It's not quite nine in the morning. Maybe a half an hour ago, I found out that Amanda Palmer had written a poem for Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the alleged Boston Marathon bomber. Apparently, it was a really shitty poem. I haven't read much of it, and quite honestly I don't really feel like I need to. Within thirty minutes of learning that the poem even existed, I had read three other people's writing about it and how terrible and awful it is and she is for having written it. And now I'm writing about it! But I'm not going to write about how it's terrible, and how Amanda is terrible, because that's not what I'm here for. Also, because I don't really think those things are true. There are enough people talking up a storm about how bad this poem is, and that kind of sucks for Miss Palmer. I don't have a whole lot of experience with Amanda Palmer, or with her work. I quite like what I've heard of both her solo career and the Dresden Dolls, and I think that the song she wrote about playing the ukulele is one of the greatest things in the history of things. I also think she's been at the center of some of the most interesting and thought-provoking artistic movement in the last several years. Not long ago, her Kickstarter campaign attracted praise and ire in what seemed like equal measures. A few months after that, she blew everyone away with her brilliant TED talk. Now, she's in the Internet's crosshairs again, for a fucking poem that she wrote.
Unfortunate doesn't even start to describe it. And I'm not even going to touch on the fact that we're seriously giving this much negative attention to a goddam poem because we think that it is bad.
I don't think Amanda Palmer was being opportunistic or shitty in doing this. I honestly just think she felt something in her heart, and wanted to get it out. What's important, though, is the takeaway from all this.
It kind of seems like Amanda Palmer is, at all times, doing something either very awesome or kind of embarrassing.
This is important. There is a place for this.
I'm kind of a firm believer in the idea that folks are here to teach/show other folks stuff.
Amanda Palmer shows us that it is all important. You don't get to cultivate an awesome rose garden without stepping on a few thorns in the process.
Amanda Palmer is here to show us that "the very thing you're seeking exists because of the whole."
When she does something people don't like, she wears the honor proudly. She's not afraid to have tried and failed, as far as someone else is concerned.
"It only ends once. Anything that happens before that is just progress."
I think more of us should be unafraid of our progress in the way that Amanda Palmer is unafraid of hers.
I think more of us should acknowledge our supposed "missteps."
I mean...if you get to where you want to go, then nothing that happened along the way was really a misstep, was it?