evelyn evelyn drama drama

hola!

jesus. regarding (my last blog link).

listen: i deeply apologize if anyone has been offended by our project.
there is and was absolutely no harm meant, and if harm was taken, it’s obviously worthy of discussion.

i am, as always, very very happy to see super-intelligent conversation cropping up about the nature of art, life, and appropriateness in the blog comments & in other sub-threads.
please keep it up, it is awesome. but please, please, please do refrain from calling each other names. that sucks.

……………………………

neil also called me up slightly out of sorts, because some of HIS fans were upset about the blog.

this ties in with a slight problem i’ve been having lately, which is a whole new wave of neil’s fans coming over the fence to see what i’m about.
and when they see conjoined twins, black humor, and half-naked red carpet photos, they run screaming (and run screaming in neil’s ear. and the screams aren’t pretty to listen to.)
as i explained in my golden globes blog…a lot of amanda palmer is about context and knowing what i stand for/have stood for in the past ten years or so.

the Evelyn Evelyn project couldn’t possibly be MORE about context. it’s been in development for 3 years, and a lot of people have been watching it grow from the get-go.

our intention with this record was NEVER to hurt. it was made in a spirit of real love and fun, and follows the story of two girls who had an extremely rough life and made a record album.
our intention was not to piss people off, make fun of, or belittle anybody. that is not our style.

i do have to say, the topics of some of the more intelligent dialogue does make me rather gleeful….watching people yelling intelligently at each other about “tommy” (my favorite comment: “i don’t really know the history of tommy, did The Who try to pretend he was a real person?”), “phantom of the opera” and “the elephant man” is a lot more fun than watching people yelling UNintelligently at each other about, i don’t know, the death penalty. to my knowledge – correct me if i’m wrong – there are no musicals or concept albums about the death penalty. not YET.

…………………..

the most ironic thing is that this is, process-wise, the most lighthearted and joyful project i’ve ever been involved with.
i’d hate to think that any of that has been ruined by the tone of my last blog.
if it did, i hope the record speaks more for itself, because it really was a labor of love.

something that surprised me was this: i’ve been telling the “story of evelyn evelyn” to hundreds of people over many wines and coffees for the last 2-3 years. some close friends, some mild acquaintances, some journalists, all to whom i’ve related the story exactly as i told it in that last blog.

far from getting any kind of “eeek, that’s really icky” or “wow, you heartless bigot” reaction, i’d gotten nothing but pure delight and excitement about the creativity of it all (yes, even the sordid backstory).

so why was the blog different? i tried to put my finger on it.

neil thinks the right tone of voice got lost. beth pointed out to me that people are so used to getting the classic amanda palmer shoot-very-straight-no-bullshit blog entires that this was rather a shocker, since it was a package wrapped in totally different cloth.

i think it’s a combination of both.

after scanning though hundreds of blog comments, there are a few things i’d like to address

1.

before the shit really hit the fan, this upset blog appeared:

http://disabledfeminists.com/2010/02/09/evelyn-evelyn-ableism-ableism/

…jason, responding to that and the backlash to my last blog, wrote a
blog about it and posted HERE, and i’ll re-iterate what he said in a “we” statement, as he & i share the same opinion on this, to be sure:

offending or belittling disabled people or people who have a history of sexual abuse could not be farther from our intention.
we generally don’t like to offend and belittle ANYONE, but if there is anybody that we especially don’t want to alienate with this project, it is the people who might already feel marginalized and dismissed in our society.  especially when that type of alienation is a major recurring theme throughout the whole Evelyn Evelyn record.

speaking as one who had a step-brother (who was a great artist and musician, and who i worshipped beyond belieif) relegated to a wheel-chair with lou gehrig’s disease (he was hilarious and used to call it “the fucking piece of furniture in which i must live”)  and as one who has connected with tons of disabled fans all over the globe (many of whom wrote in via twitter and this blog showing their support for the spirit of the Evelyn Evelyn project – thank you guys) i find it really heartbreaking to think that we’d be so misunderstood.

i’ve built my life, my band, my career, and my shows and fanbase on a spirit of radical inclusiveness, and one of the reasons i’ve connected so deeply with jason, and with neil come to think of it, is that they function in the same way. love all, include all, relegate none. we all carry too much pain as it is to want to cause any more.

anyone new to the party who hasn’t picked up on this fact should stick around and watch it in action.
if you’re too turned off and would still prefer to run screaming….we’ll miss you at the party.

2.

there was a girl who commented on neil’s facebook:

“I cried real tears while I read their story. I guess the joke is on me. Usually when a musician invents a fictional character it is all in fun. What is fun about being neglected, exploited and abused? This feels so weird, like I’m not supporting Neil Gaiman, by disapproving his finace’s career choices.”

ho, jeez.
first of all, relationships are relationships and art is art. my fans do not have to love neil’s work and his fans do not have to love mine.
hell, HIS fans don’t have to love HIS work and MY fans don’t have to love MINE. that is the beauty of art. it’s your choice, always. not ours.

secondly, for sure…there is nothing actually “fun” about being neglected, exploited and abused.

i believe this very strongly:

good art often comes from stories.
and often making art from stories is a way of not letting those stories rule and control our lives.

without the ability to do that, we’d be lost.

i remember when i found out the JT LeRoy was a “fictional” author.
i’d read all of “his” books and really felt deeply disturbed by the content (and even cried at some of the passages in “sarah”).
if Evelyn Evelyn’s story disturbs you, and you enjoy being disturbed, i suggest checking these books out. it makes the twins’ lives look positively cleaver family.

anyway, upon realizing that the novels were
purely fictional, i felt….not so much duped but rather happy that i’d gotten in on the ground floor, and given a chance to feel the emotion before the curtain was lifted.

but that’s me.

3.

after reading a lot of the blog comments, i headed over to the shadowbox, where people are less likely to leave anonymous comments (since you have to be logged in with an identity, and therefore accountable to others for your point of view). i tend to take criticism there more seriously, since people really need to stand behind their words without their masks on.

i found this (on this thread):
“….the thing about the child porn was too far in my opinion. But I also think art making people uncomfortable is all right. Also freedom of expression and everything, it’s not like Amanda and Jason are physically exploiting disability or even making a joke at it’s expense; the entertainment comes from way people’s imaginations are captured, the mystery and the confusion.”

jason had actually warned me about revealing too much of the twins’ story on that last blog.
in hindsight, since enough people have gotten ruffled about the unsettling nature of their story, i wish i’d left it for you to discover their story on the album (where the entire epic tale is presented within a much larger, and more understandable, context).

art making people uncomfortable isn’t a good thing, or a bad thing. it just is.

4.

as far as people hurling the criticism that i am “hiding behind my art”….(this one has come up several times)

here’s what i consider hiding: producing inoffensive, corporate-penned, vanilla-bean love-story family-friendly made-for-mainstream-radio music that won’t offend a single person. and won’t make anybody laugh, won’t make anybody think, won’t make anybody wonder, won’t make anybody talk, and won’t change anybody’s life.

THAT, my friends, is hiding behind art.

5.

i seriously fueled the fire yesterday when i tweeted THIS:
“setting aside 846 emails and removing the disabled feminists from her mental periphery, @amandapalmer sat down to plan her next record.”

i got some serious flack for that, as if i was being dismissive, waving my hand and saying “fuck em, i do not want to hear what the disabled feminists have to say”.
on the contrary, i’d been seriously distracted all morning and thinking about pretty much NOTHING ELSE for about 5 hours … and i had to finally sit down and work on something else.
i obviously DID want to hear what they had to say, otherwise i wouldn’t have been drowning in a sea of reactive blog comments, trying to figure things out.

once again, if you’re not following the whole story and you look at this out of context, it seems really awful. but that was not the way it was meant.

140 characters = subtlety sometimes lost.

6.  the bigger picture.

yesterday i found myself chewing all of this upsetness like a bone in my mind.
i’m also PMSing, and that made things even lovelier.

listen:
in my life and in my work, i’ve made a lot of people angry.

people love to judge.
too feminist. not feminist enough. too outspoken. not outspoken enough. too intellectual.
too dumb. too glam. too underdressed. too funny. not funny enough. too inappropriate. too safe.
wrong kind of funny. marrying my favorite author and now i fucking hate her. fat. irritating. loud.
blah blah blah blah, etc, ad infinitum.

this is something i’ve had to learn to live with.

to get clear, i always have to stop, dig deep within myself and ask:
were my intentions good? could i really stand behind them? was anybody really harmed?
if i’ve actually harmed someone (and the harm isn’t just a drama in their heads), have i owned my responsibility?

when i quiet myself down and find the answer within myself, that’s the most important one.
it speaks louder than the voices outside my head and the anonymous voices on the internet.

it is to this voice you must listen, or you’re FUCKED.

i know a lot of younger people read this blog and i have constant contact with teenagers who are always asking me:
“how do i get brave?”

a lot of that answer lies in situations like these.
when you are forced to sit down, reckon with a situation, listen to people screaming that they hate you, take stock of what you’ve done, look everyone in the eye, tell them what your intentions are, and know that they will either hear and understand you or they will walk away.

and then your job is to not run after them.
your job is to stay calm. your job is continue on with your work.
and the hardest thing, sometimes, is to continue on with your work in a spirit of love, without letting other people’s hate and anger getting the best of you, and turning you into bitter, angry and jaded fuck.

it’s so easy to be afraid. to do nothing. to not make your art, to not follow your calling, your passion, your impulses, to not take any risks for fear of people cutting you down and misunderstanding you.
most people are CONTROLLED by fear, because they’re convinced they’ll do the wrong thing, say the wrong thing, write the wrong thing, sing the wrong thing.
those fears are founded. you can see that, here, now.
shit happens, you can upset people.

and you need to do your work anyway, because the world needs you to.

that, i think, is how you get brave.

7. last but not least

for all of you writing in blog & twitter comments saying “FUCK THE HATERS”….please don’t feel like you need to say that to show your support.
please, you need to LOVE THE HATERS.
i have found, in my experience, that fucking the haters will not work.

unless it’s the loving kind of fucking, in which case, please please for the love of GOD please make sure it’s the consensual kind of loving fucking, otherwise we’re in serious shit…

the discussion = awesome as usual.

please keep it going.

and

onwards

love
AFP

p.s. as to the “real identity of the twins”, i would like to refer you to jason’s blog, in which he states….”As to rumors that Amanda and I are, in fact, the twins Evelyn and Evelyn, I’m not able to comment on that just yet – but I will point out that on the recordings that have been released so far, one of the twins has a conspicuously deep voice for a 24 year old girl.”

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  • stylishb

    I think any platitudes about omg what a cool discussion are unnecessary and adding to the damage.

    People can engage in intelligent discussion about any number of subjects but it is not your victory that they do so as result of your fuck up. And it IS a fuck up.

  • pickwick

    Well, I’m happy to read this I was a bit squicked by the whole thing, and I didn’t want to be squicked by you.

  • littledeer

    I think Lars Von Trier’s “Dancer in the Dark” could be considered a musical that at least deals with the death penalty, even if it is not entirely about the topic…now I am going to read the rest of this blog.

    • http://brassycassy.deviantart.com BrassyCassy

      That is EXACTLY what I thought when I read it! Cheers. :)

    • http://notquitemidnight.bandcamp.com/ Brad

      Awesome movie

      • Matt

        Coincidentally enough, I’m a composer and I *am* writing a musical about the death penalty. Well, specifically, about executioners. I’m absolutely sure it will offend several people when it finally reaches the stage, but there are so many fascinating, absurd, scary and heart-breaking stories connected with the death penalty that I believe they deserve to be set to music. Ho hum – we’ll see.

    • RhiannonDancer

      There’s also an opera of Dead Man Walking, composed by Jake Heggie in 2000.

    • http://flickr.com/photos/glasser/ dave glasser

      Not to mention the Mikado!

  • larissarainey

    People are stupid. They don’t get art. Seriously. You’ve said so many times that your intention is not to make fun of anyone. Another point of view is hurting them. Keep doing your thing. we love you. ♥

    • Bunny

      Oh gosh. I never want to ‘get’ art. How boring that would be.

    • Kaye

      Really? People are “stupid” because they don’t “get art” that is offensive to them and hurts them on a personal level? This project, which is about disabled people and is supposed to be respectful to them is actually hurting them. How can you think that is okay?

      • AlwaysATourist

        What makes you think EVERY disabled person has been negatively affected as a result of this project? Even if you yourself are disabled, implying that the overwhelming majority of disabled people would react the same way to an issue, isn’t that stereotyping? This is the 21st Century, everyone’s offended by something, and chances are, anything is offensive to someone. Also, just because one disabled feminist blogs about something and a few others pipe in, that doesn’t win the entire demographic.

        • Paul Jon

          Ah, but the identity politics espoused by the outraged faction says it does: this is what their ideology does – it tells everyone they must think and act according to the caste they have been assigned.

          • AlwaysATourist

            well….. fuck identity politics? Can I say that?

  • Ikochan

    “Fairy tales are more than true, not because they tell us dragons exist, but because they tell us dragons can be defeated.” — G. K. Chesterton

    The emotions you feel are real, why does it matter if what solicits those emotions come from fact or fiction? And just because someone made up those words or that tune, does it make it any less real? Sometimes, one can find great truth in fiction.

  • empair

    I read about half of this and stopped reading. I know that the EE project is fun art.
    I’d hate to see how people who responded negatively to the last EE blog would react to Marilyn Manson’s “conjoined” twins that accompanied him on the Grotesque Burlesque.

  • http://drunkonrainbowsyrup.tumblr.com/ MissBurlesque

    Am I completely off point in saying that I felt the Evelyn Evelyn project would reach out and include the disabled fans of Amanda and Jason?
    As a woman with disabled friends that LOVE Amanda, they have been really excited and intrigued about Evelyn Evelyn and not the least bit offended.

    I just feel that Amanda would be the type to use this project as a means of INCLUSION for those that can identify with EvelynEvelyn in any way.

    • anewshadeofred

      I don’t think you’re off the mark at all.
      I think the negative attention is actually coming from a different place. Let’s Face it- Neil Gaiman has a fuck load of fans with varying backgrounds. Mind you- I am a fan of both. I discovered them separately and had the giant nerdy artist squee of happiness when I found that they had started dating. And while I like my art a little weird, and I might read into Neil’s books and stories a little darkly, I’m not every other one of his fans. He appeals to a broad range of people. . . Combine that with Coraline’s success (I’m talking the movie version which has more to do with Henry Selick), and The Graveyard Book’s rampage through the world of awards (which kind of coincided with the whole Coraline thing, and might indicate that YES indeed people WILL read again!) you have a whole bunch of people eager to learn of Neil and his life. . Including his soon-to-be wife. . .

      I think it’s opened the door for a new kind of exposure for Amanda Palmer. . And like she said, these newer onlookers are not likely to take her in context with what she has been building for the last decade.

      I love her, I love what she has done, and I love this project. . . Keep being BRAVE, Amanda, you are a fucking inspiration!

    • Rosemary

      I am sick of the “I or some people I know are disabled and not offended by this so therefore it is clearly not offensive to disabled people” argument. It clearly IS offensive to many disabled people. We are not a monolith. We are not all offended by the same exact things. Many of us, as clearly evidenced in this and numerous other spots online this week, ARE in fact offended and upset and hurt by this.

  • Alex

    I was on board with Evelyn Evelyn. I was on board with the blog. After reading the comments, and various other blogs, I originally thought it was just the usual people being offended over nothing. But after seeing how widespread the criticism was, and what the actual criticism was, I began to question the whole thing. Was the project really harmless? Was it really ok to pretend to be conjoined twins?

    But after reading this blog, you have recaptured my faith 100%. Thank you for brigning something new and fresh into the music industry. Long live the punk cabaret.

  • Someone

    Thank you for your reasonable response Amanda. However, I see you have done the same thing Jason Wembley did in his equally reasonable response.

    Namely, that “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings” is not really an apology, it is a deflection. It makes the offended party the one at fault and implies that they, not you, are the one with the problem. It’s apologizing for THEIR feelings, not for anything you did, even unintentionally, to cause them.

    We KNOW you didn’t “mean” to offend or hurt anyone, few people actually DO mean to do those things, but still people WERE offended and hurt. This is art and “responsibility” is not in the cards, but you put the BLAME for the fuss squarely on the offended parties, and I don’t think that’s fair.

    • Nadz

      Totally (but respectfully) disagree with you, Someone. Amanda did more than enough to rectify the situation by taking the time to think about the issue and write this so quickly.

      Thank you Amanda Palmer for caring enough that like 1% of your fanbase and some people from disabled feminists (who arent even in your fanbase) took offense. Even if I don’t think it was offensive to begin with. But this made it better. I don’t know what else they expect from you.

      Rock on :)

      • Rosencrantz

        “some people from disabled feminists (who arent even in your fanbase)” – actually, you’ll notice that Annaham starts her post on Disabled Feminists by stating that she is an Amanda Palmer fan, and that she’s had a lot of respect for Amanda’s work in the past. And even if she wasn’t, I’m not sure why this would merit dismissing her points entirely.

        • Nadz

          Not her points. I was saying it’s really cool of her to care this much to write this huge ass blog in response to people’s concerns, esp. when a lot of them aren’t in her fanbase. It says a lot.

          • THB

            She asks for a lot of support from her fans, and I think she should be more concerned about losing the ones that are offended – even if there aren’t billions of them, there are enough to warrant concern for an artist who already spends half an hour of her shows auctioning guitars to raise funds – to consider a more genuine apology, or a more sincere discussion of the offense this has caused.

      • cybergnome

        I would agree with the OP to some extent, though not with their anonymity.

        I’m glad Amanda took the time to answer and I think many of the negative reactions have been excessive, but having read a bit more and taken some time to think about it I do still feel a little uneasy about the project. Clearly her intention wasn’t consciously to exploit the plight of disabled people for commercial gain, but Evelyn Evelyn may be guilty of doing just that. I’ve felt a little uneasy about the project since I first started to suspect the twins weren’t real.

        Mind you, if you were to remove the disability and they were non-conjoined twins, would that change things? I’d still be uneasy about the child porn part of the backstory, but all the other stereotypes would be easier to swallow, and perhaps that says something about my own attitude to disability.

        • IndyFrench

          I, like you, feel thankful that Amanda has given a calm, rational answer… I did also feel that she did not fully address some of the questions raised by others. I’m not sure yet whether I feel she has been “glamorizing” disability in a way I’m not comfortable with (apparently, I’m a slower thinker than most people, or you guys were all ahead of me in thinking about these issues in the first place). I’d say the “stereotypes” versus “archetypes” discussion is what I’m still unsure about.

          But much as I still have to think about some aspects of this entire debate, there are a few things that have been said in the comments that I am way more ill-at-ease with. The idea that Amanda has hurt “all disabled people” for instance is clearly not true — some reactions have come from disabled people who are happy to gain representation, or who have been more sensitive to the interior strengths (awesome musicians, survivors, strong-willed women) than to the external adversity (poverty, childhood abuse, getting help from someone in a better position within the music industry…) in the EE’s story. I lack a sense of proportions of “hurt versus happy”, but I think being unhappy with one specific story and demanding that it be changed to reflect our own preconceptions of how disabled persons should be represented is dangerous. Engaging in a debate about it? Great. Telling people what the last word to that debate is? That’s where I have yet to be convinced, not yelled into submission.

          Similarly, believe me when I say not everyone who’s suffered child abuse wants to be treated with a tone of ever-so-grave seriousness. We DO NOT all want to be defined by this; nor do we all want to pretend it didn’t exist. In this sense, your vision that child abuse is so creepy it should not be part of the back-story disturbs me, though I appreciate the way you obviously do not take this reaction for “the last word”. So here are my two cents to that specific part of the debate, no more certain (thank God) to be my final opinion on it.

          Love to all, and blame any mistake on English being my second language :)

          • THB

            It is important that people are not told how they should feel about their own experience of abuse, that is a very good point. I think the issue is due to the way it was chucked in with the ~intention~ to add to the creepy feeling. So kind of exactly what you’ve just said is what actually makes it problematic. If they experienced child abuse, but emerged as two super normal peeps I don’t think anyone would be worried about that, or if they were disturbed without drawing on disabled or victim stereotypes. But the fact that it was thrown in without much thought and seemingly just to make it more ‘dark’ is one part of the problem, and the fact that this gave rise to two damaged individuals who can barely function in society is also part of the problem. And then there’s more to it on top of that.

          • IndyFrench

            Hm… I must be missing something here. I must admit I made other assumptions than you did about Amanda’s intentions, namely that the child abuse was a plot device, as others said, meant to justify the twins’ secretiveness *not* by their condition. I felt it was a fair narrative, as people with a history of abuse are more likely to have social difficulties than people who have been cherished and protected their entire lives, whether we like it or not.

            I am still way more uncertain about the conjoined factor, which with the information I have feels more gratuitous. I’ll keep on reading comments and probably will wait to listen to the album (or read the texts) to fully form my opinion.

      • Kaye

        Why do you think that people from disabled feminists are not part of Amanda’s fanbase? Because as I see it, that is exactly the problem here. These people ARE fans of Amanda, and expected some sort of respect and understanding from her when they explained the issues with the Evelyn Evelyn project. Just because these “negative” views are being expressed by a minority does mean they are not valid.

        • Nadz

          I read the comments on the DF blog. Most of them were not AFP fans. They said so in the comments. But okay. Someone answer me this. I really don’t understand what you want her to do at this point. Would you like her and Jason to cancel the album when they’ve worked on it for like three years? She realized that people were offended and she addressed it. So . . . what do you people in the offended camp actually want? If you want a better representation of the concept than what the blog gave us (as do I) stick around and wait for the album. I am 110% sure the treatment of the controversial topics will be done better and it will all make sense in that context.

          • Rosencrantz

            Personally, I would be a whole lot happier if they stopped performing dressed up as conjoined twins – that’s one of the bits about this that bothers me the most. If they were just playing as Amanda and Jason performing ‘covers’ of EE, that would let them continue sharing the music they’ve obviously worked hard on while maybe going some way towards making it less appropriative.

          • Matt

            So, you want to censor their art because of something YOU feel is wrong, Rosencrantz?

            Well, by golly, why don’t you also provide me with a list of books to burn so I can clean out my bookshelf a little bit.

          • Kirby Bits

            So if Amanda’s next project involved her performing in blackface, you’d be all for that too? Just because something is tasteless doesn’t mean it’s automatically “art”.

          • apperpai

            I want to comment on this comparison of performing in “black face” against what Amanda and Jason are doing. The entire purpose of historical black face performance was that of mockery, assimilation, and exploitation. As of yet, we have absolutely NO idea if the EE act is about any of those things. We have not heard the album, or seen a live performance. It is a huge and premature leap at this point.

          • homasapiens

            Actually, we have a lot of idea that it’s mockery, assimilation and exploitation. Those are exactly the things people are complaining about. We are being given those ideas by way of AFP’s posts, vids and tweets.

          • Mel

            Absolutely. Even if it is magically made okay somehow by the album or live performance, it doesn’t change that the promotional work hurt people. Which is especially problematic since the PR stuff is where you’re meant to get the first impression.

          • Kris

            Kirby Bits: just because something is tasteless doesn’t mean it’s automatically “not art” either.
            As miss Palmer has allready tried to explain, the context surrounding the action matters.

            Blackface doesn´t enter into this discussion except as a strawman fallacy.

          • Rosencrantz

            Nah.

          • Mary

            They haven’t performed as conjoined twins yet, have they? As far as I know there was one photo of them dressed that way. Logistically I doubt that would ever happen. It would be kind of hard to actually perform.

          • Rosencrantz
          • Jen

            Listen to the crowd laughing in response to their performance. Not good. Not good at all.

          • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

            It would be nice if either of them said something that boiled down to ‘We know we fucked up. We’re sorry. We’re going to try to see what we can do to fix it’ instead of the ‘We’re sorry you got all upset about this’. The latter makes it the responsibility of the people who are hurt. The former makes it the responsibility of the people who caused the hurt. When someone is hurting, intent isn’t really relevant. If someone hits you in the face, the immediate issue is the bloody nose, not whether they meant to hit you or were just swinging their arms carelessly.

    • Someone Else

      AP isn’t sorry she said it. She stands behind her work and her words and I’m not sure but your post makes it sound as though you expect her to bow down and admit her position is too extreme. But it’s just that–her position and she has a right to it no matter how superfluous and irrelevant it looks to anyone. She’s only sorry you’re bothered by it and personally I think that’s pretty damn generous of her.

      • Nadz

        Yeah. @ Rosencrantz that’s what I mean. She shouldn’t have to be sorry.

      • Someone

        I never said I was one of those bothered by it.

        I’m just pointing out the difference between saying “I’m sorry you have food poisoning. I’m sure no harm was intended” and “I’m so sorry I made you that tuna sandwich with an expired can of tuna, it was an accident, I didn’t mean to make you sick. ”

        Alright, maybe I am a bit bothered by it.

    • lucife

      jeez, 400,000 people are following her on twitter. Chances are, someone offended or hurt by any tweet or blog she writes. That’s not her responsibility – she doesn’t know you, you make a choice as to follow her and read her blog.

    • trilliumjs

      I don’t think she dismissed it at all. “I’m sorry, I hurt your feelings.” Is taking responsibility, I took an action and it caused you pain. If she has said “I’m sorry you misunderstood” that is a deflection. And honestly, that’s probably the best she can do. Regardless of what she does now **someone** is going to be offended. If she doesn’t put out the music, then those of us looking forward to a new phase in her artistic development are going to be disapointed, and if she waters the project down so that absolutely no one has their preconceptions challenged then she will have lost what makes her art unique and valuable. The only thing I’ve seen so far is that she is being respectful of people on both sides, and at the same time trying to stretch and provide something new and unique and true to who AFP is. Do we need another Taylor Swift? I’d rather see/hear/experience art that makes me think.

      • THB

        She didn’t say “I’m sorry i hurt your feelings”, but she did say “I’m sorry you misunderstood”. Far from appearing respectful, she appears defensive and dismissive all at once in the above post. Worst discussion of a serious issue I’ve seen from Amanda thus far. If only she was challenging people with the concept behind the project – it’s the completely un-challenging nature of the that makes me feel bleugh about it, and seems completely unlike the AFP I came to know.

    • Katie

      I think everyone could benefit from calming the hell down and remembering The Four Agreements.

      1. Be Impeccable With Your Word
      Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your word in the direction of truth and love.

      2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
      Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

      3. Don’t Make Assumptions
      Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

      4. Always Do Your Best
      Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse and regret.

      • applefaerie

        This is spectacular. I wish I could hit “Like” about 50,000 more times. DBT for the WIN.

    • Kevin Norsworthy

      She has nothing to apologize for. She didn’t do this for or to anyone — her art is for herself, and those her are able to appreciate and understand it are lucky. Thanks for being human, Amanda.

      • Kevin Norsworthy

        who* not her

      • THB

        Her art is for herself in this case, but when she asks for donations, it’s for everyone! Give all your money to Paul McCartney! She invites fans way too close to expect them to put up a wall between her and them when she does something hurtful.

    • Michael

      It is, in fact, your choice whether you are offended or not.

      “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.” is an apology, even if it’s not the apology you wanted.

      • Bunners

        Yes, but she didn’t *say* “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings.” What she said was “i deeply apologize if anyone has been offended by our project.”

        That’s *different*. She *knows* that people have been offended and hurt by this. If she had said “I am sorry that I hurt and offended people. I apologize” that would have been different. The way that it was phrased implies that the fault lies with the people who have been offended, which is, you guessed it, *offensive*.

  • Rosie B

    This was very interesting to read – and I’d like to say that although I tend to prefer art that doesn’t make me feel hugely uncomfortable (and I think that’s a valid life choice!), I’ve experienced a few interesting revelations from examining my own reaction to EvelynEvelyn. I won’t go into that but I think they’re good ones.

    I do, personally, think there is such a thing as too much no compromise… I hope you are engaging with the disabled feminists and that you do really understand their point, as I do think it’s a good one and I do think there’s room within the world and the EvelynEvelyn project to acknowledge them and make good on the potential that the girls have for causing harm to real people.

    That said, a massive ”love you” to anyone who can’t seperate your art from Neils – that’s just, er. ”loving” stupid.

    • Jess

      That last line, right there, is fucking genius.

  • qlgirl

    Sigh.

    At least people are listening. And talking. And hopefully thinking. Art, of whatever stripe, should be provocative in someway…and I mean “provocative”, not titillating. I have enjoyed Neil’s work immensely. I have enjoyed your work immensely. It is interesting to me that a segment of each “fan base” wishes to see some sort of congruity in the work you each do, now that you have a partnership. I have to say that this thought had not occurred to me and I find it both startling and amusing.

    People who make art are people. They are also beholden to nothing but their work. You are serving your work well and truly.

    Thanks.

    • stylishb

      People who make art are beholden to nothing but their work? What in everloving fuck?

      How can you type such a breathtakingly pretentious and inhumane thing I have no idea.

      • Nadz

        Chill out. People have different opinions from you, and different definitions of art. It happens. Especially on the Internet.

        • stylishb

          Sorry but giving something a free pass on the basis of ‘it’s art’ is dumb. Art is not immune from criticism. Art can be stupid and offensive and bad.

          • Nadz

            Yes, that is true, but what you think is stupid and offensive might not be the same for someone else. The new EE album hasn’t even come out yet. I choose to put my trust in Amanda, that she will provide a more expanded history of the sisters and treat the subject in a better way. It’s too soon to judge if it’s bad art. If it is, then I’m okay with not liking it. It really is just the presentation of the things she put in her blog that offended people more than anything, I think. I’m not going to write off her entire project on the basis of a poorly worded blog . . . and it was kind of bad. So the blog=bad art? I can see that, but you can’t judge the EE thing yet.

          • Zed

            People are not just reacting to blog posts, they are reacting to video and interviews (in which not only do they pretend to be these people, they also give them the personality and age of two 12 year olds). At what point do you think people are then allowed to be offended?

            Being offended by something Amanda does and continues to do does not actually mean you don’t support Amanda. People are not perfect, they make mistakes and do shit that pisses you off. Our idols are not perfect and it’s time to stop treating them as such and making excuses for them.

          • Nadz

            If people are reacting to the video and interviews rather than the blog, why didn’t these complaints start up before instead of coinciding with the blog? Basically, it comes down to this. Some people think there was cause to be offended. Most people do not. I think a lot of people jumped the gun. if Amanda treats these issues the same way in the album instead of developing a good backstory then I will stop supporting this project. And that’s it.

            Nothing about this project offended me. I have spent a lot of time reading a lot of comments and blogs about this, mainly because I’m really fascinated with what happened and why people reacted so badly. I have to assume it was the blog that got people thinking in that direction, because prior to that there weren’t any comments about how offensive EE was on the youtube videos, on blog comments, Amanda didn’t comment on receiving complaints, etc. It was the blog. The issues were poorly presented. By which I mean Amanda’s, not Disabled Feminists (sorry, Amanda. It’s the truth).

      • oldmanmuffinjar

        No, as an artist I do not have to answer to you or anyone else for the work I create. My feelings, my thoughts, my passion will never EVER answer to likes of you. I owe you NOTHING. You can choose to hate it, love it, destroy copies of it or whatever, but I never have to say sorry. I can choose to engage you if I wish, answer your critiques, say I am sorry or whatever. I do not owe you any of that.

        Amanda chooses to connect with her fans, that does not mean we own her and can demand her to explain, edit or say sorry for her work.

        You are of course free to dissect and discuss all of this, but no one owes you jack shit.

        • Zed

          Take away the owing anyone anything. How about just common decency and respect? Lets use the foot stepping analogy. I need to get to the bus stop but it’s really crowded on the street. As I make my way I step on your foot, you exclaim “ow! That hurt”, I apologize because while I didn’t mean to step on your foot and hurt you, I did. I apologize because that’s the right thing to do. I watch my step because I don’t want to keep stepping on people’s feet. I’m going to get to my destination! Just by watching my step along the way. I get to my destination but this way, I don’t need to hurt anyone else on the journey.

          • oldmanmuffinjar

            apples to oranges, horrible analogy. Is stepping on someone’s foot subjective? If your actions cause someone physical harm, damn right you should say “sorry”. How is that even close to someone creating something, and people reading into it, jumping to all kinds of conclusions and making demands.

            The main thing I getting at here is people are perceiving something in what Amanda said, and whipping themselves into a self-righteous fury over it. There is no right to not be offended. There is a right to free speech. Once again, you are free to complain, dissect and protest all you want, the artist has no obligation to cater to your hang-ups.

          • Zed

            The idea behind the analogy is to combat “intent”. It may not be Amanda’s INTENTION to be ableist but does that then make her actions okay? I didn’t INTEND to step on your foot but I did.

            Further if there are members of an oppressed group say…I don’t know the disabled! For instance, you are an able bodied (ie PRIVILEGED) person and the disabled group says “hey, this isn’t cool, here is why -” you as the privileged person, ie a person with no personal experience regarding that topic and the person who is then offending said group, should listen and pay attention to those that presumably know much more about it. This is the same as with any minority group dealing with a majority group. It’s their voice, the discussion belongs to them.

            Also I really really can’t possibly describe how incredibly insulting it is to attempt to push these genuine complaints and hurts down as “hang ups”. It shows how incredibly blessed you are to not have these issues and problems. It’s unbelievable. However because of the anger I’m feeling right now I’m going to need to disengage with this thread with you lest I say things that I would then need to apologize for.

  • vesuviusathome

    Amanda honey, I love you, and Neil, and I am so confused right now. Reading this entry, I am now uncertain as to whether the twins, Evelyn and Evelyn, are real, or are fictional characters invented for a new album. I read the post on them, their lives, the circus, etc. I didn’t find it offensive at all. I did find the story so unusual that it sounded unreal, but I knew you wouldn’t lie to us. However, if the twins were created to be part of a story, that’s not lying, that’s art (or at least, that’s creativity). Could you please clarify as to whether or not the twins are real or invented? Only then can we properly address whatever people saw as offensive about you telling an abbreviated version of their life story. Love to you.

    • Nadz

      They’re not real. go watch EE videos on youtube.

    • leighwoosey

      They are as real as any pretend thing.

  • geniemaples

    Amanda, there is so much truth and insight here about so many things. I’ll come back several times and re-read it. I’ve been delighted by EvelynEvelyn from the first time I encountered them/it/whatever. I continue to be. I also continue to be blown away by both you and Jason, by your depth and the humor. You both have incredibly wide wingspans.

    It costs to put yourself out there so fully and… uhm… undefendedly? I’m grateful to both of you for sharing so much of yourselves so often. Come back to Asheville. Please. Soon. Often. We love you.

    • Katie

      Did you just refer to two people as “it”?

      Seriously?

      • geniemaples

        Absolutely serious here, with arms open rather than fists closed. I didn’t refer to two people as “it.” I referred to a fictional construct as “it,” which I think is appropriate. I included both pronouns so as not to offend. Sometimes offense is taken even when people are careful.

        I watched the videos when they first came out, and recognize who is in them. I personally have understood from the beginning that Evelyn and Evelyn are fictional characters, in keeping with the cabaret/carnival context in which I already know the performers. (I realize at this point that was not clear to everyone, and maybe it still isn’t clear to some people.) The *premise* (or the fiction, or the creative construct or the idea) is what the pronoun “it” referred to in my post, not individual human people, or even a pair of them, or even the fictional characters. My pronoun “them” referred to the fictional characters. My “whatever” attempted to cover anything else.

        I hope that is clearer, but I realize that if anyone doesn’t want it to be clear, it won’t be, despite my best effort.

        • Katie

          Okay, thank you for clearing that up. I think the fact that you included “them” as well as “it” is what threw me off. You should probably choose to either refer to Evelyn Evelyn as a project or as people. Sorry for the misunderstanding.

      • leighwoosey

        I think she referred to ‘them’, and the concept/project as ‘it’.

  • Marcy

    I’m not mad at you at all. I tweeted you almost exactly what Jason said, haha, but I’m not going to dismiss you simply because you created a fiction. Artists create fictions all the time–it’s what makes them artists often! I think in your case people got upset because you are so open about your life and they felt duped, but that doesn’t affect what you’ve created or how artistic it is. Go with it, Amanda, and see where it leads you.

  • Alahis

    Oh, woah.

    You are so zen, so respectful…It’s fantastic. I hope that one day, I can be “zen” like that.

    Have a nice day (in France it’s daylight, but in Australia ?)

  • leighwoosey

    I just wanted to say well done for writing this and staying true to yourself and the project, because that’s what I would want to do. I remember getting fragmentary exposure to E&E a while ago and being convinced they were real because my google searching did not disabuse me. When I found out I was genuinely hurt. I sent you a message on twitter to say so (which didn’t get through, d’oh) partly because I wanted to warn you that the project had the potential to make people feel you had betrayed their emotions, not honoured them. I’m glad that you’ve taken the time to acknowledge, appreciate and honour the feelings of your fans in this post, because it makes me feel I can carry on being your fan.

    Leigh

    P.s. 5, 6 and 7 are out of sequence?

    P.p.s I really like that your comment form uses non-lining numerals. They are my favourite kind of numerals.

  • annie

    in hindsight, since enough people have gotten ruffled about the unsettling nature of their story, i wish i’d left it for you to discover their story on the album (where the entire epic tale is presented within a much larger, and more understandable, context).

    Thank you for admitting this.

    The tone of the backstory is so different from the “light-hearted, joyful” surface of the project, that it was really shocking and off-putting to see them side by side.

    • applefaerie

      I think, perhaps, that is part of the point of it — there’s a very non-sensical quality to EE. There is about Amanda, too, or I feel there is anyway, and I feel a lot about what she does as an artist is about embracing things which jar you visually, emotionally, aurally, but are beautiful and wonderful despite that part of it. But that’s my take, yours may vary.

  • lauraiam7

    As always love you Amanda…. This is so well balanced. as much as debate is good and useful and gets us thinking, It can still hurt. I have followed you for some years now (saw you in Brighton last year) and I have to say you have brought a passion for music back to my life that I haven’t had since I was a teenager.
    So I’m sending out good, happy, loving thoughts to be a balm to your soul.
    Love, as ever,
    Lauraiam7
    xxxxx
    p.s. love to the E’s and see you in April *skips around the room*

  • jennifer

    The thing that bothered me most was the fact a disability/child abuse backstory looked like it was being used to add pizzaz, a bit of ‘flavour’. And to be honest with you, I don’t need a cabaret act to make me think about the awfulness of child abuse or the hardship that besets a person/people with disabilities.
    Why can’t it just be all about the music? As a band, a concept; Evelyn Evelyn ( ie you & Jason…ssssh dont tell!) write some excellent songs. Why the need for that specific backstory?

    take care of yourself AFP, genuine love from Me. x

  • http://www.Kambriel.com Kambriel

    “it really was a labor of love.”

    And it still is.

    Something I think is worthy of consideration for those who feel too much was brought up all at once, without delving further into the vast array of issues, is that this was an introduction ~ not the full, fleshed out tale. Of course everything wasn’t given a thorough hashing out, since it was just your way of basically introducing the EE backstory ~ a story that those who care to stick around for, will be able to delve deeper into once the cd/book/etc… are released and the full material is out there. I know people have been working very hard behind the scenes on this for a long time now, and that might be lost on those who are just being introduced to this now. It *is* being fleshed out, and caringly well-researched along the way. Would it have been better to never give a heads up about these things, and leave it only for those who sought it out via the cds, or attended the shows to learn? Perhaps ~ perhaps not.

    We all make the decisions we feel right about in any given moment. As Maya Angelou said, “When you know better, you do better”. We’re all in that life-long process of learning.

  • Alexthekay

    Jesus, Amanda, does this mean there is no Santa Claus either?

    How about the tooth fairy? She’s real, right?

  • http://www.nigelcampbell.net/ Nigel Campbell

    Wow – so much I could say – but instead I’ll just say:
    Breath in – Breath out – repeat. Now go do something that makes you smile. Looking forward to EvelynEvelyn and anything else that you (or your creative cadre) care to share with the world. – much love, Nigel

  • selfrighteousone

    Maybe there was a little “fuckuppery” in the blog post, but I would not consider the whole project a fuck up as a whole. I’ll admit, I totally took the Evelyn Evelyn project at face value, but I chalk that up to my typically gullible nature. Certainly, I’ve heard much stranger, real-life stories. I like to have my perceptions warped and my brain given a good stir every once in a while.

    Thinking about it a bit more, I think that telling the story, making it obvious that it was a fiction to begin with, would also have done it a disservice. I really felt a sadness reading about the Evelyns and their travails, and I feel like that would have been lost. It’s a fine line to tread.

    I’m looking forward to the fruits of your labor and to hear the whole story as presented on the album.

  • cancergrrrl

    i think the background made the project even more exciting. and being someone who is technically disabled, and often isolated as a result, i found no harm in the details. sometimes making light of struggle is the best way to cope.

  • un_related

    Thank you, Amanda. It’s a funny thing, fiction. It can reveal so many truths, some of them painful, some sublime, and all of it stemming from what is, to some people, a lie.

    The ability to discern what is fiction, and what are just lies, is, in my humble opinion, the definition of humanity. (Many philosophers would say memory, but memory is so often fiction, as well.)

  • vesuviusathome

    I would like to add that if Evelyn & Evelyn are not technically real, but are art, we, as the viewing audience, cannot properly engage with it as art if we believe they are real. If they are real, we engage with them as humans. If they are art, we engage with that on those terms. We can’t engage with it at all if we don’t know what it is.

    • vesuviusathome

      Until now, I believed they were real, and fascinating, and now I feel a little silly. As a project, on its own terms, I think it’s exciting, it’s artistic, it has its own beauty, and it is creating dialogue. All great things. I just think it would have been better had it never been represented as reality at all. I am a fairly intelligent person, I believed I was following real actual conjoined twins on twitter, and when you blogged about their life story, Amanda, here on your blog which has always been a truth window into your life and never really an art form, I took it as truth and reality. The bits about Jason having to shave–I really felt these women did not trust men and were truly wary of the beard. It went over my head as a wink-wink. So: now, having had a few hours to recover from feeling a bit foolish, I love the experiment, I find it engaging and wonderful, but you see: Now I know how to engage with it. Now I can enjoy the experiment instead of feeling that I am one.

  • Ari

    This blog clears up a lot of the heartache I’ve been feeling regarding this whole debacle. Not all of it, but I hope in time and when more of the EE story is revealed, everything will feel better.

    a lot of amanda palmer is about context and knowing what i stand for/have stood for in the past ten years or so.
    Except when we DO have the context and we HAVE been around for years…? When we aren’t strangers to the AFP phenomenon? What then?

    speaking as one who had a step-brother (who was a great artist and musician, and who i worshipped beyond belief) relegated to a wheel-chair with lou gehrig’s disease (he was hilarious and used to call it “the fucking piece of furniture in which i must live”)  and as one who has connected with tons of disabled fans all over the globe (many of whom wrote in via twitter and this blog showing their support for the spirit of the Evelyn Evelyn project – thank you guys) i find it really heartbreaking to think that we’d be so misunderstood.
    I find it heartbreaking, too. Please, please, please explain it and fix everything. That’s all I want.

    secondly, for sure…there is nothing actually “fun” about being neglected, exploited and abused. 
    We know you know that, but the cavalier way you’ve been describing the awful backstory of the twins leads us to a different impression. We want to understand, love and support you, but something seems to have gotten lost in translation.

    on the contrary, i’d been seriously distracted all morning and thinking about pretty much NOTHING ELSE for about 5 hours … and i had to finally sit down and work on something else.
    i obviously DID want to hear what they had to say, otherwise i wouldn’t have been drowning in a sea of reactive blog comments, trying to figure things out.

    But you didn’t tell us that. We just saw the dismissal, and other tweets about the hatin’ people are sending you, but you didn’t put in 140 characters or less to explain that you weren’t just sweeping it all under the rug. But you’ve posted this blog now, which deals with some of that retroactively.

    This whole Evelyn Evelyn debacle seems to be an anomaly in the otherwise wonderful impression I’ve gotten from you over the years as an artist and a person. I really hope when the full project finally sees the light of day it will magically reconcile all the problems caused by maybe misunderstanding or miscommunication on both sides.

    • Sandra

      I love this whole “cavalier” thing. Not only should the fans have input into what the artist says and does, they should have input into the TONE they use. Were you offended by Oasis, too? Are actual victims of sexual abuse allowed to be cavalier about it? Do people have to disclose a tragic history before they’re allowed to make a joke about a big bad subject like child porn?

  • http://twitter.com/lightfantastic LightFantastic

    Our culture has become insanely soft and easily offended which makes it difficult to challenge anybody with art. One of the reasons I respect you so much as an artist, and one of the reasons you have been a borderline muse for my own (entirely unsuccessful so far) writing career, is because of how uncompromising/unapologetic you are with your artistic vision. If people are offended by E^2 it is their right to be offended- however it is also your right to not have to cater or even to explain yourself to them. You have nothing to apologize for and have no reason to have to preface your artistic vision with “sorry if this offended you.”

    There is no “damage” that your “platitude” is going to add to. There is simply art. Sometimes it offends, and you know this well by now, and sometimes it doesn’t. This is one of those times it did. Evelyn Evelyn is less offensive and less “ableist” (and the fact that “ableist” is an actual word people use makes me weep and want to return my Progressive Liberal membership card) than 90% of mainstream entertainment would handle this. One of the issues is that, like you said, many of Neil’s fans aren’t exactly a crossover with your demographic- and that is part of it, but I don’t think even a fraction of the people causing havoc on the internet about this are Neil’s fans, most of them are people who exist out of the niche you have carved out for yourself. And while it is a large niche and your popularity with your fans is evident evident (lolz, get it) when something like this that, obviously, was meant to be a project that was supposed to challenge even your most loyal fans gets into the more general public there is going to be an odd backlash. I also suspect much of the backlash is from people who just don’t like you to begin with and see this as an opportuntiy, or maybe even that dreaded trope of jealousy. If the project was meant to be offensive, I’m sure it would have been VERY offensive, but it wasn’t. It seems innocuous and fairly innocent. If there is one thing people like to do on the internet it is complain about everything that offends them. My suggestion is to just ignore it- don’t even give it the fuel anymore by addressing this nonsense. Let everybody else argue themselves out over it. I know how personal your art is to you and you are probably taking this a lot rougher than you are letting up, but honestly you shouldn’t be- you know you aren’t going to compromise what you are doing in order to “lighten it” for the people who are offended, and the people who are offended aren’t going to let up no matter what you do.

    • lurrz

      What’s wrong with the term ableist?

      • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

        It makes people see their privilege at least for a halfsecond, and that’s painful. /honesty presented snarkily

        • Lurrz

          Well, that was my best guess.

        • Paul Jon

          Typical statement by a reactionary enemy of the people.

    • Rosemary

      “(and the fact that “ableist” is an actual word people use makes me weep and want to return my Progressive Liberal membership card)”

      I do not think that Progressive Liberal means what you think it means if you don’t think ableist should be an actual word for people to use.

  • Chapeskie

    As usual, Amanda, you’ve cut through the noise and the chaos to offer us an insightful, heartfelt explanation of your perspective and it is appreciated!

    Personally, I side with the idea that talking about taboo topics and including people with disabilities in art doesn’t necessarily equate exploitation or abuse and can’t wait to hear the album (and hopefully see you at a Canadian show soon?). That being said, it’s nice to hear ‘your side’ and know that you’ve approached all this with your typical thoughtful, purposeful and meaningful demeanour and that my gut reaction, that you and Jason had been misunderstood, was accurate.

    I appreciate your honesty, as always, as well as your bravery and am particularly inspired by your idea that sometimes you need to let people walk away; that you can’t chase after them trying to prove your point if they don’t want to hear it and that’s okay. No one likes to be hated or misunderstood but we all have to accept that we can’t make people change their minds and its up to us, as individuals, to be strong enough, and brave enough, to stand on our own and know our own worth, regardless of the haters or lovers out there.

    Much love and thoughts of peace!

  • Rachel

    Amanda, honey, it was very brave of you to post this and I’ve been supporting you all the way. You’ve done all you can to commend the situation, and that’s great. I hope you enjoy working on this project, and have all the fun you can xxx

  • http://twitter.com/acidcherry Sophie

    At first that whole story shocked me a little bit, but then I got it was meant to be this way, because damn, you make art! Art is made to impress people, sometimes in different ways. But sometimes they’re just not open minded or mature or smart enough to deal with it. I’m glad you did such a great explanation and hope there won’t be more haters (even though I think it’s hoping too much).Love you.

  • chloeyates

    Continue being brave. It makes the world a better place.
    x

  • http://atonalruss.blogspot.com/ Russ Grazier

    I don’t know if this has been said in another comment yet (yes, I’ll go back and read them all) but “Dancer in the Dark” with Bjork, definitely touches heavily on the death penalty, if not being fully about it. But it is a pretty significant aspect of that musical. And the closing scene is quite shocking, even though you know it is coming.

  • jbhelfrich

    “too feminist. not feminist enough. too outspoken. not outspoken enough. too intellectual.
    too dumb. too glam. too underdressed. too funny. not funny enough. too inappropriate. too safe.
    wrong kind of funny. marrying my favorite author and now i fucking hate her. fat. irritating. loud.
    blah blah blah blah, etc, ad infinitum.”

    In my experience, this means you’re probably getting it right. Nothing to do but shrug your shoulders at the people who won’t listen, flip off the ones that get obnoxious about it, and do your thing.

    (One of Neil’s fans (and Kevin’s for that matter) poking his head over the fence.)

  • Secretia

    amanda,

    you and the way you express yourself through your art are just perfect.

    know that you are good enough ALL THE TIME.

    secxx

  • Piggtailbitch

    well… people always overreact and get offended over every little thing. And rarely see what the true intent is, or understand meaning before judging and getting (and as a woman, I see not my own gender or others first so I don’t into a panic that something is anti-this or that) their panties in a bunch. (i do hate the word panties though, think it’s ridiculous) Anyways, people need to laugh at life, even at themselves, no matter how shitty a place they may be in, or how awful a condition they may have been born into. Humor should blow over all this. Never take things all that serious because life is too short. But never be too careless or life will be too short! I don’t know… hmmm… i’d tell people to take a chill pill.

    • lauraiam7

      Piggtailbitch… as an alternative insert Knickers instead of panties lol xxx

  • Sophie

    I’m not sure I know a less malicious artist than you, Amanda. Like.. seriously. It really sucks that you’re putting out this brilliant and very original project and people are mistaking your intention. But, take it as a compliment that it’s so original, people are offended. Those who understand your intent and why you’d make a project of this sort will enjoy it and appreciate it, and those who don’t understand just won’t. And I know you of all people can make peace with that sort of thing. Count me there to buy the album and show up to any near by shows. I look forward to hearing more about E&E… I, personally, love this project :)

  • Emmachka

    Here’s a belated FUCK THE HATERS!!! Chin up, Amanda!

  • L

    People can only be offended by stuff if they want to be offended…

  • oldmanmuffinjar

    Roger once joked that “Tommy” was so big, some people thought the name of the band was Tommy and the album was called “The Who”.

    I’m glad you responded so soon, and I think you covered all you can cover. The people who are upset might stay upset no matter what you say, so that is why you can’t run after them.

    I guess your next move should be an interview in Playboy using the N-word and calling an ex-lover sexual napalm? Then you can really get the fury of the internet flung at you!

    • Sophie

      “I guess your next move should be an interview in Playboy using the N-word and calling an ex-lover sexual napalm? Then you can really get the fury of the internet flung at you!”
      HAH
      SO TRUE

  • Bat

    I totally support you on this, Amanda Fucking Palmer. Being a singer/songwriter has and will always be about telling stories. They are not always personal, they are not always true, just like a writer’s books. That doesn’t mean the story doesn’t mean anything or that the sentiment is not real. Evelyn & Evelyn are like characters in a play, they have their own stories and they will tell them on stage. Are people really going to get out their pitch forks and go after ever playwright, author, songwriter, performer who creates characters/stories like you have?

  • Janarrah

    Let me first say, I have been with Evelyn Evelyn from the beginning. I remember when this whole project was first revealed to the world and we had an opportunity to get an initial limited release of Evelyn Evelyn’s music. I missed out on it and I have sorely regretted it since. I am waiting in anticipation for the pre-order of the album and the album itself.

    Now, I want to say that there is pretty much NOTHING you can do as a GOOD performer or artist without offending someone. Heck, even bad artists like Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera manage to regularly offend people. We’re in a time and a nation that LOVES to be offended. It gives people something to talk about. Every time I read that someone felt this whole thing was offensive I just keep remembering Salmon Rushdie’s “The Auction of the Ruby Slippers” where it’s become so common to be offended that people are no longer offended by the actual acts, they just are offended to BE offended and no longer really understand what it’s all about.

    That said, I’m offended by the people who ARE offended. I think it’s obvious this project was NEVER meant to hurt anyone. I think it’s obvious that it was clearly all in good fun, amazing taste and tact, and about entertainment. Many people in our society have LOST the concept of fiction and story in this world. I keep remembering the stories of actors from West Wing or Touched by An Angel be approached like they’re the ACTUAL character they play. It amazes me. I’m sure there are still people out there that think Blair Witch, Paranormal Activity and Cloverfield actually happened too, but come on.

    I read the blog response about how the person was so upset about how much this trounces and makes the disabled seem incapable of doing anything.. I just want to role my eyes. If Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley had written a story where they discovered two normal twins and got them into show business, then would it be about the non-twins helping the twins get into business? Or how about just normal sisters? How many people in this business get breaks or help from people ALREADY in the business? Seriously. Smoosh, an amazingly talented group of young girls, were discovered and helped by the drummer of Death Cab for Cutie. Does that make them less able or talented? NO! It just means that that is sometimes how show business and the record industry works. Many people in the music industry would KILL to have Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley aid in their career.

    I guess it all boils down to. I just don’t understand the people who have to make a mountain out of EVERYTHING. It gets old. The rest of us get worn down and tired of people CONSTANTLY being upset about SOMETHING. The world isn’t fair, life isn’t fair. MOVE ON.

    • Kaye

      That said, I’m offended by the people who ARE offended. I think it’s obvious this project was NEVER meant to hurt anyone. I think it’s obvious that it was clearly all in good fun, amazing taste and tact, and about entertainment.

      Just because the project never MEANT to hurt anyone doesn’t mean it didn’t. This are a marginalized group of who see what Amanda and Jason are doing as taking advantage of them and the way they are. And frankly, I don’t think the project has been in good taste, and Amanda’s response to criticism of it even less so.

      If Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley had written a story where they discovered two normal twins and got them into show business, then would it be about the non-twins helping the twins get into business?

      I think you are completely missing the point here. This is not about Amanda and Jason finding some musical talent and introducing them to the music industry at large. It is about them taking on a false persona of disabled people and acting as if those disabled people are something to be pitied for being as they are. THAT is offensive.

      I guess it all boils down to. I just don’t understand the people who have to make a mountain out of EVERYTHING.

      Some of the most renowned civil rights movements of our times would not have happened if people hadn’t seen fit to “make a mountain out of” what they saw as unjust. The truth is, in our society, disabled people have often been taken advantage of and seen as freaks to be paraded about for our amusement and entertainment. But now, they have started to try to change societal views and to make us (those who are privileged) more aware of our words and actions so that we don’t do something like take advantage or offend.

  • katewryter

    My sister once told me about this ‘fabulous’ book she’d read about conjoined twins in which one died. To me THAT is ick factor, not your record. As a writer, I don’t think there’s any difference between you creating these characters and building their world than if I wrote a book about them. Why then, are people feeling cheated or foolish for buying into that world? It’s grossly unfair for people to go running to your betrothed about this. What’s he supposed to do about it? I find it offensive that people seem to think they can cry to him and he’ll somehow change your mind, or make it all go away. Rubbish. There are always going to be people who react. I’m a romance writer — you can imagine the things I hear from people! lol. My advice (not that you asked for it) is to do what you’re inspired to do and try not to let the negative get you down. Meanwhile, I send hugs and good karma your way. Now, I’m off to listen to a little Evelyn-Evelyn while I do some edits. :-)

    • clarity

      Someone *finally* brings up Iphigenia and Electra and THIS is it? Ah jeez.

      • katewryter

        I’m sorry. Were you expecting me to discuss mythology? The book I’m discussing is The Girls by Lori Lansens.

  • flickeringICE

    You guys, it’s like Santa Claus. You eventually get old enough to know it’s not real, although you still enjoy the illusion.

    Seriously, are people not allowed to tell stories anymore? You know, make up people who are not you and have them do things you have not done? What is the problem here?

  • LisaVollrath

    Thank you, Amanda, for taking a moment to breathe and think and listen to your inner voice. As an artist, all you can really do is be true to your vision.

    I look forward to hearing and seeing what is yet to be revealed…

  • janellelamarche

    Signal:Noise. The noise will factor out soon enough. The signal is refreshing. Oberon 4/12!. Erleichda.

  • churchillclaps

    I’m unsure if you understand what exactly the problem is here:

    For me, what I find a little disturbing is that you are taking an identity – the identity of a disabled person, an identity that isn’t yours – and using it to further your art. For me, it is somewhat akin to blacking up and using that to further your art. I doubt anyone would find that remotely acceptable, yet somehow this project is considered “cool” and “edgy”.

    The argument of, “Oh, well, disabled fans are okay with this,” is not exactly convincing. Even though I am a woman, I sometimes have difficulty telling if something is sexist because I was raised in a society that is patriarchal. Those disabled fans have grown up in an ableist world. Sure, they may be happy to see the portrayal of a disabled person, but I really don’t think this is the way to do it.

    As an able-bodied person, I initially did not see the problem with this project until someone who was disabled pointed it out to me. Let’s ignore the whole aspect of the “twins'” backstory (which I find slightly problematic, but for different reasons) and just focus on the fact that you are taking an identity, the identity of a group of people still marginalized in society today, and using it as a gimmick for your music.

    I get that it’s art. I get that it’s meant to be edgy. I just wish you and Jason had gone about it in a different way.

    • Aithilin

      Yeah, people should be outraged. I mean, it’s not like Lady Gaga got away with her faked paraplegia for her show– using crotches, a wheelchair, and faking absolutely no control of her legs before breaking into dance. The media really crucified her for that, and those sites about discrimination and ableism were all over her the minute she tottered onto stage backed up by a cast of seemingly disabled people (who quickly shed all disabilities in order to dance).

      Of course, that gets labelled art and untouchable, but Amanda gets grief for it.

      If there was a malice behind it, then there’d be a problem. As it is, it’s a show, and it’ll be forgotten when the next one comes out.

      • kath

        There was just as much criticism of Lady Gaga, for the record.

      • churchillclaps

        That’s so not part of this argument, but if you want to make it –

        Then yes, what Lady Gaga did was equally offensive. I fail to see how this is making what Amanda is doing acceptable. I don’t think that people should be outraged, per se, more that they should be more aware of the fact that this IS ableist. I just don’t think people get when they’re being ableist and your comment only proves that to me.

        It doesn’t matter if there was no malice intended. Accidental hurt is still hurt.

        • Tara

          Wow.

          For the most part, I find it a little ridiculous that everyone is being offended about being offended. Accidental hurt is just that — accidental, and also dependent on a person’s point of view.

          I’m not going to go there and try and paint a picture with the people I know and am close with who are disabled. I’m Jewish and gay and can’t stand when people say “but I have friends who are Jewish and gay.” BFD. You’re not me. And no one is you.

          We all have our battles. Every single one of us. If bringing something to light creatively is offensive, then that, in my opinion, means a point was completely missed, nor was it even allowed to have light shed on it more thoroughly. It was just instantly judged and flags were waved.

          It’s a fictional idea that isn’t anything but that — it’s fictional art. Fictional art that, if going by the sound and the artwork, isn’t even of this era.

          To me, it sounds like a GIANT misunderstanding.

          • austin

            Thank you. Like I’ve been trying to tell people for years: You do not have the right to not be offended.

          • Rosemary

            No, but when I am offended, I have every right to tell the person who has offended me that they have done so, to say it loudly, and to tell my friends. The people defending Palmer and Webly and shouting down those of us who are criticizing them seem to be saying that we don’t have that right. But we do.

          • VoxDoom

            Sure, tell the person that they’ve offended you, but if you don’t get the response you think you should, don’t then harrass, stalk and hound them into issuing an apology for something they don’t feel that they need to apologise for, simply avoid/boycott them.

            Note, I’m not saying that you personally are harrassing anybody, I’m just saying that it is an unacceptable thing to do.

          • THB

            But you’ve just said it there: “you’re not me”.

            No one, including other disabled people, has the right to tell a disabled person if their offendedness is or isn’t appropriate. I don’t get how you can make the statement you did, and then go on to imply that the people who have been offended should not have been. That’s the experience they have had, and it is not a wrong experience, nor is it based on “misunderstanding”. An idea was communicated, and it was offensive. When an artist relies heavily on a very personal relationship with her fans, it’s not unreasonable to tell her that you are offended, and to expect a genuine apology if she genuinely did not want to be offensive. I think Amanda has misunderstood in this case.

            And bringing something to light creatively does not give a project license to be hurtful.

