Why is it either/or? Amanda Palmer’s TED Talk

I watched this Amanda Palmer TED Talk “The Art of Asking” over the weekend and  found it both remarkable and inspiring.  Her frankness and humanity are unassailable.  Who can argue with an artist who says, “I put myself and my work out there, I ask to be embraced, and I am embraced”?  Kudos to her for doing it.  Kudos to her for talking about it.  But if we are meant to draw a conclusion that her experience is the new model, as some will claim, I think we’d do well to remember that there is more than one kind of artist and more than one medium; and I don’t know why the principle of creators’ rights is not seen as inclusive rather than exclusive in this regard.

As much as I enjoyed Palmer’s talk, my immediate thought after watching it was about one of my favorite authors whose work is no less provocative in literary form than Palmer’s is in music and performance. John Irving still writes prodigiously in longhand, and his own descriptions of his work habits reflect an asceticism typical of most serious authors.  I don’t think Mr. Irving takes time to tweet let alone crowd-surf, and he is unlikely ever to strip down so that his fans can sign his naked body (at least let’s hope not). But jokes aside, we are blessed to have a society that produces both the Amanda Palmers and the John Irvings; and I don’t understand why anyone thinks we need to choose a system that would favor one over the other.  Believe it or not, the one unifying principle that supports these two artists, as well as all others, is copyright.

Copyright doesn’t say Amanda Palmer can’t mange her career as she sees fit; it says that it is her absolute right to do so.  Combine that right with the First Amendment, and she’s a force to reckon with.  But so is the comparatively reclusive novelist who may best be capable of “connecting with fans” only through his writing. Copyright gives that author the freedom to stay home, indulge in one of the most solitary activities imaginable, and accept publishing deals, if that’s what best serves the work.  And nothing about that model prevents the Amanda Palmers of the world from doing things in a completely opposite manner.

It’s hard enough to be an artist and to seek approval in the form of both praise and patronage, which Palmer makes abundantly clear in her talk.  But creators’ journeys are as varied and unpredictable as the work itself.  In his novel Until I Find You, Irving writes of his actor protagonist that there are two things that can’t be controlled — where your first break will come from, and where that break will lead.  Amanda Palmer is lucky to have found the harmony between her work, herself, and her approach to marketing; and I think there’s a reason we see musicians find this balance more readily than some artists in other media.  But why does Palmer’s success in this regard suggest that we would devalue other voices that speak loudest from very quiet places not shared with the entire world?

At its core, regardless of all the noise, copyright simply bestows the right of choice upon the individual.  So, while I applaud Ms. Palmer for her courage and for sharing her experiences, I also assert that the conclusion we draw from her insight should not be that the future of art is an either/or approach to the rights of the creator.

© 2013, David Newhoff. All rights reserved.

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35 comments

  • I don’t know why the principle of creators’ rights is not seen as inclusive rather than exclusive.

    I haven’t seen the talk and don’t have much time, but I saw an earlier back-and-forth on this site about whether copyright was inherently a “right to exclude.” I don’t know if this clears things up, but property rights (not just IP rights) are often characterized this way because that’s how they were conceived at common law. It’s commonly said that the right to exclude “is one of the most essential sticks in the bundle of rights that are commonly characterized as property.” (And I’m not familiar with the article I just linked, but it seems that the author goes further and asserts that the right to exclude is the sin qua non of property, which is also something I’ve heard.) This isn’t an “anti-“property viewpoint; it’s purely descriptive. And think about it: if you take away the right to exclude others, you’ll find most property rights are gutted beyond recognition.

    • David Newhoff

      What I can say is that this sort of misses the point of the article as pertains to the creator’s right to choose. Inclusive doesn’t mean his and the public’s right to choose together; inclusive refers to the right of choice being universally applied to the many types of creators, careers, and enterprises than can exist. There is a tendency to look at people like Palmer and say, “that’s how everything must be done from now on,” and this is a view that actually stifles creative potential rather than the other way around. And I didn’t even get into the costly and complex process of filmed entertainment. Regardless, if you’re looking for plain talk on copyright and how it differs from other property rights, I’d prefer not to paraphrase experts in the field. I consider Copyhype a good source for the non-lawyer, but you may also find this two-part piece interesting from one of the academics for the Copyright Alliance: http://copyrightalliance.org/2012/12/common_law_property_myth_libertarian_critique_ip_rights_part_1#.UTUVYxmggsY

      Agree with it or not, but it would be silly for me to summarize it here.

