You know, this health care debate is setting the groundwork nicely. Everyone is familiarizing themselves with the concept that for-profit insurance companies cannot possibly act in their customers’ best interests because they’re trying to maximize profits, which means giving minimum service for maximum return. The obvious next step is that art is the same way. The corporations that produce most of our art and entertainment (one of those distinctions I don’t make, sorry) are trying to maximize profit, which means they give us art (entertainment) that appeals to the widest number of people on the most superficial, attention-getting level. To make that art thoughtful would be counter-lucrative, because they want us continually unsatisfied and coming back for more as quickly as possible. So our television and movies consist largely of pretty people mouthing innocuous banter; we can’t stop watching, but we don’t get anything from it. (Well, I haven’t had TV reception in 20 years, but even I reflexively glance at Jennifer Aniston when she catches my peripheral vision.*) Art that feeds us, that sustains us, that makes life worthwhile, cannot be reliably produced by an organization whose primary goal is profit. Europe offers a lot of examples that art is one of those things that the social collective, represented by government, can do better for us than people trying to turn a buck on it. Next: socialized, government-supported art. Watch how health care does, keep an eye out, and be ready to strike.
*(I keep asking her to go home, but she hangs out on my front porch.)