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February 18, 2010 6:18 AM   Subscribe

Amanda Palmer (discussed previously) has been dropping hints about a new project called Evelyn Evelyn. After Spin let the two-headed cat out of the bag last week, she fessed up to the back story - a woe-filled tale of childlike conjoined twins with a history of abuse at the hands of a circus and the child porn industry.

Of course, these twins look and sound a lot like Palmer and her friend Jason Webley, so some disabled feminists call crip drag shenanigans. Webley responds. (as does Palmer).

Other artists have been working the freak show trope with less disapprobation (as far as I'm aware) from angry bloggers.
posted by missrachael (63 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Nice to hear the phrase 'crip drag' outside of a gangsta-rap context.
posted by box at 6:21 AM on February 18, 2010


I understood everything up until "two-headed cat".
posted by DU at 6:25 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Glad I am not the only one who immediately thought of God In Three Persons. Hope it'll be half as good/weird.
posted by griphus at 6:30 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is nothing new. Evelyn Evelyn has been around since 2007.

By the way, if you know more about Palmer than you do Webley, please rectify the situation immediately. His 2004 album Only Just Beginning is a lush semigypsy masterpiece. Coda is one of those songs where you hear it and it changes, ever slightly, the day you're about to have.
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:43 AM on February 18, 2010 [10 favorites]


Rory - Rectifying now. Sounds like Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave jumped in a blender with a klezmer band. Awesome.
posted by missrachael at 6:56 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cynthia von Buhler is doing the album cover art = AWESOME.

(I have one of her paintings and it is a prized possession, to say the least).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 6:58 AM on February 18, 2010


Sounds like Leonard Cohen and Nick Cave jumped in a blender with a klezmer band.

While I can't listen to music at work, I can only assume you've got ten seconds of someone blowing into a shofar, a minute and a half of pack-a-day-for-fifteen-years hacking and finally an exasperated sigh delivered like Krusty the Clown.
posted by griphus at 7:04 AM on February 18, 2010 [11 favorites]


seems kinda derivative derivative to me, but oh well.
posted by emhutchinson at 7:08 AM on February 18, 2010


I heard the act was largely because it doesn't have Palmer's name on it so her record company has no claim to it.
posted by The Whelk at 7:13 AM on February 18, 2010


Whelk - Yes, I think that's why they're being all coy about "producing" the album.

Maybe conjoined twins are allowed to have round bellies.
posted by missrachael at 7:17 AM on February 18, 2010


I'm sure there are lots of other names that are not Amanda Palmer that Amanda Palmer could have chosen to use, and other backstories she could have created that would have been less problematic.
posted by jeather at 7:18 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


Love Will Tear Us Apart

Really?
posted by sourwookie at 7:20 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]




Somewhere Katherine Dunn is kicking herself for not cashing in on this first.
posted by 8dot3 at 7:35 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Any defense of this project is rendered moot by listening to it.
posted by roll truck roll at 7:39 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know that I should care about this, probably, but I hit a little roadblock in the second "disabled feminists" link in which the question of whether conjoined twins are indeed disabled:
Disabled bodies are those that are subject to the able-bodied stare.
Hmmm... see, here's the thing: I have single-sided hearing loss, and therefore am disabled (and it does in fact affect my quality of life, particularly in noisy bars), but it's an invisible disability, and therefore I might be accused of hypocritically enjoying ableist privilege. I'd previously thought of wearing an earpatch to let people know that I couldn't hear on that side; perhaps I should out of solidarity to my more-obviously-disabled brothers and sisters. I could also write letters to Rob Lowe, Stephen Colbert, Alan Moore, and Brian Wilson to do the same.

Dude, I've got a cause!
posted by Halloween Jack at 7:48 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Palmer Gaga Madonna
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:57 AM on February 18, 2010 [6 favorites]


Opps, got it in the wrong order. Whatever.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:58 AM on February 18, 2010


Halloween Jack - you could always try to start up an American version of this show. There was much grumbling about visible vs. invisible disabilities on there. A lot of the models were perceived as "not disabled enough" by their co-competitors.
posted by missrachael at 8:00 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think if they had kept Evelyn Evelyn conceptual, they wouldn't be seeing a backlash. It's the dressing up as conjoined twins that feels wrong.
posted by amj at 8:03 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


We play a few Dresden Dolls songs in the band I jam with. I had never heard the originals, and one of my mates loaned me their first album... well, some elements appealed to me, but a toy piano ostinato is only clever once. I like that they stuck to their aesthetic and I also like the contents of the songs. I want to say that I don't like the music, but the fact that I like how they sound when my band plays them. Not that we are "better," we just take the seriousness or something out of it.