      • Oops, apologies for the derail. I agree in large part w/the article you linked, though its thesis is that IP rights have the same genesis and underpinnings as other exclusionary property rights (e.g. property in land) — not that IP rights differ, though clearly they differ in other ways. But regardless, I see what you mean by “inclusive” vs. “exclusive” now.

  • Great article. I had an argument with someone online about copyright, in particular related to authors. They argued that copyright wasn’t necessary because authors could just make money on personal appearances. I mentioned Thomas Pynchon, who makes John Irving look like, well, Amanda Palmer. The response was that it wasn’t their fault if Pynchon couldn’t “innovate.” Grr…..

    However, I have a serious problem with Amanda Palmer’s philosophy, because by her own actions she has shown some of the flaws in the “asking” business model. I’m referring, of course, of her decision not to pay some of her backing musicians. At the time, the argument was that the side musicians could use the “exposure” to sell their own recordings. At that point things start to resemble a Ponzi scheme in which payment is deferred down the line.

    • David Newhoff

      Thanks. I stayed away from those incidents of her asking musicians to work for free, etc. because I really don’t know the details, and I’m not entirely comfortable with “our side,” as it were, ganging up on a fellow artist. She may have been wrong, or she may have been misunderstood; and she may in fact possess the hubris to believe that her model would apply to all creators in all media, but there’s nothing in her talk that I heard to indicate this.

      • Well, when she got the kickstarter money she declared “this is the future of music…”

        What I found troubling was that she didnt seem to grasp that she had become quite literally the capitalist, and that with that comes new responsibilities.

        But I still think that the whole “free content” idea is based on the assumption that someone else will pay, whether through ads or “touring and t shirts.” Frankly, I think that if the money is in touring and t shirts, then only artists who are social enough to tour constantly or have content that translates to merchandise will survive and thrive. Simply put, if the touring and t shirts model were in place in the 60s, we’d likely not have Sgt Pepper, The White Album and Abbey Road.

      • David Newhoff

        She did, but David Bowie has said the same thing. I guess what I’m saying is that I believe there is no generalization anyone can make in that sense, and we can forgive the exuberance and appreciate a new approach that works for some creators as long as we recognize that it doesn’t mean all bets are off. There is, of course, every possibility that Amanda Palmer will change directions musically in a way that is best served through traditional investment. She might even one day feel too old for couch-surfing and want to spend a year in a studio crafting something new. Why shouldn’t she?

      • I appreciate your sentiment, David, but isn’t that veering dangerously close to “my country, right or wrong” territory? I don’t think that creators – as a group – are inherently more moral or otherwise “right”. This mean if one of “our own” is doing something wrong – and personally, I think Palmer crossed so many lines in the whole “beer ‘n hugs” situation, it’s not even funny; I wrote as much at the time – we have a responsibility to smack down on them.

        From a wider perspective, I believe that Amanda Palmer has actually done a lot of damage to the cause of creative sustainability and is still doing so. We should remember – and so should she – that she is hardly a representative example. Most creators simply don’t have the benefit of an already established career, with the additional benefit of being married to a successful (not to mention rich) author. Palmer could probably finance a modest stream of output through a combination of personal wealth and returns from existing product and keep that up indefinitely. What is the takeaway for the wider creative industry? Absolutely nothing.

        Nevertheless, she’s been held up an example ever since I’ve started writing on this subject – going on five years now – and it doesn’t look like that’s gonna stop soon. This is bad – both in terms of giving starting creators a realistic overview of their situation and in making policy arguments, pointing out that the privileged are perfectly capable of taking care of themselves.

      • David Newhoff

        It is dangerously close to that, Faza, and I don’t mean to imply that all creators get a free pass by any means. To your point (and those of truthdisseminator), Palmer is not the first artist to be guilty of evangelizing while omitting certain important factors in their success, including ways in which they’ve benefited from copyright. Even author Jonathan Lethem was guilty of this in a milder sense, and I criticized him for it in a guest post for Copyright Alliance. It is certainly easy to preach this whole up-with-people, art-for-art’s sake sentiment from a position of comfort, and there’s no getting past the fact that this is hypocrisy reminiscent of “self-made” tycoons who just happened to start with a few million dollars inheritance.

