Sometimes the stars align perfectly.

Actor/smirking chimp Zach Braff has brought renewed attention to the practice of wealthy celebrity assholes using Kickstarter to fund their for-profit endeavors by soliciting donations to film a sequel to the unbearable Garden State. Braff, who makes over $350,000 per episode (!!!) on his sitcom and netted over $36 million in box office revenue alone for Garden State, admits that he has traditional funding offers for the sequel. But why spend your own money when you can spend someone else's? Braff claims to want "artistic control" over casting and editing, hence avoiding studio funding. And then he offers speaking roles to anyone who donates $10,000.

Palmer, whose own Kickstarter crimes are extensive – claiming that she needed $100,000 to record an album, raising $1.1 million, and then soliciting unpaid volunteer musicians (to play shows people would pay to get into) because she claimed she could not afford to pay them. Wow, you'd think a successful recording artist with a multimillionaire author spouse could afford to pay a couple of touring musicians! But you just don't understand the music biz.

Now, Palmer is back in the headlines with her latest desperate grab for attention, a "poem" called "A Poem for Dzhokhar," about the Boston Marathon suspect. She shared this masterpiece on her website, closing with a donation button "for her time and effort" despite admitting that it took "about 9 minutes" to write.

Since Ms. Palmer is such a fan of crowdsourcing and brazen internet attention grabs, I'm sure she'll be the first to donate to my experimental documentary film project, The Slapping of Amanda Palmer.

What it is: A short film documenting the planning and execution of a journey across the country wherein I locate Amanda Palmer and slap her across the face with a glove. As a contingency plan only, I may slap her with an open hand if the glove fails.

Fundraising goal: $100,000

+$15,000 for first class travel and luxury hotel accommodations
+$35,000 for high end cameras (operated by volunteers)
+$10,000 for handmade artisanal calfskin slapping glove
+$20,000 for six months of slap training with certified masters in slapkido and Advanced Combat Slapping (ACS)
+$20,000 for my time and creative efforts

Reward levels (the Kickstarter page is still being verified)
$100: A signed photo of Ed plotting to slap Amanda Palmer.
$500: A non-slapping role in the film. Donor must pay for own travel costs.
$1000: Donor will receive the opportunity to pose for pictures behind the slapped poetess/artist/musician after I subject her to slapping.
$5000: A private dinner and one-on-one slapping session with the director/star/producer of this documentary. Donors are guaranteed at least one clean, unobstructed slap.
$10,000: Six weeks of intensive training in Slap-kido and Advanced Combat Slapping (ACS) with master practitioners at their desert retreat near Kingman, AZ. The music of Enya plays over loudspeakers at all times throughout the experience.

Thanks in advance for your support! I'll send you a link as soon as the Kickstarter is processed and approved. In the meantime, buy some artwork or a bumper sticker! No matter what, just keep sending money. People like Amanda and I are important and we deserve it.


  • Serious question: if I donate $100, can I get a signed picture of you plotting to slap Amanda Palmer?

  • I don't get the hate on for Kickstarter I've been seeing around lately. Apparently a lot of people think of it as a charity thing? It doesn't seem like it's ever been that to me. I mean, most of the time in the massively successful projects, it's a bunch of people pre-purchasing something they would have happily bought at retail, but probably wouldn't have been able to unless the maker got the money in advance to pay for manufacturing.

    Have you actually looked at Palmer's kickstarter project? The majority of supporters paid $25 to get a deluxe CD set and "art booklet". That's what fans do, and I doubt any of them felt they didn't get what they paid for.

    Kickstarter, admittedly, does also allow for more of an art patronage model. But why should you have to be a millionaire to be allowed to have the fun of supporting people whose work you like?

    If there's any evidence that kickstarter supporters are more likely to feel ripped off than any other group of consumers, I'd be curious to see it.

  • And Ed grabs the wrong end of the stick again.
    Amanda Palmer never claimed she couldn't afford the musicians. She put out a call to anyone who thought it might be fun to play on a song or two. Those people would get into the gig free, hang with the band and play a couple of minutes of backing music on their autoharp/trombone/bagpipes/whatever.
    The response to that call was"'Hell yeah! Exposure plus hang with the band plus meet Amanda plus free gig and beer? Where do I sign?"
    All of the griping comes from people who were never going to be invited on that stage anyway. People like yourself who labor under the delusion that she doesn't pay her musicians (clue – she does, and she even retained them on contract when her tour was postponed).
    She is now paying those amateur musicians who appear on stage for less than 5 minutes, and they don't want that money. All because of whiny internet no-nothings who can't be bothered to fact-check.
    And the moans about the Million plus raised on Kickstarter? Everyone got what they pre-paid for. That's right – everyone on the Kickstarter was pre-buying an album or artwork or tickets to a gig or their own private Amanda Palmer gig. They BOUGHT stuff and Amanda's organisation has to PROVIDE stuff. The money wasn't a fucking donation, it was a transaction.

