Thursday, July 24, 2008

Culture Clash

I received an interesting email today from someone who took exception to my column in the Sun Media today.

It's the column where I poke some fun at the fact that the Canada Council for the Arts gave a $50,000 grant to an artist creating a giant flying banana.

Anyway, here's an excerpt from the complainer's message:

"Canada Council grants for art are always juried by a well regarded jury of artists. You can choose to call it a 'flying banana', but do you believe that you know more about art than the jury?

On what basis?

If you believe the answer to this is 'no', then you have to admit that you're missing the artistic intent of the piece...

... if it's an issue of 'bang for buck' I will alert you to any one of the numerous studies put forth on the cultural industries.

As a multi-billion dollar industry in this country, for every $1 put towards artistic ventures, the government revenues $1.6 back. How? When an artist receives funds, they often hire crew and designers, pay for materials and travel, and of course, are taxed back on it."

Here's my reply:

"Thanks for your insightful comments. And yes, I freely admit that I am a TV-watching, french fry-eating, cultural barbarian who does not see the "artistic merit" of a giant flying banana.

However, my artistic sensibilities (or lack thereof) are not the issue.

What is the issue, is that it's wrong and undemocratic to give a bunch a self-appointed, elitist, snobbish culturecrats the power to make artistic decisions on my behalf.

And your argument about the revenue generated from government pouring money into art doesn't cut much ice.

If the government money that went to art, were instead invested by the private sector in non-flying banana-related ventures, the rate of return for the economy would certainly be much higher.

So you see, giving my money to create a flying banana isn't a good idea no matter how you peel it."

****
Oh by the way, in case you don't believe the story about the giant flying banana, check out this website.

6 comments:

BBS said...

I guess the complainer also missed the part about the artist retaining the grant even though the project that it was granted for will never happen.

Now if someone wants to float over the Parliament Buildings in a balloon with "Canada Council for the Arts Sucks", count me in.

Anonymous said...

Well lets see, a giant banana W T F of course us knuckle draggers"just don't get it" right if all you artsy fartsy elitists "get it" why don't you use your own money to pay for "the giant banana" this hard working TAXPAYER is sick of you leeches and your stinking attitude.Get a life pay your own way. I am tired of struggling to pay my bills, getting taxed everytime I breath, and watching a bunch of assholes like you "being artistic" and being much better qualified than me as to how MY MONEY is spent.
cheers Bubba

laconic said...

“As a multi-billion dollar industry in this country, for every $1 put towards artistic ventures, the government revenues $1.6 back. How? When an artist receives funds, they often hire crew and designers, pay for materials and travel, and of course, are taxed back on it."

Doing that kind of magic with money is a real art.

Give an artist a few dollars. With those dollars he hires “crew and designers, pay(s) for materials and travel” etc, etc.

Of course those hired will retain some of the money after taxes as will the providers of materials and transportation. One might also assume the artist will also hold onto some cash.

But, there is still enough left to pay back to the government $1.60 for every $1.00 in grant money provided.

I think this is an art I would like to learn.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the website concerning the banana project. I was having difficulty picturing something as silly as that. What would we do without you, Gerry?

Iain G. Foulds said...

... Again... it is really playing into the hands of economic collectivists to merely debate specific policies.
... Removing an unwanted tree is inefficiently achieved by removing one leaf at a time... get the chainsaw.
... End the role of the state forcing money from one citizen to another.

Wonder Woman said...

Now, I was just wondering where a girl might get to see a giant flying banana...and there it is!

You're my hero, Gerry.