Update 01.09.13: A followup blog has been posted and can be found HERE. Please only read once you’ve read the following.
ho my good lord, blogging is incredible.
when i posted this “on internet hatred” blog a few days ago, i expected responses, but i didn’t expect OVER A THOUSAND, and i didn’t expect it to blossom into such a beautiful, deep, big conversation.
here’s the think i find so fascinating, for the first time, people (off this blog) are really realizing that the CONTENT IS IN THE COMMENTS.
it’s not ME. it’s YOU. you, and you, and you, and you.
i love blogging with comments for this reason:
sometimes i am just the container, you are the content.
and you are some deep, smart, articulate motherfuckers. you are.
i am ecstatic, to say the least, to be of service in this way, i think it’s an incredible honor to be able to host a conversation.
it’s like…i could be a random person given a giant government grant to start an “online space for conversation about x”, but how the fuck do you actually get people on the internet to focus and discuss something with each other? you can’t force it, and you can’t control it. i write and perform songs and blogs that people relate to, and so they’re willing to share a little more, say a little more, and help a little more on this particular corner of the internet than….somewhere else. it is what it is. i don’t take it for granted for a single second. i just want to point to it and say: i know it’s rare and special.
i’m really grateful for you.
i’m technically a musician…and i wound up hosting a conversation between hundreds of people about a topic that has nothing to do with music. but this is why i made music in the first place. to connect, and to be a container for connection. if you don’t know this about me yet, you do now. it’s what i love, and i love that it is as RANDOM and UNCONTROLLABLE as it is.
blogging can be incredibly rock and roll.
i love that i never know what’s going to happen. and man, when it’s good, it’s so good.
since i posted that blog, i’ve seen people helping each other, talking to each other, confessing to each other, sharing links, stories, and pictures with each other.
i passed along a link from @TheBloggess on twitter last night, to IMAlive.org (@_IMAlive). they’re the world’s first virtual crisis center (with 100% of their volunteers trained and certified in crisis intervention), and a girl told me i’d posted it at just the right time. a deluge of other followers cheered her up. it’s a tsunami of goodness and compassion in a sea of dickheads. it’s a collective breath of fresh air.
someone who knew amanda todd’s mother connected us, and she tweeted me. we’re now talking to each other, and she’s going to post MY blog on HER blog.
how amazing is that?
she also told me that the photo that i posted of amanda todd isn’t actually her amanda todd. i’d google-image-d it, but it was bunk.
this is amanda….(and i’ve fixed/swapped the picture in the original blog).
this is amanda todd:
here’s the best one.
yesterday, salon.com, a legit web news/commentary outlet, ran a piece about the blog, written by mary elizabeth williams:
she really seemed to understand that the content and the story was in the conversation. she writes:
“In just two days, the answers to that post have become a lively, moving group project, a stampede of replies full of poignant reminders of the power of our words for both harm and healing.”
it absolutely fucking thrilled me to see that the majority of quotes in the article were pulled not from me, but from actual comments posted on the blog.
the comments themselves, which were so brave, compassionate, well-written (even poetic in some cases), and generally enlightened, were finally being hailed as a phenomenon in themselves. not ME, but US. THIS.
when i say WE ARE THE MEDIA, this is what i mean.
the internet can be the most empowering tool in the world to create a level playing field of voices, as long as the voices are sane, articulate, believable.
it is for this reason that i am so happy that i’m in the position – at the fame level – that i am.
if i were a mega-pop star (like gaga, bieber, madonna, bono, etc) i’d be unable to host.
the party would be too big, too personal…too out of control. i’d throw out a conversation and the feedback would have a signal-to-noise ratio that would be impossible to dig through. but i’m lucky enough – we’re lucky enough – to be in a cult-y enough community that we have reach AND substance. jesus, i’m starting to feel like i’m at a marketing meeting. but do you get what i mean? i think you do.
anyway, the plot thickens….stay with me. it gets good.
later in the evening, i read a great and poetically-related email-blast from bob lefsetz.
he’s a blogger who blogs via email; he sends 20-40 emails a month to a list called “the lefsetz letter” and basically acts as an opinionated commentator and connector in the music business world. many musicians, managers, agents, and other music biz folks read his letter and email him. he re-prints & replies to many emails that he receives and keeps the conversation flowing like a pro. he writes:
“I’m not gonna write a book.
Not a day goes by that I don’t get that e-mail. Well, at least multiple times a week. People think that will give me the imprimatur of success, will cement my credibility!
But the bottom line is I already reach more people than just about every author alive and if I took time out to write something new, I wouldn’t be able to do this.
You see I love the connection. Even more I love the writing. This is what I do. I’m not gonna change it for some old wave wankers who’ve got no idea what’s going on.
You want to talk about a challenged business… If you think music is bad, you’ve got to look at books. The quantities they sell are paltry. They don’t know who their readers are. If you think musicians are loath to social network, you don’t know any authors. They want to hang at home, preferably writing in longhand or on a Smith-Corona, thinking there is fulfillment and joy in doing it the old way. But not a one of them doesn’t complain that he doesn’t have more readers. That’s the nature of art, you want more people to be exposed to it.
And now you can do this, but the old pros refuse to. Don Henley refuses to participate online, won’t tweet, won’t comment, yet he’s one of the most erudite and opinionated musicians alive. Huh? What’s the problem Don? You afraid of the haters?
Oh, they’re legion. They come out of obscurity to eviscerate you and then go back into their holes, wearing the cloak of anonymity all the while. But if you’re not bobbing in the cesspool online you’re not even playing. It’s like refusing to be on AM radio in the sixties. Huh? That’s where all the people are!
Some days I write great stuff, and sometimes my work is mediocre. By my standards anyway. I’m never bad. You know why? I’ve done it too much. That’s your 10,000 hours right there. But although my audience likes good, they don’t really erupt until I create great. Which no one can do on a regular basis. So I keep pushing the rock uphill, waiting for inspiration, waiting to create incredible so my computer starts ringing like a pinball machine and I’ve got a euphoria…that lasts until the end of the day if I’m lucky. Then it’s back to the salt mines to create something new.
And that’s my philosophy. I don’t believe in selling, I believe in creating.”
(read the rest of his email HERE)
i was amazed at the a-propos-ness of bob’s letter and what as going on with my amanda-todd-bully blog, and i was in bed, diddling on my phone.
i started to write an email to bob, and i wanted to include the salon.com article, to show him how incredibly much the world is changing, to show him how much i revel in and love my own conversation on this corner of the net, and how legitimately powerful the voices of the people were becoming.
i googled “amanda palmer salon” on my phone so i could include the article link, assuming that the article would pop right up.
but it didn’t. instead, the top search result was a different salon.com article i vaguely remembered from the time of the kerfuffle.
the article was literally titled “amanda palmer still doesn’t get it” and had choice quotes like “…she came off looking like she was asking for freebies after being handed a million dollars”….just the sort of articles that were driving me bonkers in the fall when i felt totally misunderstood and targeted and bullied by journalists from every corner of the internet who wanted to join the amanda-palmer-hate-fest, with no understanding of who i was, what i was about, what my fans and community and background were.
here’s the kicker: it was the SAME journalist.
mary elizabeth williams.
the same one who had (in my humble opinion) missed the boat so utterly with her last article – the very article which was adding fuel to the very fire burning down my psychic house towards the end of last year. when i was on the floor this fall, getting kicked in the hallway between lunch and recess, she was my very own bully.
and here she is, trumpeting the blog.
wait, it gets better still.
i read down the comments of HER article, the one in which she was applauding my new blog & the beautiful commenters.
and the writer herself was getting slammed in her OWN comments section.
i don’t read salon.com, and i haven’t read any of her other articles…but i pieced together from her detractors that she’d been historically slammed in her own comments section hard enough to tell her readers that she was no longer reading comments.
my own bully had been bullied.
the top commented-upon story on my internet-hate blog from friday was this one, and to me, it brings everything full-circle.
it was from a girl named shannon, who talks about being fat and bullied one year in school by a boy named austin, and later in the school year, austin, her bully, killed himself.
“Austin’s death broke my heart, but it made me open my eyes. What if I had tried to just talk to him? Would it have made any difference? Probably not. But at the end of the day, we’re all human. We’re all broken in a way, and we’re just trying to feel whole. I try to understand where people are coming from, even if they are being horrible to me.
When I would get those mean messages online, I would instantly retaliate with something equally terrible and soul-crushing. After Austin, I didn’t do that. Sure, I can be an asshole at times when I’m caught up in the moment, but that’s most people. When you type something out to someone, you can’t take it back.”
are we getting the message here?
you can go further and further down the rabbit hole of pain, it never ends.
while driving over the weekend, i heard this quote by gandhi on NPR in relation to something else, but it hit the fucking nail on the head.
he was the most non-violent motherfucker in the world.
“First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.”
so here’s what.
as long as we keep talking, as long as we keep listening, as long as we don’t hit back, but remember that everybody is dealing with their own pain, their own suffering….we’re winning.
stay with me.
p.s. if you’re reading this right now, i’ve since posted a follow-up blog…part 3. it’s HERE.