  • colin r: She didn't pay her musicians, except as an afterthought, even though she had plenty of money to do so.

    I live in Nashville, where my neighbors are session musicians. They get paid. When we have extra musicians at my church for Easter, they get paid.

    Musicians work their whole lives to reach professional level. So they can get paid.

    Years ago, my neighbor the bass player worked at the outlet mall, selling shirts. He got hired into the band of a well-loved singer-songwriter. He doesn't sell shirts anymore, because that well-loved singer-songwriter understands the value of a brilliant backing band, and is willing to pay them a living wage.

    This has fuck-all to do with Kickstarter, and everything to do with Amanda Palmer's disdain for music as a profession for anyone except her own special snowflake self.

  • And Ed grabs the wrong end of the stick again, said the holder of the wrong end.

    Those people would get into the gig free, hang with the band and play a couple of minutes of backing music on their autoharp/trombone/bagpipes/whatever.

    So, she's the new Arthur Godfrey?

    She is now paying those amateur musicians….

    The operative word being "amateur."

  • Hamletta,
    You obviously didn't read the facts. Her full time band (Grand Theft Orchestra) were paid full-time wages for the whole tour, and for the time in the recording studio. The previously unpaid musicians were people who wanted to get up on stage with the real band for a song or two. They ALL volunteered for no money. The fact that they are now getting paid is an unwanted bonus just to shut up the internet know-nothing haters.
    Tell me, if you were handed the opportunity to get up and sing/dance/play on stage with an artist you admired would YOU be whipping out a contract and calculating industry scale for 3 minutes? Should we pay anyone that is invited up on stage to boogie around during a band's danciest number? How about the audience members asked to sing along to a song?

  • Actually, I do in fact believe she said she couldn't afford to pay the volunteers. Also, she didn't just let anyone come up on stage. There was a form of tryouts. She had fully trained and skilled people doing a lot of the work for free. She only paid them because people bitched that she didn't. And I'm sure none of them felt ripped off by not being paid. Part of the problem is the "work for nothing" thing deflates the value of other performers. Another part is, she was using their talent and time FOR PROFIT. And part of the donations was to pay for the tour to support the album. Instead, she spent a large quantity of that money paying off debts she accrued because she's too stupid to live within her pretty substantial means.
    Also, it's "know-nothings."
    Amanda Palmer is an awful person and absolutely full of herself. She' sold herself on the idea that she is this brilliant ARTISTE! and everyone who doesn't see it is deluded or just dumb.
    She told people who thought her Boston Bomber poem was shitty that they need to read it again because they just don't get it. It's literally the first poem that is objectively bad.
    Also, just for fun, I'd like to point out that during one of her shows she fake raped a Katy Perry look-alike.

  • Oh, and I just checked Ed's claim that Amanda was asking for donations for her effort – wrong. There was a request to donate to the Boston Fund. The other 'Donate' button is the standard footer that most bloggers have for the occasional fundraising, a way to give a few coins toward someone you appreciate. Go look – FFS, even the article linked to here says that she did it for free.

  • "we’re looking for professional-ish horns and strings . . . basically, you get to BE the opening ACT! . . . you’d need to show up for a quickie rehearsal . . ."

    Hey, guess what. When you book professional-ish talent to be the opening act and require a rehearsal, you're acting as an employer. And when people do that work without compensation, it makes it impossible for people who require compensation to do that work.

    "It's the amateurs who make it tough for the professionals . . . The problem is that there are so god damned many writers who have no idea that they're supposed to be paid every time they do something, they do it for nothing . . . I don't take a piss without getting paid for it"

  • "Actually, I do in fact believe she said she couldn't afford to pay the volunteers."
    And when I see a citation for that I'll believe you.

    "Also, she didn't just let anyone come up on stage. There was a form of tryouts."
    What? She actually vetted people who claimed they could play? And then expected them to be able to follow stage blocking? Good Lord, whatever will happen next?

