No, I Am Not Crowdfunding This Baby
August 27, 2015 8:11 AM   Subscribe

 
Papa don't preach
I'm in trouble deep
Papa don't preach
I've been losing sleep
But I made up my mind
I'm not crowdfunding my baby
posted by octobersurprise at 8:20 AM on August 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


She's not an art factory? She's a factory of something, that's for sure.
posted by Ideefixe at 8:27 AM on August 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Secondly, thanks for confirming my deepest, most insecure, harrowing fears about motherhood and about how people will perceive me now that I have decided to breed!

As I have said before and will, sadly, no doubt say again -- the one thing that you can be sure of when a) getting pregnant or b) raising a child is that whatever you do, someone will tell you you are doing it wrong.

Maybe we could crowdfund a site where people could go and post unsolicited pregnancy and parenting advice instead of handing it out individually, and then mothers could just not go there It would be a win-win situation for everyone, and very efficient. We could call it Mothr, and the tagline would be "we are disrupting being a nosy jerk."
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:27 AM on August 27, 2015 [47 favorites]


Sigh.

I think that this is actually a really valuable conversation to be having, about what kind of woman has the "right" to be a mom, about the impact of motherhood on an artist's output... if we can just get past that knee-jerk need to attack a woman for not being what we think she should be (shrill, really?), and actually talk about the substance of the article, that would be great.

As someone who occasionally questions my own childfree stance, especially in regards to how having a child would impact my own freedom, this was really interesting reading. Thanks for sharing it!
posted by palomar at 8:28 AM on August 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


I usually find Amanda Palmer really grating and insufferably pretentious, but that was a very thoughtful piece and I really enjoyed reading it. Huh. Thanks for the post!
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 8:29 AM on August 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


This is fine. Honestly, if your creative output puts you in a place where people are willing to give you ~6@ for each thing (side note: abstraction to creative output as "thing" conflicts with "not art factory") then you can do whatever you want with the proceeds. She's crowdfunding her life, which, yes, includes a baby. So guess what, that's gonna happen, but it's not as cynical as her letter writer assumes.
posted by boo_radley at 8:29 AM on August 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Child care is my day job. I babysit my two nephews. I know that young children need LOTS of attention. Especially if they are hyper-sensitive like you or me. Chances are you’ll pass that trait on to your kid. When you have this baby, either him/her/it will suffer, or your career will suffer. "

Jesus, the fucking irony. Conflating babysitting with full on child rearing, magical thinking about passing on your supposed cultural and social failings to your progeny, Lamarck-style, and a lament that your oh so fave artist isn't prolific or good enough for you anymore.

What a fucking load of gaslighting concern trolling.

You know what? Have a fucking baby and use Patreon to fund it. This is about 1000000 times more ethical than the majority of the so called middle class in the so called West.

Yeah, babysitting prepares you for some aspects of raising children, and has absolutely nothing to do with some majority of the rest of your time as a parent. Taking care of a dog prepares you a little, too.

But the privileged "But I'm really a fan" finger wagging is too rich. I'd rather be faced with full on misogyny than this sort of feel good back handed "I pay your bills, now dance for me, monkey" flyover state privilege.

That all being said, the amount of near-nude Amanda Palmer in my Tumblr feed these past few days has really spiked.
posted by clvrmnky at 8:33 AM on August 27, 2015 [13 favorites]


Mod note: A couple comments deleted. If you just really want to register how much you dislike Amanda Palmer, maybe just take it as read that plenty of people dislike her, and leave this thread for discussion that goes beyond that? We've had a million threads on her; people dislike her, that's fine.
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 8:33 AM on August 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


(The subject of the email, btw, was: “Baby announcement right after joining Patreon?…Scam much?”)

Jesus. And that's from a supposed devoted fan. With friends like these, no wonder Palmer is so often annoying.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 8:33 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


A good and insightful piece of writing that hits on a lot of things, such as the creative muse, policing women, policing artists we like, struggling to live to create, etc, etc.

But she's having a kid, doesn't quite know what she's in for (very few do), so she's going to wing it and see how it goes, creating artist wise. I wish her nothing but the best.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 8:33 AM on August 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


Much as kids think teachers live in the basement of the school and never leave or have families, people do tend to think of artists as abstractions who don't actually need to, like, eat food or live in a place or anything. I wonder if this letter writer, who is so horrified that some of the Patreon money might help Palmer birth and raise a baby, has ever bought a concert ticket or an album--after all, it's not like anyone asked her to dictate what those artists do with those earnings.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:34 AM on August 27, 2015 [17 favorites]


GenjiandProust: "Maybe we could crowdfund a site where people could go and post unsolicited pregnancy and parenting advice instead of handing it out individually, and then mothers could just not go there It would be a win-win situation for everyone, and very efficient. We could call it Mothr, and the tagline would be "we are disrupting being a nosy jerk.""

I think that she could have a separate patreon level where somebody just lectures her for 10 minutes on the phone. "Here's how your output was better when you were in Dolls", "here's how your last side project was hell of problematic" and then BING hang up no warning.
posted by boo_radley at 8:39 AM on August 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


You know what? Have a fucking baby and use Patreon to fund it. This is about 1000000 times more ethical than the majority of the so called middle class in the so called West.

Wait - what?
posted by ryanshepard at 8:41 AM on August 27, 2015 [9 favorites]


I posted this because Palmer has always struck me as a very autonomous person and I was interested in how her having a baby is going to work for her. She has received a lot of complaints from her fanbase about her pregnancy, but I suspect that stems from the fact that they and she project so much of their identities on each other (feminist, fiercely independent, unabashedly nude, etc), so perhaps some of them feel like they are losing her.
posted by Kitteh at 8:41 AM on August 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


You know what? Have a fucking baby and use Patreon to fund it. This is about 1000000 times more ethical than the majority of the so called middle class in the so called West.

Wait - what?


Listen, fuck your so-called compass directions.
posted by selfnoise at 8:43 AM on August 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


Good god that "fan" letter smacks of the same kind of "I pay your salary" privilege that seems to overcome a significant number of supporters of public radio.

Way to talk to someone you supposedly respect, dingus. I'm not a fan of Palmer's music, but I like the cut of her jib. Her response her was measured and honest and got in just enough of a "we're seriously doing this? Alrighty!" vibe. A+
posted by Maaik at 8:43 AM on August 27, 2015 [11 favorites]


(The subject of the email, btw, was: “Baby announcement right after joining Patreon?…Scam much?”)