        I suppose the post can be thought of as my in-kind rebuttal (were TED a forum for such things) to the content of this particular talk. Even if Palmer is in fact a complete poser herself, I found the sentiments she presented in this video personally engaging enough to inspire a response to the implied conclusions people will draw, separate from what we know of the speaker. This may be folly, but I saw the video because it was shared by a friend who is a semi-retired college literature professor; and I think I know why he shared it even though he’s hardly a poster child for the next-gen, pro-tech, free-media bonanza.

        I agree with you about giving creators a realistic view, and I think we can allow for the possibility that there is some truth to the premises she presents — I know of at least a couple of filmmakers who are applying this model to build from the ground up — but want to make clear why this is no reason to toss out copyright or to assume that traditional models are anachronistic.

  • Copyright as a concept is not particularly controversial… you don’t have to keep coming up with various justifications, all you are doing is manufacturing controversy around an issue will almost none exists. Copyright in practice (copyright enforcement) is what is controversial.

    “Why has copyright recently become controversial?”
    Stallman’s Copyright vs Community answers better then anything I know. There is also a great TED talk on this that lucidly demonstrates this phenomenon via surveys of I believe random German citizens, but I can’t seem to find it (anyone know?).

    • David Newhoff

      That sounds like you’re saying it’s not controversial as long as it isn’t enforced, and it wouldn’t need to be enforced if we’d recognize that it’s obsolete. I may be misunderstanding you, but you can’t deny that anti-copyright sentiment runs the gamut from reform to repeal and that the foundation of this controversy begins with mass infringement.

      • What I mean is the philosophy behind copyright isn’t
        controversial. But enforcing it in a non-controversial way is not
        easy and that has more to do with the conditions the information
        age brought than anything inherent to copyright itself. The linked
        article explains it.

  • thetruthdisseminator

    When Amanda Palmer is generally mentioned. always missing is one important fact…her & husband millionaire financial background & “well-known” published & well-connected author husband….This background has sustained her and enabled her to build a fan base by gigging for free etc., over a period of years, and generally if you have money, you generally have connections & know others with money. This opportunity is not available for those with lesser financial means.

    From
    http://www.digiday.com/etc/the-contrarian-take-on-social-media/

    “Well, how did that person get all those followers?” The “how” is critical to he story, but it’s rarely mentioned. Amanda Palmer is a great example of this. She had a successful Kickstarter campaign, and so media outlets were saying, Look at what you can do with Kickstarter!” and “Amanda Palmer is proof it works!” But nobody mentioned that her husband is one of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, and that Amanda was the lead singer of the Dresden Dolls, which has a pretty large following. Those details got omitted from the story, and they’re very important because the Internet is great, if you’re rich, but if you’re like me and just a normal person, it’s a total crapshoot. Maybe you do get lucky. It’s entirely possible, but it’s highly unlikely.”

    • David Newhoff

      Thanks for commenting. All true. See response to Faza.

    • God, and I told myself I’d stop commenting…
      You’ve said better than I ever could why I’m skeptical of kickstarter. The stuff that gets rewarded is stuff that’s already familiar. Kickstarter can give us zombie nazi movies and records by established artists, but real publishers (those evil gatekeepers) are the ones with the foresight to give us something we never knew we’d like. It was the gatekeepers who gave us Catch-22, The Velvet Underground and even Star Wars, not kickstarter.

      • David Newhoff

        It’s like crack, Monkey.

        And I agree. It seems to me that overvaluing the so-called wisdom of crowds in conjunction with remix culture can cause art itself to collapse like a black hole from which nothing truly revolutionary could escape.

      • In fairness, though, have mechanisms like Kickstarter really been around long enough for us to make this assessment? It’s not like Heller had the option of self-publishing Catch-22 a la Fifty Shades of Grey; likewise, there is no way of knowing whether Star Wars could have been successfully crowd-funded.

        One way to look at “gatekeepers” is that they have an expert eye for new, different, undiscovered talent; another way to look at them is that they’re risk averse and profit-driven. I suspect both are true to varying degrees depending upon the individual and the studio where he works. No matter how much we value crowds (versus the tried and true approach of testing products on focus groups), It seems a little melodramatic to predict that “art itself” will “collapse like a black hole from which nothing truly revolutionary could escape.” Plus, there is plenty of basis to argue that alI culture is “remix” culture.

      • True about Kickstarter. I remain intrigued by crowd-funding and have even used it once. But with fewer than five years worth of quality streaming of video on the Web, there is no shortage of predictions as to how this technological reality must invariably change every aspect of production from concept to distribution — and often from people who’ve never made a film in their lives.

