fiction theory

The artist is not afraid



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Incredible piece! Thank you! (am linking)

I will be thinking about it and come back when I'm more coherent and able to respond.

Thank you. Thank you so much.

I am one of those who won't be paying for Palmer's actions because I'm neither of those groups affected, but still, as an artist, or a wannabe artist, what you say really resonates.

We as artists who have any kind of platform are there to serve our audience, not just ourselves.

Beautifully articulated and powerful. Thank for this.

"Real magic can never be made by offering up someone else's liver. You must tear out your own, and not expect to get it back." -- Peter S. Beagle

The only thing I will add to your righteous takedown of Amanda Palmer: the "Telephone" video she is dissing co-stars Beyonce. Saying that it would be "ironic" for Beyonce to support the KKK goes way beyond misuse of language, and into "fighting words". Don't erase the actual black person from the discussion of her work and its reception.

Don't erase the actual black person from the discussion of her work and its reception.

You're completely, utterly right and I am very ashamed that I did that without even realizing it. I have edited the entry to make sure I reflect this better, because it extremely relevant and not something I should have overlooked. Thank you for bringing it to my attention.


Scorching. Your tone never rises above a shout, but the words just burn off the page.

Oh, this is so powerful and true. &hearts Thank you for writing this.

(Linking, because it is just that awesome.)

The good artist is not afraid to do what is brave, what is true, to sacrifice from the self. The bad artist is only too willing sacrifice anyone but themselves.

Yes, this. Someone somewhere else said that they always respected Amanda Palmer's controversial actions in the past, because they revolved around things that had happened to her, like rape. But this time around it isn't her own experience, and she's not listening to anyone else.

Yes, this. At first I was giving her the benefit of the doubt, but then the "Black ass" thing just showed that she wasn't interested in listening as she was in annoying other people using things that are not hers. And as a performance artist from a racial minority, it hit my breaking point.

Thanks, all of you.

Um, yeah.

There's that scene in Huckleberry Finn,
when someone asks Huck if anyone was hurt in an explosion,
and he replies, "No, Ma'am, just killed a n_____."

It's one thing to cite that as an example of societal attitudes which obviously still exist,
and quite another to repeat it as an amusing anecdote in itself.

She's not grasping that what she's doing is entirely the latter,
and not at all the former.

Agreed. I'm a former fan, and I always felt like she was an outspoken ally of marginalized people... so much of her music was speaking from her experience, and a lot of people related to that. I think that's why it disappointed me so much when she didn't grasp why her recent actions were so insulting.

But, yeah, I think it's a matter of her not grasping what's wrong in what she did.
Although she's certainly not showing much interest in putting things right.

This is awesome. Thank you.

Thank you for posting this.

Great, great post. Thank you.

I appreciated the reading of the Badu video you provided very much. And I respect how you wove that critical analysis along with your own emotional reactions to both artists.

You nailed these disparities in a very powerful way. Thank you for writing this.

This is an absolutely brilliant piece of analysis, thank you for this. I agree with every point in here and will go to bed with more thoughts on this, to be sure.

(My one small nitpick is that I'm not sure 'coffers' has an 'i' in it...)

Very well written. I think this brings together several valid themes that you've been mentioning recently and makes a whole that's even stronger than those components.

I definitely agree.


This was a really interesting post and I found your argument quite easy to follow. Thanks for making it.

This was a gorgeous, incredible essay. A friend linked my here, and I'm glad she did. I enjoyed reading your thoughts.

"That is part of what I believe divides good art from bad art. The good artist pays up out of their own pocket and does not ask others to sacrifice to unwillingly, unknowingly things for them, does not force people to become participants in something by virtue of ramification. The bad artist? Makes sure the check goes to another table, makes sure they get a free ride, ropes people into being part of their art whether they want to or not. "

Elegant and true.

This is beautifully written and extremely powerful. Thank you.

Beautifully put. Thank you for translating your emotions and thoughts into words; they very closely parallel what I felt but could not say for myself.

This is an amazing post. Thank you.

This was a really interesting piece and you wrote a lot of what I wanted to express. I've been following Amanda Palmer's continuing problematical statements and actions with some interest (it's been an education on ableism which I'm glad I got). It was really interesting, for me, to see her actions compared to those of Erykah Badu.

Palmer's latest blog again seems to be making a bit of a privilaged statement to me (although I'm just learning so I could be mistaken) when she titles her song about her sexuality with a lyric from N.W.A.'s "Fuck Tha Police" and then pre-empts discussion of this titling with "before any of you get up in arms about the title (peoples gettin’ mighty sensitive lately) please know: the title is a reference to a lyric in a song called “fuck tha police” by a band called Niggaz With Attitude. look it up." [italics mine] source

Edit: I'm sorry I should have put in the actual song title which is “You Swear To Tell The Truth The Whole Truth and Nothing But The Truth So Help Your Black Ass”.

Such an interesting post and great analysis. I'm glad I was linked to this blog- very thought provoking stuff (that I had somehow missed completely, heh).

The good artist is not afraid to do what is brave, what is true, to sacrifice from the self. The bad artist is only too willing sacrifice anyone but themselves.

Very well put, and I agree wholeheartedly.

Thank you so much for writing this -- I thought it was fascinating & eye-opening. ♥

What an illuminating comparison. Thank you so much for writing this.

This is interesting to me because it implies Palmer has made the move from 'Good Art' to 'Bad Art', given most of her career before Evelyn Evelyn hinged on using her own body, including nudity (before she was Internet Famous she was pretty well-known for nude photoshoots that defied various beauty standards) depictions of her death (ala the Who Killed Amanda Palmer photoshoot and various video clips that accompanied that album) and very personal lyrics and anecdotes about rape, child abuse, and being a woman.

I don't want to defend Palmer's twitter comments at all, and I loved this comparison, but it makes me sad and angry that previously the price Badu pays for her statements is one Palmer seemed to be equally willing to shell out before her days of international/internet celebrity.

Yeah. I don't think she yet recognizes what she's done wrong.
Well, no, I'm not personally acquainted with her,
but she's never struck me as one who would be disingenous.

I have Palmer's solo album- it's great. Your post eloquently describes why I won't be buying her Evelyn Evelyn album. What's frustrating to watch is that she repeatedly shuts herself off from acknowledging the major missteps she's taken. I realize that to admit she made a mistake, or didn't think about the subjects of her new project from the perspective of those who are disabled, could be detrimental to her success. But she is hiding behind the lines of "misunderstanding" her life and what not. At least everyone else is able to have a meaningful discussion about her actions. The KKK comment just floored me.

Thanks for writing and sharing this.

I suspect she'd be willing to admit to the mistake if she could comprehend it.
But honestly, I'm only guessing. And I have no idea which is worse,
not knowing she's done wrong, or not caring.

I must admit, I could not have said it better myself.
Hm. Come to think of it, I didn't.

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