          • VoxDoom

            “No one, including other disabled people, has the right to tell a disabled person if their offendedness is or isn’t appropriate. ”

            So what exactly is Amanda supposed to do?

            She’s acknowledged that some people were offended by it and is sorry for that, but has carried on with the project anyway because she likes it and plenty of people who are disabled have told her that the project is fine and fun.

            Is she supposed to take the opinion of the people who are offended as more important than those who aren’t?

          • homasapiens

            What should she do?

            She should say;

            I am sorry I offended so many people. (NOT “I am sorry if you were offended”, because that “if” implies that people might be lying about their hurt feelings.)

            Should she take the feelings of the offended more seriously than those who are not offended?

            Yes, she should, when it comes to apologies.

          • VoxDoom

            That’s utter rubbish, the ‘if’ in there doesn’t in any way imply that people might be lying, it’s saying “If you were offended, I’m sorry.”

            BUT, she’s not sorry that she’s done the project and she shouldn’t be, in the majority’s eyes there’s nothing wrong with it. In HER eyes there’s nothing wrong with it.

            All of the people still harrassing her about this should be satisfied with the apology they got and stop trying to force people into doing things they don’t want to do.

            And your last statement, that she should take the feelings of the offended more seriously than those who aren’t offended is just asking for special attention to be given to a small group of people whilst discarding the opinions of the majority, not something I personally would ever do.

            What those who want her to apologise seem to want her to do is discard everything ‘controversial’ about the project and admit that it was a mistake. Well, it’s not going to happen. The project ISN’T a mistake and has brought plenty of joy into many people’s lives. Nobody is being damaged by it, I doubt that anybody is going to suddenly act negatively towards disabled people because they encountered this project and it’s made more people happy than it has made people upset.

            Frankly, everything in this world is going to offend ‘somebody’, do you expect creative people to just stop creating because they’ll offend somebody?

          • homasapiens

            Actually, if you have ever been wheelchair bound, you might say different. When I go places with my friend, people ask me what she wants– when she is right there to be asked herself.

            Another friend told us about how a security guard tried to take her luggage away because “it was unsupervised”– even though she was right there with it.

            This project might make people think about the perils of a life lived disabled, but it does not entertain the notion that disabled people can control their own lives.

            And that, once more, and once more again, is the thing that angers people about this project.

            If you hit only a couple people with your car, out of a large crowd– is the large crowd more important than the few people you hit?

            WHEN YOU NEED TO MAKE IT RIGHT, an apology is a good thing to do. And SINCE SHE HAS BEEN TOLD, in clean, concise English, that she has insulted people, there is no “if” in the apology;
            “I apologise for having insulted disabled folk and the victims of childhood sexual abuse.”

            See? She isn’t apologising to the rest of us. Only the people she did (no if about it) insulted.

          • VoxDoom

            Look, you’re not getting the ‘if’ part. Let me rephrase it, because you’re misunderstanding it and getting worked up about something that isn’t there.

            “Should you have been offended by what happened, I apologise.”
            or
            “To those who were offended by what happened, I apologise.”

            She’s NOT claiming that people weren’t offended, she’s apologising to those who were and not apologising to those who weren’t, because there are many different people who WERE NOT offended by this.

            Anyway, onto your friend who is wheelchair bound. So you’re not actually wheelchair bound yourself?

            I’ll have you know that one of my closest friends is actually wheelchair bound and he’s not offended by this. he actually wrote a blog post talking about this, let me give you a quote:

            “Mobs are still mobs, no matter what side they’re on. So I say, let the Evelyn Twins do their thing. Either that or look at why, really look, disabled people get an abnormal reaction and what it does and the biases of your community and society at large. Oh wait, that’s what stories are *for*. That’s what art is *for*. Because whether by accident or design, AFP and Mr Webley have pulled something out into the light.

            At least look it in the face, world. Just like you’d look at me, right?(!)”

            Now, the times I’ve been out with him, people have talked to him, asked him what he wants, treated him like everyone else, but also, he has asked us for help in situations where he either wants or needs help. Like opening doors for him, pushing him around town to the cinema, other stuff. Don’t you think that the best way for everyone to get along is to be honest about our differences? Because otherwise you’re just living in a fantasyland.

            In your car accident analogy everybody in that crowd is just as important as everyone else, it’s just that a small group need some medical attention.

            “Should you have been hit by my car, I apologise.”
            “To those who were hit by my car, I apologise.”

            But then, the analogy is flawed because a car accident is something almost everyone in the world would consider a bad thing whilst this project is something that more people think is great than bad, so it’d be like the crowd of people was stood by enjoying the accident :S.

            Also, a small correction, in the story the Evelyn sisters were the ones who got in touch with Amanda and Jason, they made the first step, they write their own songs, they took control of their own life. It’s not like Amanda and Jason decided to ‘take pity’ on them or anything of the sort.

          • VoxDoom

            I can’t edit this as it’s having problems, I just wanted to add that obviously my friend doesn’t just find acceptance everywhere, just like I’m sure your friend doesn’t find intolerance everywhere. Nothing is that one sided in life.

          • homasapiens

            I appreciate what you are saying. And I appreciate your attempt to rephrase Amanda’s words on her behalf, even though you have no authority to do so, you mean well. But since Amanda is an artist of words, I have to parse what she has said, not what you think she meant by it. And she said, in the very first sentence of this blog; i deeply apologize if anyone has been offended by our project.

            My comment is more in the way of a word of advice; that word is a trap for the unwary writer. DO NOT, really don’t, use it in an apology, not if you want a quick resolution. Otherwise you, like amanda, will be hounded for a long time. Equivocation is bad in this context.

            And although I assure you I am highly literate and have read it for myself, I appreciate your explanation of the project.

            And I appreciate your best friend, your really really good friend, and his words. (Is the closeness of the friendship important? Because I have had a lot of sex with my wheelchair-bound friend, I don’t know if that trumps your relationship or not. Personally, I don’t think it matters, do you?) But I am not talking about my friend *making her own choice* about asking for help. I am talking about the times when people have– and they have indeed– decided that she needed their help. And, by god, help was what she was going to get.

          • VoxDoom

            The closeness isn’t important in respect to this discussion, I just typed close friend as he’s a friend I interact with regularly rather than one I interact with sporadically, it wasn’t an attempt at one-upmanship.

            I understand your posotion, that you think Amanda means something different to what I think it means but since you can see both sides of it I’m happy to let it go because that’s all we can ever ask of someone in a discussion like this.

            I can understand people holding doors open for a disabled person, heck ,I’d hope they’d do it for able-bodied people too, it’s just polite. Forcing someone to do something your way just because you decided that they need your help is pretty low though, even if they do think they’re just being helpful. So, sympathies.

          • homasapiens

            Yep, my main point is that one runs a real risk of being misunderstood, in these kinds of situations. Keep the language simple and clear;

            Stay away from “if.” “If” is insulting, to the people who are expecting the apology.

          • churchillclaps

            Sure, accidental hurt is accidental, but if you accidentally smack someone in the face, you apologize for it without modifiers. You don’t say, “Sorry, you were standing in my way.”

            Okay, let me put this in different terms. Say a straight, Christian person decided to pretend to be gay and Jewish as part of a gimmick and created an entire persona that relied on stereotypes and more negative portrayals of both groups (for example, a sexually abused gay person who is really stingy). Would that be acceptable to you? If it is, fine, but even as someone who is neither gay or Jewish, I would find it suspect, at best.

            I’m not “offended by being offended,” as you put it. I’m, simply put, offended by this project and the lack of understanding inherent to it.

      • lurrz

        Why do you think people who find this problematic wouldn’t find just as much problematic with the Lady Gaga performance? Also, Gaga never created an entire persona which involved her adopting the identity of a person with a disability — it was more of a one off, and a riff on her music video. She also never presented this as anything other than fiction.

      • Alex

        The difference here is that Amanda and Jason are accessible to their fans, and willing to discuss the criticism, and hopefully learn something from it.

        I’m not thrilled by this E+E stuff, but I have to respect these artists for being willing to engage in dialogue with their fans about it.

      • pensata

        here’s the thing: lady gaga (just like john mayer or anyone else afp is being compared to here) is being held to a slightly higher standard, because lady gaga/john mayer/etc. have expressed NO INTEREST in “radical inclusiveness” or “love all, include all, relegate none”.

        it’s afp’s hypocrisy that is the problem. it’s the demonstrated ignorance of able-bodied privilege. it’s the exploitation of an unoriginal trope, of disabled people as imbeciles and sideshow freaks, for personal gain, WITHOUT considering the rammifications of continuing to tell the same story that society has already told us.

        lady gaga and john mayer were blind to the damage they did, but we expected it from them. from amanda palmer? not so much.

    • Alex

      THIS.

      The problem isn’t the ‘disturbing back story’, the problem is you guys claiming an identity – that’s the problematic part.

      I was thrilled that Amanda brought up the Jt Leroy issue, but it’s clear she missed the most important element of WHY people were bothered by Laura Alpern’s hoax – it wasn’t because of the literary hoax, it was the offensiveness of pretending to be a sexually abused 14 year old street hustler.

      Really, all Amanda needed to do was write ‘ I am very sorry for hurting some of my fans, all the rest of you who aren’t bothered, please listen to them and try and understand why they feel the way they do. We are taking everyone’s comments into consideration in how we present the future of this project, and feel it still has artistic merit’.

  • http://brassycassy.deviantart.com BrassyCassy

    Maybe it’s just because I’ve been following your career for so long, but Evelyn Evelyn has never ever struck me as offensive. I think I must’ve watched the first ever YouTube clip of them — the moment it was posted, so I’ve known all along about the whole shtick. I think it’s brilliant. So since then, I’ve had a silent chuckle with myself every time the project is mentioned, and a feeling of being “in” on a secret within the AFP-universe, and that’s only ever brought me joy. I didn’t realize that so many people came so late in the game that certain elements of the act went misunderstood. It’s a shame. But I respect you so entirely for being able to not back down from where you stand because of that fact. I find myself constantly challenged, like you do, about what I am, what I believe, what I do, and I know how hard it all can be to hold on to those things and stand behind them under the pressure. You’re an inspiration, always. <3

  • mickV

    nice read amanda, you explain yourself very well.
    I too had an uneasy feeling after reading about the child porn and abuse, asking myself why you would want to include something like that in fictional story.
    I sorta worked it out for myself, not every story has to be a pretty story, just because it can, nor should every story be a horrible story about all the wrongs in the world, just because it can.
    and when a story of piece of art finds itself somewhere on this scale, anywhere on this scale, that is always the choice of the creator, as a spectator you may debate it, but ultimately you’ll have to accept it. for it is their work and not yours, you’re only here to enjoy it, free to discuss it, and if you then still don’t like it, very free to leave it.

    • esmertina

      The child abuse, to me, seemed parenthetical and speculative. Right? To me it was just part of the landscape of the twins’ overall misuse and mistreatment. They spent their lives being used, so being used in that way just seemed to fit, I didn’t question it.

  • raliel

    As always spot on….. cannot really add anything but to encourage people to read (and to watch the film) Brothers of the Head by Brian Aldiss…. it is precicely about abused conjoined twins becoming popstars….Ken Russel is in the film, which is shot as a television documentary despite being a work of fiction

  • jostewart

    Dear Amanda,

    Thanks for talking to us and telling us what’s up, and thanks for the context. My main source of upset–as somebody able-bodied and interested–was that you and your loudest supporters sounded dismissive, and I’m glad that’s not where you’re coming from.

    I’ve still got complex questions and feelings about the construction of the Evelyn Evelyn identity, most particularly the fact that it’s made up of tropes that really piss off some people with relevant experience (I refer to the disabledfeminists article). Your intentions are great. People are pissed, for reasons that a lot of us don’t have to think about every day. I’m glad you’re thinking about them. That’s for you wrestle with and for us to see in the product, though. I hope you haven’t discounted their concerns, but it’s your record. Whatever problems remain are good problems to talk about, and I’m more likely to pay attention to how you handle them having heard you say that you take this seriously. I’m glad you’re making interesting stuff. I’m sorry people are hurt. Rest is up to you.

    Still a fan. Still thinking.

    Love,
    Jo

  • L1nd5ay

    People LOVE to be offended on behalf of others.

    “What is freedom of expression? Without the freedom to offend, it ceases to exist”
    -Salman Rushdie

    • stylishb

      There is nothing good in and of itself in offending people. Offending people is super easy.

    • Falco

      And why is that a bad thing? If I’m only out for myself, who will look out for me?

    • BrookeA

      On the behalf of others? You do realize that a lot of people who are upset are disabled themselves. Disabled people aren’t some mystical “other” who are out there somewhere in the murk. They’re real people who listen to Amanda’s music and talk on websites online.

  • bifemmefatale

    “to get clear, i always have to stop, dig deep within myself and ask:
    were my intentions good? could i really stand behind them? was anybody really harmed?
    if i’ve actually harmed someone (and the harm isn’t just a drama in their heads), have i owned my responsibility?”

    Here’s the problem, Amanda: your intentions do not matter. The *effects* of your actions matter. Just as people never “intentionally” mean to say something racist, or sexist, or sizeist, or whatever, that does not mean that they get a pass when they let their mouths get ahead of their hearts. And “I’m sorry you’re hurt” is not a real apology.

    “when i quiet myself down and find the answer within myself, that’s the most important one.
    it speaks louder than the voices outside my head and the anonymous voices on the internet.”

    Actually, no. The voices of actual people of an oppressed group should bloody well matter more than the inner voice of someone privileged enough not to be in that group, when the privileged person is talking about things that relate to that oppressed group. Would you say your inner voice is a better judge of what is racist than a person of color’s voice? Why should your inner voice be a better judge of what’s ableist than actual disabled people? That’s the ugly thing about being privileged: we are unable to see what is truly hurtful or not because we don’t live in that space every day.

    Still waiting for an explanation of wtf you were thinking when you thought it was ok to act out the rape of a real person on stage, being a rape survivor yourself. I mean Jesus, I can’t stand Perry either and I hate homophobes, but rape simulations are not fucking ok in any way, shape or form.

    • Kai

      I very much (but still respectfully) disagree. If you lend outside voices a greater amount of importance, you become weak inside and break down.

      It’s not that the offended party’s opinions do not matter. It’s that an artist’s opinion of their work is the one they need to listen to and stay true to, because it’s what holds them together.

      Internal peace and harmony is important, it’s the only thing that keeps people from turning into a waking wreck.

      We’re only human.

      • THB

        Certainly, but Amanda is both an artist (inside) and an entertainer (outside). If she wants to keep making sweet moolah from the entertainer career, it probably should matter to her how her work is received by her own fans. Plus she seems totally interested in social issues, so I would’ve thought she’d be more interested in the response from everyone else on an intellectual/personal level as well. Kind of disappointing.

    • theperfectfit

      Could you explain your last paragraph??? What is this about?

      • bifemmefatale
        • theperfectfit

          OK, back with you. Just saying Perry confused me for a sec. Thanks for the blog link. That was excellent. What is your opinion of Margaret Cho for doing this? If you don’t want to share that’s fine. Just curious.

          • bifemmefatale

            It’s just as bad that Cho participated as Amanda, but this isn’t her blog so that’s kind of off-topic.

          • stylishb

            I dunno why to participate in this discussion people have to discuss and assess Margaret Cho, Tommy, The Lovely Bones, Avatar, JT Leroy, Lady Gaga, Marilyn Manson etcetc

            It’s almost like people don’t have the facility to engage based purely on this case.

          • maevele

            and it’s as though no one has ever criticised those projects/artists.

          • Babe Lincoln

            stylishb, why do lawyers cite past cases in current ones?

          • THB

            Because those shape the law. In this case, the validity of the argument does not depend on the outcome of others, although it should be noted that in those other “cases” of artists there was no definitive outcome. The difference between this and the law is that the previous cases do not provide a conclusive for or against. “In the case of Lady GaGa, this behaviour was ultimately deemed unoffensive!” does not apply. They are just other arguments that have not been resolved.

    • THB

      “It’s not who you are….. but what you DO that defines you!!” :D
      Batman is so right.

      I agree with you, bifemmefatale!

  • Julie B

    hmmm…as someone who started following you as a result of Neil’s retweets (yes, I’m a librarian), I have found myself ever grateful for your bluntness, your honesty, and your creativity. If people don’t get you, they’re not paying attention–and that reflects on them. Not you. Not Neil. Stay true.

  • http://multifaceted-abnormal.net/ evamaria

    Thanks for this, Amanda. I’ll forgive you the ‘non-pology’ of “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings”, because you obviously did take the time and really thought about everything, even if you might have missed the finer points in some people’s criticism.

    This has been a bit of a rollercoaster for me: Following your Twitter I had been a bit confused as to who EvelynEvelyn were until your blog post, which did make me go “I do wish they weren’t doing ‘crip drag’ and using voices and a sensational backstory – this is not my kind of art”. But no anger, not even real pain, just a bit of disappointment – that is until your unfortunate tweet. That one (to my surprise) really hurt, because, as you realized yourself, it was easy to read as casual dismissal of disabled feminists and their feelings, especially followed by your tweets about ‘hate hurts only yourself’ etc.

    So I am very glad you clarified some of your intentions. I still wouldn’t go see EvelynEvelyn, but I’d definitely go see you, if you ever come to Zurich! :)

  • Jenny

    I’ve only just caught up with this, and I’m totally confused. I bought one of the copies of the Evelyn Evelyn vinyl and I’ve always assumed they were made up – and in the booklet it talks about their childhood and stuff. I didn’t find it offensive, I found it interesting. What I found especially interesting about the whole thing is that when I told someone about it, their first reaction (largely) was “Conjoined twins, eew.”

    I actually felt that your work was highlighting prejudice in society..but maybe that’s just me!

  • http://spacedlaw.blogspot.com/ Nathalie

    I have not followed the drama (probably because – oh naive me – I did not expect any) but all this feels a lot similar to the flack coming about the Oasis video (and song).
    You can explain (and probably feel like you have to) about your doing this in good faith and as a labour of love until you are blue in the face but, sadly enough, it won’t probably make much of a difference: People who feel that they should take offense will still take offense or at least will make noises in that sense. For this or over the fact that you do not shave your armpits (it must feel so good to feel righteous – maybe indignation is a form of crack?).

    Be who you are, Amanda. You just can’t please everyone.
    I am looking forward to see you guys in Paris.

    • guest

      Here’s a major difference – Amanda had an abortion. Those are Amanda’s armpits and belly that she’s putting out there. That is her experience, to use and display and talk about as she feels fit.

      Being a person with a disability is NOT her experience. Sure, there’s a stepbrother or something, but knowing someone with a disability or even being related to someone with a disability is a lot different from that being HER experience.

      There are identities and experiences which she owns that she is incorporating into her art, and there are one’s that she’s borrowing for artistic purposes. And when people who actually HAVE the experience of being a person with a disability react, that seems like valuable and important feedback. Just as I, as a person who has not had an abortion, learned from the Oasis video and song, Amanda can learn from PWDs here – but seems to be choosing not to.

      • kds

        Not to diminish whatever pain and suffering you’ve been through, but I’m pretty sure Mary Shelley didn’t rob graves and stitch together a man from the parts. And Tolkien was never an Elf Middle Earth. Many people write about experiences that aren’t their own. It’s fiction. If you are offended, don’t support the project, but please don’t suppose that you can dictate what people write about.

        • Zanra

          What is this – I don’t even…

          Did you really just imply that
          Person with disability = fictional, inhuman entity (Elf)

          Wow.

      • Sandra S.

        I’m sorry, but that is a completely ridiculous perspective. We have this convenient little thing called EMPATHY. We have IMAGINATION. Our mental worlds are not strictly limited to our own experience. Amanda didn’t write a big book called “What it’s like to be Disabled” and then base it on her own, able-bodied experience. She created two characters who were conjoined twins. I hate to break it to you, but Shakespeare wasn’t a clown or a monster or a sprite or a queen or melancholy Danish royalty. Are people up in arms protesting the right of female writers to write male protagonists? It is totally ABSURD to suggest that we can only speak from our own experience, even in art.

        I have a neurodegenerative disease. It sucks balls. I was raped. That blew too. And I don’t resent Amanda creating art about rape or disease. I resent a bunch of people who have this one shitty thing in common with me trying to speak for my experience. We may both be disabled, but I DON’T RECALL ELECTING ANY SPOKESPEOPLE. Amanda has just as much right to speak for me as anyone else I don’t know: None. But the difference is, she’s Not speaking for me. She’s just making her own art about her own characters. It’s the people who are supposedly so sensitive about this stuff who are more than willing to erase my experience and identity as a disabled person for the purpose of making Amanda feel bad. Screw that.

  • Editorial

    Spearhead’s ‘Stay Human’ is a concept album concerned with the death penalty. Any musical on the subject should be legally obliged to feature Johnny Cash’s ’25 minutes to go’.

  • Leujin

    Bravo, Amanda. It’s obvious to me that some people just don’t understand art, and unfortunately there’s nothing you can say to them that will MAKE them understand. You’ve done the right thing here and just shrugged it off. People will support you, and people will want to come to your door with torches and pitch forks. It’s not like the name of the album is “haha, conjoined twins are weird and we should laugh at them.” Fictional characters. So, yeah. Go, Amanda.

  • WrennS

    Well.. part of art actually is to make people stop and think. I hadn’t been been upset by the evelyn evelyn thing though I was somewhat aware of it… I’m yet another ‘Neil’ fan who wandered over a while ago, but I’m also a long time progressive music listener. I also did Marat/Sade back in college and had half the audience leave in the first 10 minutes. ;-)

    When two people who are, in their professions, famous and have a fan following, get together, there will always be some of one’s fans wishing to pass judgment on the other. Your answer here is polite and to the point, and you will go where your muse takes you.

    I did read this with a giving of thanks for a strange things though. ‘Cause I’m dating a genre author with a following, but far far less of one than Neil. And that I’m a private person, not an artist. You are by far not the first musician/artist to do something in that genre about the subjects of child abuse, incest, etc. (Lets just say I was/am a Mission fan. And friend. Wayne has politely NOT played ‘Keep it in the Family’ live when he knew I would be there.) :-)

  • Katie

    Amanda, first I want to thank you for addressing these concerns.

    At the same time, however, I want you and Jason to know that I don’t think you’ve quite gotten to the heart of the issue. A lot of my concerns have been eased, and I believe (and have believed) that the record itself will handle the subject matter with much more thought and care than the blog post led many to believe. But your apologies, apologies though they may be, do not address the real issue. Saying “I’m sorry you were offended” is not the same as saying “I’m sorry I offended you”. It’s deflecting the blame to others for being too oversensitive. What these concerned folks wanted from you was acknowledgement of the fact that you acted carelessly. And you know what? That doesn’t make you a bad person. I greatly admire people who can admit that they messed up and take the time to understand what they did wrong and how they can change it.

    I fully believe that all this will help you think about the effect your words have on others, especially when you are such an admired figure for many different groups of people who have suffered marginalization. I admire you very much, Amanda, and I was a little hurt by this… but because I admire you, I also trust that you will make it right.

  • oneiricackle

    “people love to judge.
    too feminist. not feminist enough. too outspoken. not outspoken enough. too intellectual.
    too dumb. too glam. too underdressed. too funny. not funny enough. too inappropriate. too safe.
    wrong kind of funny. marrying my favorite author and now i fucking hate her. fat. irritating. loud.
    blah blah blah blah, etc, ad infinitum.”

    Sigh…It’s always the way. But look what happens when politicians try to play it safe. Nothing.

  • jenzor

    Oh internet drama :/
    I really don’t understand how so many people are offended by the blog/concept. In my opinion you can dislike something but unless it is directly aimed at you then you have no need to be offended.

    Art should have no boundaries, and that is why I love you Amanda.
    We have a choice of what we listen to. If you don’t like something then nobody is forcing you to listen to it. If this concept freaks you out then its really really simple…..don’t buy the record. Don’t go all crazy and start attacking the artist.
    To be perfectly honest Amanda should not have to apologise for anything. Anyone who reads her blog, listens to her records….knows no harm was ever intended. Only art. If everyone only made music that was inoffensive to all then the world would be a fucking boring place.
    Art does not have to be justifiable, it is not made for us, it is an expression of the artist and its our freedom of choice as to whether we can be open minded enough to appreciate it.

    oh, and Amanda? You’re marrying my favourite author and I fucking hate you :p x

  • stylishb

    Things I am fed up reading:

    It’s art so it doesn’t matter
    Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley are good, kind, smart people so this project must be ok
    People should not be offended because I say so
    Amanda and Jason did not intend to do bad, so it can’t be bad
    Art is supposed to shock, so this must be artistic
    This project is supposed to be fun, so if people don’t find it fun they must not get it
    This project prompted discussion, so the project must be good
    This project deals with dark subject matter and people who criticise are just over sensitive
    This fiction is just like fiction in a book
    If you don’t hate Tommy you must love this…what’s that..you hate Tommy too? Well. Uh

    • Well. Uh.

      …You could stop reading.

      • stylishb

        I’d rather help people to come to terms with their idiocy.

        • LexiB

          Who the hell do you think you are? “I’d rather help people come to terms with their idiocy.” Get off your high horse.

        • idiotchild

          Really sorry but it sounds like bigotry to me, people who don’t agree with your point of view are idiots, well maybe, but better to fight to the death for the idiot than curb the freedom of thought of the idiot. Love

          • stylishb

            You think me calling people idiots is bigotry, yet you’re dismissing all the thoroughly well reasoned responses as to why this project is problematic from an abelist perspective?

            Yeah the idiots are really the maligned party here. Christ almighty.

        • sadini

          People are idiots because you say so?

          • stylishb

            No. People are idiots for expressing the sentiments I noted above. Are there any you feel are not idiotic?

          • applefaerie

            I’m an idiot because you say so, you’re an idiot because I say so. Can we just all agree that opinions are opinions, and not everyone has to agree?

          • sadini

            I only feel that someone’s superior attitude is idiotic.

          • stylishb

            In that case your priorities are missplaced and you’d do better to concern yourself with exploring why so many people, disabled and otherwise, are so annoyed.

          • sadini

            Hmmmm… maybe it’s because they are bored and have nothing better to do than create a storm in a teacup. Maybe they should go and reread 1984 instead.

          • pensata

            really? have you read the bog posts that thoroughly explicate why E/E could be seen as problematic?

            name calling is always a bad idea. but asserting that it’s a storm in a teacup, done for pleasure’s sake by disabled activists and allies, is incredibly insulting as well. please take a step back and reconsider.

          • THB

            Unbelievably alarming and repulsive comment. Do I need to explain why? How dare you undermine the people who have been hurt by this. Nothing better to do??? You are expressing a superior attitude right after condemning it. When stylishb explained that the comment re: idiots was actually directed at idiotic comments, not just randomly at anyone who doesn’t agree, you didn’t seem to be able to comprehend.

          • patiencescalpel

            ‘Idiot’ like ‘cretin’ can be seen as a term of ableist abuse as it originally referred to people with mental disabilities. Nowadays it is usually not associated with this and is commonly used as synonymous with ‘stupid’ but it is worth noting that you may not always know the full weight of the language you use.

            just sayin

    • solo

      Oh dear stylishb, you sound like someone in need of a LOT of love….

    • oldmanmuffinjar

      You are spending an awful amount of time posting here for someone who is so fed up?

      1. It is art, so it HAS to matter. I get that you are offended. I get why you are offended. You have the right to be offended. You can be a critic if you want. You can decide that you are going to burn all your AFP and Dresden Dolls stuff in protest. You can protest! You have protested.

      My question is: what the fuck do you want? You have said stated your beef, so why do you keep going on and on here? Do you want Amanda to bow before you and say “sorry I didn’t consider your feelings when I created my art?”

      You can demand it if you want, but no one owes you a damn thing.

      • stylishb

        Yeah you’re right. When confronted with idiocy, sycophancy, prejudice and offensive, abelist bloody mindedness people who disagree should shut up and fuck off.

        I’d quite like Amanda to acknowledge chucking in child porn and abuse as a casual bit of kooky backstory in a dashed off blog post was wrong. I’d like her to address why she portrays the twins as mentally feeble, and how this project will proceed in a way that will not cause further legitimate upset, what her thoughts are on two physically able bodied people portraying disabled caricatures.

        I’d like her to say sorry not that people are offended, but for offending people as a result of her own negligence. I’d like her fans to accept that art does not excuse everything and that there are more important things than simply following one’s muse down whatever ableist/prejudiced/homophobic/etc cul de sac.

        • haikukitty

          So, if a painter did a series addressing abuse and child porn, would that be OK? What about a photographer, a writer? Are artists not allowed to address social issues you are uncomfortable with? I actually was sexually abused as a child, and I have no problem with this. I don’t find it idiocy or offensive – why do you? Nowhere does Amanda say child pornography or abuse are unimportant or ok.

          I guess I don’t totally get what your issue is. I guess I don’t know when being offended by something became equal to someone having caused you real harm. If you’re offended – go away, stop reading it, listening to it, seeing it, and then stop being offended.

          NO ONE can offend you – but you can choose to be offended or not offended.

          I choose not to be offended by things that are not specifically directed at me. But I guess that’s idiocy.

          • stylishb

            Yes of course we all choose what to be offended by. This is why if I were to call a black person the N word, it would be their own fault for being offended. Nobody can blame me. Especially if I said it to be *~~*~artistic~*~~*

          • Bob

            You’re right, art is not immune from criticism, but I don’t think it follows that art can therefore be inherently offensive. Art can, and often does, offend. The problem with then saying that because a work of art offended one or more people it is ‘bad’ is that all art could be banned.
            When people talk about freedom of speech and expression as important (and necessarily offensive), I think this is what they mean.
            You have a right to be offended, but I don’t think you have a right to expect AFP et al to change their art on that basis alone.

            I think your example of the ‘N word’ isn’t analogous. Amanda isn’t using language (or art or discourse etc) to objectify a group of people in and signify them as inferior. Yes, the EE project does (inadvertently or not) represent a group of marginalised people, and this is arguably problematic, but is your answer to not represent or invent or write about any issue that doesn’t stem DIRECTLY from your own subject position?

          • haikukitty

            This response is disingenous – this is the sort of thing the
            Republican party does with their arguments. Nowhere did Amanda use slurs or derogatory terms to describe the twins. If she had said “worthless cripple” or something, then your “nigger” reference would be appropriate.

            Basically, your actual argument equates to “if Amanda had instead said Evelyn Evelyn were African Americans, then she would be insulting and making light of the experience of black people in America – why? – because she’s not black.”

            What a strange argument… there wouldn’t be much art at all in the world if we were each only allowed to draw upon our direct experience of life.

          • pensata

            i agree with you, mostly. it’s important to discuss social issues in art, and people who have experienced certain issues certainly do not have a monopoly on those issues. but where you say this:

            “Basically, your actual argument equates to “if Amanda had instead said Evelyn Evelyn were African Americans, then she would be insulting and making light of the experience of black people in America – why? – because she’s not black.””

            is where you miss the subtlety, and the nuance, of the problem. 1. a position of privilege DOES matter when telling stories – any stories – and should be taken into account. 2. the KIND of stories that get told matter. when the majority of stories about “disabled” people revolve around their freakishness, or their capacity to inspire, telling THE SAME STORY about them again is in NO WAY subversive.

            it, in fact, does the same damage that mainstream society does, but telling one type of story about this experience as opposed to any other that may arise. afp fell into stereotyping here, and when you stereotype, you do damage. this is the point that many people are not seeing.

          • haikukitty

            OK, that’s fair. I can see that it would be frustrating if you felt the only stories told about the group you are part of or identify with are either inspirational or freakish. I get that – and maybe AFP did fall into stereotyping here – particularly with stating that’s its hard for them to get around physically.

            But, I honestly want to know – what WOULD have been ok? What if they were nimble acrobats? What if they were scientists – too inspirational? I just feel like there’s no way to address this subject and many others without someone taking offense.

            I would sincerely like to know what story you feel would have been okay for AFP to tell about these “twins” – if there is one.

            thanks!

          • pensata

            sry – posted twice accidentally. see post below.

          • pensata

            i understand your question, but here’s the other thing: we can’t pretend that the topic of “conjoined twins” was chosen for any other reason than the fact that it’s “weird” and “interesting”. neil gaiman said that the project was about people who overcame adversity – and this “adversity” includes their being conjoined. the thing is, people don’t just “naturally” face adversity, most of the time – most of the time adversity is created and perpetuated by other people. so, the adversity is not in their bodies – it’s in our reaction to it. and afp wants us to have the same reaction to it that people have always had. how fascinating! how rare! not – how has society made their lives hard, and how could we, as members of society, help acknowledge that and make it better?

            some ways the story may have been better: if afp explored the topic of conjoined twins in terms of the barriers set up by society, and the real stigma that they’ve faced. if she interviewed conjoined twins and told their stories through her art (see anna deveare smith, who does this in terms of race, class, gender etc. for an example). if she talked about another person, from another under-represented group, who does not fit the stereotypes in some way, but who grapples with them just the same.

            according to doug paterson, the best kind of human life is created through dialogue, while the oppressions of life are created out of monologue. this story about e/e is a cultural monologue. it’s one kind of story about disability, at the cost of any other story. if afp wanted to contribute another kind of story – where conjoined twins were *not* freakish – that would be great. and sure, it would be a tricky line to walk.

            but venturing to tell another person’s story always comes with a lot of responsibility, as it should – it affects real people – but telling a different story than a *sideshow* one probably would have turned out way better, more interesting, and less offensive than this particular e/e example.

          • haikukitty

            Thanks for the response. I agree with you in principle – in practice, I think it might be impossible to pull off, because people read their own experiences and biases into things. But, it is fair to say that the conjoined-ness was probably used too light-heartedly, or perhaps enough thought wasn’t given to actual conjoined twins. Just because there are so few of them, doesn’t mean they don’t count.

            Then again, who’s to say what motivation is behind this presentation? I’m not saying this is necessaily the case, but perhaps the sensational back-story was used as a tool to make people aware of these things.

            Not having heard the record, I can’t say if that’s the case or not when the project is seen in context.

            Thanks for talking to me ;-)

          • pensata

            i agree with you – it’s true that the album may be different. at the same time, the blog post, and the backstory provided, were definitely problematic, which i think certainly merited critique even if the album turns out to be amazing and insightful and original and deep. and thanks for talking to me too – our exchange was pleasantly un-belligerent. : )

          • pensata

            whoops, apparently posted three times accidentally. see post above.

          • caddycat

            Another comment abusing the past issues of Blacks in America for their PC pet project. So much lack of a creatively sound argument, and so little time.

        • http://env-sci-blog.blogspot.com/ M.S. Patterson

          I’m confused…

          When did Amanda portray “the twins” as mentally feeble?
          She said they were odd and very shy, and that they made awesome music that really got her going.

          It’s one thing to criticize things that are present…

          • stylishb

            Have you seen the twitter?

            http://twitter.com/evelynevelyn

            ‘we want twix.’

          • http://twitter.com/nefariousplot Ashley Hochstein

            And I want a snickers bar. Does that make me mentally feeble?

          • stylishb

            Are you really not seeing the difference between ‘I want a snickers bar’ and ‘we want twix’?

          • Anna

            Honestly, Ashley isn’t the only person that doesn’t see the difference between I want a snickers bar and we want twix. I don’t either. Are you offended because the sentence is truncated? Because that’s a fairly common convention on the internet – esp. twitter.

          • stylishb

            Do you know any 24 year olds who would go into a store and say ‘we want twix’? Or say it in passing. Or post it on Twitter. ‘I would like a twix’, yes. ‘I’d enjoy a twix’. Cool.

            ‘We want twix’? Come ON.

          • sadini

            They didn’t go to a store, right? people constantly tweet things like “me wants icecream.” Far fewer people spell out “I would like some ice-cream”.

          • stylishb

            Are you seriously trying to say that ‘me wants ice cream’ type stuff isn’t an attempt to sound kidlike and cutsie?

          • sadini

            Since when does “kidlike and cutsie” equal “mentally feeble”?

          • stylishb

            Since statements like ‘we want twix’ are presented as the unmediated, unironic product of innocent, guileless wondrous conjoined twins and not that of a mannered normal individual.

          • http://twitter.com/nefariousplot Ashley Hochstein

            “We” <— there are two of them. "want"<—–verb "twix"<—–plural form of the name of a candy bar.

            Honestly, if you read the backstory, where would the girls have learned to speak properly and eloquently? It doesn't mean they are feeble-minded. It simply means that they are speaking as they spent… what, 19 years of their lives expected to speak? 19 out of 24? Before they left the circus?

          • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

            I gotta disagree with you here. That specific example alone does not indicate feeblemindedness. The twitter account’s posts taken as a whole do suggest it. I think you’re hurting your fundamental point by hanging on that one example. That one example by itself can easily read as twitter truncation paired with internet slang (‘can haz?’). I’ve totally said ‘I want X’ to my partner by way of requesting zie get it for me.

          • Mel

            Never mind that they want twix because it’s double and that’s the only facet of personality they seem to have, apart from being “quirky”.

          • caddycat

            I’ve been waiting to read this comment for a while now.

          • Dar

            As a twin, I would like to say thank you for that.

          • Anna

            To be fair, I have not read their twitter account, but as to the example: “we want twix” would definitely be something I’d say if ‘I” was a “we”. And yes, I happen to be 24 (well 23, but my birthday’s in two weeks so I’d say that’s close enough). I’m not the kind of person that would generally go into a store and demand things from clerks, but if that was socially acceptable – there’s nothing about the statement that suggests feebleness. I’d admit that “We want twix” may be seen as ruder and definitely not as polite as “I’d like a twix”. However, I don’t see it as being mentally feeble.

            And that’s in a real store, I think it’s pretty well established that the internet (esp. blogosphere) is a whole different beast. The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people do not write in terms like “I would like a twix” and “I’d enjoy a twix” on their twitter accounts.

          • friscalating

            Seriously, look at the twitter as a whole. It’s has the voice of a little girls or women who really enjoy acting like little girls. It’s disturbing.

            “if we do a good job at the show can we have some more sushi please?”

            “meetings are boring, snacks are fun.”

            “new york is so big”

            “did you see us in the magazine?”

            “we hope you still lik us”

          • http://electricburritos.blogspot.com/ bre_anachronism

            Dear god, yes, I want a snickers bar too. Maybe passing them around would quell all these tempers?

            It’s beginning to look a lot like Sarah Palin’s “retard” shitstorm in here.

          • Little Roux

            Twix are a candy. And a damned good candy. People other than the “mentally feeble” can express a desire to eat delicious treats too, you know.

          • stylishb

            Right but ‘we want twix’ or ‘we want banana’ or ‘we want toilet’ seems pretty infantile wording to me.

          • ATanzer

            Twix is often used as the plural. Like “we want bananas” it would be “we want twix”. At least, that’s how I read it in my mind.

          • caddycat

            Banana and toilet are not plural. Twix is a plural, because there are two of them. If you walked up to a man selling candy with your sister, and the man asked you, “What do you girl’s want?” The proper response could easily be, “We want Twix.”

            I win.

          • http://twitter.com/nefariousplot Ashley Hochstein

            As I said a few comments up:
            “We” <— there are two of them. "want"<—–verb "twix"<—–plural form of the name of a candy bar.

          • http://env-sci-blog.blogspot.com/ M.S. Patterson

            I understand you think fake conjoined twins wanting twix is offensive.
            Which isn’t the point being addressed here.

            The twitter feeds looks more or less like a million other twitter feeds from 16-24 year old girls/women. Maybe you find them mentally feeble. I dunno. It does highlight social inexperience in some respects, and again some shyness, and some silliness, but I would hardly say “mentally feeble”.

            E&E being mentally incompetent also doesn’t jive with the idea that E&E are supposed to be accomplished musicians who are vetting what Amanda says about them, and in careful control of what they are and are not willing to do.

            This really makes me wonder how much of your response to this is a reflection of your own prejudices.

          • Lauren

            Gosh people have missed the point of this particular comment. The problem is not the “twins” wanting a Twix!

            And yes, it is commonplace to type in a simpler way on the internet, especially on Twitter with a 140 character limit. However, once you read the Spin magazine interview (http://www.spin.com/articles/meet-amanda-palmer-proteges-evelyn-evelyn) the “twins” did it’s easy to see that this isn’t just a case of shortening things to fit, it’s an deliberate attempt to portray the twins as childlike and stupid and to give you another reason to pity them and their story.

          • stylishb

            I think at this stage people will make any contortion to defend this stuff.

      • Run2theMoon511

        Amen!

    • Guest

      Yes yes yes yes yes.

      I’m tired of people patting Amanda and Jason on the back for confronting these issues in what I perceive as a pretty unapologetic way. Hey, we used child pornography and disability as ways to spice up a fictional music entity, but it wasn’t meant to offend you! Sorry you were offended, guys! Not “Sorry, we fucked up and we’re acknowledging that EE is offensive.”

      Then there are all these folks trotting out arguments about how art is sacred & should not be criticized, and if you do, well, you’re either the PC police or you’re taking things too seriously.

    • Nagatuki

      Okay, Stylishb, but so what?

      I can tell you I’m fed up with reading:

      People upset that they found out it’s “fake”
      That it’s not funny
      That it’s not sensitive to anyone and everyone with a disability (how so, I don’t know)
      That it’s exploitive of people who’ve been abused

      And so on.

      But it’s not an “excuse” to say it deals with dark subjects; it does. It’s not an “excuse” to say it’s just like fiction in a book; it is.

      How many movies and books are written with exactly this kind of plot? This kind of detail? Do we decry every blessed story about children being abused and raped?

      Hello: ‘The Lovely Bones’? ‘Precious’? Even ‘Butterfly Effect’?

      Are those terrible because they discuss child rape, murder, incest, etc? Or show people becoming disabled and disallusioned?

      What about ‘Avatar’? That shows a disabled Marine who feels he’s whole and alive when he can _run_.

      Were you protesting that, too? Because he should’ve asked for a disabled avatar? (yes, I’m going that far – to make a point)

      Sigh…

      Nevermind the fact that Amanda has her own personal – Real – experience with abuse, and yet people are suggesting she has no business even trying to make something that alludes to abuse.

      Yes, it _can_ come down to people really not understanding someone like Palmer; I’m sorry. I’ve followed her career for several years and have met her and seen her interact with her audiences in a way no other artist does, and you may not like it but it’s not an “excuse” to say that she cares deeply and doesn’t work from the angle of trying to offend or upset people.

      • stylishb

        If you still do not understand why people are upset, read more. So many people have given their considered responses.

        • Nagatuki

          See, the thing is I have, and I still don’t agree.

          I don’t want to argue other people’s feelings; they clearly mean them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find it absurd.

          Here’s the thing: I read the blog about EE, and you know what I thought?

          -Unknown artists online gets discovered by someone with power to give them platform.-

          Now, do you know how many artists have _actually been discovered that way_?

          AND that’s it.

          I didn’t read the story and think “she’s making them sound stupid or unable to take care of themselves.”

          But then again, I’m not disabled, so perhaps this is a bit of projecting on the offended side?

          Maybe not; I’ve seen other “able” people expressing distress or “heartbreak” (that makes me want to gag), but I think that goes into being, ironically, offensive to disabled people who don’t want the pity.

          Just as there have been people here who have admitted sexual abuse and aren’t offended, I think it’s presumptuous to say all disabled people are offended by this concept.

          Talk about defining people by their abilities.

          • Alex


            I don’t want to argue other people’s feelings; they clearly mean them. But that doesn’t mean I don’t find it absurd.”

            Then don’t. My favorite movie quote – ‘How can it be wrong to state an opinion?’

            “-Unknown artists online gets discovered by someone with power to give them platform.-”

            No, no they didn’t. Because they don’t exist.

            No one is suggesting that everyone who was sexually abused or disabled is offended here, but you are suggesting the opposite, that people are ARE don’t matter because of those who are not.

          • Nagatuki

            I didn’t. I responded to comments made by one individual, and explained why I thought them, and then responded to the response.

            Are you suggesting that merely stating I’m not arguing whether people were genuinely offended is offensive in and of itself?

            Well, I don’t see me arguing that other people’s feelings don’t count, and I’m not going down that rabbit hole to debate it with you as if I did.

            And yeah, I _know_ they don’t exist (see previous post). So, one of two things: either you think I believed they’re real and your response somehow explains something, or you’re suggesting that because they’re _fictional_ it’s not okay to make up how they were discovered.

            I don’t even know what your point is. That she shouldn’t have created fictional artists to find on MySpace? Or that it’s worse because they _are_ fictional?

            And you write:

            “No one is suggesting that everyone who was sexually abused or disabled is offended here, but you are suggesting the opposite, that people are ARE don’t matter because of those who are not.”

            On the contrary, I don’t exactly see too many people saying “hey, I’m disabled and offended, but that doesn’t mean every disabled person is.” I didn’t see that argument made on the Disabled Feminists site, either.

            I _do_ see calls for her to apologize for being “ableist” in the face of disabled individuals.

            And please, don’t put words in my mouth: I never suggested no-one should be offended, nor did I ever _say_ no-one should be offended. Disagree with the points I’ve made (for instance, in my first response), but don’t make up things I never said.

          • THB

            It is mainly the folks at disabled feminist who were upset in the first place, and I don’t think any able bodied people are expressing their concerns out of pity, but rather because these things CAN insult able bodied people too. It would be absurd to suggest otherwise.

          • THB

            And of course not allllll disabled people will be offended, but that doesn’t mean the ones who are are wrong.

          • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

            Well stated!

      • Bunners

        “What about ‘Avatar’? That shows a disabled Marine who feels he’s whole and alive when he can _run_. Were you protesting that, too? Because he should’ve asked for a disabled avatar? (yes, I’m going that far – to make a point)”

        Actually, there were a great many people, myself included, who objected to that. There *is* an issue with portraying a disabled person as only feeling “whole and alive when he can _run_.” Can’t you see the clear link between that portrayal and the implication that physically disabled peoples don’t lead or have whole or complete lives because they don’t have full use of their legs?

        I’m not getting into the rest of your arguments here because I don’t feel equipped to do so, but I do want to say a lot of people with concerns about this project *also* have concerns about other projects concerning disabled peoples.

      • shayla

        This is all exactly what I was thinking.

        Too add, I went to see the Blindside in theaters I missed the beginning and didn’t know it was a real story until the end. I found it very moving nonetheless.

        Based on everyone’s offended attitudes, if that movie was fictional I should have been appalled that someone would have “exploited” a childhood in rough neighborhood just for people to be entertained in a theater. And I should have thought it inconsiderate for the main character to overcome his childhood and become a professional. Maybe I’m reading it all wrong, but it just seems like everyone is saying “because it’s fiction, it can’t talk about real life problems.”

        And, as far as the Avatar thing goes, I don’t know many people in wheelchairs that wouldn’t feel happier if they were able to walk or run. At least, the guy in Avatar was born able to and lost his ability in a war. How is it wrong for him to be happy to be able to walk again? The fact that in the end he ended up happier as his avatar didn’t even have to do with his ability to walk, but the fact that he felt happier living in the ways of the Na’vi. He liked the peace and harmony. Sure, it’s easy to try to brush it off as “He was happier simply because he could run again” but when it comes to human emotion it’s rarely that simple.

        Just like it’s easy to say that just because the twins are conjoined, had a bad childhood, and are really shy Amanda is just exploiting those things for fun when it clearly isn’t. It’s not even ableism. She’s not going “well golly gee they had a sad sad life but they were great enough to overcome these things so we should all feel they’re super duper special :D” It’s just a part of her/Jason’s/their story. She’s giving more dimension to the twins, maybe giving them a reason for their shyness and why they like and look at things the way they do. Someone’s past makes them who they are (whether it was rainbows or rain clouds) and she was just giving them that past.

        Finally, how can someone with no disabilities determine what will and won’t offend a disabled person? Or how can someone who didn’t have child porn or becoming orphaned as a child say that it’s “just too far.” I know people who have gone through those things that are less touchy about the subjects than people who haven’t because they know that no matter what the issue is they can learn some way to get over it and look at it with positive eyes. (Oh wait, am I an “ableist” for pointing this out?) They’re like everyone else. They have problems, they deal with them, and in the future they laugh about it.

        Everyone is entitled to their opinions and feelings though, even if I don’t get them.

      • THB

        Amanda’s own experience does not speak for everyone who has been abused. Some people who have had bad experiences are offended by her lack of depth when discussing those experiences in this particular instance, other people are offended for entirely different reasons, or for a combination of reasons, and it’s no-one’s place to say they are not to be offended.

  • Angharrad

    I was really excited by the blog, it was a great start to a story i can’t wait to hear!
    It’s a shame everything has turned out this way about it.

  • teespirit

    For the record, bless Neil Gaiman for introducing me to AFP.

    The EE project has exposed some shadow qualities of inclusiveness, I think. Feeling like we are all friends and we must agree on everything all of the time, and then an issue comes up where some feel betrayed, others confused and everyone has a unique opinion. So wow, we are all human!

    Lastly, I couldn’t agree more – fuck the haters never works and creates nothing but more hate. Don’t think that’s what any of us want to be about. It can be painful to feel like you’ve been fooled, but that’s a temporary thing. It’s where you go from there that matters.

    Much Love!

  • http://www.twitter.com/chesterjsellars Chester J. Sellars

    Thank you for clearing things up. I’m a relatively new fan, finding out about The Dresden Dolls not long after you began your new album. I really love what you do, but the Evelyn Evelyn thing shook me up a bit. I remember listening to the tracks on their Myspace the first time you mentioned them, but for some reason, it didn’t click that… well, like Jason put it, that was an awfully deep voice for a shy, 24 year old girl.

    Your last blog was a bit of an emotional roller coaster for me. I read it, naively, like the twins were real people, and the picture was just… holy crap.

    But, the first comment on the last blog convinced me to give it a re-listen, and then I realized who the twins actually were. I felt lied to, betrayed, and angry. But, it passed after a few hours.

    The way the blog was presented made it believable. If you and Jason had just tweeted us saying “Jason and I are going to pretend to be conjoined twins and play music. Willing Suspension of Disbelief, ftw!” I doubt it would have been half as good. You set it on a level that made it real, even after the veil was tossed aside. The twins mean something to me now. If you hadn’t done things the way you did, it would have just been another Amanda Palmer work of genius.

    Now?
    Now it’s an Amanda Palmer-became-God-and-created-two-people-with-an-amazing-emotionally-touching-story-and-these-two-people-are-putting-out-an-album-holy-fuck-balls thing.

    Have I mentioned I love you?
    I cannot wait for the album. This is by far the best project in the history of ever. :D
    ~Chester J. Sellars

  • rsmit212

    Having been on the internet since before it was officially the internet (started fall of 1987), it still amazes me the shallowness and lack of thought exhibited by people in their comments to blogs/sites/whathaveyou.

    As one who has “discovered” you and your art via Mr. Gaiman’s blog and tweets and as someone who believed in the story of the album, I am honestly confused as to where the problem others are having lies. In no way did you belittle anyone nor did you lessen anyone through what you did. If anything, you may have opened someone’s eyes to the potential of those around them that they may be dismissing through their own discrimination and ignorance. I truly do not understand why anyone could be calling for you to apologize.

    I feel that the best art challenges our preconceptions and attitudes without belittling our intelligence. I think this project achieves that and applaud you and Mr. Webley for doing so.

    • Kaye

      The shallowness and lack of thought you are exhibiting in this comment.

      I’ve been on the internet since I was 11, by the way, if that matters.

      • Kaye

        Sorry I didn’t finish my sentence. I meant to say the shallowness and lack of thought you are exhibiting in this comment amazes me.

        • esmertina

          Ah yes. Those two words make this a much more substantive, analytical and thought-provoking reply. Thank you for clarifying.

  • http://leftofsound.tumblr.com/ Brandon C

    I’m having a really hard time swallowing the extent to which people were offended by this. Maybe part of that is because I *have* been following you as well as the twins for so long and feel as intimately aware of the story as is possible at this point. I guess I just don’t see how this is any different than any other form of art: authors writing books about difficult topics (something that comes immediately to mind: The Bluest Eye which deals with child molestation, racism, and incest. Granted there are a lot of places still trying to ban it, but it’s also considered classic literature and highly esteemed throughout most literary circles) as well as disturbing paintings and sculptures and movies that intimately portray very difficult subject matter which have all been well-received, have garnered awards (sometimes even from mass-media), and are often commended by being brave (a la Sean Penn in I am Sam who was nominated for an academy award for portraying a mentally disabled man or for his actual win for Milk for portraying a gay politician–of which he belongs to neither of these marginalized communities; not to mention the thousands of more fictional works dealing with very similar, and oftentimes even more difficult themes and subject matter). Art is art and I think this harsh backlash is very unfounded. Amanda, you are amazing and beautiful and unequivocally talented and it is inspirational how much you actually encourage this kind of discussion rather than skirting the issues and trying to hide until it blows over. It makes me sad it isn’t as widely understood, but I guess that’s the sign that you’re really onto something amazing here. Keep up the great work–you are loved

  • MauraLee

    First, I’d like to say, thank you for bringing the Neville sisters to light. I’ve found their story both compelling and magical, and I cannot seem to say that enough. I don’t know what it is, but I’m absolutely fascinated, and am kicking and screaming with the anticipation for this album. Secondly, I have to admit that, yes, I can see where “the haters” would be coming from. However, I never believed that this was meant to be hurtful/belittling/etc. in the whole time I’ve been following this. I always felt it in my heart that it was meant to be pure love personified in this project, and I’m sure a lot of other fans feel the same. I think that, in everbody’s life, they have their own battles to fight with their own “sister”, so to speak. It’s all the relevance of being universally connected (at least, that’s what I think I could call it, what I’m feeling). THAT is what makes the Evelyn Evelyn project so magical to listen to and watch. It’s like watching the growth of, not only the twins, but also of connection, love… everything. And I’m glad that we, as a fan base, are able to share this project. That the world has the ability to view it, and be utterly touched (or repulsed, I suppose) as well. Everybody has an opinion, just like you said, and it takes a lot to not have somebody up in arms, screaming this, that, and the other thing. I think it’s amazing and admirable to want to approach that small percent of people, at least in my eyes. The whole thing about bravery was like that too…. And I suppose that’s all I have left to voice. I’m not sure.I hope that everything is able to clear up soon, and I cannot wait for the album in March. It should be wonderful! :)-Sincerely, Summer

  • http://www.emacartoon.com/ Emma

    But see… I had the opposite reaction. You take two “capables,” disable them as conjoined twins, throw a backstory on it, and see what they can produce. If anything, I would think that other people with “disabilities” would take interest in what would happen should you disable someone not born that way.

    The backstory also makes sense. It’s pretty much what historically happened to Siamese twins back in the day (30+ years ago, even), particularly the 1800’s, and it displays the history in a raw form and sort of forces people today to acknowledge that.

    Now, I’m not going to say that it’s comfortable in any light, but I am familiar with some of the stories of circus or Vaudeville traveling Siamese twins, and think you nailed it on the head. This really happened to some people out there. This could have happened even in the time frame given by their given age.

    I can’t think of a better expression of art than those that shine the uncomfortable light on our history. Shine on, Sister. It will make the world a better place if they can see it.

  • Dorian David Leigh

    I will be buying this record.

    I will be buying it because I think the music will be good. I will also be buying it because I support the right of any artist to create what they need to without limitations.

    I support the right of Evelyn Evelyn to exist, to create, to be wonderful. Ms Palmer has said her piece, and rather intelligently, I might add. This is her blog and she can write what she wants in it. She chose to share something she considers to be wonderful and exciting, and got shot down.

    Well, I still feel the wonder and excitement.

  • NikiBewitched

    It’s a sad world when artists have to tip-toe around with their art so as not to offend anyone.

    Amanda, your art is always amazing, beautiful and full of love. I don’t know another artist that is as passionate about their art as you are. I hope that people will come around, look at Evelyn Evelyn for what it is, wonderful art.

  • lcp

    i must say when i headed over to your blog yesterday and read it i was a little bit disappointed in the end too. it was titled “the whole story about evelyn evelyn”. i don’t remember how you announced it on twitter and i’m too lazy to look up the exact wording, but somehow i came here with the expectation of hearing the TRUE story, having the curtain lifted as you said here, getting to know exactly why you kept it all such a secret in the first place. an explanation, not yet another, even more grotesque story. i felt a little bit betrayed too by the whole thing. it took me some time to think it through and start to understand what the blog was all about. that it was in fact a fictional story, a backstory and not some kind of “making of” where additional INFORMATION would be given.

    i think that is what made a lot of people become emotional and negative. after sleeping over it i now trust that you will reveal the “making off” when RR can’t hit you anymore and for now you have to just stick with the story as far as possible.

    maybe people wouldn’t have gotten that worked up if you had put more emphasis on that being a story, fictional. i think for a lot of people that was what made the difference.

  • Dechant

    I like your music — love it, actually, for the most part. It speaks in ways I often can’t, about things that have been part of my experience as one of those disabled feminists. Will I love Evelyn Evelyn? Probably not unless I can process what’s going on in my own head and be okay with it — but that’s my head, and so it’s my right to feel that way, just as it’s your right to go ahead with the project. Artists and fanbase sometimes disagree: fact of life. Critique happens: fact of life.

    (And to the commenter who asked: I probably wouldn’t have been keen on Manson’s conjoined twins, just as I wasn’t keen on Gwen Stefani renaming four Japanese women to suit her idea of an entourage. These things intersect for me. I come to conclusions other people might not. Art is very personal, both to the creator and the audience.)

    Thank you, then, for making a good-faith effort to address the concerns of the dissenting. You’re keeping the dialogue open, which I find respectful, and tough if you’re still PMSing. PMS sucks, and I have been known to issue warnings to my loved ones (“My head may spin around. I may spit green stuff on you. Don’t take it personally!”).

    I may be in a shaky place, but from one artist/sometime performer to another, good luck.

  • Peaches

    I think that the whole Evelyn Evelyn concept was a fantastic idea to start off with
    it’s a shame you get critisized for just being creative etc because I love it
    and people need to remember that nobody is ever going to please everyone all the time
    thankyou for this. it made me love and respect you a billion times over again ^^ aha

    The last comment especially, about what Jason said about one of the twins having such a deep voice
    me and a couple of friends have tickets for your tour in Glasgow, and I read the previous blog and got quite confused as to who we had actually bought tickets to see
    and my friend then pointed out exactly the same thing. haha it just made me smile :)

    <3

  • Aline

    Amanda…
    Growing up with a very controversial artist and singer as my mom I have come to understand what you feel as an artist who has a strong voice and such amazing and colourful humour(no matter how black ;) )..
    I am a little disappointed as I’m reading your blog on how people reacted with your previous one. I think that to admire your music and the nature of your lyrics has got to be enough to see the light, the love and the humour behind your project. It isn’t as if in the past you have shown us a discriminating and small hearted personality but in the contrary you have filled me in particular with smiles when it came to the nature of your slightly disturbing lyrics and lots and lots of colour.
    I think that the story of Evelyn Evelyn is a very entertaining story and more to the point you will make us, your fans..”cross another bridge”(if that makes sense) to get to where you want us to be when it comes to understanding you & your music.
    I think that maybe, just maybe before deciding to hang you on that project, we should probably look more into every single piece of art you have given us in the past and REALLY SEE the nature of your art. Was it ever offensive? Are you that small minded. I think not.
    Keep spreading the love
    Aline

  • BewitchedWicked

    Dear Amanda,
    In regards to the poor situation of Neil’s fans becoming outraged, all I can say is this: Not all his fans!
    I have been fans of both of yours independently for a long while now. Only because when I was 7, I stole my Mother’s copy of Black Orchid and never gave it back to her, means that I have technically been a fan of Neil’s for longer. But that’s not to say I am any less a fan of yours. I discovered the Dresden Dolls many years ago and instantly loved your sound, so when you and Neil sat on a roof top doing the “Who Killed Amanda Palmer” photo shoot, I was highly amused that two of my interests were colliding. I rushed out to by the book when it was released and delighted read every page. (This was a big deal for me, as I am moving to England in 6 months, and so for the last 3 years I have not been allowed to buy ANY book unless it was a book that I had to have. Your book, has been 1 of 5 that I have let myself buy.)
    I myself am also very nearly on the official “Disabled” list, (the only reason I’m not on it right now is because I became unemployed and am now able to do my own form of physical therapy which is helping) and as someone who is very nearly on that list, I am NOT offended by your project.
    I am a feminist. I am practically disabled. I am a writer. I am a FAN of both you and Neil.
    I will buy the album when it comes out.
    I will buy the graphic novel.
    I will continue to buy Neil’s books. (After the move and I’m able to restock my library)
    When you are in England, I will go to your shows.
    If I have enough space, I will gladly let you crash at my humble abode when your passing through.

    Please keep making awesome music. You help people with your songs, and your dark and twisted nature. For those of us who have our own dark and twisted humor, it is good to have music to deal with “issues”.

    A fan,
    Erin

    • http://www.trishacornelius.com/ Trisha Cornelius

      Just to second the not all of Neil’s fans will stop supporting him because of this project. And I am a cross-over fan I unfortunately had no idea who you were (apart from someone Neil regularly tweeted about) until he posted your Gaga Madonna youtube video on his blog. (At that point I was hooked).

