume, yes. (Bill Clinton would have to go seriously down market before he showed up at this place. And he is far too important to do that.)
posted by IndigoJones at 4:23 PM on December 8, 2013


Honestly, people can charge whatever-the-freak-they-want for whatever-the-freak-they-want-to-do; if people are happy to pay for it, then I would argue that the two most important groups are happy. That's capitalism, innit, really? People pay for all kinds of shit I wouldn't spend a brass razzoo on; power to em.

I'm not a huge fan of either Gaiman, or Palmer - because their work leaves me cold, and I feel that their prevalence (not popularity) owes more to smart marketing and the popular media's burning desire for 'mascots' and an inability to engage with genre - any genre - on a substantive level than genuine talent.

But whatevs. God knows, in both their respective genres there are far, far more egregious offenders with much, much less talent.

In some ways, I think the "Kim and Kanye" comparison is telling - it nakedly places the Gaiman/Palmer celebrity into its proper discourse - it's not a discourse we value, at all, when it comes to Jolie and Pit, Kanye and Kardashian etc. etc. But it's also not a discourse worth getting het up about. They are not to blame for the poverty of celebrity culture, even if they are its products, or good at exploiting it.
posted by smoke at 4:29 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


It would take a thousand years for me to express my deep-seated loathing of that hack with his banal and badly-written books, starting with Sandman, which was such absolute ridiculous rubbishy aspiring to be middlebrow tripe that I didn't even manage to finish the first one. Not a single thing the man has done since has convinced me that he's anything but a fourth-rate recycler of ideas he steals from much more accomplished artists, it's just that for the most part his fans haven't read the sources from which he loots his most interesting ideas so they're amazed at the profundity of the fin-de-siecle fantastic fiction he regurgitates with the serial numbers filed off and the writing dumbed down for the modern audience.

Tried to reread American Gods and couldn't get through it. You're going to name a mysterious protagonist "Shadow". "Shadow Moon." That's something you don't see anything outside of bad fanfiction.
posted by taromsn at 4:31 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Yeah, that's quite bad. Get over that and it's really good, honest.
posted by Artw at 4:34 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


they have a show where they wanted people to volunteer and perform for free and people get pissed off. So now they have a show where people pay and presumably some of the money goes to the performers, venue, etc and people get pissed off.

I'm pretty sure the audience had to pay in the first instance as well, no?
posted by kmz at 4:36 PM on December 8, 2013


If we could stop using the word "whore", that would be nice.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:40 PM on December 8, 2013 [32 favorites]


If only expressing how much you dislike people was as culturally valued as writing decades and decades of comic books and novels and short stories and TV shows and biographies of Douglas Adams, why, maybe we'd pay winna to speak too! Not sure who they'd hate on then tho.
posted by Rory Marinich at 4:43 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


One thing I really don't think that Amanda Fucking Palmer's fans grasp is that concerts are a for-profit moneymaking venture for a musician. It's how they make their money. Amanda Palmer MAKES MONEY by touring. Otherwise she wouldn't tour. Because that's what touring is for. You don't need to hold a fundraiser to go on a for-profit concert tour.

While it does seem that they broke kickstarter's TOS (whatever that's worth these days), I think you are being a bit condescending to Palmer's fans. Presumably they know that's how she makes her money; they are, after all, paying her money to see her.

I know nothing of Palmer but that one song from a long time ago, but the hate she generates here is still the most puzzling thing about this place.
posted by Think_Long at 4:45 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


i heard amanda palmer likes wearing hats indoors
posted by elizardbits at 4:51 PM on December 8, 2013 [18 favorites]


> "It would take a thousand years for me to express my deep-seated loathing of that hack ..."

OK. You hate his work. You really hate his work. You loath and detest it. Fine.

Do you hate him personally, as a human being? Do you think he is a horrible person that, if you knew him personally, you would be his bitter enemy because of his awful personality and terrible habits and creepy stares or whatever?

Maybe you do, I don't know. Maybe not. But there's a thread about the Hobbit movie right now where there are people talking about how much they hated that movie. Hated it hated it hated, think it's awful. But not a lot of talk about Peter Jackson, Terrible Person. Contrast that with a recent thread about Sarah Silverman, where ... well, the comments about her got very personal indeed. Or Amanda Palmer, or any of the other women I listed.

There are male celebrities who are personally loathed, sure, but it seems -- to me at least -- to happen after they spend a few years repeatedly saying truly awful things in public. I am not sure that's true of women. As I alluded to in my previous post, I have yet to have anyone rationally explain to me why they hate Anne Hathaway not as a performer but AS A PERSON. But they do, and again I've seen it here on Metafilter.
posted by kyrademon at 4:52 PM on December 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


I heard Amanda Palma orders white wine with fish.
posted by Artw at 4:53 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I heard she controls the weather and wrote the screenplay for Glitter!
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:54 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I heard that Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman took turns shooting a man just to watch him die.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 4:57 PM on December 8, 2013 [8 favorites]


I think the fundamental problem here is that there is really nothing to say about things that aren't really a thing, but internet message boards are irrevocably biased towards talking about things, even if they are not in fact things. Because otherwise the screen would be blank.

People seem to be annoyed that these personalities are intruding on your headspace, but the internet is vast and you just need to look somewhere else.
posted by selfnoise at 4:58 PM on December 8, 2013


I like Anne Hathaway as an actor and as a person, going by her public persona, but I found that one interview she gave where she said something about the director wondering if she was up to doing certain stunts, and she got all cutesey about saying "BUT GUYS IM CATWOMAAAAN" to be a little gag-inducing. If you're going to be comically arrogant about something, don't giggle behind your hand like an anime character. Do 3 Z snaps in zorro formation.
posted by elizardbits at 4:59 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Last week I passed on a Margaret Atwood book reading, the $10CAD cover price was not an issue, I was just tired. Now I regret missing it.
posted by ovvl at 4:59 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I heard that Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman took turns shooting a man just to watch him die.


Pffft. Like AFP would share the bullets.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 5:00 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


There are some very hateful people in this thread.

I hope it makes them feel better about their life, but I fear it does not.
posted by Sebmojo at 5:02 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


Presumably they know that's how she makes her money; they are, after all, paying her money to see her.

And, having read all the way through this thread waiting to hear more about Kim, I'd be very surprised if this wasn't a fan-generated idea in the first place. Kickstarter is the obvious place for fans to go to convince performers that this kind of an event won't be a money-pit and/or a complete waste of time.
posted by sneebler at 5:02 PM on December 8, 2013


If makes you feel better kyrademon, I've been giving Gaiman the side-eye ever since the "a few dead Indians" thing. And he's still buddy buddy with Dave Sim, which I just don't understand how anybody rationally can.

And I like/love/don't know enough about the other women you mentioned, for whatever that's worth. *shrug*

Then again, other than one specific commenter I'm not sure where people are seeing the hate/vitriol either.
posted by kmz at 5:09 PM on December 8, 2013


I really don't like the worship of pros within fandom. The whole fannish hierarchy bugs the hell out of me; why can't we all just be fans and enjoy the fact that we have a variety of interests, incomes and idiosyncrasies? Geek self-loathing is something I struggle against every day, internally and externally.

But I don't fault famous people for trying to make money out of their work. Not much, anyway. This is a difficult time to make money as an artist. Some people make their money by doing public appearances and then giving away their music (or books, or games, or whatever) for free. That seems quite legit to me. In a weird economy, we're all trying hard to figure out what will allow artists to live while creating art.

