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LADYPALOOZA PRESENTS! How Amanda Palmer Lost a Fan, or, My Own Private Backlash

[Oh, yes, indeed! You thought we would slow it down? YOU WERE WRONG. Because it is still LADYPALOOZA: Like an extra-girly-flavored Woodstock, but if Woodstock were on the Internet, and two weeks long (or possibly… LONGER???) and also not very much like Woodstock at all, really. My point is: Stop having joint-fueled sex in the mud and get over here, you hippies! Because there’s something we haven’t covered yet, and it is important. We have been focusing quite a bit on the people making the music — “musicians,” I hear they’re called — but there is another part of the equation, and it is just as important. That part is: Fans! How do they relate to their favorite musicians? Does it get COMPLICATED? Yes, it does! And thus, we lead off with an account of one such COMPLICATION, a post which I literally begged a lady to write for me, for it concerns an issue close to my withered, Haterade-pumping heart. That lady’s name is Annaham. And she has some, let us say, Experiences to share!]

Greetings, Tiger Beatdown readers! I am Annaham. You may know me from the rather scattered comments I’ve left hither and thither on this website, or from my work at FWD/Feminists With Disabilities.

You may also know me from a fairly recent controversy that erupted, in part, due to a post of mine. I am the person who wrote the infamous “Evelyn Evelyn: Ableism Ableism?” (please note the question mark there, because it seems that not many people did!) post at FWD, which got our site quite a bit of attention. That one post, once it had been be-Twittered and linked and sent around and, perhaps, rolled through one of those hand cranks used to make fresh pasta from scratch, got many, many views within a couple of days (so many, in fact, that we almost exceeded our bandwidth). This came about a week after it had been up on the site without incident, to boot.

We at FWD write on a wide variety of topics such as work, poverty, global issues, the medical industry, disability pride, advocacy, news media depictions of disability, daily life, and a ton of other things that aren’t pop culture–all of which, sadly, do not seem to get nearly as much attention as our posts about pop culture get. I have no idea what it is about popular culture that compels folks on the Internet to defend it as they might defend their country in battle. As a teenager, I used to be something of an Internet pop-culture warrior myself, but something in me eventually realized that there is much more to being a fan than fulfilling the “fan”-sounding syllable in “sycophant.” But I digress.

As a reader, you might think, from many of the responses that I and my co-blogger Lauredhel (who wrote a great followup post on Evelyn Evelyn a few days later) got, that we’d been contributing to a site called instead of Some selections from the mod queue from those two posts:

“What’s the matter with you?”

“cant handle it? then just fucking die!”

“fuck u die slow nigga!”

“ONOEZ SOMEONE WANTED TO SMACK SOMEONE SUCH VIOLENCE!!! Typical retarded comment on an idiotic, stupid, moronic, weak, and lame blog. Fucking oversensitive twits.”

Let me tell you, gentle readers, some of the things that I experienced as a result of the fallout from that post are not things that I would recommend to anyone, unless you like having constant anxiety as a feature of your daily life. One thing that I haven’t really talked about publicly is that anxiety; I figure that now might be a good time to do so, given that I (fuckin’ finally) have some distance.

The weirdest thing about the Internet is that many people — particularly those who are not on it a lot, or do not have an “online life” — think it’s “just the Internet,” and therefore do not take some of the ad hominem bullshit and bullying and threats that happen online seriously. By “seriously,” I am not quite talking about legal action or anything like that; simply put, some people hear the phrase “I got threats for this thing I wrote…on the Internet” and think that since it’s JUST THE INTERNET, nobody takes trolls seriously, so why are you letting it affect you? It’s that “putting the onus on the person who gets shit slung at them to not let the shit, nor the experience of getting it slung at them, nor its odor, bother them” thing. Delightful.

It may be “just the Internet,” but unless you have personally gone through a gigantic Internet Thing where certain facets of your identity are attacked and you and your fellow writers are threatened in a way that is, to put it mildly, ick-inducing, you cannot really know what it is like — no matter how many times you SAY, “I wouldn’t let that affect me! You are just over-sensitive! Here is how I would do it differently!” Because really, saying it and actually going through it are two very different things. Especially when the onus is, once again, on you and your co-bloggers to be polite and understanding and engage with people who apparently do not see any of you as human — even as they themselves staunchly back their idol, Amanda Palmer, who, for some reason, gets carte blanche to do things such as:

  • Write long blog posts that don’t actually address any of the critiques raised and instead contain classic dodges like “I’m sorry that you were offended.”
  • Make fun of her critics’ very existence on Australian television. (DISABLED FEMINISTS HAR HAR HAR SOOO FUNNY U GUYZ!!11)
  • Say that she’s been “crucified” by these same critics.
  • Leave several ill-advised 140-character “responses” on Twitter.