  • starlightrainbowbrite

    You are one of the most inspiring artists I’ve come across. I love that you do not back down when defending your art, but you also are not combative and you try damn hard to exemplify truth, realness, intelligence & compassion. “Love the haters” is an incredibly strong statement. I love that.

  • Guest

    Is it true that Evelyn & Evelyn are hermaphrodite conjoined twins? Well, how sweet their triumph by making a record and gaining a ton of fans who accept them just as they are?

  • bolted

    I WANT to believe in this project for all the reasons you say, especially your point that you’re “radically inclusive” as an artist. The twins are outsiders who’ve created a community of two that sustains them and helps them make art–isn’t that the ultimate metaphor of what you want to do?

    But I think that rather than a response to people’s emotional reactions to the project, I would like to hear about its intellectual underpinnings–what do you hope to achieve? What point are you trying to make about disability, identity, and art? I’m not saying that I need you to reduce your work down to an idea–it’s art and that’s impossible. But it’s clear that you’re trying to -say- something about women’s bodies, identity, and pop culture with Who Killed Amanda Palmer–so what are you saying here? I’m interested in this project because it sounds like you want to think about what it means for two people to share one (female) body, a fetishized body that’s considered freakish and is abused–what if they grow up very separate from mainstream culture? Are they one or two or versions of the same? What would their music sound like?

    The problem is that disability isn’t a metaphor. The disabled feminists have a point. How will you incorporate their criticisms into how you think about this project? How will you complicate your metaphor?

  • Sad.

    Thank you, Amanda.

    xoxo.

  • natedobson

    To be horrifically honest, I’m not understanding the concern with the album. It’s not as if Ms. Palmer hasn’t dealt with rape and other such sexually taboo topics on previous records, but somehow the moment that it takes place with a fictional set of conjoined twins, people go into a frenzy. The thing I find most interesting, is that while the Disabled Feminist blog constantly mentions how Amanda’s wording is reinforcing a stereotype, she seems to be fighting from the perspective of a lesser victim, as if she was the weak kid on the playground who can’t defend herself. The thing is, Amanda’s art has always drawn from a dark and twisted place inside vaudeville and cabaret, and the truth of the matter is, these things happened. It honestly is the same argument that was repeated over and over dealing with Oasis. “She’s not being serious enough! She’s making a joke of it!” Yes, the story is light hearted with dark subject matter, but that’s what makes it entertaining. If you are honestly hurt by this, you really must not have been paying attention to any of the other albums that Amanda and the Dolls have put out.

    • MC0101010

      Nate,

      I was actually worried about this piece until I read your comment. It reminded me of Oasis from WKAP and the resulting piece in the Huffington Post. This is the territory Amanda lives in, taking dark stories and giving them a more playful appearance. She had a lot to say about that piece and I think the controversy and the shock value were good for her. I’m still not sure about the taste level of the backstory but I think that you’re right, regardless of whether everyone finds it to be appropriate it is very much in her style to deal with dark and often sexualized issues in her own ineffable style.

    • THB

      I find it interesting that people are saying things like this, because it appears as though many of her fans had not seen that there was a lot happening in the background of nearly every other confronting project that she has done, and thus have missed the point that there is absolutely nothing going on in the background for EE. For Oasis, she was being serious – there was so much to it. EE is a totally different beast, unless something new emerges that we’d been missing. That’s what people are looking for I think.

  • Rhyska

    I haven’t read all the comments, but I’m sure someone pointed out that the whole Evelyn Evelyn organization thing (under which I mean things like no photo policy and Jason Webley’s funny note concerning the deep voice & beard) is GENIUS.

  • UneFemme

    Frankly, I am intrigued by you, Miss Palmer. I’m undecided on you as a musician, but I am excited about you as a performance artist. As such, I expect controversy and contrast. Without it, you’ve lost your teeth.

    The format of outwardly joyful works of art that delve into dark and horrific subject matter is important to me. It is that playfulness that one tries to mask or make light of the fucking awful things that have crept into their lives. It also is common for marginalized individuals to use humor and whimsy to protect the non-marginilized from the demons that dwell deep within. Unfortunately by approaching dark topics in this manner inevitably leads to someone(s) taking offense. (ie. Your playfulness is an inappropriate response to something that so deeply affects me.)

    It does hurt, and those feelings are real and valid. However, it is my opinion that you should not have to compromise your original intent. If art is offensive, write scathing reviews, boycott, and fight. That is your freedom and your right. Conversely, it is an artists choice to move forward with thier controversial, perhaps insensitive, works of art. (Mapplethorpe, Piss Christ, Dung Madonna, et al.) Thus the debate continues: “What is art?”

    * On a personal note: I love a narrative and think that it can create textures within various artforms. Though I would have preferred to discover the entire tale for myself via the music. Too much was revealed too soon. Also, I would have preferred transparency with the performances (as seen on youtube) rather than the costuming. But at this point, I’m just another critic pissing into the fire.

  • Melinda

    One of the reasons why I’m so attached to your music and your art is that you’re real. I’ve been a big fan since 2004, and that was when I borrowed the first DD album and sat in my dorm room submerged in the emotion that comes from that album. With that being said, I have seen the Evelyn Evelyn project from the beginning when I spent nights wondering who were these conjoined twins? and why was Jason Wembly involved wanting to shout “PLEASE EXPLAIN!” Seeing the videos of the sisters made me realize that this was an interesting and great project that you two have produced, helping these conjoined twins create music, and show their limitations in the process, and show that they too can overcome obstacles.

    With that also being said, I’m a teacher, and I come from a family that has had a child be born with primordial dwarfism (for those with backlash it is a real condition) only for baby Angelica to die within hours of her birth, a blind Aunt from a factory explosion, and a cousin who had to have his legs removed because of an infection due to AIDS (he sadly passed away a year later from complications). I’ve seen people go through torture and torment to survive and become someone different someone new, and I have yet to be offended by Amanda, and I’ve grown from my family to become the person who does not judge, you do not know the whole story. That doesn’t excuse me from all judgment, I am still human.

    As a teacher, I’ve seen many students with different disabilities whether they be a mental or physical one. I’ve also seen parents, who in all logic are a perfect specimen of human, come to me and tell me how I can cottle their child in my classroom trying to make sure that they are comfortable. I would tell them that I would not treat their child any different from the other students because of their disability, but change my teaching styles to accommodate their learning (braille for blind students, sign language and a student/teacher who knows sign language for deaf students, physical activities for those who have ADHD, or kinesthetic learners). I would notice a large difference in the self esteem of my differently challenged students (not all liked this change, but a majority did), they appreciated being treated normal, not bringing attention to their differences, but accepting them as well. Some students were accustomed to their special treatment, and didn’t appreciate being treated as “normal.”

    With that being said, I had more problems with their parents behavior than with the students. They would think I was being offensive when askign their child questions, or not being sympathetic to their needs as a different human. These were also the same people who too offense to things in movies and media and wanted some sensitivity. I had a parent become very irate, because we were discussing Sophicles’ Oedipus Rex, and was complaining NOT because he killed his father, NOT because he bedded his mother, NOT because Antigone was his sister and daughter, but because he CHOSE to blind himself as punshiment, and didn’t want her blind daughter to think that blindness was a punishment. I told her that this is the standard cirriculum that was designed by the state, I have no choice BUT to teach it to the students for the giant standardized test at the end of the school year. It is a classic that has been around for years, and I have to teach it. In any case, her daughter loved the story, because there was someone who was blind (by choice or not) and told of his struggles that he had to go through. She believed that it helped her classmates understand her struggles as a blind student.

    WHat I’m getting at is, we all have different sensitivities, whether it be to rape, disabledness, lifestyle choices or what kind of music we listen too. I do not see what Amanda did as wrong, I know of conjoined twins in my school, and they thought the Evelyn project was a great idea (I had to tell them the seceret sorry!) They felt that they were being represented in a fashion, and they can’t wait for the project to surface. If these conjoined twins take no offense, then why should we? They seem to appreciate the message that is surfacing from this project, and want people to see how they live and how they survive.

    Much comments appreciated

    Melinda

    (for those who are wondering, I work in an inner city school primarily for the disabled, their brothers and sisters, and we accept children who live near the high school and want to work in this special type of environment. I’m surrounded by wonderful, inspiring children normal or not, and at the end of this year, I will dearly miss them as I have to move closer to my home. I can’t afford the car ride to the school anymore, and housing in the city is expensive! I will take all that these children have taught me and apply them to my new school and hope that I can help future children learn how to accept and not judge!)

    • Melinda

      Its Sophocles, I should practice what I preach and proof read my whole page before hitting enter! >.< Oh, the shame!

  • frankietweets

    I have to wonder, are you a bit upset that now you were pretty much forced to “confirm” that you are the twins?

    • AlwaysATourist

      I don’t know what you’re talking about. Evelyn and Evelyn are in the US, and Amanda is in Australia…. If Amanda’s in Australia, and Amanda is Evelyn, and Jason is in America, and Jason is Evelyn….. that just doesn’t make sense…

      Also, Amanda Palmer can’t be Evelyn, because she was killed OVER A YEAR AGO! (Creepy Organ Music in background).

      Moral of the story is, I think that there will be enough people playing along to not ruin the magic.

  • http://www.jodigreen.ca/ jodilicious

    Amanda, thank you for putting other things on hold and attempting to address this so quickly. One big thing you haven’t really mentioned here is the level of upset caused by what appears to be a gratuitous inclusion of child pornography in the twins’ backstory. Assuming this isn’t a piece of art directly addressing the exploitation of children for porn (if it was, that would have been clear in your first post on Evelyn Evelyn), having the twins be victims of child pornographers on top of everyone else who has ever victimized or marginalized them does seem like the spectre of child pornography is just thrown in here to make their story more tragic. And this in itself is an exploitation of child pornography victims. I think a lot of people would like to hear your thoughts on that criticism specifically.

    bifemmefatale is absolutely correct that an artist’s intentions don’t mean shite once the art is out there in the world, engaging with listeners or viewers without you there to clarify your intent. This is something I’m constantly telling my (university level visual arts) students. Those of us who love your work and follow your career know that your intent is not to exploit or to capitalize on sensationalizing the tragedy of others, because we know you’re not that kind of person. But in looking at the twins’ story as a separate thing from what we know of you as an artist (at least that part of the story you’ve so far shared here), it’s not at all clear that the mention of child pornography isn’t gratuitous or exploitive.

    “I’m sorry if you were offended” is deflective (and implies, often, that the offender stands by whatever offensive thing she or he has said without any consideration of the privilege inherent in their ability to say it), and I wonder if that’s actually what you mean to say, because you’ve proven in the past that you are the kind of person who can and will say “I’ve fucked up” quite openly and honestly. This is not to say that the entire Evelyn Evelyn project is a fuckup, obviously, just that perhaps some of the language used in describing it was unfortunate and caused misunderstanding. But if this is the case then the “I’m sorry if you were offended” defense may make it worse because of the implied lack of understanding for the position of those offended. And now I sound like I’m calling you out for being a complete and utter asshole which I’m not doing but it’s so hard to have these discussions on the internet and have our intentions fully understood. Which, of course, is a big part of how this blowup started in the first place.

    One thing, though, concerning language: referring to the whole debacle as “drama” could give the impression that you’re blowing off people’s concerns (which you’re clearly not doing).

    • speakwrite

      “…having the twins be victims of child pornographers on top of everyone else who has ever victimized or marginalized them does seem like the spectre of child pornography is just thrown in here to make their story more tragic. And this in itself is an exploitation of child pornography victims. I think a lot of people would like to hear your thoughts on that criticism specifically.”

      Agree. This detail stood out to me as I read their backstory – followed by a baffled “Why?”

      “bifemmefatale is absolutely correct that an artist’s intentions don’t mean shite once the art is out there in the world, engaging with listeners or viewers without you there to clarify your intent. This is something I’m constantly telling my (university level visual arts) students.”

      (parenthetically qualifying myself)

      I have to agree, though. The author is not really the author, and once the work’s out there, the author’s dead. That said, I’m interested in how present Amanda is as the author of her work – not simply as the name and perceived personality attached to it, but as the person who creates it and who continually and with unusual honesty asserts her personality.

  • http://www.conceitedgirl.com Alexa

    Art doesn’t come from purely shiny, happy, lives. There is a little more to it than that. There is only so far art can go without depth. Amanda and Jason created a backstory for the characters of Evelyn Evelyn, much like a novelist or playwright might. I don’t understand the issues. Life isn’t always pretty, but art, among many other things, is about transcendence. There is no hate here. I suppose anyone can be offended by anything, but making yourselves small can leave you closed to love. And art, for that matter… I think that is the point being made here.

  • Lumpkins McBumpadong

    Im gonna fuck me some haters. Who wants some o’ dis?!

    • Mab

      Charming. And mean. Way to go, Lumpkins.

  • xolotl

    Huh, seems I totally missed the drama. I was totally taken in by the whole story, back when they released the Elephant Elephant 7″ – it actually wasn’t until I got the thing in the mail and started looking at it that I realized what was actually going on, but I still really relish the time I spent being duped, and IMO it didn’t detract from the story being told. Pretty much exactly what Amanda was saying re: JT LeRoy. I’m glad I got in on the ground floor on this one.

    Anyway, just wanted to pop in and show some support for the project; it’s always seemed pretty whimsical to me as well, and I was kind of surprised to find out that there was all this other stuff going on.

  • johnhartness

    Wow. Just wow. On the one hand, I hate to see an artist get so hammered about a project that certainly wasn’t intended to hurt anybody’s feelings. On the other hand, thank god there are people who can still create something that can move so many people to talk and feel and respond so viscerally to something, ANYTHING in our over-jaded society.

    Full disclosure – I’m a Neil fan that started reading here months ago to figure out what this Amanda Palmer person was all about and how this odd Who Killed Amanda Palmer? book happened. I’ve stuck around because I think I admire the views AFP has on art and artists and their worth and how we understand and express that worth and the interaction between artists and audience and all those other business-y and development-y things that artists need to spend time focusing on. Honestly, I’m still not nuts about the art, but I’m so frickin’ enamored with the way she/you think(s) about art and its place in society that I’m a huge fan of THAT.

    I hope that made some semblance of sense. Somewhere. But here’s my thing – the whole deal might not have been explained well enough to keep everyone in the world’s feelings from being hurt, but at least the project made people feel something. And that’s a positive. I doubt I’ll buy the record, it doesn’t sound like my type of thing. But I’m a lot more likely now to buy the record than without any of the story/controversy/concept being explained to me. So yeah, you gotta love the haters, because at least they’re making a connection.

    And it does seem like a badass piece of art, way better than that thing where Garth Brooks tried to pretend to be somebody else to record a rock album but really ended up as Garth Brooks with a soul patch.

  • Clarissa

    Great post! ;) I wish you could bring the Evelyn Evelyn show to Brazil.

  • Zed

    These comments are like a bingo card of any -ism discussion, as is your blog. “I’m sorry if you were offended”, “I know a disabled person and they’re okay with it”, “Stop taking it so seriously”, “Shouldn’t you be concerned with X instead of Z?”, “It’s art”, “You’re SUPPOSED to be offended”

    These are all deflections and excuses. As is this blog post. There is no substance here, no apology. The fans in these comments do not do a service to you, Amanda. And you do a disservice to yourself. I’m happy you have the privilege to only be concerned with your peace of mind. I won’t be supporting you or your projects any longer.

  • fruitlessrhyme

    First, I want to thank you for taking the time to respond in a calm and rational manner. I have to say that I am deeply unsatisfied by the actual content of your response – but I’m relieved that it is not, in itself, some variation on “fuck the haters.” It’s important that you understand that, in spite of some peoples’ bad behavior, the criticisms being leveled at this project are founded in intelligent thought, discussion, and awareness of social justice . . . and also that many of the people leveling those criticisms are anything but “haters.” We care about art. We care about YOUR art. We don’t, however, think that art is more important than the lives of marginalized people.

    “to get clear, i always have to stop, dig deep within myself and ask:
    were my intentions good? could i really stand behind them? was anybody really harmed?
    if i’ve actually harmed someone (and the harm isn’t just a drama in their heads), have i owned my responsibility?”

    I think everyone understands that you didn’t intend to harm, marginalize or exploit anyone, but spending your blog post talking about your good intentions and love for your work doesn’t actually constitute an excuse or an apology for the harm that you have caused. Disabled fans have told you that they are hurt by the EE project – as you haven’t actually taken responsibility and said “I’m sorry I harmed you” (not a variation of “I’m sorry you were offended” – turning responsibility back on the injured parties), it doesn’t seem to me that you’ve lived up to your own axiom (which is a good and important one).

    The story in the album may be engaging, and the music may be fantastic – I wouldn’t be surprised, as a longtime fan of your work. (Please note that these objections are not just coming from uninitiated Gaiman crossover fans – for goodness sakes.) However, you’re not really addressing the issues outlined in that Disabled Feminists post, and I wish you would. Exploitation, treating disabled people as “exceptional” in a fashion that makes them almost other than human, almost fantastical in a creepy way, telling a story in which disabled people are “saved” by able-bodied people who have all the real agency . . . these things are problematic. Art is important, but it doesn’t erase these issues, or excuse them.

    As a privileged, able-bodied person who really has a lot of learning and work of my own to do, I’m not sure what practical suggestions to make about dealing with the problems with this project, particularly since you still aren’t really acknowledging that there are deep-rooted problems with your actions, and not just other peoples’ perceptions. I hope that other fans and activists will be able to provide better feedback, and that you’ll listen to it it – I hope you’ll read the feedback you’ve already received more closely – and I hope you’ll try responding again, better.

    As for the fans who keep trying to brush this criticism off as hysteria, “political correctness,” censorship, or a lack of appreciation for art . . . please take a step back and consider. I understand what it’s like to admire an artist, to want to defend them – but, I don’t think you’re doing Amanda any favors. In the past, I’ve always thought that Amanda’s fans were socially aware types, for the most part; try thoughtfully reading the Disabled Feminists article, and learning a bit about ableism. Please remember that criticism isn’t censorship, and that calling out a harmful ism is not an attack. Art doesn’t exist in its own vacuum, people: it reflects human experience, hopefully, and it exists to be discussed and challenged. Dismissing activists defending marginalized groups as hysterical or whiny is the kind of bullshit I expect from Republican politicians; I’m very disappointed to see so many of you doing it.

    • bodnoirbabe

      “Art doesn’t exist in its own vacuum, people: it reflects human experience, hopefully, and it exists to be discussed and challenged.”

      That is a very good point. I don’t think Amanda is discounting what everyone is saying. I think she’s just extremely close to the project and maybe doesn’t understand all the rage since her ideas came from a place of love. She didn’t create this to hurt, offended, or abuse. She did it to make something beautiful. And now what she has created has hurt people. It’s a lot to take in.

      I think Amanda understands that something went wrong here, but when you are the creator of the piece in question, it’s hard to think of it objectively. Amanda’s blog is trying to explain where this came from. Give her some more time to work through everything else. Once she’s had more time to consider it, I’m sure she will fully understand everything.

      You can’t expect an artist to feel one way about their art and then be able to grasp another way about it when it’s presented. It’s her baby. And like all mothers, her baby is beautiful, no matter how ugly the world tells her it is.

      • Katink

        She’s not HURT people. People are CHOOSING to be hurt. We always have a choice in our emotions, in how we respond to something.

        • elusis

          That is the cop-out answer every person throws up when someone says “what you just said or did was hurtful.”

          You may not have intended to step on that person’s foot, but you did it, and saying “well you could choose not to let it bother you if you weren’t so sensitive” is kind of douchey in the extreme. And also a really common derail: http://www.derailingfordummies.com/#sensitive

          • Katink

            “You may not have intended to step on that person’s foot, but you did it”
            Confusing physical pain with emotional response is the standard cop-out for pretty much everyone who doesn’t think they have any control over their own emotions.

            If I step on your foot, I’ve caused you pain. If I call you a stupid idiot, you have a CHOICE whether or not to take that personally. By choosing to take that personally (and be “hurt”) you are giving my words weight. You are saying that I matter to your opinion of yourself. Or you can choose to just laugh and say “I don’t care what someone on the internet calls me, that doesn’t bother me.” See, choice.

            Same thing with someone making up a fictional character. It has nothing to do with you. It’s not directed at you, yet all these people CHOOSE to get upset and take it personally.

          • thedreadedleftist

            Katnik, it sounds like you’re conflating the experience of having emotions, and the experience of choosing how we react to those emotions. You are correct in that we can choose how we respond to the emotions we experience. However, we do not choose how we feel. The limbic system, or the “emotional brain,” releases chemicals that trigger moods. This process is entirely involuntary. We can choose to prolong our moods, or to shake them off, but we can’t stop them from happening.

            This point brings up your second conflation: moods with well-reasoned objections. I do not object to “Evelyn Evelyn” because of my feelings about it. I object to it because the disabled community, who has the sole right to decide whether an artist’s portrayal of the disabled is acceptable, objects to it. Does every single disabled person object? No. But many do, and so I take my cue from them.

          • Kat

            >But many do, and so I take my cue from them.
            Ah, well, come back and talk to me when you can make up your own mind about things rather than just taking cues from other people. That’s how mobs get started. (Gee, I don’t want to burn this witch necessarily, but the majority of this mob does, so LET’S BURN HER!” It MUST be the right thing to do!)

          • thedreadedleftist

            Kat, perhaps I was not clear enough about *why* I take my cue from the disabled community in this case. Contrary to your assertion that I am unable to form my own opinions, I form my own opinions *with the input of those most informed about the issue*. Since we are discussing whether a certain portrayal of disability is appropriate, it is the disabled community who can speak with the greatest depth of knowledge and experience.

        • http://amber.dreamwidth.org/ Amber

          Do we? When somebody close to you dies and you experiencing grief, are you choosing to go through that suffering? If somebody physically injures you, can you choose not to feel that pain?

          We can choose how we react to hurt, how we deal with it, and whether or not to vocalize it, but feelings and emotions don’t have an “off” switch.

        • phaetonschariot

          Actually, I don’t. I have a biologically brain chemistry that is medically defined as abnormal, as dysfunctional, that needs to be medicated to make me even close to being able to function in normal society. Do I expect people to cater to this? No, of course not, I put a lot of responsibility on myself to remove myself when I know I’m going to be reacting unreasonably to things. But even were I “normal”, I could not control my emotions. No one can. You can attempt to control how you respond to something, yes, but emotions are visceral and immediate. If you’re angry you can’t change the fact that you felt anger, you can only consider why you’re angry and think about the situation from another angle to attempt to diffuse the anger.

          It is, in fact, incredibly upsetting when you have been hurt by something to be told that you are choosing to be hurt. It also carries a message that you don’t deserve to feel hurt and that you’re, in fact, wrong to feel hurt.

          I completely believe that she did not intend to hurt people. But hurt is not something that needs an intentional two way relationship. It’s something that comes from the fact that people look at the world differently. To use a non-controversial example, in a world where our lives are completely defined by our favourite colour, if I say “I think people who like grey have no taste whatsoever” I may have no idea that my good friend sitting next to me really loves grey (because you don’t talk about favourite colours in polite conversation, that always just ends in arguments, and we’re just at a stage in our relationship where we really dig each other but don’t know every detail of each other’s lives) and is now quite taken aback and upset to discover that someone he or she really respected could think so little of an opinion they hold, something that’s central to their very being.

          I actually find it very hard to understand how anyone could hold this belief, and I can understand almost *any* belief. It makes me think that either you’ve never been hurt, or you have been hurt but have been so thoroughly convinced by people who side with the one who (likely unintentionally) hurt you that you didn’t deserve to feel that way that now you think no one else does either.

          • Kat

            “if I say “I think people who like grey have no taste whatsoever” I may have no idea that my good friend sitting next to me really loves grey”

            And your friend has a choice whether or not to let the words of others upset her. No matter what your intent, she still has a choice to take it personally or not. She can choose to internalize your words, or she can choose to think that your opinion is YOURS and doesn’t need to have anything to do with her.

            “It also carries a message that you don’t deserve to feel hurt and that you’re, in fact, wrong to feel hurt”
            No, you’re just piling more emotions on something that’s very simple, in a defensive measure to protect yourself. It’s not all about YOU YOU YOU. What other people say is their opinion. You have a choice to let it affect you or not. Who cares what ‘message’ other people might be sending? Your assumptions about the message, your choice to feel hurt from it.

    • susanstohelit

      Yes. This. Exactly. It’s one thing to write about marginalized people from the perspective of someone with privilege, who acknowledges that privilege and still would like to create art about something unique. It is quite another thing to pretend to be a marginalized person, and in doing so endorse some terrible stereotypes about disabled people (they’re freaks who don’t know how to function in normal society without the help of the able-bodied) and in so doing, to throw in a sexual abuse past that, I dunno, makes the twins more interesting, somehow? Their salvation all that more dramatic? Yes, disabled individuals are at a very high risk of sexual assault, compared to the able-bodied population, which is important and serious and maybe if you’d actually highlighted this very real problem that would be one thing but you didn’t do that. You write a story in which you encourage Evelyn Evelyn to press charges against their abuser, but that’s not the same thing as ACTUALLY helping people who have been abused. Disabled abuse survivors is not a persona you can assume because it’s fun and makes a cool story. People have raised serious concerns here, and I hope you’ll consider them, rather than dismissing them with a bullshit “well, I had good intentions and I’m sorry you were offended *shrug*”. That’s not an excuse – as an intelligent, engaged artist, you have a responsibility to OWN your privilege and OWN the way your art affects people.

      • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

        “freaks who don’t know how to function in normal society without the help of the able-bodied”
        This really encapsulates very well a big problem I’ve been having with this, the whole ‘they were getting nowhere and amounting to nothing until we found them!’ aspect.

      • pigeonpie

        The way I see it is this:

        If this would be racefail if you told the same story in, say, blackface- two white kids showing how two black kids overcame Tremendous Odds, then maybe it’s worth thinking twice about. Racism is something we know to look for. Ableism is more insidious- it flies under the radar. Changing the context might make it easier to see the issues raised.

        What can be done about it now? I don’t know. I agree that it’d be great for the twins to be more empowered. Maybe they LET you guys come along on tour with them after building a devoted crowd of their own. Or, maybe they could just be non-conjoined twins. Twins that had overcome something horrible to achieve something great, but without the whole disabled exploitation angle.

      • esmertina

        “Disabled abuse survivors is not a persona you can assume because it’s fun and makes a cool story.” …

        First, why not, and second, then what reasons are “allowed”?

        What about because it allows a different and more compelling story to be told than otherwise could? Because it is artistically challenging in an inspirational way?

        Do you believe no fictional characters that are abuse survivors or disabled should be created except by artists who are themselves disabled abuse survivors — because anyone else who does so is not OWNing their “privilege”?

        For that matter … do you believe no disabled artists should be allowed to create and give voice to characters that are able-bodied?

        Do you want to educate about marginalization with the ultimate goal of ending it, or do you want to cling to it and reinforce it through your own words and behavior?

        I actually have a much worse taste in my mouth about the people who object to EE now, after reading all the arguments, than I initially did. I thought there must just be some merit that I did not understand yet. But the more I read, the more I see:

        “you don’t have the right to do speak, and if you speak anyway, we will find something in your speech to attack you for, and if you then apologize, we will say sorry doesn’t make it better, and if you STILL keep speaking, we will lather, rinse and repeat until you shut up and go away and leave us alone with our pain that you are not qualified to understand.”

        It reminds me of the shanty wars back when I was in college, when the anti-apartheid people had their shanty and the anti-homelessness people had their shanty and they vandalized each others’ shanties while bickering endlessly and publicly about which shanty had the more legitimate claim to victimhood, driving people away from both causes until apartheid ended, much to the disappointment of many of the anti-apartheid people who had become attached to “the principle” and resolutely kept their shanty up regardless.

        • Silan

          What I think comes into the why not is that is my, and apparently many others’ , opinion freedom is not unconditional. It only goes as far as to not to impede the freedom of others. That is one of the myriad of things that is wrong with this project. It harms the freedom of others by thoughtlessly reinforcing debilitating stereotypes and tropes.

          If it had been created in a different way, and with many of our concerns in mind, it might have been interesting. Unfortunately it isn’t.

    • Anshl

      I don’t think we can judge how issues of (dis)ability are handled in the Evelyn Evelyn project until we actually listen to the album. It’s possible for able-bodied people to tell a story via music about two people with very different life experiences from them, who are marginalized and oppressed in a way the story-tellers are not, who have suffered in ways and for reasons the story-tellers will never experience – it’s possible for this to be done without it being offensive or unacceptably problematic.

      To address one of your points, I do think, in the frame of the project, Amanda and Jason do not have all the agency – Evelyn and Evelyn are the ones who contacted them, their privacy is being guarded due to their own request, Amanda didn’t post her initial blog post about them until they’d approved it, etc. The twins may be shy to the point where they have to be coaxed to do this and that, but it’s negotiation. Evelyn and Evelyn are shy in a way which is effectively a disability, especially in the music industry. Amanda and Jason act as social buffers and guides, they aren’t treating the twins like objects, children, or idiots. Based on what we’ve seen of the story so far, I don’t think the story can be easily shoe-horned into a certain narrative of exploitation which you’re evoking.

      The most *potentially* problematic aspect of how two disabled people are being portrayed lies in the fact that Amanda and Jason are often speaking for them. But it’s been emphasized that the twins have control over what is said about them; and they have their own twitter and maybe they’ll get more comfortable with their fans and start talking to them.

      I think it’s very interesting that there are no images of the twins, except for some obviously non-realistic cartoons on the cover art, and that one photo of them from behind. It’s … a contradiction to the kind of spectatorship directed at disabled people. One effect of the project is that we (um, I think I mean “we who are not conjoined twins/disabled”) can’t *look* at the twins, we HAVE to listen to them.

      • barthes

        hear hear

      • apperpai

        This!

      • Rosemary

        You do get that Evelyn Evelyn are not real people, right?

        • Joel S

          You are aware that they are real so long as we say so?
          The power of belief is mighty, brother.
          Join the Light Side.
          Our cookies have chocolate chips.

          • bunners

            In that case, I’m choosing to believe that I’m 5’6″, instead of 5’2″.

            The power of belief is mighty, but that doesn’t mean it can actually *change reality*. IMO, lying to your fanbase is a pretty shitty thing to do.

          • homasapiens

            I believe I can fly.

    • Camilla

      This is an excellent response, thank you.

    • eviltaco

      It is *your responsibility* if you’re offended by a work of fiction. Straight out. It’s not her responsibility, as she said directly, to coddle you or to try to pat you on the head and tell you it’ll be ok. It’s her job to continue to put out art. Art, by nature, is inflammatory. It’s supposed to provoke. Apparently, it worked.

      A lot of this “ableism” business mystifies me. So the problem is what, that someone wrote a story about disabled people, while not being disabled? Or is it that the story involved cliches? Like, the disabled person possessing a skill and becoming world famous for it? Oh, but no, they had to be helped by an abled person, because nobody ever gets famous by being discovered, everyone just magically sells records.

      I read that disabled feminists article. It was self promotion, overreaction, and political correctness run crazy. It’s someone crying foul because someone else created a fictional disabled person, and didn’t turn them into a twilight-style glistening paragon of goodly virtue and power. I don’t know about you, but twilight bored the hell out of me. This record would suck if it were “and they’re conjoined, and came from a great life, and became famous, the end”. Struggle creates art. Breeds creativity.

      I’ll bet you guys were really friggin bent when the who released tommy. After all, who cares if the music is amazing and the story told by it is compelling? All that matters is there’s a handicapped person displayed as less than perfect all of the time. How dare they?

      • MK

        Okay, correct me if I’m wrong but I am pretty sure starting your comment with “It is *your responsibility* if you’re offended by a work of fiction” invalidates your whole second paragraph? Which consists of trying to work out what she’s done to offend people?

        Oh no, wait, it was rhetorical. You haven’t actually, like, READ the points of the people who have issues with this, have you? I don’t see any way to get “crying foul because someone else created a fictional disabled person, and didn’t turn them into a twilight-style glistening paragon of goodly virtue and power” out of any of that unless you just skimmed it for buzzwords to complain about.

        Not that I like this internet witch-hunt business, but strawmen don’t help anybody, mate.

      • Em

        Spoken like a true abled person. The whole point, and problem, of this debacle is that disabled twins ARE being displayed as shiny and interesting and fantastical. It is a fetishization of what disabled people actually go through. I know I would not want to be represented as a twilight style glittering paragon of virtue. If you’d pay attention for five seconds and even attempt to step outside of your own privilege, you would understand that the problem is that disabled people are being used to glam up a story — not that the disabled people therein aren’t glammed up enough. We aren’t plot devices to be used at whim.

        • DimiKos

          “We aren’t plot devices to be used at whim.”

          Everything in life is a plot device. If we were to try and write art and stories without using anything that really happens in life 1-what would it be about? 2-would anyone get it?

          All art has to reflect on real life for it to make sense, for it to have context, for people to understand it, get involved with it and make an emotional connection with it.

          You are in fact marginalising yourself if you say to someone, well, you can write art about anything you want, as long as it’s not this group of people.

          • speakwrite

            Everything in a story is a plot device. (If you assume a plot-driven valuation of art – French film and Joyce’s Ulysses constitute fun alternatives, with just as man sex jokes as the plot-driven Americana we know and love.)

            Everything in life can inspire a story. However, fiction and real life are separate. When you create a work of fiction and deploy it into the real world, you must realise that it will affect people. It is not my responsibility if I read a piece of fiction that depicts bisexuals as whores or one that depicts women as wannabe-intellectual upstarts. As an able-bodied person, I don’t know what it’s like to be disabled, nor do I know precisely what’s going to be offensive – neither does Amanda – neither does any able-bodied artist of any calibur.

            However, it is the artist’s responsibility to be sensitive. I would not (could not) write a novel about the hardships of being an African-American Ivy League student in the 1930s, say – even though I’m North American and a university student.

            “All art has to reflect on real life for it to make sense, for it to have context, for people to understand it, get involved with it and make an emotional connection with it.”

            Certain artistic movements have tried very hard not to reflect on real life at all to get their point across. Of course, one could argue (I would; most probably would) that this attempt itself reflects their political, social and intellectual context.

            My problem with this statement is that you aren’t saying anything about the issue at hand – that many people who are disabled are finding Amanda and Jason’s depiction of disabled people offensive. Clearly Evelyn Evelyn reflects on real life – it reflects realistically on the fantastical appeal of seeing some mystical Other overcome great odds to become a cross between a musical talent and a circus sideshow. People ARE getting involved and having VERY emotional responses to it.

            And people are understanding it differently. You say “for people to understand it” as if there is one, right way to understand a work of art. And that, my friend, defeats the whole purpose of art.

            “You are in fact marginalising yourself if you say to someone, well, you can write art about anything you want, as long as it’s not this group of people.”

            Please look up what “marginalising” means before you use it… No one is saying that no one can write about disabled people. No one is even saying that able people shouldn’t write about disabled people. What certain people responding to Evelyn Evelyn are saying is that, when disabled people are going to be depicted, they would prefer it to be in a sensitive light; they believe this is not an instance of that. They would prefer it to be in a light that understands the disabled perspective; they believe this is not an instance of that.

            They are reacting against marginalisation. Evelyn Evelyn is, literally, a musical freakshow. The disabled community who is reacting negatively is ASSERTING itself, arguing that it is NOT a freakshow – that is the opposite of self-marginalisation. That is self-assertion.

            I’m neither here nor there on Evelyn Evelyn. In this ideal world of artistic vacuum where everything can be judged for “pure” artistic value outside of any social or political issues it might touch (which people who like it may like to ignore), neither the premise nor the music does much for me. On the other hand, I have little experience with disability studies or awareness – most of my activism and awareness are gender- and sexuality-based – nor am I disabled myself – so my personal response to Evelyn Evelyn being disabled was almost nonexistent. All this said, I’m a big fan of Amanda Palmer.

            All THAT said, I’m willing and interested to hear what the disabled community has to say about this issue. I find it educational and enlightening, and I feel like it wrenched my awareness open – uncomfortably – but for the better.

            If you like an artist, and that artist does something others find problematic, your best bet is NOT to defend the artist on the grounds of “I love this artist, therefore any problem you find with this artist is negligible and wrong.” Your best bet is to listen, and learn. No one is trying to convince anyone to hate Amanda Palmer. That would be, shall we say, a bit rash.

            People are simply trying to get you – and Amanda and Jason – and other fans, and other PEOPLE – to think.

            So get those cogs and wheels turning.

        • Animalin

          I have been reading this with increasing interest and just a sense of hm…

          First off, I guess presentation is in order.
          For a great deal of my life I was one of those nasty “able-bodied” people who had disabled friends and hung out and did things together…. so I probably scarred her for life.

          The later part ofmy life (haven’t hit 40 yet) I am extremly disabled. Not conjoint twin, but I have to live with another partner that never goes away and that is pain. Disabeling pain. $1000 out of pocket medication to just be able to eat, sleep and walk disabled.

          Yes, I wholehearted bought the story at first. Call me a special kind of stupid. (LOL)
          Having dealt with almost all the issues presented in the backstory (exept the conjoint aspect…I guess Siamese twins is too racial?) I of course took it to heart.
          People going through this kind of stuff do exist and will continue to do so.

          But back to the key part for me…

          I still don’t get the “able-body” issue. If I need something done, 75% of the time I need help from my very ablebodied husband.
          Does he sometimes take over things I could be doing?
          Heck yeah! To maybe give me an extra day of low pain.

          The “twins” shyness, you can compare to moving to a country and not have the language spoken as your primary one. (did that…English is not my first language)

          As started before, I have BEEN able bodied, but not since 15+ years. I have been in both fields and I find that the people who are disabled around here are complaining too much and taking a bit too much personally.

          As for AFP apology… well, a very wise man said that an apology should have 3 things:
          I am sorry
          I know I did wrong
          What can I do to make it better

          Kind of missing the last part and the second part is hidden behind “art” discussions.
          I never for a second thought that AFP wanted to hurt someone (and remember, I am a special kind of stupid and bought the story! LOL!) and all I can do now is laugh.

          Yes, discussions are great. I love them.
          But tell me one “able bodied” person who hasn’t got help in life by another person?
          And tell me about one “dis abled” (prefer situation challanged ;) ) person who has not asked for help, at at least one time.
          Show me those two and you will have liars.

          I just think we are kicking a dead horse to glue now. That is, those of the posters who can. I guess people like me who can’t kick anymore has to look on in envy…LOL!

          Was the project poorly thought out….nah. Anyone who manage to pull one on me are good!

          Malin

      • churchillclaps

        Wait, wait.

        If you’re offended by fiction, it’s YOUR responsibility? Are you kidding me? If an artist/author/whatever portrayed a rape victim in a way that offended the reader, it is in no way the reader’s fault. Don’t you dare put the blame on the audience. The people who are offended are offended for a *reason*, and it is not their responsibility.

        I’m not even going to address the other parts of your argument, because I think the other two replies cover it, but honestly.

        • Kat

          “The people who are offended are offended for a *reason*, and it is not their responsibility. ”

          Seriously, this is the most ridiculous thing I’ve read all week. It gets right at the heart of the whiny, Victim-mentality behavior that’s driving this drama.

          You have a CHOICE in your emotions. Other people are not responsible for your emotions, and for making sure you don’t CHOOSE to get offended. You go through life living in reaction to what other people say and do, and then BLAMING *THEM* for it? Seriously? Wow. Take some personal responsibility for your life. Wake the hell up. You’re part of the problem.

          • http://bliumchik.dreamwidth.com/ MK

            Excuse me? We CHOOSE our emotions? So if some guy came up and punched your brother in the face, you could CHOOSE not to get pissed off about it? If your significant other left you, you could CHOOSE to not care? If somebody you admire and respect told you they didn’t think you’d ever achieve anything, you could CHOOSE not to feel bad about that?

            Don’t you think if we could, we would?

            I am pretty sure you’re not a sociopath, just statistically speaking, so I guess you just believe we have a choice in SOME emotions. You know. The ones OTHER people have.

          • Kat

            “So if some guy came up and punched your brother in the face, you could CHOOSE not to get pissed off about it? If your significant other left you, you could CHOOSE to not care?”

            Yes, you could choose that. (You could also, in more realistic terms, choose not to let it affect you past a momentary processing of your choice to feel angry or hurt). Those are extreme examples, but yes. Just like you can choose not to feel hurt when someone calls you stupid or ugly. Or you can choose not to let someone else’s opinion of you (good OR bad) rule your day. It’s possible. It’s awesome. it’s freeing. But it goes against most people who are completely bound up in BLAMING other people for their emotions, and not taking any sort of responsibility for their own feelings. It’s ok, most people are taught that it’s normal. But you do have a CHOICE. You’re just choosing to believe otherwise.

            “Don’t you think if we could, we would?” No, actually, I don’t think you would. As we can see all over this board, it’s much easier just to blame other people for our emotions. It takes a lot of emotional work and practice to not take the words of others personally, and to realize you have a choice.

          • phaetonschariot

            Actually I refuse to blame anyone else for my emotions. I know exactly why I have my emotions and work *extremely* hard to work past them. That doesn’t mean I can stop feeling them.

          • Lucretia

            But the point is, if you don’t like how it makes you feel then don’t watch/read it! Not everything is designed to appeal to everyone. Just because you’re offended doesn’t mean something needs to be removed from the library shelves. All this bashing of the EE project borders alarmingly on though policing a desire push for censorship.

          • fruitlessrhyme

            No. Criticism is NOT censorship. To censor someone, you have to be in a position of power over the. The opposite is true here: the EE project contributes to the further marginalization of an already marginalized group (unintentionally, I’m sure, but that doesn’t actually make it better). To call this out and advocate against it – to ask that artists respect the life experiences of others, rather than co-0pting them – is not remotely censorship.

          • phaetonschariot

            The thing is, it doesn’t actually matter whether or not I personally am offended or whether or not I personally buy the album. It’s like people telling racist/sexist jokes, or jokes about rape – I can choose not to hang out with that person, but the people who do hang out with that person are being exposed to the messages that they’re sending. And then that person starts thinking that all sorts of problematic things are okay. Entertainment is a reflection of how a society thinks and it has a very strong influence in the opposite direction as well. In a worst case scenario it perpetuates hatred and violence, and people can’t choose not to be affected by that. Obviously EE is not going to lead to people beating up conjoined twins, but it will affect the ways people think about those with disabilities, and that’s a huge concern.

            (For some reason the only buttons I have are “cancel” and “post as guest” but if it shows me as guest this is, indeed, phaetonschariot

          • http://bliumchik.dreamwidth.com/ MK

            Seriously, nobody’s saying we have zero control over our attitudes. But this kind of blanket denial is akin to people saying “you wouldn’t be depressed if you’d just try harder to cheer up.”

          • churchillclaps

            This argument is becoming annoyingly similar to one regarding warnings for rape that showed up during the summer.

            My point is that if something happens and it upsets you, how much control do you really have over that? I suppose I see what you’re saying, but I don’t think you understand how close your argument comes to victim-blaming.

            No, other people are not responsible for my emotions. But if they do something that upsets me, that’s not my fault. If I do something as a result of that emotion, then yes, that’s my responsibility. But don’t blame the victim for feeling emotions.

          • oneiricackle

            Ah. The degree to which people get emotional is down to individual differences but most people can learn to control their emotions (healthily i.e. not suppress) if they know what’s going on. This is to say that the principles that are behind anger management do work. You might disagree with something, be that an approach/idea/performance etc, but when it comes to taking offence there is a sizeable element of feedback involved that is of your own making. It involves becoming irritated at whatever irritation is already present which amounts to feeling even more irritation and a snowballing effect. It has been argued that anger/irritation is due to the cognitive dissonance that emerges from the discrepancy between our expectations of how things should be and how they turn out to be. This means that another course of action can be that of adjusting your expectations to allow for the mistakes people make or the ways people can not meet your initial expectations.

          • churchillclaps

            Yes, sure. That doesn’t mean they don’t have them. You can control some aspects – like if you’re angry, you can detach yourself from the situation and let yourself objectively view the situation. I simply think that to say that it’s *your* fault that you’re having an emotional reaction is a terrible argument. Sometimes people *can* make themselves feel a certain way if they convince themselves they’re meant to be happy/sad/whatever, but that doesn’t invalidate their emotions entirely.

          • oneiricackle

            You can feel the beginnings of an emotion physiologically before you “feel” it psychologically but that is only a heuristic general response until you feed it with your own sense of urgency. What you are responding to is a preliminarily sense of threat that may or may not be substantiated. It doesn’t require detachment to not go to the next level of agitation just an awareness that your body is responding habitually to certain conditions. The quicker you get there the less stress hormones are going to be lingering in your system. The whole difficulty with “My fault” “their fault” exists because people assume there is a strong causation when it is really much weaker. Yes, the outside source is the trigger but what you react to is what you have conditioned yourself to respond to (which can be a very good thing for survival purposes but is often a false alarm better-safe-than-sorry response). Violent people sometimes blame the way a person looked at them for an outburst but it is because they’ve conditioned themselves (often accidentally) to be over sensitive to the stimulus. Anyone especially over-sensitised is obviously going to be unable to shake off feelings but is right to blame someone else for that?

          • Kat

            “Anyone especially over-sensitised is obviously going to be unable to shake off feelings but is right to blame someone else for that?”

            Thank you for actually making SENSE. It’s like wading uphill through sleepwalkers in here! Over-sensitized sleepwalkers who just don’t know any better than to reflexively blame others for their taking things personally.

          • Kat

            “But don’t blame the victim for feeling emotions.”
            Don’t blame other people for CAUSING your emotions. You are responsible for your own emotions. No one else can “cause” them. I’m not talking about physical harm (rape) here, I’m talking about your response to someone else’s words. You cannot hurt someone with words. That person CHOOSES to be hurt in response to something you say. They can also not take it personally, not give that person’s opinion any weight in their life. “Resentment is allowing someone to live rent-free in a room in your head”.

            It’s incredibly freeing not to care what other people say. It’s not EASY, but it’s do-able and it’s remarkably awesome.

          • churchillclaps

            Everything you’re saying is, to a degree, true. Certainly people can choose to not react to something that upsets them, but I don’t know how you can argue that people choose their emotions. I am generally someone who lets things roll off of me, but I still can become sad or happy or angry or excited. I have never been able to make myself feel *nothing* and I’m glad for that.

            I honestly just believe that it is common decency to apologize to someone if you upset them. Even if I think they’re overreacting, I still apologize for causing them distress because I feel bad about having hurt their feelings. I am of the opinion that your argument borders very closely on victim-blaming, even if you don’t think it does. If you upset someone, you don’t just ignore it and say it’s their fault for having an emotional reaction. Or at least, I don’t.

          • Kat

            “I still apologize for causing them distress ”
            See, you still don’t get it. You are not CAUSING the distress. You haven’t UPSET anyone. They have chosen to respond poorly to your words. (It might be an unconscious choice due to a lifetime of societal training that one must always blame others for your emotions, but it’s still choice, because there’s another – better – healthier- way).

          • Clarina

            Does your argument lose anything in translation if phrased “Sticks and stones may break my bones but names will never hurt me”?

          • homasapiens

            Kat, I notice you repeat this over and over; “You have a choice in your emotions.” Is this a battle you are fighting in your self?

          • Kat

            Nope, I’ve figured it out. I keep repeating it because people don’t understand and don’t get it. Sure, it’s easier to just blame others for your emotions. But it’s not right.

            If people were insisting that the sky was orange, I’d keep repeating “the sky is blue”. It doesn’t mean I’m battling the belief that the sky is blue in my mind….it’s that others don’t get it.

          • homasapiens

            except that, if people were saying “the sky is orange” the sky itself would prove them wrong.
            So that is a crusade you will never need to take.

            Where and how did you learn this bit of information about emotions?

      • some1some1

        The “Tommy” comparison has come up again and again.

        There is, simply, NO comparison and here’s a story to tell you why.

        Pete Townsend is the lead songwriter of a popular, young, rising band called “The Who.” He sends out a newsletter very frequently and answers thousands of letters, maintaining a very personal, sometimes overly personal dialog with his growing and passionate fanbase.

        He starts writing about this incredible guy he found on a street corner, busking. He strikes up a conversation, and they walk into a pub for a pint. The kid goes to the corner pinball machine, and starts ranking up the scores. Pete is amazed and writes about it in his newsletter. He says he wants to learn more about this kid, and maybe collaborate with him, as his music is fantastic.

        Pete keeps sending updates to his fans about his new friend (who’s name we learn is “Tommy.”) It’s not easy going, as Tommy’s very private and even though he knows and trusts Pete, getting him to open up about his past (instead of just sing about it) isn’t easy. But it turns out, Tommy was blind-deaf-and-dumb once upon a time! When he was healed, they called it a miracle! He had his own camp. He was such a celebrity that young girl got her head split open trying to get close to him!

        There’s dark hints about abuse early in his life, but nothing specific, and something about a murder that Pete can’t get him to talk about…

        But he will sing about it. He’s been writing songs about his life. Pete has agreed to produce his first album. The rest of The Who will be the studio musicians. They’ve been building hype for it by donning blindfolds, earpugs, and mouth-gags and using red-tipped canes to get to the stage, where they perform covers of Tommy’s songs.

        Tommy’s album has been in the works for three years, during which Tommy himself has been very much in seclusion. He’s very shy and won’t do interviews in person, instead corresponding by mail, or appointing Pete or his manager or his best friend as his spokesman at a press event. There’s one photo available, but it looks a lot like Who lead singer Roger Daltrey, which causes some confusion. Could it be Tommy’s not real? Naw, this is just one more way he’s guarding his privacy. There’s nothing the media likes better then someone they can’t reach, and anticipation builds.

        The album is coming out soon. There are tour-dates. The Who will be Tommy’s backing band. Everyone’s excited.

        The album ships. The singer is called “Tommy” on the box, except it’s clearly Roger Daltrey’s singing. The tour is coming up. People are confused. If Roger is singing on the album, then where’s Tommy? This is HIS story after all. Where is he?

        The tour happens. Sure enough, the only person to take the stage is Roger in a costume.

        There’s no Tommy. There never was a Tommy.

      • homasapiens

        If I were disabled, and if I were offended by someone’s portrayal of disability, it would be my responsibility to speak up about that. If the artist cares about my opinion, as Amanda does care about her audience, it might be her responsibility to think about my reaction.

        The issue is not “perfect person.” it’s “disability as a commodity.”

    • jacinta

      “Disabled fans have told you that they are hurt by the EE project – as you haven’t actually taken responsibility and said “I’m sorry I harmed you” (not a variation of “I’m sorry you were offended” – turning responsibility back on the injured parties)”

      I disagree with this statement.

      Even though Evelyn Evelyn may be ableist, that’s not the issue here – I don’t think anyone can take responsibility for the hurt that anyone else incurs. Even in the worst circumstances, even in rape, taking responsibility for the pain that someone else feels won’t actually help them. It’s their pain, up to them to experience and process in whatever way they need. I think trying to take responsibility for having caused it is an empty gesture, regardless of how causal the link may be between your actions and the pain.

      I think this is a great opportunity to learn more about ableism. Although I’m able bodied, I do belong to other marginalised groups, and if this happened to be – as AFP’s material has been in the past – about rape, abortion etc, or about something like indigenous peoples, I wouldn’t find being offended a helpful response. I might feel hurt, but that would be a feeling I’d be responsible for having, owning, working through. The worst things in the world can happen to you, but only you are responsible for how you respond, and that’s empowering.
      The response that would be helpful to direct to AFP which you also have done is look, can we discuss this, I know your intentions are good but I’d like you to know more about this particular group/issue/I don’t think you’ve treated it as well as you could have.

      I agree with what you’re saying except for taking responsibility for other people’s pain.

      • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

        “I don’t think anyone can take responsibility for the hurt that anyone else incurs.”
        I don’t understand the thought process that brings one to such a thought. If I punch someone, I am not responsible for their bloody nose? I can not process their pain for them, of course. But if I cause their pain, I should accept responsibility, and if I do not want to be the kind of person who causes others pain, try to not do it again.

        • Kat

          “If I punch someone, I am not responsible for their bloody nose?”

          Seriously, you people need to stop comparing physical pain to EMOTIONS. Amanda Palmer didn’t punch anyone in the nose. She posted some WORDS on the INTERNET, and people are choosing to be hurt by them.

          Feel free to be hurt if you’re physically assaulted by anyone involved in this project. Otherwise? Take responsibility for your own emotions. Don’t like it? Don’t read it/listen to it. Choose to feel hurt in response to someone else’s words? Maybe this is a good time to examine why you’re so sensitive and why you allow the words of others to impact you so strongly.

          • jacinta

            Yes, emotional pain :)

            The way we grow from emotional pain is taking by responsibility, feeling it, accepting it, moving through it. That empowers us and builds resilience and lets us take action about what we felt pained by, eg. ableism or whatever, by educating/discussing etc. Not by dwelling in it and trying to get other people to take responsibility for it.

            You can’t always help what you feel but you can help what you do about it and how you respond to it.

          • Cora

            Kat, you’re obviously a superior human being who has never felt bad about anything in her entire life. We applaud you. Now, how about you work on managing that anger and frustration you don’t have and stop arguing with everyone who hasn’t evolved to your super human ability to shrug off all hurt. K? Thanks.

      • fruitlessrhyme

        I’m not asking that Amanda take responsibility for other peoples’ pain, but for having caused/contributed to it. If she’d stepped rather hard on someone’s foot, I’d expect her to apologize for that too – to take responsibility for the action that lead to the pain (even if it was unintentional). Of course, apologizing won’t actually make that person’s foot stop hurting, but it’s at the very least the decent thing to do.

    • jules

      The twins “backstory” has one purpose: to be sensational. AFP’s imagination conjured up sexual abuse, circus performances, elephants, and Twix as the candy of choice for the co-joined twins. At the time it probably seemed terribly amusing, creative and edgy.

      Time for a rethink? Lose the backstory, lose the co-joined details (three legs, two arms), lose the graphic novel based on their lives.

      You haven’t got anything meaningful to say about the issues you raised. You raised them ONLY for marketing.

      • austin

        You are, frankly, wrong. The twins’ backstory has one purpose indeed: To tell a story. It is an elaborate work of fiction, and she can no more abandon the details of their conjoint than she can the fact that they are female, or like Twix bars. Amanda made no attempt to “raise issues”; she didn’t do this to make lofty commentary on the issues facing the disabled in society, she wanted to tell a story about two young women who overcame a sordid past to succeed. It’s no different than Natalie Imbruglia’s success riding on “Torn,” a song she didn’t write about a rape she didn’t experience.
        Further, Amanda is not some kind of Karl Rovian marketing mastermind planning to unleash her album on the world and dominate record sales for the next century; for one, Amanda has fairly modest sales by industry standards, and two, this project is a collaboration with Jason Webley, not her ticket to the big time.

        (edited because semicolons are awesome)

        • jules

          I agree. AFP is telling a story, one designed and intended to be sensational. We are both correct.

          You are naive, however if you don’t recognize barefaced marketing when you see it.

        • jules

          Marketing: The process or technique of promoting, selling, and distributing a product or service. There have been “teaser” photos of the twins, behind-the-scenes glimpses, tracks released on the internet, a Twitter account.

          This is marketing. The definition doesn’t depend on whether or not the artist has large or modest sales.

      • EatBooks

        You say “marketing” as if fiction writers and musicians don’t do it everyday. “Marketing” hooks audiences, brings in money, and provides a “sensational” package for art.

    • Em

      Wow. To come here and to see the top comment express exactly what I was thinking and would want to say — thank you very much. This is absolutely on target in both point and tone. I am a disabled person who was pretty offended when I first heard about this project, and it’s really nice to see an abled person who understands so well the frustration and hurt this causes, apology aside.

    • http://amber.dreamwidth.org/ Amber

      Best comment on this post. It’s gratifying to have someone express my feelings while reading this blog post so eloquently. Thankyou, and agreed.

    • esmertina

      I agree that dismissing criticism as political correctness is more typically Republican than you would expect from Amanda’ fanbase. However, so is being reactionary and ready to pick up the pitchfork and storm the castle without thinking things through rationally. To say that Evelyn Evelyn are “supercrips,” or reinforce stereotypes that the disabled are helpless until they are “discovered” by able-bodied people (both of which the disabled feminists writeup contended), simply does not hold up to any rational inspection. *ALL* artists, ablebodied or no, have artistic mentors who lift them up and make them capable of creating more than they ever could alone. And frankly, for the disabled community to assume that fictional conjoined twins with 3 legs who have found their voice through art are intended to represent them misses the point entirely — they speak to all misfits, all who are silent and afraid, all who have been misteated and misused and have had their egos thrashed and stifled. Not everyone’s disabilities are visible, you know. There are plenty of broken, shattered people with complete command of their limbs and senses. So, yes … I do discount the reaction as hysterical. When an artist is spammed with “fuck yous” on Twitter, there is a mob mentality in place. I do not, however, dismiss the dialog … I just wish some of it could be a little less pavlovian than the shrieking on cue that has been going on.

      • fruitlessrhyme

        There are a lot of knee-jerk reactions going on on all sides of this discussion. While I do understand some of the “fuck you”s up to a point –Amanda notably made that one tweet which made a lot of people feel as though their very deep and personal concerns, even their very existence, was being callously swept aside (this may have been due to poorly thought-out wording, but it was still awful)–it’s true that they’re not necessarily helpful to furthering the discussion. Neither are the continual comments which ignorantly dismiss concerns about ableism as “not understanding art” and the like.

        On the other hand, could not disagree more strongly about the supposed flimsiness of the concerns expressed by disabledfeminists and others. What you seem to not understand is that there is a context, a history for all the outrage here: this is hardly the first time that disabled people of one sort or another have been held up as some kind of symbol of, as you put it “all misfits” (I’d imagine that there are many disabled people out there who really do not appreciate being characterized as “misfits”). The EE story draws on the terrible history of conjoined twins and other disabled people in show business–dragged around and displayed, viewed as symbols or curiosities rather than whole people, robbed of agency in their own lives–but rather than challenging that history, it reinforces that perspective, because these FICTIONAL women really are nothing but symbols and curiosities with no agency.

        Also, “artistic mentors” hardly covers the role that Amanda and Jason have given themselves in this story: protectors, wranglers, fully responsible for the “girls” (who are 25 year old women, but certainly not treated as such) being able to function at all as artists (or even in the world).

        Being treated as curiosities, things to stare at, and also eternal children who cannot take care of themselves . . . these are all stereotypes that disabled people have to face in the real world all the time. Creating yet another blatantly stereotypical portrayal of disabled people in order to make some broader point is harmful, and not excused by the intent of the project or your broader interpretation of its meaning. It is OBVIOUS that Evelyn Evelyn were not created to “represent” disabled people, but they are inextricably linked to a history of problematic representation.

        I’m pretty sure the person who “misses the point entirely” here is you; you are clearly lacking understanding of the history of social marginalization behind the disabledfeminists’ arguments, which are anything but hysterical. (Do you understand that that accusation is commonly used to silence marginalized people who are trying to stand up for themselves? Please don’t do that.)

        • esmertina

          I agree that having a disability does not make someone a misfit. That is exactly why I don’t understand why someone who is disabled but not a misfit would decide that EE, the ultimate misfits, are linked to a history of problematic representation for disabled people. I am an ablebodied misfit, and I do see them representing me. For which I am grateful. I dig misfit art, and find it empowering.

          Let’s face it — anyone who is not a three-legged conjoined twin who was raised in the circus has only a symbolic, metaphorical relationship to these fictional characters. Someone who has had an injury or was born with one or more physical limitations but who is otherwise emotionally, mentally and spiritually complete and socially well-adjusted and at ease has only the tiniest commonality with EE as a basis to personalize the story and take offense to it.

          Perhaps disabledfeminist and others who have taken offense are defining EE by the differentness of their body alone, and thereby dismissing who they are as human beings, and the life experiences that have, in this fictional story, brought them to the place where they finally have a means of expressing themselves.

          All of which, by the way, is simply a narrative device meant to explain why Amanda is communicating on their behalf … which again is not because they are helpless children, but because *they don’t exist.* Shh.

          • Konsta

            See, the problem with your comment? You do not get to decide what marginalised people are offended by. You say that you are an able-bodied misfit. That means that you have never had the same experience as a disabled person and therefor you are not in a position to judge what is and isn’t offensive. With the amount of critisism this project has got, surely you can see that there might be some issues here that you do not fully understand. Please take a step back and try to listen to what people are saying.

            And please don’t say that the problem lies with people who will not see EE as individuals. It is the same argument that is often used in race discussions, where priveledged people claim that they don’t see colour and that everyone should be judge on an individual basis. To qoute from someone who said it much better than I ever could;

            When white people say:

            “I don’t see color”

            or

            “We should live in a colorblind society”

            What they’re actually saying is:

            “I refuse to deal with how our culture and societry treats people of color because it makes me uncomfortable. I don’t want to understand how having a different skin color or ethnicity affects other people because that means I would have to think and consider other points of view. What I want is to not have to think. I prefer to believe I live in a fantasy land where no one ever pays attention to skin color, ethnicity, culture, or religion. I am part of the problem with race relations, not its great savior.”

