Letters of Mass Construction

Amanda Palmer So Close You Can Touch Her


I had a plan for today’s blog, really I did. When I finished up yesterday’s I was armed with several points I still wanted to make. I then spent the rest of the night reading blogs, articles, and talking to people. This caused an immediate implosion of the original blog in my head.

I bled off some readers and followers after yesterday’s Amanda Palmer blog. It might have been a coincidence or it might be I finally pushed them too far. I am always interested to how people react to things emotionally (myself included). I value my readers and am genuinely sad for whatever reasons people don’t stick around but I can’t change who I am.

I have been really trying to figure out the reaction to Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley’s Evelyn Evelyn project. I tend to dive into the deep end of the pool when things bury themselves inside my brain. I got almost no sleep last night hopping around the internet and trying to wrap my head around it.

There is one thought which keeps rattling around in my brain. It simply won’t leave. I feel like I know Amanda Palmer. I think I know what she is about and what she stands for. I am comfortable with her as a person and an artist. Her music and what she stands for have become very important to me. I felt an almost instantaneous need to jump to her defense as she was battered about on the cliffs.

This is an interesting feeling to have, really almost a ridiculous feeling because I have never met her. I have held no conversation that went past 140 characters on a Twitter page. I read her blog. I watch her webcasts. I listen to her music. I read interviews about her. I know people (people who I really respect) who respect her. She has made her career an open book and invited us all in to the party.

There is an inherent danger with this kind of intimacy. It evokes an emotional response which I think is somewhat unrealistic. We think we know her and therefore develop expectations of how she should act or behave. One of the articles which has expressed disappointment in her and fanned the outrage was written by Annaham (I put a link to article at the end of this blog). I certainly don’t begrudge her the right to have this feeling but I kept gravitating back to a few of her statements.

1) The project, as far as I can tell, makes no reference to the ways in which actual people with disabilities are treated in Western culture

2) The larger cultural context of treatment of real people with disabilities, too, is conveniently forgotten (see the lyrics to “A Campaign of Shock and Awe”); the twins seem to exist in a world that is completely free of ableism (in forms subtle and not), harsh social treatment of PWDs by abled people, and pernicious, damaging stereotypes. This is particularly disappointing given that Palmer has written some great, quite un-stereotypical songs about PWDs and people with mental health conditions

Now I will say the article says much more than that and I encourage you to go read it. What I found interesting was her assumption Amanda Palmer had somehow let her down. That the project didn’t fit with her expectations of what Ms. Palmer should be doing.

Amanda Palmer feels so close to her fans you can almost touch her. I see her pictures and her Tweets. She responds to me and others. I am not trying to discount the way people feel. I said this yesterday but I do think it interesting how emotional it has become. The disappointment some people have expressed. We think we know her and I think it leads to us reacting different. I know I did.

I write fiction. Someday I hope to do it for a living. I will tell you this, people want to read about the extraordinary. It is why fantasy sells so well. There is a place in fiction for normal but there is also a place for magic, super heroes, and the fantastical. It is why I write fiction. Would the story have been okay if the sisters had not been conjoined twins?

I know I have learned a lot these last few days. I have met new people and said goodbye to others. I have read my butt off trying to educate myself. I have examined my feelings and tried to come to decisions which are fair and honest to me. I am still not offended but I get why some people are. I still will buy the album. I am still Amanda Palmer’s fan but I only know that which she chooses to share with me.


Amanda Palmer’s Blog

Part 1

Part 2

Jason Webley’s Blog

Annaham’s Blog


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8 Responses to “Amanda Palmer So Close You Can Touch Her”

  1. Carrie says:

    >Great picture, great words. I adore her work. It just…fits me..

  2. >Yeah the picture is awesome. She's so beautiful in many ways. I've been feeling the same way as you have about the Evelyn Evelyn project. I've been trying to get my head around why people are so angry because of an (possibly overly?) innocent project.

  3. >When it comes to people being angry on the internet, all I can say is "Screw 'em".

  4. Songfacts says:

    >We talked to Amanda not long ago, and she definitely likes to challenge. I thought it was interesting when Shawna asked her if it was OK to sing about date-rape because she had been date-raped. Amanda said:I found myself thinking, who can criticize me? I’ve been through these things, I’m allowed to joke about it. It’s like, well, no, really, anyone is allowed to joke about anything. It’s not like you get more cred because you’ve been through a specific trauma.Here's the interview with Amanda Palmer.

  5. Anonymous says:

    >I posted a similar comment to her blog months ago when she shit hit the fan when she said she wasn't afraid to take out money… See below;"I don't want to ever regret believing in you! Believing in someone is far more valuable than money. You have an incredible amount of power which I am sure you are well aware of. Maybe you don't have a following the size of Britney Spears, but your following are much more emotionally involved in what you do and by cultivating that relationship with your fans, I think you've also created for yourself a hell of a lot more responsibility than most artists. Don't get me wrong, if you turned around one day and decided to morph into a pop star and totally become a sell out, then my life is not about the change dramatically, I would get over it. It'd be fucked but I'm not about to go slit my wrists or anything, but some of the comments I've read here, on the boards, twitter and all over from other people lead me to believe some people are THAT emotionally involved with your work and that connection they feel with you and I hope you are constantly mindful of that. My only hope is that you are completely honest in what you claim to believe in. I want to see this in action for all facets of your career….I don’t really know what I am trying to get at with this comment, I am just easily swayed and impressionable and there are some things I’ve read that have made me have my doubts which really sucks because I don’t think I have ever been so impressed by someone before. From your artistic talent, to your intelligence and your integrity, and if I were to find out that any of it was not the total and honest truth is far worse than knowing I only have $10 in the bank.No you are not my bitch, you don't owe me or any of your fans anything, and I don't expect you to reveal everything about how much money you make and where it goes, I don't even care as long as you are sustainable, but I do expect that you remain honest and maintain your integrity."

  6. linkspam_mod says:

    >Your post has been added to a linkspam round-up.

  7. amysue says:

    >I don't know. The whole dust-up confused me and also highlighted the issues with celebrity in our culture today. We feel we know, really know, these people and so cast them in whatever roles work for us and then get angry when they don't follow the script.Evelyn,Evelyn is a cool project-I'm looking forward to the Cambridge shows and I never, not for one moment, felt that any disrespect towards the disabled or sexually abused was meant by Amanda or Jason (and see? I'm using their first names as though we're close and I've never personally met either). Now, that doesn't mean that some of the back story isn't awkward but I like being forced to think about things and sometimes that level of disturbing or awkward can assist with that.What I found in the initial really, hateful and angry responses to Amanda's blog was not so much anger about insensitivity as anger at being "fooled". There is also a lot of Neil Gaiman fans who want to hate Amanda for being Amanda and there's not much you can do with that.It's interesting though how involved we end up feeling in the lives of these twittering, blogging celebrities-it's hard to remember that while we may get a lot of raw honesty we still only get the parts of their lives they are willing to share with us and ultimately we don't own them and they don't owe us our personal fantasy of who we think they should be.

  8. Christopher says:

    >Just in case anyone wanders in later and sees the above deleted comment I want you to know it is not my policy to delete.However, the person above wrote something I felt was completely dickish and had nothing to do with my post. It was a slam on Neil Gaiman and Amanda Palmer which held no actual evidence. As I like both of those individuals, this is my damn blog, and I am fucking cranky, I have deleted he/she's ass.I might have left it if the person had actually left a name but the person punked out and wrote nasty stuff without leaving a name. So screw them.For future reference I have no problem with you disagreeing with as long as you stay on topic with the actual post. Sorry for Mr. Cranky pants response.

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