So let me paraphrase a dialogue I’m still finding myself having with critics online:
THEM: Oh my god, you’re using Go Fund Me to beg for money from your fans to buy a PIANO!? You lazy sycophantic leech, go get a job like the rest of us and earn the money for your plaything!
ME: Okay, so a job. As in, trading my time and skills for payment?
ME: Okay, for some people that means showing up at a shop or an office. For some of us artists and performing sorts, that means appearing onstage somewhere, and if you’re interested in hearing me, you buy tickets. If you’re not interested, you don’t. That seems fair, right?
ME: I mean, it’s not just musicians who do this. Take comedians, for example: they go onstage and ply their craft, and if they’re at all good, they expect to be paid, right?
THEM: Of course.
ME: Okay. And let’s say there’s some physical manifest of my skills. Sticking with the example of comedians, a successful humorist might write a book, no? And if the book is funny, it would be reasonable to expect the humorist to be able to sell it, right?
THEM: You got it.
ME: Okay. So if I were to produce a CD of my own music, and offer it for sale, and if people thought the music were worth spending their money to have a copy of the music, it would be considered a reasonable trade of my skills for money, right?
THEM: I wouldn’t spend my money on your shitty music, but yeah.
ME: I don’t need or want money from the likes of you. But back to my point, What if I were clear what I was going to spend the earned money on, that I wanted to buy myself a piano? I might indicate that the piano would facilitate the making of more such music, a further angle which might interest someone who likes my music. Even though if you yourself think a piano is a silly purchase, because the money was earned through exchange for a CD or some other item related to my music, it shouldn’t matter, right?
THEM: I guess so.
ME: So let me make it easy, as I don’t have the facility necessarily to process credit card orders and I want to be able to offer my CD to as many people as possible… I will take all this exactly as described, with the very clear intent that if you offer me some money, I will send you a CD or something even bigger for larger sums with the intent of using the money to buy a piano to make further music possible, and I will use GoFundMe as my medium for the exchange.
THEM: OH MY FUCKING GOD, YOU’RE USING GO FUND ME TO BEG FOR MONEY FROM YOUR FANS TO BUY A STUPID PIANO!? YOU LAZY SYCOPHANTIC LEECH, GO GET A JOB LIKE THE REST OF US AND EARN THE MONEY FOR YOUR PLAYTHING!
Now, I realize that I’m giving my detractors way too much credit for use of vocabulary; I somehow don’t expect anyone with that lack of sophistication to understand the word “sycophantic”, let alone actually use it.
With over six thousand active GoFundMe campaigns as of this writing to acquire musical instruments by churches, organizations, schools, and yes individuals, and over 1500 alone for pianos, it can’t be a legitimate complaint this this is a misuse of the crowdsourcing resource. It can’t be that anyone objects to paying money for entertainment, though I’m amused to note that many of these critics are actually proud of how they never pay for music (or porn), going through the pirate sites or bittorrent. It can’t be that anyone really thinks that as a classical musician I must make enough money to be just rolling in extra dough.
Now, I know that being a porn star makes me a lightning rod for derision, and hey, I can laugh at myself just fine when the facts are straight. But if a comic has to manufacture the situation to accomplish the joke… Well, if there’s veracity to the statement “It’s funny because it’s TRUE”, why is it still funny when it’s a lie? And if the expectation is that because of my little side career anything can be said about me and everyone will find it ridiculous, doesn’t that make the joke on all levels a cheap shot?
And really, if after eight weeks we have comedians still resorting to the same cheap shot over and over again, what does that say about their actual wit?
There’s still some growing up to be done out there…