I did not buy an accordion to be punk rock, or sexy (I'm looking at you, Christina Hendricks). This Evelyn Evelyn now has me self-conscious that I am derivative.

I'm gonna go post something to MefiMusic now.
posted by frecklefaerie at 8:05 AM on February 18, 2010


I did not buy an accordion to be punk rock, or sexy (I'm looking at you, Christina Hendricks). This Evelyn Evelyn now has me self-conscious that I am derivative.

You could always go into Folk Metal. We unironically love and cherish our accordionists there. (Seriously, though. Listen to some Turisas. Great accordion in some great metal.)
posted by spinifex23 at 8:11 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


so some disabled feminists call crip drag shenanigans.

Some activists have fucked up priorities, news at 11.
posted by empath at 8:13 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I was actually kind of on board with the "good intentions" side of the equation, until I saw the roll truck roll link where they're obviously dressing up for the lulz, which pushed me to the "yeah, not cool" side.

I suspect the outsized reaction is partially, at least, due to Palmer's earlier issues with her label. The traction she got from her clash with Roadrunner (discussed previously here) about having a "belly" got her a lot of sympathy from people that don't buy into the single-body-type, sexy-is-defined-by-Cosmo-covers media engine, and was arguably a net gain for her in terms of good publicity and finding a bigger audience.

So something that feels like Palmer mocking the disabled is going to get a bigger negative reaction than it would from somebody that hasn't been publicly positioned as going against the grain, especially going against the grain on issues related to body prejudice.
posted by Shepherd at 8:22 AM on February 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


jason and i, along with sxip shirey, are taking the twins on an EPIC tour of the states and europe starting in just over a month...

When faced with the unusual, my mind turns to the mundane: do they get on passport, or two? Who sits for the photo? Would this send the fingerprint scanning immigrations bureaucracies scrambling for a logical procedure when two people share the same fingerprints? (answers welcomed, if you have any reason to know...)
posted by whatzit at 8:23 AM on February 18, 2010


Ngh. ONE passport, and yes, I get that it's also an "art project."
posted by whatzit at 8:26 AM on February 18, 2010


Just posted to Amanda's blog (really, just, it was tweeted seven minutes ago as I write this), and I haven't even read it yet, but here's Amanda's response.
posted by djwudi at 8:26 AM on February 18, 2010


where is 2 head cat

this fpp is a lie a lie
posted by kittens for breakfast at 8:27 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


jason and i, along with sxip shirey, are taking the twins on an EPIC tour of the states and europe starting in just over a month...

When faced with the unusual, my mind turns to the mundane: do they get on passport, or two? Who sits for the photo? Would this send the fingerprint scanning immigrations bureaucracies scrambling for a logical procedure when two people share the same fingerprints? (answers welcomed, if you have any reason to know...)


...
posted by kmz at 8:28 AM on February 18, 2010


Anyone else remember the days when Jason Webley would stomp around Red Square (at the University of Washington) with his accordion busking? It's quite something to see him progress to such internet fame.

Though honestly, I've always felt there was something a bit off-putting about him live. At shows and such, he's very good at making you feel like you're part of some great collective aesthetic thing when you are more or less playing the part of dancing monkey without quite realizing it. It's hard to enjoy on one's own terms, you have to enjoy on his terms because the rest of the crowd is doing the same thing.
posted by Schismatic at 8:29 AM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


From Amanda's response:

"for all of you writing in blog & twitter comments saying “FUCK THE HATERS”….please don’t feel like you need to say that to show your support.
please, you need to LOVE THE HATERS.
i have found, in my experience, that fucking the haters will not work. "
posted by The Whelk at 8:38 AM on February 18, 2010 [8 favorites]


i am, as always, very very happy to see super-intelligent conversation cropping up about the nature of art, life, and appropriateness in the blog comments & in other sub-threads.

Ah, the old Edgar Martins routine.
posted by kmz at 8:49 AM on February 18, 2010


This Tiger Beatdown post on Evelyn Evelyn makes some compelling points, I think.
posted by clavicle at 8:54 AM on February 18, 2010 [7 favorites]


Oh, like "I dislike the idea of Amanda Palmer."

Yes, quite compelling.
posted by empath at 9:28 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I did not buy an accordion to be punk rock, or sexy (I'm looking at you, Christina Hendricks). This Evelyn Evelyn now has me self-conscious that I am derivative.

