This article reads as sour grapes to me. Most of this article is an attack on the very idea of Kickstarter, though he goes out of his way to drag Amanda Palmer into it as well. Sure, Amanda Palmer is a polarizing figure, you tend to either love or hate her, and it’s not hard to support either view (I’m a fan, though a conflicted one at times). This is reaching though.
Kickstarter and its clones have inverted that ancient cliché about the amount of time a fool can expect to hold onto his money. The modern sucker only knows whether or not they’ve truly been swindled after months of project updates, unexplained delays and then, maybe, grudging delivery of various rewards.
Sure, that happens, and it sucks. That’s part of the deal with crowd funding, it’s not a sure thing. And poorly planned campaigns surely do have problems, but most do not.
You can count me among these people; the only Kickstarter I’ve ever contributed to […] now lies dormant, six months after books were supposed to arrive.
Oh, well then, you’ve supported one whole Kickstarter? Never mind, clearly you’ve got all the experience you need and a data set to match! What would I know, I’ve only supported thirty-nine Kickstarters.
Of those thirty-three have delivered, and the other six are right on track. It’s all in how you pick them.
"The world is changing," [Palmer] says…because a show that didn’t have enough fans for network TV does have enough for online crowdfunding?
Um, yes? Is that a trick question, or just a poorly considered one?
With notable exceptions […] the unofficial house style embodies nerd culture in such a limited, insular form, albeit the culturally dominant one.
So what? If nerd culture is the one that most embraces online crowd funding, is that really a surprise? Does that somehow invalidate it? Maybe he’s just upset that there’s no equivalent to Kickstarter that caters to his demographic?
With such a sour attitude towards the whole thing, and such reluctance that he’s given it exactly one try, I can’t imagine why people aren’t clamoring to make one.
And let’s not forget his problems with Amanda Palmer, whom he holds up as an example of everything that’s wrong with crowd funding:
"She also explained that she found it virtuous when a family of undocumented immigrants huddled together on their couch for a night so that she and her band could have their beds, because her music and presence was a fair exchange for the family’s comfort."
That’s an incredibly cynical take on what she actually said. She was commenting on the generosity of strangers, and on graciously accepting what they offered. If a person with nothing offers you something, you accept. To not do so would be dismissive of their generosity.
Anybody “can” ask for creative aid, but on the sidewalks of the world, a few artists command parades while many others might as well be poignantly mute Victorian orphans.
That is a problem with crowd funding, though not one that necessarily needs to be solved. Unless your idea or project is mind boggling in its conception or possibility, it works best to come to it with an audience in place. So what?
You can’t build a utopian gift economy inside an uncharitable capitalist one, no more than that little hat made the Grinch Santa.
And yet, for some it’s working. Shockingly well in some cases.
For a FAR better article about Amanda Palmer and criticisms of her, check out this Wired piece, it’s spot on: http://www.wired.com/2013/03/amanda-palmer-2/
In a media landscape that typically reduces women to paragons or villains with strikingly little middle ground, Palmer is a self-styled anti-hero, from her feuds with the record industry to her Wicked Queen eyebrows. And it’s worth noting that the actions for which Palmer is attacked most often and most harshly tend to be the ones that conflict with what public femininity is supposed to look like — behaviors and traits that would often sit differently on the shoulders of a male performer.
(though she does link to the above article with the words “the willful class and context-blindness of her recent TED talk”, which seems odd since that article only tangentially addresses that, in the quote above about the immigrant family and their couch)