22 February, 2010

Just a link

Who Killed Civil Discourse? Evelyn Evelyn, Marginalization, and Internet Discussion

Please comment over at FWD, as I can't really deal with multiple comment threads right now.

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last post; I don't have the spoons to respond to you all individually, but please know that your thoughts are appreciated!

17 February, 2010

Imbroglio a Go-Go

I have a rather Zen riddle for you guys: What is the sound of a fan being told off by someone she admires?

Yeah, I don’t quite know, either. But how perfect is it that having to address this latest go-round marks my return to blogging (especially after my last post on here)? A lengthy and sordid tale, shortened: I recently posted on FWD about Amanda Palmer and Jason Webley’s side project, the musical conjoined twin-duo Evelyn Evelyn, and things happened. Some folks showed up to tell me that I should focus on more important things, some broke out tone arguments, plus some other fun stuff. Which is sort of expected in the blogosphere—and some of which I expected, since Amanda’s fans tend to be pretty loyal--but I digress.

Here’s the thing: I attempted to be extremely careful about what I included in that post and how I wrote it. And yet, I keep having this nagging feeling that people either did not read or chose to ignore my numerous mentions of my affection for Palmer’s music, preferring instead to go into all-out defense mode. As if the definition of being a fan is entirely dependent on not critiquing and/or not questioning things that you take issue with. Ultimately, if I didn’t have the love that I do for Amanda’s music, and the desire to see her do better in the whole not-appropriating-disabled-peoples’-experiences department, I would not have written the post. I would not have raised these questions. I certainly would not have alluded to the fact that she can, and has, written some great songs about people with disabilities and/or mental health conditions (“Ultima Esperanza” and “Bad Habit,” to name just two). I probably would have just ignored Evelyn Evelyn as some eccentric side-project (that I am clearly not artistic enough to understand) and continued on my little bloggerly ways.

What I wanted to get across in the post, and what I want to reiterate here, is that some of us do not have the luxury of removing certain things, or certain people, from our mental peripheries. This is a hugely important principle in many segments of social justice work. For some of us, “suffering” is part of the messy reality of life; when you have chronic pain (as I do), that’s just the way it is sometimes. I cannot choose how, when or where my pain will affect me, and “suffering” is often part of the experience of living with pain, chronic illness or disability. And you cannot separate that suffering and that pain from the legacies of ableism, privilege and exclusion that continue to affect how people with disabilities are treated by many non-disabled people. As I’ve said before, dealing with my own physical pain is often easier than dealing with peoples’ opinions, attitudes and preconceived notions about my pain or about people with disabilities as a whole. But those things still affect and reinforce each other regardless.

How great for Amanda Palmer that she can so easily remove me--and my fellow disabled feminists--from her mental periphery. She would do well to remember, however, that many of us cannot do that. That she misunderstands my and others' critiques as just "anonymous hate" is, frankly, disappointing.

Also: Lauredhel has a great post here which further expands upon why all of this is so problematic.

Note: Comments on this thread, as usual, will be moderated with an iron fist. Them's the rules. If you don't like it, you can leave, because I am done arguing with people about supposedly infringing on their precious First Amendment rights by not letting them say bigoted shit.