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George F. Will has an opinion editorial in the Washington Post making a case for abolishing the National Endowment for the Arts.  I’m posting it here because I’ve heard similar arguments saying that it fosters too many mediocre poets. (?) I’d rather see what’s wrong with it be fixed (give more $ to fund art-centered projects for those of lower-income for ex) than see it abolished, though.

2 of Will’s main claims:

  1. The NEA funds mediocrity. It

“…defines art democratically and circularly. Art is anything done by anyone calling himself or herself an artist, and an artist is anyone who produces art. An NEA report issued under President Bill Clinton said ‘art includes the expressive behaviors of ordinary people,’ including ‘dinner-table arrangements’ and ‘pie-crust designs.’ As Walt Whitman neglected to say, ‘I hear America singing, and everyone’s singing is above average.’”

2. The programs it funds are mainly for higher income people:

“…the NEA’s effects are regressive, funding programs that are, as Paul D. Ryan’s (R-Wis.) House Budget Committee said, ‘generally enjoyed by people of higher-income levels, making them a wealth transfer from poorer to wealthier.’  A frequently cited study purporting to prove otherwise was meretricious: It stressed income levels of Zip codes where NEA-funded institutions are, inferring that institutions located in low-income areas are serving low-income people.”

Will also says that the arts will survive because of voluntary contributions.

Read more: Abolish the National Endowment for the Arts – George F. Will- Washington Post – 3/15/17


Also (there’s so much interesting news today that I have to squish more than 1 news alert into 1 post…):

Kevin Young Is Named Poetry Editor at The New Yorker – Sopan Deb – New York Times – 3/15/17