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