Which is weird, since the whole point of Patreon, as I understand it is that you are pledging to support production -- I like you podcast, I pledge $2/episode. If you put out an episode a week, you get $8-10/month. If you take 3 weeks off, I only pay you a couple of dollars. If you take time off to have a child, well, that will probably drop your production, but it will also drop my donation. So this seems like the anti-scam.

Or am I misunderstanding Patreon?
posted by GenjiandProust at 8:44 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


GenjiandProust, yes, that is how Patreon works. I guess her fans could be concerned that her art is about to be come all about her child, which, from the pictures in this article, might not be too off-base.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:46 AM on August 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I support a couple of indie female comics artists on Patreon. In no way, do I feel like they are obligated to justify how they spend their time to me, even though I do love getting weekly emails telling me about how they are using my Patreon dollars and showing us backers new stuff. I think things like Patreon and Kickstarter are supposed to comfortably blur the lines between the artist and the crowd, but people can still overstep boundaries.
posted by Kitteh at 8:47 AM on August 27, 2015


I wonder whether she received a lot of letters or comments like this, or if it just touched a nerve of her own doubts. It doesn't seem like the kind of thing that deserves a response for itself. (I also wonder if there's a way to reject an individual patreon subscriber, as an artist. Sort of like "fuck your money, its not worth the effort of having you hold it over me").
posted by the agents of KAOS at 8:48 AM on August 27, 2015


GenjiandProust: "Which is weird, since the whole point of Patreon, as I understand it is that you are pledging to support production -- I like you podcast, I pledge $2/episode. If you put out an episode a week, you get $8-10/month. If you take 3 weeks off, I only pay you a couple of dollars. If you take time off to have a child, well, that will probably drop your production, but it will also drop my donation. So this seems like the anti-scam. ;"

I'm not going to defend that ding dong letter writer, but I thiiiiink the point was that Palmer's output changed over the year to become... less considered (not sure here) or lighter in a way that was easier for her to generate. So instead of producing three music videos that are really well done, you get six that are poorly realized, maybe? I'm just spitballing here.
posted by boo_radley at 8:48 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Or am I misunderstanding Patreon?

No, you're not. The letter writer's argument doesn't really hang together as a critique of a "scam." First and foremost she wants Palmer to know that Palmer isn't putting out enough content *already*. Then she wants to be snotty about her dollars paying for a baby, and finally, she wants some kind of promise that Palmer not only will continue to produce but produce art that she, personally, finds sufficiently challenging. She's asserting astonishing entitlement to Palmer's output and letting her "employee" know that she's on notice.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 8:49 AM on August 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


Also, Patreon can work by a pay-per-month basis as well. I just don't think that's the case here.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 8:49 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


and you can cap out payments and etc etc etc. it's an interesting system but ancillary to the issue
posted by boo_radley at 8:50 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I guess if you're an artist who relies on fan support it's best to be kind to everyone but I would have had a very hard time not telling that person to go pound sand. Holy crap what a terrible "fan".
posted by bondcliff at 8:51 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't get the mindset of fans who are shocked and appalled that their monetary support of an artist would go towards things like living expenses and having a family. It's not like those of us with desk jobs have to defend buying groceries and non-work-related-items with our paychecks. If my favorite band put out something saying "hey, if we raise $X to cover our rent while we're on tour, we can go on tour or make a new album" I'd be like hell yeah, take my money (instead they just never tour and leave me contemplating the idea of flying to Germany to see a Scottish band that plays like once every two years).
posted by banjo_and_the_pork at 8:54 AM on August 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


OK, fine I was exaggerating for effect regarding ethical choices vis a vis funding babies. My point is simply: middle-class western thought puts how we earn and spend money on a rank, and those values are internalized such that we have no problem accepting when governments use this rank to control how payouts and taxes work. We also use this ranking to decide whether to fingerwag or threaten to withhold payment if the payee might do something we vaguely assume is wrong.

We adopt the "payment means some ownership" and use shitty puritanical mores to back up our discomfort. And it is built in to current middle-class late capitalist "moderate" thinking.

This is venal, unethical, and dangerous. I maintain that this is much worse, ethically, than an imaginary mother asking to fund her child honestly via crowd funding.

If you disagree, then I have the same thoughts regarding broken moral compasses.

My response in a nutshell? Quit telling women and artists how to spend their time and their money. It's unethical, patr(e)onizing, and nasty.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:01 AM on August 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


Good luck dealing with a kid on top of all the shit Internet notoriety brings you, Amanda.

And as to how Patreon works... There are two modes. The one Amanda is using is "per work unit" mode. You post a song, a video, a comic page, a photo gallery of you getting body painted like a Damien Hirst piece and standing around outside, whatever, and all your patrons get charged however much they said they'd give you each time you emit an art thing. If you're really prolific and post multiple work units in a month, they can set a ceiling for how much they're charged. Or you can set it up for monthly payments, where your patrons pay you the same amount every month. I'm not a fan of that one as it seems likely to create exactly the same kinds of emails Palmer is responding to here - I don't want to be obligated to crank out multiple pages of my comic book on top of, oooh, four comic cons in as many weekends, or my mother dying, or whatever.
posted by egypturnash at 9:02 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


the whole point of Patreon, as I understand it is that you are pledging to support production

And she's producing a human! Dunno, there are real artistic/commercial opportunities here. Ultrasounds, brand new heartbeats, video footage, lots of bodily fluids and stuff. Has anyone ever turned having a kid into a lengthy performance piece?
posted by octobersurprise at 9:03 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


We adopt the "payment means some ownership"

But with the Patreon model, I think people do feel ownership over the art created with their money. But they can and should choose not to patron anymore if they don't like the art that the artist is producing.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:06 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


No, ownership remains with the creator. Patreon allows you to support something to get to a wider audience. You do it because you want to amplify someone's work.

You don't own anything more than any other person, whether they pay or not.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:11 AM on August 27, 2015


> But with the Patreon model, I think people do feel ownership over the art created with their money. But they can and should choose not to patron anymore if they don't like the art that the artist is producing.