Gaiman is probably not short on cash, and Palmer's apparent bad business practices are pretty heinous. And allowing an air of "geek royalty" to accumulate around themselves is kinda awful. They don't really fit under the umbrella of "artists struggling to get by in a bad economy".

But there are plenty of artists out there trying to make a buck by whatever legitimate means they can. I think it's important not to paint them with the same brush.
posted by jiawen at 5:09 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Truthfully, Palmer irritates me in a way that has me sure that it's mostly my problem, and there is something valuable in being irritated by her that I am not giving her credit for. I try to tell myself it's the free musician thing, which is a valid criticism, but, like art, the eyebrows also do me in. What is it about Palmer that bugs me? Why does her theater major preciousness irk me while Wes Anderson's film school/children's novel twee delights me?

It's a question worth examining, although probably not in every thread, although this one does seem framed around the subject of irritation. I don't have an answer yet, but I have come round to thinking I'm the one with the problem, and not Palmer.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 5:19 PM on December 8, 2013 [11 favorites]


What should it matter that they're charging money for their performances? They can charge whatever they like. If the tickets are too expensive, why not go to more affordable shows? It's the fault of the audience that they feel compelled to begrudgingly buy expensive tickets. Anyway, if the demand is there and they don't charge admission, how are you going to decide who goes? If it's a lottery, then the underpriced or free tickets end up getting scalped and the scalpers essentially steal the cost difference.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 5:28 PM on December 8, 2013


An artist is -always- making things in the context of their audience.

nathanfhtagn, I completely disagree. I can't see how that's a defensible generalization. Unless you define "audience" so broadly as to include the artist her/himself. Many people create for themselves with no interest and/or hope of showing it to some external audience.
posted by the sobsister at 5:37 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


As possibly the only person who's read this thread who has been to both AFP concerts and one of the Neil/Amanda Evenings With, I feel I got my money's worth out of both. I would be profoundly shocked if this assuaged Sara C's outrage, though, since I think she's looking for a defensible reason to complain about them. (Also, just in case you're getting Ideas - I am a podgy middle-aged woman, quite staid of dress and person.)

There's nothing as fun as loudly despising things teenage girls enjoy, unless it's loudly despising things misfit teenage girls enjoy.
posted by gingerest at 5:39 PM on December 8, 2013 [14 favorites]


And I thought if there was a "Geek Royalty", it'd totally be King Joss and his family/collaborators

Somebody may come along and correct me on this, but I have the distinct impression that few if any of the Whedon cohort have let fandom go to their heads. I did follow Nathan Fillion on the tweetorz for a while and he came across as heavy on the self-mockery (with heavy helpings of OTT faux vanity), genuinely courteous and basically still amazed and delighted by the idea of having lots of fans.
posted by George_Spiggott at 5:44 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Sandman, which... I didn't even manage to finish the first one.
Oh man, please give these books another shot. It took Gaiman a long time to find the right voice, and took the artists even longer to find the right aesthetic, so the first...three odd volumes feel a bit--off? and the art doesn't really get consistently gorgeous until the 6th or 7th volumes. Preludes & Nocturnes is something I've only ever read because it's a numbered volume in the series. It's not something that stands well on its own, or works well as an introduction to the books. I always strongly recommend that people don't start with the first volume; it's something to visit last, as a "humble beginnings" thing, if you must at all.

Instead, look at Fables & Reflections, World's End, Brief Lives or my favorite, The Dream Hunters. There are some genuinely beautiful, delicate stories and artworks (example from Yoshitaka Amano's art for The Dream Hunters) to be found in the series. And, yeah, it is the thing that got me reading comic books, by showing me that they could be so much more than boys' adventure serials. It is still one of, if not the, best comic series I've ever read; and Gaiman is not obscurantist at all. He's very over-eager to let readers know where his influences are, or where particular ideas or references come from. That's part of the fun of reading him.
posted by byanyothername at 5:48 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Okay, I came back and wanted to say that I overstated my dislike of Gaiman's work by about a thousand times. I don't think about it at all, except when we have these threads about the pair of them or someone tries to get me to read the stuff.

The reason I ridiculously over-reacted is, ironically, that it's difficult to express measured criticism of either of them without getting aspersions cast on your motivations in a way that is unlike most other types of cultural product critique. If I tell someone that I don't care for Julie Taymor's movies, for example, they're not going to imply that I'm jealous (?!) or link it somehow to sexism. So you start out, in the late eighties, talking about how the thematic content of someone's work leaves you cold, and over the decades get more and more irritable when any criticism is treated like rank heresy.

So I wanted to apologize for generating noise in the thread.
posted by winna at 6:21 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


The TFA author loves them about as much as some of you do, huh?

Look, I wouldn't pay a nickel to have a photo taken with a celebrity. Not with Palmer, not even with Gaiman, and not with both. But let's do a little thought experiment here: suppose Gaiman wanted to do a free hour's worth of lecturing and reading at Barnes and Noble. With plenty of advance notice so that everyone who wanted to go could go. And AFP wanted to tag along and do an hour's worth of her own. All free there at the Barnes and Noble. Can you imagine the train wreck? Who'd stop it first? The cops over the cars and parking, or the fire marshal over the crowd, or B&N over the damage? Whether you like them or not, Gaiman and Palmer are famous enough that if they're going to do even an unpolished experimental evening with just their hardcore fans, they need a real venue, with real crowd control, and all that entails. And one thing it's going to entail is real expenses. Are their only options to either swallow that themselves, or else not do it at all?
posted by tyllwin at 6:34 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


American Gods literally made me put my eyes out with brooches and THEN because the fates are cruel I heard Evelyn Evelyn by rawest chance, and this naturally caused me to put out my own eardrums by means of a proximately-fired .38. This thread has me making arrangements for seppuku, because what sort of god &c.
posted by sandettie light vessel automatic at 6:54 PM on December 8, 2013 [12 favorites]


Can you imagine the train wreck? Who'd stop it first? The cops over the cars and parking, or the fire marshal over the crowd, or B&N over the damage?

Oh, come on. They are not that famous.

Former Beatles and major world leaders do free promotional events all the time. This is pretty much exactly what I meant with my first comment about geek culture's tendency to anoint royalty.

The vast majority of Americans have no idea who these people even are.
posted by Sara C. at 6:59 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


I really liked "American Gods".
posted by chrchr at 7:00 PM on December 8, 2013 [6 favorites]


Oh, come on. They are not that famous.

The market decides that.
posted by esprit de l'escalier at 7:02 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


The vast majority of Americans have no idea who these people even are.

Hell, the vast majority of ME doesn't even know who they are. I mean my brain does, but my elbows, asscheeks, gizzard and all the rest of it, none of them have a clue. So I mean I know that's anecdotal but it does support your assertion.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:02 PM on December 8, 2013


MetaFilter: quite staid of dress and person.
posted by homunculus at 7:03 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Hell, the vast majority of ME doesn't even know who they are.

But Gandalf attracts crowds from the Shire to Rhûn and Harad. I hear Aragorn is treated like royalty in Gondor.
posted by ersatz at 7:20 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


"nathanfhtagn, I completely disagree. I can't see how that's a defensible generalization. Unless you define "audience" so broadly as to include the artist her/himself. Many people create for themselves with no interest and/or hope of showing it to some external audience."

