For those of you who didn't follow the Evelyn Evelyn fuck-up, this
is a fairly concise summary.
I like you. I like you a lot, actually, and I think that your music is mostly great, and until recently I'd cite you and recommend you as a feminist artist and talk about your fuck the system attitude and your rebellyon
and the naked dress with the armpit hair. Some of the time, I would still do these things, and I still like you, and your music, and I think that songs like Ampersand are really great and we need feminist music and media out there.
But you messed up, and that's a little problem, but then you made a bullshit apology, and that's a bigger problem, but the biggest problem is that you seem to take the attitude that there's no way you could have been in the wrong, and that sucks, frankly. Partly because, like I said, I like you, and I hate it when people I like show their asses like that, but also partly because you hurt people, and when you act like you did nothing wrong, that makes the hurt worse.
The problem, as far as I can see it, started with Evelyn Evelyn
. Two musicians getting together and playing duets using only one hand each is pretty cool, I think, and shows both talent and imagination. Unfortunately, I really can't get behind two able bodied people getting dressed up to fake like they're disabled because it's edgy, or because it's art, and doing the same thing. It may be art, it may be edgy, but it reeks of entitlement and lack of respect and short sightedness to me, and I'm able bodied too. I don't need to imagine how some disabled people took it, because some of them blogged
about how unimpressed or hurt they were (a full linkspam roundup can be found here
made things worse, Amanda, because you made the most rookie mistake, as far as I can see it, that anyone can make when they're called out on their privilege and apologise for it: you used the word 'if' instead of 'that', which neatly absolves you of responsibility. " i deeply apologize if anyone has been offended by our project." is not a real apology, particularly when you follow it up by justifying what you did and dismissing the problems people had with it. Playing disability bingo (I have a disabled step brother) doesn't help. A real apology starts with 'I am sorry that I hurt you,' not 'I am sorry if you were hurt'. The second one puts the responsibilty for the hurt, on the person who has been hurt. An apology takes responsibility for the consequences of your actions. Referring to what you did as drama in their heads is a bad move, too. Here are some more links on apologising when you've fucked up: 1
So, really, Amanda, what I wanted to say is about the blog entry
that you posted today, specifically the part where you commented: "peoples gettin’ mighty sensitive lately". Thank you for clarifying the reference you were making with the phrase 'black ass', and I mean that without sarcasm, because it's interesting, but I wanted to address the part where you mentioned the sensitivity. The thing is, it's really a matter of trust. With your previous work, you built up trust in people, so that they expected intelligent, socially aware art from you. They expected dialogue on feminism, and on art and truth, and a sense of humour and the ridiculous built in. It's hard to build trust, and it's easy to lose it, and with the Evelyn Evelyn thing? You messed up, and you lost trust. Suddenly, we have to question whether you're being thoughtless, ignorant and acting with open privilege, even when we still accept that you're acting in good faith.
It's not that we're being over sensitive. Really, it's not. It's just that we can't let you off the hook like we might have done before. We can't assume that you're not showing your ass. We can't just assume that you're making witty references, or satirising the ignorance like we might have before. We've lost a little faith in you, and it sucks, but that's how it is. You messed up, and I feel bad for you about that, because I like you.
So, for the record, I will not be buying the Evelyn Evelyn record, and I will not be seeing you in Glasgow, and I will not be buying your merch, and I will not be donating via your website. This pains me, but I feel strongly about it. I do not want to support Evelyn Evelyn in any way. I thought Who Killed Amanda Palmer was a great record, and maybe in the future you'll make another great record, and maybe I'll buy it and see you live. Maybe you'll build up the trust again, and I really hope that that's the case. For right now, though, I do not support what you are doing, and I am not sorry about that.
Thanks for being pretty cool in the past. I hope you get past this blip.
If I bang my head against a brick wall five times and get five lumps, why am I surprised when I bang it a sixth time and get a sixth lump?
"Isn't it funny that the only time your race or gender is questioned is when you're not a white man?" - Wanda Sykes