Exactly. They're not giving Palmer etc. money for work-for-hire, in which case they'd be entitled to (politely) discuss exactly what kind of work they want the artist to produce. No one who supports an artist via Patreon or at the retail level is required to continue to spend money on them if the artist stops producing work that is interesting to those patrons/consumers, but they don't get to tell the artist what and how to do their stuff, either.
posted by rtha at 9:11 AM on August 27, 2015 [5 favorites]


But with the Patreon model, I think people do feel ownership over the art created with their money.

I don't deny that they DO, but I question whether they SHOULD. I mean why should I feel more ownership of the blog I support through Patreon than of the New Yorker, or HBO, or any other media for which I also pay monies? I realize that there are some people who definitely feel entitled to control or have a say in what even entities like the New Yorker put out, but I think those people are generally recognized as cranks who're out of line.

If you don't like the art your Patreon artist is doing anymore, it's no different than when your favorite band started sucking--you stop giving them your money. You get a little disappointed. You definitely do not write them a stern lecture about what they ought to do with their own money.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 9:12 AM on August 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


I think it's legit for people to feel like they have some ownership of the art itself--their money was one of the necessary inputs. The trouble with Patreon is how many people are taking it like they somehow now own not just the product, but the producer. It's not just "hey, you're kinda like my employee now", it's that in the same sense that certain establishments owned by Christians have taken to thinking that this means they have some entitlement to decide how you get to spend your time and money. If you hire somebody and they don't produce good work, that's fine, maybe that's not working out. But that doesn't buy you the right to decide what that person does with their free time and meddle in their personal lives. Except lots of people clearly think it does.

Given the gene pool involved, I'm going to struggle myself with not expecting this kid to be some kind of Chosen One as the offspring of the intersection of my preexisting fandoms. But I know that's unreasonable and I'm not imposing that expectation on the parents.
posted by Sequence at 9:17 AM on August 27, 2015


Mothers are great, the idea that we are boring and dumb is misogyny, Palmer sorts of revels in that misogyny but isn't like those other moms, but then she guesses moms can be cool now that she is one. Pretty meh overall in terms of the thinking and insight provided here.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 9:18 AM on August 27, 2015 [25 favorites]


I think the "scam" the letter-writer was alleging was either actually getting pregnant or faking pregnant for the attention/sympathy to bring in more patrons.

Which would carry more sting as an insult if Palmer was having any problems bringing in patrons in the first place, but she wasn't.

I think a lot of people on Patreon use exclusivity periods to put up something of a buffer of "I paid for this, I own this" mentality, though I'm not sure if that's what Palmer's doing. I belong to several that work that way - the podcast or recipes or short story is exclusive to patrons for a week, then is made publicly available. But none of those people have a hugely clamoring fanbase, so the podcast or short story remains private basically through the honor system.
posted by Lyn Never at 9:18 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I think the Patreon model is basically fundamentally fucked up, though. The patronage system for the arts was fundamentally exploitive, anti-democratic, censorious, and not actually very efficient with regard to consistently funding the truly worthy and excellent. I don't think the 2015 version is that much better. That fan is interpersonally rude, sure, but I think trying to move back to some nebulous idea of paying for the artist, rather than for individual works of art, is ultimately a bad thing, and in as much as people do it because they feel like it is some form of mass work-for-hire funding, that's one of those polite deceptions that everyone ignores. A lot of the people contributing to Patreons wouldn't be doing it if it wasn't marketed and sold with a wink-wink-nudge-nudge implication that it's work for hire, and I think a lot of the artists know that, and that's shitty and dishonest.

Palmer, more than anyone, should know that. Given how she acts like it's some wondrous favor for people to play with her for free, there's no way she doesn't understand on some level that this is a work, because that is what she does and who she is.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 9:18 AM on August 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


Consider that Patreon is using the name as the nod to "patron" and "patronage" but signalling something else.

Whether this is workable, or understood, or otherwise successful is another question.

But it is simply not the pre-capitalist patronage model. It is not the post governmental commission model.

It may not even be cool "disruption" model (though I'm not sure -- it is certainly more "disruptive" than, say, Uber).

At its heart, it is the tip jar on the piano. There is a relationship there, and some room for negotiation. But you don't own the player's time, the song or rendition. The player may take requests, but that is as far as it goes. At some point we might be paying for someone to make some artistic choices they surprise us.

But we don't get to take our money back if they don't get to our specific request some nights, or do that "Piano Man" cover we hate.

Or decided to get pregnant.
posted by clvrmnky at 9:30 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


We already have a perfectly good place to post unsolicited artistic and parenting advice. It's called /dev/null.
posted by Anne Neville at 9:33 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]




But we don't get to take our money back if they don't get to our specific request some nights, or do that "Piano Man" cover we hate.

Or decided to get pregnant.


Take back? No. But stop giving, yes.
posted by roomthreeseventeen at 9:35 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


"Hey, come over here and feel this! Our baby is kickstarting!"
posted by a lungful of dragon at 9:43 AM on August 27, 2015 [10 favorites]


At its heart, it is the tip jar on the piano. There is a relationship there, and some room for negotiation. But you don't own the player's time, the song or rendition. The player may take requests, but that is as far as it goes. At some point we might be paying for someone to make some artistic choices they surprise us.

Except everything about the Patreon model is set up so that it's not like a tip jar. It's piggybacking off of Kickstarter and GoFundMe and all the others, plus it's set up as a recurring set of service payments. Artists have a vested interest in pretending it's self-evidently like a tip jar, except it's not. What's actually a functional tip jar analogy is the Band Camp "choose your own price but there's a minimum" (call it a cover fee) model for individual pieces of content. Patreon exists in the same world as Band Camp and is a response to it. It's not like everyone who uses either isn't aware of the other, nevermind lots of musicians of course are using both.
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 9:52 AM on August 27, 2015


There is a relationship there, and some room for negotiation. But you don't own the player's time, the song or rendition.

But you do, to a certain extent. If your piano player decided she was going to exclusively do "Piano Man" covers, the audience would stop giving tips, or just not show up at that place anymore.

This does create an unspoken pressure on the player to do what the audience wants in the manner the audience wants. I think we like to pretend that art is something higher and is untethered from such concerns, but as long as an artist is relying on that kind of payment it isn't.

What's the difference between an audience stopping its payments because it doesn't like what the artist is doing, and that audience directly telling the artist it doesn't like what the artist is doing?