Who's to say that the artist can't be their own audience at times? I would submit, though, that you can't sustain a career as an artist without ever sharing your work with someone else.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 7:24 PM on December 8, 2013


Oh, come on. They are not that famous.

OK, I might be wrong there. I wouldn't want to try it if I were the B&N manager, but I'm guessing. I'm mainly thinking of the way Gaiman is mobbed at SF cons, and AFP doesn't have problems filling seats at shows, but maybe a straight-up free reading would have less of a draw? Gaiman has 2 million-ish twitter followers. Palmer has about a million. Maybe I'm misjudging how those numbers would translate into people showing up at a free appearance. What do the folks here think is the threshold at which you can't do free readings at B&N any more? But I'm not sure that "how famous?" is the right metric for judging that. I'm thinking that many artists, politicians and performers a lot more famous would generate a lot less people, because fame doesn't translate directly into cult followers.
posted by tyllwin at 7:26 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


I would submit, though, that you can't sustain a career as an artist without ever sharing your work with someone else.

You don't have to have "a career as an artist" in order to be an artist. There's a category difference. I think that's the fundamental disconnect in this thread.
posted by junco at 7:26 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


They are not that famous.

They're famous enough that a free talk & reading by Gaiman at a branch of the Cleveland Public Library drew over 1000 people back in 2009.

Well over capacity for the facility, by the way.
posted by soundguy99 at 7:29 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


when they hold ninja gigs, with less than 48 hour notice that they'll be doing anything, they can draw crowds of hundreds. i once read a blog post about how a guy wanted to to a reading/singing with neil that charged a nominal fee and days before the (sold out) event the tickets were going for $300 on stubhub. i agree that most americans don't know who they are, but it takes significantly less than most americans to cause a logistics problem.

and that's really all beside the point since this event isn't a reading/signing 30 minute event, it's a show creating and then promoting a 3 disc live album with a variety of guests and performances.
posted by nadawi at 7:32 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


[Folks, let's not make this a one-against-the-world debate session, please. ]
posted by restless_nomad at 7:33 PM on December 8, 2013


Mark Twain used to do paid lectures.
posted by Area Man at 7:35 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


This thread has me making arrangements for seppuku, because what sort of god &c.

OH THE GAIMANITY
posted by Sebmojo at 7:37 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Be sure to post it to youtube after...
posted by sammyo at 7:46 PM on December 8, 2013


I hadn't considered the ninja gigs as an alternative. But I think I dislike those even more: know the right people or pay truly outrageous scalping? A straight-forward $X/ticket seems cleaner to me.
posted by tyllwin at 7:51 PM on December 8, 2013


i think it's pretty neat that they (well, more afp) does a little bit of everything. when she plays a festival she always tries to do a couple ninja gigs as well so people don't have to pay festival prices to see her (especially when she is places she doesn't get to very often). she did a tour of house shows connected to the "theatre is evil" kickstarter and in most of those places she did normal pay gigs and ninja gigs. also, the ninja gigs are pretty much always announced on her twitter (and spread like wildfire) so it's not really a case of knowing the right person. it seems to accommodate more types of fans than just doing a 20 show tour every other year or whatever.
posted by nadawi at 8:02 PM on December 8, 2013 [2 favorites]


Amanda Palmer is a clever songwriter and a striking, challenging performer. Theatre is Evil is an unjustly overlooked gem. I like her a lot and I look forward to her next proper album (also, people seem to remember the kickstarter fiasco wrongly. She has always paid her band, she merely invited fans in the cities she visited to play with her on some songs and worded that invite in a bratty, entitled way).

Her side projects aren't really my cuppa, though, and I'm not particularly interested in Neil Gaiman (I've read American Gods, Neverwhere, Stardust, a bunch of the Sandman books, etc). But good for them for doing a thing! More things in the world! I bet they have brought much happiness to many people. I bet many people feel their brief time on this planet has been enriched.

So I don't understand the anger and hate in this thread. Why piss on other people's parades like that?

Also, I want to reiterate a refutation made above: it is absolute common practice to pay readers. I've organized plenty of readings and done a few myself. Once you have your name on the spine of a book you can usually expect a speaker's fee, a table to sell your books (at a direct profit to you), or, usually, both. But even if you're a few rungs down the ladder, you're usually entitled to something. At the very least, a hat will be passed and the proceeds will be split between the readers.
posted by erlking at 8:26 PM on December 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


"You don't have to have "a career as an artist" in order to be an artist. There's a category difference. I think that's the fundamental disconnect in this thread."

That is an excellent point. Everyone's motivations for their art are different.

I was approaching this from the standpoint of the artist making a living off of their art. AFP seems to have figured out an excellent way to make her living making art on her own terms. More power to her.

You don't have to like her, certainly. But I don't think saying she's doing it wrong is very helpful.
posted by nathanfhtagn at 9:26 PM on December 8, 2013


Hate the player or hate the game? Consider Bob Dylan. Bob Dylan destroyed his voice with cigarettes and whiskey since before 1980. And still people buy tickets to watch and hear him perform.

He sucks. They pay.

It is not Bob's fault that all these people are willing to pay money to watch and hear him suck. Would you refuse the dough if you were in his shoes?
posted by bukvich at 9:38 PM on December 8, 2013 [3 favorites]


Can you imagine the train wreck? Who'd stop it first? The cops over the cars and parking, or the fire marshal over the crowd, or B&N over the damage?

Oh, come on. They are not that famous.


I went to a Gaiman signing back in 1997, in San Francisco, at Booksmith (I think?) in the upper Haight, and it was p-a-c-k-e-d. It took me and my friend two hours to get through the line. [*] This was well before he had broken out with the novels, Coraline, etc.

AFP may not be famous-famous, but Gaiman is the kind of famous that cuts across several distinct consumer constiuencies. He's also exceedingly press-friendly, so that helps generate more attention for whatever he does, because he'll do interviews and promote things via Twitter.

I haven't turned out for anything he's done live in years, but I would absolutely not be surprised if an event at a small local bookstore was a ticketed, paid thing solely for crowd control.

[*] Tangentially related: I went to a Terry Pratchett reading a few years later that was even more packed. Discworld fans are legion.
posted by sobell at 9:39 PM on December 8, 2013


But I think I dislike those even more: know the right people or pay truly outrageous scalping?

There's no scalping, because there's no tickets. She shows up and sings some songs. There's no right people - if you want to know where she's going to do a ninja gig, follow her on Twitter. She typically announces the location a couple of hours in advance, on Twitter. She often plays a ninja gig after one of her paid concerts, so if you don't have the cash to go see her at a paid gig in your town, you can wait and watch twitter and show up at the post-show ninja gig.
posted by gingerest at 10:24 PM on December 8, 2013 [1 favorite]


He sucks. They pay.