Throughout all of this, you are still the one who is Too Sensitive To Be On the Internet. And even if you’ve made it pretty clear that you are a fan of the person you are criticizing — as I did — you’ll still be portrayed as a hater.

Meanwhile: It’s affected you, horror of horrors. You can’t sleep. You aren’t eating well, if at all. Checking e-mail has become, in a word, fraught. You find it next to impossible to concentrate on your “day job” as a grad student, preferring instead to watch reruns of South Park in between pacing your apartment and feeling a despondency that anti-depressants cannot even touch. You want to write, but even sitting down in front of the computer has become overlaid with an odd kind of dread — even if you aren’t going to log onto the Internet. You’ve started grinding your teeth in your sleep again, and then you wonder why the fuck your jaw feels like it’s been beaten with a mallet. You wish you could just be enraged instead of being polite, make off-the-cuff remarks on Twitter, and adopt a sort of IF YOU ARE TAKING ME DOWN, YOU ARE GOING DOWN WITH ME, YOU PIECES OF DISGUSTING SHAG CARPET attitude. Other people — more famous people, the person you criticized — can do those things and claim that they are not overly sensitive to Internet Criticism; yet, you cannot.

However, almost no one sees any of the stress, or the anger, or the anxiety that this has caused you — and your co-bloggers — publicly. Because you are expected to bend over backwards and sideways to appear polite and reasonable in order to get the people who have cavalierly dismissed not your words, but you, and your fellow blog contributors, as just “bitching,” and “overly-sensitive,” and “insincere,” and “retarded,” and “angry,” and “not really disabled,” and other choice things (more on that here) to maybe, maybe, see you as a human being, or at least worthy of engaging with on a level that’s, y’know, fair.

But you’re not famous, and you’re not a great artist who makes art and stuff, so that isn’t going to work. You have to be patient and give it time to fade.

The responsibility is on you, little person. It’s always on you. If you speak out, you’re just easily offended and, like, if you’re so disabled, what are you doing blogging or writing or whatever the hell it is you do? (We can use computers now, yessir.) If you try to explain very basic social justice concepts politely to commenters and then lose your patience when they refuse to cut out the personal attacks… oh, you’ve lost your temper, so they don’t have to take you seriously. If you’re not satisfied with the reactions to your critique from various quarters, you’re demanding too much. If you take exception to this person’s going on TV and presenting your and your co-bloggers’ identities as disabled feminists for mocking, you just don’t have a sense of humor! If you care about these issues enough to write about them at all (without any sort of compensation, I might add) — you clearly have too much time on your hands.

All of this can be used against you as evidence — by the trolls and those who claim to be “neutral” or “playing Devil’s advocate” and superfans and people who “respect” the supposedly sacred nature of ART!!11 and people who wonder why you have to be, so, like, serious about this “social justice” and/or “anti-ableism” and/or “feminism” thing or whatever, and why can’t you just enjoy stuff, and others. It can and will be used against you, to prove that you just can’t handle the Internet. When it comes to the people attacking you, however, it never seems to cross the minds that they might be the ones who can’t handle things like criticism, or solid arguments, or, heaven forfend, the fact that other people (some of whom like to share their opinions) exist in the world and, yes, on blogs.

Here’s the thing: I’ve been on the Internet for a while. I know how trolls work. I know how this personal-attack shit works. I can handle the Internet; I’ve handled it before. What I didn’t expect was a concerted campaign to drive me off the Internet and, above all, to shut me up — spearheaded by one of my favorite musicians. And I experienced much of the backlash without the power of fame, without being invited to discuss my hurt feelings on television, without a gargantuan fan base to back up my every move, and with a widespread cultural belief that my concerns, as a woman and a person with disabilities, are inherently unimportant, trivial, and entirely dismissible. I can, in fact, handle the Internet well — better than most people. I know this, because I’m still here.

[Annaham is a feminist with a chronic pain condition and is currently a grad student in Women’s and Gender Studies. She dislikes long walks on the beach, her numerous food allergies, and perfume that contains alcohol. You can keep abreast of her current quest to ruin contemporary feminism (one pain pill at a time) at her blog.]


Your comments may take a while to get through, today. This is because we are strongly anti-Internet harassment, at the Tiger B. And, given how much Internet harassment Annaham has already received, by writing about this subject, we have a duty to keep an especially strong eye out for it in regards to this post. Therefore, for one day only, we are switching back to the old Tiger Beatdown mode of commenting, in which every comment — including comments from approved users — has to be approved by hand before it is published. This is much slower! However, I told Annaham how nice you all were, and how we were going to take care that she had an extra-awesome blogtime over here, so, like: Compliments? Thoughts? Substantive engagement? I would encourage you to leave some of those right now!