            Just so you know.

            Source: http://theangryblackwoman.com/2007/04/23/things-you-need-to-understand-5-color-blindness/

            That example deals with racism, but it applies very well to this discussion as well.

          • esmertina

            I think you should not be in such a rush to assume that others have not been marginalized and are not qualified to speak. There is more in EE to relate to than the physical.

            And I am sure you know “disabled people” or “people of color” are not monolithic single-minded groups. There are many disabled people who have posted here who delight in EE, just as there are many people of color who would be offended at the thought that wanting to be judged by the content of their character rather than the color of their skin makes them part of the problem.

          • Konsta

            You are missing the point. I’m not saying that you are not marginalised in one way or another. How could I do that, when I don’t even know you? What I AM saying is that you are not disabled; as you yourself said, you are an able-bodied person. That means that you do not have the experience of a disabled person.

            And yes, I am fully aware of the fact that not all marginalised people are going to agree on what is and isn’t offensive. But just because some people do not find something offensive does not mean that no one is allowed to find it offensive. There are plenty of disbled people who have spoken up and said “This hurts us” and refusing to accept that simply because other diabled people are not hurt is, quite frankly, rude and dismissive.

            As far as being judged by the colour of your skin, or your disablility, or your sexuality, or your gender etc. and not the content of your character, is something society does constantly. No matter how much women or poc or homosexuals or transgender people or any other opressed group wants to be judged simply by who they are as people, that doesn’t happen. Anyone who deviates from the norm is going to be judged by their difference first and foremost and refusing to aknowledge that fact is only going to cause further harm.

          • esmertina

            “Anyone who deviates from the norm is going to be judged by their difference first and foremost and refusing to aknowledge that fact is only going to cause further harm.”

            I don’t refuse to acknowledge, I refuse to participate. Thank goodness, the “norm” today is much broader and more inclusive than the “norm” of 50 years ago. That didn’t just happen. It never would have happened without people who refused to accept their assigned seat in the margins.

            Bringing people who don’t conform to the norm into the mainstream broadens the norm and paves the way for others. Ellen got shouted off the air a mere 30 years ago … and now is as mainstream as it gets.

            What about choosing to see EE as an acknowledgment and celebration of the fact that the ability to create art is available to everyone regardless of their circumstance? The characters are fictional, but why should that matter? Patty Duke was not deaf and dumb when she played Helen Keller, but she used her performance to make deaf and blind people seem that much more “real” and “normal” to a lot of people. Is that not a good thing?

            When Neil said in a New Yorker article that he was nobody’s bitch, and got lambasted for being sexist … and then apologized, and got lambasted for not representing the other feminists, who own rather than shun the word bitch … yes, I thought both groups of upset people were being very silly. I also thought the people who lambasted Amanda and Neil for buying into the woman-hating patriarchy of the institution of marriage were very silly. I am a feminist myself, so I guess that qualifies me to have an opinion about what offends other femnists.

            And yes, I think the people who choose to feel offended by EE based on the flimsy commonality of having something physical about them that differs from the norm are being very silly. But, since I have the use of my limbs and senses, I am disqualified from having that opinion.

          • Konsta

            I don’t think this conversation is going to go anywhere. I’m not sure if you are aware of the fact that you have able-bodied privilege, or understand the full extent of opression as it is done by society. I’m not nearly articular enough to do a 101-course, so I’d recommend following this link;

            http://mystickeeper.livejournal.com/303397.html

            It’s quite a lot to read and take in, but you really, really should.

          • esmertina

            Yup, not gonna go anywhere. I’m not willing to shuffle through my deck and play enough victim cards to gain some credibility with you to have the right to speak. I got over defining myself by my limitations and resenting the privileges of others a long time ago, because all it did was mire down my life with negativity. I hope the same for you someday.

          • Konsta

            Once more, for the record and then I’m done with this;

            You, as an able-bodied person, DO NOT and CAN NOT fully understand the reality that a disabled person live in and therefor you do not get to decide what is and isn’t offensive IN THIS PARTICULAR INSTANCE.

            It has nothing to do with victim cards. It has nothing to do with credibility or the right to speak. It has to do with you not being fully aware of how it is to live as a disabled person in our society.

          • esmertina

            Right. No one can decide what will offend you, except you. It has nothing to do with being able-bodied or “privileged.” The other disabled people who aren’t offended can’t decide what will or will not offend you, either.

            However, everyone gets to have an opinion. And you don’t get to decide they aren’t allowed to express it.

            If you want to one-last-time again, I will let you have the last word, I promise.

        • http://jadedhippy.blogspot.com/ whatsername

          What you seem to not understand is that there is a context, a history for all the outrage here: this is hardly the first time that disabled people of one sort or another have been held up as some kind of symbol of, as you put it “all misfits” (I’d imagine that there are many disabled people out there who really do not appreciate being characterized as “misfits”).

          YES. And I really hope you catch this bit Amanda. There is a decade long context that your public persona, your art, your actions etc. go into, but there is a centuries long context that goes into Annaham’s post and the reactions of others to the ableism in this project as well. As such, those reactions are anything but “reactionary.”

      • patiencescalpel

        I think the point you make is really important, reading a fictional pair of conjoined twins as ‘disabled’ is a pretty reductive approach, they are obviously meant to be fantastic, in the true sense of the word. The story refers to the culture of the Freakshow, controversial to be sure (see the once banned but fascinating film Freaks) but for far more complex reasons than just a relation to disability. The tradition of freakshow is an important and rich part of cultural history both in its problems and in it’s poetry and I think Evelyn Evelyn is actually very well contextualised in this way to an extent that I think dismissing it as offensive is to miss out on a great deal of its power to speak about issues of art and marginalisation.

        There are people in the disabled community AND the able community who do not feel or appear ‘normal’ and crucially MAY NOT WANT TO, just because this doesn’t fit into the identity politics of those fighting prejudice does not mean that this work is not of value in showing that different voices have different stories to tell. Not everyone wants or aims to be ‘normal’, disabled or otherwise. The important thing is that they be treated with respect regardless of their difference to other people not in spite of it.

        Evelyn Evelyn is clearly not just another gothic macabre cripple cliche. Its a sensitive and sympathetic portrayal of an archetype that is part of our culture’s long history. I don’t see that it promotes any negative ideas about disabled people. It is dealing with cultural history, this involves discussing and exploring controversies that already exist not denying their existence.

        • Angel

          I agree- very well said Patiencescalpel.

        • esmertina

          Thank you for being much more articulate and less blunt than I :)

          • patiencescalpel

            thanks guys.

            yay for archetypes not for stereotypes!

        • hep_sf

          it is not in the able bodied to decide whether something is a negative portrayal or not. several disabled people have spoken up and outright said that it is offensive caricature that reinforces outdated and prejudicial stereotypes. i wish people would stop invalidating the real life experiences of those who live in this culture and accept that regardless of your affection for the artist or the art that said art is a pretty one dimensional and prejudicial view of disabled culture. just because you as an able bodied person see something in one light, does not mean that it is received in that actual light by one in that actual situation.

          • kevinjusticevanderende

            And just because you, as a disabled person see something in one light, does not mean that it is received in that actual light by every disabled person.

            Is that not perpetuating of…stereotypes? To suggest that all people who have some physical challenge must feel as you do about it? Must have the same experiences? Must be offended by the same things?

            That such is justified by the physical challenge you face and not just part of your “unique” perspective?

            Personally, I think it would be biased of me to lump everyone with a physical challenge together and decide that “this” or “that” is going to be offensive to all of them.

            I mean, you’re offended that I don’t stereotype you and all individuals with physical challenges into a group that might be offended by me ignoring or exploiting the idea of stereotypes and the uniqueness of physically challenged individuals? *boggles*

            Fucked if I do, fucked if I don’t.

            You see, this is what happens when people categorize themselves. When they adopt a perspective without thinking about it, or giving it any true consideration.

            I mean, do you really want me to decide that, as a group, physically challenged individuals might be offended by something and thus, try to exclude them from that experience on that basis? Do you really want me to take on the responsibility for judging what you may or may not be able to handle, or be offended by, on my own and solely on the basis of whether or not you are physically challenged?

            Let’s try it on for size, shall we?

            “I would never do that…to a physically challenged person.”

            “I would never say that…in front of a physically challenged person.”

            “Shhh. Don’t say ‘walk’, look over there.”

            Is this the mind-set that I should be adopting? How I should approach such?

            Or should I treat with people individually, as individuals? As unique and not assume their perspective or what might offend them or not based on some outward appearance?

            Do you really need to justify your own perspective by lumping yourself in with a group and saying it’s on the basis of that group opinion, ignoring the other individuals within that group (including your own uniqueness) to do so and just for the purpose of bashing someone else’s unique perspective or trying to make them feel like shit for it?

            Personally, I’ve interacted with many who have had physical challenges, from birth, by way of illness and accident and found that they all had very unique perspectives and differences to what offended them or didn’t.

            This is why people feel the need to stomp their foot and declare their own uniqueness. Because, in the next moment, they are going to hand it away again in trade for some support for their own perspective. Lumping themselves in with a group, instead of being willing to just say: “I don’t like that.”

            Which is why you scream at anyone who makes you see this again. Your own stereotyping, pigeonholing. Your own trade off of your uniqueness in exchange for being able to say: Disabled people are offended.

            In order to try to manipulate someone to your own personal perspective, and ignoring the very unique individuals you scream at everyone else to look at as unique.

            Think, people.

            Fuck.

        • http://twitter.com/takeshinthekid Leigh Walsh

          Anytime an artist does something in future that might be offensive, if they’re really paranoid they just need to put “Magic” in the title. Oh, well it’s obviously not meant to be a real diabetic, it’s a MAGIC diabetic.

          Kind of like the Vegans from Scott Pilgrim.

    • joyousandjuicy

      This.

      I’m a huge fan of yours, Amanda, I think you do great stuff and I really connect to and respect. But I join my voice with those who urge you to consider the deeply problematic groundwork of the EE project and how you’ve undertaken it.

    • kevinjusticevanderende

      Although I hesitate to compare Amanda’s thoughtful and original work to the “mindless popcorn entertainment” offered in Avatar, I find the same “Umm?” factor going on in regards to individual’s response to such.

      And, the same “rebound” bias going on.

      1. One of the largest complaints about the EvelynEvelyn concept seems to be the very idea that they were (fictitiously) “assisted” in the production of the album by Amanda and Jason upon their “discovery”. Suggesting that such means that all individuals who face physical challenges must get help from others or are otherwise unable to succeed on their own.

      As usual, this informs more about the prejudice and mind-set of those making the accusation, than it does about the subject(s) of those accusations.

      I’ve personally been through the process of trying to produce a musical album and market such with my ex-wife, who faces no physical challenges. The experience was horrific, to say the least and ended up draining her savings to the point where she could no longer continue that and still continue with the job and other responsibilities she was attempting to balance. She was financially “raped” by her producer and the studio that quoted initial prices then broke her with “additional costs”. We ended up spending triple what was initially spoken about and still ended up with no product at the end of it all.

      I truly wish with all my heart that there was someone there who had been through the process previously and could have assisted with understanding the ins and outs of what can be a beautiful process, or a terrible one…REGARDLESS of one’s physical or mental challenges.

      So, the “assumption” that such help is required based solely on one’s physical challenges…is YOURS. :)

      Welcome to your own bias. Pet it. Comfort it. And for heaven’s sake, stop pointing it at others.

      Now, let’s take a look at the perspectives involved here. We have Amanda and Jason, who suffer from no physical challenges (ignoring Amanda’s record label claims regarding her sexy belly), but who HAVE gone through the process of producing music, including at least one who has been vigorously screwed by her own record label.

      Are they likely to be coming from a perspective of:

      “These girls suffer from a physical challenge and are obviously not able to do anything on their own.

      Or:

      “I know how hard this business can be and it makes sense that ANYONE getting into it for the first time could benefit by way of assistance from people who have already done so. That would provide a nice, reasonable “explanation” for how this played out.”

      Which perspective seems more likely?

      So, taking something and saying: “This is evidence of the idea that physically challenged people need others to do for them!” is by way of your own perspective. Have you stopped to consider why this is the ONLY or FIRST reason your mind naturally grabs hold of?

      Why is such the ONLY possible perspective behind this? I can think of dozens of reasons why such a concept makes sense without resorting to this one. Dozens of possible perspectives about it. Why is this one, TO YOU, the only valid one? :)

      2. Emotional Self Responsibility. This has already been discussed here and by many who like to scream foul and play the victim, brushed aside with the idea that we do not control our emotional states.

      For those of you with this perspective who are parents, I hope you follow what you say by never addressing when your children get angry.

      I hope you picket Anger Management courses as a ridiculous idea, destined to fail. Or Phobia treatment for “unreasonable” fears.

      Of course no one can take anger and turn it into serenity, or turn their sadness around into instant happiness.

      But if emotions were completely outside of our own personal influence and dictated completely by the circumstances around us, we would all feel the same thing upon encountering any outside quantity. Everyone would have a panic attack upon mounting a roller-coaster, rather than some doing so and some being thrilled by the experience.

      What makes the difference? What you BELIEVE about what is happening. Your own definitions within your perspective.

      What you define about what you experience.

      Thus, emotional responsibility is our own. If someone walks up and accuses you of being a purple dinosaur, you will likely laugh, or think them crazy. Such has no place in your reality/identity. If someone walks up and accuses you of being fat, well, now we have another matter. Which is dictated by whether or not you view yourself, as fat. If you feel you are, then likely you will be hurt. If you feel you are not, then likely you’ll react the same as if someone accused you of being a purple dinosaur.

      I think that, in another 50 years or so, artists like Amanda Palmer will be writing songs about how emotionally “disabled” people were in the past. How they enslaved themselves to other’s opinions and allowed themselves to be emotionally ruled by outer circumstances, rather than taking charge of their own perspective on the world and their own definition of things, which is precisely what leads to emotional reaction. Your definition of things.

      Actually, she writes about that right now. Sings about it right now. Do you listen, or only criticize?

      Keep in mind, for those of you who claim there is no emotional self-responsibility, that this is not some philosophy spouted as an idea with no foundation in experience, but is a discovery that many of us have made through our experiences. I certainly wouldn’t claim it if I hadn’t found such to be true for myself.

      So you’re screaming that such doesn’t exist comes off to us like someone telling a carpenter that he can’t nail two boards together, just because YOU haven’t been able to do so.

      It really is that easy. So, if you haven’t discovered this for yourself, I’d say you’re better off spending some time finding it, rather than continuing to play the victim to your world and pointing the finger of blame for how you feel, at everyone around you.

      3. Art reflects reality. I live a few miles from Gibsonton, Florida. My roommate held the media dubbed “lobster baby” in her arms. This “carny sideshow” mentality for what deviates significantly from the imagined, “Official Norm”, exists. Right or wrong, it is there.

      We don’t understand things by sweeping them out of sight under the rug. If someone is moved by Amanda and Jason’s art to look deeper into what could be considered a surface introduction to a subject, is this a bad thing? People who are “offended” move to change things. If you’re offended by a representation of the reality you inhabit, then you may be motivated to actually do something about it, rather than play armchair complainer and attack the representations of that reality.

      Art holds up a mirror. If there is anything we understand about a mirror, it is that when you see a frown in the mirror, you don’t alter this by screwing with the mirror. You can shatter the mirror to bits and it won’t alter, one iota, what it reflects.

      Art reflects perspective. As I alluded to in point 1 and 2, the perspective that you try to “read in” to Amanda and Jason with your accusations, is actually your own. The emotional reactions that you try to blame them for, likewise, are your own. The reality, reflected by their art, is your own.

      So, you can sit there warm and snug and complain about what is being reflected by this mirror and punch the button on your remote control to try to get the picture to change, or you can get off your fucking ass and alter what is being reflected. Your own perspective, prejudices and biases; your own emotional reactivity and servility to anything you decide tweaks you; your reality and what is happening in the world around you.

      4. Finally, we come to the “perpetuation of sterotypes”. Once more, this is a signature of those who deem perspective and emotional reactivity to be “accidental” or somehow beyond their own direction.

      For those who cannot think, or feel, for themselves, it is rather automatic to assume that someone is going to be “victimized” by a perspective to the point that they will assume that perspective; that influence of thinking that something offered by another is somehow automatically “true”.

      Just because you cannot think, or feel for yourself, according to your own direction; just because you operate only from a conditioned perspective that you neither assess, nor consider yourself to own or be responsible for, do not assume that of everyone.

      Only individuals who unwittingly and without assessment hand over direction of their own perspective and emotional sovereignty, would actually believe that a stereotype is somehow going to blindly be adopted by another. Because that is how they operate.

      Personally, I integrate nothing into my perspective without consideration. I allow nothing to influence how I judge another, or how I interrelate, or how I react to something, without the consideration of what is being offered by way of another’s perspective.

      Self-definition is our first and greatest right and responsibility. The ability to define for ourselves, what our perspective is and how that affects our lives, emotional stability, our very experience.

      People who are threatened by the idea of blind perpetuation of stereotypes, do so because they do not feel their own sense of responsibility or direction. They feel at the whim of everything around them and thus must assume, everyone else feels this way as well. They will blindly adopt the perspective of another and thus must assume that everyone else is a “victim” in the same way, of the thoughts and opinions of others.

      I assess for myself, whether something is true or not. I decide for myself, whether any generalization applies or not. I decide for myself, if something “is” this way or not. I don’t give a flying fuck what anyone else has to offer on it. And thus, I don’t worry about exposure to ideas, no matter how wrong to my own thinking, being adopted blindly by the person beside me. Though, I suppose in the case of people who can’t direct their own perspective, or emotional reactivity, perhaps I should.

      In my considered opinion, Amanda Palmer is a shining example of Self-Acceptance, Self-Responsibility and Self-Defining/Direction. Probably why she draws the ire and sense of threat from so many victims looking for another perpetrator to add to their own drama. Another scape-goat to blame.

      Now, to any victims who want to jump in and scream and shout at me for my perspective, I would like to preemptively offer appreciation and gratitude in your general direction.

      First, let me say, thank you for giving me power over your emotional state. It is thrilling to consider that you are jumping up and down, sputtering over your keyboard and that little ol me, has the transcendent power to reach in your mind and heart and generate such. Go me.

      Secondly, thank you for inflating my singular perspective to reality altering proportions whereby individuals will read this and instantly be “mesmerized” into adopting my perspective and any stereotypes or generalizations I feel fit to spew. Like a sideshow hypnotist…(Oh shit, there I go, stereotyping hypnotists! My deepest apologies to anyone who takes hypnotism seriously, I truly do not mean to offend with the very idea that such have ever been in a sideshow!)…I dangle my watch and suddenly, “poof” you bark like a dog.

      I’d offer apologies to anyone I brain wash in this way, but then, that would be taking responsibility over how they feel and thus, presuming I have the power to direct another’s opinion, emotional state or perspective against their will. (A rather arrogant presumption I do not make until someone states they have given me such power directly.)

      Instead of giving me power over your mind and emotions, I would prefer money. I mean, since you are so easy to direct, just contact me at my e-mail address and we can make arrangements for direct deposits to my PayPal account. (Trust me, it’s much better this way. I mean, you end up out only a hundred bucks or so and you still have your own sense of direction and ability to think and feel as you desire to. Priceless.)

      Thanks!

      • Meg

        This is bullshit. Shining, exquisite, well-argued bullshit, but bullshit nonetheless. If a person who is part of a group currently in power appropriates wholesale from a marginalized group without evincing any sensitivity for said marginalized group’s position within society, then that constitutes discrimination. Our media is currently saturated with such discrimination. Women above a size 2 apparently can’t experience love or normality – in Hollywood, yes, but then anorexia instances in young girls and boys have been rising in the last few decades. “Romantic rape” is repeatedly shown in movies and on TV – and in real life 1 in 4 women will be raped in her lifetime, most often by someone she knows. And if she dares take it to court, she’ll most likely be blamed, or the rapist will claim she “was asking for it” based on the clothes she was wearing (because that’s what they wear on TV). Racist jokes are harmless, according to your theorem – until they excuse racist behavior. Similarly, homophobic jokes are still quite popular on TV and in movies, as are instances of gay bashing and “straightening lesbians out” by raping them. Attitudes are in large part formed by our shared culture, which also in large part comes from our shared media experience. Art does reflect reality, but it also shapes it and conforms to it and responds to it and can cause it to respond. Misappropriating a bit of Hamlet is not going to change how culture is formed and how that culture can affect how people come to understand even the most complex of ideas. In an ideal world, everyone would be as suspicious, as immune to outside influence as you. In the real world, children grow up hearing racist epithets to be racists, and ableism actually works in a far more insidious way. The problem with the fictional twins needing help isn’t that it lacks realism, but that it is yet another instance of a marginalized member of society being saved by someone in power. This is a common trope in fiction – think Dances with Wolves, in which Kevin Costner, quite literally the representation of white power as the only cavalry officer in the district, manages to out-Indian the Indians he was supposed to be repressing, thereby appropriating their cause as his own. Or The Last Samurai, in which the white man is needed to lead the Japanese forces into battle. Or Fern Gully, in which the white man saves the fairy people from his fellow loggers – these are all great first steps in recognizing a foreign perspective, making it possible for an audience unfamiliar with Native Americans, or Japanese samurai, or small wood fairies (environmentalism, to expound the metaphor), to view the new perspective from a familiar place, through the white hero. However, having learned about these new perspectives, why are we then unable to watch movies actually about Native Americans, without relying on a white perspective? (Follow through with the other examples, etc). You claim the media does not affect how individuals think, in spite of evidence to the contrary – spreading trends, if nothing else, should prove sufficient evidence of the media’s power. This is not a monolithic power, of course, and there are always subversive elements, and subversive readings of mainstream work, available. However, dismissing completely the ability of an artist to influence his/her fans is actually quite naive. And claiming that of course the whole “twins being helped by an abled person” is just realism is also naive. The music business might be tough – to return to the earlier examples, a forest in the midst of logging must be tough, a war in Japan is almost certainly tough, but why does it have to be someone from the already empowered side of things who helps the marginalized? Is there no room for them to help themselves, or have their own heroic figures, or to exist as anything other than the plucky sidekick, the mentor, or the love interest in their own stories? It sends a very real message for disabled kids (or PoC kids, or, you know, wood fairies) to be told no, to be told they have to be saved, that they’ll never be the hero, the leading man or lady, the one the story is really about. They’ll always be the backdrop, the plot point, the back story. Maybe you think this is the way things should be, but I don’t. And people taking offense at yet another instance of being marginalized – the issue shouldn’t be whether they feel emotions or not, or whether they have the right to feel those emotions, or whose responsibility those emotions are. That is the section of your argument that most strongly resembles bullshit, because the entire ‘emotions’ thread has done an excellent job of derailing the argument and shutting down your opposition. Emotions aside, words have consequences. I listed several of those above, but let’s think about a few more. Maybe we live in a more enlightened society than in the past, but people opposed to the health care bill as recently as last week used homophobic terms to slur their opponents, indicating that homophobia is alive and well in our society. Along with students afraid to come out lest they be attacked for it, honorable servicemen and women in our military forced to lie about it, men and women killed in towns across America for it. Words have a very real power to hurt, because words are related to ideas, and if people perpetuate the idea that it is okay to discriminate against one group or another, then that discrimination will continue. I mean, have you thought about how many disabled characters there are on TV right now? I can think of 1. It would be 2, but the other miraculously recovered after a few episodes, hurrah. Marginalized groups are marginalized because they are rendered invisible in the media, or used merely for sensationalism. And having seen a performance by these “twins”, this counts as sensationalism. It would be great if they were fully rounded characters, but they are stereotyped, and as much respect as you profess to have for the average fan, most people are never going to look beyond that, assuming they know enough from watching the show, or simply never thinking further than the show itself. Here’s a bit of titillation, here’s this Other I find amusing from my position on the inside of that line, here’s a bit of a laugh at an objectified catharsis, an attempt to express my relief at being whole and my amusement at someone else not being whole. That’s what freak show theater is, that’s the grand tradition to which you refer, and while it can be referenced successfully (Carnivale) it can also be exploited without much care, as appears to be the case with the entire Evelyn project.

        • kevinjusticevanderende

          You claim the media does not affect how individuals think, in spite of evidence to the contrary – spreading trends, if nothing else, should prove sufficient evidence of the media’s power.

          I suggested nothing of the sort. Clearly yourself and many others here have bought into the party-line perspective of the “trope” that you outline so clearly once again. And, once again, show how a perspective can be adopted without much thought or consideration.

          “If it “looks” like this to me, it must be what the producer/director/artist was trying to say.”

          I saw Dances with Wolves. If the point was to show the “White Man” saving the Indians, they did a piss poor job. For they got their asses handed to them, with or without the help and he leaves at the end as a “detriment” to the tribe because as a deserter, he is going to be heavily pursued.

          The Last Samurai, likewise. They got wiped out, regardless of the “saving” of the “White Man”, which did nothing to save them. Did you see the movie? “The Last Samurai” died.

          And the message I took from it at the end, when the Colonel goes to see the emperor is: “If a foreigner, a “barbarian” can see the value of this culture and way of life, what does that mean?” ANY foreigner would have done to make that point.

          Not to mention that the perspective can easily be turned around as well, if one is willing to do so instead of having to push the party-line agenda. Which is to say, Japanese culture, the “Way of the Samurai” SAVED HIM. A drunk with a death wish, wallowing in his own guilt suddenly finds himself, his soul, something he can hold onto and believe in through this beautiful culture. But that’s not a potential viewpoint is it? Because it violates the brand you want to sell. Yeah?

          So, if I draw this message from the movie: How opening your perspective to allow others, other cultures, other ways of living, could offer new value and understanding to your own life.

          Do you really want to replace that with: No, sorry, your just trash trying to play the hero in someone else’s game. You’re just trying to assuage your own guilt and pushing the idea that others can’t save themselves without you.

          Is that what you have to offer? Is there any wonder I choose not to buy what you’re selling?

          This “White Man’s Guilt” idea has been so bought into, that anything that even hints of this to someone all jumped up on the idea, gets pasted on and dismissed. I’m rather saddened that you’ve sold your own soul to this idea such that you can’t see the potential value in anything else through another perspective that might allow you to appreciate and enjoy something. Instead, you have to adopt some guilty perspective as your own and pump it into everything you see so that you can attack yourself through it. What a way to live. Are you selling that to your children as well?

          The fact is, Western Culture is still White majority. If you want to offer a perspective that the largest segment of the population is going to relate to, offer a White hero. If I were in India watching a movie, I would expect to see more Indian heros, Japan, more Japanese heros. And I wouldn’t bitch that my perspective wasn’t being adequately represented. If I felt I needed a voice to be heard, I’d go out and fucking express it. If I did it in Bollywood, I would expect to face some major challenges on the way to doing so. So much the better, if I feel my voice is worthwhile to be heard.

          And far more insidious to me, than the idea of this “trope” that individuals seem willing to graft onto anything to make a point, about their lack of ability to think for themselves, is the idea that it is acceptable to basically comfort individuals in their victimization of self to the media and mass perspectives, with the: “Well, that’s the reality. Everyone is influenced and can’t think for themselves. It’s ok.”

          Far more than being disturbed by what a movie, or a song says, is the thought that a parent is sitting there with their child, mind-feeding them the idea that they must bow to the almighty influence of mass perspective. That the parent says: “See Jr., this is an example of White Man’s Guilt and it’s everywhere.” Such that if the child actually has a different, unique perspective, they’re likely to be told they are wrong in favor of the “mass perspective” on what something is. “Oh no, this is exploitive. There is NO OTHER WAY OF LOOKING AT IT. Because so and so said so.”

          Even today, there is a post from someone with disabilities talking about their perspective of the EvelynEvelyn project. Is your mind in a knot because the poor fuck doesn’t “know” how they are being “exploited” and “marginalized” because YOUR perspective on this is somehow ABSOLUTE and the TRUTH because media/political pundits are batting the idea around in silky PC terms so they can feel better about how fucking sensitive they are?

          More damaging to me than any “trope” that you suggest is the idea that people are not free to have their own unique perspectives on things and must buy into yours the same way you bought into it.

          Not to mention, you are suggesting that I, as a white artist, somehow have to silence myself, my perspective and/or actually give voice to some other group. Why? Because they are incapable of speaking for themselves? I should try to make an Indian hero in my tale, assuming that I somehow actually understand their perspective fully? That sounds fucking arrogant to me.

          So, individual’s adopt this “trope” as their perspective and basically those of us that do not belong to some socially protected group, are fucked if we do, fucked if we don’t.

          Last I saw, Stevie Wonder has a fabulous career as an artist. He’s black and blind!

          Do I need to fucking speak for him? Give him voice? He seems capable of doing so himself. Write or try to create my art from his perspective? No. I buy his fucking albums. I listen to his music. I respect his voice and his ability to offer himself and his perspective in such a way. That’s my contribution.

          And were I to try to represent him in some fashion, I would get lambasted from some quarter of society with their high and mighty perspective for thinking I need to “help” because “they can’t do on their own”. Or by being arrogant enough to think myself capable of fully rendering such a perspective and understanding the challenges that someone else faces.

          So, you adopt yourself a perspective from the masses and point it at others, even though the idea itself is fully contradictory and locks people into a no-win situation. Not giving it any real thought.

          Then say: Oh, but we are all influenced by the media and entertainment.

          Obviously, you are speaking for yourself. And the only unfortunate thing to me about that, is that you use the potential of your own unique voice, only to spit what everyone else empties into your brain and then justify that as if it is simply the way things have to be.

          So, rather than trying to feed the symptoms, how about you turn and address the actual problem? How about you champion people thinking for themselves? Widening their minds to other unique perspectives instead of grabbing the “fad” perspective of the moment and trying to apply it liberally to everything in some bid to convince yourself and others how “sensitive” you are?

          I can imagine Amanda sitting back right now wondering how in the fuck someone else’s perspective got grafted onto her own. How willingly “brainwashed” individuals have to diminish her own unique voice with a grafted on mass perspective that feeds their own half-baked, contradictory agenda and perspective.

          They find in art some “similarity” to what is festering in their own minds and assume that into the perspective of an artist so they can attack the work.

          Do we really want to push the perspective on segments of the population that their voice cannot be heard because of some other segment of the population? Give them the excuse to sit back and go: Yeah. See, I can’t do it and it’s your fault! Rather than simply empowering them with the idea to push through, to fight to be heard on their own and that they have the strength to do so? To welcome their perspective as unique, even if it doesn’t necessarily agree with our own? To actually look at the multiple potential perspectives in something and consider what the artist might have been trying to say, instead of deciding to choose the most negative one offered through the brainwash of the media and disregarding or diminishing all others, then excuse ourselves on the basis of that mass media brainwashing?

          Is that really your message? What you are champion of?

          Well, you are welcome to it. I hope that enriches your life and the lives of those you love to do so.

          Personally, I’ll put it back on the shelf and think and feel for myself. Find the perspective I enjoy and leave myself open to other potential perspectives and the richness and diversity they offer.

    • Bikini_Williams

      Ah, it seems that the very first comment on here said what I wanted to say, only much more eloquently and also about a month ago. I am way behind. But yes, I would like to second exactly what you’ve said here. All of it.

  • http://twodoctors.org/ James

    I think you’re misrepresenting the vanilla bean, and you’ve perhaps not met the majestic Madagascan Bourbon bean, which is really extraordinary and full of taste.

    Other than that, do carry on!

  • The_Pip

    You can sell any one person on a crazy idea. Or any small group of people on it. Aliens, a clut, Amway, you name it. But spread that out to larger mass of people and it does not resonate properly. And the Seller comes off as bat shit crazy. I believe you are dealing with this phenomenon.

    Regardless, who cares. I happen to enjoy your work and Neil’s work separately and for different reasons. I found them through separate channels. I can see how fans of one may not like the other. Do your thing, you only need to answer to those you choose to answer to, and the same goes for Neil. I can only imagine what some of your fans who don’t like Neil might say! You only owe your fans what you think you owe, you don’t owe them anything for Neil. And vice-versa.

  • amylikestodraw

    You know, Amanda, you’ve succeeded in what you yourself, a lot of others and I all feel is the whole point:

    A lot of people are THINKING about it, talking about it, screaming about it and cheering about it… and brains and hearts are expanding all over the stinkin’ place.

    Well done, girl. I can’t wait to hear the album.

    • Zed

      People were thinking and talking and opening their hearts to anti-ableism long before Amanda and Jason decided they were going to dress up as disabled PEOPLE (two people by the way, NOT ONE PERSON). In fact, many many disabled people were thinking and discussing and opening dialog about disability and ableism (in fact there are BLOGS devoted to this). I’m going to go ahead and assume you weren’t listening because you’re privileged enough to be able to ignore them.

      You don’t need to offend and hurt to open a discussion. And diabled people don’t need an abled bodied person to co-opt their experiences to open dialog. They can do it themselves just fine.

      • amylikestodraw

        OK, I’ll respond once. That’s all the time you’ll get from me, just so we’re clear. Blast away after that… I won’t be reading it.

        I am very aware that the discussion was happening, as you say, “long before Amanda and Jason decided they were going to dress up as disabled PEOPLE”.
        In response to your incorrect assumption, I’m very close to more than one disabled individual… one happens to be a little boy that’s severely disabled. My eyes and ears are open. I was “listening” long ago.
        I have, however, just read dozens – and I’m sure there are hundreds, perhaps thousands – of comments, blog posts, tweets, etc. to the effect of “I had never thought about it like that before”. Hence, more people are thinking about it that wouldn’t otherwise have given it a second thought in their, as you say, “priviledged” lives.

        My point was that this project / stunt / art / whatever each individual wants to call it has opened up the topic to a lot of people who have NEVER really thought about it. And I believe I am still correct.

        There’s a lot more I would like to say about the topic, but it’s pointless to argue a stalemate. My original comment was for Amanda, not for you. I posted it here instead of sending it privately because I wanted her to have one more voice in public support. There’s enough venom and vitriol in the world.

        • Zed

          Pretty sure my statement still stands. You speak from a place of privilege, you are not disabled. Further, you posted this on an open blog where anyone can view and comment and approach you.

          And lastly, I’ll repeat: you do not need to offend and hurt in order to open up dialog that already existed. Nor do I see this post as containing any meaningful dialog. I see a passive aggressive faux apology and a lot of overly defensive fans, like yourself. The dialog is still not about ableism, it’s about Amanda Palmer. Do you not see how hurtful that is? Conjoined twins and their community are pretty much taken out of the discussion at this point, that is not a helpful dialog. This is derailment and appropriation as is the project as a whole.

          The dialog belongs in the voices of those who are actually disabled and have the experiences and wisdom to discuss it from their POV. I very much recommend disabledfeminists.com, not amandapalmer.net.

    • BrookeA

      Right, so many people are thinking and talking about it – by saying, “LA LA LA, EVERYONE IS SO OFFENDED BY STUPID THINGS, LA LA LA, CAN’T HEAR YOU.” Great. Lotta progress, there.

  • Bob

    Cheers for this blog post. I feel much more at ease.

    I think whenever someone tries to represent figures/people who belong to a marginalised group there will always be flack – regardless of whether it’s fiction or non-fiction, art or journalism, authored by a ‘privileged’ or ‘marginalised’ person. We need this flack though, because we’re still trying to figure out what the fuck we’re doing. If we all only ever spoke from and invented from our own subject positions we’d all be accused of being self-centred, of lacking empathy and of reinforcing the rigid identities most of society is still structured around.

    So kudos to AFP and Jason et al for exploring these issues through art. Something else I’ve been thinking about since this drama started is the role of the consumer in art. We all (myself included) have been pretty quick to jump on the bandwagon of trying to decipher AFP’s intentions and motivations with this project, and whether the project is ‘good’ or ‘bad’. While I think these are worthwhile considerations, perhaps we’re not giving the consumers enough credit. Part of what makes art so interesting is that the value or meaning of art doesn’t stop with the artist. We have a role to play in how we engage with it, what we think of it and how we learn from it.

  • LindseyInLaLaLand

    Don’t think i could hate your work ever, the intensity and pushing the envelope every time is the reason i fell in love with it. It’s great that you cleared it up just shows the consideration. Keep making music the music you make just seems to make the world open up and gain a whole new spectrum of color.

  • http://twitter.com/WotV Dorothy D

    I love you, Amanda Palmer. You are an artist and, as such, must be true to your art.

  • Aithilin

    I honestly didn’t understand the criticism you were getting over your art. Admittedly, I am one of those sorts who hopped over from Gaiman’s side of the fence, but I really didn’t understand what the fuss was about– especially considering how Lady Gaga got away with a lot worse and gets praised for it.

    The more I hear about the show, the more interested I get in it.

    It’s admirable the way you took the time to address the issues that really shouldn’t exist– it’s not like there was any malice behind the art. I look forward to seeing the final product of the show.

  • jackdrezden

    very well said…
    people make things more complicated than they are or should be… continue to do what you do… everyone has supporters and nonsupporters.. there has to be some kind of balance in this world.. as you have said before.. change it up.fear nothing.respect the unexpected.harm none..
    do not tiptoe through life only to arrive safely at death is something that i firmly believe in.. i am technically what most would call disabled but i dont like to refer to myself as such because i intend to manifest the best from myself and i will not succumb to labels.. i do not believe it necessary to define everything in life.. that leaves no room for mystery and the unknown, which i feel without that life would be boring… rock on amanda fucking palmer…” dont let the man get you down”
    Damn the man…

    • http://theelusiven.livejournal.com MsFeasance

      i am technically what most would call disabled but i dont like to refer to myself as such because i intend to manifest the best from myself and i will not succumb to labels.
      And people who do claim their disabilities are what, weak? A disability is not an insult. Coming to terms with and living with one’s disability is not a sign of weakness.

      • jackdrezden

        the reason i say this is that for me ..in my experience.. when people hear the “label” that i am given or the “disability” they assume things.. i embrace it.. do not get me wrong but people attribute everything that you do to that label or disability.. i want people to acknowledge me for me not feel sorry for me or assume things because of a diagnoses that i doctor gives me.. personally i feel stronger when people cannot tell that i am disabled.. it does not mean that it is a weakness of any kind it just means for me that i am not what most have or will assume me to be.. its just a personal thing.. i meant no harm by what i said.. does that make sense?

  • knitkat

    I understood the whole evelyn evelyn thing immediately when I heard the song . I thought is was clever. I like it.
    A lot of the problem with the world today is people are too serious and seem to TRY to look for ways to be offended. You have never offended me. Shocked -yes. Delighted- Yes. Inspired- yes.

    I don’t believe you have ever meant to hurt anyone . I don’t believe anyone who actually paid attention to what you were actually saying, tweeting, singing etc and actually ,intelligently thought about it would be offended.

    I am not saying offended people are unintelligent – just maybe they weren’t really thinking about what is at the core of what you were doing and who you are.

    Sometimes people confuse being shocked and surprised with being offended.

    I love you and Jason and Neil and Beth and everyone. You are The people that keep making this world a wonderful, thought provoking and creative place to live.

    Haters- you have every right to feel however you want to. It doesn’t make you good or bad. It means that you have an opinion .Cool. I have an opinion too and even if it differs from yours – neither of us are better than the other .People are so much more than just words on a page so try not to be quick to judge.

    Keep being awesome. Everyone.

  • Falco

    How about not calling them Haters at all? How about actually acknowledging the incredibly problematic aspects of this project? How about looking at what the REAL criticism is saying and not just explaining how you were being misinterpreted.

    • Mab

      Yes, THIS. Jesus. Just because some folks disagree with other folks does NOT mean that the driving emotion or force behind their discourse is hatred!

      I’m not gonna weigh in on either side of this kerfuffle, I can see both sides quite clearly and find merit in all of the more reasoned and civil arguments on both sides… but I DO think it’s important to not demonize anyone caught up in this.

    • bridgetvoid

      THIS. seriously. people can disagree with you without hating you.

  • http://almanaque.wordpress.com Marcos Faria

    I love you.
    (And your work, and Neil, and Neil’s, BTW).

    Thank you and Jason for telling us stories. Thank you for believing in the power of stories to change people’s lives.

    (hoping the Twins will sing in Brazil)

  • Shanneeen

    people really need to lighten up! it’s just a fun art project really.. i will never understand why people get SO SERIOUS when it comes to things that shouldn’t even matter.

    i love you, amanda, don’t let them get you down.. which, i know you won’t :]

    • bifemmefatale
      • http://www.jodigreen.ca/ jodilicious

        THANK YOU so much for that link. I’m going to be using that a lot from now on.

        Seriously, though, re Shanneeen: “. . . things that shouldn’t even matter”? Last time I looked, this is exactly what art was for: for engaging with on an intellectual level. If we wanted lighthearted fluff that didn’t stimulate our brains at all we wouldn’t be coming to Amanda Palmer for it, for effsake. You do a disservice to an artist when you blow off their hard work as “just fun”.

        Besides, I don’t think anybody is voicing concerns here about how the actual project treats disability or child porn victims, because for the most part we haven’t seen/heard the project yet. People are concerned about the small amount of information that has been released about the project, and what information has been released DOES present some real concerns that the ways in which the project presents disability, etc., MAY BE PROBLEMATIC. And some people, fans and not-fans, are less than satisfied with Amanda’s response to these concerns and would like to hear more. This is a normal thing in the art world; the internet and its availability to every joeblow out there has just allowed the discussion around this particular work to blow up into a major drama event. But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong of people (people who very much want to engage with this work, or we wouldn’t be here reading/participating in this discussion) to ask Amanda to speak to her work. Artists are always asked to do so, unless the work is boring, in which case nobody cares. This work is not boring.

        For the record, while I’m not yet satisfied with Amanda’s response to the uproar, I’m not going to make a grand declaration of writing her and her work off completely because of this incident, as I’ve seen a few times in this comment thread. I’m quite certain I’ll like the music even if some of the message is problematic, and I support Amanda as an artist. But artists don’t get a free pass from having to speak to what their work is conveying.

    • Tara

      EXACTLY.

  • http://petermarinari.com/ krisis

    I’m a big AFP fan.

    I don’t think there is a problem with creating semi-fictional characters that have real problems and addressing those problems in a glib way. Did we all think Amanda and Brian were really back-alley abortionists when we heard “Mandy Goes to Med School”? Probably not. That Amanda and Brian were semi-fictionalized real people making light of a serious issue.

    Why are people so desperately offended by semi-realized fictional people making light of a serious issue? Is it because we’ve crossed over from the somehow comic territory of abortions and sex changes to the land of REAL PROBLEMS (TM)?

    That’s something I find offensive – that people were willing to laugh when AFP’s music wasn’t applying to them, but now that it cuts close to home they’re objecting. I’m happy that’s she is apologizing for hurt feelings but not apologizing for hurting them.

    Art does not require apology. If lieu of an apology, you can stop buying the art.

    That said, I’ll also say this: I’m not at all interested in the EE project. I appreciate the cabaret/steampunk/Brechtian elements of it, but the cutesiness has come off indulgent and callow to me. I feel like it’s an in-joke I’m on the outside of because all I’ve seen is blurry YouTube videos and Amanda’s tongue-in-cheek “they are real!” references to them.

    I’ll certainly give the record a listen – and maybe it is going to blow me away. I’m happy Amanda is releasing such an obvious passion project, and I appreciate that the way she is marketing it is connected to her RoadRunner troubles (as she alluded to in her last post).

    I worry it’s just going to splinter/alienate/disinterest some of the rabid base she’s worked so hard to amass.

    • kyprieth

      Art does not require apology. If lieu of an apology, you can stop buying the art.
      I’m sorry, but “buying” does not constitute a person’s entire interaction with art by any means. By simply becoming aware of a piece of art, a person is affected by it, and while an artist might not be able to predict every single following consequence of people’s interaction with their art, in this case, it seems pretty obvious that problems would result from the way Amanda has handled this EE project.

      • http://petermarinari.com/ krisis

        Admittedly, “stop buying the art” was overly reductive, but the sentiment stands.

        No matter how you encountered the art – even by chance – your recourse is to stop consuming it. Vote with your eyes, words, and wallets. If you are offended enough, you can encourage others to stop consuming it. You can even choose to dislike the artist!

        However, I don’t believe we have the right to hold an artist hostage to apologies for causing offense. They might state that no offense was meant, but they should never apologize for the art itself.

        in this case, it seems pretty obvious that problems would result from the way Amanda has handled this EE project.

        While I agree that Amanda may have been able to anticipate some of the problems that would result from her presentation, I am giving benefit of the doubt that the presentation is as she intended, and in that case the problems come with the presentation.

        When people took Amanda to task for the Golden Globes post, that was different – yes, her fame is related to her art, but that was Amanda the person. By contrast, in “Oasis,” Amanda was the artist, and she meant to make light of rape to send a specific message with her art.

        Here, again, Amanda is the artist. One of the conceits of the EE project was to challenge you to suspend your disbelief to pretend these women were real – and react to their story and situation as if it was real. With that conceit comes the shared purpose of how people will react to the artifice when they understand it is not real.

        Glib mentions of child porn and human trafficking were part of the challenge – could you still swallow the story with that detail included, or did it break the illusion for you?

        This drama prove the art is working as intended.

        • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

          “your recourse is to stop consuming it”
          I disagree, especially in this case. AFP has always set herself up as being inclusive and here for her fans. Hence, there is clearly a recourse of telling AFP she fucked up and asking her to be the kind of person who does what can be done to make a fuck-up as right as it can be made.

  • http://somekindofmuffin.wordpress.com/ Waltz

    Wow. Sorry Amanda, I was blissfully unaware there was any kind of controversy and was really intrigued by the Evelyn Evelyn project. I guess I just wanted to post that I don’t really see a need for an apology and I hope you don’t let this drag you down too much.

  • Seppel

    I was one of the happy 7 singles buyers. When I heared of the twins the first time, I belived it and when I recognised, that it was different, I felt ashamed. But then I started liking this project and fell in love with the twin. I freaked out, when I found a new track on Jasons ‘Winter Comes’ CD. And I absorbed everything new about them. I liked your blog, found the interview quite a bit too obvious, but I think, the world needs this.
    Maybe the project is now in this ‘people found out and feel bamboozled or don’t know what to do with the story’ phase. I hope it’ll change to admiration and love.

  • idiotchild

    So lets just prevent anything from happening that anyone may find problematic, well reasoned arguments are fantastic maps to enlightenment. Calling people who disagree with you an idiot er isn’t

    • stylishb

      OH NOES CENSORSHIPS

  • Randomclimber

    Point 4: agree 100%

  • amberprophet

    Hi AFP, I’m one of the Neil fans who occasionally comes across here to take a look at things. Not because you’re engaged (congrats by the way) but because experience has made me trust his judgement when he says something’s good. Doesn’t mean I’ll always like it ( as you said, that’s my prerogative) but so far it’s always been something I’ve been happy to investigate. I listened to Elephant elephant when he first linked to a recording of it ages and ages ago. And I liked it. I already liked Jason’s stuff, again from when Neil linked it so I thought that Evelyn Evelyn would be something to keep track of. Anyhoo I came over here the other day to read the Evelyn Evelyn blog. I found it entertaining and interesting. I didn’t find it offensive, though I guess that’s because I had gleaned some of that magical context.
    Art is good. Creativity is good. If it prompts questions then it prompts questions and discussions about things are good. Dismissive insults and misunderstandings are not good but that’s the internet for you and you always find it, but hopefully more discussion begets more understanding. We can hope so anyway.
    I just wanted to comment to let you know that I’m looking forward to the album, that I understand about the context and that I appreciate your creativity and your devotion to your art and your diligence in answering to the comments and defending your art at the same time as explaining it more to hopefully dispel future misunderstandings and comfort those who misunderstood.
    Now I just need to snatch one of those Camden tickets before they all disappear.

  • http://alittlepracticality.blogspot.com/ AmyK

    Anyone who finds themselves offended by the twin’s performance ought to watch the Southpark episode: “Conjoined Fetus Lady.” Please. Trey Parker & Matt Stone explain all.

  • kapnkaty

    I think that people often chose to get upset over things. They feel like they have a responsibility to stand up for their moral beliefs even when, occasionally, they aren’t relevant.

    The EvelynEvelyn project is just that. A project. It is an experiment in art and music and context and skill.

    Would it be better if EvelynEvelyn were discovered but had no sordid past? Would it be better if their past had not been revealed in the way it was, but if we’d been eased into it via musical serenades and subliminally dropped hints? What if they’d had a past as dark as we’ve discovered, but weren’t conjoined?

    Have you people ever HEARD Oasis?

    Every part of who EvelynEvelyn have been has been essential to find out who they are now. Every step in their past, every transgression on their parts and the parts of Palmer and Webley and every carefully linked hint, tweet or track has been essential.

    I would be curious, I suppose, to hear the opinion of a pair of conjoined twins as, frankly, their opinions would be the most pertinent. Not those of someone who experienced what the twins experienced in their youth, not someone who was discovered and made it big and not someone who likes an artist, reads her blog and has a Problem with one of her endeavors.

    I think that in today’s society, everyone is just so EAGER to prove that we’re all equal and the same as we are, that the minute we see someone who ISN’T, we protest. Is it really the issue of the twins’ past that has everyone so upset? Or are they are on tenterhooks over the idea of conjoined twins anyway?

    I, personally, cannot wait for the album and look forward to more from Palmer, Webley and Eve and Lyn.

  • http://cmlanisoptera.tumblr.com/ Christina

    I am behind you one hundred percent. I found your response to this whole situation extremely inspirational and moving. It even proves true for issues in my own life. I love you, your work, your words. Thank you.

  • Lisa

    I can honestly say that I´m not to impressed by the EvelynEvelyn project (what we have seen of it so far). And I think thats a good thing. Amanda makes lots of things I love and lots of things I dont love. That means that she doesn´t conform into one single shape, her art is multilayered. It isn´t made to please me but to reflect what she think is relevant or simply fun. Art is not made to make us feel safe. And this debate is glorious (exept for the haters) because it makes people stop and think about what art is and where it abruptly bumps into real life. So even thou I am slightly offended by the use of exotisism, I appreciate the subject being raised.

  • http://www.cinema-suicide.com/ Bryan White

    Fuck ‘em all, Amanda. You owe these people nothing.

    • Lauren

      It’s not about “owing” people anything. It’s about being a decent human being, treating people with the same respect you’d wish for and taking responsibility when you fuck up.

      • http://www.cinema-suicide.com/ Bryan White

        Or – OR – She can do whatever the hell she wants to do and you can either choose to explore it and appreciate it or you can decide that it’s not for you or offends you in some way and pass. All this butthurt about Evelyn Evelyn is stemming from a rather large group of people who have decided that their personal feelings should play a very large role in the projects that Amanda pursues when, in fact, how you may feel about it really doesn’t matter.

        • Lauren

          Yes Amanda can do what she wants, but that doesn’t mean she’s immune from criticism. It’s rather hypocritical that you’re saying “Amanda can do whatever the hell she wants” whilst at the same time telling us we’re not allowed to say that actually, this isn’t okay and it’s offensive. Or is it that only people you like and agree with are allowed express their opinion?

          “how you may feel about it really doesn’t matter”
          Other peoples feelings and emotions don’t mater? What a sad, selfish attitude to have. When you hurt people the decent thing to do is apologise, just like you or Amanda would expect people to apologise to you.

      • Iris

        I think she is indeed trying to take responsibility. She is responding to hundreds of negative comments. She is explaining her point of view.

        Everyone cannot agree. Such is life. The best she can do is explain what is her stance, and hope people understand. She can’t go doing something she doesn’t mean. She apologises that people does feel disappointed, but she stays true to how she feels; what else can she do? Lie and say, sorry, yeah, I’ve had lots of fun and I really believe in this but since half of you don’t, I’ll stop all of it.
        That would hardly be true to her.

        And if it leaves her with no fans, then that will be her cross to bear. But it’s her actions, and her choice.

        • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

          What else can she do? She can try to understand how she hurt the people she hurt, why what she did hurts them personally and on a larger enforcing negative social themes scale. Her apology doesn’t really seem to show that she really gets WHY people are hurt, why how this was handled was problematic. She doesn’t HAVE to do any of that, of course. She’s free to leave it at ‘sorry you’re hurt’. But, since she has declared that her personal ethics are to be inclusive and supportive of everyone, a lot of us expect her to be the kind of person to take the further steps toward understanding why a lot of people see this as a fuckup.

        • Lauren

          Both Amandas’ and Jasons’ entries don’t feel as if they’re taking responsibility to me. They feel more like “well, we didn’t intend to hurt you so we’re just going to say sorry but make no effort to make things right”. No where in this entry does she try to resolve the matter, nor does she try address the issues people had with the “child porn” element of the story. There’s an awful lot of “we didn’t mean to” but no “we admit it, we fucked up, we’re sorry”. I think explaining a bit more about what they exactly set out to achieve with Evelyn Evelyn and this “context” Amanda keeps mentioning would help.

          “She apologises that people does feel disappointed, but she stays true to how she feels; what else can she do? Lie and say, sorry”
          On some level I agree with you there. As much as I would like to hear an proper apology from Amanda it really means nothing if she isn’t truly behind it.

          “And if it leaves her with no fans, then that will be her cross to bear. But it’s her actions, and her choice.”
          Very true. None of us can change the way Amanda thinks or feels, and nor should it be down to us. However I really hope that the valid criticism is considered when the album is released and the live shows take place. Hopefully they’ll be more sensitive and well thought out than the ill-judged blogs and press releases, the Twitter feed and the Spin interview. Amanda and Jason are in a position where they can twist this around into something positive and use the project to challenge prejudices. Maybe the songs on the album do exactly that, we’ll have to wait and see. I adore them both as artists, I’m hoping for something fantastic just like you :D

          Sorry if none of this makes sense, I really shouldn’t engage in internet debate when I’m tired…

    • LCG

      Actually, she owes “these people” (i.e., her fans) her livelihood and without them she’d still be working as a living statue. Just saying.

  • http://ny-etc.blogspot.com/ carole

    wow, this is intense. as a french woman with some knowledge about disabilities i’m amazed at that discussion. people in this country can be pretty judgmental (you learn it the hard way when your child goes to school, though homeschooling and creationism are totally accepted here…). i could write a novel about all this… hehehe i might get to it;) it seems to me from the beginning that evelyn evelyn was not an offensive project, and now with all the explanation (should you really justify yourself?) that people still doubt it is craaazyyyyy. peace and love guys, it’s still a good slogan.
    btw, i was one of these people checking out amanda palmer because i was following neil gaiman on twitter and his constant references to her got me curious. i happen to find all i discovered, interesting, creative, with a good energy and funny. you go girl, you rock. though it kinda sadly seems logical that exposing your private life can unfortunately get out of hand. another subject.

  • Lisa Clar

    I don’t feel you have exploited anyone except for those of us who got dragged into feeling emotional about two women who had been so badly exploited only to to discover that they were fictional (which I read in Jason’s blog). I DID feel offended by that – I spend enough of my life weighed down by the real misery human beings inflict upon each other without having to deal with imaginary misery too. I only caught wind of this when I followed the link in your Twitter to your blog, so going on just that information, as I had no reason not to – I believed what I read.

    I suppose I must be one of those ‘problem’atic fans who pop over the fence from Neil Gaiman to find out more about you, I hadn’t in all honesty heard of you before I saw reference to you as NG’s fiance. Sorry to be such a bother, I was rather getting to like you until I felt I was intruding.

    Nonetheless, good luck with the interesting sounding project – just don’t be so surprised next time when people don’t like being made to feel foolish.

    (since I’ve never posted here before, I don’t know if my name and email will be included, so I’ll repeat it here, nothing anonymous about me – Lisa Clar, lisasarcy2111@yahoo.com

  • monawheeler

    As usual, you show off that beautiful and intricate mind of yours. You never let anything shake you, and I respect you highly for that. I honestly do not see what was wrong with the blog about Evelyn Evelyn, but even if it was a problem, you’re handling it quite well. You’re an inspiration, AFP, and I love you for that. Thanks for being you… gives me something to look up to and a goal to try to reach– being the best me. :]]

  • Norah

    I’m afraid StylishB got it right with their first comment: this is a fuck-up. And a big one.

    Let me say first, tho, that I’ve never participated in an online discussion, so this has been interesting and educational. Thanks everyone who kept it civil and engaged an on-point.

    I agree with everyone who says that AFP missed the point of our problems/complaints/concerns entirely.

    First, I think we can all agree on a couple of points:
    a. AFP is not a horrible person. She is, I think, open, honest, smart, talented, etc. She’s someone most of us would love to have dinner with, or talk to, or meet, or whatever. None of this is an attack on AFP personally.
    b. Art is vitally important. It must be allowed to be made without censorship, without interference, and without any paranoia about offending or irritating or bothering, etc. None of this is an attack on art.

    The problem here is project management, and as project launches go, this was a terrible fuck-up.

    1. I commented yesterday that the whole first E/E post gave me the impression that AFP and her friends sat around, drinking wine, pen in hand, asking themselves how much misery they could heap on these fictional twins, just to freak people out. So what does AFP tell us today? That she talked to her friends and supporters over wine and coffee about this project, and they all thought is was cool. Fuck up number one: never ask your mom or your best friend or your buddies if they think your new art project is awesome, because of course they’ll say yes.

    The reason that this is a particularly fantastic fuck-up on AFP’s part is because she’s famous for her online presence. Clearly, from the responses generated yesterday, AFP has fans in the disabled community, the feminist community, the ‘survivors of abuse’ community, and advocates who work in and with these communities. Why on earth wouldn’t you take advantage of your very connected, very net-savvy fanbase, and ask some objective third-party supporters for their input before launching such a controversial project? All AFP had to do is reach out via her blog, or twitter feed, or myspace, whatever, and ask for some confidential consultation. It’s called market research. Sheesh. Fuck-up.

    2. Don’t launch a project, ever, unless you can give it your full attention. So don’t launch a project when you’re on tour and out of the country and away from your full-time access to wifi and your support groups. Don’t launch a project when you’re busy being distracted by all the demands and concerns of marketing and promoting a tour on the other side of the planet from your home base.

    Because the result is that you put together a slap-dash, half-assed, ill-conceived blog posting that reads, as someone yesterday said, like a ‘Hey u GUISE just met the FREAKIEST people’ blogspot post. It’s disrespectful to your audience AND to your art AND to E/E.

    It also means that you’re not able to respond promptly and thoughtfully when the shit does hit the fan. Had AFP been home, and had she given this launch her full attention, she would’ve responded promptly and pre-emptively to the original complaints about the ‘abelist’ tone of her E/E post and probably diffused the situation before it turned into an all-day debate-marathon. She also wouldn’t have snarked off via Twitter, pissing people off even more.

    Plus – and this is in AFP’s own words, not mine, so don’t yell – apparently AFP shouldn’t launch a project when she’s PMSing. Sorry, but none of us non-artists get to tell our bosses that we’re too irritable to behave professionally because our hormones are acting up. It doesn’t work for AFP either and sounds petulant.

    All of this is marketing and ‘message management’ and damage control. All of it was fucked up.

    3. Don’t dismiss your audience’s concerns with a shrug. Ever. “I’m sorry if I offended” is the choicest fuck-up of all non-apologies, for one. Anyone who’s ever read anything about a celebrity giving offence can tell you that.

    But far worse, to me, is this second post’s response to the impressive, thoughtful, well-meaning comments that were posted yesterday. Telling us that you read our comments, and then because we get to post anonymously you shrugged us all off and went over to a ‘real’ forum for ‘real’ feedback – well, that’s just terrible, terrible PR. YOU, AFP, chose Disqus as your comments program. YOU, AFP, chose to allow people to post anonymously. Telling us now that you think this makes us a bunch of cowards and possibly a bunch of dickheads is seriously fucked up. And btw? I followed the link to your forum where all the brave, real people post – using online monikers. Yep, they’re way better than us.

    You don’t get to pick your audience, and you don’t get to tell us that our voices don’t count if we’re posting on YOUR WEBSITE. Fucked. Up.

    4. All of this could have been avoided with some professional project management. Put it this way: project management is the conjoined twin of art. That’s what galleries, theatres, music halls, publishing houses, and yes, record labels, do: they manage the process of making finished art accessible to the rest of us. They have professional project people on staff, whose full-time job is to manage the business of art: marketing, bookkeeping, selling, distributing, displaying, whatever.

    Yes, you can by-pass all those extra people by doing it yourself. AFP is a very successful testament to that fact. But if you’re not going to have someone do it for you, that you have to do it yourself in a professional, thoughtful, and attentive way. You have to think like a project manager, not an artist. I know that people will decry this as capitalist or corporate, etc. Tough, that’s the world we live in. Let’s face it: if you want to eat, you’ve gotta sell your product. You’ve got to promote yourself. It’s not enough to have a skill to sell, you’ve got to sell it.

    5. The results of this fuck-up are pretty wide ranging, too: AFP has alientated members of her original fan base; members of the fan base that found her via Neil Gaiman or Jason; and members of Neil’s & Jason’s fan base. In other words, her sloppy project management has cost her and her friends real, cash-paying clients. Bad. And if each of us who’ve been left feeling sour tells, say, five people that this project is gross, well, that’s a whole lot of potential sales also shot to hell, along with the opporunity to expand her fan base to new members. Not to mention the damage it’s done to her own ability to continue creating art, and to the credibility of all the people involved.