        As for being melodramatic, guilty as charged, but the concern I have is that the wisdom of crowds premise is an acceleration of that more negative aspect of “gatekeepers,” which you describe. Fifty Shades of Grey is a great example because, in a word, it’s crap. But popular, profitable crap is what has enabled the better angels at publishers and labels (and until recently, studios) to risk investment in the next Joseph Heller. This has been SOP for many years in all of these businesses, and while it is imperfect (what’s perfect?), it may be the best way to sustain those curatorial gatekeepers you also describe. If, on the other hand, we place too much emphasis on popularity because it is by definition democratic, there is a possibility that we foster lots of EL James, no Joe Hellers, and then generations of derivatives of EL James. Yikes. Lanier doesn’t say “black hole,” but he does warn against a trend toward producing what he calls “one book,” if you will, because we risk devaluing the voice of the individual.

      • One upshot of crowd-publishing that I will point out: while Fifty Shades is crap, it’s also groundbreaking in one small way — it telegraphed to the mainstream and everyone else that women are interested in pornography. Now you have publishers competing to invest in the next Fifty Shades, and while this may increase the output of crap, it may also help publishers abandon the retrograde assumption that women are prudes and deterred by explicit sex (which is different from what you’d find in a typical “romance” novel). Likewise, there are some physically unattractive people (ex. Susan Boyle) who have become bestselling recording artists after being discovered and upvoted largely by crowds — and when Oprah let the internet vote to select a new talk show host, the internet picked a man with cerebral palsy (whom studio execs surely would not have given a second look). Sometimes, when the crowd speaks for itself, old biases and assumptions get called into question, which is a good thing.

        I do understand the concern about gatekeepers clinging to reliably profitable content, with less ability to subsidize untested content due to profit loss from piracy. I’ve thought about this as well and would be curious to see (if they exist) stats on the quantity and “quality” of (for example) films released by major studios over the past 10-15 years.

      • David Newhoff

        Can’t do a long thing now, but I generally agree, which goes back to the “either/or” choice being a false one. Ultimately, the crowd always has the final word and is meant to speak through its patronage. But as you said, some gatekeepers are also valuable taste-makers. Oprah is a crowd-pleaser and a taste-maker; she is the studio exec in this case and the expert on her own audience, but I absolutely get your point and agree with it.

        I can talk about my observations on major studios, etc. but it’ll have to wait. Thanks.

      • True, there’s no way of knowing whether Star Wars could be crowd funded, from what I’ve read it is very unlikely.

        It’s hard to realize know how big a gamble Star Wars was. George Lucas had exactly one hit under his belt, and his previous sci fi movie was a flop. There was no visual effects industry in the way we now think of it – Lucas had to basically build ILM from scratch.plus, Lucas was not the most gregarious fellow…

        While the idea that “corporations are people” is ridiculous, we tend to forget that individuals are behind the choices corporations make. The unsung hero of Star Wars is Alan Ladd, Jr., who defended Lucas against the Fox board.

        It’s easy to scoff at, say, the people who turned down Harry Potter, but again, it was like nothing that had come before it. Works of real genius are a surprise when they appear, but seem inevitable in retrospect. I just don’t see that coming from crowd sourcing.

        I can’t see the culture collapsing, but it’s definitely becoming flatter.

    • Is it really becoming flatter, though? Hasn’t every
      generation said similar things about the upcoming generation’s
      culture since the beginning of time? I’m not saying with certainty
      that you’re wrong, but these assessments are so subjective and many
      of these crowd phenomena so new that it’s just hard for me to
      assign much weight to statements like “I personally think culture
      is becoming flatter.” (Nor would I ascribe much importance or
      accuracy to my own assessment of U.S. culture, which is that — but
      for occasional pinpricks of brilliance — 95% of it has been flat
      and crappy for as long as I can remember. I limit this statement to
      U.S. culture only because I’ve lived most of my life in the
      States.) I don’t know much about Star Wars, so I’ll take your word
      on that. But I don’t think it’s unfeasible to imagine that Rowling
      might have successfully self-published Harry Potter. Those books
      had an instant, accessible, mass appeal. It is harder for me to
      envision, say, David Foster Wallace succeeding on today’s internet,
      but that’s also because the crowds composing today’s internet skew
      towards a certain demo and taste level. Imagine if there was an
      internet community for aspiring self-published writers composed
      primarily of people with graduate degrees in the humanities — what
      result then? Even if brick-and-mortar publishers had become more
      risk-averse due to profit loss from piracy, publishing someone who
      had already taken such a community by storm would be much less
      risky than publishing him otherwise. There’s a sense here that the
      crowd is only capable of valuing what it already knows, and does
      not excel at originality, but internet culture (a perfectly
      ordinary phrase that I roll my eyes when using, largely because
      it’s inspired so much empty commentary) can be extremely creative.
      (Cf every fawning essay you’ve ever read about 4chan). My own
      subjective view is that the crowd craves and rewards novelty.
      That’s why so many successful community-driven sites have such a
      high turnover rate for new content. This model can disadvantage
      content that is more complex and requires a “deeper” read in order
      to appreciate; but, again, current crowd skews towards certain
      demo/tastes.