Musicians, even more so than music-fans, need to worry a lot less about being derivative or whatever, and more about enjoying the music they make.

Also, more accordions plz.

As to the subject of the post: I've been a huge fan of both Amanda and Jason for a few years now; I found them more or less separately, and it was mostly a nice surprise that they knew each other and worked with each other. That said, I'm not particularly fond of Evelyn Evelyn. I liked the music on the EP, but the concept is more gimmicky than I would have hoped for from Jason. All things considered, I'd have much preferred to hear a straight up Jason Webley and Amanda Palmer collaboration, rather than a gimmicky concept thing.

That said, since, from a purely musical standpoint, they're two of my favorite artists in the world, you'd better believe I'll be getting the album.
posted by Caduceus at 9:34 AM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, like "I dislike the idea of Amanda Palmer."

Yes, quite compelling.


Good to see you put read the post carefully.
posted by kmz at 9:43 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


CRIP DRAG SHENANIGANS!

seriously, such a bad, bad idea.
posted by mrgrimm at 9:52 AM on February 18, 2010


The world is already overstuffed with the psychic crush of politics, but it wants more. It hates the stray exercise of whimsy or imagination where it is not invited in. Man, that makes it angry. That makes it scratch kallisti into apples. Hey, you! Yes, you, writing that silly fucking song! That's three minutes! You could have worked in a little public service announcement about water conservation. It's not too much to ask. And the dolphins in that surrealist landscape are out of their native habitat. Did you know that there are only seven dolphins left? Seven. Not to mention that the plumbing in Super Mario Bros is just one mile-long code infraction. That shit has got to go.

Why can't more art be like Diego Rivera, it thinks. Populated, crowded, no wasted space or thought, allegory- and dolphin-safe. It's only trying to help.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:04 AM on February 18, 2010 [3 favorites]


Good to see you put read the post carefully.

Damnit, why don't I mai coments moar carefuly

posted by kmz at 10:05 AM on February 18, 2010


"I dislike the idea of Amanda Palmer."

This, I find, is a great way to tell if the date is going badly.
posted by kid ichorous at 10:07 AM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


The world is already overstuffed with the psychic crush of politics, but it wants more. It hates the stray exercise of whimsy or imagination where it is not invited in. Man, that makes it angry. That makes it scratch kallisti into apples. Hey, you! Yes, you, writing that silly fucking song! That's three minutes! You could have worked in a little public service announcement about water conservation. It's not too much to ask. And the dolphins in that surrealist landscape are out of their native habitat. Did you know that there are only seven dolphins left? Seven. Not to mention that the plumbing in Super Mario Bros is just one mile-long code infraction. That shit has got to go.

God forbid anybody dare think about art and entertainment, and its real world consequences.

So, going to the minstrelsy show later?
posted by kmz at 10:13 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like Palmer's solo work and some of the Dresden Dolls stuff; I've not heard anything of Webley's. I found Palmer's post this morning to be more reflective of her usual public persona-- someone who really thinks deeply about process and about the nature of work-- than her earlier tweet about "pushing disabled feminists to the periphery of my mind."

That being said, I agree with comments upthread that the dressing up as Evelyn Evelyn is what makes it creepy to me-- not offensive, just creepy, and no one else has to feel that way about it, but to me, it's kind of like when parents blog in the persona of their infant or toddler. It feels transgressive in ways I'm not comfortable with, and I feel like I could deal with a very elaborate concept album on its own merits without the props.

It's been pretty weird for me as a fan of Palmer's work ethic and someone with a mostly-invisible disability (you've gotta look closely at my eyes, and I don't welcome eye contact in general) to sit through this one and figure out how I feel about it. I'm still working on it.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:40 AM on February 18, 2010


On looking for more songs by Webley I quickly found this cover of Hey Ya, which is pretty great.
posted by tracicle at 11:07 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is something to be said about why some art with deeply problematic aspects also has aspects of stunning brilliancy and also why much art done in the service of politics ends up not serving its ends as either politics or art (which I think may be what kid ichorous was trying to get at) but it's probably best not said in the contest of Amanda Palmer's stunt side project.
posted by Electric Elf at 11:26 AM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Caduceus: "the concept is more gimmicky than I would have hoped for from Jason."

This. It's good to see all of the PNWers in this thread making a case for Jason, as his shows are amazing and make you feel like you've known the guy for years, but holy cow do I think he made a not-so-wise decision to jump on her by-association bandwagon of attention whoring.