I think you misspelled "Dylan sounds rough. He sounds fucking rough. But there's something goddamn evocative in his voice, flaws and all, that many people genuinely love, not because they're deaf, lying to themselves, or somehow stupid enough to believe that they get any kind of cred in 2013 for liking the guy, but because people's tastes genuinely fucking vary. They pay."
posted by maudlin at 10:30 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


goddamn autocorrect again
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:31 PM on December 8, 2013 [4 favorites]


Whoa guys, what's with all the hate for them? I went to a concert of Amanda Palmer's just before the two of them got married. I didn't expect Neil Gaiman to be there, but he was, and he did a reading in the middle of the show, which was a nice little bonus that got me to read some of his books. (I hadn't read him before that concert, though I'd heard of him)

The biggest thing I remember was that they moved to a table in the venue after the show and stayed after for the solid two or three hours it took for everyone to meet them, exchange some words, take pictures, and get objects signed. Amanda even signed my dang shoe, which high school me was giddy about, and they both signed a couple other objects for me. I haven't been to a show since or before where the main act was so accessible for stuff like that afterward, and I thought it was really cool of them to do. *shrug*
posted by Gymnopedist at 10:38 PM on December 8, 2013 [7 favorites]


Amanda Palmer is just not my bag, and I will not argue that some shit she's done is questionable, but I do admire that she keeps following her own weird star, whatever that might be. But Gaiman is definitely worth seeing in person. I saw him do a Q&A in Berkeley sometime in the early 2000's and watching him, I thought, "I wish I could do that for a living." He is very entertaining just talking off the cuff.

I don't think you go into the "being famous" business because you want to have a real job.

Who the hell wants a real job? This is my real job: I will be spending this week being paid to be yelled at. If I could do entertainment for a living and had the talent for it, I'd be over the moon. I think some folks will do anything they need to in order to keep doing what they love and getting to be themselves in public/on a stage (instead of putting on Professional Face for 40+ hours a week like the rest of us) and making other people happy with their work and following their goofy inspirational stars. If it makes them a living, then so be it. I wish I had it in me to do it.
posted by jenfullmoon at 11:15 PM on December 8, 2013 [5 favorites]


For chrissakes, people have been paying writers, artists and celebrities to do readings and performances since the 19th century, if not earlier. Mark Twain did live readings, for a start, as did a huge number of explorers, statesmen and famous people. More recently, going on the speaking circuit is quite common with politicians, including a little known senator named Obama.

From my personal experience, back in the 80s I attended a paid reading by Ray Bradbury, and a later reading by Harlan Ellison. Hell, I have an album where Emission narrated two of his stories, a double sin according to some people here.

So I don't know where this hatred for Gaimen and Palmer comes from, nor do I care. But honestly people, do some damn research before ranting, because if you contend that writers don't get paid to do readings or lectures, then you obviously don't know what you're talking about.
posted by happyroach at 12:22 AM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Rory Marinich: "Holy hell, MetaFilter, I have a bunch of things that I criticize Amanda Palmer for and I am not COMPLETELY over the moon with Neil Gaiman (though I like him a whole, whole, whole, whole lot) but some of the criticism here strikes me as revealing a lot more pathetic stuff about the commenters than it does about the couple."
"The progress of the intellect is to the clearer vision of causes, which neglects surface differences. To the poet, to the philosopher, to the saint, all things are friendly and sacred, all events profitable, all days holy, all men divine. For the eye is fastened on the life, and slights the circumstance." Ralph Waldo Emerson, "History," 1841.
posted by koeselitz at 12:38 AM on December 9, 2013


"If you stuck me in a room and gave me art-making tools but told me no one would ever see the results, I don't think I'd have much desire to make art"

I don't understand why people aren't more bothered by this.

Everyone i know who makes any kind of anything. Art, music, writing, whatever just does it. If you lock them in a room and they have nothing else to do they'll just make stuff until they run out of a way to do so. And after that they'd just be storing up ideas.

I've met more than a couple people who would answer like this. I'm not saying it somehow makes them "not artists" or something fucked like that, but i'm saying that for them art is just a means to an end. They make things because it makes people pay attention to them and give them affection and adoration, not because making the art scratches some itch in their brain.

It's hard to articulate why, but that's always made me uncomfortable. I've said the same about several people in the past(and if it helps you not want to skewer me, all the ones that come to mind were male).

It's like, here's someone whose favorite thing in the world is to make stuff. And someone else whose only in it for approval is taking up space they could be occupying. It might be a completely specious argument there, but as i said i have a hard time articulating it.

And yes, i'm perfectly aware of the point of "everyone is publishes things for attention" type argument, but my point here is that there's plenty of people who would create tons of work just for the sake of it. Or even people who create tons of work with no intention of ever publishing it just because they enjoy it.

Is there not a difference there? See what i'm saying at all?
posted by emptythought at 1:24 AM on December 9, 2013 [7 favorites]


Can someone fill me in on the AFP-hate that's coming from transphobia?
posted by ominous_paws at 1:28 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


Universal mother fucking HATE.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:51 AM on December 9, 2013


Also, can anyone using the phrase "ninja gig" please bear in mind that some of us have only just eaten breakfast?
posted by ominous_paws at 2:41 AM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's a gig that can, under cover of darkness, slip in and out of the room without anyone knowing it was there, leaving only the stench of death behind it.

That's my musical career right there.
posted by Grangousier at 3:00 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


@emptythought I must 100% disagree. The statement you took issue with is not objectionable to me. In fact, the opposite is what I find objectionable.

There's something a little annoyingly precious about creative people who aren't honest with themselves about the basic motivation for what they do - who think of themselves as such wonderful special snowflakes with a very special holy calling to art that transcends everything else. It isn't about "publishing things for attention." It isn't about making money from your art (although both these things are necessary and good and I am suspicious of people who scorn either). It's about how art functions. Art is a conversation. It is a giant conversation, across time and across culture. A conversation is different from talking to yourself. If what you create isn't made with other people in mind, it's actually either narcissism or therapy.

I write. I write for a lot of reasons. If there was absolutely no one around to read what I wrote, no possibility of it ever being read, I wouldn't write. I'd make up stories in my head because I've always done so and I find it soothing, but why bother writing them down and carefully (painfully) editing them for months and months?

Like Margaret Atwood says in Negotiating With the Dead, her book on writing: even diaries are written with an audience in mind.
posted by erlking at 3:33 AM on December 9, 2013 [12 favorites]


Is there not a difference there?

Yes, there's a difference, but it's hard enough to define "art" without people throwing in qualifiers like "must not exist solely for the attention of others" (which excludes nearly the whole of the acting profession and many musicians, dancers, etc who require an audience to produce their art).

I'm not saying you're not allowed to prefer art for art's sake or art for the audience's sake, but I think a lot of people in this thread are taking it upon themselves to decide for everyone else what is Proper Art, which is both stupid and pointless.
posted by fight or flight at 3:34 AM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Also, I'm pretty sure no matter what AFP said about whether or not she makes art for herself or for others it would not be good enough for certain people in this thread. If she says she does it for herself, she's an irritating narcissist. If she says she does it for her audience and fans, she's an irritating narcissist who has sold out.

Pope Guilty had it right. This is an ugly thread. I hope someone is working on a userscript to eliminate AFP/Gaiman posts on the Blue, because I'm really tired of having to wade through this fight every single time.
posted by fight or flight at 3:47 AM on December 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


The problem with Gaiman's fame is that it such that there is no one around who can stop him not only writing, but publishing some of the worst poetry known to man. I quite like his novels, but his poetry...
posted by lesbiassparrow at 5:17 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


AFP, somewhere on the internet: "If you stuck me in a room and gave me art-making tools but told me no one would ever see the results, I don't think I'd have much desire to make art"

emptythought: “I don't understand why people aren't more bothered by this. Everyone i know who makes any kind of anything. Art, music, writing, whatever just does it. If you lock them in a room and they have nothing else to do they'll just make stuff until they run out of a way to do so. And after that they'd just be storing up ideas. I've met more than a couple people who would answer like this. I'm not saying it somehow makes them 'not artists' or something fucked like that, but i'm saying that for them art is just a means to an end. They make things because it makes people pay attention to them and give them affection and adoration, not because making the art scratches some itch in their brain. It's hard to articulate why, but that's always made me uncomfortable. I've said the same about several people in the past(and if it helps you not want to skewer me, all the ones that come to mind were male). It's like, here's someone whose favorite thing in the world is to make stuff. And someone else whose only in it for approval is taking up space they could be occupying. It might be a completely specious argument there, but as i said i have a hard time articulating it. And yes, i'm perfectly aware of the point of 'everyone is publishes things for attention' type argument, but my point here is that there's plenty of people who would create tons of work just for the sake of it. Or even people who create tons of work with no intention of ever publishing it just because they enjoy it. Is there not a difference there? See what i'm saying at all?”