    Fuck up.

    I’m sorry, this second post has really done nothing for me but underline the sad and sorry state of the handling of this project. It makes me think that talented as those involved may be, they don’t have the mojo to pull off this sort of project. It makes me think of a comment Roger Ebert made years ago, about the difference between Daniel Day Lewis’s performance in My Left Foot, and Dustin Hoffman’s in Rain Main. Hoffman ‘did’ autism, like an acting stunt. Day Lewis WAS a disabled writer, his performance was so transcendent that it drew us into his character’s world.

    Sorry folks, AFP’s blog posts feel like a bad stunt. And no matter what comes after, any truly great art involved in this project has been tarred with the fuck-up that was this stunt.

    • goodserving28

      Exactly…maybe she should hire you. No-really good post and you have articulated alot of my thoughts exactly.

      • Norah

        Thanks!

        Did you see, up in the newer posts, that AFP actually BLOCKED someone from her Twitter feed when the poster sent her a so-called ‘negative’ comment about the first E/E post? My jaw actually dropped. Terrible, terrible PR and inevitably that stuff gets put out there for everyone to read about.

        It’s like a stone tossed into a pond, isn’t it? AFP blocks one person, and then those of us who are regular Twitter users and know how deeply uncool that is, like me, immediately go to their Twitter accounts and unfollow AFP.

        AFP should hire someone, because holy crap, this is a fuck-up gathering steam. She’d better hope that the mainstream press doesn’t pick up on it.

        • x0x0hello

          Too late, story’s out, heard about this from some Palmer fans. I work in marketing/pr as well, promoting and managing artists (yes, I’m the big bad artist manager, booooo, hissssss, organization, boooo) and have nightmares about stunts like this. Very articulate post, Norah, and exactly the sort of thing we all try to avoid. I feel like the formula looks like this right now: Dramatic fans + dramatic musician + the word ART being thrown around willy-nilly = shitstorm.

          Good luck, kids!

        • http://electricburritos.blogspot.com/ bre_anachronism

          I don’t know that the mainstream press is fully capable of picking up and NOT distorting anything, especially when it comes to someone like AFP. Maybe I’m being cynical, but I have my doubts.

          And I understand where you’re coming from- and generally, I agree on several points, but the statement of “she’d better hope that the mainstream press doesn’t pick up on it” rings almost like a threat. What, exactly, are they gonna do? Twist it around more? Or give her the kind of PR that Roadrunner Records can’t be bothered to?

          I’m just saying. We occassionally see musicians, like Amanda, who are pretty adept that that whole lemons-to-lemonade thing, and I don’t think a single person who’s followed her for long should be all that suprised if this turns into another one of those situations.

          Plus, when did it become a general rule that you don’t block someone on Twitter?

          • applefaerie

            Yep. When someone is abusive to the point that someone had to be to get even AFP to block them, the absolutely SHOULD be blocked. People can have opinions, but being abusive is uncalled for and no one deserves to be abused. Period.

          • Norah

            *Surprised Blink*

            Threat? No, no threat, just an observation that comes from the same place as my overall posts: this has been a terribly managed process.

            Let’s say that AFP aka E/E books a venue with 500 seats. Probably 1/2 to 2/3 (if that) of those seats will be sold to AFP fans, or people who are friends of AFP fans. The rest of the house has to be filled with newcomers. AFP’s actions have made it vastly more difficult to attract those newcomers, especially if there’s a whiff of icky controversy about the whole project. And the more publicity this thing gets, i.e. if it goes viral as the Kevin Smith and Neil Gaiman examples did, well, then ticket sales become all the more challenging. My comments were observational and, unlike AFP, I am sorry that I wasn’t clear.

            As to Twitter – hell, block anyone you like. But in this context, AFP uses Twitter as her key marketing tool. If fans are using that tool to participate in a conversation that YOU (AFP)started, to express in very clear and articulate terms that they feel that their concerns are being brushed aside by you (AFP) with an indifferent shrug, blocking them from your Twitter feed is, frankly, telling them to fuck off. For an artist who claims, in this very blog, to be all about inclusiveness etc, blocking someone who disagrees with you, especially if they’re potentially a disabled person or a survivor of sexual abuse (i.e. a member of the very community that you’re accused of exploiting) is just fucked up. You cannot see me – you don’t know if I’m blind or in a wheel chair, and you don’t know my sexual or personal history. That’s the danger of Twitter and other online forms of communication. What if the person she’d blocked was the chair of an advocacy group for the disabled? Or a rep from UNICEF wanting to express their concerns? Now those folks are not only irritated, they’ve been abruptly dumped by AFP, marginalizing them even more: dissenters are not welcome in the AFP community.

            Dangerously bad PR.

            I hope that clarifies my comments.

          • Norah

            One more clarification: I am taking the poster’s word at face value when she says that she Tweeted genuine concern about the abelist tone of AFP’s posts. I absolutely agree that abuse is not to be tolerated and abusers should be blocked. Read the post, and then maybe my comments will make more sense.

          • http://electricburritos.blogspot.com/ bre_anachronism

            Oh, your comments were perfectly clear the first time around, and I see where you’re coming from as it pertains to Twitter, but I think after several hours of dealing with such varied onslaught, I can empathize with the line of thinking of “you know what? Not dealing with this right now” and blocking. It DOES go against a lot of the ideology that has drawn a lot of people to Amanda, but she’s human, and while I too think it was kind of shitty, I can understand it.

            So yes, you’re clear- I just disagree.

            That having been said, while everyone in here is throwing their weight around with their experience and personal perspectives, let me say this: I work for a Rape Recovery Team in Florida as a victim’s advocate. I deal with sexual assault victims all. day. long. As a matter of fact, I just spent a half an hour on the phone with one who is being stalked by the man who assaulted her because he plead out and got 18 months only to be released three weeks later. The system SUCKS. Sexual assault victims are up against ASTRONOMICAL odds, it seems, not only of being taken seriously but of getting the retribution and peace of mind they deserve.

            Some of my clients fucking LOVE stories about sexual assault victims. They can relate to them, whether they’re false personas or true stories. Some of them love Alice Sebold, a few of them still love JT Leroy regardless. I’d understand if they were horribly offended, but still. I don’t claim to speak for all people in that respect, but for every person out there taking Evelyn Evelyn personally and to heart with the offense, there is surely one who likes the allegory and can relate to girls who were victimized and feel like outsiders and “freaks”. Who can’t?

          • Norah

            Thanks for the thoughtful reply, and for telling me about your professional experience. It’s an interesting and valuable perspective.

            I also get that your clients want or love narratives that they can relate to – hey, I spend my days finding books for people, that they will enjoy because they can relate to this kind of story or that one. I have had girls and women ask me for fiction about abuse survivors (I never ask why, it’s not appropriate); ‘She’s Come Undone’ by Wally Lamb is one of my favourites. And interestingly, Lamb is a man and IMO captures a woman’s voice so completely that I actually went online and checked to make sure that he’s actually a dude.

            And I would never, ever suggest that AFP doesn’t have the right to tell a story any way that she wants to. I may not like it or agree with it, but hey, that’s art and that’s freedom of speech. As many have said, I can just not buy it or not read it or whatever. As a reader, I don’t care for this story. It has to do with style and presentation: the voice seems flip and off-hand for the subject matter. The first blog posting feels slap-dash, or tossed off, like an afterthought or something AFP was typing between gigs, which IMO was not respectful of the twins, be they real or fictional.

            What I have a serious problem with is AFP’s response to those in the disabled community who expressed their concerns. She needed to do two things, to me: one, apologize and take responsibility for her actions. I’ve never worked directly with victims of assault, but I have done harassment mediation in non-profit housing. Harassment is not defined by someone’s actions, but the results of those actions. It’s not enough for AFP to say ‘I didn’t mean to.’ She had to say: ‘I’m sorry I hurt you. I acknowledge the hurt. I hear you and understand you.’

            The other thing she had to do was provide us at least enough context for this project to assure us all that she *wasn’t* being flip or disrespectful of the all the various communities that these sexually/emotionally/physically abused, disabled, displaced victims of human trafficking, etc, that these twins might represent. I understand that at the moment she may not be legally or contractually able to confirm that the twins are a concocted persona. But she needs to provide us enough context to respond to the accusations of ‘crip-face,’ cultural appropriation, etc. She needs to assure us that she’s not being disrespectful and understands the difference between a bad joke and art.

            I do concede that AFP may have started blocking people from her Twitter account out of sheer frustration, which is human. But I maintain that most, if not all of this could’ve been avoided if she’d reached out to someone, anyone, in the social justice community. Are there really no women’s shelters in Boston?

            PS – I had to laugh at the idea of a librarian throwing their weight around. I’m not sure that most people would think that being a librarian carries any kind of mojo to ‘throw around.’ Mostly we’re considered to be nerdy bookish people who hide behind the Dewey decimal system. :)

          • Haha Yeahright

            someone once said: “there is no such thing as bad publicity.” and history shows this to be true.

          • Norah

            Unless you’re Ted Danson in blackface.

        • bridgetvoid

          i’m surprised that people are genuinely surprised that AFP isn’t lapping up their critiques with an open heart and arms, no matter how much she quotes the buddha. i mean seriously, i’ve always worried/assumed that at some point this sense of false closeness with the fans could go rancid in a very bad and very quick way.

          there is an intimacy shared in these blog and twitter posts, but it’s all controlled by AFP…and generally she’d had a very adoring fanbase. so i’m sure even for her, this hugely negative response to the project has got to be disconcerting.

          “anyone new to the party who hasn’t picked up on this fact should stick around and watch it in action.
          if you’re too turned off and would still prefer to run screaming….we’ll miss you at the party.”

          i really feel like that sums up her entire post, which is essentially a nice way of telling people to fuck off if they don’t get her art. i think that’s always been the underlying current, to the fans, to the record label, etc.

          and for the record, i -am- disabled and i could care less about the “ablist” stuff regarding the twins project, mostly because the project hasn’t been released yet. it might defy our expectations or assumptions. what i am bothered by is her decision to blame her reaction to her fans on everything from travel to pms. that’s weak.

    • oneiricackle

      I’m sorry if this sounds a bit coarse but it was becoming an essay.

      1.What makes you think that all of Amanda’s wine meals exclusively involved Yes-men? I’m having a hard time taking that idea beyond the speculative stage because it seems unlikely.
      2. she’s busy most of the time. And not doing stuff because of PMS: She can still function but could do without the grief. Maybe you said that because you don’t want her to claim sympathy votes for it.. If not I could sneakily call that sexual discrimination. :)
      3. I can’t think of anything she could have said that would appease. Isn’t the damage done. + You took the anonymous posting thing out of context. The way people conduct themselves varies when they have to maintain continuity. She just wanted to get a different perspective.
      4. This is similar to point to 2. Requires time and money when she doesn’t have enough of either. Previous indie promotion would have been aimed at people who knew what they were getting. In fact, it should have been roughly the same this time, except that it obviously wasn’t.
      5. Artistes lose fans over a lot less controversy. It’s part and parcel of not being able to please everybody. If it wasn’t this it could easily have been something else (still can).

      In summary. To use the words that objectors to this project/launch might use; the issues are not on the “ablest” radar. If there is a screw up here it was simply not anticipating how angry people can get about things that only certain groups of people encounter.

      • Norah

        Two things: no one I know, in any other professional context, gets ‘sympathy votes’ for having PMS.

        And re. your ‘in summary’ point: I re-iterate… AFP clearly had access to people in those ‘certain groups’ that she’s offended. Most of the posters from those ‘certain groups’ have stated repeatedly that they are fans. Simple test marketing technique: invite comment from reps of those ‘certain groups’ who are your fans (therefore sympathetic to you and understanding of your work). Give them a sample, ask if anything you’re doing could potentially offend or upset anyone. Gather positive, supportive feedback. Amend or re-write anything that they tell you would garner negative reaction. This might’ve made the project about 3 months longer, but consider how much aggro it would’ve avoided.

        • oneiricackle

          If it doesn’t occur to you to that their might be a problem then no market research gets done. There are all kinds of things that would get done in the ideal world if only you could call them to mind. People would make graphics/animations that were suitable for people with photosensitive epilepsy & every web site would have optional text sizing and optimal fonts for people with dyslexia. (There are obviously steps these individuals can take themselves but for various reasons an awareness of the issues makes things go smoother for those in that predicament). I’m barley scratching the surface but you could do all these things and more if you know about the problems. The fact that I can think of these examples doesn’t mean that I can call them to mind at the appropriate time. These are all potential screw-ups we never knew we could make.

          • Norah

            I agree, absolutely. But to extend your IT example, look at something like Google Buzz. They should’ve known better. Some potential pitfalls are the size of golfballs, but Buzz, and this AFP project had pitfalls the size of the Grand Canyon and were easily foreseeable.

            Anyone who pretends to be a member of a marginalized group risks criticism. But compare this to, say, Robert Downey Jr in Tropic Thunder. For one thing, there was an African American actor standing right next to RDJ throughout the film, telling him off and giving the audience a voice inside that narrative. RDJ was supposed to be preposterous, so we accepted what he was doing as nonsensical over-acting and not racism. And the marketing campaign played with the idea of RDJ ‘done up’ as an African American, so we knew what was coming, and why.

            If there’s a larger context for the E/E project, then we should’ve known about up front. Why? Because anyone with any common sense knows that if you’re going to pretend to be a disabled person, you have to be careful not to offend anyone who actually is disabled by letting them know what you’re going to do and why you’re doing it.

            I genuinely believe that the ultimate mistake here was the first blog post. AFP says herself that Jason cautioned her against it, said that it was too impulsive that that she should wait for the entire project to be released so that we, the audience, could see the complete piece. That was really, really good advice. If it was clear enough to Jason, then AFP should’ve seen it too.

          • oneiricackle

            Are JW themes anything like as edgy as AFP themes? It’s possible that she might have thought he was being over-cautious. This would have especially been the case after the positive feedback from elsewhere.

            I think we can agree that if certain things had happened differently, this might not have turned out the way it has. My main issue is that imperfect scenarios yield imperfect results and that the solutions you suggested do not seem entirely practical. Given the circumstances of limited funds and limited help number possible considerations can be forgotten or missed out completely. This idea of “quite foreseeable” is interesting in itself for reasons involving probability. {sorry for this tangent but mathematics has considerably changed the way I apportion blame}Basically, there are more chance mess- ups of events (mental/environmental) than we tend to realise because the success on an outcome doesn’t depend on every event being perfect. Eventually, by chance, a number of things go wrong simultaneously and it looks like a major mess up has occurred (which it is but one that was probable). This of course isn’t any consolation to anyone who falls a foul of a cock up but it does explain instances that are unfortunate, especially when the conditions (mental/environment) usually produce the goods.

            As for the Delivery of EE, there is a subjective component to what was expected and what was delivered. If you have certain literary aesthetic tastes, certain developments fit together better for one person than they would for another. The way EE appeared to me made sense in ways that I could attempt to explain at perhaps some later stage. I understand that we could go round in circles on this last particular point so I’ll leave it here for now and see what the morning brings.

            Amanda knows that there will always be some people who respond negatively to her decisions but obviously this was very different. In The DD hate mail there is a letter from an ex-fan complaining that AFP was making light of self-harming but as far as I’m aware there wasn’t wider alarm at the time and if there was it settled down. If the extent critisism remains at a consistent level it (perhaps incorrectly) colours future decisions and expectations.

          • Norah

            Interesting: mathematical probably does definitely shine a different light on this project! Cool thought.

            Here’s a different possibility too: several things happened very quickly in AFP’s life that might have exponentially (wink) increased her fan-base without her realizing it. She became engaged to Neil, she attended the Golden Globes, etc. All of this generated much more mainstream attention than she may’ve been aware of, so, in turn, the E/E launch got waaaaay more attention than it might have even 6 months ago (in comparison to say, the Oasis controversy or any Dresden Doll material).

            That’s definitely a variable that she couldn’t’ve accounted for in planning this launch, I’ll happily concede.

            This does suggest, though, that if AFP, accidentally or not, has moved out of the mainstream and into a wider audience, she really ought to get some professionals involved in marketing the rest of this launch. She may be in over her head.

            (Note: I’m a happily employed librarian, so my suggestion is because I used to be a fan. If she does some actual damage control, I’m ready and willing to be won back).

          • Norah

            Sorry, that should read ‘out of the alternative music world and into a more mainstream audience.’ Gar.

            Which leads me to another thought: where was Neil? He went all mainstream when Coraline and Stardust, etc, really hit. He stopped being some obscure graphic novelist guy and became a Golden Globe nominee. Why didn’t he suggest some caution?

          • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

            That thought kinda bugs me, cos it seems to feed into the ‘men should be a part of the professional lives of their female partners’ theme which our society enforces. I get where you’re coming from, he’s a big part of her life and he recently went mainstream so might have an idea of the challenges. But it still seems problematic to me.

          • Norah

            Agreed, but AFP herself put it out there, quite literally. She went to Neil’s awards ceremony and ended up stealing the show, including promoting her Who Killed AFP project with all those ‘AFP dead on the red carpet’ pics she posted. She isn’t afraid to have herself identified with his successes and the publicity that comes with those successes.

            But really, what I meant was: if you’re in a relationship, regardless of the gender of your partner, wouldn’t you ask for some advice from your partner, based on their experiences? And wouldn’t you expect your partner to volunteer some advice if they think that you’re doing something reckless? Man or woman, looking out for your darling is part of the gig.

          • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

            *nod* Fair enough! Partners certainly should look out for each other. I don’t think everyone has the kind of relationship where ‘looking out for’ extends to professional stuff, but it’s not unreasonable to assume that as part of a relationship.

          • rachelsoma

            Yeah, why didn’t AFP’s fiance agree with your opinions and tell her how to do her thing? Doesn’t he know he’s a Big Name now and has to protect AFP from herself?

          • Norah

            Wow, so not what I was suggesting.

          • rachelsoma

            It read like that is exactly what you were suggesting. You can try to elaborate by generalising how you think a relationship should work but your statement was quite offensive to me.

          • Norah

            Can you elaborate? What, exactly, was offensive? I think that in any conversation, be it between lovers, business partners, friends, etc about your work, and what you plan to do with that work… in that conversation someone who has experience launching an art project (say, a novel) would say, “hmm, have you considered that someone could misinterpret your intentions? You’re launching a project here about disabled sex abuse survivors, and I understand your goals and intentions. Others may not, since these are hot-button issues. You might want to take that into account when you present the project, so that you’re at least ready to respond to the criticism.” Do you find the idea of someone expressing concern or offering advice offensive?

          • rachelsoma

            To imply that Neil was required to have input in Amanda’s project?

            Suggesting that he should have had a problem with this because you do?

            Writing a script of what he should have said to her?

            You’re dancing perilously close to the idea that Man should be wiser and tell Woman what to do because he knows better than her and that’s offensive

          • Norah

            Thanks. Interesting.

          • oneiricackle

            Glad you thought so :)
            Marvelous math…

            I think movement from non-mainstream to mainstream might be difficult to pin down because of the work that is required to stay there once you’re there. You get people bobbing around in-between appearing and disappearing underground again. Some seem to like it that way. You are right that maintaining a public image requires sophisticated planning as your presence grows, but it’s a balance that has to be weighed up with the financial cost and possibly even losing some of spontaneity that made your name. If that’s where Amanda is now or is heading then these are things she’ll have work out. It’s tricky. We shall see what happens.

            Caution from Neil: Hard to say why someone would or would not do something. Amanda seems fairly content with her fame level and Neil isn’t heavily in the spotlight (he sort of bobs around the periphery of the mainstream himself). Maybe there hasn’t been much need for caution –not bitten, not shy. Both sets of long-term fans are aware of their edginess and new Neil & Amanda fans might just as easily draw on their past achievements as reasons to hate the both of them.

        • rachelsoma

          So… art by committee to avoid potential offense ?

          Really? Is that where we’re going?

          • Norah

            No, not at all.

            I don’t think that AFP should change her *art,* not one bit. She’s free to do as she likes. I believe I stated at the beginning of this thread that nothing I’ve said is an attack on AFP personally or her art or art in general.

            But AFP could’ve easily avoided the backlash if she’s talked to even one person (not a committee) in the social justice community and asked ‘do you think this will cause offence.’ If the person had said yes, which I’ve no doubt they would’ve, then AFP could have planned the LAUNCH of the project differently. She could’ve presented the entire piece all at once, so that we had a clear context for the E/E narrative. Or she could have withheld the sexual abuse business while we all got used to the idea that they are disabled.

            Art is art. I don’t have to buy it.

            Put it this way: I put together a flyer for a cultural event in our library. I’m not a member of that ethnic culture, so just to make sure I wasn’t accidentally, unintentionally giving offence, I asked someone who was of that culture to vet the flyer. NOT the event, which was an author visit, just the publicity. The person I consulted suggested that I change the background color because it had connotations that I didn’t intend. So, I printed out the flyer on the color the person suggested. Why? Because if I’d offended even one person with my flyer, that’s one + all their friends that wouldn’t feel welcomed in my library branch.

            All AFP had to do was go to her local women’s shelter and ask if they’d take a look not at the project, but the presentation of the project. And I’ll re-iterate that I think had AFP been able to give this project her full attention, and not tossed off the original blog post between ninja gigs in Australia, it might’ve occurred to her to do so. The result is that it felt sloppy and off-hand and she wasn’t able to establish the right tone or voice for her blog posting to establish the seriousness of the project. It felt glib, read glib, and irritated a whole bunch of people, making them feel unwelcome.

      • anabahnana

        Dysmenorrhea is a serious debilitation and I’d rather you not make fun of its sufferers for being (for the lack of a nicer way of putting it) utterly incapacitated once a month during the fecund years. If Ms Palmer is a victim of this, she ought to be coddled with sympathies, tea and lots and lots of ibuprofen.

        Tongue firmly in cheek.

        I have no sympathy for artist managers who play it safe, sorry sweets.

        • Norah

          Interesting: you’ve just proved my point, thanks.

          I am not a manager, nor am I involved in any way in the promotion or management of the arts community.

          I am a librarian. Really. No I’m not lying, yes, I’m being perfectly serious.

          But I do a lot of promotional and project management in the context of public libraries. The principles are the same. And it’s not rocket science and you don’t (obviously) need an MBA. You just need to think through the potential consequences of your actions, and you have to think about your goals. If your goal is to please yourself, your buddies and your acquaintences, then AFP’s actions were fine. If your goal is to please your audience (all of your audience), to attract a larger audience and to sell tickets and records, then AFP has fucked it up.

          And what you DON”T know is whether or not I suffer from Dysmenorrea. If I do, does that give me more ‘cred’ when I tell you that it’s no excuse for fucked up project management?

        • x0x0hello

          anabahnana- “Playing it safe”- whatever you think that means, and alienating a sector of a devoted fanbase are much different. If Palmer’s goal is to be all-inclusive and has developed a rare closeness with her fans, then she needs to think about big picture items like being able to express her artistic vision in clear and simple terms.

          Artist managers, the good ones, are partners of the artist. It is like a marriage. An artist manager, again, a good one, is only there to support the creative endeavors of said artist and make sure the people who feed BOTH of them, the fans, don’t feel betrayed by their statements and actions. Betrayed, not offended. Offending people can be part of pushing an envelope to its fullest. Having a responsible manner in which to develop and deliver the envelope is not playing it safe. It’s like making sure you send your kids to school with lunch. Basic rules of taking care of the people who are, obviously, very devoted to the cause.

          I suppose I’m just old, but check out Lydia Lunch to see how it can be done.

    • Camilla

      This is brilliant, and (from the point of view of someone not in the business) very sound advice. I hope Amanda takes note.

    • Mel

      Not just that fanbase. How many people looked at “song with Al Yankovic, Tegan and Sara, Mikey Way”, etc. and had no fucking context? She sent those press releases out to websites.

      If you release information like that out into the world, saying “it’s just an injoke, we didn’t know people would react this way” is no excuse.

    • http://amber.dreamwidth.org/ Amber

      Just wanted to say that this is a wonderful comment and I agree completely. If Amanda wants to produce and release her own art, AND she wants to keep her gigantic fanbase and community, then she’ll have to, on some levels, learn a little more professionalism.

    • http://www.twitter.com/skyler Skyler

      I think you’re being really hard on her about the PMS thing for no real reason whatsoever except to add fuel to your rant. It doesn’t matter if you are male or female, it is very clear that her writing style is conversational and not as laid out as you have put your reply.

      As a librarian, you should know that was an aside. As a fan, you should know that her writing is mostly filled with asides and not arguments. I’m disappointed that you turned PMS from an aside into an excuse. She mentioned it once, in the context of how things are going poorly for her as a person. AFP writes to her fans not just as a performer, but also as if her fans were her friends. Are you this hard on all your friends when they’re having a bad day? Are you this hard on any artist that you follow when they make a mistake?

      • Norah

        Sorry Skyler: thanks for your post but I burst out laughing when you told me that ‘as a librarian’ I should know how to parse or interpret AFP’s writing and be able to recognize an aside, vs the main body of an argument, in an unedited first-person voiced blog. Librarians are not literary critics, journalists, professional writers or editors or even professional readers. I know many librarians who rarely read (sad to say) as their interests lie elsewhere.

        What I do know, as a librarian, is that if I piss off one of my patrons, and my boss says ‘hey, not cool,’ EVEN if I had PMS I’d still be expected to apologize, take responsibility for my behavior, and act professionally. I would not get to do as AFP did: AFP treated her fans shabbily (aka unprofessionally) and then said, well, you should understand and forgive because I have PMS. What she didn’t say was ‘sorry, I take responsibility for the way fans may have reacted, and my behaviour was bad.’

        AFP’s not my friend, so I can’t compare her to how I would respond to any other friend having a hard time.

        Look, here’s the thing: despite the chatty, open style that AFP adopts, she is running a business and this is her forum for corporate communications. Yes, she’s a small one-woman business and no, I don’t compare her to, say, the hacks at Buzz who screwed it up. But if you’re running a business, trying to sell me a product (the E/E album etc) and invite me to comment on your efforts, then you’ve got to be prepared to take responsibility when your clients tell you: hey, not cool.

  • dressmate

    I’m glad you are who you are. being who you want to be and doing whatever you want to do. Too many people are restrained by the opinions thoughts and behaviours of others. And I am so glad you just added another London show to the tour. I was gutted at the Bush Hall ones selling out so quickly. Can’t wait.
    When are you doing another solo tour in the UK.

  • TMMAlexgs

    As a ridiculously masseeeeeeev fan of both Jason and yourself, Amanda, for some time, I’ve followed the development of Evelyn Evelyn as best I can since I first heard of the idea a year or two ago.

    The whole thing seems exactly in line with what Jason and Amanda “do” – this whole, dare I say, Neil Gaiman-esque tongue-in-cheek Vaudeville freakshow that sometimes reminds of bygone eras of entertainment without paying direct homage. The fact both of them marry this to honest and terrific music is obviously the big hook.

    I just took the “conjoined twin” aspect of Evelyn Evelyn as nothing more than a jokey nod to the fact that this is two similar artists, and from what I can tell, great friends designing an inevitable unison and in keeping with their simultaneous style, making it a bit over-the-top visually. All in the name of art, but most notably all in the name of fun. It’s exactly what we love them for I think.

    As for the backstory, this is something Amanda in particular excelled at with her solo elpee, dreaming up a whole fantasy world to help the listener truly immerse themselves in this massive project. They say the album’s dead in music, this was an attempt at reviving it by, ironically, creating the death of her media character.

    It was brilliant.

    In much the same way as Evelyn Evelyn.

    The negativity I see is in the admittance that people with no prior knowledge of Amanda and/or Jason’s work (fans of Neil Gaiman looking for their first exposure to this music, for instance), not getting what’s going on here. In that sense it’s easy to understand a little reluctance to accept the project or see it as the big joke it really is. But the crucial thing here is to acknowledge the controversial visual gimmick is no new thing to music in the alternative spectrum. Added to a mock backstory, people need to understand this isn’t anything new to Amanda.

    Having read some of the complaints, I can see where offence may come from. To have the backstory of two able-bodied saints plucking abused disabled nobodies from obscurity to truly have their voices heard is obviously gonna be a bit of a bitter pill as an introduction. But honestly all it will take is a little familiarisation with the prior work of these two great artists to realise what’s happening. It’s supposed to paint them as freakish, ridiculous and unbelievable (not the imagined twins, but Jason and Amanda), but is also the exact natural type of project they were destined to take on when finally working in tandem. No harm is meant, I’m 1000% sure.

  • Rana Bassil

    Amanda, don’t give a shit about all the bla-bla, people talk and get angry, and 5 minutes later they forget…The story of the twins is intriguing and the music you’re doing is great !!

    We love you here in Switzerland and we would love to see you again in Fri-son…( with the twins )

  • http://thekonietzkystrain.tumblr.com/ NeuroMan42

    Plain and simple… ‘Merica is a bunch of stuck-up ninnies. I was born and raised in Florida, and I have always been offended by the fact that ‘Merica is sooooo damn up-tight and afraid to express itself more in art, music, writing. Art = Rocks!!!

  • http://twitter.com/_ambo am33r

    well amanda, i applaud your honesty and imagination on this project. after reading your tweet about setting aside emails, i saw your point instantly. it seems silly that people were under such distress over this project that you ended up being obligated to blog about it. this is what i think people who don’t agree should think about:

    people getting upset over fictious twins? there are far more important things for us to stress over. how about haiti, poverty, the economy, or pollution?

    i think the question that people need to think about is, ‘what is the purpose of art?’ a true artist explores their imagination and reflects it into reality for others to see. i think people should really delve deeper into this project. i think the purpose of ‘evelyn evelyn’ is to show the world how limitless imagination can be. by using this surreal situation amanda and jason have really shown fans that there is more to life than mundane fears and barriers. isn’t the point just for everyone to transcend these boundaries and follow their mind’s eye- making it reality? after all, we’re all just people in the end.

    so i guess what i’m trying to say here is, why waste your life away stressing and hating things that you cannot change? spend your life trying to free your mind- learning and growing, like amanda palmer, jason welby, neil gaiman, and all of the other artists have already done. they’re really just trying to share their limitless imagination with us. what better gift can they give the world? we should be admiring their courage to share their minds with the world, because after all we are only here, in this moment once.

    ok, so amanda said some of this in her blog, but i felt it was important to give a fan’s/peon’s perspective. i’m not going to hate anyone. i’m not going to stress over someone’s imagination, or their free speech. i’m just going to sit back, and take it all in- and hey, maybe i’ll learn something.

  • starsdied

    I trust you to tell the twins’ story well on the album. I think that there was a sense of We Discovered These Disabled Ladies And Now We Will Rescue Them in your last post that a lot of people, myself included, found extremely disconcerting. I think a lot of the time, when a person in some position of power says “I want to help you do this”, it really means, “I want to make you do this my way”. It’s an unfortunate connotation. I think people will accept this much better if it is a well-told, empathetic, first-person story from the twins’ perspective. It is so hard for many of us to stomach the savior’s narrative when we are concerned about the “saved” parties and want to know how they feel, what they think, and if they are being exploited. If you must apologize, apologize for the unfortunate tone that came through in your last post. But don’t apologize for the album. Never for the album. I think a lot of us were deeply concerned by the way the last blog sounded to us, but I for one have faith that the album itself will explain everything better than any post could.

    I am new to your fan community, but I love your work and I think you’re fantastic. I know what you can do. I can’t wait for the album to come out. Hopefully that will resolve 99% of this argument.

    Dear Everyone: this is a really hard conversation to have. We are all doing the best that we can with it. Group hug.

  • http://twitter.com/blurabbit147 blurabbit147

    this is just my perspective, grown out of my experience, some study, and mostly, my feelings about things.
    i think the real problem, Amanda, is that you are portraying disabled persons with a history of abuse as doing something positive, creative, and fun. you have a history of art that is almost alchemical in nature. looking at events we are told we MUST experience as x, and portraying them as y. i, myself, am a queer person with a disability and a history of abuse, including sexual. from my experience, there is a strong culture of staying focussed on harm done to us among disabled, abused, and otherwise marginalized people, in part because our suffering hasn’t been taken seriously for so long there is a fear of lapsing back into not having our pain validated. THIS IS A VALID FEAR, but i believe we must enlarge our view of what life can be. not turning our back on the suffering but acknowledging that we can still laugh, create, and play. as part of that, i believe that we can welcome our “allies” to participate fully in creating art that is a part of that transformation. if you were writing and performing a play about how awful the lives of these women are with a bleak ending, i am fairly certain you wouldn’t be getting the backlash you are getting now.
    this is just my two cents. there may be people who argue against it, that’s fine. just know, if you disagree by being unkind i won’t acknowledge your comments.

    • Sandra S.

      *APPLAUSE*

  • wakingdreaming

    My whole issue with the child pornography detail in the Evelyn Evelyn story is that it’s FLIPPANT. I don’t see any artistic value in simply throwing that detail out there with a wave and a giggle. I don’t see it as inspiring any thoughtful conversation or doing something that is going to somehow benefit survivors of sexual abuse. It feels like it’s being played for LAUGHS, like “Oh my god, isn’t there life just soooo fucked up?” You talk about the light hearted and joyous tone that you’ve maintained on this project, and if it wasn’t for this little detail, Amanda, I’d agree with you. But child pornography is not light hearted and joyous.

    Your apology really ISN’T an apology. It’s really awfully backhanded. This is one of the very few times in your career where I think you really and truly don’t get it. Without that one thing, this project would be great.

    I hope you”ll continue to think about this, Amanda, and that you’ll somehow realize how fucked up this is.

  • lunamoth42

    Art is meant to get a reaction out of people. Period.
    Telling people to stop doing their art is censorship. Period.
    Art isn’t wrong or right, it just is.

    My respect for AFP just rose upward quite a bit. I love ruffling feathers. I love when people take leaps and rock boats. Life would be so bland and boring and safe if we never did anything that upset people.

    People can be offended all they want, but they need to stop thinking theirs is the only opinion that matters.

    • http://www.jodigreen.ca/ jodilicious

      Yes. And one common thing that people do in conversations where they think that their opinion is the only one that matters is this: they state their opinion with a period and then the word “Period” after it.

      And, for the record, “Art” with a capital “A” is not some holy untouchable thing that can’t be questioned. Learn a little bit about art, why don’t you. It’s a profession, you know. With a Master’s degree and everything.

      • lunamoth42

        Ah. You’ve assumed I’m not an artist, or that I don’t move about within the art community (I do). I absolutely *love* people who say things like “learn about this before you speak” as if they alone hold the keys to knowledge. As if such a statement negates that person’s argument. Just because my art isn’t famous doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

        No one said it can’t be questioned. Please show me where I said it can’t be questioned. You have yet to convince me that I’m incorrect in my assessment that art is meant to get a reaction, and that telling people not to make it is censorship. I assume, since you disagree, that you feel that art is *not* meant to get a reaction, and that people *should* be told to stop making their art. Is that right?

        Also, many artists I know, who are in the profession and everything, don’t have an MA. They’re simply successful at marketing their work in a way that puts it in front of people. An MA doesn’t legitimize one artist’s work over another’s.

        • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

          I think the point being made is more like ‘own the reaction your art gets’, which people feel AFP is not doing. Her reaction to the hurt of her fans and non-fans is not what I would have expected from her, given who she has presented herself as in the past. I’m still hoping that she’ll show herself to be the person she’s presented herself as and I believed her to be by owning that what she did hurt people.

        • http://www.jodigreen.ca/ jodilicious

          Yeah, actually I came back to this thinking about deleting my reply as it may have been needlessly bitchy. But, no. I stand by what I said. When you state your opinion followed by the word “Period” you are essentially saying My Opinion is Fact FULL STOP and shutting down the conversation. This is, in essence, the same as saying that art can’t be questioned, which you claim not to have said.

          Art is not “meant to get a reaction” if by “a reaction” you mean always a negative or upset or shocked reaction. It is meant to start a conversation and that conversation doesn’t have to be an angry one. I don’t see a lot of people here telling Amanda not to make her work, as you claim. People are just finding their engagement with the work problematic in a way that makes them want to ask Amanda to speak to it, and because of the way in which she makes herself available via the internet they have become accustomed to being able to have those conversations with her about her work. From what I can see there aren’t a lot of people coming around her hating on Amanda, just people who appreciate and support her work who feel unease about this project and want to hear more of what she has to say about it.

          • lunamoth42

            OT – Man this comment system is weird. Keeps bouncing me all over the page. /OT

            Gosh, I said “Period” and that ends the conversation? Clearly it didn’t nor was it meant to. The implication was, I have a strong opinion on it which does not waver in the face of people yelling. And you do as well, obviously.

            “Art is not “meant to get a reaction” if by “a reaction” you mean always a negative or upset or shocked reaction. ” Is conversation not the result of a reaction? Did the art not get reactions, both good and bad? I stand by my opinion that “reaction” is a perfectly good word to describe what’s happening, and that there is something very exciting about art that gets people reacting. I refer you to the works of Shepard Fairey, Ron English, Lydia Lunch.

            I get it that people want more than what AFP has given. Maybe she has more to give, and maybe not. It sure is amazing that people have grown to expect an answer, immediately. That’s the Internet for you.

  • vela

    people, dont u get it?! it is a STORY.
    and (as so many other good stories do) it tells us about a girl (well 2 girls in this case) that had a REALY hard time (cindarella, snow white, hensel & gretel etc) BUT have found a way and is now COMING OUT OF IT! the gril WON!!! and not with the help of a prince, mind u ;)
    where is the problem?????

    • speakwrite

      Er, Hansel and Gretel ended with them being thrown into an oven and eaten.

      If you want to compare this story with fairy tales – which I wouldn’t do as a positive, given the nature of this discussion and those involved – okay:

      Fairy tale: princess has a really hard time, has personality and promise no one recognizes because she’s a lower-class girl with an evil stepmother, then a prince saves her and they live happily ever after.

      E&E: conjoined twin musicians have really hard time, have talent and promise no one recognizes because they’re disabled and orphaned, then two able-bodied musicians save them and they live happily ever after.

      • clarity

        You should reread Hansel and Gretel.

  • Mrs Arkban

    Not so much the death penalty, but Stephen Sondheim wrote a musical called Assassins, that deals with 9 people who tried to assassinate various American presidents. A lot of people didn’t like it because they said it glorified the assassins. Sondheim was actually trying to show the flip side of the American Dream – what about the unheard people, who will never get the American Dream?

  • Desiree

    Art has it’s risks. I admit I’ve been a Gaiman fan for years, and only just begun to discover your voice and art through exposure through him. Art is about making the receiver uncomfortable, and challenging them beyond their box of pre-fab assumptions and notions. No matter how inoffensive you may try to be, someone will find a way to take it the wrong way or skew it to mean something you never intended, and be offended. Just keep doing what you do, because if this many people are upset, it means they need to be challenged to look deeper than the surface before making assumptions and judgments. I take it as a sign that you care about the message you are trying to get out, and no one can fault you for that.

  • catnmouse71

    I had to stop reading after No. 2. When has being a musician NOT been about creativity and showmanship, entertainment and telling a story? Do these people honestly believe that all songs are based on true stories? If so, they must cry constantly whilst listening to the radio. I’m also willing to bet that they gave money to help someone’s poor Yorkies via email. and are still waiting for the Barrister in Africa to drop that inheritance into their bank accounts.

  • Tamlynleigh

    Dear Amanda,

    Art always has the power to confront. Sometimes it is raw, and goed straight to your gut. Sometimes it’s just a little flutter passing you by. You choose the raw kind, and I applaud you for that. This kind of art has to tear at you, and has to tear at your heartstrings.

    And yes, it causes controversy. But, where would we as a people be without a painting like the Guernica, which just grabs you by the throat and drags you into the violence of that one day in Guernica?

    Kudo’s to you for standing behind your project. You rock!

    I have tickets for Amsterdam in april, same date as the tenth anniversary of my husband and me, and I will cheer you on as loud as I possibly can :D

  • melodyg

    I thank all deities possible for free speech in America.
    I thank them for the dissenters.
    I thank them for the agreeers.
    I thank them for Amanda, Jason, and Neil.
    I thank them for Amanda’s, Jason’s, and Neil’s patience.

  • annaham

    Amanda,

    I’ve been following the “whole story”–hell, I’m the one who wrote the blog post at FWD about E-E–and I still feel like that tweet, and your initial response, was pretty dismissive. I know you didn’t *intend* to offend anyone, but sometimes intent does not cover what actually comes out.

    I do not wish to be construed as a “hater.” Legitimate critique and people screeching “FUCK YOU” are not the same thing; I do not believe that my post, or any of my follow-ups (including this one on my blog: http://whotookthebomp.blogspot.com/2010/02/imbroglio-go-go.html) were of the second type. That is really awesome that the response to EE has mostly been positive; that said, I think critiques are also worth listening to, even if they come in the form of “upset” blog posts.

    Please understand that some of the people making these critiques are your FANS. I am a huge fan of yours. I love your work. But under no circumstances does that mean that I will be silent, or hold my questions, when something done by someone who strives to be “inclusive” feels very *exclusive*.

    Regards,
    Annaham

  • Lauren

    Amanda, you’re human. Humans make mistakes and sometimes those mistakes end up offending people, it inevitable. We will all offend someone at some point. We know you didn’t mean to hurt anyone, but you have, and the right thing to do now would be to take responsibility, yet all this and Jasons blogs seem to do is place the blame on the people taking offence. This entry is all about /your/ hurt, how upset this made /you/. How about you think about the hurt an already marginalised group of people are feeling instead of just dismissing it with an “oh we didn’t mean to guys!”?

    “I didn’t mean to” is not an excuse. When you accidentally step on someone’s foot you apologize for the physical hurt and make an effort to not do it again. Emotional hurt deserves the same thoughtful reaction, the same effort to make it stop. Your art is not more important than other peoples feelings.

    It’s sad when two people with so much talent feel they need to do things like this to make their art interesting.

    • NScalia

      If I push someone, I would apologize. If I push someone out of the way of a speeding bus, I won’t. It all depends entirely on context.

      Until the album is released, you only have a backstory setting up the story of these girls. If you choose to get offended by reading the back of a book cover rather than reading the book itself, then it really IS the fault of the audience for jumping to conclusions. The artist shouldn’t be held responsible for offensive art in an ideal world, and CANNOT be held responsible for people choosing to be offended over something that they haven’t even experienced yet.

      So, with the analogy, Amanda’s pushed a lot of people here so far. It could have been an accidental push, or it could have been a push with a completely different context. Until that context is revealed through both the album itself and a little bit of application of what we know about AFP through her past albums and blogs, then assuming ANYTHING, especially that she needs to apologize for something we know very little about, is ridiculous.

  • lucyleaf

    I am married to a disabled man, and neither he nor I find offense with Evelyn Evelyn. To be honest, the switch from no-bullshit Amanda to telling-a-myth Amanda was a little jarring. I hesitate to make a judgment on EE now until I see the whole package. But knowing you, it’ll be fun and twisted and challenging and interesting. Ain’t nothin’ in this world that’s black and white – I like how you embrace and play in the grey areas, A.

    I don’t have much to add to the mostly brilliant and thoughtful discourse, but just want to say that I’ve been put in a much less public but still vulnerable position of releasing something I worked hard on. The most vocal folks are usually speaking up to complain. I’ve had to center and re-evaluate as you said. Over and over. I’m sending you deep peace and yoga goodness, babe.

    I have been a fan and follower for about six months now, and though I may find myself shocked or even put off on occasion by your art, I will NEVER distrust you. You are committed to art and your vision no matter fucking what, and that makes what you do infused with integrity and love. I plan to stick around and watch forever. xoxo

  • bazjello

    I get annoyed with people who complain about content in art of all sorts; theatre, writing, photography to name but a few. We have the ability to shut it off, close the book, turn away. That’s freedom people! If one dislikes something an artist has created …just walk away! You have that power. The album is art and if one doesn’t like what it represents, one has the power to not purchase it! Every one of us is entitled to like or dislike but not to affect what others are allowed to like or dislike.

    • Rosemary

      You’re right. If I don’t like some form of art, I can walk away from it. If I find something offensive about that art, I also have the freedom and power to say so. And there is nothing wrong with doing that, either.

  • Melody Shole

    It’s bizarre to me … as I’ve followed you and I’ve followed Neil both separately for a few years now. Part of me is still trying to wrap my head around the fact that you two do have this relationship :)

    That said, your stance, in my never-to-be-humble opinion, is right on. It’s similar to why I had to leave a job formally working for “social justice” a few years ago. Too many discussions are not allowed to happen because certain people aren’t allowed to discuss them. Why? Someone might be offended because you use the wrong word, the wrong inflection, etc., etc. Or, heaven forbid, someone might admit ignorance and ask for information.

    Communication and discussion – through all channels including art – is the only way to achieve a balance in this world. Where we can get to a point of understanding and love and justice.

    Keep up the discussion evoking work!

  • PurpleMark

    I haven’t read any of the Evelyn Evelyn story, but I’m sure that like most Art, it is a blend of fact and fiction. The main purpose of Art is to shake things up and get the viewer to become more aware of how they view the world around them. Hopefully, it will broaden their horizons. Keep doing your Art, it is necessary!

  • cancerbaby

    If you’re an artist, and you’re not being accused of marginalizing something, glorifying something, churning out filth, or corrupting the youth of the nation, you’re not doing your job properly.

    • speakwrite

      I like art that doesn’t marginalise any”thing”. I’d certainly consider artists who’ve created it to be doing their job properly. Frida Kahlo and Jeanette Winterson come to mind.

      That said, people (who are defending Amanda) don’t seem to realise that you can recognize an artist’s problematic territory without having to paint HATE on them. I’m a huge fan of Alfred Hitchcock. His depiction of women? Not the most awesome. I don’t pretend it’s not there, but I don’t burn DVDs of his movies as a result. Acknowledge. Think. Appreciate.

      Don’t dismiss; discuss. Hello, humanity.

      • cancerbaby

        Now, see, what’s happened here is you’ve taken my brief, quasi-humorous comment on the importance of offensiveness in art and you’ve replied to it with the equivalent of a “Well, Actually…” statement, neatly excising the humor with a rusty tuna can lid.

        Well done, you.

        • speakwrite

          That’s exactly what I’ve done. Good thing I keep those tuna cans around for so long!

  • mayapooka

    I don´t listen or know your work. But now I want to know about. I think when art made you think about you and the rest is a good thing. You and your creative partner made people think, and they simply don´t like what they think.
    I could be consideraded disable, but I think that this concept (disable) it´s in people´s head and it´s you to decided what to do about.

    I hope you, two, continue that work, and, who knows come to Brazil… mabe some day.

    PS: I do like your Mr. Gailman works, and I do follow him on twitter. That´s how I´m here.
    PS2: And I´m fan of Tommy.

  • Salamandrina

    I think perhaps people also need to look at the obviously anachronistic nature of this project, in order to better understand where it’s coming from. Go read a few issues of Meatcake and some Lemony Snicket if you’re unsure of what exactly I’m taking about. Hell, listen to some Rasputina while you’re at it.

  • jasmeanie

    Hmmm, death penalty musicals? If memory serves (and sadly it often does not), Sondheim’s Assassins featured death by electric chair and hanging. And Parade by Jason Robert Brown (about the alleged rape and murder of the minor Mary Phagan) ended in a lynching. Oh and we all know how Jesus Christ Superstar ended, right?

  • http://www.twitter.com/catjones Catastrophe Fucking Jones

    AFP – Love the haters, check. Personally, I’m up for hearing more of your noise. I don’t care if you pretend to be someone else while doing it. On a tangential note: Have you ever read “One of Us: Conjoined Twins and the Future of Normal” by Alice Domurat Dreger? I recommend it, at least for the perspective it grants. -CFJ

  • coolkidmitch

    I know you probably have enough comments floating around to look at, but I’d like to add my two cents to the massive “OMGWTFBBQ” response that the project has received.

    Personally, I didn’t know about the project till today. I am a loyal fan who tries to keep up with your twitter feed, recently I had fallen a little bit behind because I’ve been sick, excuses excuses. Anyway, a friend of mine, who is another devoted AFP lover, mentioned it to me briefly the other day, I thought nothing of it because I had no clue what was going on. Just heard a project you were working on offended some people, and my friend (who is handicapped, by the way) and I both nodded in agreement of “We stand behind AFP no matter what. Offend on our fearless leader”

    This morning I did a little digging, as I was behind on the times, and pulled up the blog entry about Evelyn and Evelyn. I read the entry and though, “Wow, this is fucking badass. How the hell did she come across something like this. How amazing that her and Jason are giving these girls a chance to actually put together an album. Its so bizarre, I wish I could hear what these girls sound like, but if its anything like Amanda, I’m sure I’ll love it.” Then I found the myspace page, listened to the first song going, “Annnny minute now, they’ll chime in” and nothing. So I thought, OK, perhaps the next song, maybe that was just a neat intro song they did for the girls. After listening to the 2nd song I paused annnnd

    *rimshot*

    Jokes on me. I finally understood the project. I’m sure at this point, other people probably went for a reaction of: “Ahhh wtf, burn the two of them for what the have done! SINNNNERS!” I, instead, laughed, and listened to it again to enjoy what it really was.

    I love every bit of it, the styling, the feel, the sound, the music, all of it. Although it would have been cool for a real conjoined twin pair to come out and do their bit for us, I prefer the true masterminds behind the project much more. It’s beyond creative, it’s fucking amazing and I wish you all the best of luck

    Haters gunna’ hate, you are marvelous, don’t let them get you down *good juju and all jazz* I wish you the best of luck on the project and, if you decide to come to Austin TX to perform, I will be the first in line :).

    -Mitchell-

  • richardfairgray

    This whole situation seems so ridiculous to me. What you have done is take an amazing piece of fiction and infused it with the real world, this is the one of the most amazing things any artist can do. it doesn’t matter what the subject matter is because everyone knows it is a fiction and we all buy into the same social contract when we view it/hear it/read it. This should be no more offensive than those encyclopedia that talk about Batman as if he were real, he’s done far more damage to the world at large than has ever been done to the Evelyn sisters.

    Perhaps I am viewing this from the wrong perspective because the first time I heard of the twins was when I saw a video of them on youtube and the performance aspect of it became perfectly clear from the outset, though I can’t imagine ever being upset if I hadn’t known that. Do fans really feel like you are lying when you do work like this? That’s like cutting someone off halfway through a joke and telling them that there’s no possible way a duck could wander into a bar asking for cherries, it’s like refusing to read a genre of book because the fictional story within it may challenge your understanding of non-fiction.

    I think people choose to get offended when certain topics are mentioned and this creates an environment where people become scared to talk about certain things (case in point, the number of major comic book news sites who have had NO coverage of this “can manga count as child porn” debate). What I wonder is if people would be just as offended if this story were true? If they would then that is fine but if not then I am horrified at the number of people who would scream (over the internet) over what someone can imagine.

    When you read a story, it is just that, a story. It can make you think, it can highlight certain things but in the end it only has the power to offend you if you forget that it’s just something someone made up. The story didn’t happen just because it got written down, the victims don’t really die in horror films and sometimes it is fantastic to create a tragic narrative because there are so many other wonderful things people can take from them.

  • http://twitter.com/nefariousplot Ashley Hochstein

    This is what I e-mailed to the author of the blog from disabledfeminists.com:

    Hello,
    I have been following the drama behind the “Evelyn Evelyn” project from the get-go. Amanda and Jason both responded
    (as someone said, I’m paraphrasing, there is a right way and a wrong way of doing a project similar to this. The author of the comment mentioned one that was right, and one that was wrong. The one that was ‘right’ had a creator with a family member with a disability. Amanda Palmer in the following blog pointed out that she had a half-brother musician that she adored and was inspired by with Lou Gehrig’s disease. Just wanted to point that out.)

    http://www.jasonwebley.com/weblog/
    http://blog.amandapalmer.net/post/396762227/evelyn-evelyn-drama-drama

    The comments were cut off before anyone had a chance to post these blog responses from the both of them, and I just wanted you to see their side of things (though you probably have already seen them).
    I am reserving my personal opinion for until the album comes out. To be perfectly honest, I know that disabled persons are still exploited in the world, and even if this is a work of fiction, it could actually hit close to someone (or multiple peoples’) actual stories. This album could, in a strange way, actually have potential for good. It could open peoples’ eyes. Heck, even if it opens just one or two sets of eyes, is it worth it?
    On a side note, I make the same argument for the movie Avatar. Flashy, plot done again and again… but it has opened peoples’ eyes (which they never expected) to see what we are doing to our own planet, and what we’ve done, as well as the oppressed tribes of people that are still having their homes destroyed for resources.

    All I am saying is that yes, this has been done before. But I also trust that some of fans of Amanda Palmer to think outside the box with this album, and that it is at least worth hearing the whole story.

    • http://adeepercountry.blogspot.com/ Amanda

      hi–I think I’m the author of the comment you’re talking about, and I’m not Annaham, the poster of the original Evelyn Evelyn post, nor am I a contributor at FWD/Forward (disabledfeminists.com), I’m just someone who reads their website a lot. So I don’t represent them by any means.

      however, to clarify the comment you’re responding to: I was talking about the TV show Carnivale, which I would guess AFP is probably a fan of–it’s in the whole carnival/circus genre which she seems to be very into (when I first started watching it I described it as “a Neutral Milk Hotel album in the form of a TV show”). it takes place in a traveling carnival in the 1930s, and there are characters who work as “circus freaks”–a guy with dwarfism, conjoined twins, a “lizard man,” etc.

      I think that what makes Carnivale very impressive, and yes, the right way of doing things, is that the creator of the show was inspired by the experience of his dad who was a wheelchair user. While he was conceiving of the “circus freak” characters he thought of how people disrespected his dad for being in a wheelchair. He treated the characters as complex people and thought about how ableism affected their lives.

      so I wasn’t trying to say that anyone who has a disabled relative automatically is doing the right thing. that would be ridiculous. everyone has a disabled relative if you go far enough. I’m frustrated that you interpreted my comment in such a simplistic way.

  • NeveLynn

    I think what people are forgetting here is how much of their entertainment comes from the struggles of fictional characters. Who hasn’t watched Law and Order, or House or any of the other dozens of TV shows and movies which depict fictional characters in real life shitty situations? If you take offense to this, do you take offense to EVERY fictional account of abuse, hardship or struggle; whether it be in a book, on TV or in a movie. What about songs like Dani California or Lake of Fire which are about fictional people who struggle?

  • sophie

    It’s funny how it never even occured to me to think ill of this, seeing as how my father is paralyzed and what not. Rather it made me jump up and down of excitement and order plane tickets to Berlin 1st of May. Isn’t it more appropriate that the people who make a big deal out of this are to be called names, since they seem to think you’re different as a person for being handicapped, and thus you can’t take a joke?

    Oh, anyway, although I’ve never met you and can’t be sure you’re for real, I respect uou more than I respect anyone else.

    As for marrying my favourite author, it’s the best thing, and I cried real tears, of joy.

    Come to Sweden.
    Please.

  • dawn

    I am popping my head over the fence from camp Neil. I am not screaming, just curious and intrigued, there seems to be something of interest on the internet today.

    I have been on the receiving end of accusations of discrimination, after not realising I had upset someone. It wasn’t very nice. You do go over things in your head again and again, and it can potentially really break your spirit, to think that you are such a bad person, that you can really offend and upset people without trying.

    Everybody is entitled to their point of view, but I do think that there is something about human nature that doesn’t accept that we are all individuals who think in more ways than we can possibly count. We try to listen to others and see their point of view, but if it is a subject that we are passionate about, deep inside we are still thinking ‘You are wrong’. For some reason we then think it is up to us to set those wrong people straight.

    I don’t think there are any right or wrong answers here, just a lot of sadness because people are angry, hurt, offended, confused and judged

  • Lilu1414

    I have to say, This is the most comprehensive and brave piece of discussion I have seen in the who Evelyn evelyn thing. I have to admit, I was a little stunned at the backstory, but I’m always a little stunned at what amanda does, at first I don’t know what to think, but I give it a chance and really experience whatever it is as art and nothing but. Each time I give it my attention as a fan because I have seen, time and again, amanda palmer do daring and amazing things with art as well as Jason Webley. Her art has seriously moved me and so many others. At her concerts, everyone is in the moment. It really is a rare and profound effect, one that led me to give her the benefit of the doubt on the last blog. It’s text…A BLOG…meaning no inflection, no vocal tone, and dozens of ways people can misconstrue it. Given the fact that she has refrained from blocking people who are posting pretty harsh comments, especially for someone we may all feel we know, but very few of us (if any) actually know as a personal friend, AND she has actually taken the time/attention/emotional investment to read through and respond to these comments from mostly strangers, shouldn’t we give her the same amount of consideration? I’m not discouraging discussion, but it gets irritating when people post things about correcting someone’s “idiocy” or simply writing to hurt. If there is relevence and a basis for the arguement, then there is no reason not to post it, but if you are just blowing off steam or taking this one thing as an example of what you think is wrong in the world, then it seems to only function as an obstacle to the discussion rather than something to move it forward. There were even some comments criticizing her grammar….really!? After a musician writes a BLOG (not a novel, mind you) about a project they are excited about, that seems really random and rude.

    Most importantly, people seem to be forgetting that this is a PERSON you are writing to, not some machine, not a symbol, not a face on a blog, but a person. It’s pretty disturbing to think that people feel comfortable writing horrible and insulting messages that are not even open to her responses while hiding behind a blank avatar and an alias. If you are going to write how much you hate someone, how stupid you think they are, how much they have failed you as a fan, at least be brave enough to state who you are. Yes, she may have not stated clearly that her and jason are the twins, but she constantly strips herself bare to her fans and if you actually listen to the twins singing, it would be a matter of seconds before you recognized their voices.
    Anyone who reads her blogs or twitter or even goes to one show of hers knows that her fans mean everything to her. It’s very clear. Writing to her that you hate her or that she lost a fan in you is pretty cruel considering this. Remember, PERSON, not anonymous inanimate blogger. Can anyone here imagine getting hundreds, even thousands of hate messages from people in a fanbase you have made laugh, cry, dance, scream in fangirl/boy fashion, hugged after shows, read beautiful emails from, and have tried to connect with in every way possible? I don’t think anyone, including me, can even fathom this. It must feel horrible.
    There is only so much one person can take in terms of negativity. You don’t have to abandon you beliefs and principles, just be kind and thoughtful while arguing them.
    There is a real live person on the other end of all this communication.
    Think twice before speaking, as you would if she were standing right in front of you.
    Could you say the things you have in the way you have to her face?
    If you could, if you honestly could, then it is probably a well expressed opinion, as well as respectful. If not, then try saying it out loud. Do you sound irrational? Cruel? Rude? Disrespectful? Maybe it needs a little tweaking.
    She’s pretty generous with us. Let’s just hear her out. We at least owe her and jason that.
    By the way, I tried to post this under my real name, but it fell under my alias ironically. My real name is Samantha Ulloa. Anyone else who wants to stand by what they say should say theirs too.

  • applefaerie

    Amanda —

    I am actually crying a bit at this entry (it’s been an emotional few weeks for me, I’m in a flare with my fibro, my grandmother is probably about to die, dumped my dude, planning a move many states away with $0 and about to enter the state housing system, etc., so perhaps my tears are brought on easily. NONETHELESS: they are here).

    I’ve watched my mother, who has a reasonable online significance, under a few pseudonyms, struggle with this. I watched her pull drastically away from her family (us kids) while she basically got sucked into the “I must pay attention to the screaming babies in my basket” e-mail awfulness. People hollering louder and louder, competing for a minute of her time. She felt compelled to respond, personally, to every last e-mail. It upsets me so to read this and see how angry people get because you haven’t given up YOUR life and YOUR art and YOUR sanity to assuage their anger/fears/offended nature individually, to read every last word of their complaint and reflect on it for as long as they think you should.

    The point they make has been made, over and over, and you don’t have to do anything further to address it: You’ve responded, here, as Jason has over at his newly-made blog, and that’s all you guys have to do. It’s YOUR project, YOUR art, YOUR voice, YOUR way of commenting on the darker subjects. Many did not like “The Dark Knight”, either, because it wasn’t all fun and candy a la “Batman and Robin” (but no one liked that one because it was TOO fun. Can’t win!), and it addressed very dark themes in the Batman serials. Had everyone who viewed the movie actually FOLLOWED Batman in his print form, it wouldn’t have been anything new to them. But it was, because movies are more accessible, they only have to devote a couple of hours of their life to it, instead of actually following a truly amazing story through the ages. I don’t remember seeing the studio or actors or writers apologizing for what they put to film. I don’t feel you should have to apologize, either. But, the fact that you are at least addressing the easily-offended yet calling themselves liberal folks shows you have HEART.

    I adore you and your work. I think the Evelyn Evelyn project is strange, but we all need strange. We all need things which push our boundaries and make us think about stories, situations, fantasy, the darkness and the good which comes from darkness. I never once assumed you were making fun of disabled folks, folks who had been raped or sexualized against their will, folks who have been put down and made fun of, folks who have been “put on show” by people we love (my mother and I are often made into “my weird friend so-and-so, watch her, isn’t she WEIRD?”, and it bothers us we are accessories).

