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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 AmandaPalmerSucks.com instead of disabledfeminists.com. 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.]

AND NOW, A VERY SPECIAL EDITORIAL NOTE

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!

90 Comments

  1. GarlandGrey wrote:

    I think this all happened because everybody: the fans, Amanda herself, her fiancee: wishes she wasn’t so untalented. Her piano arrangements are repetitive and her lyrics could have be lifted from a mediocre LiveJournal. So she lashes at out at serious criticism with her petulant antics. Because that is all that she has.

    I’m sorry able-bodied people are such terrible shits. I’m sorry you had to go through all of this insane bullshit. You handled it better than I would have, with more composure and tact.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 1:40 pm | Permalink
  2. Kiri wrote:

    Thank you, Annaham. Thank you for everything — the original post, the follow-ups, this post here, and the fact that you can handle the Internet so darn well.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 1:47 pm | Permalink
  3. abby jean wrote:

    um, garlandgrey? terming the backlash as “insane bullshit” is also ableist. not amanda palmer level, certainly, but still problematic.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 1:50 pm | Permalink
  4. Assiya wrote:

    Yet another great post. Thank you for this post and the many things you do for us women with disabilities.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Permalink
  5. Kiri wrote:

    Thanks, Abby Jean. The bullshit Annaham had to go through was ridiculous and horrible, but not insane; and us mentally ill folks are tired of being used as negative metaphors.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  6. Kripa wrote:

    This was a really nice post, Annaham. Thanks. And thank you, Sady, for showing it.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Permalink
  7. gudbuytjane wrote:

    Annaham, you rock. I was a fan of your writing before all of the Amanda Palmer shit, and your response to it has only increased my respect. Having experienced a bit of internet fan rage for critiquing an artist they liked (admittedly a great deal less than the volume of criticism you received) I feel a great deal for what you’ve had to endure.

    Thank you for saying the things so challenging to ableism that they’d cause such a backlash, but so sorry you had to endure it.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Permalink
  8. Nomie wrote:

    Seriously, Annaham, how are you so great. The original Ableism Ableism post was phenomenal, the grace you and the rest of the FWD crew have displayed is astonishing.

    Sidebar: a friend of mine who is less activist than I am went to the first night of the Evelyn Evelyn tour. She left early, because she felt that rather than allowing the “twins” their own voices it was just a reproduction of the circus sideshow freak act. Which is pretty disappointing after the whole “it will be different when you see it!” defense. Argh.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  9. Erin wrote:

    @Garlandgrey: What does Amanda Palmer’s musical talents have to do with the post? I dislike it when people use commenting on posts as an excuse to criticize a musician in a way that has nothing to do with the post.

    And I’ve never even heard an Amanda Palmer song, so am not making this comment in defense of anyone. It is just something that bothers me, and happens a lot when someone criticizes a woman musician for something other than her music.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:20 pm | Permalink
  10. emjaybee wrote:

    I think FWD is awesome, and I’m glad you called out Palmer. I had no idea she/her fans actually mounted such an offensive on you–once I had heard a little bit about her “project” I went “ew” and stopped paying attention.

    So thanks.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:22 pm | Permalink
  11. Erin wrote:

    Oh, and I really liked the post!

    I find it ironic that trolls always act as if internet shouldn’t affect people, and if it does affect a person, it is because there is something wrong with the person. The goal of internet trolls is to negatively affect people, so they shouldn’t act like it is a surprise that their trolling negatively affects people! But I guess that is the evil genius of teh trolls.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm | Permalink
  12. Erin wrote:

    Correction:

    “trolls always act as if internet shouldn’t affect people” should say “trolls always act as if internet HARASSMENT shouldn’t affect people”

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm | Permalink
  13. Kiri wrote:

    @Erin: In this case, they’re probably imitating Palmer herself: being all offensive and shocking, and then complaining when, y’know, people are offended and shocked.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:31 pm | Permalink
  14. julian wrote:

    Fuck yeah! Great post, excellent articulation of everything I had been thinking vis-a-vis the AP situation.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:58 pm | Permalink
  15. JfC wrote:

    You can only hope that those assholes will grow up someday, read this post, and feel ashamed. Until that day, I’m feeling ashamed for these people. Seriously, going nuclear over Amanda Palmer?

