Amanda Palmer’s Pile Of Pain

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Sometimes I want to write a blog and am not sure I have the skill to pull it off. This is one of those times. I am going to try because I can’t stop thinking about it and often the only way I can get my thoughts in order is to write them out.

It seems that one of my favorite artists in the world, Amanda Palmer, has stepped into a big pile of pain. Her and her friend Jason Webley have created a fictional story about conjoined twins and then recorded a concept album around it. Amanda released the back story on her blog the other day. It contained sexual abuse and some claim a huge dose of prejudice against individuals with disabilities. Fans began to scream “off with her head” almost immediately. Sheri and I have been away while all this was happening so I spent the better part of last night reading every comment on her blog page. I have spent the last 12 hours trying to figure out how to write this. (I put the links to the blogs at the bottom if you want to go read them).

Let me get some credentials out of the way, in case I have any new readers out there. I am not disabled. I am a survivor of physical, mental, and sexual abuse (Here is a link to the worst of it if you care). I am angered by many people’s reactions to this but maybe not for the reasons you might think.

I can’t tell people how they should feel. Neither can Amanda Palmer. Your feelings are your own and they are powerful. I do not discount them. If her backstory offended you those feelings are real. However, I did not feel that way and it will always piss me off when people feel they have the right to speak for me. You think it was wrong but I don’t. Who is right? Don’t tell me how I should feel. Don’t tell me I should be offended.

This morning I went back to the blog and saw that Amanda took out the sexual abuse and I got to be pissed all over again. I wouldn’t have done it. Ms. Palmer is in a complete no win situation. Damned to piss someone off no matter what.

A lot of the clamor from the fans was that she was using the stereotypes of the back story to make money. Commercializing people’s pain or suffering. I think this is a little ridiculous and subjective. People create works of fiction all the time which use people’s pain and suffering. I am a white, middle class teacher. Is this the limit of what I get to write about when I create fiction? If I worry about offending someone, I shouldn’t write it? If I write about sexual abuse but I treat it in a way you don’t agree with, I have to take it out?

The worst part about this is Amanda Palmer has gone dark and satirical many times before without a blip from her fans. Where were they when she made a humorous rape song? Are you trying to imply that there is some sort of invisible line out there you aren’t suppose to cross?

I believe with all of my heart she had the write to create this piece of fiction. She had the right to write about sexual abuse and disabilities. You have the right to be offended and you certainly have the right to not buy the project. Just remember the world is a big place and you don’t speak for me. You don’t speak for anyone but yourself. I for one will wait for the album to come out and judge it according to my particular tastes. I am guessing I won’t be offended.

———————–

Amanda Palmer’s Blog

Part 1

Part 2

Jason Webley’s Blog

Annaham’s Blog

I have so much more to say about this but it is still bouncing around in my head. I will be back tomorrow with part 2.

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About csdaley

C.S. Daley was born in California but has spent most of his life in his imagination. His first short story written in third grade, the now classic "Close Encounters of the Turd Kind," was sold to his next door neighbor for a quarter. The neighbor promptly demanded a refund. An unhealthy obsession with the writings of Neil Gaiman, Christopher Moore, and Terry Pratchett have left his mind warped and broken. He spends most of his evening swilling down coffee while tapping at a keyboard under the watchful eyes of his kittens. They are there to make sure he doesn't snap. He likes to write fantasy for adults and teens.

11 Responses to “Amanda Palmer’s Pile Of Pain”

  1. >Freedom of speech. Fuck what the masses say. I'm so tired of tiptoeing around in fear I might hurt somebody's feelings. Don't like it? Don't read it. Good blog.

  2. >Agreed. My problem is that people are judging it ALREADY when the album isn't even out yet. We don't know the full story yet. We haven't experienced it all yet, and so we don't know for SURE yet what it's going to be like. People are jumping ahead before it's even really started.

  3. >i like palmer. and don't have a problem with the fact that it's a concept album about conjoined twins. it was just that they decided to dress up as conjoined twins onstage that… squicked me. it seemed kinda gross to me to make a theatrical show centering on a disability. however, i understand what she's trying to do. and though i personally am not into it at all, i know that the intentions behind it weren't evil or anything. on the other hand, the way some people are reacting with all the misinformed comments on her blog is just maddening, so i agree with you there… especially the ones that seem to try to tell amanda what she "can" or "can't" do as part of a creative project. :/

  4. >"Where were they when she made a humorous rape song? Are you trying to imply that there is some sort of invisible line out there you aren't suppose to cross?"I've heard this argument a lot over the past few days and it's really irritating me. Amanda Palmer herself was raped. She owns that experience and it is her own to use to any which way she pleases. She does not own the experience of a conjoined twin.Carrie, your comment is pretty hypocritical. You declare freedom of speech yet "Don't like it? Don't read it."? Freedom of speech works both ways. If something offends us we're entitled to say so.

  5. >I am sorry I just don't agree you have to experience it to write it. You are pretty much eliminating a huge chunk of literature, movies, art, music.Plus, how many people knew she was raped? I didn't before I heard the song. By your logic only people with disabilities can write about people with disabilities. To take it a step farther, does that also mean if I have experienced abuse I get a free pass on everything. I can be nasty or funny or ironic because I own it?

  6. >I also agree you have the right to express your opinion but you don't have the right to tell me what I want to listen to or experience.Amanda Palmer also has the right to disagree with people and go forward with this project. A lot of comments on her page seem to think otherwise.

  7. >Everyone is entitled to an opinion. There will always be naysayers. If it's art, there are no lines, or boundaries. Isn't art all about breaking the boundaries?just my thoughts.N

  8. >Thank you for writing this. I've been struggling with this. I felt strongly led to speak to this but have been so swamped with work I just couldn't seem to carve out the time. Now I know I don't need to worry. You just said it and much better than I could. Thank you.

  9. >Well said sir.Having just read all of the comments on Amanda Palmer's website I think you have summed up the issues beautifully.I think the point is – that absolutely no one has the right to tell anyone else what to feel or think about anything or that there feelings are invalid. I did get the impression that some people who were dismissing Amanda Palmer's supporters as ablists and saying that they had no right not to be outraged by the Evelyn Evelyn project.Secondly, no-one owns anyone else…not even any artist's fans can claim that they have the right to expect specific behaviour.(Off topic – love your work will be back).

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