Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Let's defund the arts, they say...

No one needs the "frivolousness" of the arts, they say.

Do "they" believe that the arts are not a part of their lives? Do "they" not read? Do "they" not watch movies or TV? Do "they" not listen to music?

Are there NOT private and public businesses generating revenue from the arts?

"Oh, no," they say, "we value the arts, just we see no value in anything that's associated with our country or state that uses tax money."

"It's no big deal," they say, "private organizations and foundations have more than enough money to keeps the arts going."

"I could easily live without all this art stuff," they say.

"Oh, really?" I say with a raised brow. "Let's do it. Let's make the arts disappear. Poof! No more arts."

"They" applaud, and I sadly walk away.

The next day, all cameras disappear, in that images are art and art is frivolous. No longer can "they" celebrate their weddings with photographic memories, and they seem surprised that their cell phones no longer transmit images. As "they" browse the internet, images begin to disappear and there are boxes with big red "Xs" everywhere.

The day after, all their touch-screen devices lose the frivolous illustrated icons that help them identify the apps that they want to use. They go home and turn on their TV. Although the screen is black as now all moving images have disappearred, they can still hear the sounds.

Their phones all sound off with the same ringtone, but try as they might, they cannot find a single musical ringtone. They check their music device and are shocked when they see no files. This truly becomes the day that music died, but no one seems to remember the classic lyrics to the song that once was.

They enter the office and boot up their computer and are greeted by an eerie green screen with a c:>> prompt repeatedly mocking them to do something that they had once (or never) knew. They walk around the building to commiserate with their coworkers, but all are frantically trying to prepare for the critical meetings coming up in a few minutes and have no idea how to make a presentation without PowerPoint.

No worries, the clients for whom the presentation was intended, have gotten lost as their GPS unit can no longer guide them to their destination without map images. The clients eventually arrive so close to lunchtime, that everyone decides to change the meeting into a lunch discussion, knowing that the good food that they've ordered should make everyone feel more at ease.

The only problem is that the caterer lost all frivolously creative recipes last night, and all they could do was stop at the grocers for supplies, which they unloaded and left in the office kitchen hours ago. The group grazed some of the raw veggies and fruit, but weren't the least bit sated.

The workers pulled a verbal presentation together, but without the ability to diagram out the complexities of the concept, the clients left unimpressed and pulled the contract for the job.

They go home, dejected, to a house where kids literally have "nothing to do" except run around, play word games, or read . You know, in books or on the internet. There is no TV, TiVO or cable, video games, music, or even books with pictures in them. Of course, there is no homework, because along with those frivolous arts go all those unnecessary textbooks and overeducated teachers.

Ah, yes, the benefits of a world without arts.

Public funding for the arts offers opportunities that are valuable to all. Just because "they" don't realize the full ramifications is no reason to go toward an unnecessarily austere lifestyle...any loss of the arts affects lives in more ways than conservative politicians can fathom.