Thursday, 18 February 2010

Amanda Palmer, What A Charmer

I don't really have an opinion on Amanda Palmer's music one way or another. She's of too recent a vintage for this old mosh-pit warrior, but hey, y'know, these kids have to have their own thing and not be bothered by oldsters like me going on about how we've seen it all before. And she's betrothed to Neil Gaiman, for goodness' sake! So I kind of figured she must be okay.

Then this whole Evelyn Evelyn thing blew up. EE are a musical duo supposedly discovered by Ms Palmer and Mr Jason Webley, a man who used to busk on the accordion, but let's not hold this against him. A pair of conjoined twins, EE have survived many hardships, including being exploited by child pornographers. Now, empowered by their survival of these heinous ordeals, the twins are embarking on a career as a truly unique punk cabaret act. Hurrah!

Obviously, EE don't exist and are in fact Palmer and Webley themselves putting on a turn. So far, so Spiders From Mars, though admittedly with a somewhat distasteful cripface angle. And the child porn  survivor angle...truthfully I didn't have an opinion on that. But I ran it by my ex-wife and her first response was 'urgh, yuk.' Safe to say, then, that was going a little too far.

Anyway, as one might expect, many disabled activists and feminists, many of whom were fans of Ms Palmer, have taken agin her for this little piece of performance art. Me, though, I had no opinion. To be honest if you'd told me the Evelyn Evelyn story was the plot of a novel, I'd probably have just thought 'oh, Chuck Palahniuk up to his old tricks again.' If I were still working in the bookshop, I'd bang up a display of Chuck's books, headed by the newest entry in his ouevre (which'd probably be called Join or Seam or some such): always guaranteed to get an influx of skinny white boys looking to boost their 'edgy' cred when Chuck's got a book out.

So the actual concept, I was prepared to give it a chance. What riled me was Ms Palmer's cavalier dismissal of those who were offended by her concept, a fairly good example of which can be found in the latest entry on her blog. I don't have the energy for a protracted fisk right now, but the gist of it is that you see, all this is about Amanda and how she's a special snowflake and an artist and anyone who objects to her oh-so-wonderful art on the grounds that it offends the vulnerable is a hater. Boooooo, haters! And oh yeah, we should all be nice to Amanda because she's PMSing apparently. Yes. You heard that right. Those of you who have debilitating physical conditions that render you at times unable to walk without intense pain, should just keep your traps shut because Amanda fucking Palmer has a pain in her womb.

Personally I'm not willing to extend Ms Palmer that courtesy, because I want to follow her example. After all, as she herself said on her twitter page, referring to the problems with which disabled people struggle 'pain is inevitable. suffering is optional.'

FUCK. YOU. Ms Palmer. My ex-wife is disabled. My mother is disabled. I have friends who are disabled. I have seen people I love suffer horrific, crippling discomfort, pain which made them wish for death, and I find it patronising in the extreme for you to tell me, and to tell those people, that their suffering is 'optional.' Fuck. You.

I say again: Evelyn Evelyn itself? Willing to give it a chance. From what I've heard it'll be shit, but I'm willing to give it a go and form my own opinion. But Amanda Palmer's callous dismissal of disabled people who've objected to her project? Far from fucking cool.

Something else that's far from cool is the legions of fanboys and fangirls who've leapt to Palmer's defence in places as diverse as her blog itself and Neil Gaiman's facebook page. Invertebrates every man, woman and nonbinary-jack of 'em, all of them desperate to show their support for their little life-surrogates by spunking all over the internet with their banal and facile 'why can't anyone take a joke? 1! :)' comments. So, just for the record, here's what I had to say to some of these c**ts on Neil Gaiman's Facebook page. Read, reflect, and, if you ever feel like offering your own feeble two-brain-cell's worth in support of some 'controversial' celeb, recollect:

Tell you what. You guys just go on with your cheerleading in the vain and desperate hope that maybe the Famous Man will like you, and he'll invite you to his Big House and you can have tea and plait each other's hair and he'll answer ALL your questions about the Sandman, because you're SOOOOO nice to him. ;)

Hey don't be offended! I put a 'wink' emoticon at the end! I'm not being SERIOUS! I'm not REALLY calling you idiots! Sheesh! Can't you take a joke?

Have your own opinions, people. Think for yourselves, and don't just excuse  bad conduct by your idols just because they are your idols. And remember, kids: logic is unstoppable. Fandom is conditional.

Or it amanda fucking should be,

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