Note, I think the "scam" language is ridiculous. I'm just saying it's not so ridiculous for supporters to directly comment on what the artist is doing.
posted by Sangermaine at 9:59 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Let's fund art via lottery

No seriously

And to enter the lottery you have to vote
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 10:01 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


We already have a lottery for art. Periodically we pick a female artist on the internet, and then throw stones at her. I suppose it makes sure the harvest will be good.

Oh wait, you mean a different sort of lottery...
posted by happyroach at 10:16 AM on August 27, 2015 [12 favorites]


happyroach: "Periodically we pick a female artist on the internet, and then throw stones at her."


"That's derivative! I expect complete originals for my $1.25 a month!"

(picks up rock)
posted by boo_radley at 10:21 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


This does create an unspoken pressure on the player to do what the audience wants in the manner the audience wants. I think we like to pretend that art is something higher and is untethered from such concerns, but as long as an artist is relying on that kind of payment it isn't.

I feel there is absolutely a difference between an artist generally recognizing that she wants an audience, and having a sense of what her general audience wants, vs an artist being beholden to the specific granular wants of each audience member individually.

There's also, in this instance, the difference between an artist being obliged to produce art that her audience enjoys vs. an artist being obliged to also live a life that the audience approves of and somehow pledge that at no time will her bogus choice to be a human affect her output units.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 10:30 AM on August 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


> What's the difference between an audience stopping its payments because it doesn't like what the artist is doing, and that audience directly telling the artist it doesn't like what the artist is doing?

From my point of view, not much, really, except in the latter - telling the artist directly - there is a lot more room for the audience to act like entitled jerks who have hired the artist to produce a specific thing (rather than giving funds to support the artist in making art). That's a stupid room to be in but a lot of people don't seem to realize that's where they've decided to be.
posted by rtha at 10:30 AM on August 27, 2015


The issue of motherhood and identity, especially professional identity and artistic identity, is really interesting. This article was pretty "meh," though I'm glad Palmer shared where she is at.

If I had kids, would I turn into a boring, irrelevant, ignorable artist? Would I suddenly start writing songs about balance and shit?

Honestly, I'd love to hear songs about the complex feelings of motherhood. I don't know Palmer's art now, so my comments might be off-base. But this sentiment sounds so adolescent. This article has a few hints in the right direction, when it talks about the ways that being a mother might deepen her art, but it sounds really defensive and like she doesn't really believe it. I hope Palmer finds some more positive role models and doesn't try to hold back her personal evolution, even if her former self would roll her eyes, because to me, this kind of "balance and shit" negativity is far more boring.
posted by salvia at 10:35 AM on August 27, 2015 [7 favorites]


Wow, I guess this has been said but that was an incredibly more thoughtful and kind response to a "fan" letter with that level of entitlement than I would have been able to muster. Well done.
posted by Wretch729 at 10:36 AM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I found the fan's email a touch…

[sunglasses]

… Patreonizing.
posted by Kabanos at 10:49 AM on August 27, 2015 [16 favorites]


I've been procrastinating about doing a Patreon for a while and this stuff is the reason why. The level of ownership and entitlement fans feel over creative output is bad enough without them feeling like they got screwed out of their $1/month because I wrote something they didn't care for. Adding in them potentially judging my personal life choices adds an extra level of creepy I hadn't thought about.
posted by frenetic at 11:30 AM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I don't get the mindset of fans who are shocked and appalled that their monetary support of an artist would go towards things like living expenses and having a family. It's not like those of us with desk jobs have to defend buying groceries and non-work-related-items with our paychecks. If my favorite band put out something saying "hey, if we raise $X to cover our rent while we're on tour, we can go on tour or make a new album" I'd be like hell yeah, take my money (instead they just never tour and leave me contemplating the idea of flying to Germany to see a Scottish band that plays like once every two years).

Repeated for emphasis. If you are a member of the Glaswegian band There Will Be Fireworks, know a member of the Glaswegian band There Will Be Fireworks, live in the same neighborhood as the Glaswegian band There Will Be Fireworks, or follow the Glaswegian band There Will Be Fireworks on any social media, I implore you to do all it takes to encourage the Glaswegian band There Will Be Fireworks to perform live again within the year and to do so with enough notice that my wife can obtain tickets to attend.

If you can do this, I will happily pay you the sum of $30. This might not seem like much, but remember that Lorne Michaels was almost successful in getting a Beatles reunion going for the sum of $3,000 after they were previously offered 50 million. By the transitive powers of math, that means you have been offered the equivalent of $500,000 to perform. I will not even ask that the band performs in the USA or our living room or anything - I am happy to send my wife to Scotland so that she can see them in theirs.

If anyone can help with this, they will be entitled to a 15% percent finders fee should my wife actually be able to attend a performance by the Glaswegian band There Will Be Fireworks. While this translates to a mere $4.50 in actual money (and does, sadly come out of the band's cut), it also translates to roughly $75,000 in abstract, hopeful Beatles money.

So please, dear Internet, link and post and like and twit and tape up some complicated balloon-base signage around Strathaven in Lanarkshire and together we can make this the most crowded of funnings.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 11:32 AM on August 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


I doubt any artist is going to go "Hmmmm, got another email saying that a fan is disappointed in me, guess I better start trying harder" after getting an email

I think it's as least as likely that their reaction is to reduce their output out of perfectionism and evading opprobation. It's kind of the worst of all worlds to be criticized by the people paying you. "Well, my praise is contained in the money I continue to give you, it's just my criticism that you experience as words."
posted by rhizome at 11:39 AM on August 27, 2015


What's the difference between an audience stopping its payments because it doesn't like what the artist is doing, and that audience directly telling the artist it doesn't like what the artist is doing?

That's not really an accurate description of what the situation is.

I've gotten negative feedback from gigs, and I'm sure people have said "I'm never seeing THAT band again" about groups I'm in, but I've never had anyone come up to me and say "You know, that last show you played you seemed a little tired, and weren't as technically proficient. I know that when school starts things get a little hectic. I'm just worried that you're planning on using the money for your next gig to buy school supplies for your kid".
posted by Gygesringtone at 12:31 PM on August 27, 2015 [3 favorites]


odinsdream: Wow. I'm impressed she bothered to write the article instead of just mailing that person a calligraphy "Fuck You" letter.