  1. Ginny! wrote:

    I watched that whole thing happen with abject horror. Palmer’s behaviour was entirely unacceptable. It’s bad enough when the fans pile on (and that’s really bad), but when the famous person herself joins in, that’s just way too far.

    I’m really sorry you had to go through that. No one deserves such a reaction for expressing an opinion or pointing out a possible flaw in a plan.

    I read FWD regularly and really value the hard work that all of you do.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 8:36 pm | Permalink
  2. Annaham wrote:

    Y’all, I don’t have the spoons to get into the discussion(s) in this thread right now (am battling a massive headache), but I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who has commented so far. You guys make the internet suck less.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 8:52 pm | Permalink
  3. lotesse wrote:

    delurking to say: Annaham, I really admire the way you’ve held up under the weight of this entire thing. I was hugely impressed by your original analysis, and even more so once you demonstrated again and again what a truly hoopy frood you really are. Thank you for taking the time to fight the good fight!

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Permalink
  4. ozymandias wrote:

    @Eloriane: I’m really sorry about that! I’ve been very good lately about not using ableist language, so I’m really annoyed at myself.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 10:18 pm | Permalink
  5. brigidkeely wrote:

    I wasn’t going to leave a comment because OMG! Approving comments by hand! Tedious! Extra work! But–

    I loved the “Evelyn Evelyn: Ableism Ableism?” post and forwarded it to a BUNCH of people who read it and agreed with you. I read FWD regularly and share a lot of posts on it in my google reader. You guys have a very strong signal to noise ratio. Basically, I’m sorry some people were mean and hurtful and you were stressed out and harmed, and I hope you can realize how much good you have done and continue to do.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Permalink
  6. Leila wrote:

    Annaham, your original post made me actually stop to think about why I was uneasy with the whole Evelyn Evelyn ‘project,’ and FWD has become my go-to resource when I’m trying to investigate my own privilege. I wish I’d delurked to tell you so way back when. You’ve made the inside of my head a better place to be, and the internet too.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Permalink
  7. gnat wrote:

    Thankyou so much for writing these posts.

    This. Exactly this thing that you said. I was *such* a huge fan of Amanda Palmer. She was the rage-filled female voice I wasn’t allowed to have as a teenaged girl, and I loved her for that. I think in a way I always will. But now that I’ve seen the kind of person she actually is, it changes the meaning of every single song of hers I loved. They’re not what I thought they were. Basically, I have broken up with Amanda Palmer.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 11:18 pm | Permalink
  8. Jackie M. wrote:

    I am also a fan of Palmer, and I have also seriously let by her–and of late by Gaiman, as well–as a result of this. And most my disappointment stems from the way they reacted to criticism. Hello, artists! It’s not all flowers and accolades and people wanting you to have their love children! Please shut up now and make some more art. Ideally art with less privilege shining through, but mostly just shut up and get back to work.

    Annaham, a thousand thousand good wishes to you and yours, that you will endure and continue to blog brilliantly, and be able to focus on grad school without long-term temperomandibular joint disorder. Lord knows grad school is TMJ-inducing under the best circumstances.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:01 am | Permalink
  9. eli wrote:

    I had been a fan of Amanda Palmer and the Dresden Dolls, before the whole E/E debacle. I even went to her show when she was in Sydney over a year ago. I genuinely enjoyed her music. I was offended on her behalf for the whole “rebellyon” thing.

    And then.

    I read about E/E. I read about her response to criticism of E/E. I saw her clip on Good News Week and it was like a slap in the face.

    I’m done supporting people who revel in their privelege, wave it like a banner, all the while acting as if they’re so edgy and out there.

    There is no thoughtful interaction with critics, there’s just a petulant child shitting on the dining room table during Christmas dinner, and expecting to be applauded for it.

    No thanks, AP.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:17 am | Permalink
  10. Katje wrote:


    I just want to thank you especially for this sentence:

    “It’s that “putting the onus on the person who gets shit slung at them to not let the shit, nor the experience of getting it slung at them, nor its odor, bother them” thing.”

    Because this is so what I go through anytime I talk about my abuse triggers, and I’ve never been able to articulate why I’m angry when people say “Just don’t let it bother you.”

    Now I am able to articulate it.

    (Also, I’m really sorry you had to go through all that shit getting flung at you.)

