Making Money is BAD – Redux

I just had an epiphany and Matt isn’t around to chat with me about it. So I’m blogging instead of recording.

I’ve been trying to chew through the idea of why people get so goddamned penis-bent when an artist is successful with crowdfunding.

It’s been proven time and again that gender is a big factor, of course. If your husband makes good money, why the hell should you need all this money you’re asking for? (Amanda Palmer is married to Neil Gaiman, who isn’t hurting for cash, why does she need this money?) It’s also strangely judgemental concerning the idea that there is an upper cap as to what you’re worth, and if you get paid more than that one person thinks you’re worth, then RAGE. (This happened with the YA Kickstarter, she makes plenty of money with her other books, WHY does she need a kickstarter?)

It’s happening now, with Amanda Palmer launching a very successful Patreon, but, outside the gender problem, it is also happening with the successful Exploding Kittens crew. They may pocket millions from this kickstarter! CALL THE COPS, AN ARTIST MIGHT MAKE SOME MONEY.

At first, we defended these creators by saying, well, they don’t pocket all that money. Palmer was transparent with how she spent her kickstarter money, and when I did my Kickstarter, I was open with the fact that I made $19k but had to spend most of it on the project.

But now, you know what that argument/defense sounds like to me? “That guy’s gay/Muslim/whatever I find offensive,” and the answer we give is, “No, he’s not, and here is the proof I have.”

When really the answer should be “Why do you care?”

If a creator says, “give me $x and I will deliver Y,” and someone gives her X and she delivers Y, then why the fuck do you care where the money goes?

I was trying to figure out where this came from. While we always say, “He’s just jealous,” when we want to make ourselves feel better, deep down we wonder if the core of the attack is true. But today I was reading Molly Crabapple’s 15 rules for creative success and had an epiphany with number 7:

7. Remember that most people who try to be artists are kind of lazy. Just by busting your ass, you’re probably good enough to put yourself forward, so why not try?

Her point is persistence has a better chance of leading to success, which is totally true, but it was the lazy part that hit me. Most people who try to be artists are lazy. What she means is, nearly all failed artists are lazy. That’s why they fail.

When we are children, we are all artists and storytellers, and most kids drop it as they get older for whatever reason. Mostly the reason is they realize that to improve, they have to work. They then decide they are “bad,” which really means they don’t want to focus their effort on art*, so they move on.

BUT they remember one thing: making art as a child was easy. So art must continue to be easy. Therefore, since art is easy, we definitely shouldn’t be charging what we charge for it.

Show me someone who is pissing all over successful crowdfunding artists for daring to make a dollar, and I will bet money they are lazy, bitter people who once tried creating and their art hasn’t made that much of a splash.** Art’s easy, they tell themselves, they just choose not to do it. Probably they don’t have the time. But it’s EASY, SEE? SO STOP SHOWERING THEM WITH ALL THIS MONEY FOR SHIT ANY TODDLER CAN DO!

Another thing funding the “jealousy” theory is consider who is making the noise. It is almost always people who are not artists/writers/musicians doing the pissing all over crowdfunders. You don’t see Stephen King or JK Rowling pitching a crying fit over these artists. They’re either busy working, or they don’t care. 

One thing that baffles me is, if you got any of these small people away from the topic of their fit, and you asked them if they would like to make a six figure advance or sell a $50000 painting, they would say yes. (Unless they are holy people who have pledged to live in poverty, who generally are not known for their online fits. Or offline, now that you mention it.) But Morgan Freeman cries if anyone else manages to succeed.

So if you think that there is someone out there who is making too much money from their adoring fans, and they don’t deserve it, and that you could do better, then I challenge you. Stop fucking attacking other artists and go make something. In fact, get off the Internet for a month and go create. You WILL find out it’s not as easy as you think, and you MAY find out that it’s worth it, you get a following, make money, and then get upset that people are pissing on your shoes for being successful.

* I’m being kind here- I’m not calling them lazy, I’m just saying they choose not to expend their energy toward the arts.
** Fuck it. I’m calling them lazy. Stop complaining and make something.