Dash of Pepper


The arts or propoganda
The Gazette Staff

For several decades now, the federal government has been messing around in the fine arts, both performing and visual. The National Endowment for the Arts has had many millions bestowed on it to be handed out in the form of grants, both to individual artists and arts-oriented organizations.
No matter how you feel about this, it is not a new or even a modern phenomenon. During the renaissance, artists were bank-rolled in the Italian city states by both the church hierarchy and wealthy merchants, who, together, controlled the economy. It's likely that the point of view of these interests was fairly well represented in the product the artists produced. However, artists seem to pride themselves on being nonconformist, although I have trouble seeing how that fits with being a conforming liberal. A conservative artist would seem to me to be the real nonconformist, however, I'm not sure such a creature exists.
Over the past few years, we have seen exhibits that appear aimed at disparaging Christians and religion in general, some in rather obscene ways. Some of this craziness probably has been funded by the NEA.
However, the organization has lately taken a step further. According to a recent cable news report, the NEA has been trying to "organize" artists and other members of the arts community, in the "service" of the current administration in Washington. Actually, organizing artists seems to me like herding cats, but money provides a great incentive.
Apparently, e-mails went out to a select list of people in this community, encouraging artists to engage in areas of service. Some of these are energy policy, the environment, education and healthcare.
Artists, and others, were urged to participate in a conference call with an NEA representative, to discuss becoming "involved to create things we feel passionately about - and push the administration."
Word leaked out, obviously, but it appears that some actual works were created some time later. These included a couple of posters. One said "Health Care for All" and another bore the message "Sick Shouldn't Equal Broke." The former Soviet Union and other tyrannies in history have always recruited artists to peddle their message. The art will be forgotten except as an historical record. Great art comes from individual artists who are able to portray the human condition with great emotional impact. Propaganda cannot rise to this level.
You may say, who worries about a couple of posters - and that is true to some extent. However, this kind of thing is insidious.
Look at the government take over in the banking and insurance industries, in the automobile industry. Then add in the leftwing control of the public education system, the pervasive influence of the Left in the so-called Mainstream media, the control by the Left of the "green" movement, the naked force exerted by groups such as ACORN and big labor then add in the trial lawyers and the looming takeover of the health care system. It starts to look like the perfect storm.
The president told his cheering supporters on election night that we were now going to see the "transformation of America."
One thing is certain: He is keeping his word.