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 6:07 am | Permalink
  11. EmilyBites wrote:

    Annaham, your ‘Evelyn Evelyn: Ableism Ableism?’ post brought me to FWD and was fantastic. The concept of ‘ableism’ itself was something my privilege had insulated me from thinking about in the past, which I’m ashamed of – but I’m not wallowing or self-flagellating here (oo-er), I’m just trying to learn, and also understand when to shut up and listen to others (so I decided to pipe up and tell you I’m listening!).

    You are doing a wonderful job, so thank you.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 6:09 am | Permalink
  12. Catherine wrote:

    Annaham: thank you so much for writing that original E/E post, and this one. Both have really made me think about privilege and ableism in a way I hadn’t before.

    Stay strong; you are an intelligent and brave woman. God knows we need as many of those as possible in the world. <3

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 10:42 am | Permalink
  13. Juliana wrote:

    I just wanted to post to thank Annaham. I am a songwriter/performer myself, and am a fan of the things Amanda Palmer was doing to reach out to her listeners and followers, the ways she was defying her record label and taking down a lot of the boundaries typically enforced between supporters and artists. I started following her because of that, before I’d even listened to her music. I admire her entrepreneurship in that way, so when the E/E stuff started coming out, it was confusing for me. I felt very conflicted about my feelings toward AP and the whole situation, and your original post on it helped me verbalize a lot of that.

    I feel that AP took what was a great situation with her fans and twisted it a little in the wrong direction. Rather than continuing the conversation, which she seemed to be great at up to that point, she essentially blocked any permission for people to criticize her.

    So then I wondered, does she really want the conversation? Or does she just want worshipers?

    It’s hard, as an artist, to watch it all go down, but it’s also a great lesson in how to carefully handle communication with fans and still allow everyone their opinion, without taking everything personally at the same time.

    Anyway, I’m sorry that you had such a shit time of it after your post, because as an “artist” myself, I would have expected AP to welcome the discussion.

    Thanks,too, to Tiger Beatdown and all you fabulous folks contributing, because this is one of the few blogs where I feel like I can read the comment thread and see a thoughtful, cool discussion instead of a flame war or completely stupidity.
    Thanks for creating conversation.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 10:55 am | Permalink
  14. Lolly wrote:

    Thanks for speaking out, engaging with pop culture, and proving why it needs criticism. Sucks to be the example, but this really provides an interesting case of how to do feminist new media and the capabilities of web 2.0. Definitely a lot of analysis yet needed..

    I hope you’re able to get back to your grad school work and put this flare-up to rest.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 11:17 am | Permalink
  15. Rachel wrote:

    A lot of people have already said what I wanted to say, better than I would have — so just chiming in to say how much I enjoy your essays, and how grateful I am that you persist even when it must be extraordinarily tiring to try to bear up (gracefully or otherwise) under the jerkwad attacks you’ve been experiencing. I salute you, Annaham. Please accept virtual hugs, cookies, applause, etc.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 12:09 pm | Permalink
  16. Frances wrote:

    I really appreciated your response to my question. Your analysis is spot-on (as usual). It would be tough to (1) cut problematic pieces and artists out of my life or (2) justify every problematic book or song I liked (because SO MANY of them are problematic!).
    But acknowledging the work as problematic, then still enjoying the art and subsequently using that acknowledgement to add back into the pool of art/ writing/ general creative work is a really empowering and productive recommendation.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  17. Jodane wrote:

    I’m one of those people who read your post when it was making its rounds on the internet and was horrified by the backlash. Bullying on the internet is such a huge problem that no one takes seriously because it’s, like you said, “just the Internet.” It’s past time people realized that being a dick on the internet isn’t any more excusable than being a dick in meatspace.

    And now it looks like Neil Gaiman has committed the same sort of -ism apologist fail, the company you keep, etc. And I’m a huge Gaiman fan, too (so I feel you on the fan thing).

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 3:19 pm | Permalink
  18. PaleFenix wrote:

    I would just like to say thank you Annaham for being a voice for disabled feminism. I myself struggle on a daily basis to validate my worth in an ableist society. It is shameful to see people so blatantly dismiss Amanda Palmer’s actions as “art” and therefore justifiable. I am disabled, an artist, a fan of Amanda Palmer’s music: but I also lost a whole lot of respect for her when she began this project. Kudos to you for sticking to your convictions and words.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink
  19. Geo M. wrote:

    I don’t like to express praise usually, no matter how strongly I feel it or reason it. I tend to think that it (coming from myself) comes across as sort sheepish even if it was focused and relevant. But I’ll curtail this impulse today, and you’ll see why.

    I hate the fact that established artists, passively existing on a pulpit of privilege, have all-too-endless-never-in-short-supply hordes of supporters to justify their can-do-no-wrong idol and dismiss those that actually have valid objections. I wish there was another word to convey the reality, in place of “dismiss”, as it is a grossly severe understatement. A lot of these people, in the name of uncritical support to the manifestly-“legit” art, showed great prowess in objectifying human beings—that had a dissenting stance—into targets for ire, devaluation, and mob indignation.

