On Our Radar: Mindy Kaling Backlash, Fifty Shades of Chopin, and Why Amanda Palmer Still Doesn't Get It.

T.G.I.O.O.R.! Let's hit the links!

What have you been reading this week? Let us know in the comments!

by Kelsey Wallace
View profile »

Still Reading? Sign up for our Weekly Reader!

8 Comments Have Been Posted

I think the backlash against

I think the backlash against Mindy Kaling is comparable to the backlash against Amanda Palmer. Both are very successful in their own fields, TV and music, and both are being personally attacked for being "smug," "over-confident," and "out of touch." Amanda Palmer did nothing wrong in inviting professional musicians on stage and reimbursing them with perks like merch and high-fives (and exposure). As Palmer's said in interviews, it's expensive to promote and organize and pay for an entire tour as an indie artist. I don't understand why the Salon writer is labeling Palmer as a millionaire or being suddenly wealthy from this Kickstarter campaign...when all the money is paying for Palmer's tour. Again, the personal attacks against Palmer for how she's acted since her success (the record-breaking Kickstarter campaign) are comparable to the personal attacks against Kaling. I admire both of these women and will continue to support their creative endeavors.

Nice try. But no.

First of all, Palmer didn't invite her friends or fans to jump up onstage and join her for a jam session. She expected them to pass an audition and attend a rehearsal before she would deign to allow them onstage. "Beer, hugs, and high-fives" don't pay for the mileage one needs to drive to the gigs or the time one would have to spend at the audition and rehearsal. This sets a dangerous precedent for artists and musicians, who are frequently screwed over and expected to work for free or for "exposure". Since Palmer has repeatedly spoken of how important it is for artists to get paid, her expectation that her fans would be willing to work for free is particularly galling. Additionally, she hired professional musicians for show dates in NY and LA, but still expected her fans in flyover cities like Carborro, North Carolina to work for free.

That she did this after a very profitable Kickstarter campaign, one where she openly admitted to skimming money off the top for herself, added insult to injury. The $35,000 estimate she estimated as the pay for a string/horn section would have been less than 1% of what she pulled in on that campaign.

And this is in addition to her racist tweets, her racially-loaded songs about her former record label, and the "crip-face" she donned while making the album about conjoined twins. Her passive-aggressive attitude towards the folks who have made an issue out of her problematic work and fauxpologies for her questionable (at best) behavior are just icing on the cake.

Are you kidding me?

This is getting out of hand. Quit acting like these musicians can't speak for themselves or make their own decisions. If they felt exploited, they wouldn't play on stage. Many did. Many enjoyed it. Palmer doesn't need these people to play for her, she just loves it when people collaborate and have fun together. If I played one of the instruments needed/wanted, I would do it for free in a second. Why? Because I'm a fan! And I'd love to hang out on stage with her! There is nothing wrong with asking for volunteer musicians. If you'd rather get paid, you can always turn it down and take a paying gig instead.

I've read a few pieces by people that volunteered to play on stage and they loved it. Most of them are musicians who play paid as well as free gigs. It's not like Palmer was saying, "Hey, poor musicians, come get EXPOSURE." It was more like "Hey, if you're a fan and you wanna join in on the fun, you can also get exposure/beer/merch!"

Sounds like a pretty good deal to me. But wait, I forgot. EXPLOITATION. I don't think any of the musicians that willingly joined in on the tour feel exploited. Go read some of their blogs about the experience.

Exactly!!!! People

Exactly!!!! People volunteered to play with Amanda Palmer on stage because they wanted to! The Salon writer, Tweeters, Facebookers, you name it, have overreacted to this whole thing. And I don't get why people are labeling Amanda as a "Kickstarter millionaire." It's inaccurate and an incorrect portrayal of how crowdfunding works and what Amanda has done with the money from Kickstarter. She's spent it on the tour, the CDs she sent to Kickstarter backers, etc. Amanda is doing new and exciting things; let's not all attack her for ridiculous notions.

Film Fatale, do you have links to these "racist" photos or blog posts/Tweets etc?


Sara, a quick google search on any of those phrases will turn up many links for you.

A musician accepting a free

A musician accepting a free gig like this makes it harder for other musicians to get paid work. If a booker sees that someone has worked a gig like this -- where one person has gotten paid handsomely while they work for "beer and hugs" -- other promoters will say, "This person worked for free this time" and pressure them into playing for free again. This has nothing to do with whether or not someone is willing to do the work of their own will and volition, and everything to do with upholding a dangerous precedent. Musicians and artists have a hard enough time making money and are expected to play for free because it will supposedly "get their name out there", or because they're supposedly doing this only out of love for their work. Having someone who made 1.2 million dollars and is selling out concert halls mooch off their fans like this only furthers this belief.

As far as Palmer's racism, Shakesville can help you out there: http://www.shakesville.com/2010/03/over-edge.html

Djuna Barnes was not monosexual...

This Sunday the 23rd is Bisexuality Day! On that note I want to point out the slight inaccuracy of your wording of the title, "150 Years of Lesbians." Djuna Barnes was, for one, a bisexual, and chances are that some of the other women featured in the photographs are or were sexually fluid as well. The full title is "150 years of lesbians and other women-loving women."

Less Mindy Kaling worship plz?

I love love love Bitch, but the relentless Mindy Kaling worship is getting off-putting. I have no problem with healthy self-confidence ("I feel like I can go head-to-head with the best white, male comedy writers that are out there" = go gurl!) but the impression I've gotten, over and over, from reading her tweets, reading her book, and watching the pilot of The Mindy Project (twice), is that she's a snobby egomaniac. Which makes it harder to root for the Mindy Kaling who is a woman of color in a white-dude-dominated space.

Mindy Kaling vs. Tina Fey? No contest. Tina Fey is hugely successful and undeniably funny <i>without seeming like an asshole.</i> Even Kaling's self-deprecation seems like a contrived ploy to seem relatable. I don't agree with this whole <a href="http://gawker.com/5943404/mindy-kaling-is-the-human-equivalent-of-a-retw... piece</a>, but I'll quote it again: "She's self-effacing to inflate her ego via ensuing audience laughter when she isn't being flat-out arrogant."

Maybe take a more nuanced approach to the whole Mindy Kaling lovefest, rather than assume all your readers totally dig her too and that dislike is reserved for sexist, racist a-holes?

Add new comment