Maybe the article is a THING that will trigger donations! And she is all like "Ha Ha, I'm getting paid, Motherhuffers! And I'm spending it all on booze and cigarettes you sanctimonious stay-at-home soccer moms." And 10,000 people will quit her Patreon and 20,000 new people will join.

Note: I don't really thing this.
posted by nequalsone at 12:31 PM on August 27, 2015


I doubt any artist is going to go "Hmmmm, got another email saying that a fan is disappointed in me, guess I better start trying harder" after getting an email like the one Palmer did.

I doubt it, too. And most people, I think, would realize the presumptuousness, not to mention the pointlessness, of sending such an email. But I'm not surprised to see that as the distance between artist and fan is narrowed (even if it's largely an imaginary narrowing), the chances of getting such responses increases. It's the flip side of the 1000 true fans strategy. The more you can convince people to really really invest in you, the more they're likely to feel that they "own" a controlling interest. And Palmer's career in particular has always traded on being more than simply an exchange of art or entertainment, but also of (a fictional) intimacy. So it's no wonder that some fans think they can complain they aren't getting what they need out of the relationship.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:37 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It was a quite reasonable exchange on both sides. A buyer of product said "you are making changes that make me worry the product of your quality will decline." The seller of the product wrote back to say "yes, that's possible, but here's why I made those changes and here's why the risk of decline is not as bad as you may fear, but you're welcome to continue buying, or not."
posted by MattD at 12:44 PM on August 27, 2015


Ha, points to Gaiman:

Strangely, nobody has ever seemed concerned that having another child would dim my creative flame.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:56 PM on August 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


"Strangely, nobody has ever seemed concerned that having another child would dim my creative flame."

Not so strange, when men have traditionally assumed less of the childbearing and child raising burden. When you look at the traditional role of women, and the traditional division (and recognition) of labor, it's not surprising that people would think this way. This isn't to say that the Palmer-Gaiman relationship is a traditional one, or that it will be. It just isn't surprising that people would form these preconceived notions about female creative output given the context in which female creative output often occurs, or has had to occur.
posted by aielen at 2:06 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


It's not like there's anything good about that letter or the "reasoning" behind it.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 2:32 PM on August 27, 2015


Let's fund art via lottery

No seriously

And to enter the lottery you have to vote


Oh lovely, yet another way my non-citizen-yet-full-tax-paying ass is going to be screwed out of any sort of funding opportunity.
posted by divabat at 2:55 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Huh. Wasn't defending the letter or its attitude in any way. Just saying that patriarchy and discriminatory attitudes are not surprising. It's sad that Palmer is subject to this kind of criticism from her fans (and one would expect her fans to have less judgemental attitudes especially given Palmer's body of work), but not surprising. Patriarchal modes of thought are still pretty entrenched, even in supposedly more "liberal" or artistic fields.
posted by aielen at 2:58 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Do people really think this letter was written by someone other than Palmer herself? I wish the writer, if such a person exists, would come forward.
posted by Ideefixe at 4:23 PM on August 27, 2015


Because obviously women always lie about being criticized for how they reproduce, so how can we possibly know this actually happened?

Hopefully a man wrote the letter, so we can know for sure.
posted by Lyn Never at 5:16 PM on August 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


Some people think that other people are only doing [thing] "for attention." And there is no correct way to get attention, according to some, if you are Palmer.
posted by rtha at 5:37 PM on August 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


I consider myself a feminist and I'm uncomfortable asking this, but here goes. Presumably, Neil Gaiman is a quite wealthy man, and so I guess that the Gaiman-Palmer-offspring family is also wealthy. Why is AP appealing to strangers for financial support? Obviously she wants to be paid for her work, but something about this model seems a bit... off to me. Help me understand - is it just that Patreon is an effective channel for distribution?
posted by bendy at 6:14 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


I don't understand what seems off to you. It's not "appealing to strangers for money", and honestly, I'm finding it hard to find the feminism in the idea that she should just get money from her rich hubby instead of offering her artistic goods to a community willing to pay her directly for them, which sounds a hell of a lot more feminist to my ears.
posted by palomar at 6:24 PM on August 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


She's making it possible to be paid for her work, from her fans (or, I suppose random strangers who are obsessed with the letter A and give money to people whose names start with that letter, whatever reason, that's their choice) who are choosing to do so. That is not "asking strangers for money".

Look carefully at the title: I am not crowdfunding this baby. That's because the baby has two parents who work for a living and, through doing so, will pay for the baby. Not anybody's business who pays more of that, or who changes more diapers, or who sings the best bedtime songs. They'll make those trade-offs like all parents do.

"Why doesn't her rich husband just pay her to make records" feels bad to say because it is about as ill-spirited a thing to say as possible. You're reducing her work to a hobby that nobody else could possibly be interested in, just because you don't like her. This is the opposite of feminism.
posted by Lyn Never at 6:39 PM on August 27, 2015 [6 favorites]


My point isn't that she should rely on her husband for money, it's that I understand the model of paying $X for an album or a painting and I'm not sure how Patreon is different or better.
posted by bendy at 6:40 PM on August 27, 2015


Also, please don't accuse me of being ill-spirited or anti-feminist, that's not my intention and it's an assumption I don't appreciate.
posted by bendy at 6:43 PM on August 27, 2015 [1 favorite]


Patreon is "Support me while I make this short film/album/comic book" and not "pay for the thing I have already made." It apparently gives some people (audience and artists both) more of a feeling of connection and involvement with each other that some number of people seem to like and appreciate.
posted by rtha at 6:56 PM on August 27, 2015


If you're not sure how Patreon functions, that was covered up-thread. It's also covered in a helpful "What is Patreon?" video that plays on the front page of their website.
posted by palomar at 6:57 PM on August 27, 2015 [2 favorites]


I'm not usually into Amanda Palmer, but good for her for doing what she wants with her body, her life, her art, and her future. And fuck that guy and society that fills women with anxiety about whether they can both art and mother.

I've quoted this on metafilter a bazillion times, but it was this quote by Le Guin that made me realize that I actually could have a child and be a writer, too:
It was tough trying to keep writing while bringing up three kids, but my husband was totally in it with me, and so it worked out fine. Le Guins’ Rule: One person cannot do two fulltime jobs, but two persons can do three fulltime jobs — if they honestly share the work.
The idea that you need an ivory tower to write in, that if you have babies you can’t have books, that artists are somehow exempt from the dirty work of life — rubbish.
I think mom/artists need other models of mom/artists. Because there are plenty of people who will try to convince you that artists are too inherently selfish to mother, as if loving yourself and the world are antithetical to loving a child.