    The nature of celebrity has gotten to be so bizarre, where we must accept ALL life choices made by people we fancy for one reason or another, and if we don’t we aren’t actual fans or friends of theirs. It’s politicizing people we are fond of. It’s ridiculous. People are PEOPLE. Everyone likes different things, and that’s OKAY. I use a Mac. I am constantly argued with and put down because of my choice of OS. What even is that about, it’s just my COMPUTER! I’m not demanding every Windows user/lover discontinue use of their computer and sing the praises of Macs just because I prefer the OS. It’s more logical to me, I like to use things which make sense to me. Some people do better on Windows. That’s fine. They can use Windows, I can use Mac, and we can all exist happily on the same internet together. Yay internet!

    I’m constantly put down because of my preference in women, but not because of my preference in men. The women I fancy are not old enough or too old, not fat enough (how dare I like slim girls?), too small in the chest, the wrong hair colour, not shaven enough, not enough makeup or too much, too strangely dressed, not naked enough or too naked, and it’s just ridiculous. It’s MY taste in women, NOT THEIRS. I dislike when people comment on how poor my taste in women is, because ultimately the comments they make are ones I end up taking personally, because I am slim, taller than most men, small in the chest, brunette, strangely dressed, not naked enough when I leave the bed, and oh dear, what’s this, I have educated opinions on things and I speak on said opinions. The audacity of having a brain. I am apparently supposed to be silent and go with the flow and love Coach bags but only spend my own money on those. Yep.

    A while ago I read a book called “The War of Art”. I highly recommend it if you have not read it. It’s a quick read, and the final chapter or two gets into some “woo-woo” stuff which turned me off of it, BUT, the message in the first 75% or so of the book is an important one.

    You do not have to stop what you are doing, or modify the story of E&E just because someone took offense. Or multiple people took offense. I’m offended by the violence and misogyny perpetually put out by certain rap artists, but I’m not on a crusade to stop 50 cent from doing what he does. I just don’t listen to it or support him, or anyone else whose lyrics I find offensive. But I’m not tweeting them, or e-mailing them, or finding some way to contact them and scream and wail about how they’re being insensitive to women everywhere and they should really stop and apologize and do community service to atone and never speak a harsh word against women ever ever ever ever again. You don’t have to modify E&E to please people.

    This is your project. You’ve been working on it for 3 years, and I can understand that people taking offense and hollering about it is going to kick you where it hurts, and demand your attention, and will take the wind out of your sails for a bit. I’m sorry that people have been hurt by it. I think it’s fair you apologize for the hurt caused, but it’s ridiculous to ask you to compromise your vision and apologize for your VISION when it’s YOURS, your art. Saying that using art as an excuse is ridiculous. Sometimes art is offensive. Sometimes people are offensive. People will always talk, regardless of what you do. People will always be offended by those who create, by those who comment, by those who like the darker side of life and can appreciate it as much as the lighter sides.

    No one criticized Tori Amos for her “Me and a Gun” song, because she had actually been raped. Having personal experience makes it okay, apparently. At the time I discovered her and her music, I had not been raped. Does that mean I can’t appreciate the talent and the emotion behind the song?

    Lady Gaga stumbles around on stage with fake blood, and makes a video in which she is not only killed, but she then kills the man who killed her, but this is not offensive, apparently, I have yet to read a single review or commentary on the video for “Paparazzi” commenting on the violence depicted in the video, or on the lyrics which are describing what is, in my opinion, dangerous obsession. Am I offended by it? Not really. It makes me raise an eyebrow that it’s just accepted by everyone as okay 100%, or seems to be, but that’s the nature of it, I suppose: She’s a pop “artist”. You are an honest artist, and not produced by the machine. Has Lady Gaga been the victim of violence? Those of us who grew up in the ’80s remember how far dangerous obsession can go, and remember President Reagan being shot at all for the love of Jodi Foster. Does that make her depictions of violence or the result of violence okay, if she’s been a victim? Does it make it not okay if she hasn’t?

    Fiona Apple and her video for “Criminal” was clearly referencing the sexploitation adverts of the late ’70s and early ’80s run by Calvin Klein, but it was seen as “edgy” and not offensive to even women who had been exploited. Again, pop artist makes it okay, everyone loved it so no one really spoke out about it. I chose to not watch it nor did I buy her album, because at that point in my life it was something I found too offensive/insensitive. I still don’t fancy the aesthetic of the video, but I can appreciate her music at least. Was she the victim of sexpoitation? Does that make her video okay or not okay?

    In Jamaica, there’s a reasonably new form of dance, in which people who are perfectly able-bodied imitate movements of those who are not, and turn it into dance. It seems as though they’re mocking, but it’s dance. I accept it as such. It’s not my style, nor is the more popular and risque dancing designed to simulate rigorous sex, but to each their own.

    Last year on “So You Think You Can Dance”, there was a piece where the story was a girl addicted to drugs. It was heartbreaking to watch. Neither of the dancers who performed the piece had an addiction, nor do I recall the choreographer having had one either, but who took offense to that? I didn’t see any commentary on that, either, outside of “Oh this is so great, it brings attention to the struggle, it really makes dance inclusive to those who know someone with addiction, yadda yadda”. All of which is true. But it wasn’t seen as offensive, it was seen as artistic.

    I think people are so vehement about this because you are so accessible. And, you are responding. I don’t believe, as I am reading in comments, that you are being dismissive, nor do I feel I am being dismissive, or any other person who comments in support of what you are doing. I think the sudden uprising came when people began to realize “Wait, Evelyn Evelyn isn’t a real conjoined twin, it’s an act, it’s really Amanda and Jason!”. I admit, I was confused when I first was reading on it, and even after listening to the songs available thus far, I said “Hmm, one of them sounds like a dude. That’s interesting…”, and then with the photo, I said “Huh, one of them is kinda mannish…OH SNAP!” (Which I feel is a tie-in to your own androgyne aesthetic, nod nod). I think people were interested, then confused, and then they just didn’t know what to make of it. So people took it somewhere offensive instead of took it in the spirit it was intended. Which is too bad. I can understand that the people upset are a group which has been marginalized. As someone who is now disabled, but grew up able-bodied, I have seen both sides of the fence, and yes: It fucking SUCKS being on this side. Help is HARD to obtain and there is little to no empathy, IMO. People say they care, and work is being done, but the work being done and the help needed are disproportionate to a very very large degree. It’s too bad. That being said, I took no offense to the character. As someone who has been through some very not fun stuff quite recently involving sex and exploitation, I took no offense to that part of the character’s story, either. The point of it is, for me, it’s a story. Not all stories are pretty, perfect, neat little packages no one will take offense to. Darkness exists. I appreciate the people who see it and acknowledge it and incorporate it and appreciate it for what it is and produce things from it which capture imaginations and produce discussion.

    • Salamandrina

      Very well said, on all counts.
      I think you have hit on a valid point about the IMMENSE sense of entitlement many people feel because they are able to shoot on an e-mail to a celebrity, or post on his/her public blog/forum/wherever. They don’t just expect, they demand, and they demand loudly. It has become a very strange world we live in.

    • BrookeA

      Pssst, I know that sometimes people think the world revolves around them, but just because YOU haven’t seen criticism of some of the things you’ve brought up doesn’t mean it’s not out there. Because Lady Gaga’s cripdrag? Problematic and brought up on almost every feminist website I visit.

      Tori’s Me And A Gun song – having personal experience ABSOLUTELY makes it okay. Writing about your experiences and using your voice to turn it into art, especially when you’re in a marginalized group – yes, yes, yes, this is fine. Using someone else’s experience that is not yours to make money off of it, especially when that person is in a marginalized group is not okay.

      • applefaerie

        Ah, so criticism of Lady Gaga does exist. Pretty much everything I’ve seen written on her is praise and fanwank. But, I don’t go out of my way to read about her, she’s just not that interesting to me. The hook for “Paparazzi” is pretty undeniable, and I watched the vid to see what it was about, as well as for “Bad Romance”, but eh. It’s like reading “Twilight” just so I have something to base my own opinion on. Vapid, excellent for the sheeple to glom onto, but ohgodtheboring. Boring things don’t get a lot of my time spent on them, which is probably how I missed reading criticism of her.

        And since you asked (cough), no, I don’t think the world revolves around me. I spend 99% of my time in bed. My world revolves around my condition, but everyone else’s does not revolve around it or me. I know this. I don’t have my nose in every website out there, but again, boring things don’t get my time, I spend too much of my day to day existence bored out of my mind.

        • speakwrite

          It’s nice that you think trying to overcome marginalisation is boring. It’s also great that you think things you don’t like = universally boring.

          Amanda, I’m a big fan of you and your work. Mostly you, if that makes any sense. I’m criticising E&E; I’m also hugely respectful of your willingness to immerse yourself in comments from all sides, to challenge you perspective and you engage in dialogue about it.

          Fan above, personal anecdotes about the things you find boring… seem desperately irrelevant and not particularly conducive to dialogue.

          “It seems as though they’re mocking, but it’s dance.”

          So mocking in some other way would be offensive? Say, “just” speech? “It seems like it’s mocking but it’s also art so it’s just art and NOT mocking” seems illogical. What about, “It’s mocking AND it’s art”? Something being problematic doesn’t force that thing to relinquish its status as art. It just makes it a very potential force for offense – and I’m not sure why that deserves to be ignored.

          “I’m offended by the violence and misogyny perpetually put out by certain rap artists, but I’m not on a crusade to stop 50 cent from doing what he does. I just don’t listen to it or support him, or anyone else whose lyrics I find offensive. But I’m not tweeting them, or e-mailing them, or finding some way to contact them and scream and wail about how they’re being insensitive to women everywhere and they should really stop and apologize and do community service to atone and never speak a harsh word against women ever ever ever ever again.”

          Why?

          • applefaerie

            I certainly never said that things I find boring, or things I don’t like, are universally boring. I find some things boring. That’s all. Other’s disagree, and that’s cool, everyone likes different things.

            I see your point re: Mocking. I should probably be more doubtful and questioning than I am.

            I choose my battles, and right now, this just ain’t one of ‘em. Other parts of my life are far more important. Maybe later, who knows, but I just don’t have the energy or space in to devote to it.

  • http://tonedeaf.tumblr.com/ Caroo

    Gee… I so not get the fuzz! Truth is whatever you do, someone’s gonna feel offended or annoyed or disgusted. It happens with everything all the time. And now, with the internet, they can make a huge deal about it. Everybody’s entitled to their opinion, yes. Just like Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley are entitled to create whatever personas and stories they want in order to make art. I cannot wait for the Evelyn Evelyn album. I’ve been a fan of anything Amanda does for year now. I don’t think artists should apologize for their work. It’s their point of view. Their creations.

    I don’t know. Let’s not overanalyze things and just enjoy what will surely be a very very good album. It kinda sucks to diminish the value of an album or a musical project without even listening to it, just because you don’t like the concept or whatever around it.

    I think Amanda Palmer is a very honest gal. With a very smart point of view and direct and clear opinions. I respect that about her. That’s part of why I like her music, her lyrics are amazing. Honest, not complacent. She’s daring. Whatever. I like her a lot and I don’t understand why there’s so much drama.

    What should she do? Stop writing songs or creating anything because it *might* offend *somebody*. Seems pretty lame to me. We should all respect each other. I cannot see how the Evelyn Evelyn project is insulting. And even if I could, I think I would just respect the fact that it is the result of the creative process of someone else. I don’t have to like it and I certainly don’t have to destroy it because I don’t like it. If it’s not for you, it’s not. But you do have to respect it. If you expect respect in return. I’ve never heard a blonde girl lashing out at a band that wrote a song about how blonde girls tend to be dumb. And there are loooots of them.

    Come on people. Let’s at least listen to the album.

    PS. I feel offended about the way KISS looks. All of them. I think they’re a disgrace to fashion and makeup and platforms and men and hair. But I still love Rock and Roll All Nite and I Was Made for Lovin’ You.

  • http://www.youtube.com/afpislove AFPisLOVE

    I love Amanda Fucking Palmer… and the haters too lol. Amanda, this is a brilliant response to a more than blown out of proportion uproar. As always, you come out blazing with beauty, intelligence and honesty. It is so true when you say that your fans do NOT always have to love everything you do. That is because everyone is entitled to their own fucking opinion and you have always recognized that.

    All I hope for is that you can feel all of the LOVE that is coming your way. Please, please do not focus on the negativity.

    Thank you for being YOU.

    -Detriech aka AFPisLOVE

  • http://www.christopherparvins-virtue.blogspot.com/ Chris

    I’m not sure if I understand the why people would have problems with this. In a way it’s nothing comedians – more on the stretch side of comedy then stand up – haven’t been doing for years. I get this isn’t meant as a comedy stretch, let’s be clear. But it is a wildly inventive extension based on the same premise; to entertain. From reading your blog posts I don’t pick up any form of derision, or intentional malice, the fact you say they have they own language and finish each other’s sentences (never mind being fluent in chicken!) just shows it’s an extreme stereotype and not to be taken seriously. I’m gay but I don’t get in a rage every time some over pampered, gaunt guy with a limp wrist turns up in any medium frankly. As an amateur artist (drawings, not music) and writer I salute your imagination and dedication.

    P.S. I don’t get why people seem to think you should apologise for offending their sensibilities; it’s music not mandatory information. If they are so offended, go elsewhere.

  • Tasha

    I just wanted to simply say, I love you.

  • annamara

    You know, I want to be able to believe this, but if you were really sorry, you could have tweeted “Sorry if I upset anybody, I’ll write a blog about it soon,” or something of that nature, but instead you said you were “removing the disabled feminists,” which, regardless of your intention, IS dismissive.
    And the fact that, when I tweeted at you that I thought you were being callous, and that you had hurt me and other people who respected you, you blocked me, makes it really hard for me to believe you actually care about your fans when they aren’t saying what you want them to say.
    I also have to point out that intention does not ever matter, ever, when you actually hurt somebody. No one actually thinks you intend to hurt anybody, I don’t think anyone really even thinks you are trying to mock cojoined twins or victims of sexual abuse, and definitely no one thinks you hate the disabled. The problem is that you are portraying Evelyn and Evelyn in a stereotypical manner, intentional or not. You brought in sexual abuse with no context, and it felt like it was just a minor plot point in order to draw people in and sell a record.
    This is all without mentioning the fact that you are actually dressing up as EvelynEvelyn. The comparison to blackface has been brought up a few times, and it’s a definitely a valid one. Perhaps if you were donating most of the money from this tour to an organization for disabled people or victims of sexual abuse I would feel differently, because, while I still don’t think I’d particularly like you dressing in “cripdrag,” I’d be able to say you were putting your money where your mouth is. However, you’ve shown no indication of plans to donate anything, and even if you do in the future, timing is everything, and it’s too late now. You’ve already run off a lot of people and they aren’t coming back.
    Anyway, I know you probably won’t have the time to read this (maybe I’m wrong), and I kind of doubt you’re going to care if you do. But I felt that when you quoted a couple of the responses, you failed to mention a lot of the most important things that people were saying. So, I had to at least give it a shot. I’m not really interested in arguing or anything, I just wanted to say my piece. I wish you luck in your life and in all your future projects. I hope you’re released from Roadrunner, you have a long and happy marriage, and that you are artistically successful in the future. But I won’t be along for the ride anymore.

  • http://amidstdancers.blogspot.com/ Shard Aerliss

    I just want to add my voice to the cacophony… for giggles or something.

    Amanda (and Jason) I think it’s very good of you to not only respond to these criticisms but to actually read them in the first place. I know of so many artists that don’t go near parts of the internet that might be talking about them. Always, someone, somewhere will be offended by art. It’s just the way it is and I very much doubt anything can be done to change that. Art makes you think, and if it makes you think it might just make you think about things you don’t like and you could very well be offended. Can’t be helped. And the difficulties that arise from such a situation are…well, difficult.

    You can’t just tell an offended person to ‘get over it’ simply because you’re not offended (it takes an awful lot to offend me… although Mel Gibson’s “What Women Want” did it exceptionally well… so I often find myself just wanting to yell “what IS your problem?”); that won’t fix anything. Clearly apologising won’t work; people are taking Amanda and Jason’s apologies as if they were a slap in the face.

    What’s left to do but either stop doing whatever it is people are taking umbrage at or just keep trudging on. Work such as this cannot be tweaked and adjusted to the whim of the crowd to try to please everyone. You have to “do it right, do it wrong or not at all…” (cookie for anyone who knows the song!)

    On that note; I really hope this negativity doesn’t end up in cancellations of the tour. We’re looking forward to an Edinburgh leg, yah hear! Keep listening to that inner voice, Amanda, and continue to do what YOU think is right (not that there was really much chance of that not happening), and drag Jason along with you :P

  • Grace… With Ink

    These are the very first of your words that I have read. A fan of Neil, I have finally made it to your site and I now find myself extremely compelled to read as much of your words as I can possibly manage.

    I myself am an artist, torn between many mediums, and it is so very refreshing to find someone making art not to “please” anyone, least of all yourself, but truly for the sake of art. You make no apologies, other than to make clear your intentions and I respect that. Many people don’t understand that you don’t HAVE to apologize for your art, regardless of how badly some may be hurt or offended. To be alive is to feel; to feel only the good is, at best, a half life.

    Thank you. As a writer who has not yet read the Evelyn Evelyn pieces, I am sure there are parts of you hiding within. Peace & Love to you and Neil. (And Cabal)

  • Soapy

    I applaud the Evelyn Evelyn project and that you’ve taken such time to consider the responses to it while maintaining your inner voice. I continue to support your work and its fearless honesty. Thank you, sincerely, for all you do.

  • theartsyfartsychick

    Amanda… you are articulate and I enjoy your thought sharing. Being a creative type, I naturally understand where you come from in regard to all of this. Prior to your involvement with Neil, I knew nothing of you, but I don’t feel compelled in any way to be or stop being a fan of either of your work. My interests lie primarily in visual and written artforms, so while music is a fun thing to listen and dance to, it remains a sort of abstract “thing” for me… but I admire those who see it in a different way. Ground breaking art (in whatever form it takes) comes from some juicy middle part of the creator(s) and the courage to bring that out into the world is commendable. Hats off to you, lady. :)

  • Norah

    Per my earlier post about this FAIL of a project management:

    http://tigerbeatdown.com/?p=889

    http://sharpest-rose.livejournal.com/1149055.html

    http://community.livejournal.com/sf_drama/2778366.html

    http://bit.ly/awh5IV

    http://bit.ly/aDqC7h

    Well done. Nice marketing strategy. All of these links came from another single post, and they in turn all have links to other sites.

    Which again, makes this so appalling given that AFP’s whole schtick is that she’s a net-savvy marketer. Hello Kevin Smith (with whom you are now tweeting) vs Southwest Airlines? Or Neil Gaiman’s accidental viral campaign against Paperchase?

    Fucked up project management. Period.

    • bridgetvoid

      one thing i find interesting/curious/whatever is how many sites either have interesting critiques or OMG THEY ARE SCIENTOLOGISTS attached to them. the scientology angle totally blindsided me.

      • Norah

        Scientologists? Really? I didn’t see that. Wild. Are the posters accusing AFP of being a Scientologist? Now that’s funny.

        • bridgetvoid

          yeah i noticed a post here calling her out on it (the suppressive person thing) and then a couple other blogs got spammed with HER AND NEIL ARE SCIENTOLOGISTS! RUN AWAY!

          kind of a self defeating argument there. i know his family was huge into the religion, no idea or interest re: him or amanda (though it seems the antithesis of what she stands for)

          • Norah

            This is just getting weird. I was reading the posts here: http://www.theshadowbox.net/forum/index.php?topic=10910.0

            More smart discussion, especially from a woman who clearly and *very* articulately describes the difference between intent and results. But the original post include the stunning fact that AFP’s been getting threats of violence. Bad.

            Btw – the poster who talks about intent puts it this way: the British who colonized Africa intended to civilize the continent. They thought they were doing good. The results prove them devastatingly wrong. It’s an extreme example but it does make the point: if you do real damage, you have to just say sorry, no matter what you intended. I’d recommend the site for more smart commentary.

            AFP has some awesome fans.

          • Norah

            PS – Gaiman’s Wikipedia page discusses his history with Scientology. Interesting. Deeply and completley irrelevant to this issue, but interesting trivia.

  • http://redpetticoat.blogspot.com/ Norma_desmond

    Transgressive, upsetting, brilliant, splendid, sordid, appalling, glorious, with feather and sparklers for good measure.

    I can’t say I love it. I don’t know yet. I kind of love-it hate-it. Which probably means that, once I sit with it long enough, it will have changed something in me and I’ll love it madly.

    I can say don’t stop. Don’t you stop. If no one ever takes the chance of offending someone, this world is going to become quite small and meager.

  • lozephyr

    I was actually quite shocked to see the sudden backlash against the Evelyn and Evelyn project. I saw it as a great gimmick (not an offensive one) and also a truly inspiring story which only like likes of Amanda Palmer could bring justice to.

    It is true when you say that context is key, but on that note, I feel like all the context you need is a quick read through your Wikipedia page to know that alienating and exploiting people is not your intention; especially since you have dealt with and addressed similar controversies in the past. And with that, just about anyone should have been able to get angry, get informed and move on without causing such a fuss over something that should be seen as an AMAZING thing. The discussion is a great one, yes, but at the possible expense of an up and coming album from two brilliant artists it’s kind of a shame.

  • Jinx213

    Perhaps it’s a lack of worldly-ness on my part, but I am constantly amazed that there is always a group of people greatly offended at art. No one forces another person to listen or read or view something, people still have free will and can make choices for themselves.
    It doesn’t take a group vote on what makes art either; it is totally up to the artist. If you don’t like it then that’s one thing, but to want an apology or an explanation for Amanda’s creating it, seems unreasonable to me.

    The internet has given people a much greater ability to be connected to people that they admire, and the admired people have a greater capability to connect with their fans.
    I think that for the most part it’s a good thing; however something about all this just sits wrong with me. Specifically when people are telling Neil how upset/disturbed/adj. of choice they are with the E/E project or Amanda. I’m not sure if it feels like “tattling” to me or harking back to the days when men took a more dominate public role in a relationship, or it could be that I am one of those people, that when I have an issue I take it to the source.
    I am a longtime Neil fan and a casual Amanda fan and while pleased to see two people happy together that I artistically admire, it would never occur to me that was something appropriate to do if I had a problem with either of them.

    Jinx213 a.k.a. Tracey Carlson
    “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Voltaire

  • andratte

    We go to Barnes and Noble. Grab a coffee and get lost in the forest of books. Worlds that can thrive only on the printed page. And we lose ourselves within them, willingly.

    And I hadn’t realized until all of this controversy broke out, that this is how I treat Amanda’s music. I remember once dragging a friend to a Dresden Doll concert and him saying once there, where have we gone, this isn’t the real world. And me turning to him saying I know, isn’t this great. Amanda has long ago changed from a singer to an artist. Her canvas is not traditional. And I hope that it will never become so.

    Yes the Evelyn project touches on issues. And it isn’t the norm. But in some ways I am tired of normal songs. I am tired of love hurts songs and the typical music that you find on the radio. I am looking forward something of fantasy. Of fictional performance art. Something new.

    And as for the exploitation, I am sorry I just don’t see it. I see this as a work of fiction. Not everything in the real world is perfect, nor do I like my fantasy perfect. But in the end it seems that the twins have prevailed.

    And so to Amanda, as someone who has followed you quietly for many years, I look forward this project and finding out the full story in time.

  • delightly

    Amanda,

    I’m one of these Neil-crossover fans, and I just wanted to commend you for standing by your project, and admitting your mistakes along the way in handling the haters. You’ve shown much grace while being assertive, which is so hard for a woman to do! (Well, this particular woman anyway, by which I mean me.) So I thought you should know that this debacle of sorts has endeared you even more to me!

    I actually listened to the Dresden Dolls but was never a huge fan of the project (sorry). But recently I googled your name because it comes up so frequently in Neil’s twitter stream, and one of the first results was an interview about Evelyn Evelyn. I was instantly intrigued. I thought it was a weirdly beautiful way to communicate a sad and whimsical tale. I saw the album wasn’t due out until the end of March, though, so I bought your solo album “Who Killed Amanda Palmer?” immediately. I was not disappointed. And I still cannot wait until Evelyn Evelyn comes out! I hope it still does.

    Love your work!!
    Kristina

  • emberkmiller

    Hello Amanda,

    I am not a fan, but I am an observer. Before a year ago, I didn’t even know who you were and since then I’ve followed your tweets, read a few bloggy posts, and was treated to be in the audience of one of your online parties. Through all that I can honestly say this — I don’t like your music, but you as an individual impresses the hell out me. Odd, eh? That I would come to appreciate and enjoy and respect an artist following her passion and bliss, yet not like the art she produces because it’s not my cuppa? LOL! Yeah, I’m weird that way. I see Hearts and yours is full, intelligent, messy, heavy, uplifting, cranky, explosive, and brassy. You are authentically YOU and there not many people in this world who can put that up on their fancy fireplace mantle. Sure, there are times you stumble, say “Oh FUCK!” *cough* the current Evelyn Evelyn fiasco *cough*, but you learn from it and move on. Naysayers can simply stay in the corner and grumble as you continue to bounce around with your paintbrush of vivid colours, creating the art you wish to express.

    Regarding E.E., as you are new to me, I honestly thought the story was true. That was until I saw the photo and observed some details which made me go, “Aaaaaah, this is not was it appears to be”. I even listened to one of the tracks and thought, “Wow, puberty was tough on that one twin, her voice is SO LOW.” *insert tongue into cheek* ;-) I got it. I was not offended, but I admit I was a bit disappointed the conjoined twins did not exist. That they really are not getting their big break. That was a bummer.

    But, I’m still here.

    Love, Embrace, Frolic, and continue to Do What You Do, Amanda. I came over here from Mr. Gaiman’s camp and I don’t plan on running away screaming. I shall just sit back and continue to enjoy the person Who Is Amanda Palmer.

    Rock on.

  • soaringoak

    To those who feel outrage at the issues AFP addresses in her art:
    Maybe the problem ISNT with the artist, but inside yourself and your insecurity. I believe Amanda’s intention is NOT to say abortion (‘oasis’), sexual abuse, physical disability, etc. is ok or something to joke at/make light of, NO. Her intent is to say hey, these are REAL ISSUES in the real world that people live with… real challenges, real conditions…. now, through her music, she makes you think about WHAT WOULD IT BE LIKE to have these situations… and to present a world where people overcome challenges and break out of their shells to create song and art. In the very least it forces issues out in the open instead of looking the other way and walking on, like 99% percent of us humans do every day! AFP to me is an inspiring personality who is ballsy, cutting edge, REAL, and does not hide behind any fronts like most of us do. She does not sing the crap the pop world wants to hear, but instead creates real art… which is oftentimes disturbing and shocking… not at all the pretty world where every person has a cookie cutter body and image, but the real one where people have deformities or have undergone abuse.

  • bodnoirbabe

    Going to post even though I know my voice will be lost amongst the yelling.

    I just want to say, I understand why people would be upset by this. It’s a sticky subject, one that affect people right to their core, in a variety of different ways: disability, abuse, etc.

    Having said that, I still think I’m going to love the album. Amanda, the best thing to do right now is just let them shout. You’ve said your piece and either people will understand or they wont. There is a very slim gray area on this subject. I’m sorry you’re having to hear all the flack, especially since it’s not what you were expecting. Once people have shouted enough, they’ll go away. You just keep doing what it is you do. No one ever said, especially you or Jason, that you were doing any of this (and I mean make music at all) to be popular.

    This, too, shall pass.

  • Ariel

    I’m on the fence about this whole business because I can see where people are coming from, but I generally tend to think all the emphasis on PC bullshit gets a little stupid about 90% of the time. Plus, a lot of the people I’ve seen blogging about this are incapable of establishing their own credibility, so it all comes off as some sort of rabid personal vendetta.

    However, being on the internet so much you should know that “I’m not biased against the disabled because people I know are disabled” is never acceptable online. Just like “I’m not racist – I have a black friend” and “I’m not homophobic – my hairdresser is gay”.

  • Steph

    People take things too seriously. If you didn’t offend at least someone, then you wouldn’t being doing your job properly.

    • pensata

      this is incredibly simplistic. people exist within social contexts, with certain power relations. there’s a difference between offending a straight/white/protestant/financially well-off/educated/non-expolited cismale (because his story isn’t being privileged, as an example), and offending disabled feminists, who see the same stories perpetuated about women, disabled people, and women with disabilities every day. offense for offense sake is not useful – it matters who is offended, and why.

      • EdenBee

        I’m not sure I follow.

        As a straight, white, (Atheist), financially-not-destitute, educated, and arguably non-exploited person, I am actually offended by how you’re generalizing my demographic. You talk about us though we cannot possibly understand a point of view other than our own because we’ve just had it so easy. That generalization is in and of itself offensive, and is perpetuated every day too.

        • pensata

          for the record: i am a white, economically secure, educated, able-bodied person. these are just a few of my privileges, up front, so you know where i’m coming from. i do not consider myself *bad* or *incapable of compassion* due to these traits (clearly), but they do locate me in a certain position. now, on to my actual response.

          i am not calling you, edenbee, out. i am saying that there are people with certain privileges who rarely *have* to step outside their comfort zone and understand another person’s perspective, if they don’t want to. this often has to do with the intersection racial, gender, financial, etc. privilege.

          it is a phenomenon that exists. it is real. privilege is a widely-accepted concept in social justice movements. please don’t take it as a personal affront; rather, it is a way of describing someone who often has an easier time in our society, in some measurable, quantitative instances, and of highlighting, on the flip-side, someone who is “Othered” as a result of not having any, some, or all of these qualities as well.

          (check out ‘unpacking the invisible knapsack’, by peggy mcintosh, for a variation on this theme.)

          • EdenBee

            I’m all for breaking down and analyzing texts (of any kind). My university background is in English and Fine Art, so I’m used to approaching art, fictional writing, essays, etc., with their social implications in mind.

            However, just because a text lends itself to this type of breakdown and analysis, and one can find negative points and messages within it, doesn’t mean that it shouldn’t exist, or that it should be modified to eliminate those elements. It seems to me that many people on this board are actually trying to censor Amanda. I’m all for analysis. People can develop their own theories and theses on the project, and if that theory is that it’s ableist, then that’s one reading.

            Never once have I written an essay on a work of fiction, pointed out a gender-biased or otherwise biased reading of it, and then felt the need to actually WRITE TO THE AUTHOR to tell them that I was shocked and offended and that they ought to change their work because of my reading of it. That’s not the purpose of interpreting a text. And it’s disrespectful to the author of the text, and to the text itself, to approach it that way.

          • pensata

            1. you didn’t respond to my earlier comment on privilege, and your privilege allows you to make this kind of argument.
            2. joseph conrad (as an example) did not have a facebook page, twitter, and blog where he regularly interacted with his fans. he also did not ever claim to have “radical inclusivity” in mind when it came to his art and his life. amanda palmer, on the other hand, has done all of these things. not only is your argument – that artists don’t merit criticism – incredibly fallacious, but it elides all of the major differences between a canonical author one might read in English as an undergrad and amanda palmer.

            she is anti-status quo. she is anti-making people feel bad. for this reason, letting her know when people DO end up feeling bad, because of her art, is very important. fans should not just be fans – they are also participants in creating art, which includes giving valuable criticism and feedback when necessary. it is not a one-way street.

          • EdenBee

            1. Being human allows me to make whatever argument I feel is worth making, privilege or no.

            2. I never said artists don’t merit criticism. But writing to someone and telling them they need to radically change their project to make it all better for other people isn’t criticism. It’s attempting to rewrite another person’s art.

  • Alexandra

    Dear Amanda,
    I wasn’t sure whether to post a comment (I hardly ever post comments and this is the first time here), but I’m doing it because of what you said about your reaction to J.T. Leroy, quote “…not so much duped but rather happy that i’d gotten in on the ground floor, and given a chance to feel the emotion before the curtain was lifted”
    I feel sort of the same about the EvelynEvelyn project. I’ve been following your blogs pretty regulary for the past two years, however, I’m not a teenager, so I have a lot of other stuff going on that I have to pay attention to. In other words, I didn’t give this whole EvelynEvelyn project that you were occasionally mentioning a lot of thought, not until most recently when I found out that you were coming to my town to play a show.
    And here’s what happened next: The thought of seeing conjoined twins play a show – because I really bought the whole story at first – made me feel pretty uncomfortable. As terrible as this may sound but I had to admit to myself that obviously I wasn’t as open-minded as I always wish that I’d be. In my mind, this was a classic situation where I was able to find out the difference between thought (what you think you should be feeling) and the real experience (what you actually feel when confronted with a situation). The uncomfortable feeling essentially centered around the fact that the thought of conjoined twins made me feel uncomfortable in a physical way. I also couldn’t help thinking in terms of “freakshow” and “Am I even allowed to go watch this?” Plus I found myself to be very hesitant to tell anyone about the show… (I have no experience with disabled people whatsoever, by the way, I guess that’s where this all stems from).
    But then I told myself not to be so prejudiced and gather some more information, because after all, I also wanted to see YOU play! So first I went to myspace to hear the music – the most important thing after all! – and really liked it. I liked it so much that I convinced myself rather quickly that the show was definitely worth seeing. I really started looking forward to it!
    Then I looked up EvelynEvelyn on Wikipedia and on the website of the venue you’re playing. Both pages sort of give the secret away, not explicitly, but after reading I got suspicious for the first time. Just a few days later you posted your blog (and then it was the two-headed elephant that I definitely did NOT buy!).
    So the moral of this little story is: yes, art that makes people feel uncomfortable has every right because it has the power to enable them to learn something about themselves. Which I did with your project, so thank you & Jason very much!
    Love, Alex.

  • emotionalsquid

    I’ve been following the Evelyn Evelyn project from the beginning, and I’ve never found it offensive. I’ve always thought it was a very theatrical, very involved way of presenting an artistic concept. I love the backstory- it’s very real. For all the people who are complaining about Amanda’s inclusion of sexual abuse in the backstory, have you read accounts of conjoined female twins in history? Many were exploited in various ways, including sexually. Look up Millie and Christine McCoy. Much of the backstory does seem to incorporate the histories of famous conjoined twins- Daisy and Violet Hilton, Millie and Christine McCoy, Rosa and Josefa Blazek. Admittedly, the story of the Evelyn sisters does seem a bit anachronistic, but isn’t not having to follow things to the letter a part of art? Also, if you look at the description of the sisters, they’re not physically “possible” as real conjoined twins, no more so than the sisters in Vermillion Lies’s song “Long Red Hair”. To me, that adds another level of being removed from reality- they’re a fantasy, a creation of artists, they’re anachronistic and physically impossible.

    I don’t see this project as being offensive to the disabled, but I am not myself disabled so perhaps I don’t understand. However, my mom is, and my best friend in the world uses a wheelchair and she thinks the Evelyn Evelyn project is pretty awesome. As I said before, the Evelyn sisters seem to be just stylized or fanciful enough that they’re not in the realm of real conjoined twins. I do have a strong interest in the subject of conjoined twins, though, so I do recognize that perhaps most people don’t know this.

  • BrokenBruised3rdWorldVoice

    Art sets us free from that we did not ask for. I love and support you, still, Amanda, and Jason.

  • nicolagatti

    I’m Nicola, I’m disable and I’m not offended by this project. Please dont give up!

  • Mrs Arkban

    I think people sometimes forget Amanda is also a person, not just an Artist. Not only that but she isn’t Our Artist, though we are her fans. She has the same feelings, insecurities that we do. She also has a life, which I think is currently taking place in Australia, far away from her support network of family, friends and Neil. I’m 30, so I straddle the no Internet/Internet line in terms of being a fan and what that means as far as access to creative people. While the Internet has done amazing things for creative people (Amanda’s ninja gigs would be much harder to do without Twitter), it is a double edged sword. Being able to follow Amanda and Neil on Twitter makes us think they owe us more than they do. We start to think of them as friends in a way we really shouldn’t and so we start to think we have a relationship with them that we don’t have. Many of the comments say things like – “you’re giving the impression that you’re blowing off people’s concerns” “I trust you will make this right” “We are heartbroken and waiting for you to ease our heartbreak” “please clarify”. Ok, people. No. The Age of the Internet does not make Amanda beholden to you and your feelings. She is not required to immediately leap up and salve your wounds. If Amanda spent all the time it seems people in the comments require trying to make sure no one was offended or upset or heartbroken in the first place and that all her thought processes regarding her projects were crystal clear, she’d never have any projects!
    I don’t think it’s fair to demand an explanation of what Amanda is trying to say and I’m not sure, when it comes to art, that an explanation would really even matter. What she wants to say and what her audience may take from it might not be the same. What would be the point of English Lit class if all the authors had submitted a detailed explanation of what they meant to say? For me, I don’t mind knowing what an artist means to say, but that may not be what I get out of the art. Amanda and Jason have a story they want to tell and they chose a particular way to tell it, which is not everyone’s cup of tea. Ok.
    As far as “I’m sorry I hurt your feelings/you were offended”, that isn’t a deflection. It is the truth – she is not sorry for what she did, she is sorry people were offended by it and I don’t see the problem with that. If I say something that hurts my sister’s feelings, but that I think she needs to hear, I will say “I’m sorry I upset you”. That doesn’t mean I’m sorry for what I said. There is a difference. Amanda is not sorry for what she created, nor should she be. And if you want to talk about half assed apologies, what about all the people who leaped up to tell Amanda she was an ableist, anti feminist, inconsiderate, sulky, dismissive, betraying, heartbreaking ,lying liar who lies? Seriously, I was looking for the torches and villagers calling for the monster. And their response to Amanda’s blog? “Now that you’ve explained, but not really apologized to my satisfaction, I realize I jumped to a conclusion and after sitting chewing over my pain, I guess it is ok. You go ahead now that you have my permission.” Sheesh.

    • hangonasec

      No offence meant here, but i think the first few lines of your comment misses the point and slightly patronizes the debate.

      • dustyc

        I disagree. I think that helps with context. I think Mrs. Arkban makes a good point in the first few lines and the rest of her post. Fans are obviously super necessary yes, but fans can’t run the show, they don’t make the art. The fan mentality is so often TAKE TAKE TAKE and then say WHY ISN’T THERE ANY MORE or THIS ISN’T GOOD ENOUGH. We get what we get. We don’t have to like it, but fans can be very demanding, and often rude.

        Does this mean I think E/E is totally fine? No, not really. On one hand I get it, and on the other hand I think there are still some issues to be addressed and worked through. Of course we can criticize what artists do and hopefully give them things to think about– but this is mostly speaking to the problem of those who just rant and rant and throw insults. Of course people can be offended and bothered and upset. But sometimes with fans the claws come out. We can be more productive than that– open respectful discussion is good.

  • blue_eyed_raven

    I think another issue is that people get angry when they feel stupid. When I found out that the whole thing was character rather than reality I was a little disappointed. The first I had read about the twins was your post (I’m one of the people you can blame Neil for) and I was rather disturbed about these girls and their story. I found the whole thing rather surreal.

    Then I found out that it was a creative exercise and I honestly felt a little let down. I also felt a little disappointed that I had believed it, that I had no idea of what had really happened. I had wondered if these girls were pulling an elaborate con on you and your friend but never that their very existence was fictional. I think some people might have reacted to that realisation with anger at you and yours for creating this story rather than simply re-evaluating how they viewed the story. That is, they felt stupid and got mad about it and decided you were at fault. I think that may play a part at any rate.

    Now, I think that the concept is amazing in its scope and creativity. I haven’t gotten a chance to listen to the music yet but I will. – Sarah

  • Mink

    Dear Amanda,

    I’m really happy you took the time to write this blog, and I hope you read the comments, as they really seem very sweet so far. I think I’ve figured out where all the drama comes from… and I hope I can put it into words in some way that makes sense.

    Basically, there are two ways to include abuse in a story. One is to make it a central point in the story: as a joke, or as a big dramatic plot element, or as something that’s resolved at the end, or as something that never quite gets resolved – in any case, as something that’s integral to the plot. You did it in Oasis and it was hilarious. That sort of thing works really well, and we totally love you for it.

    The second way is to make it a footnote, an off-hand comment, a bit of “flavor” to spice up a character’s past.

    I know you didn’t mean to do that. The twins have been your characters for years now, and to you, their past is a completely logical thing, an important part of their character. The abuse part of their story isn’t a footnote to you, it’s what makes them what they are.

    But to us, it came COMPLETELY out of nowhere. Here’s some girls who sing a song about an elephant, and “by the way”, they’ve been abused when they were kids.

    I think that’s the big issue here. What seems like a completely logical part of their backstory to you seems like a footnote to us. And it’s the kind of footnote that can really hurt people, even if you don’t mean to hurt anyone.

    BUT anyway… I’m looking forward to the Evelyn Evelyn concert. No matter what drama you get, you still come out sounding pretty damn cool.

    As for the ablist complainers: they’re just that, complainers. If they don’t get mad when people dress up as pirates with fake eyepatches, they don’t have a reason to complain when you pretend to be conjoined twins. It’s all for fun and, really, I think it’s awesome that you guys are doing this.

    • bridgetvoid

      speaking as someone who is disabled…i mean this whole project seems kind of meh. i don’t care about the twins being disabled, it bothers me they are portrayed as seemingly slow in interviews though, all monosyllabic and such…but i think that people with disabilities who are complaining about this don’t need to be marginalized as being just complainers. some people have valid points in their discussion about this. i rarely read any blogs/forums dedicated to the disabled community because honestly it is not something that i choose to define me (even though, like, legally it does) but i’ve seen some interesting and thought provoking discussions raised on the few occaisions i have looked (like now, or when some magazine used the word “lame” in the title of an article)

  • lizvelrene

    Let me say it really simply:

    Doing an album with songs about conjoined twins = interesting, artistic, good

    Doing an album pretending to BE conjoined twins = distasteful, appropriating, bad

    You can’t hide behind art here because this is an artistic fail. But an easily remedied one, if you were willing to let go of some of the shenanigans (writings/interviewings about discovering the poor sad twins) in order to keep the songs. Aren’t the songs what matter ultimately? Why can’t it be an Amanda Palmer record instead?

    • sip_of_soma

      “Doing an album with songs about conjoined twins = interesting, artistic, good
      Doing an album pretending to BE conjoined twins = distasteful, appropriating, bad”

      Wait… what? I don’t understand why this is so. Where are the “Rules of What is Good and Bad Art” posted? Who wrote said rules? Why didn’t I get the memo?

      I find the idea that there are hard and fast rules declaring what kind of art is good and bad as against the very core of creativity, and just as offensive as you find the EE project.
      It seems to me that everyone in the world sees things differently. I see this project as eye-opening and brilliant, and I never even thought about it being offensive. Neither you nor I are right or wrong. They’re just opinions.

      Being a painter that believes in developing one’s skill and mastery of their art, I find Jackson Pollack’s art MAJOR Artistic Failure, creative scam-artistry, and just plain offensive to the core. Clearly, there are plenty of people who would disagree.

      The EE crew aren’t “hiding behind art” – they’re making art.

      Amanda/Jason – keep doing it exactly as you want to. Don’t be scared off.

      • lizvelrene

        I’m tempted to dismiss you based on your opinion of Jackson Pollack alone.. ;) But I’ll try to explain.

        Appropriation means that you’re taking someone else’s story, someone else’s experiences and issues, and claiming them for your own purposes. It’s like saying you speak for Native Americans and making some big piece of art and claiming that right there is the Native American experience, and collecting acclaim for being so sensitive and insightful. Even though you are not Native American yourself AND you involved no Native Americans in your project AND you didn’t even bother to consult Native Americans about what their perspective is. It’s presumptuous, arrogant, condescending, and yes, offensive to do something like that, if that is not your experience to claim. By speaking for someone else who is culturally marginalized, you are going a long way towards preventing their actual voices from being heard – who needs the actual living breathing Native Americans when we have a nice white person to give us a version of their experience that we can feel good about?

        It doesn’t MATTER what the intentions of an artist are if the results are destructive. Certainly Amanda and Jason meant well, in that they didn’t mean to stir up this particular controversy. But you have to take responsibility for the results of your actions even if your intentions were good and even if it was in the pursuit of ART as some lofty concept that you get to define. Maybe for them it’s a fun art project and they get to play a little pretend and make up these characters, but pretending to BE these characters and therefore speak in their voices and speak for people who are disabled artists is a serious thing and not a game. If I had any indication that they took that seriously, this project wouldn’t be nearly so troubling.

        Finding an actual disabled artist and promoting their work as the premise of this project pretends to do would be so much more daring, so much more interesting, and so much more artistically valid.

        • http://www.trishacornelius.com/ Trisha Cornelius

          I see the point that you make but I disagree.

          1) The art here was not destructive even though it is divisive. My argument here is that in no sense does this art tend to overthrow, disprove or discredit conjoined twins, sexual abuse, being exploited by the circus or similar themes).

          2) There does seem to be a huge disparity of opinion present between the able bodied and the disabled. With both groups supporting and criticizing the project. I think it is wrong for any one person to claim to be able to speak for the entire group.

          Finally I think it is worth noting that AFP & JW did not at any stage portray that they were representing the only possible view on conjoint twins/ people were sexually abused.

    • esmertina

      Dude. Did you go off on Beyonce asking her why she had to record some of her music as Sasha Fierce? It’s about more than music. It’s about the performance, playing a character to get into a role to give voice to something you couldn’t otherwise. I can see Evelyn Evelyn being produced on Broadway as a modern-day Brechtian spectacle! (please?)

      • lizvelrene

        Derailing 101: Bringing up some other thing that I should criticize also or else I’m a hypocrite – hey look over THERE – is just a distraction. I don’t know enough about Beyonce or Sasha Fierce to really answer that question. But did she release the album AS Sasha Fierce or just call her album I Am Sasha Fierce by the artist Beyonce so that it’s obviously a character she’s playing? Did she write a condescending back story and say that she, Beyonce, discovered this poor ghetto ho named Sasha Fierce that she was rescuing from a life of poverty? Because then, yeah, that would be fucked up too.

        For the record, I DID think the JT Leroy thing was fucked up. It’s pretty much exactly the same thing that everybody yelled at James Frey for doing with his fake memoir. If he had published it as fiction, it would have been fine. As it was, he was bashing AA and rehab and claiming he was more fucked up than anyone ever and yet he personally pulled himself up by his own bootstraps because he’s so awesome, do I have to explain why that’s a destructive thing to do? Do you see why that might be hurtful to someone who had struggled with addiction to see their experienced trivialized that way? As a way for some middling writer to gain notoriety and then toss aside conveniently, unlike an actual lifelong struggle with addiction — or for that matter, a lifelong struggle with disability?

        • esmertina

          I was just making an analogy, not an accusation. Beyonce uses Fierce as an alter ego that allows her to tap into a different part of herself … just like Amanda as Amanda would just not be able to create the music she and Jason created as EE. There is no inspiration or context to draw from.

          But, yes, you have shown yourself to be 100% resolute in your distaste for any artist stepping into another character to give voice to something she could not otherwise. So … bravo for consistency … but nonetheless, this is why many popular authors do some of their writing under pseudonyms. It’s not uncommon, and not at all malicious. James Frey was writing a work of fiction *as his own memoir under his own name* … therein lies the difference.

          • lizvelrene

            “Amanda as Amanda would just not be able to create the music she and Jason created as EE. There is no inspiration or context to draw from.”

            But the inspiration and context drawn from the story of EE is exactly what’s fucked up here. Have you paid any attention to the discussion whatsoever?

            As I explained, Beyonce is credited with the Sasha Fierce album. EE is not just the name of an album by Amanda Palmer, it is the artist credit. Your average person who doesn’t obsessively read the internet is not going to know anything more than what’s on the cover of the cd and what the songs say. It is an imaginary persona being used to sell tickets/albums, and that persona is not as cute and artistic as AFP wanted it to be. It’s pretty deeply fucked up.

            Using characters to “give voice to something he/she could not otherwise” is what fiction is all about. There’s nothing objectionable about that. Claiming someone else’s experience for your own, to make yourself look a particular way, is different from that. JT Leroy was a perfect example of that and the fact that AFP regards that situation so positively tells me a lot. There are people in the world who HAVE lived those experiences, and it was not a fun celebrity-filled creative time for them. It was not merely a backstory to gain notoriety for themselves. It was not art. It was also not the same thing as using a pseudonym. JT Leroy was a series of fake stories, fake appearances, and people posing as something they were not to an extremely hurtful result. One only hopes that this tour is not/was not an extension of that sort of behavior – how exactly were the twins going to perform a set? In costume? Good grief.

            There’s no point it going on about it around here, I suspect, so I’m done.

  • nicolagatti

    I’m a disable and I have to say that I’m not offended by this project. I thought it was simply funny and sad and grotesque and theatrical in perfect Amanda’s style, before you turn in to an offence. Believe me as a disable i can tell you that until you continue to bring this things in this way you’ll never be free from your disability.
    Please Amanda dont give up this project…I’have already bought the tickets for the Berlin show…

    • pensata

      i’m glad you’re not offended. but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t validity to the criticism as a whole, or that OTHER people don’t have a right to be offended. and there IS a reason for it. you may disagree with the reason, but that doesn’t make the reason *wrong*.

      • nicolagatti

        Yes you’re right Pensata, except for I didnt say that you or anyone else cant be offended or cant post a critic. I simply report my experience. Probably I went further of my disability. That’s why I did not hook-up the Evelyn&Evelyn project with people who have real disability (like me) until someone else did it.

  • Zan

    Amanda

    You have done the hardest thing there is. You have created ART.

    Zx

  • Ember

    I find it somewhat amusing (in the, ‘that’s strange funny’ way not the ‘haha funny’ way) that if these fictional characters had been in a book, comic, movie, play…they would have been accepted without much concern. There are so many stories that explore darker topics that we applaud for doing just that, exploring things that usually get left under rocks. So why is this so different?
    Was it because we’ve been had? I’ll admit to some disappointment when I realized that this was an act and not actual characters, however that was because I admired these girls and their progress and was thoroughly intrigued. The blogs, the music and the searching I did led me to look into other areas of life I hadn’t examined before, life of conjoined twins, circus treatment, etc..it got me thinking. I’m no longer disappointed, and I’m actually proud of Amanda and Jason for their work on this. It got me thinking, it got me exploring..how often do forms of entertainment really do that?
    My personal theory? People were embarrassed they got caught by this. So they cover their embarrassment with the “I’m hurt and offended” defense.
    This isn’t long, not particularly eloquent, but it’s the only explanation I can come up with because, again, if these were characters in a book or on stage or in film who would be in an uproar? About as many as currently are about the characters that do exist in various books/plays/films.

    • Rosemary

      “if these were characters in a book or on stage or in film who would be in an uproar? About as many as currently are about the characters that do exist in various books/plays/films.”

      Actually, many of us who are upset about this are also upset about many books, plays, films, comics, etc. that also have ableist aspects to them. Just because you personally have not seen all of those blog posts or heard those conversations, doesn’t mean they are not happening.

  • Daniëlle

    On a much lighter note, my friends and I still all totally want to have sex with you. Neil can come too. :D

  • karensloane

    Amanda… I wrote the following in response to Jason’s blog, but I wanted to send it out to you too. The sentiment is the same. I love exactly who you are, and that you do the things that you do! You make my universe better as a results of your efforts. Thank you!!

    “Jeeeez, you guys!! Seriously… Jason, AFP and, to a lesser extent, Neil, I sure am sorry you guys are having to weather this storm. As an artist and someone who creates giant projects (as a labor of love) from time to time, I can only imagine how stunningly stressful these past few days have been. I have been a most die-hard fan and area co-habitator of yours for years… seeing you countless times on the streets of Seattle, at the Shady Grove Sunday’s at 11 pm, I’ve even inadvertantly shopped with ya at the Everett Trader Joe’s a time or two, fer goodness sakes!! I experience you as a pretty humble guy Jason, and your work as fraught with love. Real, deep, love. I was at the 11th anniversary show with you and AFP and was transcended…. genuinely transcended by collective, loving experience that that show became. Therefore, my heart really goes out to you and Amanda, knowing that this deluge of negativity must be pretty painful indeed. I’m hugging you both in my big Cyber-mama arms…

    That said, this is what I know. All of us, ALL of us create each and everyone of our own worlds through our own lenses of perception. Therefore “truth” remains always fundamentally relative. A person who is alter-abled and particularly dialed into the (certainly existing) heaps of alter-abled discrimination that exist out there in this world, may be particularly sensitive to how the “story” of “Evelyn Evelyn” filters through their lenses. They will also add to it, as we all do, their whole, own, entire world of meaning. Their own. Not your own, their own. And surely there is good information to be gleaned from it. But it does not have to suddenly become the intention of your work!

    Another reader pointed out here that it’s fiction and it’s art. Since when does fiction and art have to be in all ways safe? I don’t want to live in a world that makes everything safe and sanitized for me, thank you very much!! I want to actually LIVE. Thank you (and AFP) for ever making that just a little more possible. Much, much love…”

  • songofbilly

    Amanda,,Im still very excited about this project as Im sure 99% of ur true fan base is.
    Please dont let these people,, with views of what art should or should not be,, affect you and Jason.

    nothing but love,
    billy

  • http://electricburritos.blogspot.com/ bre_anachronism

    The biggest detriment to things like Twitter, in my humble opinion, is exactly what you said: 140 characters doesn’t give a lot of wiggle room for things like sarcasm, satire, and subtlety. It’s hard for it not to appear like you’ve said exactly what you mean, and it’s even harder to actually SAY what you mean without it being taken out of context.

    As usual, when I’m confused or unsure of something you’re doing, Amanda, there’s always a well thought-out, articulate explanation, and I never feel like it’s pandering to me. It’s “here’s what I’m doing- you don’t have to like it, but I hope you’ll make the effort to get it”.

    Sets you apart. Sets US apart for making said effort to understand- I’d dare say the majority of fans never do.

    -Bre

  • x0x0hello

    Am a posting GENIUS and didn’t respond properly.

  • http://www.mermithmae.com/ Jordy

    Love you! I wish you’d come to Toronto! Excellent response to the “hiding behind art” accusation; completely agree.

  • Anshl

    I’m meant to be working on my thesis, which is due in less than two weeks – it’s about a play by Sarah Kane called _Phaedra’s Love_, and there’s emotional sadism, meaningless lives, rape, hypocrisy, despair, murder-by-mob, and the play wouldn’t mean much at all without all that shit. And I’m currently churning my way through all of China Mieville’s novels, and lots of shitty things happen in his books, things caused by sentient people and things that evolved in nature. I don’t think art ought to be comfortable all the time or even often; comfortable art is usually boring and pointless.

    But I really haven’t felt that great about slowly realizing that Evelyn and Evelyn are fictional characters. I think my emotional reaction is resentment at being fooled. If I’d been in on it from the beginning, that would have been one thing. Now that I’m getting used to the idea, I think it’s a really intriguing way to tell a story. But it’s an unpleasant adjustment to switch from thinking of Evelyn and Evelyn as two flesh people (my own age!) to thinking of them as two fictional people, albeit the kind of fictional people who are very real and have a kind of existence in the space between people’s minds*. And it’s unpleasant to feel that I’ve been fooled by two of the musical artists I like and admire most because they write goods songs that don’t sound like anyone else’s (that I know of) and the songs are *about* something. So yes, I wish you and Jason had chosen to handle the project differently.

    I’m looking forward to judging the project on its own merits. Maybe you’ve fumbled it; maybe not.

    *One of the people I like and trust happens to be one of those fictional people. He’s one of the few people who understand some important things about me.

  • Jul

    So it’s only art if it’s not family friendly and/or safe? Sorry, Amanda, out of this whole controversy, that is what has stirred me the most. Who are you to judge what is art? Or what constitutes hiding behind art? My seven year old painted a sunflower, it’s gorgeous and hanging in my kitchen. It’s safe. Is it not art? But, whatever.

    Your elitist attitude has grown tiresome.

    • Emma

      I heartily agree with this comment. What might be mainstream cookie-cutter pop to one person can be earthshatteringly wonderful for another. I’m not saying you have to love Taylor Swift’s “Love Story” – and I don’t – but for one thirteen-year-old girl, it might catch the breath in her lungs and fill her heart with joy and her head with dreams. It’s not any less valid, or soul-stirring, as art just because it’s safe and it doesn’t ‘push the envelope’. It’s just not. Hell, the Avril Lavigne and Good Charlotte (I know!) that I listened to when I was kid touched me really deeply; I might cringe looking back at it now, but it doesn’t negate that experience. That was art to me. And that’s okay. Sorry.

      • Jul

        Exactly, such a good example with Taylor Swift. Art doesn’t have to be disturbing or full of controversy to be art. I’m all for pushing the envelope, you want to shout and scream and mourn and be absolutely moved and disturbed by art so that you can call it art, fine by me. Just because an artist, I will go with Taylor Swift since you already mentioned her, stands on stage with some love songs, a guitar and some cute, non-extreme clothes doesn’t mean she is less talented, or less artistic than someone like AFP. She is safe, she is cute and she is what society finds, as a whole, socially acceptable. And I like her (and AFP). Is she hiding behind her art so that the masses will love her? Or is she (or most performing artists today) just out there doing what they know and love? This is where the elitist attitude that AFP seems to have comes into play, for me. She is also out there doing what she knows and loves, and if she had just said that, I’d be okay with this whole thing. Instead she seems to be saying “What I AM doing is ART and that makes it RIGHT AND JUST AND BEAUTIFUL AND PAINFUL and ANYTHING ELSE is FALSE”

        No, that’s not what she actually said. Yes, it is only how I perceive it and in the grand scheme of AFP’s world, my little, safe opinion clearly doesn’t matter.

    • Shayla

      I don’t recall her saying that her opinion of art was the only opinion, or that art in itself had to offend and shock people. Merely that it’s a quality that art CAN have. Art is, in every way, in the eyes of the beholder. To some, if the art doesn’t move them, and invoke strong thoughts and emotions then it ISN’T art. Not everyone wants art to just be a context-less picture (and I’m NOT referring to your child’s painting, because to you, seeing something your child created will in fact invoke strong emotion in you) or a story with no issues in it. They want a little gore and a little darkness and things that aren’t safe.

      I’m one of those people. There are lots of ‘safe’ things out there. No one is saying they aren’t art. Many people enjoy them. However, many people enjoy that disturbing feeling of dark art, and the thoughts brought on by things that aren’t always “acceptable” to put into fiction.

      I really don’t think she’s discrediting safe things, just declaring that what she does is also art, and the kind of art that she prefers and enjoys making.

      • Jul

        Actually, go back and read her blog. She does discredit “safe” art.

        I didn’t say it wasn’t okay NOT to like darker things, and in fact, I do like darker art, at times. What I don’t like, as I stated, is Amanda’s elitist attitude about the whole thing.

  • Chelsea

    Why is it that AFP fans can laugh at Oasis and “Mandy goes to Med School” and all of the other “touchy” subjects that come up in her art and music, but they draw the line at this? A joke? A harmless joke at that. I think this whole situation is the definition of “over reacting” I love you Amanda, and Evelyn and Evelyn! I can’t wait to get this album and read more about the twins, whoever they are!

    • Kate O’Brien

      Because those other songs are based on AFP’s personal experience and don’t exploit stereotypes about marginalized people as a “harmless joke.”

      ps–the people who the joke is on are the ones who get to decide if it’s harmless, no the ones making it.

  • sartorial

    arguing on the internet is about the worst waste of time conceivable so i won’t bother with that, i’ll just offer my support in this and whatever future art endeavours you choose to participate in. i am late to the amanda palmer game but in my world art is there for the taking (or not taking) as one deems fit. this is certainly edgy. more edgy than “oasis”? i don’t know, not in my mind. as you say, you are only responsible to yourself in the end. i don’t understand how anyone who has spent any time with your prior art or writings could possibly think you meant anything evil by any of this. if there are holes in this story its the responsibility of the reader to try to get into your head in terms of perspective and supply the material to fill the holes to the best of their ability.

    i have seen nothing but a loving, caring person through your creations, even the ones that can be hard to look at or make me flinch…so if i have questions about your treatment of this project i am looking through those glasses that i’ve developed in my time watching and listening to you. through those lenses i don’t see anything wrong with this. but that’s just me.

    the good news is i’m free to be me and all of these other people are free to be themselves. they are free to not buy and not consume and get on the internet soapbox (which holds approximately ∞ people) and complain about it. i appreciate that freedom, even if i don’t understand their sentiments.

  • http://rriverrunstudio.com/rriverrun_home.html jm

    Different strokes for different folks: myself, when I first heard about Evelyn/Evelyn some time ago I thought it was real. And i also thought it was creepy, in that my feeling was that someone was taking advantage of the twins or they were themselves exploiting their disability in some way. I was relieved to discover it was all made up.

    The only time I’ve seen conjoined twins portrayed in any way was in “City of Lost Children” where they were positively evil.
    I wonder if that stirred up a fuss?

