In a review of a recent show by Neutral Milk Hotel, Grayson Haver Currin griped that frontman Jeff Mangum’s no-photo policy for concertgoers plays like a cynical ploy:
Mangum is attempting to preserve the same legacy of an enigma that turned into a bankable career during his prolonged absence; in an age of instant information and updates, where what you had for breakfast becomes part of your digital identity, can you actually prove that you saw Neutral Milk Hotel without telling and showing your friends? … [T]he unexpected and unfortunate part … is that he’s dictating how those who actively fund him can interact with their own nostalgia, the exact thing he’s been preying on and profiting from for several touring years now. Mangum’s reluctance to be photographed seems less like a savior complex or a production concern than a brilliant financial ruse: If you can’t preserve this experience, then goddammit, you will have to pay for it again and again and again.
Judy Berman doesn’t follow: