Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Hey, aren't you Mr. Basinger?

Actor Alec Baldwin is lobbying Congress to take more of my tax money and give it to the National Endowment for the Arts.

Didn't this gator-mouthed, gecko-butted jackass promise to take his pookie bear and his security blanket and go to some other country a while ago back?

Sweet jumping Vishnu, you just can't count on some people to follow through.

*sigh*

Anyhoo, I'm ambivalent about this whole NEA thing. I understand the desire to fund arts, despite the fact that the arts did just fine prior to the formation of the National Endowment for the Arts in 1965.

What I don't understand is why Mr. Basinger -- sorry, Mr. Baldwin -- feels that it's perfectly okay to pilfer my paycheck for the funding.

Alec, you git, trust me, I fund the art I like. So does everyone else. Turn loose of my money, and let me get about funding more of it.

And I'm fuzzy on why Congress thinks they ought to have a say in the whole art thing, the Constitution of the United States being a bit lacking when it comes to mentioning art.

Not only this, but the very idea of a Government Agency funding art is disturbing on a fundamental level. In order to fund art, you must first decide what is, or isn't, art. You must, in a word, define art.

Does anyone really think it's a good idea to let the Federal Government define what art is?

So, here is one of those radical ideas of mine: It's my money. I sweated, and toiled, and occasionally bled for it. I would think that I should have a say in what art the money I bled for should support.

Something that damned sure isn't happening right now, I can tell you.

Yet, here is Mr. Baldwin who apparently believes (or wants everyone else to believe) that without Congress stealing a significant portion of my hard-earned dosh to fund an agency created in 1965, art will just dry up and blow away.

Folks, art has been around longer than politicians. In some cases the only traces we have of early people is their art. Art has survived the extinction of the Neandertals. The Pharaohs are dust, the Roman Empire is a memory, and yet art survives. Dark ages, Renaissance, Industrial Age, the basic human desire to create art has survived them all.

12,000 years ago, a caveman who spent his day dodging cave bears, dire wolves, sabre-toothed cats and mutant giant sloths with anger management issues, managed to paint beautiful pictures of local wildlife on cave walls.

I seriously doubt that lack of a NEA grant affected his artistic endeavours.

Nor, I suspect, did lack of NEA funding adversely affect Twain, Thoreau, Poe, O'Keeffe or the countless others who used art to express themselves in America for decades (if not centuries) before the NEA stumbled onto the scene.

If the NEA is that good of an idea, it'll do fine on it's own. Cut it loose from the Gummint teat, and let it sink or swim in the private arena.

Let folks keep their cash, and use it to fund -- or not -- the art(s) of their choice.

LawDog

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

How much of his own money does this millinoaire jerk-off donate to the NEA? I'm guessing it's a lot less than what he spends on tax attorneys and clever accountants...

Porta's Cat said...

In some cases the only traces we have of early people is their art.

and those cultures that have vanished with only the memory of their politicians to remain....

ugh.

markm said...

"Nor, I suspect, did lack of NEA funding adversely affect Twain, Thoreau, Poe, O'Keeffe or the countless others who used art to express themselves in America for decades (if not centuries) before the NEA stumbled onto the scene." Maybe Thoreau could have used a grant to get a much better packing crate to live in. ;-)

phlegmfatale said...

Why people who fake sincerity for a living should be soberly considered as political thinkers is simply beyond me. Ludicrous!

j said...

Lawdog, NEA money also funds state art agencies. There's probably some folk artists around your area of rural Texas who owe their continuing production to NEA grant money. That includes blacksmiths, hide tanners, horsehair rope makers, etc. "Art" ain't just paint on canvas. The fellow who still makes homemade cowhide-bottom chairs is also an artist. I'm glad some of my tax money helps support people like those.

bjbarron said...

I do agree with J, but that's not the 'art' that blowhard baldwin is talking about.

He's interested in the art that about 6 people in SOHO like and that gives the rest of us heaves.

bob said...

J said: "I'm glad some of my tax money helps support people like those."

I am glad you are happy J. How about a compromise: You give them all of your money and I'll keep all of my money.

This isn't about whether any particular artist is worthy of support. More like about whether it is reasonable, or moral, to point a gun* at somebody and take their money to support these "worthy" people.

* NOT hyperbole; if you don't give the government what they request, they will point gun at you (and SHOOT you if you don't comply at that point).

j said...

Bob, I'll see if I can make an arrangement with the government. They can give a very small percentage of my taxes to folk artists and a very large percentage of your taxes to Exxon-Mobile.

Bob said...

J, I am sure you are not really missing the point, but just in case: I have about the same interest in having the government rob me of my money for the benefit of Exxon, et alii, as I do in them stealing it to support artists.

On the voluntary side of things, I am not going to knowingly purchase anything from dishonest people (or companies). While I have spent fair sums of money purchasing various types of "art", I am sure that total spending for energy (gas, electricity, etc) far outstrips spending for art.