    Amanda’s first words:
    “listen: i deeply apologize if anyone has been offended by our project.
    there is and was absolutely no harm meant, and if harm was taken, it’s obviously worthy of discussion.”

    I don’t know if she can improve on that apology except possibly by saying it personally to everyone who says they are offended. As for the story, I just thought it was dumb. It needed work. I wasn’t offended, but then I am a person who had to be told by his NYC-living children that the correct term these days is “Asians”, not “Orientals.”
    So maybe you all should just ignore me.

  • Serena

    This, as so often is the case, is a well-written and clearly much thought-through blog post and thank you so much for taking the time to think and write and answer both good and bad comments.
    The EvelynEvelyn project has been on my mind for along while now and more recently, I’ve been battling with my own thoughts and perceptions since your earlier post.
    I was a bit disturbed by the project if I’m honest and I must confess, I really believed these were real people out there. I thought you and Jason were brave but imaginative to even consider helping them and becoming SO involved. I was worried they would be seen as more of a freak show and not for the musicians they are and I couldn’t decide if I would be happy to watch the show if I had the chance and how I would feel. Following on from that thought was anger at myself for not seeing beyond the conjoined issue and not thinking of these young women as I would any budding performers.
    It only occurred to me after your last post that these might not be actual people and when I heard the (incredibly catchy) Have You Seen My Sister Evelyn I was pretty sure who was singing. Actually, not just me but my husband from the other side of the room commenting on me listening to you again! Of course, one twin has a most masculine tone as well!
    I felt a bit annoyed and hurt at first, a bit conned if you like but I’ve come to like what I read here and on Twitter etc. and I realised there was a bigger meaning to this whole project. And I started thinking and exploring my own mind and it’s been a fascinating journey. I’ll leave my own blog for the long-winded discussion my mind had with itself but I’m really grateful for the ideas and prejudices that I’ve felt I needed to explore.

    I can’t wait to hear reports of the tour when it goes out and really hope you and Jason stretch some other minds too.

  • charels

    I don’t really agree with how this all came about, but something everyone needs to remember that art is supposed to get a reaction out of people, good or bad. So while responding to what we’ve been exposed to please keep it civil. Everyone is free to have and share an opinion, but once you get hurful in your reply it stops being productive, and you just come acrost as an twatwaffle.

  • applefaerie

    Out of context quote from Dave McKean:

    “Trying to please everyone, to be “politic,” is the death of creativity.”

  • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

    As I desperately hope has already been said a number of times, intention isn’t really worth a hell of a lot. A common metaphor in *ism/privilege discussions is ‘Intent is the difference between manslaughter and murder, but both leave you with a dead body and grieving people.’ Also, the fact that you present ‘drama in their heads’ as not being “really” hurt seems really problematic to me. That seems like you’re saying that any non-physical pain doesn’t count, that psychological and emotional pain are irrelevant.
    Another common line from *ism/privilege discussions-I’m not saying you’re a bad person. I’m saying you fucked up and hurt people. What you do after being told you hurt people tells me what kind of person you are. If you dismiss their hurt? Well, I think that speaks for itself. If you try to understand how you hurt them, and try to figure out what you can do to make it better? I think that speaks for itself as well. Right now Amanda, you don’t seem to be trying to understand why and how you hurt people, or to make it better.

  • Iris

    I understand why people are upset. The relationship to you and youe music can feel quite personal. After much thought I know I don’t agree with the critics, and I’m very interested to see the bigger concept of the upcoming abum and shows. From what I understood of this post their backgrounds have a concept.

    I must say I like this project for being imperfect. For being thought through. For being bad PR as said by one, and being what it is. I like it because it’s made me think, whether it was supposed to be thought of this way or not. I like that remaining a fan of you requires thought.

    I think you’re very brave, and I’m hopeful that you’ll take your fans’ words to heart (all of ours’) and not feel discouraged by the criticism. Everyone needs it, and you’ve certainly got copeous amounts.
    xx

  • Elizabeth

    I like this project and am looking forward to the new album. When I read the initial post, I had no idea that people would take such offense to it. I love that this project blurred the lines between fact and fiction and it was never really clear if the twins were real or not. I look forward to seeing videos and hearing songs that are upcoming.

    I think many people are just to wrapped up in this PC society of ours. It was obviously not meant to offend and I don’t really understand why everyone’s making such a huge deal about this. And before people start telling me to read the other responses, I have and I don’t really agree with them. Not everyone is going to like what an artist does and that’s their right. I just think this is getting blown all out of proportion.

    I have met Amanda on more than one occasion and she cares about each and every one of her fans. She is the only musician I have seen thus far that is so involved with her fans. If she thought it was going to offend, she would have changed it or not posted it. She still has 100% of my support.

  • EdenBee

    Art that offends people apparently shouldn’t be made? News to me, and to the history of art.

    • pensata

      please see my response to steph, and stylishb’s response to L1nd5ay.

  • Jhuckobey

    Ok, I’m one of Neil’s fans that came over to see what you’re about a short time ago. I must say that the entire argument the offended are making is fallacious. It’s strange that people have come to think they live in a world where only things they find agreeable should be said/made/done. I’m not certain, but I feel safe assuming that there is no country in the world that guarantees you a right never to be offended.

    People love to be offended by the slightest thing these days, and the only thing they seem to love more than being offended is listening to themselves talk about how offended they are and how wrong the offender must be for having done such a terrible, malicious thing. I think it’s yet another instance where people remove choice from their lives. If you don’t like it, choose not to view it. Fox news offends me to no end, so I simply don’t watch it. I CHOOSE not to bring it into my life because it will make me grind my teeth at night. I’m proud to say, that I’ve lived several consecutive O’Reilly and Beck free years and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

    As for this particular case, it seems that she’s made a fictional character with a back story of disability and abuse. I fail to see how that is offensive. Perhaps, the argument is that she is marginalizing people who have disabilities or have been exploited, but that’s just ridiculous. The blog, when I read it, certainly said that this character had an outlandish story, that they had been through a long and arduous journey to come to the album, and that were I to go to one of the shows, I might see something quite interesting and wacky and bizarre. I didn’t think the blog meant that people with disabilities were bad or less in any way. The blog didn’t imply anything of the sort about the characters.

    This is all a bit ridiculous. The best thing about the internet is that everyone gets a voice, and the worst thing about the internet is that everyone gets a voice.

    • qlgirl

      “It’s strange that people have come to think they live in a world where only things they find agreeable should be said/made/done. I’m not certain, but I feel safe assuming that there is no country in the world that guarantees you a right never to be offended.”

      Er. Yes.

      In my opinion, creating fictional characters is, well, fiction. One does not have to share the nature or history of one’s fictional characters in order for the work to be valid. If I write a story about a murderer, I do not have to have killed someone in order to validate that story. In fact, if I do that, I’m no longer writing fiction. I am writing biography or non-fiction. In my opinion, an artist does not create to anyone’s specifications except his or her own.

      If one is able to vote on whether an artist may proceed with a project based on how many people are offended, is the resulting project art? Is all art collaborative to some degree; author/artist/filmmaker/painter producing the project and the audience members bringing their own layers of understanding to it?

      I have found books, recordings, films or paintings and photographs offensive. It has never occurred to me that I should demand an apology of the creator for not being sensitive to my needs.

  • Oop

    What what little it may be worth: I personally think you are absolutely wonderful. You’ve got an artistic voice that is strong, beautiful, unique and so deep it hurts one’s mind and heart as much as anything in this world can. You’re funny, lovely, intelligent, charming, bold, bright, with excellent taste and good sense of humor. I can but wonder how can anyone NOT love you. Keep going, girl.

  • http://auroraproject.net/ Ian Atrus

    If you made a mistake, Amanda, it was not in making up the EE story, or in posting it to your blog. It was this post, because it gave the haters a measure of entitlement.
    So here’s a positive comment: I love your work -not all of it, but most of it- and I don’t think the EE story is a fuck up. Especially since I don’t have the big picture, yet.

  • Dianne

    To me, I see the potenial of a charming, innocent magic through shadow…light despite the dark. That it’s not “real”, I must admit to disappointment, but I’m able to suspend my disbelief and learn through metaphor.

  • Jentern

    I personally don’t see what the big fuss is. Yes, the issues outlined in the twins’ story are huge, but it’s not as though these issues are being painted in a positive light; it’s not as though anyone’s saying “child pornography is great!” In fact, if you look at the initial blog post, the message was quite the opposite! It is acknowledged that the background of the twins is an awful one, but it seems as though people are seeing the words “disabled” and “sexual abuse” and going on the defensive while ignoring the context in which these words are used.

    In my opinion, Evelyn Evelyn could actually be rather inspiring: these girls share a history in which they have been exploited and abused, but they still manage to come out on top by making a record and living a decent (if sheltered) life. If anything, I think it shows that anyone can find success doing something they love, no matter how horrific one’s background is.

    I have to wonder: are the people who are offended by this also offended by authors writing characters who have been sexually abused or are disabled? The situations are essentially the same – one just exists on paper rather than as a physical entity.

    I stand by this project 100%.

    Also, Amanda, your advice on “how to get brave” really hit home. Recently I’ve found myself falling victim to the fear that I’m going to say something wrong or inadvertently offend someone, and it’s been controlling my life. It’s far too difficult to please everyone, so as long as you’re not out to attack or hurt anyone, you might as well keep doing what you’re doing. Life’s too short to waste talent and creativity just because a select group might not be fond of what you’re saying. If they’re offended, they don’t have to listen. Simple as that.

    So thank you for addressing that here. I feel much better having read your thoughts on bravery. :)

  • Tracy

    FWIW:

    I read the previous blog under the impression Evelyn Evelyn were real people.

    And I was not offended.

    Shit, I’m kinda disappointed it’s not real ;)

    Mad love from Washington, DC.

  • jerrychandler

    I find the reactions to this fascinating. If an author were to write a short story or novel with a lead character who falls under the category of “disabled” he or she might actually get praise for how well they told a story, uplifting or heart wrenching, and what they were able to convey with their pros. Various actors without disabilities have have played characters in film and television to tell stories both uplifting and heart wrenching and have had both the work and their performance in it praised.

    So what’s different here? Musicians don’t just put together albums filled with unrelated bits of music to fill out a 45 or 60 minute runtime. There have been a number of artistic endeavors by musicians where they create an entire album that tells a story from the POV of a character that is different from themselves . Sometimes uplifting and sometimes heart wrenching.

    I think a lot of people are forgetting that. I also find it interesting that there’s this much condemnation for the project and the concept when those condemning it have not even heard it. I could understand simple statements along the lines of it not sounding like some people’s cup of tea, but some of what I’ve read is fairly knee-jerk. If you’re a fan of Amanda’s and trust her creative instincts, why not at least wait until you hear the thing to and make an informed critique?

    And some of the long time fans of Neil that are losing their minds really surprise me. Much of Neil’s work has been darkly disturbing in part and the early descriptions of it read in a way that it came off as much more dark and disturbed than it really was. But you gave it a chance because you liked his work and trusted Neil’s abilities. Since people often tend to gravitate to people who are like minded or share similar views on things, why can’t you give someone Neil trusts the same chance you give Neil?

    Seriously, I’ve only been a fan of Amanda’s for a while now thanks to a friend of mine who introduced me to her work, but i would think based on her past work that she’s not setting out to do something that’s insulting to anyone. Everything I’ve seen on this reads like it’s an album as storytelling device. Why not actually hear the story at least once before condemning it or the story teller’s attempt?

  • jerrychandler

    I find the reactions to this fascinating. If an author were to write a short story or novel with a lead character who falls under the category of “disabled” he or she might actually get praise for how well they told a story, uplifting or heart wrenching, and what they were able to convey with their pros. Various actors without disabilities have have played characters in film and television to tell stories both uplifting and heart wrenching and have had both the work and their performance in it praised.

    So what’s different here? Musicians don’t just put together albums filled with unrelated bits of music to fill out a 45 or 60 minute runtime. There have been a number of artistic endeavors by musicians where they create an entire album that tells a story from the POV of a character that is different from themselves . Sometimes uplifting and sometimes heart wrenching.

    I think a lot of people are forgetting that. I also find it interesting that there’s this much condemnation for the project and the concept when those condemning it have not even heard it. I could understand simple statements along the lines of it not sounding like some people’s cup of tea, but some of what I’ve read is fairly knee-jerk. If you’re a fan of Amanda’s and trust her creative instincts, why not at least wait until you hear the thing to and make an informed critique?

    And some of the long time fans of Neil that are losing their minds really surprise me. Much of Neil’s work has been darkly disturbing in part and the early descriptions of it read in a way that it came off as much more dark and disturbed than it really was. But you gave it a chance because you liked his work and trusted Neil’s abilities. Since people often tend to gravitate to people who are like minded or share similar views on things, why can’t you give someone Neil trusts the same chance you give Neil?

    Seriously, I’ve only been a fan of Amanda’s for a while now thanks to a friend of mine who introduced me to her work, but i would think based on her past work that she’s not setting out to do something that’s insulting to anyone. Everything I’ve seen on this reads like it’s an album as storytelling device. Why not actually hear the story at least once before condemning it or the story teller’s attempt?

  • thessaly2

    Perception is a funny thing. I’ve seen a lot of comments demanding a better apology, sneering at what was given, saying that they’ve been wounded and it’s “not enough.”

    What I don’t understand is how anyone can demand ownership of the perceived problem without, in turn, owning their reaction. If you are injured, own it, and by all means let the other party know, but you cannot demand that they apologize for your choice to voice it. You cannot demand that they feel what you feel.

    Would you really want an apology that was not felt anyway? I shouldn’t think anyone would gain from that, in fact rather the opposite. If you cannot continue without that false apology, you should move on instead of continuing the conflict. She doesn’t *owe* you anything, and I’d probably think less of her for bowing to pressure instead of getting on with life.

  • Bill

    Thought #1
    All human emotions are valid.
    Their very being make them valid. They may not be reasonable, convenient, justified and so on. However, as we are all emotional beings we must extend the slack to others that we ourselves occupy.

    Thought #2
    It’s all about respect.
    Really? Doesn’t that mean that eventually we must find the most sensitive, lest tolerant person in the world and have them dictate all social interactions. Seems to me that unless you are that person there will someone who will be offended by what you do and you will disrespect them by continuing to do what you want to do. Sorry, the world is far too full of differing opinions.

    Thought #3
    Having strong opinions about things you don’t bother to educate yourself about.
    Think evolution. How many stupid conversation about “eyeballs” have gone on by people who haven’t read Darwin’s work, have any understanding about how the scientific method works or peer-review. For that matter the difference between a theory and a hypotheses. Oh never mind, I’m off track.

    On Evelyn and Evelyn, Yes, at first I was confused. What was this? What twins? A quick listen on the myspace page. Very clearly AFP is singing. Ok, I’m starting to get it. Next reading the blog. Now in what context should I take this? Was this work done by someone who has made a book of pictures of herself murdered? Or made a video where a bunch of people are doing a dance routine in an abortion clinic after someone got date raped? IIsn’t this pretty much inline with what I have actively pursued in following AFP? I think so. You can’t buy a banana at Taco Bell you have to go elsewhere. And you can’t get to mad at TAco Bell when they sell you a taco when you wanted a banana.

    That’s it for me.

  • dominic_t

    Love your work, can’t wait to hear the record! *nothing* should be off-limits, keep pushing those boundaries!

  • Yoi

    In regards to point 4, “hiding behind art”:

    When people accuse you of “hiding behind art,” they don’t mean you’ve been compromising your integrity as an artist just to sell to the masses. They are accusing you of using your art to excuse your (unintentionally) offensive behavior. You have been saying, and ARE saying in this post, is that because you are creating art, it is 100% okay to misrepresent a group of marginalized people, ignore their opinions, and perpetuate stereotypes about them.

    And no, it’s not okay. So stop hiding behind your art and own up to your mistakes. Admit that what you did was ableist, and that the people who have voiced concerns have done so for legitimate reasons. People who are offended aren’t offended because they “don’t understand art” or “they’re just too sensitive,” but because what you did was actually offensive.

    • NScalia

      I’ve never realized that AFP was the kind of person who was afraid to offend people. I mean, after all these years of listening to her work, I thought she was, you know, just being herself. But apparently… she was always doing it to… hide?

      Seriously… you think that someone who uses her real name as her stage name, gets books published full of photographs with her, and lets people take half-naked pictures of her on the red carpet is afraid of offending people?

      • bridgetvoid

        i’m sure any artist would be afraid of offending people if it means their latest endeavor tanks.

        • NScalia

          If her endeavor tanks, it’s because the audience she thought she could trust to hear her out on her controversial artistic style, as we have so many times before, turned too shallow to hear anything but the preamble for her latest work before judging it. It’s sad, especially in the context that the album seems to be far more geared toward the fans she has now than to earning any potential new fans.

          Give her a chance to show you her work. If you still don’t like it, feel free to whine all you want. But until then, boycotting her work based on a small piece of what she’s revealed is incredibly pithy.

  • idiotchild

    So a pop beat combo are not what they appear to be OMFG it’s Milli Vanilli all over again.

  • shleebeans

    RE: people complaining, hating, bitching etc.

    People will always make noise if they think someone will hear it. Art is about getting people to react to something. Better to provide a strong reaction than no reaction!

    Keep going at it AFP, I can’t wait to see the twins in London!

  • http://www.fictionette.org/ Charlotte

    Well-said in pt. 6, Amanda. I’m not one of “your” fans (if anything, I’m one of Neil’s), and I did initially think the EE project was a bit odd, but I think all of the sturm und drang over which marginalized groups might or might not be offended by the project is just a projection on the part of the people screaming at you. If you explain your reasoning in a calm and rational manner and they continue to escalate the drama, the problem lies with _them_ and their need to go off the deep end at an artist who’s simply trying to put out a product she believes in.

    While I’m not in all likelihood going to buy the record, I wish you every success. Thank you for your reasoned and cogent blog post.

  • jfpbookworm

    Shorter OP:

    “I’m sorry if you were offended. We didn’t intend to harm. There’s good discussion going on. You just didn’t understand the context. We didn’t intend to harm. There’s good discussion going on. It’s all in a spirit of fun. Nobody complained before. You just didn’t understand the context. We didn’t intend to harm. Some of my best friends are disabled. The lurkers support me in email. We didn’t intend to harm. It’s art. It’s supposed to be disturbing. I don’t pay attention to anonymous critics. We didn’t make fun of the disabled. You have to hear the album to judge. It’s art. You hurt me with your criticism. You just didn’t understand the context. We didn’t intend to harm. You hurt me with your criticism. Everyone’s a critic. You’re just starting drama. I don’t have to listen to you. I’m brave to not listen to you. You’re full of hate. I’m brave to not listen to you. Love the haters, but don’t rape them ha ha.”

  • Alexandria

    I read your first blog, went “OK, cool!”, and went about my day. I’d been hearing you talk about Evelyn Evelyn for ages now so that wasn’t new, and was excited that their album is coming out. I totally missed all the shit about them being fictional until I caught a posting on Facebook by Neil Gaiman about the fallout. I’m a rather straightforward person – you tell me something and I take it as truth and don’t really think about it beyond that. But finding out that Evelyn Evelyn is fictional really…didn’t bother me.

    Aren’t all artists and public performers “fictional” in a way? I mean, you are playing the role of a performer, you’re “on” when on stage and “off” when at home. There’s a lot of cross over in your case, I think, but there’s still a difference I’m sure. I can see why you made the story up, because it works with the music. It wasn’t intentionally patronising or belittling. You didn’t use offensive terms. Fine. Cool. I get it. And I don’t get why other people don’t. There’s a big difference between you and Jason Webley doing Evelyn Evelyn and Gary Oldman in Tiptoes, or even Garth Brooks doing Chris Gaines. I mean, it’s not like you’re putting on blackface and doing a Michael Jackson dance sketch on an Australian variety show (even my generous limits of art-related tolerance would be stretched to the point of breaking at that…), although I guess I can see how some people might equate the two.

    Maybe revealing so much in that posting was too much too quick for some, but whatever. It would’ve been less artistically meaningful if it had been captioned with “story by Amanda Fucking Palmer and Jason Fucking Webley”. Perhaps it would’ve been better to let the art speak for itself. And, yeah, we do expect the truth from you, but, you know what? You’re human and allowed to be fallible and creative and make shit up.

    I haven’t always liked everything you’ve done, and I haven’t always liked everything Neil Gaiman’s done, but I’ve LOVED everything you both have done simply because you’re doing it and no one else is. You, Amanda, darling, are a centre of courage for a lot of us and we take strength through you. So please, make up as many alter egos as you’d like, run naked through every Hollywood awards show, and keep touring. And hopefully people will learn to chill the frak out.

  • VeganHeart

    I am disabled.I do not believe the concept and all it involves is disablist and…I actually adore it.What is disablist is the suggestion that Amanda should tread on eggshells regarding disability because that suggests that disabled people are to be pitied and patronised and therefore those who believe their critisisms of Amanda are valid and justified…think again and…LIGHTEN UP!I have a strong sense of Disabled Pride and Freak Pride and neither are compromised by aforementioned adoration – Disability pride is about expressing to society that disabilities are not negative and should not be perceived as something lacking, broken, or sub-par. Disability pride is a necessary ingredient in the larger diversity movement as it furthers the idea that differences are not only to be tolerated but also celebrated and that is exactly what Amanda is doing.Bravo Amanda, BRAVO.X

    • idiotchild

      Bloody right!

    • http://www.fictionette.org/ Charlotte

      Well said.

    • EdenBee

      Couldn’t agree more.

      To my mind, the condescension required to assume disabled people would all be sufficiently self-pitying and self-loathing to take this as a personal attack is far more offensive, to me, than anything about the project.

  • BellaBGood

    Offense is something that can be taken or left…

  • Haha Yeahright

    “unless it’s the loving kind of fucking…”

    i started to say the exact same thing after reading the previous sentence.. lady, sometimes we have too much in common.

  • implee

    One thing that I’d like to highlight (if you do read this far in the comments) is the narrative you presented beyond the twins background. Onto a fictional history of massive exploitation, you and Jason are the people who come along and uplift the twins, introduce them to society, teach them how to use their art, get their record out there, even press charges against past exploiters. These aer fictional characters, certainly, but you have given them no agency and cast them as perpetual victims. The narrative can be read as you, the beneficient able-bodied folks, sweeping in and saving them, and so of course it was by people with disabilities who spend their tine campaigning against such portrayals of disability. The excessive backstory possibly wouldn’t have garnered so much horror from that quarter if your characters were not just the hapless pawns of everybody else.

  • Rose

    Christ, how brave all these haters and whiners are when they dont have to sign even their name to their post.

    You know what, if you REALLY believe in what youre saying, GO VOLUNTEER. Go help in a sheltered workshop, go give half a day a week to assisting someone living with a disability, or a family with a child with a serious disability. Help out in a domestic violence refuge. Answer the lines for a crisis helpline. Be a carer, get to actually KNOW somebody living with a disability and you know what? Youll be surprised to find 90% of them are nowhere NEAR the victims you’re making them out to be. Some I know who have suffered at the hands of those supposed to care for them. Others overcoming incredible odds. They LOVE Amanda and we are travelling together to see her in Sydney…and cant understand what the fuss is about.
    But you know what? We dont have to agree.
    And that’s where this gets stupid.
    Amanda has apologised. I read her blog. So did you. Its clear she is shocked and sad that people got their knickers in a twist. She has apologised.
    Generally, when someone apologises, you give them THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT and WAIT to see if their actions, moving forward, match their words.

    I feel really suspicious of anyone still shouting “oh its not real its not enough, she doesnt mean it” and wonder what agenda they are really pushing, why still have an axe to grind, right now?

    You have a right to disagree and dislike what she has done. Shit, when I first heard AFP I wondered what the hell was going on, but she has grown on me over the years. Her blogs have won be over. I love that she doesnt have boundaries, is the worlds best marketer and completely and utterly eccentric. Isnt that what YOU loved about her too?
    Dont you love that you can touch this artist, drink a glass of wine with her? Do any of your other idols give you such insight and closeness, or even ASK for your opinion? Do they come and see you after the show?

    Of course they dont! And now, because she has given you such unprecedented access, you think you can tear her down off the pedestal YOU created for her.

    I think a reasonable person would let the project unfold now and see what it is. If you dont like it, you can vote with your dollars and not buy it. If you think when it is presented to the world that it is inappropriate, you can write letters everywhere, spew your hatred and share your thoughts with the world.

    For now, how about you stop carrying on like a betrayed lover, realise you dont really HAVE a say about what AFP does, and go develop some real love and understanding of ALL the issues you raised by volunteering with those exact people who really DO need your help.

    ROSEMARY.

    PS: I realise that some of you will take offence with my comments. Its ok. Its only MY opinion. I have volunteered for 15 years with some of the most at risk, abused and marginalised our city has to offer. I also happen to know many of the young people in this area (and older ones too) absolutely adore Amanda.

    • Zed

      Quite the assumption you are making assuming that everyone who is offended and hurt and expressing criticism doesn’t volunteer, has no experience or education in these topics or is not disabled themselves.

      Idols and friends are not above criticism. If I fuck up, I want people to tell me, I want people to express their criticism. If I step on someone’s foot and hurt them, I will apologize.

      • NScalia

        You apologize because you choose to. It’s quite an assumption YOU’RE making that she did, in fact, “fuck up.” I don’t feel particularly offended about it. Therefore, why is your definition of her success or failure any better than mine? I am, of course, assuming we are both fans.

        Most people applauded her for refusing to apologize for “Oasis”, despite the fact that people were offended by in. In fact, her fans generally felt awesome, because THEY know her. We knew what she REALLY meant, right? We knew she had no reason to apologize.

        It is fairly arrogant to assume that just because you don’t understand that the material itself is offensive. As with “Oasis”, that is simply not the case. You’re just on a different side of the line than you were last time (assuming again that you were, in fact, around for that bit).

        • Zed

          There is no comparison between Oasis and this project. One is based off of her experience and one is based on other’s experiences (ie the disabled). That is why she was applauded. I refuse to applaud someone for co-opting other’s experiences and trying to parade them as art.

          The rest of your comment I have no idea how to respond to, I just don’t understand the point you are attempting to make, if you are even attempting one.

          • NScalia

            So you’re against any war story written by someone who wasn’t in a war, or any love story written by someone who was never married, or any science fiction story written by someone who’s never been in a spaceship or traveled through time. Got it.

            In addition, I’m assuming you’re angry at Russell Crowe, because he never fought as a gladiator, and angry at Tom Cruise, ’cause he was never a spy.

            Furthermore, I am assuming you’ve never seen a movie, or watched a play. And that you really do believe every gangsta’ on the radio has actually “popped a cap in a ho.”

            Correct?

          • Zed

            You are missing the point by miles and miles and also keep bringing up different metaphors, topics and examples that really have no correlation to what we are discussing here. Comparing historical events to disabilities does not make sense. Comparing portrayals or historical people and events to portrayal of disabilities does not make sense. Further please look up “derailing”.

            If you can answer these questions then maybe we can continue engaging with each other. If not, then we are at a stalemate.

            1. Do you agree that Evelyn Evelyn is a project? Do you agree it is a project about Conjoined Twins? Do you agree that Amanda Palmer is not disabled?

            2. Do you believe that people can make mistakes? Do you believe that in order to be a fan of someone you cannot express any criticism or discontent with something they do?

          • NScalia

            No, my point was spot-on with your questions.

            Your words:
            “I refuse to applaud someone for co-opting other’s experiences and trying to parade them as art. ”

            Then, I pointed out that art typically does this. It’s called “performing art.” Rarely does anybody, even a stand-up comedian, represent their true self on stage. It is NORMAL for artists and performers to take on someone with different life experiences and different pasts. That’s part of the job.

            When you are able to prove that Amanda taking on the role of a disabled person is somehow different than ANYONE who takes on the role of a disabled person for a performing art, then you’ll have made a point. Until you do that, Amanda says that this is art, and you don’t have the anything backing you up yet that says it isn’t. You’re going off of a blog entry, and a blog entry that only set up the premise for the rest of the album. You’re making assumptions.

            So express your criticism all you want, but complaining about the content of an album you haven’t heard yet is silly.

          • jerrychandler

            “1. Do you agree that Evelyn Evelyn is a project? Do you agree it is a project about Conjoined Twins? Do you agree that Amanda Palmer is not disabled?”

            Do you even realize that your question is meaningless? The answers are yes, yes and yes. So what? How would that even matter? Are you going to say that she shouldn’t do the project because she isn’t a conjoined twin?

            That’s ridiculous. As I said above, sometimes musicians also act as story tellers and tell stories with voices other than their own. It’s foolish to declare that someone doing a project like this has to be confined to the limited creative confines that you wish them confined to. This would be a very boring world indeed entertainment-wise if you had your way.

        • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

          If someone steps on my foot, there’s no reason for you to feel pain. However, when you say that my pain is not real or should be ignored, you are being dismissive of my experience.
          Just because you do not find something offensive, does not mean that it is not offensive, does not mean it did not hurt people. Those people have a right to speak up and say they have been hurt.

          • Zed

            Thank you.

          • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

            yvw.

          • NScalia

            If someone steps on your foot after being shoved over, do you still expect an apology? What about if you deliberately stuck your foot out? What if it’s because they were running to, you know, save a kid from getting hit by a bus or something? Sorry, your analogy leaves some pretty epic possibilities…

            The point is that you expect to get an apology in certain contexts. However, in the above contexts, an apology would probably be inappropriate for a couple of different reasons.

            This is the EXACT same case. People were offended by a lot of things that AFP does, including the half-nakedness on the red carpet, or the “Oasis” song. But, since we’re loyal AFP fans and knew what she was like, we weren’t offended. If we didn’t understand, and instead took everything at face value (like the majority of people seem to do when they aren’t familiar with her), then we would be offended. But Amanda Palmer certainly didn’t have to apologize for Oasis, or Slide, or anything else she might have written that people were offended by. It was because the people chose to have a knee-jerk reaction to what they saw that caused their pain, not because the pain was warranted.

            I haven’t heard the album, either, so maybe the offense that people feel is warranted, maybe not. My point is that judging it on the BACKSTORY of the CD can ONLY be described as a knee-jerk reaction. The fans are being ridiculous when they say it’s okay for AFP to be rebellious, so long as she doesn’t accidentally offend THEM too.

            Amanda Palmer stepped on your foot. Okay. Now, how about we sit back and wait to see what the CONTEXT of that is. Until we hear the album, we have no context, and without context, there is no way for us to judge whether or not this apology is actually warranted or not.

          • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

            The backstory of the album is part of the narrative of the project. It has hurt people, and they deserve to have that hurt acknowledged, not dismissed as you’re doing here. Even if the album somehow reframes the backstory in such a way that the backstory is no longer hurtful, people have still been hurt in the interim.

          • NScalia

            If people are hurt, it is because they chose to extract a meaning from something that hasn’t been fully released. Amanda cannot be held responsible because people are judging her work based off of a small piece of narrative. That’s like a jury demanding someone apologize for the crime before the trial has even started, regardless of whether or not she’s found guilty. It’s absurd.

            If they want to be angry, that’s their right, and nobody is going to stop them. But the point of an apology is to correct a wrongdoing, and until the full context of the EE story is revealed, there is absolutely no way to judge whether any wrong was actually committed. Just assumptions. And I’m not ready to judge Amanda’s whole project on a single paragraph. That is pretty insulting when placed in the context of all the work she’s put into it.

            I am honestly not saying that Amanda is definitely innocent or guilty of anything. I’m just saying that everyone is freaking out about this based on a SMALL PIECE of what’s to come, and that if they’re going to freak out, they should at least wait to see what’s going on.

            Amanda has dealt with more than her fair share of crap from people making assumptions about her and her work, some of which I saw personally at a show. With as absurdly loyal as AFP is to her fans, I think that we owe it to her to give her until we actually LISTEN to the album to assume she’s done anything wrong here. She gets enough of the “attention whore” label from others. She doesn’t need to be getting it from her fans, at least until she actually has released the album and given you a chance to prove it.

  • http://entropicflux.tumblr.com/ Erin B.

    To everyone who LOST THEIR SHIT over the possible icky connotations in Evelyn Evelyn….did it ever occur to you to wait until the record was actually released? Just wondering.

    • Zed

      Would then be an acceptable time to be upset? Is there a timetable handy that we can follow? What about if you’ve watched the youtube videos? Can I be upset now?

      • NScalia

        There’s a movie about a nearly bankrupt businessman unwillingly having his autistic brother forced on him, and choosing to exploit that autistic brother for gambling money. If you only know this much about the movie, you’ll be offended.

        If you watched all of “Rain Man”, you’ll find that the movie is not about bashing autistic people, but about the brother figuring out how wrong he was in doing so. It’s an excellent movie.

        So… yes, the right time to be upset would be when you have metaphorically finished the film. Not when you’re reading the synopsis. “Backstory” implies that there will be an actual story, which you have not yet heard, because the album isn’t out.

        Until then, feel free to entertain yourself by ranting about how stories of “Oliver Twist”, “Jane Eyre”, and “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are terrible and that the artists should apologize for offending you due to the saddening backstories involved with each of their main characters.

        Because, as we all know, it’s far more important to judge things on face value than to look for a more in-depth meaning. That’s why we’re AFP fans, right?

        • Zed

          I’ve read quite the backstory as presented by Amanda. What more should I be waiting for exactly? I’m just looking for an exact time.


          Until then, feel free to entertain yourself by ranting about how stories of “Oliver Twist”, “Jane Eyre”, and “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer” are terrible and that the artists should apologize for offending you due to the saddening backstories involved with each of their main characters.”

          What a wonderful opening for dialog. Belittling the concerns of others. Boy do I ever want to discuss appropriation and disabilities with you!

          • NScalia

            A good exact time might be… when the album comes out. Then, you’ll know the context of the album, combined with her personality, combined with her artistic style, combined with the backstory provided. There really isn’t much more to wait for. But since this whole discussion is about an album that hasn’t been released, your offense over the content you haven’t hear yet is definitely premature.

            And your concerns aren’t belittled. Your concerns, as I just said, are premature. You’re on the warpath without having the full picture. When the album comes out, if it has the same tone that seems to offend you, then feel free to go up in arms. I really won’t have any more argument at that point. But until that happens, I can sit here all day and point out that you’re judging the whole freaking album off of a single piece of information released. I remember you reprimanding someone for making assumptions, so take your own advice.

  • MC0101010

    Oh Amanda you minx!

    First off let me say that the offense taken by the disabled community to me seems unfounded. That’s right, I do not believe that the claims leveled by disabled persons are founded, shock and horror! I understand that people with disabilities are a marginalized minority. This project does not marginalize them further. It does nto champion their cause, but it is not inherently damaging to someone who has a disability. As I understand it, the PWD (Persons with disabilities) argument is this:

    “Because EE portrays conjoined twins as freakish and requiring help from non-disabled artists to gain notoriety it portrays all PWD as freakish and requiring assitance.”

    That argument is simply not viable, it makes far too many assumptions. If I am wrong about he nature of the argument, then I need to re-evaluate, if however that is a fair assessment let me explain why it is not viable.

    A lot of this has to do with how we generalize. While not a hasty generalization per se it is related to a hasty generalization. The PWD argument pre-supposes that this particular media example (The EE Project) will be taken by the audience and generalized out to the entire PWD population. For this to be reasonable the example of the EE Project would have to be equally reasonable.

    For example, the image portrayed in Murderball was documentary and so realistic enough an audience might well generalize that image onto people in wheelchairs. They might even take the “spirit” of those people and think of it as a general spiritual/emotional response for all persons with disabilities. However I don’t think that people really took Edward Scissorhands in such a way, because they don’t see people with scissors for hand that often. The example is simply so outlandish that it doesn’t qualify as a basis for the audience creating a generalization.

    I would argue that the EE example is simply too outlandish for the audience to apply to people with disabilities. If you want to make the argument you would have to limit the comparison to conjoined twins, and I think even then seeing Jason & Amanda perform stitched together into a single costume would make the point that this is not a realistic depiction.

    There are also elements of this argument that appeal to the very problem itself. The argument here assumes that disabled people are a specialized class that need particular protection from examination by artists. I know some feather’s ruffled there, let me explain in the form of a syllogism:

    If Disabled persons are in fact perfect equals, then they do not require special protections. Disabled persons are requesting special protection from being mocked, lampooned or some might argue simply examined by artists. Therefore they are not perfect equals.
    Now in a syllogism if you disagree with either the major or minor premise then the syllogism isn’t true. My guess is that the PWD community doesn’t believe they are asking for special protection. The argument I think the PWD community would make on this point (and I may be wrong) is that by neglecting to portray the marginalization of disabled persons you are further marginalizing them. However that means that any depiction of disabled persons would be subject to review by the PWD community which is a very special protection.

    Let’s look at the recent super blockbuster Avatar. The main character is belittled by the soldiers and called stupid by the scientists and only when he is given a new able body does he become our hero. That would seem very troublesome, particularly by a community that finds the AFP & JW “found” these girls on MySpace and helped their careers objectionable.

    The problem here is that by saying that we need to perform in a manner different from our norm, you create a specialized and protected group out of the PWD community. By creating a protected group you are creating an appeal to pity. We in the able community feel like we need to protect the PWD community from the slings and arrows of outrageous media. But at the same time we are expected to treat the PWD community as if they are no different. How can we do both?

    Either the PWD community needs protection or it doesn’t. You can’t have both. If we protect you then we condescend you by saying we’re the powerful ones. If we don’t protect you then you have to deal with the same inaccurate portrayals in the media everyone else does. Ask any black man how he is portrayed in the media, ask any nerd or geek, ask a fat person if the songs about them are ever complementary. Media is the great equalizer in many ways because everyone is the same in that everyone becomes something generalized.

    Back now full circle to how this is about generalization. The specific example of EE is simply not “real” enough to be generalized by the audience. Also the harsh reality is that media as a whole tells stories not about the reality of things but of a generalized sort of image. Artists often get “found’ by others, regardless of their physicality, that is a narrative of the music and movie industries. Children who are marginalized are targeted by predators, ask any social worker. Exploitation happens, child porn happens, all of these terrible things happen. Having a clearly fictional look at them is what art does. It gives us a safe space where the people aren’t real for us to look at the situation.

    Law & Order: SVU does this all the time, so does Amanda Palmer’s Oasis, just in a different way. Al Yankovic who also participated on this project and whom I have immense respect for parodies fat people all the time. This doesn’t mean he hates fat people, it means he’s trying to explore how people deal with food and how people deal with being fat in a society where it’s a marginalizing factor. At the same time Kevin Smith talks about being fat himself, which is a different take on the same topic. Smith offers us what might be autobiographical or might be like EE, a fictionalized caricature that allows us a space to think about the condition of the character.

    More specifically about disability we have Lt. Dan in Forrest Gump and Christy Brown in My Left Foot. Both are examples of actors portraying a disabled person in order to explore their situations. They aren’t bad for where they missed the mark, they are simply places where we as audience can attach to a person or to an issue and explore our own beliefs. We don’t have to generalize out to the PWD community, but we also have to realize that these are not reality they are fiction, presented as art.

    Art is important, but it’s not unquestionable. Everyone has a right to cry foul, but the claims have to be universal enough for others to be able to have real discourse aside from their own emotional reaction. I don’t self identify as part of the PWD community so I don’t particularly understand the outrage. When I look at the argument though this is how I see it. I may be missing something, I may not have the whole picture. But as the person presenting an argument the PWD community then needs to educate me further, not just yell at me for being insensitive.

    • Zed

      “but the claims have to be universal enough for others to be able to have real discourse aside from their own emotional reaction. ”

      The opinions and beliefs of the majority to do not and should not automatically be above the minority.

      “But as the person presenting an argument the PWD community then needs to educate me further, not just yell at me for being insensitive.”

      It is not the duty of the oppressed to educate you.

      Regarding the rest of your comment: in order to find something offense a person need not make sure they run through every other example possibly related and if they don’t find one of those offensive it does not then mean their offense is invalid. Further, why are you assuming that those who are offended by this project are then not offended by any of your other examples? Perhaps no one has mentioned them because they don’t feel the need to bring up everything they are hurt by and would rather keep their comments related to the topic at hand which is Amanda Palmer’s project.

      Also co-opting an experience that does not belong to you (ie dressing up as a disabled person when you are able bodied) is incredibly different from using an experience that does belong to you (sexual assault, abortion). That is what this is about.

      • MC0101010

        Zed –

        The problem here is that this discussion is happening in a large group. The idea of universality is not designed to marginalize people, it is designed to make communication occur on common ground. If the argument is simply based on a personal reaction, then it cannot reasonably exist in a shared space.

        It is the duty of all reasonable people in a argument to educate one another. That is one of the key components to civil argument. Just as I tell you why I believe what I believe, you then need to tell me why you believe what you believe. Just calling me insensitive doesn’t forward the argument, but explaining and informing me does.

        Anyone can take offense if they want to, that is a personal reaction. But if you expect others to share in your discontent then you need to present reasoning for your convictions beyond your personal offense. Asking others to join in without offering reasoning is simply bandwagoning and doesn’t help anyone grow or learn. Was I wrong in thinking that this discussion was about trying to solve the problem or was it just people wanting to be heard that they have taken offense?

        • Zed

          No. It’s not about majority opinion, like you said, it’s about personal opinion. There doesn’t need to be a majority in order to express that in whatever way people see fit.

          Your issue is placing the onus on those that are hurt and expecting them to educate you about larger issues. If you cannot figure out what is going on here or what the terms being used mean then it is up to YOU to educate YOURSELF. Those that are oppressed do not need to take the time out of their day when they may already have confronted and explained the issue several times on varying basis. It’s up to you to educate yourself.

          Check out disabledfeminists.com to learn about the larger issues involved from people who HAVE taken the time to write out long thoughtful blog posts about why they are offended. I would also look up the words “privilege” “abelism” “appropriation” and “derailing”

          • MC0101010

            If the goal of the PWD community is to convince others to agree with them then the onus is on them to educate others as to why they should agree with the PWD stance. That has nothing to do with oppression or appropriation or privilege. That has to do with how any participant in a civil argument handles themselves.

            If Bob wants Janice to agree with him on the best mix of jellybeans in the office candy dish, it is Bob who must make certain Janice understands his position. Janice isn’t expected to go look for information on flavor profiles, aesthetics or anything else concerning Bob’s argument.

            I’m not trying to reduce the PWD community grievance with my example, I am simply trying to make a non emotionally charged hypothetical in which I can example the burdens of the parties involved. If you want me to understand you have to help me. Telling me I’m just a misinformed bigot means i don’t want to engage any longer, and nothing gets solved.

            Zed, if your point is simply to tell me to go educate myself, why would I want to deal with you in a civil fashion any longer? I’ve tried very hard to understand the PWD perspective, I even summarized it in my original post. If I am somehow misinformed then help me understand. If you are unwilling to help me understand, I am equally unwilling to try and understand your perspective. We seem to be at an impasse.

          • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

            Jellybeans are a poor metaphor. It’s not about something trivial like candy choices, it’s about the fundamental narratives of people’s lives. No one is required to educate you about why they deserve to be portrayed as humans rather than oddities. If you can not understand why people would object to something they feel dehumanizes them (regardless of whether you agree with how they feel) then I don’t know what could be said to make you understand. That really is the basic problem. This is a narrative that can be seen as negating aspects of disabled people’s fundamental humanity. Saying that others owe you an education about the issues they face is an exercise of privilege.

          • MC0101010

            Did you read the explanation about why Jellybeans? To avoid the emotional attachment that seems to be clouding this discussion. Insert whatever metaphor you feel appropriate there if it helps.

            The EE project does not depict any real person, and the example is so extreme I do not think that it generalizes out to the PWD population. If you disagree with my assessment then we can certainly discuss that material objection.

            If your personal decision is to feel dehumanized by this depiction, then that is PERSONAL. Your personal opinions that rely on your own life experience simply are not viable arguments in a shared communication environment. Zed laid this out clearly, I cannot have your life experience, I cannot “know” what this is.

            The idea here is that this forum and discourse are public. This means that personal experience simply does not translate into public discourse. You can be hurt and offended, if you cannot explain this in a way that others can participate in then you cannot be effective in the public sphere. If the PWD community wants to be angry and talk about their shared experience, they can do so. If they want to enter a discussion with people who do not have this shared experience they need to create a relatable argument that makes others understand.

            I find it interesting that your problem here is with my “exercise of privilege” and not with the content of my argument. Engaging in that sort of divisive rhetoric will do nothing but close down argument. If you tell me I’m somehow being bigoted (exercising my privilege) I will stop dealing with you. If you call me names and don’t take the opportunity to enlighten me how can you ever hope to gain allies?

            I feel like the attacks that have been leveled against me are just name calling. No one is willing to talk about the content of my argument. I’m exercising my privilege, I need to go learn the meaning of ableism, I need to understand, all of these are my burden? If you want me to change meet me halfway. I have expressed a willingness to learn, educate me. The risk any marginalized group runs n these sorts of public discussions is further alienating potential allies. If you won’t help me understand, why should I be your ally? If I offer to engage and I only get called names why would I ever want to help?

            Part of the narrative of my life is having to wear braces and walk with a cane for over a decade now. It means having special parking places and having to worry about stairs and lifting anything more than a few pounds. I had tried all day to avoid talking about it because I don’t want my disability to color my discourse but with everyone harping on how I don’t understand, how I’m oppressing people, how no one can help me. It’s all bullshit.

            I know the exact feeling of having guys look at me with either derision or pity because of the brace on my leg and back. I know the exact feeling of crushing self doubt when a young girl has to help me load groceries because they bagged them in a way that I can’t load. So stop condescending me and telling me I don’t fucking know. I’m tired of it, it is NOT a matter of epistemic privilege, it is not a matter of me not knowing. It’s a matter of the issue needing to be not about ME or YOU and about US. WE need to have COMMON GROUND. If you want to be offended, that’s your choice. But if you want me to be offended also, you need to explain yourself so that I can relate.

            I teach argumentation at a college because of this EXACT thing, argumentation is about public space and common ground. One person’s personal reactions are not fodder for public discourse. If you cannot understand that, come to my classroom and we will spend a semester going over it.

    • http://www.thestatuefactory.com/index.htm antonia

      if you’re a person with disabilities: we feel differently about this, but we’re not the same despite both being disabled, so that’s life. no hating, you do your thing i’ll do mine. it takes different strokes to rule the world, yes it does.

      if you’re not disabled: hi. you don’t get to tell me (or anyone else with disabilities) how to deal with, feel about, or experience being disabled. at all. not your concern, none of your business. for the sake of being a rational person, stop it right now

      • MC0101010

        Hi Antonia –

        I can’t direct your personal reaction to anything. I can’t tell you how to deal with being disabled, I certainly can’t tell you how to feel about it.

        However when you say “not your concern, none of your business” I have to respectfully disagree. The way this has been brought into a public forum which makes it my business. Your disability doesn’t need to be my business but the public discourse about the EE project and its implications is my business.

        I do wonder why it matters if I am disabled or not. Why is it okay for me to say this if I have a disability but not okay if I don’t? Are the only voices we should listen to on the subject of disability the disabled?

        – Miles

        • Zed

          A person with a disability has the life experience needed. I cannot speak for a minority because I am not a minority. I don’t deal with the discrimination, the othering, the daily pain and hurt because it doesn’t affect me. I can turn a blind eye. I am privileged.

          However I can speak for being a woman. I can speak about sexism, about degradation, about sexism because I am a woman and I have experienced these issues. I have the life experience, I have experienced the pain. A man cannot speak about these things because he doesn’t KNOW. He just doesn’t. He can listen and ask and read and he can be an ALLY but he cannot speak with authority on the subject.

          That is why. I strongly strongly urge you to look up some literature on privilege and to read some blogs regarding being disabled.

          • MC0101010

            Zed –

            Here’s where I think our disagreement lay. This is a public discussion, it includes people from many differing backgrounds. Because of the public nature of our forum all of us as reasonable people need to bring forward arguments that appeal to the widest possible audience. If we all come to the table with only personal experience and feelings no one else can “know” we can only be abstract allies. While I don’t want to marginalize anyone I also don’t want to be guilted into anything.

            I am simply asking everyone to come to a common ground with commonality in mind. Telling me to go read up isn’t building common ground, it’s telling me that I have to argue based on your life experience. I will never be able to do that and it places an unfair burden on me.

            I can only hope that makes sense. If we all focus on building common ground then we can build commonality and understanding rather than focusing on personal experience that cannot ever be truly shared.

          • Jess

            “Telling me to go read up isn’t building common ground, it’s telling me that I have to argue based on your life experience. I will never be able to do that and it places an unfair burden on me.”

            This isn’t really true. Where discussions of privilege are concerned, we, the privileged class, are the ones placing the unfair burden on the marginalized class. The onus is on the person with privilege to try to understand the person who is marginalized. If marginalized folks had to to do Privilege 101 every time their humanity bumped up against someone’s privilege, they would never talk about anything else. Those of us with privilege have a responsibility to be aware of it, and learn about what it means. To talk to and read about and attempt to understand folks who are marginalized. The easiest, entry level piece I’ve seen on this is Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack. It’s a good beginning. Then google RaceFail 09. It’s not necessary to read everything you find, but there’s a lot of good stuff. It’s not an unfair burden to be expected to check your privilege.

          • MC0101010

            The paradigm you’re describing doesn’t work for me. That means that I start every argument with this sort of pre-existing guilt about the marginalization of a particular group. That fundamental assumption about me having to do work to be more sensitive to your particular situation is not the way public discourse works.

            You also note that if the marginalized had to educate everyone they wouldn’t talk about anything else. You’re absolutely right. Look at where this very discussion is taking place. No one has yet engaged the content of my speech but instead attacked me based on not being sympathetic to the PWD community.

            The paradigm you describe forfeits common ground. If I have to learn about you and you can simply use personal experience which I can never have to scold me, then I have no reason to engage in discourse at all. If we cannot create a space where “we” exist instead of a me vs. you setting we will never accomplish anything. If one of us enters the conversation already emotionally “in the hole” by feeling all this guilt about marginalizing the other party then the whole discussion is going to end up badly.

            No one wants to have their personal experience discounted, I get that. I get it even more now since everyone has been telling me I’m a bad guy for not reading up on the exploitation and degradation of the disabled. Somehow it is okay for people to degrade me because I am “privileged” but when I ask to set that concept aside and talk as equals about substantive issues I get told I’m oppressive and thick headed.

            I’ve been working with issues of epistemic privilege since about 2002 and I get the idea. I’m juts not willing to have personal opinion be used as some kind of reasoning in a public discussion. There has to be a place where reasonable people can bring forward reasons for what they believe to be true without this sort of “gamesmanship about who has the high ground. The effort here should be on helping all parties come together and if we start out without equal footing that will never happen. We are all unique individuals with unique experiences and very personal feelings. Your feelings however cannot be the basis for my reasoning. I’m not oppressing anyone by asking for more information, I’m not marginalizing people by asking them to provide backing for their beliefs.

            I’m done arguing this point, I’ve offered a reasoned statement for why I believe what i do, anyone who wants to think of me as “abusing my privilege” can stay int he margins. I have no interest in sitting at a table with such people who are not willing to work with me to build common ground.

          • Jess

            There isn’t a common ground in discussions like this. Discussions about
            marginalization are about the places where the footing is not equal.

          • MC0101010

            If we do not walk into the discussion as equals we both lose. Constructive debate is about common ground. If I don’t make you wrong for who you are and you don’t make me wrong for who I am then we can come together and try to make things better. But as long as either of us makes the other wrong before we even talk, there can’t be constructive dialogue. If I have to walk in as the person of privilege who is marginalizing people, why would I join that conversation. Instead I will simply re-enforce the status quo, under which I am not made wrong.

            Without the discussion focusing on commonality and discarding divisiveness of epistemic privilege the discussion cannot be fruitful. That is my firmly held conviction and I have not heard anything in this discussion to make me believe otherwise. In fact the way I have been attacked for not being a marginalized person only makes me believe this more strongly. Both sides need to set aside differences and come to the table as equals.

          • Jess

            I’m so sorry we’re making you feel attacked. =( What I’m aiming for is to
            explain something that I had a hard time grasping when I first started
            learning about this stuff.

            I’m going to try an anaology to illustrate the point, something innocuous
            and a little silly, but the basic principle is the same. Say you want to
            have a discussion with your friend about curling. Your friend is an
            olympic-caliber curler, and you’ve only caught part of a game on TV once.
            The two of you are not equals in that discussion because your knowledge is
            insufficient. As with any topic, you have to learn about the subject before
            you can have any sort of meaningful discussion, let alone a debate. That’s
            why, when engaging a marginalized group on the subject of their
            marginalization, you have to start by doing some homework first-in this
            case, the first thing you would need to learn about is the concept of
            privilege (the word is off-putting, but it’s also very apt) and how it acts
            in the world.

            Is that making anymore sense?

          • Mark

            So, in this analogy, it’s better for the complete amateur at curling to go away alone and try to bring themselves up to Olympic-caliber than to be taught by the Olympian athlete? And it is desirable for the Curling expert to refuse to engage with someone interested in their sport until that person is their ice-sweeping equal?

            I think I’d find that sportsperson to be displaying literally Olympian arrogance, and whatever passing urge I’d had to learn about their sport would be rapidly squashed by their air of superiority (perhaps they are abusing their privileged position of expertise?)

            Even if I were motivated enough to learn about curling on my own despite their rejection, I can’t help feeling that the inevitable misunderstandings that a self-taught proponent ends up with would be used as a club to beat me with by the expert, on their past performance.

          • Jess

            No, not bring yourself up to equal on your own- but maybe find out what the
            basic object and rules of the game are, maybe learn a little bit about a few
            important figures or games. In other words, don’t go into a conversation
            completely ignorant and expect 1) to be treated like you know what you’re
            talking about or 2) that the other person is going to take all
            responsibility for educating you.

            My sports metaphor fails mostly, I think, because when we’re talking about
            privilege/marginalization, we’re talking about people’s identities and
            psyches. A person in a marginalized group likely spends a lot of time
            shrugging off ignorance and thoughtless hurtful comments, and also a lot of
            time playing educator. Some people enjoy the second role, but almost
            everyone will eventually be worn down and frustrated by a constant barrage
            of the latter. So, as folks with privilege, we have a responsibility to at
            least attempt to learn a little about marginalized groups on our own so that
            we don’t show our asses too much. It might be something as simple as, say,
            reading a biography and hitting a wikipedia page. Google an activist
            organization, visit one or two web forums and lurk a little, see what people
            are pissed off about.

            In my mind, this isn’t a “high pressure, get a degree in Privilege studies”
            sort of obligation. It’s more about learning a few basic things. Maybe a
            better metaphor would be manners? Say, if you’re visiting a foreign
            country, no one there is going to expect you to have a PhD understanding of
            the culture, but it’s not too much to ask for you to know the basics of
            being polite to people-like learning how to say thank you, and knowing to
            take your shoes off before you go into the house, or whatever.

            Does that make more sense?

        • http://www.thestatuefactory.com/index.htm antonia

          if you were disabled, the points you were making would have some weight, because they’d be viewed through the lens of your actual life experiences as a disabled person, and it would be hypocritical of me to invalidate them on that level. but because you don’t actually know what it’s like to be disabled, you’re basically reducing actual people’s lives to some abstract academic concepts. i think that’s gross, doubly so when you say things like ‘the offense taken by the disabled community to me seems unfounded.’ if you were disabled, this would be an expression of your opinion about something happening in your community, which of course you’d be entitled to. making statements like that when you are not part the community you’re talking about is implying that you know more about the disabled community that its real live members, and that isn’t ok. this is not me being ‘sensitive’ or ‘looking for excuses to get upset,’ i’m simply calling it like i see it.

          my humble opinion: yes, the voices that are best listened to on the subject of disability are of the disabled, because they actually know what they’re talking about. unless/until you acquire a disability, you will always be an outsider looking in.

          • MC0101010

            I can see why an outsider making comments could feel that way, that’s entirely reasonable. I generally take on the role of an outsider in these discussions because while I have a disability via injury I don’t consider myself part of the PWD community.

            I get how it would seem like I am reducing the feelings of others to an abstract and how that might cause hurt feelings. I also don’t really want to claim to be a member of the community because I don’t feel like my experience is particularly typical. So I will own up to a certain degree of arrogance.

            In my defense I do effort to explain that this is my thinking alone and not the norm and I also effort to explain myself in order to invite material discussion of my reasoning. I may be in the minority on the subject, I might have even made a mistake in my thinking, but I do try to offer my reasoning up to be examined. Rather than examine that a lot of people want to tell me I’m wrong because I don’t have their very personal life experience.

            You’re right though, I certainly don’t speak for the community. But no one person can encapsulate the experience of a whole community. When talking about large issues we have to generalize and encapsulate as best we can. I certainly could have done better.

    • freudshaped

      hear, hear. some of the best points made. read this, then talk.

  • VeganHeart

    I am disabled and I not only do I not find the concept and all it involves to be disablist, I actually adore it.I have a strong sense of Disabled Pride and Freak Pride and I don’t believe my adoration of the concept compromises the pride I feel regarding my disabled status.I respectfully suggest that anyone who has criticised or who is considering criticising the concept…LIGHTENS UP!Suggesting that Amanda should tread on eggshells around the subject of disability is to suggest that people with disabilities are victims to be pitied and it is that sort of patronising nonsense that I find offensive.

    • THB

      Except that Amanda things that EE need her pity, and portrays them as victims…

      • http://www.trishacornelius.com/ Trisha Cornelius

        I disagree…They are portrayed as receiving a mentorship from Webley and AFP but as I pointed out above that is pretty standard in any industry. My perception of the twins is that they are very talented musicians that control what press they receive.

    • esmertina

      You know, I thought that thought myself, that handling the subject of disabilities with kid gloves implies taking a “there there, poor poor thing” attitude that would certainly rankle *me* if I were disabled. But … because I am not, I thought I didn’t have the right to say it. Which maybe is just as bad? But anyway I am glad that you said what I was thinking. :)

  • Just Me

    Thank you for part 6… Just thank you so much. I’m always wondering things like that and I’m so glad that you said it. I’m often lost with what to do and always second guessing myself about what I try to do and afraid what people think of me. You are absolutely right too. Fear should never win.

  • Haha Yeahright

    also, i find it nigh impossible to believe that Evelyn Evelyn wasn’t somehow inspired/influenced by the art of Elizabeth McGrath, particularly by characters from her book, Everything That Creeps.

    http://www.elizabethmcgrath.com/

    and especially by her dioramas: http://www.elizabethmcgrath.com/diorama-ThimbleRiggers.php

  • VeganHeart

    Modified version……I am disabled.I do not believe the concept and all it involves is disablist and…I actually adore it.What is disablist is the suggestion that Amanda should tread on eggshells regarding disability because that suggests that disabled people are to be pitied and patronised and therefore those who believe their critisisms of Amanda are valid and justified…think again and…LIGHTEN UP!I have a strong sense of Disabled Pride and Freak Pride and neither are compromised by aforementioned adoration – Disability pride is about expressing to society that disabilities are not negative and should not be perceived as something lacking, broken, or sub-par. Disability pride is a necessary ingredient in the larger diversity movement as it furthers the idea that differences are not only to be tolerated but also celebrated and that is exactly what Amanda is doing.Bravo Amanda, BRAVO.X

    • Danielle

      Here here VeganHeart! Thanks for that comment. I think a deep breath and a good belly laugh would really help.

  • Danielle

    <3<3<3<3<3! Can't wait for to preorder!!! It's all good. You guys are the best.

  • nogoodnik

    I’m tired, so I don’t have time to see if this has been posted anywhere in relation to all of this, but I’d like to post this link to all the “FUCK THE HATERS” types.

    http://innerbrat.livejournal.com/624852.html

    I think the analogy described in that post is pretty good. It’s not a matter of “haters”, it’s a matter of people being triggered by different issues – if you’re not bothered by something, and someone else is, well, okay then. But that doesn’t mean they are a “hater”.

    Elsewhere yesterday, I made a polite comment about this whole thing, and was told in response to fuck myself and burn my AFP merchandise. I don’t think the person replying even understood what I was saying, they just understood that I wasn’t 100% behind something Amanda was doing, therefore I = EVIL EVIL HATER. It’s… ridiculous. Come on, guys. We can disagree about things without having to shun each other.

    • nogoodnik

      Actually, that post could be interesting to everyone – it’s a good discussion of “Issues in Fiction” and how to deal with them, and how to deal with others who do or do not see the same issues you do/do not.

  • http://alittlepracticality.blogspot.com/ AmyK

    Well you know what they say. Opinions are like assholes…everyone’s got one. Except, I guess, for people who were born without them. Aw crap. Now I’ve offended the assholeless.

