Recently by Nihar Patel
I do think our current President has enough czars for the time being, and more will just be written of as big government liberalism. A centrist Republican, a Bloomberg type, is the ideal champion if we're talking about the federal government.
The worry is no central authority will make a habit of defending or funding work that some will find offensive. Maybe the right to express it will be defended, but the work itself wont be embraced. Which really gives this authority no real currency with artists. Perhaps this central authority functions more like the MPAA, a lobbying group with industry, not government funding. Though even with the MPAA, that relationship between public and private is too cozy for some filmmakers.
What if this central authority's main purpose is simply to seed this notion of an expressive life into the soil of America. That seems like a more realistic goal. Education first, not oversight, evaluation, or management. That may mean no grants, no awards, just outreach and communication. Can you imagine the Ad Council producing posters and TV commercials promoting a concept like the expressive life? Maybe they already do, but it's just not as funded as anti-smoking campaigns.
I guess the question is, what are the goals here, and what's priority one? To convince millions of Americans that arts and culture, learning to express yourself creatively, are worthwhile pursuits? Are we seeing the current landscape dominated by corporate interests and new technological realities, and we're struggling to make sense of it all? Or are we fighting to make arts a priority in American education in the same way athletics is, hoping the next generation will pick up the baton for us? Ok, enough, Doug and Bill get to ask the questions.
On the one hand, the general public I think would grasp Bill's definition. Most people know that when you express yourself, that means a part of who you are is being revealed either through speech, or what you create or wear, etc. Even professional athletes know that when they get elaborate tattoos that require a degree in semiotics to comprehend, they are indeed expressing themselves. It could be a very inclusive term.
But it may not be the best choice of words in corridors of power. 'Expression' is often used in legal contexts, typically in regards to free speech. There's a danger of using the word with policy-makers. Arts and culture will be conflated with more partisan, potentially controversial work that makes no attempt at being artistic. I think the broader the definition of 'expression,' the more difficult it becomes to defend when approaching those in power. Or worse, it will mean nothing to them.
Adrian Ellis; Alan Brown; Andras Szanto; Andrew Taylor; Bau Graves; Douglas McLennan; Ellen Lovell; Bill Ivey, William James; James Early; Jim Smith; Lewis Hyde; Marian Godfrey; Martha Bayles; Nihar Patel; Russell Taylor; Sam Jones; Steven Tepper
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