Tags: national endowment for the arts | government waste

Artists Don't Need the NEA, So Defund It

Artists Don't Need the NEA, So Defund It

(Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images)

By Friday, 23 December 2016 12:41 PM Current | Bio | Archive

December is a great month for entertainment, unless you’re an atheist. There’s an almost unlimited menu of plays, concerts, exhibits, and lectures. Even jihadis look forward to Christmas because of the targeting opportunities.

Yet the best part is all this activity takes place without being subsidized by a single dollar of taxpayer money.

(Note: I’m not talking about Christmas counter-programming. For example, Santa as a cross-dressing lesbian who kills "Rudolph The Oppressor" and liberates the reindeer, thereby preventing the enslavement of millions of vulnerable children by a rapacious consumer society. Those are government grant productions, notable for their grim intensity, thin skin and lack of audience.)

You might find this shocking, but prior to 1965 every "art" production managed to get by without a single federal taxpayer handout.

Most of us don’t recall 1965 as being such a cultural wasteland that it required federal intervention for culture to continue.

Movie audiences enjoyed "Doctor Zhivago" and "The Sound of Music." Theater attendees witnessed "Man of La Mancha" and "The Lion in Winter." And readers plowed through "Dune," "In Cold Blood," "Autobiography of Malcolm X," and "Midnight Cowboy."

Local theater groups continued to gratify relatives and stupefy audiences without any assistance from Uncle Sam. Museums opened, exhibits appeared in galleries, and artists committed "art" without the assistance of Uncle Sam’s "arts" apparatchiks.

All this came to a wheezing stop in ’65, when egghead holdovers from JFK’s administration prevailed upon an intellectually insecure LBJ to establish the National Endowment for the Arts.

Since that time, Walmart shoppers have unknowingly been paying for exhibitions where, if they could find him, the goal would be kicking the artist’s behind rather than admiring his vile work. It gives me indigestion to think of the thousands of performances of "The Vagina Monologues" that have been funded by that miserable law.

I’ll never forget my first encounter with taxpayer-funded "art" installations. I visited Houston with a girlfriend who worked in the "arts" community. I was raised a redneck, but wasn’t opposed to broadening my horizons. When she suggested we visit a nationally-known sculpture installation currently touring the nation, I agreed.

I moseyed trying to appear sophisticated and worldly. There were two tables arranged in a ‘V’ shape so I moved closer only to discover, to my horror, that I was looking at the Baskin-Robbins of gynecology, in public, with women present.

Playboy had only recently gone full frontal, yet here I was smack dab in the middle of two tables with 39 place settings — all serving vaginas constructed from vegetables!

I couldn’t decide who should be more offended: vegans or women.

Naturally, these garden groin depictions were funded by a federal grant. And the unappetizing spectacle I saw was only an infinitesimal recipient of taxpayer funding. From its inception in 1965 until 2015, the NEA made 140,000 grants totaling over $5 billion. That’s a lot of rutabagas.

NEA works a lot like the Clinton Foundation. A gusher of money goes in but most of it stays inside paying for overhead and bureaucrats. And not just federal bureaucrats either. Millions goes to states and cities in the form of grants where it is spent on more "arts" infrastructure. In fact the art world is beginning to closely resemble US armed forces. For each lonely soldier in a foxhole — or for the purposes of the metaphor, artist wielding a Veg-O-Matic, there is a company of bureaucrats pushing paper.

I don’t know if the final total reaching individual "artists" is as measly as the 6 percent the Clinton’s spend on charity, but it’s not a lot. And for that we should be grateful since many of the projects are borderline pornography as I wrote about here.

Republican Sen. James Lankford of Oklahoma shows in his "Wastebook" that many grants are characterized by puerile output or simply waste.

An award of $25,000 ostensibly went to the Academy Award’s museum. When one considers the Academy generated $101.5 million in revenue in 2013 and has assets of $231.5 million it becomes obvious what the tax money really bought was a lifetime of invitations to Academy parties for the NEA grant-makers in California. The same goes for state and local "arts" bureaucrats.

Our tax dollars guarantee they never have to wait in line for tickets to shows, exhibits, or parties. As long as they have the power of our purse, these bureaucrats will be fixtures on the social scene.

I’m tired of paying to fill the social calendars of a collection of pretentious leftists. It’s time for Congress to defund the NEA. Conservatives have waited long enough.

If Kickstarter and GoFundMe are good enough for Jill Stein’s performance art, it’s good enough to fund the "arts."

Michael R. Shannon is a commentator, researcher for the League of American Voters, and an award-winning political and advertising consultant with nationwide and international experience. He is author of "Conservative Christian’s Guidebook for Living in Secular Times (Now with added humor!)." Read more of Michael Shannon's reports — Go Here Now.

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You might find this shocking, but prior to 1965 every "art" production managed to get by without a single federal taxpayer handout.
national endowment for the arts, government waste
Friday, 23 December 2016 12:41 PM
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