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm | Permalink
  16. theviciouspixie wrote:

    Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley performing as Evelyn Evelyn is, in my view, about as offensive as if I (a white middle-class woman) were to put on blackface and stage a one-man performance of Song of the South. Evelyn Evelyn is a pretty gross show of two privileged and able-bodied people having no concept of what real disabled people go through every day. Thank you for the Ableism Ableism post. I will tell my friends.

    I am sorry that people on the Internet are such dicks. You deserve so much better. Given the discrimination Amanda has suffered at the hands of Roadrunner over the past year, you’d think she would do more to discourage her fans from being quite so hideous. I really liked and respected Amanda Palmer for songs like Half Jack and Sex Changes and Oasis, and I feel let down. Know that you have many allies, and keep fighting the good fight.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:12 pm | Permalink
  17. Garland Grey wrote:

    @Abby Jean and @Kiri: Sincere apologies.

    @Erin: I was describing a particular dynamic I have noticed within the Palmer “camp” – Palmer is an artist who has yet to break into the mainstream, primarily because her piano arrangements are repetitive and her lyrics are childish. It is in her best interest to pretend as if she is constantly under attack, and by rushing to her defense against these paper tigers, her fans reaffirm their allegiance to her.

    What does this have to do with what Anna went through? This is part of the reason her fans are so vicious. Getting Amanda Palmer to change the way she interacts with her fans might actually stop someone else from going through the same thing.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:17 pm | Permalink
  18. Kiri wrote:

    @GarlandGrey: Thanks.

    And well, Palmer kind of is constantly under attack, both as a lady who makes music and as a lady who does not happily submit to patriarchal demands. Problem is, I don’t think she really cares about the difference between “haters being jerkwads for no good reason” and “people who have a genuine beef”; she just shoves everyone into the former category to convince herself that she’s awesome and righteous and shit. And it’s really difficult to try to call that out in such a way that people will listen, because the fans do exactly the same little bit of conflation.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:35 pm | Permalink
  19. Meg wrote:

    The idea that people should only be allowed to speak if they are willing to tolerate death threats, or disparaging personal remarks that have nothing to do with their argument, or critiques of their personality, is pretty disgusting, a classic silencing technique and the only method the kyriarchy has left to try to keep people who Aren’t Supposed To Participate out of the discussion. I’m more polite on the internet than I am in person, but I realized that I’m trying to avoid this sort of response. Maybe if those abusive people were just a little more afraid, they’d stop to think about the reaction to their response?

    As for musical artists in particular, I think fans over-identify with musicians, and their music, sometimes more than the artists themselves (though not so much in this case). Any critique of the music becomes a personal critique not only of the musician, but also of all the fans who like that music, and their sense of entitlement is extended to the music.

    People need to realize that human beings are always more important than Art. Always.

    Even so, offensive Art will be made, but trying to pretend that its not offensive is counter-productive (as someone said above). If a song speaks to you, and is messed up in some way, the correct response is not to lash out at the person who points out that the song is messed up. For example, I loved and identified deeply with The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock when I was 14. This is a self-involved, privileged and misogynistic poem, much as I was when I was 14. That doesn’t make me inherently a bad person for liking the poem, and I do still enjoy the sound of it even as I now cringe at the story it tells, but it certainly doesn’t give me the right to lash out at people who might point out the ways in which TS Eliot’s work was f-ed up.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:36 pm | Permalink
  20. Erin wrote:

    @Garland Grey
    I kind of see where you are coming from. But at the same time, I find it odd that you’d use a post published during Ladypalooza, one theme of which has been the unfair criticism of women musicians, to criticize a woman’s music when it isn’t directly related to the post. The way you explain it, the fact that she hasn’t broken into the mainstream might be relevant. But the reasons behind that might not.