    I point that out, reprising the sad parade for our cognizance once again, ONLY because despite the toll that the fallout took on the bloggers examining the apt, just, and in-the-name-of-all-that-is-decent critiques, they helped me with something. Something which has been in short supply in my life lately. Annaham and Lauredhel had both helped toward restoring my regard for this whole spiel of living as a human being, in part. At least, toward a healthy level. I’m not there yet. In truth, their conduct and demeanor in these trying times, as well as their commitment to intelligently discuss the issue in the first place, was all a class act in the face of disheartening, all-too-often-shitty human nature. Even though this crucible-come-prolonged-train-wreck is woefully standard, I too disdainfully rebuke the “it’s only the internet” bullshit; especially, and now even more so, in light of reading this post here at Tiger Beatdown. I also agree that the double-standard that imposes the little-person be put in their place for having thoughts (or the TIME to develop and evidence these thoughts) needed to be addressed as it did here (to great effect, I might add).

    The best part regarding Annaham and all the co-bloggers was that it was nothing special, what they did in those widely derided posts, comments, moderation decisions, etc. They did it all as a matter of course, and acted in accordance with who they are. And to me, there is nothing more special than that.

    However this episode affected and continues to affect you, Annaham, especially in the ways that simply cannot be done justice by passages on a blogazine; don’t let those parasites take this from you: knowledge that you possess “just plain-as-day intrinsic greatness.”

    So, yes, chalk this comment as falling under the Compliment clade. I’m a bit sorry I had nothing substantive to add, but I sort of announced that conceit from the get-go.

    Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 4:10 am | Permalink
  20. NTE wrote:

    Annaham: I am so sorry for the (unbelievable to newbie-activist me) outrageous responses you received on that original post (and all those that followed). I’ve tried to make sure to speak up, to let you know that those aren’t the only people paying attention to what you are saying, but I can see that I’d have had to live in your pocket, like a ninja-Jiminy-Cricket in order to beat back the amount and volume of distressing comments you’ve gotten. Since I can’t, let me just say it again: Thank You.

    Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 2:04 pm | Permalink
  21. Martin wrote:

    I’m one of those people who read your post when it was making its rounds on the internet and was horrified by the backlash. Bullying on the internet is such a huge problem that no one takes seriously because it’s, like you said, “just the Internet.” It’s past time people realized that being a dick on the internet isn’t any more excusable than being a dick in meatspace.

    And now it looks like Neil Gaiman has committed the same sort of -ism apologist fail, the company you keep, etc. And I’m a huge Gaiman fan, too (so I feel you on the fan thing).

    Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 4:21 pm | Permalink
  22. I was also a huge Amanda Palmer fan before this debacle. I had all the DD cds and the Who Killed Amanda Palmer cd, and I was looking forward to whatever she put out next–until I found out what it was. I was deeply disturbing that she would appropriate the disabled story for her own performance art. It just felt so privileged and so condescending. I was completely disgusted that part of the Evelyn Evelyn story involved sexual abuse. Did she not get that a lot of us disabled women ARE sexually abused by people who take advantage of our unique situations (my doctor assaulted me when I was a teenager, so it struck really close to home)?

    I was/am very uncomfortable with the entire Evelyn Evelyn concept. I tried to read AP’s blog post after the blowup, but she just seemed defensive and dismissive,and all of her tweets have been very dismissive of those with concerns. I haven’t been able to listen to her music since this debacle. It just makes me disappointed and sad. Oh, well, back to Ani DiFranco, who rocks harder than anyone.

    Saturday, April 24, 2010 at 5:59 pm | Permalink
  23. Robin wrote:

    I’m one of those people who read your post when it was making its rounds on the internet and was horrified by the backlash. Bullying on the internet is such a huge problem that no one takes seriously because it’s, like you said, “just the Internet.” It’s past time people realized that being a dick on the internet isn’t any more excusable than being a dick in meatspace.

    And now it looks like Neil Gaiman has committed the same sort of -ism apologist fail, the company you keep, etc. And I’m a huge Gaiman fan, too (so I feel you on the fan thing).