Okay, I'll bite. I will say I'm a "creative person." I play the piano. I sing. I've never made any money at it, but I do it. Up until I moved a few months ago I had a little band, and I used to drag my semi-portable piano over every Sunday and we'd play for our lunch at a little cafe around the way. And sometimes I'd show up at various jam sessions around town.

I would say exactly, precisely what Amanda Palmer said here. She may be some kind of narcissist, I don't know, but this statement of hers is not a narcissistic statement; it's a statement of exactly what every single artist is like, even if they won't admit it. Why? Because, as erlking said above, every creative thing is done for other people, and even diaries are written for an audience.

And I'll say that, for my part, what bothers me is when people reduce this utterly essential part of human life to some kind of narcissistic thing. Here's the deal: sharing things with other people is extraordinarily important. It's close to the core of what it means to be human. Aristotle said that a human is a "political animal;" he meant that we only must share things in common, we long to, we have a deep longing to be close to others and share what we are with them. That's not a gross thing, a selfish thing. When I want to share the music I make with other people, it's not because I'm seeking attention or trying to make people like me because I've got some psychological problem, as you imply. It's because that's what art is for – to be shared in common by human beings. I'm not after fame, I'm not after piles of gold, I'm not even begging other people to say I'm a good person. I'm after the look in my clarinet player's eye when he sees what I'm doing and he goes with it, when he hears the little rhythm I just threw in there and recognizes the reference. I'm after sharing a neat song I discovered, or having people get excited over what's possible with just an impromptu jam session. There's something so great about that, so deeply fulfilling, something we as humans need spiritually. This is not art viewed as a "means to an end," as you put it. This is the end and aim of art – to share things with other people.

And, yeah, I'm bothered by this ridiculous idea that artists are solitary, that they create purely for their own enjoyment and would be happy putting it in a box and having no one else ever see it, ever. Even those who say this clearly don't feel it so deeply. Kafka may have told Max Brod to burn all his work, but he clearly didn't mean it on some level, or else he would have done it himself – and he obviously hoped to publish everything he ever worked on at some point, even if he wasn't sure it was ready yet.

Aristotle said that anyone who was not political on some level was either an animal or a god. Artists aren't animals, and we aren't gods either. We're humans. Even when we don't admit it, even when we can't admit it or can't face it, we crave the intimate human connection that comes when someone else shares in something you've created and has that moment of understanding, that spark of recognition. Far from being the crass, empty thing you've described it as, a seeking after attention or fame, that's actually an essentially and deeply human act. And it's why I'll probably never stop making things and showing them to people.
posted by koeselitz at 5:39 AM on December 9, 2013 [18 favorites]


I was going to come in and say what koeselitz is saying, but instead I'm just going to point to that comment and say "yeah, that. Me too."
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:08 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


i can't find the quote right now - but afp has talked about the performance/interacting part of her art before and has said much the same thing - that her art is social by design, that she did it originally, as a young girl, as a way to meet people - that it came from a place of loneliness. she's talked about how she understands that for some artists it's very different, that they want to work alone (or with a carefully curated group), get their creation out while interacting as little as possible, retreat, and then repeat it all in 1-4 years - but that she doesn't work like that. i don't really understand what's objectionable about that viewpoint.
posted by nadawi at 6:10 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I've always thought of Amanda Palmer as a low-rent Courtney Love, who is in turn a low-rent....


Nancy Spungen?
posted by SPUTNIK at 6:29 AM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


The Tumblr Your Fave is Problematic has some good points about Palmer. I've over-participated in threads like this before and will leave that as my opinion on this sorry lot.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:31 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


I.. I just can't. It took me an hour to read that because I had to just keep getting up and trying to come back and try again.

This article is like the Eye of Argon challenge.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:46 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


The link pxe2000 posted lead me to a Tumblr post about supposed trans*phobia in Palmer's song "Sex Changes". But then the comments were full of people, many of them trans*, who liked the song and offered generous, alternate readings, pointing out, along the way, that Palmer has been explicitly and vocally supportive of the trans* community in a way few artists with her visibility can claim to have done.

Or, in other words, the term "problematic" can, itself, be problematic, and does not indicate an essential quality.
posted by erlking at 6:53 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


i think when approaching "your fave is problematic" that everyone should start with someone they like, say tina fey or benedict cumberbatch. here's the list.

from a lot of reading the page, it seems like a lot of the bullet points for any celebrity is reaching pretty hard.
posted by nadawi at 6:57 AM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


@ominous paws, the anti-trans hate for Amanda doesn't come from the same social or political circles that hate her on mefi for being an insufficiently pure artist or a bad leftist. But if you check out any of her more popular youtube videos, or any media about her that's presented to the general public rather than a niche fandom audience, the comments are full of hate and slurs at her body type, hair, muscles, jawline, and how generally "mannish" she is. I can remember interviews with her and Brian Viglione from the Dolls days where they both talked about bonding over being gender-variant (he does crossdressing afaik, she was talking about being gender-fluid.)
posted by moonlight on vermont at 7:02 AM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


If there's one thing this thread has emphasised it's that I don't really need a Tumblr to give me spurious-to-thin reasons why randoms on the Internet hate something, let alone something I like.

And I believe moonlight on paws was asking why people were accusing Amanda Palmer of being transphobic, not why people were being transphobic in insulting her. Which apparently boils down to some people taking her lyrics the wrong way rather than any actual signs of bigotry, which again is not surprising.

I don't really engage with her as an artist, and sure she's done a couple of not-great things, but the ire aimed at Amanda Palmer - and by extension Neil Gaiman, who seemed to have been looked upon more kindly before he married her - often seems to me to have that unsupported, vicious edge to it that comes from people thinking, 'You're not nearly as good as you think you are.' With the natural corollary of, 'You're not nearly as good as other people think you are, either.' It's very tall poppy syndrome, and the absolute glee some people have when someone like her makes a misstep that they can point to as a reason for why she's so terrible seems to support that.
posted by gadge emeritus at 7:19 AM on December 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


gadge emeritus - i thought ominous paws was referring to this comment. they didn't ask why afp was transphobic, they asked to be filled in about afp-hate that was transphobic.
posted by nadawi at 7:28 AM on December 9, 2013


I'd make up stories in my head because I've always done so and I find it soothing, but why bother writing them down and carefully (painfully) editing them for months and months . . .

I'd be lying if I said I don't consider an audience when I write. Of course, I do. I also get a little jealous when my friends from writing workshop become suddenly successful. I feel some tinge of shame at having never meaningfully published. Sometimes I feel like a failure because I'm not being read and because I can't run my finger over the spines of my books at a shop.

