What if you ran the NEA?

March 2, 2009
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An interesting piece in the LA Times asks a range of high-profile folks (including, at the extremes, Bill Maher and Ann Coulter) what they would do if they ran the NEA.

Some interesting thoughts (Warning: If you click on the story, you also have to click each individual for responses. Annoying.):

--Playwright/screenwriter Jon Robin Baitz suggests a dedicated tax to the NEA for all artists making over $1 million a year.

--Choreographer Bill T. Jones wants a cabinet post for the arts.

--News commentator Rachel Maddow would push for more arts education in prisons.

--Photographer Judy Fiskin suggests abandoning the "arts are educational" argument.  

 --Neil LaBute takes the wisenheimer approach, suggesting among other things, that he would "support a number of dance programs because, let's face it, dance gets the short end of the stick in the arts, yet it's really fun to watch and people often get naked."

Your thoughts? (FYI: The NEA head honcho position is still open.)
  • well, dance does get the short end... but, theater suffers more.

    if they are passing out money, i work for a small theater company in utah... and
    i'd love to have more than $350 a season to produce my props for three plays in

    feel free to contact me for details on donating.

    (tongue in cheek... sorta)
  • A big hello to all of our readers in Utah.
  • actually, i'm in london.... and new york on occasion... and work in utah in the summer. but,
    they all say howdy back!

    does this mean you'll be sending money?
  • I'm surprised-but-not-surprised at the similarities between the responses of Ann Coulter, Neil LaBute, and Bill Maher. They're about as politically different as it's possible to be, but unified by the bond of smart-assery. LaBute and Maher go straight to the point, though, about the self-importance and pretensions of artists, whereas Coulter views it through her perpetual liberals-are-dumb-and/or-evil filter, which just gets sort of tiresome after about four seconds. (I have to admit, though, her proposal of Kincade for painter laureate is pretty funny in light (no pun intended) of the recent discussion about his impending Indy 500 art.)

    And is it me, or does anyone else think Neil LaBute looks like the angry younger brother of George Lucas?
  • Spend my budget on trying to find where the NEA is permitted by the Constitution.

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