Palmer's been going downhill to me for quite some time. There will never be a time in my life when I hear "Girl Anachronism" that I won't want to scream alongside her, but her "Oh my gosh I take my clothes off and sing a little song and the internet loves me! SPAM YOU WITH SOCIAL MEDIA! Memememe!" gimmick, while cute in a whimsical way at first, is a dead horse she's been beating for years. That said, the Palmer-haters are their own damn headcases.

What constitutes art vs. what is offensive/tactless/politically incorrect and feminist outcries from both angles aside, she just comes off as Boxxy with a piano and a record label.
posted by june made him a gemini at 12:54 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Anyone else remember the days when Jason Webley would stomp around Red Square (at the University of Washington) with his accordion busking? It's quite something to see him progress to such internet fame.

Ah, yes. I remember those days. I liked how he would kick the garbage cans for percussion. And I totally get what you're saying about how his shows: How they create this beautiful, brilliant, warm environment and then the show ends and there's this cold realization that it was just a show and you're not really part of this special family of vegetable-worshipping lunatics. Nonetheless, some of my favorite concerts ever.

I saw him perform a year or so ago, and it was much more mellow than his old days. Just a singer/songwriter. No papier-mache, nothing lit on fire, nobody hit over the head with baguettes. It was still a great concert.

OTOH I don't understand the Dresden Dolls at all. I've tried listening to their stuff a few times and I can't even make it through one song. So boring! So affected!
posted by qxntpqbbbqxl at 3:14 PM on February 18, 2010 [2 favorites]


All things considered, I'd have much preferred to hear a straight up Jason Webley and Amanda Palmer collaboration, rather than a gimmicky concept thing.

This.

I don't hate the concept -- I've been a fan of AP for long enough that I understand where she's coming from. Celebrating the weird and niche. In another context this would have been uncontroversial. It's sort of Edward Gorey or Roald Dahl to me.

I'm not sure where it's going wrong, though. Maybe it is the dressing up. On the other hand I still don't see how it's precisely offensive. Perhaps only a conjoined twin knows.
posted by dhartung at 3:55 PM on February 18, 2010


God forbid anybody dare think about art and entertainment, and its real world consequences.

Kmz, don't get me wrong. Overlaying political thought (or even the yardstick of some special interest group) onto a work art is one valid way of looking. I think there are certain examples of music that defy explanation without it, none that come to mind more readily than old timey punk and hardcore. Without context, every archaic skinhead looks like the same cardboard fascist, their green or red shoelaces like arbitrary hipster plumage and not shouts of political code. More apropos to our age group, people (who probably listened to no more than two of his songs) accused Wesley Willis of being an exploitation act. So, depending on whether you think the Dresden Dolls played subversively with the stock imagery of the cabaret, or flippantly, or pointlessly, the idea of carnival or freak-show dress-up may seem like nothing but trolling and shock. It may well be that I’m off-base, and that this sort of outcry is exactly what Evelyn Evelyn calls for. But I'm not going to give that point to them, yet, for two reasons.

First, this album does not exist yet. This whole conversation is the windup of criticism without any real subject, a sermon without a sin. It has almost nothing of Evelyn Evelyn to draw upon, and a limitless supply of speculation and idle projection to offer in its place. If they could have found something offensive in those comical crutches in the Lady Gaga video, or fractured glass unicorns and Tennessee Williams, or anything that had a concrete existence apart from whispers on the internet and this weird fixation on Amanda Palmer (rather than, say, Lady Gaga) as their earthen-ground of hate, well, that would be a bit more fair.

Second, I think that voicing politics, injecting politics, and politicizing is not only one way of looking at art, but the way of our time. There are always phases and fashions to art criticism, and unlike aeons ago where it must have seemed bold or heterodox to hold a folktale under the strobe of psychology or the blacklight of the unconscious, or to make a feminist critique of something like Chaucer, these are now the basic stuff of undergrad writing assignments. And more than it is a challenge to talk about German Expressionism without Freud waving his dick around and usurping the conversation, or to talk about certain literature as literature without any gender politics, it seems to be a challenge to talk about art without risking the intrusion of Jack Thompson figures, misguided activists, political punditry, "culture war," and atom-splitting discussions of "privilege," "gaze," and other buzzwords.

