Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Good Old Seamus

Good old Seamus, always there when you need him. Faithful to the end, a great one for a laugh. A boon companion. Like any good dog—you can trot him out to do tricks for the company, entertain your friends. Of course you don’t want him underfoot—just ever-present when you need him, when you’re in the mood.

The only real problem is what to do with him until you’re ready. Board and feed—of course you already do that for your fancy-pant horses (to the tune of $77,000 tax credit for Rafalca the dressage show beast). The pets are like family until time to go home—and then they have to ride on top of the car. But what is a little temporary inconvenience, a bit of discomfort—when one is so well loved and appreciated—most of the time?

From the Daily Kos: The FortuneBlog on CNN Money gives us a peak of an interview they did with Mitt Romney that will be published soon, in Fortune, where in he finally reveals some of the specific cuts he will make in his plan to balance the budget. Romney responded to this question by Fortune, "You've promised to cap government spending at 20% of GDP, Specifically, where will you cut?"

“There are three major areas I have focused on for reduction in spending. These are in many cases reductions which become larger and larger over time. So first there are programs I would eliminate. Obamacare being one of them but also various subsidy programs -- the Amtrak subsidy, the PBS subsidy, the subsidy for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities. Some of these things, like those endowment efforts and PBS I very much appreciate and like what they do in many cases, but I just think they have to strand on their own rather than receiving money borrowed from other countries, as our government does on their behalf.”

Gee thanks for the appreciation.

Has anyone taken a minute to imagine the arts under a system of capitalism—for without a national theater all you will have are casinos staging burlesque and magic shows. Wal-Mart and Branson, Missouri will become the cultural arts mecca. Under Darwinian (if that word can be allowed) capitalism, survival of the richest, only those programs pulling in the bucks will make it—everything else: the experimental, the challenging art, the not-ready-for–prime-time sketches—face it anything that doesn’t line up lock step with a candidate’s ideology will be on the cutting block.

Unless we support arts for the people, by the people, for everyone.

Granted not everyone will agree on what is art. Not everyone will flock to see a crucifix floating in a bottle of urine. But, still, I thank God for Robert Maplethorp.
 Praise to the WPA in the 1930s for supporting all manner and skin-color and ethnicity of writers, printmakers, muralists, playwrights. Thank God for Lewis Hine for documenting the Great Depression.
 But who will tell this story: the tale of the Great Recession. Who will endeavor to create art with massive student debt and unemployment? Who will create when all funds are eliminated? What will we watch when all that’s on is The Bachelor, Wife Swap (yeah, bring it back)?

The rich history of America will one day disappear, buried twelve feet deep like the ancient ruins of other cultures that faded and sank when they forgot what was important. The arts is our identity, who we are. And one must decide which is worth keeping: Andy Warhol’s soup can

or perhaps the Thomas Kincaid framed print from the Highway Mall.

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