    But here is what it reminds me of: when high school girls call someone a slut when that someone hurt one of their friends. They are using sexist tropes to hurt another girl in a way that women and girls are uniquely vulnerable to, to get back at that girl for hurting a friend. Women are more vulnerable to attacks involving their sexuality in the same way women are more vulnerable to attacks about them being bad musicians.

    And I’ve run out of time to try to explain it better, so hopefully that made some kind of sense.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink
  21. Harriet J wrote:

    I remember the first time the Internet really up and bothered me. It was just a regular old troll from trolltown, scan, delete, the end. But later that night, I am curled up in my favorite chair with lots of blankets compulsively watching TV and not going outside and not answering my phone and feeling this increasing swirling pit of panic that I shove away away away.

    And then, suddenly, I’m like, “GOOD LORD, you have to deal, you really can’t go on like this! IT’S JUST THE INTERNET!” I had a therapist that trained me to react to the word “just” by rephrasing what I have said in a way that doesn’t dismiss or use “should” or have imperatives or judgments. So I tried rephrasing what had happened until I could get at a way to say it that really described why I was so bothered. I finally hit upon, “Today somebody threatened to torture me to death, and described really vividly how enjoyable it would be. Today there is somebody out there who literally wishes I was dead, and would likely hurt me if they knew where I lived. Okay, MAYBE THAT IS A VALID THING TO BE UPSET ABOUT.”

    So, in case you need to hear this (because sometimes I do): if somebody is specifically trying to make you upset, or angry, or frightened, and you react by being upset, or angry, or frightened, that is pretty reasonable! Your brain isn’t telling you to freak for no reason; it’s telling you to freak because it’s functioning well and knows when shit is freaky.

    I’m sorry it all got so ugly for you. I hope you’ve got good friendly spaces to hide in until you feel better.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:37 pm | Permalink
  22. Erin wrote:

    Wait, one more thing:

    My point is that it perpetuates those sexist tropes in an unhelpful manner.

    Sorry Sady, that I am distracted today and seem to be unable to keep all my thoughts in one comment on the one day you are moderating each and every comment… It isn’t on purpose, I promise!

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm | Permalink
  23. belledame222 wrote:

    Dear Neil Gaiman: please stop associating yourself with this woman before I have to start thinking badly of you too. At minimum, stop tweeting, because you’ve entered into some of your own fail. Kthxbai.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  24. Sarah TX wrote:

    Compliments: FWD is the best new(ish) blog on the whole Internet. FWD guestblogging on Tiger Beatdown is almost too much for me to handle!

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 3:47 pm | Permalink
  25. Jess! wrote:

    I really loved reading this, since I have been through some internet backlash (over pornfiction! no, seriously!) and my reaction made me feel incredibly oversensitive and whiny. What your post points out, at least for me, is that people on the internet are to a lesser or greater degree adept with words, even if it is only using them as a cudgel. Perhaps it’s understandable that vague threats to reveal my real identity made me anxious! Amazing!

    Anyway, all this blither is to say that you’ve crafted another great post. I was so happy when you wrote what I was feeling about Evelyn Evelyn, and that you weathered the storm with such aplomb (no matter how awful it was, you did exhibit aplomb).

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  26. Deirdre wrote:

    I don’t think I commented on your original posts because I wasn’t sure what to say–but they were excellent, powerful things, just as this one is. Thank you for being brave enough to share this with us, even knowing it’s probably going to start the backlash all over again.

    I am pretty sure I would have been “driven off the Internet” if I faced half of that. This is one of those cases where I can’t even add a cute little anecdote, because in fifteen years on the Internet (and twenty-eight in the real world) I’ve never faced anything like that.

    And you faced it, survived, and won. Good on you.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:02 pm | Permalink
  27. Vee wrote:

    @Erin: I think you’re absolutely right, actually. Because this is so very much not about whether or not Amanda Palmer possesses musical talent, it’s about the fact that, as Kiri puts it, she doesn’t distinguish between serious, incredibly valid criticism like that of FWD, and people who bitch at her because she happens to be a woman making music. And she faces both, you know? The former should merit a different treatment, which is how she lost me as a fan, as well.

    Ultimately, making music should be about what you’re saying. To me, this whole thing felt like Amanda losing track of what she was doing in favor of focusing on her own persona. So she became enamored with an idea and she and Jason (because lest we forget, there are two of them) didn’t really think about it beyond how fun it would be, and fuck, that’s what you must do, as an artist. What you say on stage and what you do when you talk to your audience, yes, it fucking matters.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:07 pm | Permalink
  28. Sady wrote:

    @Erin: If it helps, I totally agree with Garland! I kind of dislike Amanda Palmer’s music immensely, which is maybe beside the point — except, if we can’t point out that lady musicians, much like dude musicians, are capable of bad work as well as good, then THE PATRIARCHY HAS WON — but I DO think that the point Garland is making, re: Amanda Palmer packaging herself as a SuperOutrageousPersona!(TM) and that being how she keeps herself in the limelight is a damn solid one. Amanda Palmer’s career is based just as much on her being Amanda Palmer (TM) as it is on anything she’s ever written. And, granted, you could say that about a lot of musicians, but she’s the one where it really grates and seems particularly calculated. And leads to her frequent appeals to fans about how she is just being PERSECUTED for being TOO EDGY and TOO OUTRAGEOUS and people don’t GET WHAT AMANDA PALMER (TM) IS ALL ABOUT, which is clearly meant to rally fans behind her and raise sales, and which also (whoops!) occasionally leads to other people being… y’know. Actually persecuted. And getting no money from that experience.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm | Permalink
  29. Simon C. wrote:

    Belledame222: Aren’t they married? I’m afraid he might be a lost cause.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:25 pm | Permalink
  30. Erin wrote:

    “except, if we can’t point out that lady musicians, much like dude musicians, are capable of bad work as well as good, then THE PATRIARCHY HAS WON”

    I agree, and didn’t mean to imply that I thought otherwise. I just meant if it isn’t relevant, it perpetuates sexist tropes to always bring it up. And it is ALWAYS brought up when talking about women musicians. Going back to my other hypo, how many people a woman has slept with is relevant when, say talking to a doctor, but is not relevant to whether she is a “good person.” And whether someone is a good musician is relevant when discussing MUSIC, but not so much when discussing ablism. Or sexism/feminism. Or any other myriad of issues that seem to always come back to “well her music sux!!!1!!”, when that is not the freakin point.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm | Permalink
  31. Simon C. wrote:

    Actually, I’d rather contribute something more substantial to the conversation:

    Ms. Annaham, you are fucking *amazing*. Thanks to an unfortunate combination of a loud mouth and thin skin, my opinionated ass has been driven out of a number of internet spheres (‘sup, Tumblr) after I stirred up some controversy and then couldn’t deal with the massive campaign of harassment.

    Well, my “massive campaign of harassment” sounds like your “Tuesday before breakfast,” and here you are, not only facing the haters, but brilliantly dismantling their bullshit.

    So fuck Amanda Palmer and her willful ignorance, fuck the slavering hit squad she calls a fanbase, and here’s me raising a big ol’ glass of bourbon to ever being half the woman you are. (Harder than it sounds: I’m a dude.)

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm | Permalink
  32. Sady wrote:

    Okay, I really hoped Annaham would mention this in her post, but clearly, since I am not actually the center of the entire universe, I am going to have to mention it IN THE COMMENT SECTION! But:

    Do you know how I know that Annaham took care to be fair with her criticism of Amanda Palmer? Because, once upon a time, when Evelyn Evelyn was just an incredibly ominous twinkle in your mother’s eye, she took me to task on the Internet. For writing a criticism of Amanda Palmer that was too mean.

    THE END!

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Permalink
  33. JfC wrote:

    I’m on twitter right now and I’m halfway tempted to @amandapalmer to this post so she can see how harmful and bullying she’s been, but I know it wouldn’t get through to her and she’d just probably post another ableist screed, unleashing the hordes of kneejerk fandom after Sady. Sigh.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm | Permalink
  34. Gnatalby wrote:

    I agree with Erin, actually. GarlandGrey’s comment seemed out of place to me for a few reasons: first, Annaham said she herself was a fan of Palmer’s music before this whole debacle, so is she part of the legion of fans who wishes Palmer’s music was better? Not to mention good and better are pretty subjective.

    Then there’s the comment about her fiance which just reads like “And haha your boyfriend doesn’t like you either!” Is there some statement of Gaiman’s I’ve missed where he’s complained about Palmer’s work?

    Annaham: I’m glad you’ve been writing about this whole situation. Palmer’s behavior has been shocking and just plain mean and I’ve lost a lot of respect for her.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm | Permalink
  35. ozymandias wrote:

    I am a tremendous fan of the Dresden Dolls and Amanda Palmer, and I have to say: good work, Annaheim, your criticisms are completely accurate, thank you for explaining to the newbies in the audience Why This Is Ableism And Why That Is Bad, please believe that not all fans are that completely crazy and don’t let the bastards grind you down.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm | Permalink
  36. jaded16 wrote:

    Thank you for this post. Annaham,you are fabulous. I’ve been reading your blog and your writing is just great! Anyone who doesn’t think so just deserves to piss off regardless of whether zie is a celebrity or god’s left toe.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm | Permalink
  37. Gayle Force wrote:

    Annaham, when I first heard about the E/E project, my thought was, “Wow, that is fucked up.” It just sat very badly with me, but I couldn’t quite articulate why. But your first post on the subject captured exactly what was wrong with it in words and ways I never could have. Thank you for that, and for writing about such a difficult experience here. And how lucky we are to have you handling the internets, because it is a far better place with you in it.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Permalink
  38. Vee wrote:

    @Sady: I also think the point about how Amanda Palmer’s artist persona and the way she interacts with her fans has definitely contributed (very negatively) to how this played out is a really fucking good one, and I really do agree with Garland there, I just–it’s not that we can’t point out that lady musicians do bad work, it’s just that in this case, I feel like it’s more about a lady musician doing offensive work, which, you know. And I think that’s what Erin was after.

    @Annaham: I should have said this the first time I commented–I’m really glad you’re still around. I’m really, really glad you are. You and Sady and Amanda Hess and a couple of other bloggers, fuck, sometimes reading you is the only thing that helps, because it makes me feel less crazy, less like I’m some sort of tiny voice shouting in the dark. Basically.

    Because I was so furious and sad about Evelyn Evelyn and I read your posts on it and felt like, okay, this makes sense, every bit of this is careful and thought out and she must have been so angry, how does she write this calmly? You made me feel better and more clear-headed about the whole thing, which is a tiny thing, but, you know. Thank you.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:40 pm | Permalink
  39. Chris wrote:

    Part of the reason I was such a huge Amanda Palmer fan was because she seemed to really care about her fans, but that whole little display of hers pretty much killed that notion. I’m really sorry that that had to happen to you, Annaham. But rock the fuck on for sticking around even through all the bullshit, and especially for writing this, which is pretty much everything I was thinking about the situation but didn’t know how to verbalize.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:45 pm | Permalink
  40. Frances wrote:

    @Meg / anybody who wants to answer.
    This may be slightly off-topic, but I feel the need to ask this.
    Through reading this blog and other literature, I’ve really just begun to engage seriously with feminism. I should have done so a long time ago.
    Anyway, my question has to do with Meg’s experience with the Eliot poem (and perhaps Annaham’s experience with Amanda Palmer as well). I’m finding some music, art and literature that formed me as a young adult is deeply misogynistic. How do I reconcile this with the fact that I am excluded from it fundamentally?
    I listened to a favorite old CD last night, which normally would have been a treat. But I heard the lyrics with a different worldview, and I found the song upsetting, even offensive. I wondered if it was somehow a self-betrayal to still be listening to this band (even if I enjoyed some of the other songs). What is my next step?
    Sorry if this is too personal or off-topic, Sady. Please feel free to moderate/ edit/ delete.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:51 pm | Permalink
  41. Kathy wrote:

    Thank you for this and your original Evelyn/Evelyn post. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned about ableism and appropriation from following this whole debacle.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  42. HelenB wrote:

    @Belledame222 @Simon C. Could we not, please, blame Amanda Palmer for Neil Gaiman’s own failings? They’re both perfectly capably of making their own mistakes (and fixing them, if they really want to) and Palmer is not some kind of infectious disease. (Sorry for taking this OT Annaham and Sady!)

    An artist’s fans are sometimes their own worst enemy, I feel. I completely understand the defensiveness people feel when someone (is seen to) criticise an artist they love; it somehow becomes, “but I really admire this person/their work, so this critic is therefore attacking me.” Being on The Internet makes it even worse, because in Real Life if someone shouted at you “You should just fucking die!” it would be obvious to one and all that they were doing something hateful. On the internet, where there’s a degree on anonymity, people can get away with far worse hate-filled comments in public places then they ever could in Real Life.

    And this means that artists very much have a responsibility for their fans (to their fans?). Obviously they can’t control everyone who listens to their music, but if Amanda Palmer had found out about your post and said to her fanbase, “Gosh, I’d never considered this angle before” then how different would the reaction to your blog have been? Yeah, you’d still have received comments attacking you because there’s still that feeling of “this person is criticising ME, PERSONALLY through my taste in music and who I choose to idolise” but maybe more people would have said “Hey, Amanda Palmer isn’t feeling like she’s being criticised, maybe everything is OK.”

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm | Permalink
  43. Dora wrote:

    Annaham, thank you for writing about this so honestly & powerfully. I can’t believe people still say stuff like “it’s just the internet.” The internet is a place with a lot of people in it, and sometimes they form angry mobs, and angry mobs are pretty fucking scary, whether they hurt you physically or not. There’s a reason public shaming is/was used as legal punishment in so many places.

    Meg said:

    The idea that people should only be allowed to speak if they are willing to tolerate death threats, or disparaging personal remarks that have nothing to do with their argument, or critiques of their personality, is pretty disgusting, a classic silencing technique

    Exactly! And, it’s weird how for trolls, bloggers & social activists are a bit alike. These are two types of people who aren’t legally allowed to have any personal feelings or dignity, do not require politeness, and basically you can attack them any way you like and they need to turn the other cheek, otherwise they are betraying their calling! (For bloggers: they are using censorship! For activists: they are being emotional instead of educating the masses/spreading the word!).

    Which comes together in a really revolting way when some people would prefer that a certain activist blogger shut up.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:58 pm | Permalink
  44. Caitlin wrote:

    @Annaham: As a big fan of Amanda Palmer’s music who’s been upset and disappointed by her but had trouble articulating why, your first post about Evelyn Evelyn became my go-to for “here, this is explains it much better than I can”. I’m sorry you got so much shit for it. It seems like the type of fans who can’t handle any criticism of an artist they like are often more vocal than the rest of us, sadly.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm | Permalink
  45. Gayle Force wrote:

    @Harriet J – I have this weeeee little blog, and I have gotten, like, two troll comments, but they made me upset for hours, and I did the, “Gayle, it’s just the internets, get over it!” thing, and that, not surprisingly, did not help. So thank you for reframing that.

    Which leads me to saying to Annaham, again, I am so sorry, because if having two troll comments felt terrible to me . . .

    And, to weigh in on the discussing Amanda Palmer as a musician when no one asked me: I do think the way she posits herself, in her music, and then with her fans, is as having to fight The Man at every moment, and that she is a rebel, and trying buck the system, and that in turn means anyone who gets in her way should be fucking obliterated because they have tried to stop the artistic brilliant force that is Amanda Palmer who has been totally marginalized and Won’t! Take! It! Anymore!

    And I used to really like Amanda Palmer, because she was angry and feminist and totally about being a hellraiser. Until it turned out she would use her privilege to turn around and put other people down, people who had thoughtful things to say. And then her songs stopped meaning anything at all, and there was just no more point in listening. Which, and this is just personal, made me nod when Garland said she was untalented, because now that any meaning or passion or subversion is out of her songs, I don’t find them nearly as good as I thought they were. They were about a message, and when the message turned out to be a lie, there wasn’t much left.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:11 pm | Permalink
  46. Lyndsay wrote:

    FWD and Tiger Beatdown together? It’s blogtopia! Annaham, you original Ableism Ableism post was the one that brought me to FWD and the one that has had me really thinking a lot about ableism and how I can be a good ally and up in the ladybusiness to get rid of ableist attitudes to help people out. And I didn’t know that you’d gone through all this.

    I did know Amanda had gone off in all directions about it… but not to this extreme.

    You rule, and your blog lights up my RSS reading face every day.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:21 pm | Permalink
  47. Sady wrote:

    @Frances: I mean, I like D.H. Lawrence. So I’m not unfamiliar with the problem. I think the key is to just like what you like, and then, if the urge strikes you, use the problems in the art you like to sort of examine how those problems actually do play out in the rest of the world. Like, you could write about Tina Fey or Weezer or whatever without actually WRITING much about Tina Fey or Weezer… writing more about how they have the same problems, in their work, as the world has, in the world. I don’t think it makes sense to reject art flat-out for mirroring the larger social problems and gross attitudes of its time. I used to think so, and to need a complex ideological defense for everything I liked! But now, I mean, saying a piece of art is “problematic” is basically just the same as saying “it was made by a person or by people, all of whom live and were raised in this current world, which is full of problems.” So you can like something without liking its politics, and that is a tough thing to grasp for a lot of people, but I still think it’s valid.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:23 pm | Permalink
  48. g wrote:

    Annaham: I’m shocked at the illogical and violent responses to your original post. You wrote an even-handed and thoughtful argument, something the Internet needs more of, and have been horribly mistreated by the Peoples of the Internets. As someone who was also once a Palmer fan, I can see how some of the gut reactions may stem from a belief that her music got them through difficult times or represented them as a social outcast (or made them love striped stockings, I don’t know). The lack of guilt felt by Palmer herself and her “stans” who launched verbal attacks on you says something pretty terrible about accountability on and off the Internet.

    In sum, thank you for starting and continuing to contribute to this dialogue, even though plenty of people aren’t ready for it.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 6:56 pm | Permalink
  49. OuyangDan wrote:

    Oh, Annaham, my love for you abounds! When your fame becomes tremendous from writing on Tiger Beatdown will you remember to not talk trash about me on tumblr? XOXO

    You have done a fabulous job of keeping composure while defending a well thought out critique of this E/E project. I was glad that some parties were able to engage you properly, but I was sadly disappointed that others were…umm…well, I just had to do an exorcism of my iPod.

    *throws flowers*

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm | Permalink
  50. jenthing wrote:

    Annaham, thank you for staying on the internets, despite the efforts of all the butt-boils out there.

    I used to be a dedicated fan of Amanda Palmer/Dresden Dolls, but she’s pretty much ruined herself for me lately. As a painter and occasional illustrator, I know damn well that when I make a piece and show it or publish it, it’s out of my hands and open for criticism. Which is a source of terror and anguish, sure, because this thing! That I made! It is my baby! It really hurts to hear someone say that your baby is ugly, or garish, or upsetting, or offensive, but that’s the risk you take when you invite your friends (or, in AP’s case, the WORLD) to come take a look at your baby. Not everyone’s gonna like it, and some people may be able to point out flaws that you just didn’t see because you were too close to the damn thing for too long. Which is the whole goddamn POINT of putting your work out there in the first place: Absorb both the praise AND the criticism, filter out the insightful stuff, and use it to make your next piece better. If you want a real dialogue with your audience, you have to be willing to thoughtfully consider the critical remarks, even if you don’t necessarily agree with them. If you want nothing but praise, make it a special edition mailing-list-only release for your TruFans(tm) and call it a day.

