Arts Funding and Aesthetic Zealotry

June 18, 2007

 

Some very interesting neo-con arguments against public funding for the arts, Greg.  Perhaps the Wall Street Journal will give you a raise.  J

 

But seriously, itís true, America now has such widespread cultural illiteracy, and it has such a pervasively debasing mass media, that most Americans have no idea why public support for the arts would be beneficial. 

 

Itís a very clever argument you make.  Through not funding the arts, and through eliminating arts education, we are destroying appreciation for our cultural heritage.  Then we turn around and use that lack of appreciation as a justification for continuing to not fund the arts.  Bravo!  Itís almost Orwellian.

 

Of course, decent educations would leave people with few doubts about why classical music is invaluable.  Perhaps thatís why you attack arts education as well.  Letís protect the tender ears of our children from the evils of the musical cannon.  See:

 

http://www.artsjournal.com/sandow/2007/06/quotation_of_the_day_3.html

 

I am all for brave new worlds, but not those shaped by aesthetic zealotry.  We should beware of ideologically driven artists who want to clear the stage of every kind of music they personally donít believe in, including much of our classical music heritage.  This is a surprisingly wide-spread problem among composers.  I have suffered from it myself.

 

The cost of the arts in Europe have actually remained stable.  The German orchestra musicians union has not had a single strike during the 27 years I have lived there.  For the most part, salaries have only been adjusted for inflation.  (Compare that to gasoline prices.) 

 

And letís not fall for the specious argument that something so utterly subtle and complex as arts appreciation can be summed up in five pages or less for Jesse Helms and his ilk.

 

Greg, please be careful.  Your arguments are shaped by a totalizing aesthetic zealotry.  Thatís OK for a composer, but very unfortunate for those involved in arts administration.

 

William Osborne