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.