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 12:15 am | Permalink
  24. Brittney wrote:

    i love amanda palmer, and i have for a pretty long time. i am not going to lie; i went and saw her sometime this past fall and cried a little at the end because i was all moved and stuff. and at first the whole evelyn evelyn thing didn’t make me hate her at all–i thought it was questionable and i didn’t plan on supporting it except in an indirect way where i would still be a fan of amanda herself. after all, many and maybe even most of my favorite famous (and not so famous) people have done not-so-great things that i’ve spoken up about or at least did not really care to condone, but i’ve managed to stick to enjoying their talent or whatever. (robert downey jr for instance! kind of an asshole irl, but i’d be lying if i said i haven’t seen most of his movies. i don’t know if that’s a case of liking him for his talent, though…) but then there was all this backlash! and then amanda was on tv talking about disabled feminists! and then, weeks after the whole backlash that came after annaham’s post(s), came some other failure from afp–and this time racist in flavor. now it’s kind of difficult for me to admit that i am a fan.

    all of this to say: i’m really sorry this happened to you. sometimes, as a fan, i wish i could excuse my favorite celebrities’ behavior to the world as if i’m the mother of a two-year-old throwing a temper tantrum, but the truth is, sometimes people are just kind of shitty. 🙁 and i’m sorry that the dresden dolls are probably ruined for a lot of people forever, because they were pretty fucking great.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 2:33 pm | Permalink
  25. Eeva wrote:

    I was repulsed by Palmer’s response to critique of Evelyn Evelyn and when I saw that tv appearance, I unfollowed her in order to “save the songs”. It was too late though, now when I hear her voice I get instantly irked. I’m sorry, Annaham, that you had to ride such a shit storm. Please know that your work is appreciated. I see you, I hear you. I thank you.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink
  26. Sgt Throat wrote:

    Good grief. Whether it’s polite or not, it’s still critique. Whether Amanda Palmer or yourself is the subject, it’s still critique. Of course there’s going to be some sort of backlash, no matter what side of the fence you’re on. What amazes me is that Ms Palmer has the intelligence and magnanimity to let criticism of herself slide off like the proverbial water on a duck’s back, whereas you get anxiety from it. You’re both exercising your right to free speech and opinion, but why is it that you’re refusing to take responsibility for the backlash that you generate? I’m wondering why . . . should you receive some sort of concession from criticism because you’re disabled, or because you’re a feminist? Of course not! Personal politics aside, your right to free speech is just as strong as Ms Palmers, but if you’re going to exercise that right, you’d better be prepared to accept the consequences of exercising that right.

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 10:08 pm | Permalink
  27. Amelia wrote:

    I’m sorry it’s been so awful. Amanda Palmer could have taken a stance that at least was critical or allowed for some dialogue. Instead, she did the internet equivalent of sticking her fingers in her ears and singing ‘Mary had a little lamb’ while her fans comforted her wounded heart.

    I’ve always thought that feminist artists, who present provocative work, had the capacity for self-reflection, critical dialogue and introspect. BUT NOT AMANDA PALMER APPARENTLY!

    Sunday, April 25, 2010 at 11:33 pm | Permalink
  28. jen thunder wrote:

    here via racialicious- so glad i found this blog and disabledfeminist- terrific mountain moving work!
    all i can say in addition to my heartfelt gratitude for taking the energy and perseverance to discuss these matters further and not cringe or shy away from discussing anything ever again on the internet, is again another thank you! this hits really close to home, from my own failed attempts at trying to foster dialogue in a community i belong to, online, and getting the personal attacks outta nowhere from the group that positions themselves as radical, anarcho, and egalitarian!
    and if you aren’t a fan at all of the music or ignorant to it why should your points hold less credibility? why should culture be closed off to only people that like and know and belong and whatever else to keep it elevated, pure, and un-analyzable?
    its a lose lose situation and im really glad that you illuminated, through meticulous personal experience, there is no positive cure-all solution, no amount of disclaimers that prove you come from a good place, to fix internet hostility, anonymity and unaccountability.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 12:48 am | Permalink
  29. Tatyanna wrote:

    I am so glad that I found this blog (linked on! This is a great article, and I am soooo glad that you all have gone through the same things I have. When I read annaham’s account of trolls asking “if you’re disabled, what are you doing writing or blogging…,” wow, it took the words right out of my experience. Awesome!

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 4:35 am | Permalink
  30. thetroubleis wrote:

    Annaham, I don’t have much to say. I had assumed things had gotten bad, but my god.

    Anyway, thank you for all the work you do.