However, the reason I started making up stories when I was a kid was because I couldn't find stories that I wanted to read. As I got older my reasons for writing changed a little, but there was still a piece of me that really just wrote what I wanted to write and what I wantedd read. It's really cool when people like it. I'm always a little surprised when they do. The ever-expanding hard drives and filing cabinets full of unpublished (and sometimes unpublishable) prose and plays in my office suggest that I'm going to keep on writing even if they don't. This could be a compulsion on my part. I'm not entirely sure it's good for me (writing something that feels meaningful to me is actually pretty hard), but it's a huge part of my life. Sometimes it's the only part of my life that makes sense to me, even in its frustrating, frequently stymied, messy senselessness. If I stopped the things I loved whenever I thought people weren't paying attention, I have long ago stopped doing everything I love.

I understand the performing arts by their very nature require an audience. And my issues with Amanda Palmer (such as they are) have little to do with with her reasons for making art. For me though, it's different.
posted by thivaia at 8:14 AM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


nevercalm: “I've always thought of Amanda Palmer as a low-rent Courtney Love, who is in turn a low-rent....”

That's fine with me. The rent is too damned high.
posted by koeselitz at 8:42 AM on December 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


What about some random comedian? Or an amateur clarinetist?

Yeah, that's the sort of thing I think is silly and fame-whorish.


Steve Martin and Woody Allen have been musicians for as long or longer than they've been famous for their other work. They are both dedicated and talented, and would be so even if they didn't have other unrelated careers for which they are more widely famous. Are you seriously saying that because Steve Martin was a famous stand up comedian first, any subsequent writing, directing, acting, composing and musical performing he has done is fame whoring? And that because you know Woody Allen for his films, he shouldn't also have been a performing jazz musician for the last fifty years? Either one of them could have made a (admittedly less lucrative and famous, because honestly how many rich and famous banjo or clarinet players can you name?) career from their music, and now one of them has.

Do they draw larger attention for their music than they would have if they were famous for something else first? Sure. But they also draw people who appreciate the music itself, and the idea that they are fame whores for doing more than one thing well is baffling and sad.

As for Palmer and Gaiman, I can't fault them for giving fans a way to give them money that isn't directly tied to sales of easily-pirated physical media. I've been saying for a while that artists are going to have to figure out some way of making money that doesn't look anything at all like the business model of the last 75 years or so, as that model collapses; these two appear to have figured one out. Good for them.
posted by hades at 9:35 AM on December 9, 2013 [4 favorites]


Oh, come on. They are not that famous.

Famous enough, certainly. I am...baffled...by the insistent vitriol. Where's the cut-off for "famous enough for it to be acceptable to like the artist enough to pay to see him/her do something I'm interested in"?

I went to a Gaiman signing back in 1997, in San Francisco, at Booksmith (I think?) in the upper Haight, and it was p-a-c-k-e-d. It took me and my friend two hours to get through the line.

I hopped the Greyhound to Chicago with my sons back in June, 2001, right after American Gods had been released. Neil was doing a lunchtime reading and signing at The Stars Our Destination, which had recently moved to Evanston (miss that place so much). The line wound through the stacks, out the door, and around the building, and just kept growing. Elder Monster was 9 at the time, and brought along his very well loved copy of The Day I Swapped My Dad for Two Goldfish - it was very nearly falling apart, it had been read to almost literal tatters. Neil's delight was all over his face, he was so happy to see that his work was being read and loved, and he was so very kind to Elder Monster and Younger Monster both. (He was very kind to tongue-tied me, too, but I will never forget how kind he was to my children, who were most definitely the youngest people there.)

A couple years back, he came to Toledo as part of our libraries "Author, Author" series. Tickets were $10, and he sold out the Stranahan Theater, a 1300 seat venue. It was a terrific talk, though the Q&A session did get a little out of hand with the Gothlets that wanted more to pontificate than to ask questions, but, you know, teenagers. He would have stayed there all night with those kids if the program coordinator hadn't cut the session off and declared the event over. Neil was visibly sad, he had been having a great time.

Palmer? She's not really my cup of tea. I'm pretty ambivalent towards her, but I have friends who would crawl through broken glass to see her perform. Tastes, they do vary. As they SHOULD! But good on her for following her fish.
posted by MissySedai at 9:47 AM on December 9, 2013 [6 favorites]


Somewhere, Trent and Mariqueen is right now planning to dethrone these geek royals.
posted by ymgve at 10:45 AM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


ha - trent will probably have to stop working with the likes of jimmy iovine if he wants to take this throne. also, it wouldn't be surprising if neil, amanda, and trent are friends - considering that nin gave dresden dolls their first huge exposure and the tori connection.
posted by nadawi at 11:35 AM on December 9, 2013 [2 favorites]


I saw the Neil & Amanda Show at Bard College last year and actually really enjoyed it; I liked Live Amanda Palmer far, far more than I expected based on my knowledge of Recorded Amanda Palmer and Internet Amanda Palmer, and it was fun to see the two of them perform.

The difference between what they actually did was striking: Neil Gaiman told stories about fictional characters and read poems about historical figures and presented excerpts from books about other fictional characters.

Amanda Palmer sang songs about Amanda Palmer.

There's nothing wrong with that, but the difference was noticeable; Gaiman seemed to always be looking outward, and Palmer, inward. My comment to my wife upon leaving was that it had been an enjoyable evening with Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer, and their muse, Amanda Palmer.
posted by Shepherd at 11:55 AM on December 9, 2013 [11 favorites]


I don't have very strong feelings about Amanda Palmer or Neil Gaiman as people. I don't really care about either of them. I don't listen to her, and aside from his collaborations (Sandman, Good Omens) I find him to be an unexceptional writer. Whatever, all that's fine. But I can tell you exactly what I don't like about Amanda Palmer the artist.

It is impossible to misinterpret art. If it is possible to misinterpret it, it's not art. It may be a polemic, or an essay, or a call to arms; all of which are valid in their own right. But if there is a way for your audience to be wrong about how they experience your work, your work isn't art, you are not an artist in that moment, and artistic license is not yours to claim. The extent to which your authorial intent matters is the extent to which your audience doesn't and the extent to which you are making it all about you. Art is when you are arrogant enough to believe everyone needs to listen to you and egoless enough to let them hear themselves.

That's what makes art hard. Anyone can talk about what they think or feel, there's nothing special or especially difficult about that (and probably nothing extraordinary about those thoughts and feelings either, but, again, whatever). Instantiating solely your own intent and dismissing others as incorrect only serves to avoid engagement with the outside world, and art isn't anything if it isn't a way to engage.

So when Amanda Palmer says "you're reading it wrong, read it again" or "I'm being misunderstood", what she is saying is that her version is the only version, that the inability to decode that version is in the audience and not in the work, and that she would rather that you experience what she means rather than what she makes. I don't mind that she feels that way. I mind very much that she feels that way and then calls herself an artist and considers her work therefore beyond critique at the same time. Take away the millions of dollars and great success, and this is exactly how teenage poets on deviantART who scorn revision because it obscures the beauty of their emotions feel, which you can hear in how we're supposed to know that "a poem for dzhokhar" was written in 9 minutes and so we're supposed to judge it differently than if she'd spent two years on it. She wants to put her work out there but retain control of its message at the same time. Polemicists can do that. Spin doctors can do that. Artists can't. You can't say that the art should be separate from the artist and then also say that the artist's intent is paramount.