I don't like the idea that art needs to be protected from the emotions of mothering and of childhood or else it will infect it with boring momness. Our society is like that about a lot of things, and yeah, it's misogynistic. Just another way to exclude women, the majority of whom will at some point engage in mothering.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 8:16 PM on August 27, 2015 [20 favorites]


Thanks rtha, that was the info I was looking for.
posted by bendy at 9:39 PM on August 27, 2015


Patreon is "Support me while I make this short film/album/comic book" and not "pay for the thing I have already made." It apparently gives some people (audience and artists both) more of a feeling of connection and involvement with each other that some number of people seem to like and appreciate.


Er...no. That's not how her Patreon works. Once a thing is made and released, you are charged, and not before. There are 2 methods, and that's the way Amanda does it. (The other method is monthly no matter what is released, so that would be closer to what you're saying. But she's not doing that.)
posted by greermahoney at 11:00 PM on August 27, 2015


Also, please don't accuse me of being ill-spirited or anti-feminist, that's not my intention and it's an assumption I don't appreciate.

You weren't accused of being ill-spirited and anti-feminist; it was pointed out that the thing you said was ill-spirited and anti-feminist. Your intentions don't matter. What matters is the thing you said - that you can't see why her rich husband doesn't bankroll her. That's a pretty anti-feminist statement.

My point isn't that she should rely on her husband for money, it's that I understand the model of paying $X for an album or a painting and I'm not sure how Patreon is different or better.

Then why did you even bring her husband's income into the conversation?
posted by greermahoney at 11:08 PM on August 27, 2015 [4 favorites]


OK, I agree that bringing the family income into my question was wrong. I was confused about Patreon - maybe I misread the comments or the article or had a senior moment about the wording of my question. After 16 years on Metafilter I know that the best thing I can do at this point is to bow out of the thread. As a bonus I'll go back to caring about AFP as much as I normally do which is to say not at all.

As you were.
posted by bendy at 12:09 AM on August 28, 2015


I have no opinion on Amanda Palmer or babies, but, man, the U.S. has got to find a better model (i.e., PUBLIC) of consistently funding artists than random crowdfunding.

bendy, I understood what you were saying. The line between "pay me for my work" and "kickstart me some money, because we have no startup cash" is confusing when it comes to crowdfunding, and I have trouble keeping up with all the sites and methods.
posted by thetortoise at 1:26 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Traditionally the best thing to do when called out is to listen and learn, the better to understand how one has done something crappy and how to avoid doing it again in future. Shutting down and leaving is okay, but not quite as good as that other thing.
posted by pseudonymph at 1:27 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Crowdfunding is confusing because not only are there new sites and systems all the time, but it can serve a number of distinct functions. Here are four of the major relationships between funder and fundee I've observed:

1. Charity: I'll fund your rent/surgery/trip/experience; I expect nothing in return

2. Patronage: here's some money to fund you making art, because you are an artist who deserves to be out there doing your thing; any product or reward for me is optional

3. Startup money: here's some cash so you can get that book printed/album made/play staged; a product or reward may be expected, especially if the venture is profitable

4. Payment for product: I pay and you send me your book/CD/painting when it's ready; the product is the entire point of the transaction

Now, 1 and 2 (charity and patronage) can initially be attractive for the person seeking money, because there's nothing material expected in return. But the givers may think they're assuming a position of authority in their magnanimity. You can see this in action when people give somebody a buck on the street but insist on hanging around to make sure they're not spending it on drugs. And if it's tax money, people will get even more dictatorial about it: they demand that poor folks don't use food stamps to buy junk food and absolutely no NEA money go to anything like "Piss Christ."

1 and 2 don't just lend themselves to pushiness on the part of the giver; they also tend to echo oppressive systems, because the people giving money tend to have more power than the people receiving money, and this transaction gives them another opportunity to tell those people what to do.

3 and 4 (startup capital and cash-for-product) are more appealing to both giver and receiver in a capitalist system, because the idea is that the venture will pay for itself eventually. This turns the transaction into one between seller and buyer instead, something far more comfortable (in the U.S., at least). The problem with these models is that not every venture can pan out-- that's why there's risk-- and when that happens, the stigma of failure is much greater. Also, costs can be much higher than you estimate, so something you thought might give you a functional business can end up landing you in serious debt.

Amanda Palmer's "fan" thought their relationship was a 2. It was actually a 4, but even a 1 or 2 doesn't mean you get to dictate somebody's personal life choices unless you're being a dick.
posted by thetortoise at 2:25 AM on August 28, 2015 [4 favorites]


> (The other method is monthly no matter what is released, so that would be closer to what you're saying. But she's not doing that.)

Ah, my misunderstanding - I thought this was the only Patreon method. (Clearly I need to read links more carefully, too.) Thanks.
posted by rtha at 5:36 AM on August 28, 2015


As the value of creative products (free ebook, free download, only 99 cents...) goes down and artists have to invest in marketing/social media/crowdfunding as their 'day job', I think the day job basically becomes a cult of personality.*

So of course the criticism gets more personal in some ways.

Amanda Palmer basically is the poster child for cult of personality funding, so while I bristle at the sexism in the letter, I'm not that sympathetic. The woman wrote a book saying to get money by making sure your fans "feel a connection with you" which is essentially, give your fans attention and they will give you money.

* I am not arguing that there was ever a utopian past where artists did not have to compete somewhere on personality/networking/luck. But it may not have been as directly tied to their immediate income, once they emerged from the slush pile, etc.
posted by warriorqueen at 5:38 AM on August 28, 2015 [1 favorite]


Amanda Palmer basically is the poster child for cult of personality funding, so while I bristle at the sexism in the letter, I'm not that sympathetic. The woman wrote a book saying to get money by making sure your fans "feel a connection with you" which is essentially, give your fans attention and they will give you money.

Every public performer has to deal with how they want to come across. Some do this consciously, other not so much. I get the feeling that Amanda Palmer puts a lot of thought into here theory of "who I am as an artist". Part of that persona is how do you deal with the fans, and she's found a way that works for her, and them. The thing is, even if she draws her boundary at a different spot than you or I might, that doesn't mean she doesn't get to draw them.

