My Fiona problem.

August 27, 2012 at 11:16 pm (Uncategorized)

A rant. Apologies:

Go listen to the new Fiona Apple album; read the drooling coverage by Pitchfork and a billion other places.

Basically, it’s all an excuse for misogyny of the most disgusting, disturbing kind.

We can’t accept female artistic achievement without it going hand in hand with insanity. If you’re a woman, and you’re insane, you get to be brilliant, artistic, and a genius. But also, a complete fucking loony who lives off in the wings and is just off there, being crazy because you know, that’s what she does. As such, your genius is never quite of the caliber of male artistic genius, which is a product of hard work, intelligence, education, determination. Women’s genius happens as a kind of brain fart; an accident on the way to being crazy. It’s unimportant, just like the rantings of some crazy person wandering the streets.

It used to be this way with artists in general, but we outgrew that. There was the Van Gogh Trip for a while there (which arguably turned into the Picasso Trip and Dali Trip), but so much has changed. Andy Warhol was a little touched, but not insane; no one would argue that Damien Hirst is off his fucking rocker. But think of the female artists that correspond to those two – Andy Warhol: Yayoi Kusama. Damien Hirst: Tracey Emin.  Those crazy, crazy girls. Yeah, they’re cool and stuff, but you’d never talk about how fucking smart they are.

Over and over, the thought in my head is: Getting sick is something that happens to you – it’s not your fault. Staying sick is feeding into the sexism and fucking bullshit of our culture.

I kind of can’t take it anymore.


The last few weeks have had me thinking, and I’ve arrived at the conclusion that if Every Single Night is a fight, then I – for one – am really bitter that I have to get up in the morning and go to work, and to carry on and act like everything is fine, because if I didn’t, my life would come crashing down. And that maybe that has a lot more to do with my disgruntlement towards Ms. Apple than any sort of perceived misogyny – perhaps it’s a question of class, of me having to suck up whatever my issues are and do what I have to do to keep a roof over my head and food in my belly, while she gets applauded for being sick, and weak, and oh-so-vulnerable. Or maybe that’s a problem with the US health care system, or the US system in general, which doesn’t allow for weakness of any kind. I’m not sure. But part of my resentment of her seems fair and even-keeled to me, and part of it seems not, and I’m having a hard time resolving it.



  1. penumbracarter said,

    Hey Amy, I went to a Fiona Apple concert recently in Minneapolis. I drove over 200 miles, one way, and knew I had to return that evening. Your insights are good about the appeal she has. I have to say the concert was amazing, she is not only a superb singer but performer and had a very good band. The audience was interesting, there were some outbursts of mostly men wanting her to take off her glasses of all things. There, periodically, was an anger to her that was like “fail bitch” but she didn’t. I am not sure where the bottom links lead you too with my name, but oh well…….

  2. amywilson said,

    Penumbra! I don’t know why, but WordPress never sent me a notification that you left this comment. But thank you for this.

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