    "She only paid them because people bitched that she didn't."
    Which people? Oh, that's right – the "We Hate Amanda Palmer" Club. Not the people actually on stage.

    "And I'm sure none of them felt ripped off by not being paid."
    Nice to know you're SURE, but you'd be better off being RIGHT.

    "Another part is, she was using their talent and time FOR PROFIT"
    Oh, so everyone in the audience wouldn't have bought a ticket if those volunteers hadn't tootled out their 3 minutes of music? Maybe the volunteers should all get together and go on tour, with that sort of drawing power?

    " And part of the donations was to pay for the tour to support the album. Instead, she spent a large quantity of that money paying off debts she accrued because she's too stupid to live within her pretty substantial means."
    Errrm, you do know that the ticket sales for the tour pay for the tour, don't you? The pre-bought tickets? And that second statement needs some seriously well respected citation or you're spouting shit.

    "Also, it's "know-nothings."
    Irrelevant to the discussion, so you don't gain any cred points.

    "Amanda Palmer is an awful person and absolutely full of herself. She' sold herself on the idea that she is this brilliant ARTISTE! and everyone who doesn't see it is deluded or just dumb."
    So someone doesn't like a poem? So what? I hate Wordsworth but I don't get to arbitrate on whether his poetry is good. Opinions and assholes. And that "awful person" is an accomplished singer, musician, entertainer, artist, writer etc and has been given her own TED Talk. Something smells like hurt fee-fees.

    "Also, just for fun, I'd like to point out that during one of her shows she fake raped a Katy Perry look-alike."
    Irrelevant again, and actually mildly funny if you were there. And if I was going to point to an "awful person" then Katy Perry might be 'it'.

  • Death Panel Truck says:

    And just how long have you been Amanda Palmer's paid PR flack, SimonC?

    Or has she crowdsourced that task, too?

  • Ahh. So rape is funny as long as the victim is right. That's an abominable opinion you have there. No wonder you don't have a problem with Palmer

  • Not a flack by any stretch, just someone who has followed her music for close to 10 years and someone who has friends in common with her. I also personally know a few of the musicians that worked with her in Australia. None of them have made any complaints about her. In fact they all seem to like working with her.
    Either she really is an evil, scheming monstrous bitch who can hide it at will from ALL of the people around her OR someone started an internet slander campaign 'cos they really don't like her. Occam's Razor tells me the 2nd is more likely.

  • Wow, that is a REALLY, REALLY high horse you're sitting on, DBP! So high that you can't read all of the other relevant-to-the-issue information that I put in my post. Strange that you can still see the irrelevancies though.
    Just admit it – you hate her and you wish bad things for her and she annoys the hell out of you. You'll feel better for it and you'll save all that time spent looking at internet articles trying to make them say bad things about her.

  • Death Panel Truck says:

    "Just admit it – you hate her and you wish bad things for her and she annoys the hell out of you. You'll feel better for it and you'll save all that time spent looking at internet articles trying to make them say bad things about her."

    Paid or not, you're a flack.

  • "'Actually, I do in fact believe she said she couldn't afford to pay the volunteers.'
    And when I see a citation for that I'll believe you."

    "Ms. Palmer also said that she could not afford to pay the extra musicians she requests, a string quartet and three or four sax and brass players. The cost, she said, would be around $35,000 for all the tour dates."

    There's your fucking citation, Simon. Now fuck off and go back to your disgusting personality cult.

  • "People like yourself who labor under the delusion that she doesn't pay her musicians"

    Bullshit. She was publicly shamed into paying the extra musicians. People who are publicly shamed into doing the right thing are still, deep down, horrible people.

    As for her Vogon poetry, let's not forget that at the top of that page she's flogging her new single. Again, because she's a horrible person who thinks exploiting a recent tragedy is totally cool.

    "Just admit it – you hate her and you wish bad things"

    I don't hate anybody. I hate her music though (judging by live videos she's incapable of singing in tune). I hate her obvious narcissism. I hate how she treats her followers like sheep instead of actual people. I hate her "poetry." I hate her husband's terrible writing. I hate her constant, desperate, child-like need for attention. I hate her inability to accept genuine criticism and instead convert it into "ZOMG U DON'T UNDERSTAND MY ART!"

    Hate her, the person? Far from it. My life is much richer and more amusing with her in it. She's basically a walking trainwreck/LOL factory.