Also, I don't really see how you can separate out the sexism from the letter. Sure, the woman writing it is actually worried about Amanda Palmer's output, but she's worried about it because of unexamined sexist assumptions. I mean, MAYBE a man in a similar situation would get the same letter, but somehow I doubt it. I have a feeling light happy art by men are given more credit for being work than that produced by women.
posted by Gygesringtone at 8:13 AM on August 28, 2015


aielen - I think it's pretty clear Gaiman was being sarcastic with his "strangely" comment and is not actually surprised. (Unless you were just elaborating on the theme, in which case sorry!)
posted by Wretch729 at 8:42 AM on August 28, 2015


So this is a complex issue.

1. I will readily cop to having an antipathy towards Palmer, due in part to coming up through the Boston arts scene at roughly the same time and knowing how she treated people who worked with her.

2. The writer of this letter is entitled and is dealing with internalized misogyny.

3. Without the context of the author, this article has a galvanizing quality that marks a lot of Palmer's written output (as opposed to her musical or performance art output). She does raise some interesting and important questions about emotional labor, making things while being a mother, and the expectations her audience has on her. All these questions are important and worth discussing. (The implicit I'm-not-like-other-moms attitude, on the other hand, undercuts the feminist point she's trying to make.)

4. Palmer brings a ton of baggage to the table. A few of her crowdfunding campaigns have had an arguably exploitative quality to them (thinking specifically about asking guest musicians to play for free), as well as an inability to understand intersectionality. This wouldn't be a problem if she wasn't trying to position herself as The Social Justice Rock Star, but when someone aligns herself with the Occupy movement and attempts to engage in discussion of gender issues, we as an audience hold her to a higher standard.

5. For all my issues with Palmer as a person and as a celebrity, I don't envy some of the criticism she's received. She's gotten no end of hateful misogynistic feedback from the jump as a result of being a forthright woman who incorporates her sexuality into her creative output. I suspect that -- because she's gotten this much crude, woman-hating feedback -- that separating the signal of the good-faith criticism from the trolling has been a challenge for her. Unfortunately, she seems to throw the good-faith criticism in the same bin as the trolling, and writes off anyone who doesn't blow smoke up her ass as a "bully" and a "hater". (I'm at work, but if anyone really wants to see receipts for either side of the issue, I'd be happy to post them when I get home. [I knew that particular link would not get me in trouble, which is why I posted it.])

So, yeah. This is why I feel -- to put it charitably -- skeptical towards Palmer, even when I generally side with her on an issue.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:32 AM on August 28, 2015 [3 favorites]


Strangely, nobody has ever seemed concerned that having another child would dim my creative flame.

Much as I enjoy the snark, I think we all know that something else sharing your body saps your strength and whatnot, which may very well interfere with creative flame, not to mention time in which to create. *sigh*
posted by jenfullmoon at 10:46 AM on August 28, 2015


thinking specifically about asking guest musicians to play for free

Which she stopped doing when she was called out about it. Nobody ever wants to bring up that part, though.

(And which other musicians have done before her and still do, someone is doing it right this second somewhere, because it's a trade-in-kind that musicians have always done, and when Billy Joel had an audience member come up and perform with him during a speaking engagement (for which he was likely paid 5 figures at least), he got an FPP about how awesome it was.)

I'm not even that big a fan of Palmer but she works so well as a litmus test of what is okay for men to do that is not okay for women. Self promotion? That's enterprising hustle when a man does it, shameless attention-whoring when it's a woman. Connecting with fans for financial gain - Dave Grohl is just so funny it's worth the $100 arena show tickets, but that woman should do it out of a pure obligation to perform emotional labor and starve on the sidewalk. Every rapper/outlaw country dude/indie artist you probably haven't heard of writes off everyone who dislikes them as a hater, and uses that to sell more records. Does Adam Levine ever wear clothes? But every woman ever is a slut. Do we vet the social justice creds of any man's art we consume, or do we shrug and "welllll but" for almost all of them? (Obviously there's a line, but it literally has to be Polanski or Gibson levels of fail before a career actually suffers. Woody Allen makes a movie a year!)

I think the only person who ever got to be a rock star by sitting quietly in a corner was Nick Drake, and he was dead when that happened...because his song was in a commercial.
posted by Lyn Never at 11:00 AM on August 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


(Sorry, he wasn't dead because his song was in a commercial, he got word-on-the-street famous because of the commercial.)
posted by Lyn Never at 11:02 AM on August 28, 2015


Much as I enjoy the snark, I think we all know that something else sharing your body saps your strength and whatnot, which may very well interfere with creative flame, not to mention time in which to create. *sigh

Yeah, all the Sensitive New Age Guys leaping in to like, try and abstract away pregnancy and childbirth in the name of playing co-parenting Feminist Gotcha was very "you tried".
posted by The Master and Margarita Mix at 11:07 AM on August 28, 2015 [2 favorites]


This is why I waffled originally about posting this even though I found it interesting--my husband even sent me an email going, "Why are you poking the MeFi beehive with Amanda Palmer???"--because eventually it all boils down to Hating Her Regardless of Anything She Will Do or Say.

AP has rankled me at times, true, but damn, I do not carry around that continual grudge from place to place for artist.
posted by Kitteh at 11:08 AM on August 28, 2015


Wretch729, I think his sarcasm is obvious. But, as others have also pointed out, his comment was also pretty flippant, and could have explored the circumstances and roots of those double standards more thoughtfully.
posted by aielen at 11:17 AM on August 28, 2015


Much as I enjoy the snark, I think we all know that something else sharing your body saps your strength and whatnot, which may very well interfere with creative flame, not to mention time in which to create. *sigh*

True, but lots of things have this effect. Moving and long-term travel (i.e. touring) is disruptive and exhausting. Committing to a single big project takes time from other projects. Hiring and managing employees is time-consuming and can be stressful. Falling in love can interfere with your ability to get shit done for months, even years.