    Monday, April 26, 2010 at 6:44 am | Permalink
  31. Crystal wrote:

    Annaham you are amazing. I first read your EvelynEvelyn, Ableism Ableism piece through a message board where people were outragged over the rampent ableism of the project. I didn’t feel right about the project from the beginning and your article articulated why and gave me a new vocabulary for this type of issue(ableism). Amanda Pamler and her fans disgust me! I use to like Amanda Palmer a lot but after reading the disgusting/disturbing comments of her fans, seeing her blatant diregard of any criticism, and her disgusting Australian TV appearance made me unfollow her on twitter, delete her music from my zune & dislike her for life. Her TV appearance pissed me off. She claims to be a feminist yet laughed histarically at blatantly sexist & ableist jokes including jokes about violence against women. She seemed to find the idea of being a”disabled feminist” absolutely comical in an “aren’t I a privileged asshole” way that realy disturbed me. She just came of as being the sort of fake feminist who is willing to do whatever helps her out at the expense of other marganalized groups expense. It was hypocracy at its best! She is exactly the type of person who is hurting feminism now, the type of feminist who disregarding the voices of other oppressed groups (i.e. the disabled, minorities,gays & the lower class) for their own gain.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 12:52 am | Permalink
  32. @ Sgt Throat translated: IT’S JUST THE INTARWEBS! GET OVER IT!!

    Refusing to engage with thoughtful criticism is neither intelligent nor magnanimous; it’s cowardly and self-serving. Being forced to deal with death threats is not a reasonable expectation of writing criticism, even on the intarwebs. If people want to engage, well and good. If people simply want to silence the dissenting voice, well, what else is new? But we don’t have to like it, or think it “normal”.

    Silencing is used to shut up people who say things one is uncomfortable with – such as pointing out the utter unreasonableness of fans reacting to legitimate criticism of an artist’s work with rape and death threats. It makes you uncomfortable that the supporters of the artist you like are rabid assholes, so you blame the person who brought it to your attention and try to silence them.

    …Kind of like those assholes who tried to silence Annaham by making death and rape threats in her blog. Well done.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 10:35 am | Permalink
  33. Notebook wrote:

    @Sgt Throat

    You may have had a point if Palmer had replied to the criticism in a mature and respectful manner, but I don’t think going on television and mocking your critics like some sort of brat out on television and mocking your opponent would be considered to be that.

    There’s a pretty distinctive line between harsh criticism and elementary school level mocking. The original post that started all of this wasn’t even harsh to begin with, so why treat your critics like crap when they never did so in the first place? Wait, it’s the INTERNET. People should do whatever they want because it’s the INTERNET. People should act however they want because it’s the INTERNET. People should get away with everything they want because it’s the INTERNET. People who have the audacity to complain about how harsh people can be have no right to because it’s the INTERNET.

    I think I’ll turn off the sarcasm mode now.

    As for Annaham’s post, it really has opened up my eyes to a lot of stuff that I’ve noticed other the years, especially this part:

    “It’s that “putting the onus on the person who gets shit slung at them to not let the shit, nor the experience of getting it slung at them, nor its odor, bother them” thing.”

    This put a whole lot of things into perspective and made me just think about how much of this backlash is just an attempt to silence someone. Having seen the same antics done by people who supposedly are for freedom of expression, it just made me really wonder what these type of people are really fighting for.

    I commend you for your bravery to get through the shit and having the audacity to say that words do indeed hurt. I’ve come to believe that the people who say that oh-so-famous “stick and stones” phrase don’t actually believe it. They know words can have power and can hurt. They’ll just keep denying it forever because they’d never want to let go of something that’s so “easy” for them to do.

    Tuesday, April 27, 2010 at 12:56 pm | Permalink
  34. Erika aka apis_ceran wrote:

    Heyya Annaham — I actually stumbled upon this post via Racialicious. 🙂 Small world, etc etc.

    I didn’t know the full extent of this controversy, so was shocked at all the crap Amanda Palmer and her loyal fans have spewed. It’s all so immature, lazy, and reeks of the “I’M SO ~*~EDGY~*~ LOOK AT MEEEE” vibe I despise.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 1:48 pm | Permalink
  35. Samia wrote:

    Annaham, you are awesome. I never got into Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls; to me it all represented a kind of White Girl Anger I could never quite relate to or access. Quite frankly, I don’t think people of colour are ever considered a target audience for that kind of music. So I guess I kind of wrote her off as a niche thing and underestimated the volume of her fan base.

    I read a little about AP’s recent racefail in a blog post which made reference to her pre-existing um, “issues” with ableism. That’s how I stumbled upon your original post about Evelyn/Evelyn. I really appreciate your writing. I appreciate the time and effort it has taken you to share your thoughts with us, and that you care enough about yourself and others to keep writing in spite of the hatred you’re encountering in other quarters.

    Wednesday, April 28, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Permalink
  36. Farore wrote:

    @Sgt Throat:

    “What amazes me is that Ms Palmer has the intelligence and magnanimity to let criticism of herself slide off like the proverbial water on a duck’s back, whereas you get anxiety from it.”

