tania wrote:i am extremely uncomfortable with a lot of the opinions posted in this thread regarding amanda palmer's appearance.
I don't blame you. Whatever the rationale, men getting picky about what a woman looks like is never going to sit well in a discussion that strives for substance.
I just finished an email reply to a journalist about this thread. Heck, I'll just post it here. I guess I'm blowing his "scoop," but I find it hard to care.
On 9/14/2012 9:58 AM, Alex Denney wrote:
> Hello Steve,
> I’m web editor with The Stool Pigeon newspaper in the UK, wonder if you’d mind taking time out to answer a few questions regarding your latest blog post about Amanda Palmer?
To be complete I need to address several assumptions in your questions, so answering this email is going to take me a lot longer than it took you to write it, and will require some attention to read. Please pardon the unavoidable wordiness.
The forum I posted in is not a blog. It's a message board forum with an active international community numbering in the thousands. You can tell the difference because the forum I posted in is one of several, there are hundreds of active topics and each original post has a separate author. Calling the Electrical Audio Forums a blog is like calling Stool Pigeon your daily diary, and makes me instantly suspicious of your intent, research and reporting. If it was just a slip of the pen (or iPhone) then it suggests several other problems, but I wish you luck in that regard either way.
> Do you think websites running stories with headlines like “Steve Albini calls Amanda Palmer an idiot” are somehow unfair when you have, in fact, taken to your blog to call Amanda Palmer an idiot?
It should be apparent that my complaint is with this style of reporting-free copy/paste "journalism," not any perceived unfairness. It is exceptionally lazy, whether it involves me or anybody else, and it feeds the gossip-and-fluff-content bonfire that is burning the entire framework of public discourse.
Since you appear to think the point of my first post on the topic was to call Amanda Palmer an idiot, I'll break it down for you like a lesson.
In the first paragraph I made a parallel between several different forms of audience participation in a band's business, some of which have been used by Amanda Palmer and others, one of which was a reference to the Gathering of the Juggalos. In the first sentence I said I have no problem with any of them, meaning that there is nothing inherently ugly about any of them, and they are all of a type. I then explained why I don't do any of them myself or with regard to my band. I don't because I value self-sufficiency and its implied efficiency and economy very highly. This personality trait has enabled my bands to turn a profit on literally every tour we've ever undertaken, from the first road trip to Minneapolis in 1982 to the tour of Australia we'll be starting a couple of weeks from now. It has also kept my business afloat while most other studios are failing, despite the relatively low rates we charge. It's a sound and productive way to see the world, it has served me well and I don't apologize for it. It's also not unique to me. There is a whole culture of people who do things independently and efficiently, and it isn't an accident that they have been at the vanguard of culture for decades.
I then said that admitting that one can't fathom how to make things pay for themselves, when so many other people seem to do it, is a tacit admission of ineptness, for which I used the poorly-considered word "idiot." I implied that Amanda Palmer was an idiot by describing this idiot behavior which the reader would then ascribe to Ms Palmer, making the inference that she is an idiot. It was rude and poorly served my argument, but then again I was speaking informally to a familiar audience of peers on the forum, not the world at large. When it became obvious other people would be reading it I felt compelled to clarify my thinking. In the future, if you or another member of the press is concerned with whether or not I think someone is an idiot you can call and ask. The phone number is on the same page where you would look to sift messages for gossip.
> If you know everyone’s going to repost the story, why do it in the first place?
I make up to a dozen posts a day on the EA forums, and I don't presume that they will be "reported" in the "press." It's only happened a couple of times and it has caught me off guard. I noticed very little coverage on the post I wrote regarding the use of a Urei 1178 peak limiter on the overhead mics of a drum kit for example, though that post was probably more significant to its audience than this sort of micro-celebrity troll bait. My natural expectation is that there are more important things to report than what happens on a goddamn recording studio message board.
So no, I don't know everyone's going to repost things until they do. Then sometimes it's a face-palm moment, sometimes not.
> Part of Amanda’s defence of her scheme seems to be that, simply, many fans would jump at the chance to play with their favourite musicians for no money — does this argument seem fair?
On the part of the fans, I totally understand and sympathize with this impulse. That's starkly different from a millionaire asking people to do things for free, under the guise that she is giving them something by indulging them. It's cheapness repainted as generosity and it's gross. Using people in this way, exploiting their good nature for one's own benefit, is a cancer that taints many enterprises and it always reflects poorly on the exploiter. It's one of the things I hated most about the old-school record business, the practice of fucking with people who loved music so much they would put up with endless greed and abuse just to be a part of it. A new music business paradigm, if it is worth anything, should strive to be free of exploitation and be honest about its motives.
> You take issue with Palmer paying people to take care of the Kickstarter fund as inefficient, does this not seem like a reasonable expense for such a large amount of money?
No it doesn't, and I said as much. Paying someone to spend your money for you is pretty ridiculous. That there is a lot of it is all the more reason to keep tabs on it yourself.
> What other aspects of Palmer’s scheme strike you as ‘absurdly inefficient’?
Given that the typical budget for albums I work on is less than $10,000, you can take your pick of line-items in her budget, divide by ten and still have an order of magnitude worth of waste from my perspective. I haven't looked at the breakdown since I first saw it so don't quote me on it (haha, "don't quote me," I just said something funny), but I recall that she skimmed a couple hundred grand off the top for her pleasure prior to beginning to make the record. That alone is enough to make the record of your dreams a couple times over and seems like a straight-up "fuck you" to everybody who pledged money to the project.
It's crazy that I have to explain to you how ridiculous it is to blow a million dollars. More than a million dollars. Just say it out loud and think about how much fucking money a million dollars is. That's several really nice houses with a Jaguar in each garage. A lifetime's wages. It's just an incredible sum, enough to make a hundred records. Palmer had more than that at her disposal and now claims not to have enough left to pay musicians. To pay them for gigs she is also being paid to play. This coming from someone who already had a successful career before she had her audience begin paying all her expenses in advance. A millionaire pleading poverty and asking for additional charity. It's fucking ridiculous and it mocks all the bands who genuinely need their audience to help them conduct their business.
So that's what I think. Nobody's an idiot, some ways of conducting business are just uglier and more exploitative than others.