Art does, thankfully, have some real consequences, but infinitely less so than politics. It seems to dominate every other public space and every square inch of the television, and I guess I resist the idea that it should simply make itself at home in our imaginary spaces, will itself onto CDs that your band hasn't even written yet, without a very compelling case.
posted by kid ichorous at 4:53 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've spent way too much time on this over the past couple days. The "cripdrag" doesn't bother me much, but I like my fiction to be a little more consensual than the publicity for this project was. (Has a link to EE's twitter been posted yet?)

What disturbs me the most is her desire to blend child exploitation (porn and circus) with a project that's supposed to be lighthearted fun and entertainment.
posted by itesser at 5:18 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


First, this album does not exist yet. This whole conversation is the windup of criticism without any real subject, a sermon without a sin. It has almost nothing of Evelyn Evelyn to draw upon, and a limitless supply of speculation and idle projection to offer in its place.

I disagree. The publicity/promotion IS the sin. On it's own, as a concept album, it would've gotten much less criticism. But twittering about them. Twittering as them. Interviewing as them. Telling their "horrific" backstory on her blog.

To her credit, AFP admitted in her "drama drama" blog that telling the backstory was a mistake, and it should've been left to the album.
posted by itesser at 5:34 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


But twittering about them. Twittering as them. Interviewing as them. Telling their "horrific" backstory on her blog.

Where exactly is the sin in this? Who is wronged? Does the medium of Twitter turn an Edward Gorey / faux-expressionist indulgence in the macabre into bathos or exploitation? Is the problem that it's written in the first-person voice? Is her readership unable to read the coin flip between fantasy and reality?

Why do I feel like this would completely get a pass if it were someone awesome like Nick Cave, or a comic like Hark A Vagrant, or really anyone for whom the hip side of the internet weren't nursing an atomic hard-on of hate for no discernible reason.

So there's apparently a video game out called "Dante's Inferno" where there aren't any terza rima at all, and instead you kill Charon and I think Dido and Aeneas too with a weaponized spine. I think 50 Cent plays Virgil, which kind of makes sense.
posted by kid ichorous at 6:07 PM on February 18, 2010


I have two thoughts on this.

The first being that while art is supposed to provoke emotion, the artist should take some responsibility for that emotion. And it feels very much like Palmer and her friend are apologising without acknowledging that, "I'm sorry if you were offended by my art," rather than, "I'm sorry I've caused offense with my art."

Someone brought up a comparison elsewhere to The Who's rock opera Tommy or My Chemical Romance's Black Parade, but the difference really is how they were marketed. Tommy and the Patient/Parade were clearly never more than fictional stories while marketed and in interviews. The twins of EvelynEvelyn were the freaks to Palmer's ticket-selling barker in front of the sideshow tent, and that's offensive to the differently abled, because it wasn't that long ago in history that side shows and acts like that were real.

Which (the marketing) brings me in a way to the second thought about industry people becoming internet celebs and creating a false sense of familiarity within the fandoms. There are a lot of people in the fandom who follow Amanda's twitter and blog, who follow Neil Gaiman's blog and twitter because of Amanda, who tweet and comment and get responded to. These fans took pictures of their naked bellies for Palmer during the cock up with her label, and Amanda posted them to her own blog and made a gallery, acknowledging these fans in a very I see you and you're awesome way.

This behavior creates a sense of false intimacy where her followers are more than fans. They share the same values and there's a bond. So when there is a fuck up, because this is a fuck up, it's more than offense. It becomes betrayal by someone they know.

It's all really fascinating to watch play out.
posted by FunkyHelix at 6:38 PM on February 18, 2010 [1 favorite]


Right, someone they think they know. Someone they see as being "no bullshit". Amanda Palmer doing fiction outside her albums/shows is pretty much unprecedented. (I deem that "Who Killed Amanda Palmer" doesn't count because no fan actually thought she was dead, and I'm focusing more of my energy on the fans who feel betrayed, not the outraged activists.) I've read a lot of comments on the posts linked above, and there are many accounts of people "believing in" the twins, even after reading AFP's first blog post about it.

I fundamentally believe that our emotions about fictional people and nonfictional people are not the same, and it's irresponsible to put a lighthearted art project in the same bucket as fake-horrific-childhood-tragedy-presented-as-fact.

Real survivors of real abuse trusted AFP and believed the twins existed. It's a small but real percentage. They gave up authentic empathy, thinking that somewhere in the world, twins were sharing their very personal pain. But the twins weren't.

Fake people cease to exist when you close a book, change the channel, turn off your computer. Humans don't. When it comes to sympathy and empathy, the two groups should not be treated as interchangeable.