      • Actually,I really don’t think Rowling self publishing Harry
        Potter would have had the same impact. It definitely wouldn’t have
        succeeded in America without Scholastic picking it up. Here’s what
        I mean by “flatter…” I work with books, and there is a trend
        towards taking public domain classics and throwing in a modern
        element like zombies or s & m. It ignores the really cool
        undercurrents of horror and sexuality in the original works, and
        frankly it’s lazy. Compare this with truly transformative works
        like Ulysses, Wide Sargasso Sea, I Walked With A Zombie, and
        Apocalypse Now. I really don’t see a whole lot of real creativity
        in remix culture, at least nothing substantial. I get depressed
        when I see yet another deviant art mashup. It’s not that I think
        that these artists are ripping off copyrighted works (although it
        puts someone like Bill Watterson, who has been very protective of
        Calvin & Hobbes in an awkward position where he has to
        either shrug off people using his work or else be the bad guy) but
        that these are talented people who seem to have little to no
        motivation to make their own art. Wolverine in the style of Scooby
        Doo gets people to notice you in a way your own work won’t. That’s
        depressing.

      • As well, the problem comes when “current crowd skews”
        become permanent habits. Our survival not just as a culture but as
        a species depends on concepts that can’t be reduced to macros or t
        shirts.

      • Don’t you think that if Harry Potter achieved the same initial buzz and circulation as something like Fifty Shades, though, a publisher would have picked it up? Also, you obviously can’t compare Pride and Prejudice and Zombies to something like Ulysses — it’s not as if, in the 80s and 90s before the internet took off, we were seeing a surfeit of Great Novels. Those works are, almost by definition, rare. And if you’re looking for substantial literary fiction about zombies, it’s still being made — Zone One was pretty decent, for example. So it’s not like artists interested in zombies are spending all their time posting on deviantart instead of making work that satisfies your taste level.

        I’m also curious why everyone seems to see “remix culture” as a recent distinct phenomenon. I know you’re getting this term from Lessig, but he conceives of remix as something that’s occurred for as long as man has produced culture (citing ancient folklore, etc).

        I agree that we haven’t seen any “substantial,” serious artwork emerge from places like the *chans, but nor do the majority of non-internet artists produce anything of note. And I don’t know if you mean to go quite this far, but I’d reject the idea that a work cannot be substantial or meaningful or valuable just because it self-consciously appropriates and remixes works that have come before it. I mean, what is Blood Meridian if not a remix of Moby Dick and the Old Testament? I could fill up this post with a bunch of postmodern theory but I’m sure you get the gist. Plus, if Banksy stencils a child on a sidewalk or Damien Hirst dunks a shark in formaldehyde, this is considered Real Art, yet these are also cultural artifacts that could be easily dismissed using the same rationales that people use to dismiss internet culture.

        The thing about “current crowd skews” is that the demographic composition of the internet is rapidly changing. The first people to colonize this space were (I realize these are gross generalizations) introverted analytical middle class white males. Now soccer moms are taking over Facebook. Even the *chans themselves are unrecognizable compared to 5-10 years ago. If you predict that in the not-too-distant future we’ll live in a world where everyone is online, this means everyone will be online, and I highly doubt that memes and norms established by the early adopters will continue to set the tone.

        I also doubt that lolcats are threatening our survival as a species, but to each his own.