    I used to like AP partly because I honestly thought she *did* want to start a dialogue with her listeners, what with all the blogging and reaching out to her fanbase and shit. And it really, really pisses me off that she essentially sicced her fans on you for presenting valid criticism of her work in a completely reasonable fashion. It’s a bullshit, mean cheerleader kind of move, and it makes me tired and sad to think that a woman over 30, who is supposedly SUCH A FUCKING GENIUS, would engage in such behavior without even enough self-reflection to stop for one goddamn second and say, “Hey, self? Am I being an entitled ass about this? Since this person tried to engage me in a thoughtful, respectful manner, should I perhaps show her the same courtesy? Or at least respond to the specific points she is making?” Or, failing that, when she discovered that her rabid fans were attempting to eviscerate you on your own blog, send out a little tweet to the effect of “Call off the dogs, guys, these people don’t deserve your death threats”?

    It’s disappointing. (And this is why my one true love remains Tom Waits, who -so far- has not been embarrassing himself on the internet. Don’t ever change, Tom.)

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Permalink
  51. eloriane wrote:

    @Ozymandias – As Abby Jean and Kiri pointed out with “insane,” to use “crazy” as an insult is ablelist. Perhaps try “irrational” or “unwilling to self-examine.”

    It feels weird trying to pick apart the ways in which AP’s somewhat-unique relationship with her fans really contributed to the problem. On the one hand, the Outrageous And Shocking persona is pretty clearly just a persona, and the ways in which she chooses to act Outrageous And Shocking are really relevant to why Evelyn Evelyn sounded like a good idea to her and why she dismissed criticism: because the act was Outrageous And Shocking, and she’s always getting criticism for being Outrageous And Shocking. I find myself wanting to rationalise that after so much criticism that just boils down to “conform!” she would probably get into the habit of ignoring all criticism, and just assuming it’s all of the sexist “don’t be so Outrageous!” kind. Except then I get to the other hand, which is that I don’t think it’s really fair to try to judge artists’ persons, rather than their personas. I have absolutely no idea who the person Amanda Palmer is. I only know her persona. And yeah, her persona is pretty obviously just an Outrageous And Shocking act, and the person underneath is different– but it’s a personal rule of mine not to make things like this personal.

    Which, you know, we don’t HAVE to make it personal to say she’s done something wrong– all of the statements here were made publicly. And blowing off critics who Just Don’t Get It is part of that persona too. But I wonder if some of the people objecting to criticisms of her actual music are coming from the same place I am– there’s no need to attack the person, here. The public actions are bad enough.

    Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 8:33 pm | Permalink
  52. 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
  53. 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
  54. 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
  55. 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
  56. 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
  57. 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
  58. gnat wrote:

    @Annaham
    Thankyou so much for writing these posts.

    @Gayle
    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
  59. 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
  60. 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
  61. Katje wrote:

    @Annaham

    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
  62. 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
  63. 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
  64. 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
  65. 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
  66. 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
  67. Frances wrote:

    @Sady
    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.
    Thanks.

    Friday, April 23, 2010 at 2:57 pm | Permalink
  68. 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
  69. 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
  70. 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
  71. 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
  72. 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
  73. 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
  74. 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
  75. 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
  76. 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
  77. 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
  78. 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
  79. 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
  80. Tatyanna wrote:

    I am so glad that I found this blog (linked on ShapelyProse.com)! 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
  81. 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
  82. Crystal wrote:

    Annaham you are amazing. I first read your EvelynEvelyn, Ableism Ableism piece through a Spin.com 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
  83. @ 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
  84. 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
  85. 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
  86. 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
  87. 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
  88. 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
  89. 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
  90. 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

6 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. uberVU - social comments on Thursday, April 22, 2010 at 5:09 pm

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    This post was mentioned on Twitter by sadydoyle: OMG we got Annaham! Writing about Internet harassment, and Amanda Palmer! http://tinyurl.com/2es75kk...

  2. 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. [...]

  3. [...] 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 [...]

  4. [...] 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: [...]

  5. 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 [...]

  6. [...] 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). [...]