Amanda Palmer should've been more aware of what she was doing and done a little more to help her fans see the truth of EvelynEvelyn.
posted by itesser at 7:23 PM on February 18, 2010


I am kind of offended by the occasional outburst of people (on Facebook, in blog entries, etc.) telling Gaiman that he can "do better" when it comes to his choice of fiancee, though. Relationship choices are really none of a fan's goddamn business.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 7:26 PM on February 18, 2010


Hell, they should go all out and cover Roky Erickson's "Two-Headed Dog."
posted by sourwookie at 8:26 PM on February 18, 2010


First off, Jason without a beard looks wrong. So on that basis alone, I oppose the project. (I saw him in NYC in January, right after he'd shaved and cut his hair. While the show was wonderful, there was a certain something missing in having him look so clean cut.)

I appreciate the attempted whimsy of the project, in terms of Webley, it reminds me of some of his sillier stuff (the aardvark song, for instance, or back to the garden, which he apparently doesn't like anymore). Admittedly, this is off of just the elephant song, which I've seen him perform live solo.

As for the back story, I don't know. I think that was a serious misstep on their part, and really wish that that mistake had not been made. Not to say that I won't leave a trail of bodies if necessary to get tickets to the show when it shows up. I'm hoping not to, but you know how these things work. (I'm also a huge fan of Sxip, who is very cool off the stage as well as on it.)

Anybody here remember when Jason used to occasionally tell stories at his shows? I kind of miss that.
posted by Hactar at 9:33 PM on February 18, 2010


Brothers of the Head, anyone?
(seriously, the book this movie--which I've never seen--is based on seriously fucked me up when I was 11 or 12 and pulled it off the shelf at a friend's house in one of my many, many afternoons waiting for him to do something else so we could play).
posted by Joseph Gurl at 1:13 AM on February 19, 2010


Has anyone considered the possibility that this partly an act of self-parody - that Palmer and Webley are very much aware of their roles as ticket-sellers and carnival barkers?
posted by missrachael at 6:32 AM on February 19, 2010


Why do I feel like this would completely get a pass if it were someone awesome like Nick Cave, or a comic like Hark A Vagrant, or really anyone for whom the hip side of the internet weren't nursing an atomic hard-on of hate for no discernible reason.

I knew who Amanda Palmer was, but I knew very, very little about her, and have probably never even heard a song I can remember. I had no idea she was engaged to Neil Gaiman (which it sounds like she is; still not sure).

I like Nick Cave and am much more familiar with him. I like his music (I even read his novel), but I'm not a huge fan. I would not give him a free pass on this. I would mock and shame him mercilessly.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:30 AM on February 19, 2010


I don't understand why it's so difficult to grasp that appropriating the history of the suffering of sexually abused and exploited people is wrong. The belly thing was about Palmer herself, her body, not someone else's.

Someone mentioned minstrel shows upthread; using that paradigm would also be problematic, unless Palmer were black. If she based an album on the Trail of Tears and dressed up as a Native American and wore red-face--yeah, offensive too. Not because she can't comment, but because there is a long, long history of white/able-bodied people co-opting the stories and voices of others for their own ends (in this case, publicity, shock, and money).

This is not that hard to understand, it is not runaway "whimsy-crushing", there is nothing whimsical about the history of freakshows or child sexual abuse. Jesus Christ.

Let's not forget: she benefits from this farce, if tunes sell, if concert attendance goes up, if she gets publicity. The people whose history/experiences she has been "inspired" by, not so much. It's not her history, it's not her story to tell, it sure as hell is not appropriate for her to trivialize it in this way.
posted by emjaybee at 2:03 PM on February 19, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are now various blog entries appearing from other folks involved in the project, including cojoined-dress designer Kambriel, album cover artist Cynthia von Buhler, and animator Vince Mascoli.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 3:55 PM on February 19, 2010


I just want to thank y'all in this thread for introducing me to Webley. Palmer and the Dresden Dolls have never done it for me (which bewilders people who think they'd be right up my alley) but Webley looks like he's a hoot.

Also, add me to the list of people who, while not personally offended against, find the appropriation of disability/freakshow and child molestation themes uncool.
posted by immlass at 4:16 PM on February 19, 2010


I'm late, but nevertheless -

It's hard to enjoy on one's own terms, you have to enjoy on his terms because the rest of the crowd is doing the same thing.

-Get off of Jason's lawn!


Thanks.
posted by mannequito at 4:00 AM on February 20, 2010


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