You might say that all of those things can also benefit someone's artistic output--and it's true! They can! And so can becoming a mother! But for some reason, all the above things are taken as a given for artists (and amanda palmer has done all of them), but getting pregnant and having a kid? SOUL DEATH OF CREATIVITY AND ART

I wrote my most beautiful poem when my son was a year old. I read it recently and was brought to tears by how much better it was than anything I wrote pre-child. Why can't we admit that possibility? That women having children can add to our creative and intellectual lives?
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:24 AM on August 28, 2015 [8 favorites]


like doesn't anyone worry that famous creepy pederasts will be too distracted by the effort that it takes to be famous creepy pederasts to do good work? no, because they're dudes, and pederasting is held in higher regard by our culture than mothering is.

fuck. that.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:36 AM on August 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


I wrote my most beautiful poem when my son was a year old. I read it recently and was brought to tears by how much better it was than anything I wrote pre-child. Why can't we admit that possibility? That women having children can add to our creative and intellectual lives?

I think this is a real experience for a lot of women who are artists, but I also think the association between physical and creative generativity can be used against women who can't or don't want to have children. Biographies of female authors I've read, especially ones written before second-wave feminism, sometimes take a tragic tone when the subject didn't bear children, like "she created great work, but her greatest sorrow was in how she was barren," even when there's little evidence for that reading, and when biographers don't make the same assumptions about childless men. And contemporary writers and artists still get this, sometimes; Hilary Mantel's infertility is mentioned constantly because she dared to speak about it, even while she's probably the greatest living English writer, for fuck's sake. There's an association between motherhood and female worth out there that can be really nasty.

That said, motherhood is venerated, but usually not in a way that allows the mother to be seen as a genius, unless a feminist critic is speaking. Yet another way women can't win...
posted by thetortoise at 11:41 AM on August 28, 2015


yeah, I agree that it can be used to be shitty to women, but we're so so far in the other direction...where women are literally terrified to have kids, and not because of the physical and resource-distribution challenges that will result from having children, but because they fear literal destruction of everything that makes them interesting and valuable as people. It's super, super fucked.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 11:49 AM on August 28, 2015 [5 favorites]


Which she stopped doing when she was called out about it. Nobody ever wants to bring up that part, though.
...not after throwing a huge shitfit online, making a snotty announcement in response to her "haters", and doubling down in an interview where she said she wished she'd stuck to her guns and solicited free help.
posted by pxe2000 at 12:11 PM on August 28, 2015


I loved this piece. My kid is two. And FUCK YES have I been going through a constant identity crisis since his conception. And I'm more of the kind of artist that AFP's mom is than AFP.

The road traveled from non-parent to parent is well-traveled but hardly paved. Especially from a woman's point of view! There is definitely a lack of road markers or rest stops or maps or street lamps when it gets dark (and it can get so very dark at times). Maybe it was a lot easier in your parenting experience. Maybe you had helpers and family members nearby. But kids and babies and parenting can feel very foreign when you aren't immersed in it for decades since you were a child yourself. And I think it can be harder when you have a full fledged career and life as an adult before becoming a parent. More of an established identity is then forced to change. In my data point of an experience, anyway.

No, AFP doesn't get it all right all of the time. Or most of the time. She's stumbling along in the dark the same as the rest of us. Just more publicly. So all those stumbles are there to easily find on search. (Although, as a comment above says, the recovery from a stumble isn't as well circulated.)

Anyway. Yes, she says she doesn't want to be one of THOSE moms. She wants to be a COOL mom. Well, that's a whole bunch of us moms! Because all we ever hear is about those "soccer moms" or "mom jeans" or some other BS that is about how lame mothers are. We internalize that shit. Hell, a group of moms in my area started up a movement to bring more unity to our racially diverse and divided community, and one of the first thoughts I had when I saw the co-founders was "oh, it's just a couple of moms", thinking if a guy had joined it'd have that much more validity. WTF, brain?

> but because they fear literal destruction of everything that makes them interesting and valuable as people. Wow is there ever a true statement.

I like this new Patreon model so far. I have some indie comics artists that I LOVE the webcomics of, so I have no problem paying them a couple of bucks a month so they can keep outputting that awesomeness that I can't pay for any other way. (And my bookshelves are overflowing with their kickstarter books. Patreon seems to be a better way for me to fund their art than by filling my bookshelves.) I also fund AFP because I enjoyed her book, and her TED talk and some of her music and her points of view on many topics. So kicking in a buck or two every month or so in order for me to repay her for that (I don't want to buy CDs or vinyl anymore and "owning" digital music files these days seems to be less and less workable) and to help ensure that she can keep on living her imperfect life and sharing her thoughts on it with me... That's totally worth it.

Gaiman has that awesome blog post about how George R.R. Martin is not your bitch. I think this very much applies to AFP's post here and would have been just as appropriate.
posted by jillithd at 12:30 PM on August 28, 2015 [7 favorites]


I just noticed I got an email from Patreon that said "Thank you for supporting your creators!" (emphasis mine)
posted by RobotHero at 5:48 PM on September 1, 2015


I've been thinking a lot more about all of this over the past few weeks, especially since a toddler-accident destroyed my primary writing implement. It's the second time this has happened, and both times my writing has been badly derailed for a few weeks. And that's on top of the usual difficulties just getting writing done in the margins of being primary childcare.

When people say that it must be difficult to find time to write, I agree with them. It's so fucking hard! Those comments don't bug me.

What does bug me? The implication that mom-related stuff is soooooo boring and uninteresting and it must make my writing boring and uninteresting, too. Toddler WanKenobi's birth was attended by midwives. After, I became fascinated with historical midwife stories. I wrote a book about two midwives. At the end of this process, I found myself looking for a new agent.

I had a few enthusiastic offers. But one kept saying things like "I bet you had your kid in a birth center with a doula or something." Like the idea that a woman giving birth might be transformative for her and impact her art and interests was a ridiculous cliche. I mean, she wanted to work with me, but it made me feel pretty crappy. And she added a question at the end of our phonecall: "Are you having more children? I mean, this isn't a job interview or anything . . ." and then a lot of rambling about why she felt she needed to know.

Suffice to say, I didn't sign with her. But in a way, I appreciated her honesty. Better than rolling her eyes behind my back, I guess. And I know she was only giving voice to what a lot of people might have been thinking. But still, it kinda sucked.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:31 AM on September 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


And like, mostly I'm super proud that I wrote a book with a bad strapped to my boobs 24/7 in her first four months of life! And it's a really good book! But that conversation really made me feel like I should have been embarrassed by it, more than anything else.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 6:33 AM on September 3, 2015 [2 favorites]


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