    Uh…. WHAT? Okay, so uhm, apparently I lack intelligence and magnanimity because I have anxiety disorder. OKAY CAPTAIN INTERNET, thanks for clarifying that for me. 9_6

    Thursday, April 29, 2010 at 11:32 am | Permalink
  37. what is this wrote:

    I’m not a feminist, I’d like to say that right off. I do read this blog because of, well, whoever the fuck is writing this is hilarious. On the other hand, one has to wonder what this musician was even thinking.

    When one looks at the hopscotch to oblivion (when it is the display picture of the Wikidia’s black comedy page itself) you can assume that anyone who was suicidal, or had a relative/friend who jumped off a building would be rather offended. With extreme fear of being just three feet in the air I feel terrified just LOOKING at it.

    Clearly, Amanda Palmer can’t possibly try to go through with a black comedy act of pretending to be conjoined twins for laughs, adding child pornography as a backstory and such. Now, I’ll take calling her out on ‘rape’ in music as evil away from my psyche considering that is, to my knowledge HER experience.

    It’s good to know however, that being raped probably doesn’t excuse using it as a source of humor. That can still be criticized, and people who do so are not ‘missing the point.’ Everyone uses the phrase of ‘rape is never funny’ but when it’s a rape victim doing it, we somehow forget of how other rape victims would FEEL. Not saying it is the ‘no-zone’ but you’re still open to criticism.

    Secondly, I find disdain in her attempts to apologize. “Yeah, I’m making fun of child porn, rape, and conjoined twins, but I’m not trying to offend anybody.”

    She should have known (if she hadn’t) what she was doing. If she did, then yay for her, but then her apology would either tell me she does not understand or that she doesn’t want you in her demographic.

    That said, these threats in the comment remind me of Twitards getting mad at the woman who made the “IHateTwilight” website, stating in an e-mail that she shouldn’t hope ill will on anybody, then turns around and wishes the woman to have a miscarriage.

    People are being obsessive fanboys/fangirls and it’s pretty atrocious. If it were anyone else making fun of these aspects that they were not fans of I assume they would all be laughing at them for being such douchebags.

    Anyone feeling a draft? And by a draft, I man a good old John Petroski draft, where if you disagree with his excellent satire you’re a stupid piece of shit? Yeah, that kind of draft.

    Saturday, May 1, 2010 at 6:25 pm | Permalink
  38. Beth Turner wrote:

    I like Amanda Palmer’s music and will still listen to her solo album (because I do like it) but I don’t like her behaviour nor that of her “fans”.

    I think people confuse getting enraged at a comment on the internet and saying to themselves “It’s just the internet” and walk away (which is good advice if you don’t want to make an ass out of yourself!) with being personally attacked for something you wrote on your site.

    If I read a blog entry that upsets me I take a deep breathe and say “It’s just the internet, no one is making me read this, don’t be an asshat” because I know I can become a foaming at the mouth comment person.

    However, in my OWN blog if someone posts something hateful…then yeah that’s going to upset me, because there’s a difference between coming across something you disagree with accidentally and having it shoved in your face.

    So *hugs*

    Thursday, May 13, 2010 at 9:57 am | Permalink
  39. Tara wrote:

    I liked Amanda Palmer’s music but I can’t listen to her anymore. Her behavior online is just atrocious. Count me another former fan.

    Wednesday, May 19, 2010 at 1:14 am | Permalink

5 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. links for 2010-04-23 « Embololalia on Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    […] Tiger Beatdown › LADYPALOOZA PRESENTS! How Amanda Palmer Lost a Fan, or, My Own Private Backlash Throughout all of this, you are still the one who is Too Sensitive To Be On the Internet. And even if you’ve made it pretty clear that you are a fan of the person you are criticizing — as I did — you’ll still be portrayed as a hater. […]

  2. […] It’s not always so easy to dismiss as “It’s just the internet.” LADYPALOOZA PRESENTS! How Amanda Palmer Lost a Fan, or, My Own Private Backlash – This one is in response to the attacks Annaham endured after making a post critical of […]

  3. […] Tiger Beatdown › LADYPALOOZA PRESENTS! How Amanda Palmer Lost a Fan, or, My Own Private Backlash "Amanda Palmer, who, for some reason, gets carte blanche to do things such as: […]

  4. They don’t go away… « random babble… on Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    […] isn’t ideal (even when that isn’t what we are doing), because that will inevitably cause us our own personal backlashes, so what do we do […]

  5. […] Hell, I have a blog. Which I write on, and which I take extremely seriously. I write and draw a lot of stuff on various topics — most of this work has not been published (yet), or shown to other people (yet), and almost none of it has been the center of controversy or much attention (barring my work on that one thing). […]