I find her financial success bemusing, but it doesn't impact my life in any way so I don't care about it. What I do care about is that she is putting into the world a conception of art that is solipsistic and obliterates the very idea of audience participation, and her success proliferates that solipsism which impacts my life a great deal. She wouldn't make art if she didn't have an audience, but she requires that audience to simply receive her pure intent and bring nothing of their own to the performance. That doesn't make what she does not a performance, but it does make it not art.
posted by Errant at 12:25 PM on December 9, 2013 [8 favorites]


So, apparently I've been living under a rock for a while. I kinda like Palmer, I kinda like Gaiman, don't really follow them all that much.

...and I just found out today, thanks to this thread, they're married. Huh.

Also, I just heard Kim and Kanye just had a baby?
posted by qcubed at 1:52 PM on December 9, 2013


I think it's a fine comparison, to Kanye and Kim. That makes Amanda Palmer Kanye, of course.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 3:22 PM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I'm just glad I'm not the only one who hates Amanda Palmer's eyebrows.
posted by sarcasticah at 4:03 PM on December 9, 2013 [3 favorites]


I only looked at this thread because I thought it was odd that there were two Neil Gaiman FPPs in a week. I wasn't looking because of any particular interest in Amanda Palmer. I listened to a few of her songs once, didn't like them, and have mostly ignored her since then. I suggest others do the same. It isn't hard.
posted by Area Man at 4:57 PM on December 9, 2013


My phone played this song by Lush to me on the way home:

"Heavenly Bodies"

Just because they seem to understand the way you feel it
Just doesn't mean that they'll feel the same way too
Just because they seem to hold a mirror to your life it
Just doesn't follow that they'll be just like you

Take no heroes, it's no good
They don't stand up to you
Just take the bit you think that you can use

I remember when I was younger
I thought the answers were locked in people
So I admired the ones whose lives
Were a source of envy to people like me

Do you really want to meet
The ones who write your dreams?
Believe me, it's a fantasy
You won't like the reality

You want heroes, keep them safe
They don't stand up to life
So lock them in your soul and lose the key

I love you, I don't wanna meet you
I love you, I don't wanna meet you
I love you, I don't wanna meet you
I love you, I don't wanna meet you
I love you, I don't wanna meet you

When I see you it makes me feel
There's someone else out there like me
You touch my soul with what you do
It all makes sense when I hear you

You understand the way I feel
I know exactly what you mean
It's like I've known you all my life
I think of you I feel alright

But in the flesh how would it be
If you could really see
The weaknesses you never knew
Alive and staring back at you

You want heroes, keep them safe
They don't stand up to life
So lock them in your soul and lose the key

Lock them in your soul and lose the key
Lock them in your soul and lose the key

...

It made me think of this discussion. Irony of quoting famous people to discuss problems of fame, I know... But the song has some wisdom.
posted by jiawen at 5:32 PM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


Just a note, the reason NG might have looked... off when asked if he signs things other than books is because he is often asked to sign boobs.
posted by bq at 7:53 PM on December 9, 2013 [1 favorite]


It is impossible to misinterpret art. If it is possible to misinterpret it, it's not art.

I disagree with this so wholeheartedly that I might grow another heart just so I can disagree with it more.

I think it's valid to have a problem with her trying to be beyond critique - I don't think it's fair, but I think it's valid. But if, to use an example mentioned above, someone calls a song she wrote transphobic, it's perfectly within her rights as an artist to say that she's been misinterpreted or misunderstood.

Never underestimate the ability of people to get vastly different information from the same data.
posted by gadge emeritus at 8:08 PM on December 9, 2013 [5 favorites]


Errant: “It is impossible to misinterpret art. If it is possible to misinterpret it, it's not art. It may be a polemic, or an essay, or a call to arms; all of which are valid in their own right. But if there is a way for your audience to be wrong about how they experience your work, your work isn't art, you are not an artist in that moment, and artistic license is not yours to claim...”

I disagree at least a bit – I think; perhaps I am wrong about what you mean here, though. I'll try to say what I'm thinking, though, and what disagreements I think I have. I apologize in advance, as I have a lot to say here, but it's kind of something I've been thinking about for a while.

The initial thing is – this creates a difficulty, one that European culture has been toying around with for a century or two; it is initially a somewhat interesting difficulty, I'll admit, but I don't ultimately find it compelling or worth my time to slog through. The difficulty is this: what is art? You're defining out of "art" a whole host of things, and I think you'll find it is actually quite difficult to draw that line. That's the trouble with a transcendental definition of what "art" is – it's hard to give it grounding, because from the first it's abstract, and it quickly becomes a battleground of class struggle. 'This is art. That is not art.' We spent at least a century and a half having that argument, answering it with various romanticist tropes and ideals. I feel like that's a dead end.

I like to define art as the ancient Greeks did – or at least, to coopt a way they had of defining art. They often called art "poesia." It's a word that originally meant something like "give a speech" but literally just meant "a thing that is made." To me, that is art – a thing that someone made. That is useful to me for several reasons. For one thing, it sweeps away all the classist arguments about "what is art?" and "is this art?" and the troubles that come from them. (One of those troubles, for example, was the inability of many people to hear, say, punk music as music.) An oil painting it took years to produce is art; a child's drawing of a whale is art; the meal I cooked last night is art; the email I wrote to my brother is art. We are surrounded by things made by humans, and I find it utterly stimulating and sometimes even enthralling to allow myself to recognize that there is art in all of these places, that I can find it there. Another good thing about this definition: it prevents me from being haughty because I happen to play the piano. So what? The guy over there cooks a damned good meal, another person is excellent at designing things, or constructing a quality library collection, or teaching a college course. My art is just afloat in a sea of other art, art that does all sorts of things every day. And while "quality" matters, in that it's worthwhile to practice art to give it focus, that purity of vision is the point, not the technical accomplishment or street cred. The showing-off-skill part is more just a little game we play that sometimes helps us enjoy the art and enjoy making it.

But the defining-away of whole realms of what some people think of as "art" isn't really my big disagreement. It's a difficulty, as I said, but ultimately choosing to say that art really is a particular ideal is of course valid – that might be true, even if it is supremely inconvenient. My real disagreement with what you've said is that it seems me that it eliminates everything human from what art is and what it does.

“... The extent to which your authorial intent matters is the extent to which your audience doesn't and the extent to which you are making it all about you. Art is when you are arrogant enough to believe everyone needs to listen to you and egoless enough to let them hear themselves.

“That's what makes art hard. Anyone can talk about what they think or feel, there's nothing special or especially difficult about that (and probably nothing extraordinary about those thoughts and feelings either, but, again, whatever). Instantiating solely your own intent and dismissing others as incorrect only serves to avoid engagement with the outside world, and art isn't anything if it isn't a way to engage.”


I hope you'll pardon me for hearing in this something that I sometimes hear when people discuss art – the notion that, in its purity, it transcends all intent, and that it is whatever the listener or observer or experiencer wants it to be. The idea is that the artist's intent isn't central to any work of art; what is central is what people bring to it and find in it themselves. Art is experience – not an external object, but the experience a person has when they are beholding the art. The job of the artist is to get out of the way and let people have that experience, purifying the doors of perception (as it were) and giving them an opportunity to (as I think you put it) hear themselves.

