New Rightwing Outrage: The Arts

Ken AshfordObama Opposition, TheatreLeave a Comment

Yup.  That's what you're going to hear about, starting this week and going on for the next few weeks.

Here's the "scandal" in a nutshell, as described by the rightwing "journalist" who "broke" it:

I was invited by the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to take part in a conference call that invited a group of rising artist and art community luminaries “to help lay a new foundation for growth, focusing on core areas of the recovery agenda – health care, energy and environment, safety and security, education, community renewal.” 

Now if you read his article in full, he goes on to speculate:

Could the National Endowment for the Arts be looking to the art community to create an environment amenable to the administration’s positions?

As you should know by now, the answer to that question isn't relevant to the noisy conservative anti-Obamites.  They will assume this is true, and within days, you'll be hearing (cue Glenn Beck) a lot about how we're going down the path of Leni Riefenstahl and Joseph Goebbels, those formidable Nazi propagandists.

None of it, of course, is true.  Even if a work of art — whether it be a song, play, movie, drawing, whatever — is ostensibly about, say, health care, it doesn't necessarily have to be "amenable to the administration's positions", and nothing that happened in the August 10 conference call, or in any NEA materials requires that it has to be, in order to receive funding. 

And even if some bit of NEA-supported art does arguably support the administration's position on one of these issues (and what would that look like anyway?  "Public Option: The Musical"???), the NEA supports and finances TONS of things, most of which doesn't have an "agenda"-driven message at all.

And then there's things like this, which you can find right on the NEA website:

In 2008, U.S. Armed Forces active duty troops and veterans of both current and past conflicts will have an in-depth opportunity to reflect on their service through the National Endowment for the Arts’ groundbreaking initiative Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime ExperienceOperation Homecoming will host writing workshops at Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) medical centers, military hospitals, and affiliated centers in communities around the country. 

Or another NEA National Initiative: the Great American Voices Military Bases Tour, which bring opera and American musicals to military bases.

None of this, of course, will matter to the rightwing propagandists at all.  They are going to be using the ACORN template to try to bring down the NEA.