  • Ed, you and I disagree so very much about Kickstarter and how it's being used, and about Amanda Palmer. If obnoxious posts like this are the price for your normal brilliance, I'll continue to sigh and give you a pass for this area we don't see things the same way.

  • Eric the infrequent says:

    Imagine that, not agreeing with everything a blogger writes.

    I don't much care about Braff or Palmer, nor do I think they make Kickstarter a horrible thing. BSNYC is another blog I read and he loves to shred kickstarter projects as well, though on the other end it seems( as in not already wealthy douches scrabbling for more). Kickstand Kickstarter is merely a tool and not surprisingly tools use it to be tools. Donating money to Palmer is really much like shopping at Wal-Mart.

  • Amanda Palmer always strikes me as like one of those people that one of your friends likes and no one can work out why, and they keep being invited to social things where they're just not smart, or funny, or nice, or interesting enough to keep up with the conversation, and are reduced to desperate stunting to hold everyone's attention.

    That Katy Perry thing was a hot mess, although the thing that really gave me second hand embarassment over the breakfast table this morning was her cover of Me and a Gun. Not that I don't think you can't cover someone's very personal, autobiographical song about being raped, but it struck me as incredibly awkward that Tori Amos is old friends with Palmer's husband and that maybe she didn't ask or discuss it with this person who is half in her life?

  • "no one can work out why"

    My theory is that she validates a certain kind of junior high-school, drama-club nerd form of self-obsession.

    Nothing wrong with drama-club nerds (I was more of a computer game/sci-fi nerd myself). But most people grow out of it. Most people are very happy to have grown out of it.

  • Kickstarter is pretty much the endgame of American captialism: rubes paying already-wealthy content producers for the privilege of getting to buy more product from them in the future.

  • Wow – I didn't think anyone could write a post about Amanda Palmer and come off as less sympathetic than her, but my hat's off to you. Nice work, joking about assaulting a woman for saying/doing something offensive.

  • Good job, Ed! It's always nice to see the comments section get into a good back-and-forth like this. I don't know or care about either this Braff or this Amanda person, not being a TV-watcher or much up on pop culture beyond what the kids link for me, but still, your project sounds worthy to me. Put me down for $5 when you get around to doing this kickstarter thingy. If nothing else, it will get you out into the fresh air and doing some travelling and having a chance to meet new people. Don't forget to take lots of pictures!

  • Yeah. I am so not getting the Kickstarter hate. It's probably the best anti-corporate tool out there.

    Here are some examples:

    I pledged to a community radio station that needed to buy new equipment. In return, I got a beer glass and a community radio station.

    I pledged to help a local guy start a brewery in my town. Now, I get $9.99 growlers of great, local beer at the co-op.

    I pledged to fund a video game by a group of guys who haven't made games since the 90s, because the big studios have no interest in what they do. When it is finished, I get a video game the like of which I haven't played in decades.

    I pledged to a local children's museum to help it buy playground equipment. In return, I got a t-shirt.

    Without those pledges and Kickstarter, none of this would happen. The entire point of Kickstarter comes from the fact that corporations, banks and venture capitalists have a very narrow view of what is "profitable", and absolutely refuse to fund small-scale local projects for niche audiences.

  • @Will

    I don't have strong feelings about it at all, but it seems unseemly for people who presumably have access to other sources of development funds to be pulling focus from other projects on Kickstarter. I've pledged to projects on Kickstarter and been very happy with the things I've enabled and received.

    Veronica Mars sourcing funding on Kickstarter feels equivalent to big NGOs muscling smaller NGOs out of the way. They may also be doing something that is 'good' (for whatever value of 'good') but it has an air of suboptimality.

  • Come on, Ed, what's wrong with you? A film making a good fucking point in a funny and relevant way … culminating in an act of violence against a woman? Even when the woman is one of America's foremost assholes, this is not cool. I'd rethink it.

  • ladiesbane says:

    I love Kickstarter because I love community projects such as San Jose Taiko and they are often underfunded. Having an easy way to contribute directly to things I like is awesome. I also used to be in a writer's group with an author who had won major awards but couldn't afford to quit her nursing job and write full time, since the money her book made went 90% to the publisher and 5% to her agent. And then there are editorial cartoonists, who are going the way of the passenger pigeon (apologies to anyone who isn't a fan of Ghost Dog — I always hear it in that guy's voice.) Kickstarter is keeping some of them alive now that newspapers are dying. It's an alternative way to fund things, not a cult. Don't like it? Don't buy it.

    As for Amanda Palmer, who is a low-talent personality cultist / performance artist, all I can say is: do not slap a pathological attention seeker. You will never get rid of her.

  • I never did have any strong feelings whatsoever toward Kickstarter, Ms. Palmer, or Z. Braff, but I am now eternally nauseated by that shitstain of a "poem" about Dzhokhar (or about whatever it's REALLY about, because apparently I'm not clever enough to GET it, man). It's like, how do I turn this completely prosaic streak of humdrum bullshit into pure poetry? I know, I'll just put each sentence on its own line! Genius, how DOES she do it?

    Now I'm straight-up vexed and my day hasn't really even started yet.

  • Bravo, Ed. Your finest post in a while. I would gladly pay $100 for a photo of you plotting to slap Amanda Palmer.

  • I would gladly pay $100 for a photo of you plotting to slap Amanda Palmer.

    I would too. Hopefully there would be some twirling of moustaches.

    If it's helpful, I can recommend some books on violence against women for those upthread who are confusing slapstick with coercive control.

  • The Amanda Palmer thing didn't really bother me. The music industry is shit and if someone wants to control their music then they'd either be a superstar (which she's not) or convince fans to fund. If it Taylor Swift pulled this, that would be a different issue for me.

    Zach Braff is closer to Taylor Swift than Amanda Palmer. What Braff did was abusing Kickstarter so that he wouldn't be on the line for any financing and he can play artist. He wants to make a sequel that had studio backing and turned it down, which is irritating and in my mind, an abuse of Kickstarter.

    Kristen Bell's Veronica Mars campaign somewhat bothered me because she wanted to make a movie out of canceled television show. It's what Whedon did with Firefly and Serenity except Bell couldn't get a studio to back the project. So she went to the fans, who turned out in droves. If a fan is willing to pay twice (or three times if you count buying the DVD) to back a film and then see the film, it's weird but it's okay.

  • I see this dynamic a lot, and I think you should think about it, Ed. The person who pissed you off is Zachary Braff; he got you rolling. Now you're mad. You are reminded of Amanda Palmer, who you believe did a similar thing. You could make a movie of yourself slapping either of them, but Braff is the catalyst (today). But you unconsciously choose to go for getting violent with the female, the less threatening of the two physically. I think a lot of guys do this- get mad at a guy, but get violent (even in ideation) with a gal. Because there is less threat of harm to self. Nevertheless, it makes you an abuser and a bully.

  • "If it's helpful, I can recommend some books on violence against women for those upthread who are confusing slapstick with coercive control."

    Yeah, it's those unfunny feminists ruining it for everyone again. Why can't they get the joke? Slapping a woman because you disagree with her is funny humor, and making a video game out of it is even funnier because then you can do it over and over again and she can't fight back. Why didn't I see it before?

  • @Orpho

    I am a feminist, with a good 12 years experience of working around violence against women, and had a childhood that hit pretty much every square on the violence against women bingo card.

    You are completely entitled to think that there is no such thing as a joke that includes male-female violence and isn't oppressive, sexist bullshit. You are completely entitled to think that such jokes invariably and always, no matter what or who they mock, are offensive and contribute to a culture in which violence against women is not taken seriously. It's a philosophically defensible position, and you should make it as loudly as and often as you want. I just don't agree with it.

    I'm reminded (and sorry for those of you who may have heard this before) about a minor argument that broke out in my therapy group for child abuse survivors. There had just been a massive panic in the UK about the Brass Eye pedophilia episode. Some women in the group were extremely upset by the show and the fact that it was aired at all. I thought it was hilarious, because it wasn't mocking us or our experience, it was mocking ridiculous stranger-panic and the hideous saccharine platitudes that surround children's experience of violence. The feelings of the women in the group were completely valid, but I think mine were too. (I get that this isn't a directly analogy, in that Ed isn't lambasting people who would plot to slap Ms Palmer with a glove, so much as mocking Kickstarter through the medium of argumentum ad absurdum that includes a violent trope.)

    I thought that the video that sought to silence, threaten, and (simultaneously) minimise the range of other threats of violence made to Anita Sarkeesian was textbook misogyny. I think Ed's plan (+$10,000 for handmade artisanal calfskin slapping glove) is campily amusing.