      • It’s not really a matter of quality (although I disagree
        about the last 30 years of literature); it’s that Ulysses takes
        elements of the original and truly transforms it, just as Blood
        Meridian transforms its elements. If Homer or Melville were alive,
        it’s highly unlikely they’d win a lawsuit against Joyce or
        McCarthy. However, P & P + Z just takes the original
        wholesale and adds crap. As well, you’re missing the point about
        deviant art. I want to see a world where artists can post their own
        art rather than using other people’s creations to get their foot in
        the door. As it stands, the stuff that was at one point the
        equivalent of playing cover tunes or writing spec scripts for
        sitcoms has become all these artists do. It’s not the lolcats I
        worry about. It’s the memes posted on Facebook that reduce serious
        issues to slogans (“Sandy Hook was faked!” “Obama is a Muslim!”)
        Such things were once relegated to obscure pamphlets; now they’re
        becoming the whole of our discourse.

      • @monkey, as I was scrolling through the comments..and I
        noticed you said ” Such things were once relegated to obscure
        pamphlets; now they’re becoming the whole of our discourse.” Which,
        to me, tells me. You are now noticing and experiencing the changes
        of the tide in time. Where it is so easy for such a single negative
        undertone can set a spark inside the passions of peoples hearts
        that motivates them to do near unspeakable acts of ignorance. A
        artist is able to do just that and visualize, word it, sing it, or
        manipulate it to however their pleasing where the masses can take a
        hold of it. It’s people like Palmer that at least attempts in
        moving a discussion along, unforgettably, she is unable to focus on
        the crux of the problem because she herself is also the very reason
        a problem such as this exist. I agree with the message, she states,
        yes. Her intent, I don’t know the woman personally, so I cannot
        speculate, but somewhere inside me , I feel the right thing is
        being done.

  • Most of these discussions avoid a big elephant in the room, “monetization” by the new businessmen webmasters who get rich off of advertising by exploiting music, photos, videos, writing, etc, and not sharing that income with the creators. Not acknowledging this issue gives cover to these sleazy, unethical distribution businesses. There is a profound moral difference between sharing something with family and friends and distributing, without permission, other people’s files for cash.

    • Thanks for commenting, Joseph, but I think you’ll find quite a few discussions of that particular elephant on this blog and on several others. In particular, The Trichordist and Vox Indie (both on the blogroll) maintain constant pressure on advertisers, including addressing the fact that mainstream ads on these sites legitimize them. Still, thank you for joining the conversation.

    • Advertising income needs to be shared with all creators, the technology exists now, The same data-mining technology that websites like Google and Facebook use to sell your personal information to advertisers could be used to figure out payments to people whose content draws the eyeballs to the internet and generate advertising revenue

  • I agree with you David, the video is fantastic and while I don’t agree with everything she says, I believe her cd debut in the top ten of Billboard, whatever that means, the premise that artists’ should feel comfortable about connecting with fans and asking for support is right on.

    Amanda has proven herself a provocative, and usually savvy communicator, so some of the things she says don’t surprise me. After all she is determined to be hip and cutting edge, like Trent Reznor, and it can get tricky out there. For both of them……

  • I’ll admit that I think Palmer is right about one thing, that asking can be more effective than demanding. An early, surprising example is J.R.R. Tolkien.

    When a flaw in copyright law (and an error on behalf of his publisher) allowed Ace to publish an unauthorized edition of Lord Of The Rings, Tolkien wrote a notice that ran on the back cover of the official editions, basically saying that this was the only edition of which he approved.

    Creators need to assert themselves and tell fans that piracy *hurts* them. Don’t put it in terms of theft; simply point out that when people pirate, nothing goes back to the creator. That way pro piracy advocates cannot point to the same artists* as examples of those who say “pirate our stuff.”

    *Interestingly, both Thom Yorke and Trent Reznor have backed away from their earlier positions…

  • Pingback: Copy Noise | Neil Turkewitz: Again – It’s Not Either/Or

  • Excellent article. As emotionally compelling as Palmer’s act is, it is not an act that works for everyone, because every creator isn’t an actress. She blithely dismisses the concerns of other creators who are too reticent to crowd surf, and go naked, or who don’t have multi-millionaire husbands for financing. According to Palmer, these are things those creators are just going to have to work through. She is too myopic to see beyond her own audience. Her audience is not the audience for everyone. Apparently, her audience thinks writing very bad poems for the Boston bomber is just great. I doubt if John Irving’s audience would find this kind of thing compelling. And I doubt they’d throw him a dollar for it. I doubt even more that he’d ask.

    • David Newhoff

      Thank you very much for reading and commenting, Traci. Sorry for the delay in approving the comment. Usually when comments appear on a post older than a week or two, it’s a SPAM bot.

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