July 18, 2010 Archives
How likely is it that arts and culture workers will have a real voice in policy deliberations, if their clout doesn't come down to cash? Celebrity, moral suasion and stats about economic impact are nice assets to deploy, but does anyone think they provide the kind of access or standing enjoyed by the oligopolies?
Marty, thanks for kicking us off--and so provocatively, too! OK, I'll bite. As you well know, there's more than one way to affect a policy deliberation--and more than one kind of political capital. I would think that, if artists get into a head-to-head battle with Big Media in a smoke-filled-room, the chances are not good. But who says a frontal assault in a back room is the only feasible strategy? And who says artists have to go it alone? And who says Big Media's interests are monolithic, or entirely hostile to the public sector? And who says that at least some Big Money wouldn't welcome the arts as an ally, for mutual objectives?
In politics, like any other performance, it's usually a good idea to play to your strengths. Money is not a strength of the arts, I suspect we will all agree. Therefore, it's especially important to ask the questions, what strengths do artists and cultural workers bring to the political table, and how best can those strengths be leveraged?
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