    Now that that's out of the way, I realize you're employing hyperbole for humorous effect (a novel concept to a significant number of commenters, apparently), but I would be curious to see how much this Kickstarter actually got.

  • @Elle, very well put.

    As an attorney who's counseled victims of domestic violence I understand the issue quite well. Ed is quite obviously proposing that Amanda Palmer be slapped because she is obnoxious and entitled, not because she's a woman. I trust that Ed would eagerly propose slapping Zach Braff as well. One could argue that any approval of any act of violence against any woman, however ludicrous and in jest, ratifies somehow, or contributes to, our culture of not taking the issue of violence seriously, but I just disagree.

  • How about this, people: what if Ed offers to slap BOTH Zach Braff and Amanda Palmer. Is that sufficient to unknot your underoos?

    I think Kickstarter can be great but as Eric the Infrequent notes, there are a lot of tools out there using that tool. There is plenty to mock on the Kickstarter, that's for sure. I do like that an Amanda Palmer defender showed up early and stayed strong. It's clear that the Amanda Palmer Defense Force is ON IT.

  • The point about asking people to work for free devaluing that same work is spot on. Thank you commentariat.

  • …Am I the only one here who read this post and said, "Who the fuck is Amanda Palmer and why should I care?"

  • As I understand it, Kickstarter contributions are more like pre-purchasing a product than they are a straight donation. If that's the case, then the money that's going to producing the movie is, essentially, being taken directly out of DVD sales and the like following the movie's release.

    If that's the case, then Zach Braff isn't actually soaking his fans for money. He's just changing the point in the production cycle they're purchasing their DVD, and as a side effect, he doesn't need as much money from other sources to make the movie in the first place.

    Higher contributions appear to get more. While it is equally possible to "crowdsource" a more traditional funding model (where the producers buy into a share of the profits), I don't think using Kickstarter in this way is particularly exploitative.

  • I found myself feeling a bit of a po faced, lemon sucking wowser on this.
    I see the joke. I get the joke.
    But it's all a bit Hipster Hitler for me.

  • I once sat next to Amanda Palmer at a musical version of A Clockwork Orange. She didn't strike me as annoying at the time.

    From this experience, I can safely conclude that Ed is Satan.

  • This is at least the third post where Ed has demonstrated that he really, truly doesn't have the faintest clue how Kickstarter works.

  • Spiffy McBang says:

    @Elle: When the joke involves something reprehensible, but isn't actually about the reprehensible thing, I agree that it's probably fine. For example, I always thought the Penny Arcade guys got a raw deal from people complaining about their Dickwolves comic; it involves a prisoner saying he gets "raped to sleep every night by the dickwolves", but the joke is about MMO quests and how weird it is to save five people because that's the goal and not anyone else you run past.

    But this… just doesn't work the same way. I went back and read it again, only I replaced Ed with his lesbian friend Sally doing the slapping, and it became way funnier. It wouldn't even matter if Sally was way bigger than Ed. I just don't see the slapstick-ness when it's him doing the slapping, even though I know it's supposed to be there.

  • purpleplatypus says:

    "Apparently a lot of people think of it as a charity thing? It doesn't seem like it's ever been that to me."

    Anyone who thinks that has even less of a clue about Kickstarter than Ed does, possibly including Ed. Kickstarter's terms explicitly FORBID using it for charity work.

  • @Spiffy McBang

    I had the same reading as you of the Dickwolves comic, but I'm aware that my reading lacked the context of the many female gamers who play MMOs and hear the word 'rape' used as a synonym for 'pwned' on a depressingly regular basis. They viewed that strip through a fog of microaggression, and I thought that the response Penny Arcade made was unnecessarily unhelpful and dismissive of that eminently reasonable point.

    To return to the comments above, I think that "a real man never hits a woman" is a construct of modern-day chivalry, which itself offers sexist constructions of masculinity and femininity, rather than being anti-sexist. It obscures the possibility of female boxers, female MMA fighters, Brienne from Game of Thrones, Snoop from The Wire, and having a childish slap-fight with your husband after chasing each other round the house in pursuit of Sunday afternoon silliness.

    A lot of domestic abuse involves violence, or the threat of violence, but it's possibly for physical harm to be completely absent in relationships in which enormous amounts of coercive control are brought to bear. For example, if a man never hits his wife but does demand to see evidence that she's menstruating before providing her with her monthly allocation of tampons then she is being denied agency in a way that is clearly abusive. (This is surprisingly common. I sometimes wonder if abusers having some kind of newsletter in which they share tips of horrifically demeaning things to do to other people.)

