10.6.18 9:46 p.m.
So as to not bury the lede let me say right off the bat that Amanda Palmer released a video yesterday to what I’ve already said I think is the most important song of 2018: “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now.”
And in breaking news, I interviewed her via email about the video, the response to it and how fucked up everything feels right now.
But let me do this right and lay it all out for you. I’ve been working on this off and on all day, starting early this morning and twelve hours later I’m ready to hit “publish.”
Hi. It’s late morning on Saturday, October 6, 2018 as I start this post and a lot of stuff went down yesterday. Not since the day Trump was elected in 2016 have I felt such politically-charged emotion. But it goes WAY beyond that and I know many of you are right there with me. Never as a woman and as a human have I felt more offended, insulted, dismissed, disappointed and hopeless. Holy shit. But hold that thought for a second.
Now it’s 4:45 in the afternoon and I just watched the senate vote to confirm Kavanaugh and it’s like knowing someone is going to die but then when it actually happens it still hurts just as much. You can’t really be prepared can you?
By the way, this is indeed a music blog and we’ll get there because OMFG the video of “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now” was one of things that happened yesterday and it’s the reason why I’m writing now. But I’ve got to set the scene first because it very much feeds into my response to said video and why I think it’s so important for as many people as possible to see it.
Here’s where I’m at:
I 100% believe Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Her bravery is remarkable. I, like many of you, watched in horror, expected horror, but horror just the same, as Senator Susan Collins (from Maine where I live) spent 45 minutes saying she didn’t believe Dr. Ford. When she finally ended her “speech” I started to shake and teetered on the edge of a teary tantrum. Later today is the official vote, otherwise known as the final nail in the coffin of not believing victims of sexual assault with the added bonus of having reproductive freedom potentially jeopardized when Kavanaugh gets on that bench. Meanwhile, POTUS took it upon himself to make a grotesquely erroneous comment via Twitter recently about trauma and how it impacts memory. Then he straight up mocked Dr. Ford’s testimony a few days ago at a rally. HE MOCKED HER. Over the past ten days or so I have read countless stories that women have shared about being sexually assaulted. Some of these women are friends of mine. I’ve read and heard stories of women I know who were raped and didn’t report it for fear of not being believed and for fear of it bring shame to their family and for many other reasons. My heart has been shattered. All of ours have been. I feel unprecedented anger and acute helplessness and it all sucks tremendously. While I’m at it let me add that in my opinion, #metoo is NOT a movement. It’s a reckoning. I’m starting to cringe when I hear it referred to as a “movement” even by allies because “movement” is not nearly strong enough of a word. “Movement” feels way too temporary. Reckoning is better but I’m not sure if that is even strong enough. Revolution is getting closer to the marker. #metoo revolution. Now that’s more like it. I know, this is really just a matter of semantics. But still…
I am woman hear me roar and watch me revolt.
Despite everything, I am able to find moments of peace and hope because there’s a huge sense of “we’re in this together,” especially, of course, among women. There’s a huge feeling of “we’re not gonna take this anymore” and we’re all figuring out strategies in our own ways. But my god, this hurts. My heart breaks for Dr. Ford. It breaks for everyone who has relived past traumas because there’s been a mine field of triggers.
What else? So much. Too much.
What next? Everything.
We will march. We will protest (and THANK YOU to everyone who did SO MUCH to try and stop this horrible confirmation from happening). We will vote. We will be heard. We will not be silenced. We will be believed.
We will also let our creative selves shine. I NEED art. It helps me make sense of things that can’t be understood. It helps to say the things that need to be said. It helps to make me feel less alone, knowing there are people out there who are harnessing all of their rage, their sorrow, their pain and their hope and they’re making things. Paintings, poems, films, music, you name it. ALL OF IT. Sometimes I need a song to show me the way to my own heart, to crack a rib and let the emotions in. Art, and for me music in particular, is one of the best ways to truly feel human. And so, and not for the the first time , Palmer and the people she chooses to work with, have fused music with film and the result is something remarkable.
Now about that video…
One year ago yesterday, October 5, 2017, the New York Times broke a huge story and the world learned that Harvey Weinstein is an absolute monster thanks to the bravery of women like Ashley Judd and others who told their story. We all know what happened next. #metoo was born. Weinstein’s now in jail.
A few months after this all broke, Amanda Palmer and Jasmine Power collaborated on the song “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now” and they released it on May 23.
If you haven’t heard it yet, decide on your own if you’d rather have your first listening be by way of the video that just came out or first via just the audio. There’s no wrong way to be introduced to the song. It’s going to destroy you either way. I don’t know how else to say it. But it’s also an incredible, stunning song so don’t fear it, just know it’s no “Walking on Sunshine.” It gives voice to the women, and there were many of them- that were assaulted, abused, threatened or otherwise mistreated by Weinstein. But it’s bigger than that. I’ve listened to the song at this point a couple of dozen times and every listen twists and turns inside my heart. But it’s also a MAGNIFICENT piece of music. Art can be both things: Painful and beautiful. It should be. You don’t need me to tell you that.
In July, Palmer along with Power, director and choreograph Noémie Lafrance, producer Natalie Galazka along with a huge crew and cast assembled at rectory of a church in Brooklyn, New York and shot a video for “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now.”
In all, 60 women along with a few men were involved in the making of it. It was paid for by Palmer’s nearly 12,000 Patrons. I’m one of them. We all contribute to Palmer’s Patreon so that she can make art without having to worry about how the bills will be paid.
Yesterday was the day the video was released, on the one year anniversary of the Times Weinstein story. I watched it after watching Senator Collins offer up her “yes” in that morning cloture vote and before her 3 p.m. shit show speech that made it official and sent millions of women (and of course several men) into an unprecedented tailspin. It was between those two things right around lunchtime when I set aside six minutes, put my headphones on and watched the video to “Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now.”
I watched it two more times over the course of the day and evening and have since watched it again. There’s a lot to take in. I’m not going to say much about it because it speaks for itself. But it may be helpful for you to read a bit of what Palmer shared about it on Patreon.
Palmer wrote that that she and director Noémie Lafrance spoke at length and agreed that the video should not be sentimental, it should not exploit, it should not be patronizing and it should not be obvious. As for what it should be? Three words: raw fucking power.
I think it’s also important to share Palmer’s reasons for making this video which she also shared on Patreon:
“it has come to this. in order to effect change, we are having to expose our darkest pain in public forums. on the internet. in newspapers. in the streets. in the senate, in front of hundreds of millions of people watching.
it seems infinitely complicated to address these issues when they’re already so over-saturated and raw. how to not make things worse? how can we express ourselves and our righteous anger in our own terms, on our own dime, in our own time?
that’s what i wanted to do with this video.”
She did that. And she did a hell of a lot more than that.
Now it’s half past eight and I’m in my pajamas watching the Red Sox game because I can’t handle any more coverage of today’s events. I say that yet I check Twitter every 15 minutes.
Earlier today I reached out to Palmer via email with a handful of questions. A few minutes ago, I heard back from her and in the interest of clarity, I will share them in their entirety.
What reactions have you been getting so far, on day one, on the video? From what I’ve seen on social media people are feeling quite moved and affected by it. Any surprises on the feedback front?
Amanda: You know, I should be used to this by now, but I’m not. The reaction from my community on the internet is astounding – people are really finding it cathartic, triggering in a good way, and empowering, which was my hope. The reaction from the flesh and blood human beings who came out in the hundreds to see the screening in LA the other night was equally powerful, there were a lot of abuse and assault survivors sharing their stories. So many women poured so much time, rage an energy into making this video happen. And the response from the media was just….deafeningly silent. I’m used to most mainstream media not picking up on stuff like this, but the feminist media, where are they? Why aren’t they amplifying the art? Where’s Bust? And Bitch? And Ms. and Elle and Teen Vogue on and on…the other feminist allies? We sent them all the clip. It’s astonishing to me that every single article that’s run on this video has been written by a man . It’s just bananas. There’s this part of me that feels like I’m in fourth grade again, getting shoved away from the cool lunch table. It’s possible that everybody in feminist-land was just too wrapped up in the political cycle, but…just, wow. There are so few artists out there doing what we just managed to do, and it was really frustrating – for all of us – to see such loud silence on that front. On the other hand, this is the kind of problem that I’ve been facing for fifteen years. The media follows, but only very lazily, and the most powerful women in the arts are usually blazing way ahead with no regard to the coverage. So I continue to build the Patreon for this very reason: so that I will never need to rely on the media to be the force that authenticates or holds the keys to the amplification of our work.
And what that, here’s the brand new video for Mr. Weinstein Will See You Now
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