My problem with this idea of art is that it utterly annihilates any human-interactive core art might have. And, as I said above, this is what seems most important about art to me: what is shared. If art is entirely subjective experience, and if the artist's intent doesn't matter in the slightest, only the experience of the person beholding the art, then there is nothing shared in art. One person's experience might not be another person's, and not only is this expected – it's probably the only possibility, under this theory. The artist paints a frowning face, thinking of a mourner at a funeral; the viewer of the art sees a happy face, screwed up with tears of joy, at a wedding; everything is completely valid and boxed-off and separate, and nothing whatsoever is shared. If both happen by some fluke to see the same thing in the painting, no one ever knows it, and moreover it doesn't matter, because it's just a fluke.

I believe that authorial intent matters because I believe that what is most important in art is what is shared. And I don't take that to be an easy or simple thing of necessity. Not everything can be expressed easily in words – there are probably things that can't be expressed in words at all. So the other non-linguistic arts step in, trying to close the gap, striving for that moment when one person at a gallery turns to another, or one musician at a gig turns to another, or a street sidewalk chalk artist looks up at a passerby, or a rhapsode reciting Homer looks out into the crowd at that one person – and their eyes meet, and they know that something is shared. That human recognition: you know my experience! – an indescribably rare and precious feeling. Three friends talking late into the night, trying to put into words the thing they felt watching a film, but knowing from the looks and the halting expressions that somehow something was imparted to all of them, and that is sacred.

These are the things that really matter about art, I think: the things that actually bring us together. I can go off in the woods and have a fine experience on my own; and in fact I do enjoy that. I can experience a sunset, or a mountain vista, or a deep dark wood, exactly in that experiential way where "intent" doesn't matter and all that really matters is what I bring to it and what I get out of it. Those are wonderful things. But they are nothing in the face of the sense of shared meaning and group feeling I get from a work of art that manages to capture in amber one moment in a person's life and impart it to another.

“So when Amanda Palmer says ‘you're reading it wrong, read it again’ or ‘I'm being misunderstood’, what she is saying is that her version is the only version, that the inability to decode that version is in the audience and not in the work, and that she would rather that you experience what she means rather than what she makes. I don't mind that she feels that way. I mind very much that she feels that way and then calls herself an artist and considers her work therefore beyond critique at the same time.”

This is where our views seem to begin to converge, to the point where I wonder if I'm just reading you wrong above. In any case: I do agree that it's a mistake for an artist to blame the audience for misunderstanding of intent. Understanding of intent is (in my view) paramount – it's the central thing – but it's difficult and rare and it's not at all the fault of the viewer or listener if that doesn't happen. It's sometimes not even the artist's fault; it ain't easy, like I said. But: the true skill, the essential ability that is at the core of being an artist is the ability to make oneself understood to one's audience. If one's audience isn't understanding, then one is not doing the right things.

Well, and I guess I'm not sure if Amanda Palmer said that her work is beyond critique, but if so, I disagree with her on that, too.
posted by koeselitz at 9:28 PM on December 9, 2013


She may be some kind of narcissist, I don't know, but this statement of hers is not a narcissistic statement; it's a statement of exactly what every single artist is like, even if they won't admit it.

Every single artist? How presumptive of you.
posted by malocchio at 10:04 AM on December 10, 2013


But if, to use an example mentioned above, someone calls a song she wrote transphobic, it's perfectly within her rights as an artist to say that she's been misinterpreted or misunderstood.

I think it's within her rights to disagree. I don't think it's within her rights to say "no it's not", because there's lots of coded messages in an unequal society that read differently to different people and carry weight beyond what she intended but not beyond the "language" she uses. That's a little bit of a different conversation though, and I think I'll address your main point below.

I like to define art as the ancient Greeks did – or at least, to coopt a way they had of defining art. They often called art "poesia." It's a word that originally meant something like "give a speech" but literally just meant "a thing that is made."

Indeed, I concur entirely, and said as much: "...she would rather you experience what she means rather than what she makes." My point isn't that there's nothing of the artist in the work or that the artist brings nothing to the table; having criticized her for not allowing her audience to bring much to the conversation, I hope it's obvious that I'd consider her not bringing much to the conversation equally damaging (as is often the case with things like found art, for example, or her awful poem). My position is that I think art is something you make, with care and intent, and then give up to the world. Once it's out there, you can't take it back or control it. It's ours now.

I also think art is a communication between artist and audience. When I say "the extent to which your authorial intent matters is the extent to which your audience doesn't", what I mean is that I imagine the process of communication as a continuum and a tension between artist and audience. So the more that the artist's intent matters, the less that the audience's reception matters. Therefore, the more that the artist insists on an interpretation, which can also be done negatively by denying the validity of other interpretations, the smaller the space becomes and the more rigid the methods of entry become. I believe communication can only truly exist between equals, laterally if you like, and so prioritizing her views over everyone else's positions her superlative to the conversation, such that the conversation is no longer a communication but increasingly a command or a demonstration. Sure, misreadings are possible, and you can criticize those misreadings as such, but even those misreadings carry something of the receiver in them, and that has validity. What if someone misreads your work entirely, but that misreading has an intense and profound meaning in their experience? What if they find something that is the opposite of what you thought you were saying but that moves them deeply? I don't think we can say that that interpretation is "wrong", because to do so would be, in some sense, to say that that person's experience is wrong, and I don't believe experiences can be wrong.

Understanding of intent is (in my view) paramount – it's the central thing – but it's difficult and rare and it's not at all the fault of the viewer or listener if that doesn't happen.

While I agree with you on where the fault lies, I disagree with the weight of authorial intent in your view. It is an incredible skill to be able to, as you say, capture a moment and deliver it to another, and it's impossible to do that without that being your moment in some sense. But if understanding of authorial intent is paramount, then necessarily my intent as a viewer is reduced or redacted. I don't experience art that way. Because I can know entirely what's in my conscious mind and because I can't know entirely what's in your conscious mind, what I perceive means a lot. I do think you have to submit to art in some sense and that you have to meet it halfway, to try to experience what someone else is telling you as openly as possible, so I'm not saying audience intent is more important or that there is only subjectivity, although I suspect I'm closer to that view than you both are. I think great art is where they're finely balanced.

Basically, I'm not criticizing her for thinking her intent matters. I'm criticizing her for thinking her intent matters more, a lot more, and I'm criticizing her for dashing off a 9-minute poem with no care of craft and then blaming the audience for misunderstanding whatever it was she meant to say but didn't take the time to shape. It's fine if she didn't get it right -- it's pretty hard to get right -- but it's not ok to put the onus of that failure on the receiver, especially when you didn't even really try. It's like if I took a lump of clay, rolled it out a bit and punched some holes in it, and then told you that you're misreading my work if you don't see the Golden Gate Bridge, look again.

I don't think she ever said outright that her work was beyond critique. But when you see a artist publicly accepting positive reviews and insisting that negative reviews are the fault of the reviewer, and doing so frequently, I tend to think that indicates a resistance to criticism. She says "I was misunderstood" quite a bit in the linked pieces, so for me it's a case of, well, the common denominator in all of those experiences is her, so maybe she should start looking there for the problem.
posted by Errant at 11:23 AM on December 10, 2013 [1 favorite]


Joseph Gordon-Levitt signed on as a producer of Sandman movie
posted by homunculus at 2:19 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


ohpleaseohpleaseohplease don't let him take the morpheus role (i love jgl, but, no to him as morpheus). also, can't we just admit that it needs to be a show, not a movie?
posted by nadawi at 2:33 PM on December 17, 2013


Wasn't there supposed to be an American Gods TV series?
posted by octothorpe at 3:04 PM on December 17, 2013


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