  • holyellewrites

    amanda, i love you and everything you stand for. jason webley is amazing, and i love the music you make together and the art each of you create separately. i saw when evelyn evelyn first started popping up on your website, and i’ve never had any doubts that whatever was created by them would be amazing and beautiful. it’s sad that there is such an extreme lack of ability to reason in this world that people respond with such anger and venom to an artistic venture. talking rationally about what can be considered disturbing is healthy and something that should happen. sometimes art brings to light issues that are sometimes neglected or ignored in the world, and that’s a good thing. how many of these “haters” spared a thought for conjoined twins before now? and as far as sexual abuse goes, this is something that happens to all kinds of people–male, female, child, adult, disabled, able–and pretending it doesn’t exist for “safe” art is denial which seems much more destructive to me.

    i propose we hug the haters–they seem to need one.

  • tullyis

    Dear AFP,

    You are pioneering and living a new kind of relationship between artist and fanbase. This whole thing is just another step in discovering and articulating that relationship. It’s a chapter for your book. Just keep being you and everything will be ok.

    Love,
    Tully

  • Jenn

    Thank you for this. Thank you for affirming the belief that, yes, you would be part of this conversation. Thank you for respecting your fans enough to respond, and your art enough to fully think that response through.

    The only thing I have been deeply disappointed in has been the people who were refusing to listen to each other. I was lucky that every post I made was responded to by individuals who were listening to what I had to say. Many weren’t so lucky. I was disappointed my the folks who would just stand up and shout, “But it’s art, you’re reading too much into it.” I was disappointed because those people did not only disrespect the very valid points, but the art itself. If it is not about these conversations, than what is it about? This is what gives a project it’s soul and it’s breath. This is what sets it apart from the hokey, 2-dimensional crap which plagues my radio that is only meant to entertain.

    On the other side, there were people mining every drop of relevant text for something to jump up and down about. There were people demanding for apologies and retractions. This is also disrespectful to the conversation and the art. To demand alteration to something you had no part in creating, and no involvement with it’s intent, to morally judge brings nothing new to the conversation. If someone’s art doesn’t say the things you think it should say, then make your own art. No one is stopping you.

    Ironically, it is both of these extremes that feed of each other.

    But between these two opposite lies a rich, stimulating livelihood where we can learn with and from each other. Thank you to everybody who has respected that.

    Thank you, AFP, for respecting that.

  • http://www.thestatuefactory.com/index.htm antonia

    hi. i’m disabled, an abuse survivor, have a b.f.a in fine arts (drawing and performance art) from a prestigious university, and am currently a fairly successful street performer. i liked evelyn evelyn when it was just you and jason playing cute songs with an occasionally too silly to be believable backstory, but i refuse to support the current direction you’re taking with it.

    “here’s what i consider hiding: producing inoffensive, corporate-penned, vanilla-bean love-story family-friendly made-for-mainstream-radio music that won’t offend a single person. and won’t make anybody laugh, won’t make anybody think, won’t make anybody wonder, won’t make anybody talk, and won’t change anybody’s life.”

    amanda – that is exactly what you are doing with the evelyn evelyn project. trivializing abuse, glamorizing poverty, exotifying/objectifying disabled bodies, using ‘freaks’ for entertainment, generally turning real, fucked up things that real people experience into a, as you put it, ‘lighthearted and joyful project’, is exactly what the mainstream does. it’s the same old cliche oppressive storyline. to add insult to injury, it is not your (or, presumably, jason’s) story (surviving child porn is not the same as surviving rape as an adult, though both are horrific), and to pretend it is, is in fact exploitative. not empowering, advocating, sympathetic, or edgy – it’s exactly the same as every other circus freak sob story the mainstream has been pumping out for generations. y’all can take off the costume at the end of the day and go back to your happy glamorous lives. many people do not have this option. there’s no empathy in what you’re doing, it’s for the lulz, and that’s fucked up. it’s not that we don’t get it. it’s that you’re saying something else, something other that what you were trying to express, that many people are tired of hearing.

    communication is the response you get. if you wanted to communicate something positive with this project and instead communicate something oppressive, you have made a mistake, and as an artist it is your responsibility to improve it – unless you’re content with mediocrity and inflammation, which is your choice. but it is naive to think that your artistic choices are above commentary, or have no consequences. just as you have a right to make the kind of art you see fit, those who experience your art have a right to react to it as they see fit. feel free to continue with evelyn evelyn as is if that’s what you want to do, but understand that in doing so, your fanbase may be limited to the currently able-bodied and people who haven’t experienced sexual abuse/prostitution. that excludes a lot of people. again, your choice as an artist as to who you want to cater to. just don’t make like your ‘intention was not to piss people off, make fun of, or belittle anybody’ when that’s exactly what your artistic choices look like to people who have been made fun of and belittled because of their disabilities and abuse histories.

    • NScalia

      Most of this post is invalidated until you’ve heard the actual album. Sorry. Someone performing art with a fake name and history happens all the time. Since you have a BFA in fine arts, then I suppose I’ll feel comfortable using the term “a play” or perhaps even, “theatrical performance.” Oftentimes, it involves people acting as people they are not, including people who the audience may find insulting or distasteful.

      But at the end of the day, anyone who watches the performance knows that the actor is an actor, and the story is a story. And, as I said earlier, it is extremely premature to be assuming that the backstory and project is offensive to you or anyone else until you actually view the work in its entirety.

      “Rain Man” portrayed autism in a positive and fairly accurate light. But I do not assume Dustin Hoffman is autistic, and I certainly would not base my judgment of the movie off of the movie case. After all, hearing a story about a nearly bankrupt businessman unwillingly having his autistic brother forced on him and choosing to exploit him for gambling money is what the synopsis is going to tell you. But the actual story is much, much different.

      Wow… that was a good example. I think I’ll be doing a little cutting and pasting…

      • http://www.thestatuefactory.com/index.htm antonia

        i respectfully disagree. though your snark and condescension is real real cute, makes me wanna huggle you with sunshine, because i totally need a big bright non-crip hero like you to explain things i obviously don’t understand even though i’ve spent time and money learning all about them. guess that’s what i get for my trying to be supercrip tendencies, look how much i’ve accomplished just like you normies despite my bad joints and faulty neurology. damned if you do damned if you don’t. but i digress.

        ok seriously, shake hands and make up, respectful adult conversation hat on starting now: i have not heard the entire album, but i do have some familiarity with the project. i saw her and jason perform evelyn evelyn songs (which has become distinct from performing as evelyn evelyn now) back in 2007 and liked it, though it was cute and silly and lighthearted, with the whole conjoined twin angle just vague and absurd enough to be obviously made up – it would be considered a win from what amanda’s said about her intentions with it. but i’m grossed out by what the project’s turned into, to the extent that i’m not comfortable supporting it financially. i enjoy the songs i’ve heard, it’s the performance i don’t like. yes, perhaps that’s half the story and i’m jumping to conclusions. but half the story has told me enough to make a decision i feel good about. that may not be the choice you would make, but it’s certainly within my right, and i take into consideration that that’s where my analysis is coming from. my dislike of the current performance angle is not ‘aah, this hurts my feelings cos it’s so weird and new and goes against what i believe and i only like good things, therefore this is bad and needs discipline’, but rather ‘i’ve seen this already, i experience ableism just by existing and don’t appreciate people who don’t taking the easy route and regurgitating this tired old plot, i prefer my shiny fantasy world of art and entertainment to actually challenge me a little and be different from my usual routine, and this isn’t cutting it, since the artists have offered a public forum to discuss it, i’ll attempt to communicate with them.’

        there’s a difference between ‘acting’ and ‘performing.’ this is my personal opinion, so take it as you will, but my definition of good acting is seamlessness. even if i know logically that the actor is not who they are portraying, i want to be fooled for the duration of their time on stage/screen/set. i actually like it when i see an actor in a role unlike ones i’ve seen them in, or getting interviewed in a non-acting capacity, and they’re so different from how i’ve usually viewed them – that little moment of being duped, when i go ‘wait, they’re not the character i know them as?’, shows me that they’ve done their job effectively. one’s ability to act well is rather separate from whether or not what they act in is insulting or distasteful. where are you trying to go with this?

        i haven’t seen ‘rain man’ (moved across continents in the late 90’s, still in a pop culture time warp), so i can’t comment in detail on that. but what i can say is that the best judges of whether it portrays autism accurately and positively, are actual real live autistic people. they are not the only people who can form and express opinions on the film, freedom of expression and all, but as a person who values practice over theory, i’d be more willing to trust an autistic person (whether they’re a cinema expert or just someone who saw the movie and had a thought)’s thoughts on how the movie portrays autism than a random neurotypical who knows stuff about movies and/or autism.

        • NScalia

          You are completely, 100% within your rights to make a decision based on half the information, that’s true. And if you’re comfortable with that, then that’s fine. I can’t understand HOW you could be comfortable with that decision, especially so much as to say that Amanda is “trivializing abuse” and “using freaks for entertainment.” I mean, that’s a pretty harsh attack on someone, and willingly acknowledging that you’re doing so on so little information, with so little validation that your assertions are actually correct, is mind-boggling. In pretty much every aspect of our lives, we don’t simply act on our first gut instinct, whether it’s in a jury room, or when buying a house, or when raising a child. When the possibility is out there that you’re wrong, and the only thing that you need to see if you ARE wrong is time, then the wisest choice is to wait.

          So… if you are comfortable with your decision to launch an attack with almost no validated information about the album, entirely fueled by an interpretation you yourself admit may or may not be correct, then that is your right. But it doesn’t make it “right” in either the moral or logical sense of the word.

          For what it’s worth, if we’re going to be making the assumption that people who actually belong to the community being studied should be trusted above all others, then, as a crippled person, that would technically mean that your opinions about how the “non-crippled” people view crippled people is not as valid as my opinion. After all, if you are crippled, then how can you REALLY KNOW what it’s like to view and portray crippled people when you aren’t one? Under your logic, you can’t, and therefore apparently have no right to speak upon it. Correct?

          I’m not saying this to be mean. I’m saying it to illustrate the ridiculousness of the logic. Amanda can pretty much act however she wants, and that’s acting. That’s how it works, as I am sure you know. If your college education in fine arts only allows you to have an “opinion” on the differences between acting and performing, then it implies that there really isn’t any, since a degree generally should provide more of an expertise in distinctions, should they exist.

          As I said, until the album is released, your opinion is nothing more than just that. It’s no more valid than people who say we didn’t land on the moon, even though they don’t really know, or people who say that pizza is gross just because of how it looks. Without the experience, the opinion means so little that it really isn’t any more valid than the individual pixels that make it up.

          • http://www.thestatuefactory.com/index.htm antonia

            let’s recap. my overall experience with evelyn evelyn involves seeing jason and amanda perform as themselves playing e.e. songs (that i enjoy), examining a copy of the album when i spent some time with jason after a show (cute graphics and all, though i was a little confused as to why they were being portrayed as the actual musicians when it was clear to me that it was jason and amanda), reading the biography thingy on amanda’s blog (that i found problematic, for reasons already discussed), learning that jason and amanda are performing in crip-face (same deal), and reading some disability-positive analysis of the project on various blogs. if this project were a painting, i’d consider the biography blog post the artist statement, which explains more about the project and gives it context. based on that, it doesn’t sound like a piece of art i’d want to spend my time viewing, therefore i don’t. if my curiosity was still piqued, or i felt like exploring my reasons further, i’d view the piece anyway and try to draw new conclusions. but sometimes i can tell when i’d rather not bother with something because i know myself, and i go on my merry way. i don’t want to experience entertainment that i think relies on shock value and stereotypes around abuse and disability because it doesn’t interest me. i consider myself open-minded and drawn to new experiences and outlooks, but i can possibly involve myself in everything because there’s 24 hours in a day and i’m already busy. that’s where i draw the line.

            you seem to be reducing this to me saying mean things about ms. palmer. i’m truly sorry if that’s how it looked to you, as that’s not what i’m trying to say. for me this isn’t about whether amanda is a nice person, or even a good artist, but that she is executing parts of her evelyn evelyn project in ways that i find directly problematic and contradictory to what she’s said her artistic intentions are, and since she’s created scenarios in which people can communicate with her (and others) about it, i’m using them. if she decides to take what i and others have said into consideration and create something i enjoy, i’ll follow and support it. if not, i won’t. not rocket science.

            there’s no nice or smart sounding way to say this other than, ‘your bit about disabled folx knowing more about disability than non-disabled folx because they’re actually disabled also applying to non-disabled people, or something to that effect, makes no sense.’ so, really, what’s going on here? use small words and all, it’s come to that. are you trying to accuse me of reverse ableism?

            this is getting dangerously close to verbal masturbation…

          • NScalia

            Here.

            “but that she is executing parts of her evelyn evelyn project in ways that i find directly problematic and contradictory to what she’s said her artistic intentions are”

            No. No she’s not. She’s not doing anything different YET than what she has always done. All she’s done is reveal a small part of a project that has yet to be released.

            As soon as it is, then you can start pointing out problems and contradictions. Until that time, there have been none, because nothing you know has yet been put in its proper context.

            There. Nothing more simple than that.

  • VeganHeart

    I am disabled.I do not believe the concept and all it involves is disablist and…I actually adore it.What is disablist is the suggestion that Amanda should tread on eggshells regarding disability because that suggests that disabled people are to be pitied and patronised and therefore those who believe their critisisms of Amanda are valid and justified…think again and…LIGHTEN UP!I have a strong sense of Disabled Pride and Freak Pride and neither are compromised by aforementioned adoration – Disability pride is about expressing to society that disabilities are not negative and should not be perceived as something lacking, broken, or sub-par. Disability pride is a necessary ingredient in the larger diversity movement as it furthers the idea that differences are not only to be tolerated but also celebrated and that is exactly what Amanda is doing.Bravo Amanda, BRAVO.X

  • NScalia

    Going to fight for this from the other side of the line.
    I have all of the work that AFP has set out there for us to buy. And, every now and then, I come across a song that I’m just not that into. It’s rare, but I can say that Oasis doesn’t ever really make it onto my iPod. It’s not because I’m offended by it. I just am not a big fan of the song. I like her rougher, less sophisticated work. So what do I do? I just don’t listen to it.

    If AFP made a mistake, it’s underestimating how many people are actually listening now. She’s quickly moving out of being an underground “in the know” sort of artist, and becoming someone who pops up in music websites, who is leading a somewhat public life. She is on her way to the mainstream, even if it’s in a method considered unorthodox. In that regard, it means that she is under scrutiny more than she’s ever been, and maybe she didn’t predict the backlash of doing something now that probably wouldn’t have raised many eyebrows a few years ago. But beyond that, this isn’t anything I’m finding particularly weird.

    I mean, all the posts I’m reading, even from those who think they’re being rational-yet-stern, are pretty contradictory. “I love Amanda, but this was wrong!” Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. This type of work is TOTALLY Amanda Palmer. As I said, this seems to be a reaction to her changing image as a more mainstream star than as an underground sensation. Sorry Amanda, but I think you’re finally getting famous.

    Read this next part, because I think it’s VITAL to understanding what this blog is about, and why this controversy doesn’t make sense.

    Amanda Palmer is defined as someone who breaks boundaries. That’s why we love her. We go to her shows because she sings, plays piano, and entertains differently than what the mainstream tends to appreciate. She writes songs like “Slide” and “Oasis” that deal with difficult subject matter. And through it all, she gets the people who hate her, which makes her fans feel that much more special. Her fans deem themselves to be somehow more open-minded, because THEY truly understand what AFP was saying. THE FANS truly understand what the meaning behind the song was, because THEY know her and gave her a chance.

    …right up until they don’t. In which case, now they’re in the same boat as everyone else whom doesn’t understand or appreciate her work. If they find a song that offends THEM, well, then she’s gone too far. After all, they are the open-minded fans, right? If a FAN is offended, then there must be a problem.

    How arrogant.

    It’s a problem that can’t be avoided when entering the mainstream music scene and increasing the number of fans. But understand that if YOU are offended, it’s because YOU’RE choosing to hold her to a different standard than you once did (if you were a fan before, say, a year ago). It was okay for her to be shocking before, when it didn’t offend you. Now it’s not okay, because it does offend you. That just isn’t going to work. If you have understood the type of environment in which her work has to be placed (and has always been placed), then this EE project is no different than anything else she’s done. You’re simply treating it differently, because it hits a different nerve for you than you’re used to.

    From this side of the line, you sort of look like the people that you used to defend AFP against. You look like the people who didn’t understand where she was coming from, and because THEY didn’t understand, chose to believe that she was being offensive rather than that they were being ignorant.

    Maybe she isn’t brave enough to blame the fans, but I have no such apprehension. If you don’t like the CD, it’s not her fault. It’s just like a song you don’t like. Ignore it, and move on. If you’ve been around long enough to get to know her, you know it’s never been her intention to attack anyone, let alone people who are in some way disadvantaged. So accusing her of being offensive is backwards. You’re the one being offended, and only because you aren’t metaphorically just skipping the song.

    Realize that many people love AFP because she has a much closer relationship with her fans than many artists choose to have. She doesn’t redirect your concerns to her PR department. She doesn’t send you back craptastic prewritten emails. She chooses to have a relationship with you which allows her to make inside jokes that YOU understand. She can write songs that offend those who don’t give her the benefit of the doubt that you do.

    To be honest, this little protest I’ve been reading feels a lot less like real indignation at her project, and a lot more like you feel like you’re left out of a secret, and are upset about it.

    I don’t expect AFP to apologize to me for writing Oasis because I don’t like the song. She’s the artist. She creates the art. It’s her rules, and her sandbox to play in. Likewise, if you choose to be offended at a misunderstanding of the context of her EE project, then that’s your choice, and expecting her to apologize is ridiculous. There is no need to apologize for your personal feelings over work you choose to experience, especially since all of you are insisting that you “understand” her and have enjoyed her music from the beginning, and therefore must know that this was not an attack on disabled people.

    I mean, really. Marilyn Manson hasn’t even sunk that low. Holding AFP to the standard of even being capable of making on offhand remark intentionally bashing disabled people is far more insulting that whatever you think happened with this EE project.

    In addition, for those trying to say that the “censorship” claims are unwarranted, I don’t really think that’s going to fly. You are complaining because she made a piece of art that offended you. You want her to apologize for creating a piece of art that you didn’t like. Whether or not you want the label, it’s hard to separate the situation from one where, say, someone wants a book removed from the library because it talks about sex, or where someone wants a song removed from the radio because there’s a curse word in it. At the risk of offending you again, you ARE asking for her to moderate herself in order to ensure you don’t get offended again, which is, by definition, censorship. I know, it’s insulting to think that YOU might be one of the “normal” people out there, but that’s not AFP’s fault, and it’s not mine. You don’t like that quality about yourself? Fix it. Whining here isn’t accomplishing anything.

    And, for what it’s worth, I cannot BELIEVE that anyone who’s actually heard any song by EE actually believed that the twins existed (or, if they do, were actually involved in the making of this CD…). I can’t. I just have to believe that either people are smart enough to hear the differences in the voices (which generally does not happen to a great extent between the genetically identical), or to comment on how tricked they were about an album they have never even heard. Seriously…

    If you are offended by a book, you don’t read the book. If you are offended by an album, you don’t listen to the album. But even better yet, if you are offended, yet open-minded, as many of you claim to be, then instead of taking something at face-value (which you all DEFINITELY did), you actually listen to the album, understand the back story, and apply it to the context in which AFP has always existed. And, if that doesn’t work, then maybe assume that, based on your previous knowledge about how AFP works, give her the benefit of the doubt that maybe you just missed something, and need a little help figuring it out. If anyone who has been offended who has ANY level of experience with Amanda’s work had done this, I think they would have had a hard time finding something to really complain about.

    Do I expect this long-winded post to change anything? Not really. It’s a lot easier to be angry at someone if everyone else is, and it seems to be the trend now. I’m imaging that a lot of you are so excited that AFP might read YOUR comment that you look for any reason to increase that chance, even if it means thrashing her. I find it amusing that somehow, I am managing to go against the crowd on AFP’s blog. I was under the impression that we were all on the same side, in understanding and appreciating acceptance, love, and the ability to shout that out to the world without worry about what anyone else thought. What happened?

    For the sake of ensuring that I am NOT hiding behind my words, my name is Nathan. My email will be attached, so feel free to send the spam and hate mail. I am not an AFP apologist, I am an AFP fan. As such, I understand that AFP will make work I like, and that she may make work that I don’t like. But I like AFP because she is always herself, and I, as an experienced AFP fan, chose to give her the benefit of the doubt long enough to figure out what this whole EE thing was really about. Because of my actions, I am still an AFP fan, and still retain my rightful attitude as an AFP fan as one who can look amongst the masses (most of you), who are offended due to their apparent refusal to look at her work past face-value, with a bit of amusement.

    That’s where I was before this, and that’s where I am now. For the rest of you, feel free to remember what that felt like, and join me on this side of the crowd at any time. It’s a lot more fun over here anyway. Less tin foil.

    Nathan

    • Jenn

      Thank you for ignoring the majority of posts that have been made by people who have issues with this. Thank you for ignoring the fact that most of these people never thought for a single moment that Evelyn Evelyn were living, breathing, physical people. Thank you for ignoring the fact that a lot of people aren’t calling for censorship, or aren’t bailing on Amanda Palmer, or denouncing her craft…just calling for a little conversation about what privilege is and how it works. Thank you for deciding that these people never were Amanda Palmer fans or are no longer Amanda Palmer fans the moment they disagree with something in her oeuvre .

      But most of all, thank you for assuming this controversy is so one-dimensional. Surely, it has made it easier to arrive at your conclusions.

      • NScalia

        If you didn’t believe that EE were real people, then I wasn’t talking to you. But there are people who did. I’ve responded to a couple of them specifically. Feel free to search my username to find said people.

        Furthermore, if you weren’t calling for censorship, or “bailing on Amanda Palmer” (whatever that means), or denouncing her craft, then I likely wasn’t talking to you.

        And, furtherfurthermore, I did not claim that if you disagree with her, you aren’t her fan anymore. Rather, I said I find it amusing that people who claim to be her fans seem to be so easily jarred by something like this, when the album itself hasn’t even been released yet. All that you really know is “backstory.” The backstory to almost any story is pretty depressing, since most stories involve, you know, overcoming an obstacle.

        In other words, it’s a bit of a straw-man argument to take what I say and, despite the fact that you are guilty of doing none of the things I comment upon, assume that you’re the target anyway and attack me for it. If it didn’t apply to you, then move on to the next point and see if that one does. Or don’t read it. My world keeps spinning either way.

        The controversy is one-dimensional until people have more to judge this book from than the cover. Seems ironic that I have to point that out to AFP fans, but that’s WHY this is one dimensional. When the album comes out, THEN we can talk about whether or not the project is offensive. But all you have now is a synopsis.

  • Chris H

    Well miss palmer dont let anyone else get ya down. im in support of art and i say enjoy and continue to do what you love, it seems genuine . remember art is not safe sweet heart. your the biz-ness

  • http://madhatter.ca Wayne Borean

    One word:

    HUGS!

    • idiotchild

      and Kisses

  • http://www.atomicpanda.com/ Eddie Perkins

    As I’ve said in other places, I still absolutely believe that you guys created a work of fiction and have nothing whatsoever to apologize for. The topics touched on in Evelyn Evelyn’s fictitious back story were unpleasant but, for fictional characters they should not be off limits.

    I see a lot of these comments seeming to imply that artists should not create characters that have had any experiences that artist has not had themselves. That’s just insane! It’s called imagination and where the heck would we be without it?

    Now, I wouldn’t say “Fuck the haters.” I will say that no matter how bland you make your work, the more people who see it the more people will vocally hate it. There is no getting around this. You cannot please everyone. Hell, you can’t even make everyone not hate you.

    Even if all you did was hand out free gold to everyone some would claim they didn’t get as much as others did, some would call your handouts pompous, arrogant or that you were trying to buy people’s affection. Then there’s the people who would hate you for driving down the price of gold. Others would call you a communist or a socialist… it just goes on and on and the anonymity of the internet only makes people worse.

    All I can hope is that you do not let this experience change you or make you start second guessing your creations. If you’re creating something with good intentions and what you’re creating makes you happy it will show though. Some will hate it. Others will love it. It’s wonderful that you guys clearly do not want anyone to feel hurt or angry because of something you’ve created. Sadly, the only way to avoid this is to create nothing at all. That’s a option I’d hope no artist would choose.

  • Michael

    Amanda, two things:

    1) for all the hullabaloo about disability and child sexual abuse in the EE backstory, my own take on this particular storm is that the real issue is that your fans are used to your blog being reliable reporting about your life. By presenting fiction in your blog, never winking or flagging it as different, you changed the context. People who trust you, who feel they have a relationship with you, feel tricked. It gets back to the “why emoticons were invented” nature of the web – nuance does not survive here. I think you’ve accidentally hit on a tricky aspect of the new media business model that you use, for the most part, so very well. When the audience feels like they’re friends and family because the level of communication is so constant and intimate, it increases the possibility that they can be deeply hurt and angered in the way that can only happen between people who are very close.

    2) I recently had a creative project of my own that was misunderstood by some people, with some very serious real world consequences. I totally understand what you had to say about the need to be brave and get back to work, about the heartbreak of having people misunderstand your good artistic intentions, and most especially what you said about so very many people being driven by fear. Boy is there a lot of fear out there.

    Best of luck to you. This too will pass. The art endures.

    • NScalia

      In response to point 1…

      It’s important to keep in mind the audience that this will be going toward. It’s very true that AFP generally has a blunt honesty on her blog, and has these little inside jokes with her audience. “Oasis” was a fun experience for us, because we could watch everyone else struggle to figure out what she meant by it, while we could sit here and be entertained by them. Why? She told us what it was about. She told us the backstory, about the making of the video, and about all the controversy surrounding the art.

      The EE album doesn’t seem like it’s going to be a huge mainstream release. If anything, it seems like MOST of the people who are going to be getting this album are AFP fans. In that regard, it makes complete and total sense why she would be… uh… “tricking” us, since some people here seemed gullible enough to believe it…

      Look at it this way. I used to be part of a drama group. The very essence of drama means that actors are going to go on stage, and put on a fake identity with a fake history, much like what AFP has done with the EE album. The rest of us sit back stage and enjoy both the show and watching the audience react to the show.

      But now that we have been backstage for so long, AFP is going to release an album that mainly goes to the people who have BEEN backstage for so long. We get everything so blatently thrown at us back here that sometimes we miss out on the fun of getting to watch a show without seeing what’s going on backstage. We don’t always get to see the story as it is SUPPOSED to be presented.

      As far as I’m concerned, AFP is putting on a show for the backstage group, and, as every good actor and actress knows, nobody in the audience is allowed backstage until the show is over. Considering that we as fans DO have a closer relationship with AFP than most fans have with their respective artists, I consider this a bit of a treat. For the first time in a while, despite my tendency to get to know everything AFP, and her tendency to indulge, I’m going to see a show as someone actually should. No “making of”, no prior knowledge of earlier drafts of EE, nothing.

      I think the big issue isn’t that she “tricked” people. It’s that people have been spoiled by this blog, and now that she’s finally putting on a show that’s going to be viewed mainly by people dedicated enough to read this blog, they don’t like being banned from the backstage. They don’t like having to watch “Oasis” as someone who doesn’t know EVERY LITTLE DETAIL RIGHT NOW.

      Time to pull up our belts, enjoy the show, and see if anything’s changed when the final curtain closes.

  • algormortis

    Quite frankly, you’re a wonderful artist who chose to do something deeply fucked up and rather than address your fuckup you’re just digging in deeper and laughing at/dismissing the concerns of many of us who want to know why a wonderful artist who we’ve loved for years has basically decided to go for a bad project made of cripple-drag and mocking the mentally disabled. Being a “retarded cripple,” this really hurts. It’s laughing at us, not with us, and the things you’ve been tweeting since make this very plain.

    I’m sad, but i guess this sells records or something. I get that Roadrunner is awful and evil and a bunch of poopyheads. There were artful ways around it, not hateful ones.

    You fucked up, Amanda Palmer. You fucked up bad. Rather than say “my bad, really sorry” and repackage your fuckup as something better, you’re going along with your spiteful, hateful little joke. Much like queer-mocking, race-baiting musicians in the past from Buju Banton to The Ventz, you’re part of that hall of shame now. It’ll buy you fame with new people who think your angry little joke is funny, and with the sycophantic, but at what cost, Ms. Palmer?

    You still have time to renounce this. You still have time to do the right thing. You still have time to create new identities for you and Mr. Webley and grow the hell up and stop hurting real people with real lives, real feelings, real hearts, and real hands just to make a buck and laugh at people for attention, and then getting pissed off when the attention is rampantly negative. You made your bed, and now you’re lying in it.

    • idiotchild

      Sorry Amanda Palmer did something you don’t agree with, she didn’t Fuck up. Look are you really saying that AFP has made a conscious and prolonged attack on conjoined twins. At what point did Amanda state that her fictional creation was “Retarded”, I think you possibly jumped to that conclusion, there is a difference between “shy and awkward” (my inferrence of the character(s))and “retarded”. And where has she stated that the twins were cripples, I’m not sure she has. I think you have seen something that wasn’t there.

      • algormortis

        Presenting oneself as faux conjoined twins is “cripple drag.” It’s taking a disability (which i think conjoined twins are almost always identified as “disabled”) and mocking it. It’s not “don’t agree with,” it’s “morally repugnant.” trying to play this off as “don’t agree with” or “drama” is belittling the fact that this is playing disability for laughs and sensationalism. It’s the mindset that identifies disabled people as being “other” in a way that is used to hurt and belittle us.

        And “shy and awkward” is being inferred so consistently as that the intent is going for “childlike and a little bit slow.” (For what it’s worth, that’s what I am; they call this “profoundly mentally retarded” in the real world.) Since there are no actual twins, it is cripple drag all over again. “childlike and a little bit slow” are the last words i’d consider to describe the genius of Ms. Palmer, who prior to this epic failure has generally been funny, erudite, and a snappy songwriter to boot.

        • dustyc

          Wait wait wait. I agree that there are some problems with E/E but you argument here doesn’t hold up. Why MUST presenting oneself as faux conjoined twins -require- that one is mocking? Is all acting mocking, then? Is there any scenario in which you would think this isn’t offensive? Because if the intent isn’t to mock, and the issues are handled carefully, i don’t really see a problem with it if the purpose is to respectfully present a story and an experience. Yes, E/E may cross the line here, it doesn’t always seem respectful, it doesn’t always handle the issues carefully. But I don’t think the idea in and of itself HAS to be mocking.

          Also: “cripple drag?” Using the term “drag” is very confusing here. Do you think men who dress in drag are “mocking” women? I don’t think so– generally it’s much more of a form of flattery, taking the femininity they admire and accentuating it strongly– sometimes over the top, yes, but never in a way that makes me think men who wear drag are “mocking” women. You say “cripple drag” like drag is a bad thing, and I really think it is more rooted in the desire to emulate. Not crazy about your use of “cripple” either.

          • algormortis

            I’m a cripple. It’s my fucking term to own, and if you are too, it’s your choice if you want to. If not, it’s not your call.

            Cripface, if you prefer. I’m black so maybe inputing it to blackface, minstrel shows, that kind of thing would be more appropriate; i alas make a wretched drag king…goes both ways and even involving people who don’t identify with a gender, not just male-assigned-at-birth people who present as female. Anyways, there’s nothing wrong with drag; it’s all in how you work it. You’re tilting at windmills trying to impute things about my language as much like Ms. Palmer, you’re up against a wall debating semantics to keep the spotlight off the real issue at hand: the deeply fucked-up actions she and hers have taken. Cripface, crip drag, it’s all majorly not okay and much better than i’d expect from Amanda Fucking Palmer, thank you very much.

            http://www.derailingfordummies.com (and no, i’m not calling you a dummy, so don’t bother. It’s a lovely intro to what many of the replies here have been…derailing.) A handy reminder that it’s best in these situations where you’ve done something awful and hateful to fall on your sword, stop doing it, and change your behavior in the future. The record and act can *easily* be repackaged and remerchandised without the fucked-up parts, and then it will be awesome and not a smarmy, insulting set of potshots at people that Palmer and Webley didn’t expect to see stick up for ourselves.

          • dustyc

            Um, I take offense at that. I said I had problems with E/E. I wasn’t debating that with you, and I wasn’t trying to “defend Amanda at all costs” or anything. I was just examining that idea, and trying to ask honest questions about when it is and isn’t okay, and trying to figure out and explore when it might be. You’re making a lot of assumptions about what I think about this. I wasn’t trying to “derail” the issue, or “take the spotlight off” the issue at hand. I’m GLAD people are talking about this, and asking questions, and pointing out the problems. But you raised a term that I thought was worth questioning. So very sorry that that question didn’t involve a long stream of insults against the E/E project. I thought maybe talking about the ideas was worthwhile, in addition to the specific E/E issue at hand. I too would like to see some honest apologies and commitment to change. Don’t assume what I feel about this because I wanted to question and open discussion about a relevant term you used that struck me as offensive. I’m glad you (kind of) clarified.

  • Circus

    Dear Amanda,

    I’ve been a longtime fan of both you and Neil (separately) for years now (when you two met, it was like my universe delightfully imploded). I’m also a (queer) graduate student working under an ardent feminist (who made me realize that I am also a feminist, whether or not I ever called myself such, or even thought of myself as one). That’s just to give some context to my comments, because context is everything, right?

    When I first heard about EvelynEvelyn, I wasn’t sure whether it was a project in the guise of a fictional set of characters, or the “real thing” but I was acutely aware that it could go either way. Over the last, what, year or so I’ve watched it grow with great curiosity and found it intriguing and playful, and really rather clever. When I read the EvelynEvelyn blog post, I found it a little unsettling — not because I found it offensive (I don’t), but because it pushed the boundaries of what people find acceptable to do artistically. By the time I finished reading it, I thought, Christ, they have balls. And I still think so.

    I think if people are willing step away from whatever it is they’re finding offensive and start to interrogate exactly *why* they find these things offensive, then EvelynEvelyn will be a stunning success. To me, this is a great feat of social commentary: taking something and pushing it to the limits of believability and acceptability, and getting people thinking and talking about it — hopefully to the point where stereotypes get deconstructed and awareness gets raised.

    More context: I’m a privileged able-bodied white person in a postindustrial country. Does that mean I’ve never been marginalized? No, absolutely not. I’m also female, lesbian, and I grew up moving every two or three years (and was always an outsider as a result). Is this the same kind of marginalization experienced by the disabled, or by people of color? No. But I suspect that even if our experiences and levels of privilege differ, we can still connect in some ways. At the very least, the experience of being marginalized for various reasons has made me stop and think about what it must be like for someone with membership in even MORE marginalized groups must live with.

    I guess I’m saying this because I don’t think what you did was wrong or necessarily in poor taste. Was the story dark? Sure. Was there content that would make people uncomfortable? Absolutely. But the key is for US to ask ourselves WHY it makes us uncomfortable. That’s our job as people who consume art. Clearly you’ve stepped up and made your explanation and taken responsibility for your end of things. Now it’s up to us to take responsibility for how we respond to your work.

    As someone who is trained to do social science research, and as someone who has to consider very carefully the implications of how that research is presented to the public, I know how hard it is to position yourself so that you’re being true to your work while being respectful of the subject of your work. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had to explain (to my advisor and my colleagues) that my research (which is on a marginalized social group) isn’t meant to generalize or essentialize the experiences of a handful of people to the entire group, or how many times I’ve had to word things extra-carefully to say, basically, “What I’m writing about is not THE experience of this group, but is representative of how some of this group’s members have experienced things, and how their experiences interact with their self-identity” blah blah blah.

    The point? Anyone who takes the EvelynEvelyn story as a thoughtless stereotype meant to essentialize the experiences of the disabled or conjoined twins or whatever just isn’t looking carefully enough. The same thing happened recently when Jeph Jacques wrote about polyamory in his comic strip Questionable Content: people got all up in arms about one poly character expressing a desire for monogamy, claiming that this was an unfair representation of the poly community — when in fact he was dealing with the experiences and desires of this particular character. Who was guilty of essentializing here? Hint: it wasn’t Jeph!

    Anyway, long story short, this whole diatribe is meant to make three points:
    1) Some of us who are Neil’s fans are ALSO your fans and not just migrating to you from him. Hell, I saw you handing out flowers as the Bride in Cambridge years ago, back when I was reading Neverwhere. There is some pre-existing crossover in your fan bases, and as a member of that group, I think it’s important that both of you are aware we exist.

    2) Maybe some people were put off by the tone of the blog post (and consequently didn’t see its fictitious nature). But we as consumers have a responsibility to step up and think critically about your work while understanding it within the context of your previous work. When we do that, it becomes clear that EvelynEvelyn is an (extreme perhaps) extension of territory you’ve already explored. (Not saying it’s repetitive, but that it’s a direction that makes sense.)

    3) You and Jason put a lot on the line with this project. It’s fucking gutsy, and I applaud you both for it.

    Keep up the good work.

    • Rosemary

      “I think if people are willing step away from whatever it is they’re finding offensive and start to interrogate exactly *why* they find these things offensive, then EvelynEvelyn will be a stunning success. To me, this is a great feat of social commentary: taking something and pushing it to the limits of believability and acceptability, and getting people thinking and talking about it — hopefully to the point where stereotypes get deconstructed and awareness gets raised.”

      I think if more people who are NOT offended by this would stop and interrogate exactly why they are not, and listen to the very clear and coherent messages being written here and around the blogosphere about why it is offensive to them, then hopefully we can get to the point where stereotypes are deconstructed and awarenesses raised.

      • Circus

        Fair point. I can’t speak for anyone else here, but I’m more than happy to explain why I’m not offended by the project. First, it became apparent in the big blog post that the story was fictional. Second, I don’t perceive it as a mockery of the disabled, the conjoined, the or the marginalized. Third, I don’t perceive it as essentializing any of them. Fourth, I see it as something that’s intended to explore the experiences and perceptions of a pair of fictional characters and to use that as a platform for producing art under a different guise.

        To me, EvelynEvelyn is the musical equivalent of a Duchamp ready-made. It takes existing tropes and explodes them to the point of absurdity, and then it harnesses that absurdity and repackages it. I suspect that in the end, EvelynEvelyn will do more to dispel stereotypes than to reinforce them, but that’s just a hunch.

        So there you go. That’s why I’m not offended. I don’t want to discount the hurt feelings of those who perceived the project differently, but I do think there was a certain amount of knee-jerk reaction and, frankly (dare I say it), some liberal-white-privileged guilt. And while I appreciate the spirit behind that kind of outrage, I often see it heaped on works that were 1) never intended to be offensive because 2) they were consciously constructed to poke at stereotypes in such a way that they 3) raise awareness and 4) deconstruct them.

        Amanda is one of a very small number of artists who regularly engages with irony in a way that’s creative without being inaccessible or aloof or haughty. I think that’s to be commended.

        • Rosemary

          Have you actually bothered to read some of the very many coherent and deeply passionate posts around the blogosphere by the people who are upset about this, or are you just deciding that they are “liberal white privileged” people making knee-jerk reactions out of guilt? Because MOST of the arguments about this have come from people with disabilities themselves and some from people we consider to be our allies. Not just from random folks going “oh, this is about conjoined twins! it must be ableist!” Frankly, most people who are not disabled or who have not chosen to be disabled allies do not even have an understanding of what ableism is enough to get upset about it in the first place, much less bother to go around to various web sites to make arguments about and try to raise awareness about it.

          Intent does not matter. It’s nice that Palmer and Webly do not wish to be offensive. There are a great many things they could have done different with this project in order to help that goal along, and failing that (because lets’ face it we are all human and we make mistakes and hurt people as a result and have to deal with the consequences of that all the time), there are things they could be doing differently now to mitigate the hurt they have caused.

          If their real cause in doing this project was to explore, raise awareness for, and deconstruct disability issues, then again, I think there are a lot of things they could have done differently, and could be doing differently, to achieve those goals without using images and stories of disabled people as freaks and victims and hermits who can’t function in society without the help of some strong abled folk to guide them, etc. These are not edgy unique things worth exploring and pointing out – this is Already how are we perceived and portrayed by the media All of the Damned Time.

          Unless when the album comes out, it turns out that the whole point of the project was to make the people who found it all charming and funny and cute feel guilty about it – then no, I don’t see how it was meant to raise awareness and deconstruct stereotypes. It only serves to further those stereotypes.

          • Circus

            I respect what you’re saying here, but I see things differently. I don’t want to downplay the importance of compassion for people whose bodies work differently, and I don’t want to downplay the harm that comes out of stereotyping. But I’m not convinced you read my original post the entire way through.

            Let me give you a little more context for my perspective. I’m someone who has a mental illness that, at one point, was so out of control that I could barely hold a job. Over the course of three years, I was in and out of psychiatric units nine times — I think I spent about two months of that three years behind locked doors, not allowed to leave because a team of doctors decided I wasn’t able to make the kinds of judgments that would keep me from hurting myself or someone else. Yes, my life has gotten better since then, but this isn’t the kind of thing that goes away, and I live every day with the possibility that things will be out of control again.

            I realize that this is not the same as being permanently unable to walk, or to see, or to hear. But please bear with me — think of it more like severe diabetes or Lyme disease or rheumatoid arthritis — all debilitating conditions that can be controlled, but that ultimately affect one’s ability to participate fully in life.

            Whenever I see someone on TV with a severe mental illness — keeping in mind that the writer may or may not ever have known someone with the condition they’re writing about — it makes me uneasy. I watch carefully to see whether the way they’re portraying that person makes a statement about all people with serious mental illnesses, or whether it’s clear that they’re talking about just this character without generalizing to the rest of us. It’s not always easy, and it’s hard sometimes for me not to get angry, but in the end I have to think about it in terms of how harmful, how compassionate (and even some of the compassionate renderings can be harmful), or how generalizing the writer is being with that portrayal.

            I face the same thing whenever I see a gay or lesbian character on television.
            I face the same thing whenever I see someone who was sexually abused as a child (as I was) on television.

            I might not know what it’s like for you to live, but I know what it’s like for a group in which I have membership (whether it’s a group that’s visible or not) is marginalized or stereotyped. And I hope that this kind of experience can act as a bridge for you and me in this conversation. Please believe me when I say that I understand what you mean when you say “this is Already how we are perceived and portrayed by the media All of the Damned Time.”

            In this situation, I don’t see Jason and Amanda touting the experiences of their fictional twins as the essential experience of the disabled. I definitely see how the story might be disturbing, and I understand the frustration people might feel about the portrayal in light of the way the media tends to handle disabilities. It’s a frustration I share on many levels.

            Honestly, I find it far more offensive to read the comments of people who believed EE were real, and bought tickets for the shows because of it (did they do it because they wanted to see a freak show? because they think EE are heroic? either way, it’s belittling), than I do that Amanda and Jason chose to write this fictional character. I would have found it offensive if they Amanda had written the story so that she and Jason sought EE out to exploit them.

            In fact, she wrote it so that EE went to them. I don’t see that as emblematic of the disabled needing the able-bodied to succeed; I see it as an “unknown” musical act going to a musician they respect and asking to be heard — the same way tons of aspiring writers write to Neil Gaiman asking him to read their work — with the naive hope that the established artist will see/read/hear their work and take them under their wing. It didn’t seem to me at all that that desire on EE’s part had anything to do with their status as conjoined twins.

            Yes, they are portrayed as socially awkward, as abused, as naive about the world. None of that strikes me as essentialist in the context of this work — in this case it’s just a device they used in order to introduce the characters and explain their connection to them.

            Again, I see that you’re angry, and I respect your feelings on this whole thing. As someone who has experienced similar things, I empathize with you and with the others here who have leveled intelligent criticism at the project. I still stand by my assertion that some — SOME, not all [my exact words were “a certain amount”] — of it is knee-jerk.

            I am still also not offended by the project. I’m not sure that it’s fair to say there is some fact of the matter regarding whether the project is inherently offensive. I’m not in any position to say anything to that effect, and frankly I’m not sure anyone is.

            All we have are our experiences and our perspectives on life to argue from — which means you and I can go at this forever and never reach some resolution. Regardless, you strike me as an intelligent person. I know I’m not going to persuade you to feel differently about EE — that’s not what I’m hoping for. All I’m hoping for is that you’ll consider my position with just as much validity as you give your own and I will do the same for you.

  • NastaZia aka Victoria Everglot

    Well, my dearest Amanda,

    First time I comment on your blog although I follow you and love you through your work since you first began with the Dresden Dolls. As for the Evelyn Evelyn project, from the first time I read about it (around the time you started telling the world about it) I was certain that it’s fictional characters and at some point that the sisters are a reflection of how you and Jason could be as one in flesh and blood.

    I really don’t understand what is the problem of the haters or anyone who doesn’t like the project,the music, you, Jason or whatever. You decided to be an artist and live your life like one. If people get you or not it doesn’t matter. It’s your life, your project. If they don’t get it it’s ok. You can’t be loved by everybody. Your fans “know” you and will follow you ’till the end of time. We (the fans) pay your bills because you are who you are and we ‘re fine with it. If the music is good we dig.

    As for Neil fans, what you and Neil do it’s your and only your business. No one has the right -if they are not brainless- to say crappy things just because they don’t approve what you do for your career or what Neil does with his career. What it’s between you too it’s love and companionship and whatever you like, but it can’t be sold like albums or books. It’s priceless.
    So yes, fuck the haters. They don’t know you and you don’t know them. What you have done with your life it’s because of your own personal sacrifices and your close friends and family. If they want to hate something they can hate their government,their bad luck, the fact that everything around the world goes from bad to even worse…BLAME IT ON THE BLACK STAR BLAME IT ON THE FALLING SKY!

    Almost everything in our life is very simple. People make it bad,complicated,fucked. We make it that way. 1+1=2. It will always equals two.

  • Courtney

    My main problem is that I feel lied to by AFP. I have been a serious AFP follower for more than 5 years now. I read all of her blogs, buy her CDs and DVD, and follow her on twitter. I am an AFP fan. Am I going to stop being her fan because of this? No. But, it will never be the same. I guess I was being naïve, but I originally believed the E/E story. I thought it was great that two artists, neither of whom is outrageously famous, were helping out another set of artists. I respected AFP that much more because she was doing something above and beyond what I would expect anyone in her financial situation to do. Even if I hated the E/E CD, I was going to buy it to support AFP in her effort to help out the twins. However, now I realize, AFP wasn’t helping out anyone else. She was, once again, promoting herself. I have no problem with how she has promoted herself up until this point because it was openly her. This was a lie. It played on my obviously misplaced sympathies. I would have bought the CD just the same if it had been put out under her and Jason’s name. I am upset and offended. I read many novels that deal with dark material; I go on the same journey whether it is real or fiction. I don’t know what I’m trying to say exactly. I’m just truly disappointed in AFP. I feel like if this is a lie, what else about her persona is a lie, too? Is it all just an act to make money? Does she really give a damn about her fanbase at all or are we just told she cares?

  • Brandi

    To be honest, (and not to offend anyone) I think the people who take this kind of thing oh so seriously are a little bit into themselves….Some, no, but is it not somewhat, if not a little itty bitty bit selfish to consider something to be enjoyed globally, all about yourself? Is it not a bit irritating to think that…something this lovely, this brilliant, made for fans who already adore this music in specific (AFP, Jason Webley, The Dresden Dolls) and those who have yet to hear it, can be hated by just a few people who already seem to have an inferiority complex, or believe they have to defend people who do? That to me, seems even more offensive–that people feel the need to defend others who obviously can’t do it themselves (:insert sarcastic tone here:). Why are people surprised and irked by something so innocent, coming from a few unique people who have been making music like this for years? It almost seems as though they just chose it to pick at it in their little blogs, something to give “Intelligent” (along with the opposite) personal input upon, in hopes that so many others would agree and comment on their “wise words.” Even her own supporters are turning on her. How heartbreaking that something so little could disrupt their happy lives to such an extent. When Evelyn Evelyn first joined myspace, I was MORE than delighted by the songs…not ONE thing struck me as offensive. It was more delightful to me because of its innocent, playful, and on a few demo songs I downloaded (love will tear us apart, Sandy’s theme), almost melancholy tones. To me, it was more understanding than anything. To one with numerous handicapped and mentally disabled family members, the songs and the story are depicted with understanding and innocence. A very interesting, unique, and captivating idea, indeed. It very much depresses me that people can be so wholeheartedly against something like this. Take a step back and look over what this is really about.

  • 42

    /hug

  • alyssamarie_afm

    All I have to say is, as a very busy fan, I don’t get the chance to read your postings regularly and it seems as though every time I do, you are PMSing – and I love it. I go back and read the archives of your blog etc. and you really let it fly when good old Aunt Flo is knocking at your door. Please please PLEASE don’t EVER use oral contraceptives because you are just too damn good when Mother Nature comes with your little monthly gift!

  • http://pmrussellauthor.blogspot.com/ PM Russell

    You consistently amaze me. You use outrageous words and actions in order to be unique and present your art to the world. Yet, when you confront issues you are intelligent, forthright and socially aware. I can see why Neil loves you. Like life, you are not always what you appear to be. You left a wonderful response. It is so easy to just say “@#$%^ you!” and be done with it. I admire someone who has the audacity to say what they mean respectfully!

  • http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0162830/board?p=2 Bernard Grimes

    wow. i’m amazed at how ridiculous this is. It makes my brain hurt the same way i do whenever I see Glenn Beck speak on television.

    Anyone see that movie Twin Falls Idaho? Great movie – didn’t see anyone blowing that film’s intent so out of proportion. Just got good reviews. Ugh, taking something so harmless and warping it into an attack on the disabled.

    and just so you know (not that i NEED To justify my right to this opinion . OR that i need to try to state a fact that gives me more or less validity posting here. ) this opinion is coming from someone who’s twin nephews are & have been permanently “disabled” since birth due to a rare deformity. oh & someone who lives in the same house/collective as people that also have real disabilities. I’m sorry if anyone was hurt or got the wrong idea by their work but you should be ashamed of your high school equivalent live-journal-esque overly sensitive PC witch hunt.

    There are much bigger (evil) and much less vague(artistically open to interpretation) fish to fry (collectively fire-spam on the internet) out there …

    upping the circus-sideshow punx as per usual,

    Bernard Anonymous

    ps – oh wait. there’s amanda palmer’s tour bus parked in a handicapped spot over in Harvard Square ! Whatta bitch. I retract everything & stand corrected.

  • http://munchkin275-on-random.blogspot.com/ munchkin275

    I think people have always had this tendency to look for the worst and something to complain about. Having said that, it’s great that people are willing to discuss things. As long as they do it in an intelligent way then fine. It’s stupid arguments that have no basis that have always bothered me. I have this nice little ramble about it in my blog: http://munchkin275-on-random.blogspot.com/

    Would love for people to continue the discussion, if they find something worth talking about there.

  • deanne kenedy

    I personally don’t believe that Amanda would have started this project to hurt anyone or make them feel bad about themselves. I don’t think the twins would have been involved or agreed to anything if they were not happy with the project. If this project involved normal twins who have been sexually abused and exploited, then people would be congratulating Amanda for actually helping these people to overcome their fears and boosting their self esteem. As it is she is seen as exploiting the twins which I think is absolutely ridiculous, she is actually offering the chance for them to be normal.

    I did read in her previous blog that she is actually seeking legal help with the allegations of sexual abuse of the twins. For this she should be applauded as not many people will put ther own neck on the line to help anyone in this way. I really don’t think this is just about art and overstepping the boundaries, I think this is more about boosting someone elses self esteem and making them feel part of something other than a freakshow, to be accepted for who you are.

    I think that Amanda is doing wonderful things for the twins and if there were more Amanda Palmers in the world who cared about others then the world would be a much nicer place.

    • Timony

      The twins aren’t real. It’s a lie to make money, hence why people are offended.

    • prettyh

      But, Deanne, there are no “twins.” Nobody is being saved or helped with legal counsel. The “twins” are Amanda and Jason, pretending to be these talented, disfigured, recovering abuse victims. It’s make believe. You’ve invested in fictional characters.

      I think this goes to show just how far the wool has been pulled over some of AFP’s fans’ eyes. And how wrong Amanda may have been in assuming that everyone would just “get it” and be totally okay with it.

  • E. McGuire

    AFP, I still think you really are amazing. I also think I’m on the unpopular side here, and I don’t want to argue with anyone because this is merely my opinion.

    I also think that art is supposed to make people think, and music is an art form. Many others here are commenting with things such as “…you’re taking a persona and using it to further your art…” It’s not as though the persona(s) in question ARE rapists or child pornographers. In my opinion, that would change the matter (in a bad way) entirely.

    I do, however, wish that you HAD said this was a story from the beginning, mostly because many of your fans might be hesitant to go to your shows or buy your records because of the drama this has all instilled. Personally, it doesn’t affect my love for your work, but it is evident that some have been offended and may or may not accept the ‘apology’ that you have given.

    Yes, this was a bad move, but I don’t believe it will ruin your career (and I’m pretty sure you probably don’t think that, either.) AFP <3 Oh, and you should totally come back to the midwest/Michigan sometime. (:

  • jhernandez1981

    What some call a “fuck up,” I call ballsy genius. Perhaps what really bothers everyone is the feeling of being duped? Ziggy wasn’t really from Mars and Alice never actually had his head cut off (for that matter, wasn’t initially really a character at all now was he?). They’re characters in a story, so how is it any different from watching a skinny model/actress turn herself into a slightly overweight serial killer or some director hiring three no namers to pretend to be lost college students out in the woods on the trail of some fabled witch?

    Why is it when a different sort of artist lives in there creation do we call it method, yet when a musician does it, its seen as being exploitative or disingenuous?

    I don’t know and really don’t care, though I’m certain that if Frank Zappa were still alive, I think he, like me, would be laughing his ass off and offering kudos to a game well conceived and played by a couple artists with there backs against the wall.

  • Jes

    Amanda,

    If there is anything I have learned in my several years now of spending way too much time on feminist/race issues blogs, is that when someone gets people angry like this, the only response that is guaranteed to not further inflame tensions is.

    “I am sorry, and would like to thank you all for holding me accountable. I think you can appreciate that my intentions were never to hurt or exploit anyone, but I understand that this isn’t enough. This chance to examine my own privilege has been tremendous and I hope to continue the conversation.”

    I don’t know how effective your defense was, tho I certainly think it was heartfelt and you meant no harm. I loved what you wrote at the end about how to be brave.

  • EdenBee

    A point that I don’t think has come up here (though I apologize if it has).

    I’ve long had an interest in the history of vaudeville, sideshows, traveling carnivals, etc. I’ve read up and watched a lot about them.

    One common thread that at first surprised me but that I did come to understand with repeated exposure was the point of view of the people who had been on display and toured as “freaks” in some of these shows. They almost universally expressed sadness at the end of the acceptability of this practice. In interviews, many stated that they enjoyed showing off their uniqueness, because in that context it was something special about them, whether it was admired or reviled, and not something to be awkwardly ignored by strangers on the street. In the era in which these people lived, these shows provided an opportunity to turn what in normal society might be a crippling handicap into a way to make a good living, and to be surrounded by other people who were different in their own ways, and who could act as a support system and family group. Most of the people I’ve seen and read in interviews were angry that protests by well-meaning outsiders had destroyed a way of life that they had come to love. They weren’t thankful that people had stopped “exploiting” them. They felt their freedom to pursue a life they loved had been taken away from them by people who were offended on their behalf.

    There are still people with physical differences and disabilities who choose to come together to put on contemporary “freak shows” in the old style of spectacle and exaggeration, and who still love the life they’ve chosen.

    I’m not going to opine either way on this. I just thought I’d bring up this side of the history that this show touches upon.

    • BrookeA

      Okay…but, those are REAL people who are choosing what voice they have in this world.

      • EdenBee

        Yes, they are.

        And the fictional people don’t have a say in how they’re represented because they’re… fictional. It’s a problem shared by fictional people everywhere. I don’t really follow your point here.

  • KateAdorkableGrrl

    This post has converted me from a casual fan of yours to being someone who is so inspired by what you’ve said about art and the creation of which and dealing with pissing people off/people being angry or not liking the collective you that I think I would follow you into a fiery battle with little reservation. Thanks for being so honest and reflective – reading this was good for my soul.

  • jhernandez1981

    What some call a “fuck up,” I call ballsy genius. Perhaps what really bothers everyone is the feeling of being duped? Ziggy wasn’t really from Mars and Alice never actually had his head cut off (for that matter, wasn’t initially really a character at all now was he?). They’re characters in a story, so how is it any different from watching a skinny model/actress turn herself into a slightly overweight serial killer or some director hiring three no namers to pretend to be lost college students out in the woods on the trail of some fabled witch?

    Why is it when a different sort of artist lives in there creation do we call it method, yet when a musician does it, its seen as being exploitative or disingenuous?

    I don’t know and really don’t care, though I’m certain that if Frank Zappa were still alive, I think he, like me, would be laughing his ass off and offering kudos to a game well conceived and played by a couple artists with there backs against the wall.

  • bodnoirbabe

    I think the worst part about all this up in arms is that people are judging the art without having viewed it.

    Everyone keeps saying that intentions have to be considered. All we have to go on until the art is out there is intentions. There is plenty of art out there right now that if taken at face value, is offensive, but once you know the intentions and the meaning behind it, it’s beautiful.

    Let me give you an example. I want you to imagine in your minds a picture. In the picture there is a man. He is hunched over a body he is holding. He is eating that body. There is blood coming from his mouth and there is a wild look in his eyes. It’s obviously cannabalism.

    What I just described is a painting titled “Saturn Devouring His Son”. It’s a disturbing image, to be sure, but in context to what the artist was trying to show, it becomes a beautiful work of art.

    It’s unfair to Amanda and Jason to scream that their album is offensive to anyone without even knowing what the album says or how it uses those “controversial” topics.

    People keep bringing up blackface. Wouldn’t you feel offended if it’s blackface? Well, that depends. What is the artist doing with the blackface? Are they using it to mock black people? Or are they using it to bring to the forefront the struggle of black oppression and hate?

    Context plays a major role in ANY art. I would not be offended at the second use of blackface because it is serving a purpose to make people aware.

    Is this what Amanda and Jason are doing? WE DON’T KNOW YET. And we wont know until the album hits.

    I can understand being offended at the ideas that have been told about so far, but until you see them in context, you can’t judge whether or not those ideas are being used badly.

    • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

      The album itself isn’t the sum of ‘the art’ in this case. It also involves the whole story AFP is telling around the album. I think it’s entirely fair to judge what part of the art is readily available. Sure, the part that comes later will almost certainly change how the part available now is taken. But that doesn’t mean we can’t look at what is out now for itself. AFP&Jason chose to put this part of the art out now. That means it’s fair game to be judged for itself now.

      • bodnoirbabe

        Oh no no no. I so disagree. That’s like saying the synopsis of a book is an essential part of the book and you can judge it based on that before you even read the content.

        Authors, artists, musicians, anyone who creates often times have teasers about what it is they are creating, but they in no means want it to be used to judge the entirety of the completed work. Amanda posting what she did and EXPLICITLY STATING it was a synopsis and that the album is more in depth is the same as any other artist.

        I understand you’re upset, but at this point, it seems like you are upset because you WANT to be upset, not because you have actually seen the entirety of the project and THEN made your judgment. You have no idea what that album is about. Amanda and Jason could take those things your upset about and very well make beautiful, thoughtful, deep, and multi-leveled commentaries on them.

        I have never EVER known Amanda to treat anything callously, flippantly, or with disregard. Because of this, I am giving her a chance to show her work before I judge it based on a short description. All artists deserve that. You are doing a disservice to Amanda, Jason, and all artists to be so hasty to tell them the ENTIRE project is offensive when you don’t even know what the hell the project is.

        You want an example? Let’s talk about rape and abortion. Two subjects that are not to be taken lightly and have a high emotional affect on a ton of people. Amanda did the song Oasis and it is about those two things. On the surface, the song is a pop diddy that seems to callously talk about how she got an abortion after being raped at a party. But it’s much much more than that. It’s a poppy tune because she wanted to treat the material lightly. She wanted to express that that was how she HAD to handle it otherwise it would be way to heavy to deal with. The song isn’t just about that though, it’s about what she did to get through a very troubled time in her life. She being the person in the song, of course.

        It is a very heavy subject done very tastefully, thoughtfully, poignantly, and lightly and it is beautiful. I have no doubts in my mind that Amanda and Jason will approach the offensive subjects in the same manner with as much respect as they deserve. That is what you don’t seem to understand.

        • http://hel.dreamwidth.org Hel M.

          I don’t see the blog post about EE’s lives& EE’stwitter account&everything else as a ‘synopsis’ of the project. To me, they look to be a large part of the project. Not the sum total of it, no, but a fairly large portion of it, and a fundamental portion of it, without which the project would not be what it is.
          Like I said above, yeah, the final portion of the project, the album, may well reframe the already released portions, but to say that being upset by the already released portions is to ‘have no idea what the album is about’ and to ‘want to be upset’ from some premature judgment is just unfair. Also, I never said the entire project is offensive. I said the parts that are thus far released are hurting people. I, and the people who are hurt, have some idea of “what the hell the project is” from the portions that are already out there.
          I like AFP. I am quite sure she didn’t intend to hurt people, but she has. Even if the album portion of the project somehow reframes the existing portions to not be hurtful (which it’s very doubtful is possible), people still have been hurt in the interim. AFP presents herself as inclusive and concerned about her fans. I think her behavior about this issue is doing