Amanda Palmer is beyond doing problematic shit, she’s problematic and awful
Cosigned. She’s awful.
Some proof, if you need convincing: When called out on ableism by the blog Feminists with Disabilities/FWD/Forward, Amanda Palmer responded with total lack of accountability. The second link includes a link to a television talk show interview that is especially illustrative of Palmer’s dismissive attitude toward the bloggers who dared critique her new musical project.
BECAUSE ART is not a valid justification for putting together a performance that marginalizes or distorts the experiences of the disabled (or any other group that has been historically oppressed/silenced), nor is BECAUSE ARTISTS PROVOKE. If you can’t come up with a carefully-composed and thoughtful answer to a group of critics who suggest that what you’re doing is offensive or oppressive (whether intentional or not), then you’re not thinking hard enough about the work you’re creating and its relationship with the social world into (and with) which you’ve woven it.
One need not read “Can the Subaltern Speak?” to know that it’s extremely problematic for a member of a dominant group to attempt to represent the experiences of people outside of that group. For example: if I, a solidly middle-class white American woman, published a profitable novel from the perspective of a woman of color who has spent her whole life in the favelas around Rio di Janiero, I’d be (rightfully!!!) accused by critics of ventriloquizing and cultural appropriation because I can’t know what it’s like to be raised and to raise one’s family in a favela, or to have grown up in Rio, or to be a person of color. Even if my portrayal of the narrator were fully humane and carefully researched in the favelas, I’d still be using my privileged position to speak for someone whose voice is rarely heard (and in doing so I’d turn a financial profit for myself, which would make it especially icky). I’m sure that if I were dumb enough to write such a novel, my privileged position would come through in the language somewhere, even after careful revisions, via inaccuracies, distortions, and presumptions. That’s what Evelyn Evelyn was: appropriation of the experiences of disabled people for the profit of two (temporarily?) able-bodied artists, and it wasn’t even particularly nuanced or well-crafted. It was tacky and meant to shock in order to generate profit, and that’s incredibly gross.
It’s possible (if difficult for many) to accept criticism gracefully, and it’s possible to take the time to work out the bugs in your project/piece of art so that it doesn’t reproduce narratives that actively oppress people. Amanda Palmer failed to do both of these things.
Plus: she doesn’t make particularly interesting music, either, not that that would exonerate her from any of this.
Yeppp, and she is racist, transphobic, and perpetuates rape culture as well. Ughh. And I agree, her music isn’t that great, either.
All of the above
And, as I will continue to mention, because it needs to get out there, when her partner, who was a recovering drug addict had a relapse, she faked a suicide attempt to let him know how he made her feel.
A few years later he committed suicide.
She recorded his reaction when he found her, pretending to be dead, and years later she used it on an album.
Guess what my opinion is of people who use suicide threats to make vulnerable people feel bad
She told the audience this at a concert I went to of hers. It was the last time I will ever give her my money.
This always needs to get passed around. And I mean, I actually DID like her music for quite a while, and appreciated some of the less problematic things she did. So it’s not about “well, you don’t like her anyway”. No, I was DEEPLY ANGRY because of these things BECAUSE I’d felt like we were on the same side, so to speak.
I think it’s worth noting that Evelyn Evelyn isn’t just appropriative because they’re conjoined - the whole story is this long dramatic thing about child pornography and sort of persuading these deeply anxious girls into the limelight while also using that angle as an explanation of why they don’t appear much (since it wasn’t real). Which wouldn’t have been funny or appropriate or NECESSARY TO THE ACT even if everyone had KNOWN from the beginning that it was her and Jason, but not everyone did.
I don’t think I’ve heard the racist bit though, or at least I’ve ignored her for so long at this point that I’ve forgotten it.
That is a link to a video of her telling the fake suicide story. This was taken at a concert I attended. I wanted to provide proof, in case anyone thought I was exaggerating. trigger warnings for discussion of suicide, faking suicide, and abusive behaviour towards vulnerable people.