    Zeroing in on violence as a trope, and disregarding the context it sits within, is not especially helpful if we consider the broader anti-sexist, anti-violence against women task of being able to identify where women are being denied agency. I'm totally unimpressed by people who proffer any variant of "real men don't hurt women" while being casually, persistently sexist. Ed is not a paragon of virtue, and he has the same number of blind spots that we all do, but some of the above comments suggest that they haven't read the many, many, many posts he's written that critique rape culture (even as he abjures that phrase) and sexism and sexist comedy. Sometimes on the internet we come in at a mid-point in the discussion, but I think it behoves us to consider that we may not be fully up to speed before we use a cartoon-esque piece of humour as justification for calling someone an abuser.

    This comment is way too long, sorry, and I think it may have been helpful if I'd made my perspective clear at the start before being snarky.

  • Elle: I've been reading Ed's blog for a long time; I know he's not anti-woman; I would never begin to accuse him of being an abusive toward women. I don't think his idea proposes or promotes abuse of women.

    AND YET, I still think the slapping Amanda idea is a bad idea. It will look bad, it will defeat its own end, and he should rethink it.

    (BTW, a whole lot of slapstick was rooted in social norms we find appalling today, and we're right; the fact that we don't do minstrel shows anymore doesn't mean we've lost our sense of humor.)

  • AND YET, I still think the slapping Amanda idea is a bad idea. It will look bad, it will defeat its own end, and he should rethink it.

    You get that Ed isn't really setting up the Kickstarter describe above, right?

  • I'm sorry, I can't tell if you're being sarcastic. If I'm being a patronising dick to you when you're just being super dry then may I offer you sincere apologies.

  • No, I wasn't being sarcastic. I would have seen the joke if I had bothered to read to the end, but I didn't, I guess because it wasn't funny … which involves a whole different kind of criticism of Ed.

    Sorry, Ed. I'm a big fan, really!

  • @According2:

    "From this experience, I can safely conclude that Ed is Satan."

    What, just from this? Only now, at the end, do you understand…

  • Andrew Laurence says:

    One of the things about free market capitalism is that if you can get people to give you money when you already have a shitload of money, you are free to do so. If you don't like it, don't participate. Kickstarter is not a charity.

  • In any relatively free country, including Norway, Sweden, Japan, and Venezuela, you are free to give money to whomever you want. It has nothing at all to do with "free market capitalism." Free market capitalism only means that the ownership class gets its slice off the top of everything, while contributing absolutely nothing of value.

  • It's amazing to me that such a witty and trenchant writer as Ed can churn out shit like this post. Come the fuck on, man. This is stupid.

    In all these posts one idea always shines through: Palmer's husband is rich, therefore Palmer doesn't deserve to earn her own money. Yup, Neal Gaiman is rich, therefore Palmer would just… what, become a hausfrau? Stop trying to make money from her own work? WTF?

    Pledging to Kickstarter is no different from any other monetary transaction. The pledger gives money and gets something in return. Why the fuck does this basic aspect of capitalism become eeeeevil when the timing gets shifted around a bit? Buying albums at the store is just fine, but preordering them through Kickstarter isn't? That's incoherent.

    And yeah, it's more than a little fucked up that Zach Braff pissed you off and it inspired you to have a ragegasm at your pet hatred. Just admit it: you have an irrational hatred for Palmer and can't resist telling the world about it. The only person you've succeeded in making look bad here is you, Ed.

  • Any moron that would perform/play for free under those circumstances needs a protracted slapping as well…

  • Using your own money is for chumps. Begging for funding for projects is how the rich stay rich. This is yet another reason to raise that highest marginal tax rate.

    I would totally buy tickets to this movie, even if you never end up getting close enough to Palmer to even see her. I will not, however, help you fund it beforehand.

  • And after reading the comments, Ed, you can pad out the film with a section on whether or not slapping Palmer in this case is a perpetuation of violence against women. You could include counseling sessions that you go to with various feminists to get to the root of why you want to slap Palmer particularly, if your feeling is isolated to women, and if you couldn't also slap Braff as well. Adding Braff as a slapee would add tension to the movie (ok, now I have to find out where Zach Braff is and how to get close to him, and I'm only a month away from my arbitrarily imposed slapping deadline).

    I predict a major hit on the film festival circuit.

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