| Oct 02, 2008

Oct 2/08 - Letters

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Letters -October,2008 Letters: October 2

Say No to Arts Funding, Edward Kennedy

Yes, to Arts Funding, John Pariselli

Say No to Arts Funding

Perusing your September 30 paper relative to the first All Candidates Meeting in Kaladar, I was bemused at the comment by the liberal candidate, David Remington, that he disagreed with Scott Reid’s posture that arts de-funding was proper. To this Remington opined, “I disagree. The arts are amazing; they are who we are; they are part of what I call a healthy community. Without the arts you don’t have healthy communities”.

Really David? What is “healthy, lovely, amazing,” about the following arts that were funded by tax dollars?

The following description of Istvan Kantor's "performance art" can be found on the Canada Council for the Arts' Web site: "In Liaison Inter-Urbain, he dug a shallow grave, inserted a vial of his blood into his anus and contorted himself upside-down so that the blood flowed into his mouth." Mr. Kantor, who has enacted several other similarly disturbing displays, received a Governor General's Award in Visual and Media Arts in 2004, along with a large cheque (public money) in recognition for his body of work.

A few years back, a tax-funded art gallery in Ottawa hosted a five week exhibition of Scatalogue: 30 years of crap in contemporary art, focused on poop and included such profound displays as soiled underwear and shrink-wrapped turds.

Israel Moras, AKA the Mexican Masturbator, received Canadian funding to wheel a cart full of test tubes filled with his own ejaculate around Banff.

Another non-Canadian but recipient of Canadian arts funding is legendary porn actress Nina Hartley. Film “Bubbles Galore” received $55,000 of our tax dollars for its production from the Canada Council. This porn was considered “art” as it portrayed lesbians. Bubbles Galore won the best film award at the International Festival of Trash Cinema!

How about $9,000 given to a proud lesbian single mother who felt that displaying a breast milk bar is of artistic merit? The entitled “lactation station” will provide samples of real breast milk for visitors. ”Artist” Jess Dobkin states the milk will be provided from six different women. For health and safety reasons the milk will be pasteurized.

One of Canada’s most famous wastes of money. American “artist” Barnett Newman sold Canada his painting “Voice of Fire” for $1.8 million. It was a series of stripes, vertically painted.

I have one question I have never received an answer to from any liberal politico or supporter: “Why, in the decades we have had federal liberals in power, have they, the NDP, and the Bloc ALWAYS opposed the raising of the age of sexual consent from 14 to 16?”

The CPC finally succeeded this year in doing just that, and thank God there is at least one party that wants to do the right thing, in cutting our wasted taxpayer dollars to funding filth and protecting vulnerable children!

Edward Kennedy

Yes, to Arts Funding

I was at the all-candidates’ meeting in Kaladar when Scott Reid, the Conservative candidate for our riding, said that he didn’t think governments should be giving funding to the arts. When asked to clarify his viewpoint he questioned funding for activities at the National Arts Centre for performing arts, the National Art Gallery and Opera. I was surprised with his point of view and though I disagreed with it I did respect his principles and willingness to state them publicly. I was prepared to argue for the funding of the arts so I went to the all-candidates’ meeting in Verona three days later. When asked did he support government funding of the arts and if not, what did he think should not be funded he said that in a $3 billion budget for the arts that the $45 million cuts in funding was not unreasonable. In three days he had gone from no funding of the arts to funding $3 billion less $45 million. Wow! I was pleased that he changed his position and did support funding of the arts. Or did he? When pressed about what should be cut, he used the great debater’s skill (trick) of not giving a direct answer but using a diversionary example.

He said that the National Gallery of Canada should not have purchased a painting by Barnett Newman called Voice of Fire for $1.8 million which received a lot of media attention at the time. What he didn’t say was that the painting he referred to was purchased in 1989 almost 20 years ago, that the painting has increased significantly in value (not a bad economic investment) and that the painting brought a significant increase in visitors to the Gallery. Sounds like a win win for everyone.

Should it be the role of members of parliament to decide what works of art should be in the gallery? Because they don’t like a particular painting, should arts funding be cut? What nonsense! And when these points were made to Mr. Reid he said thought that if the painting was worth more now, then it should be sold and that Canadian works of art should be bought with the money. Does he not know that every National Gallery of repute displays works of art from around the world not just their own nation’s artists? Then, using the debater’s trick of playing the “I’m being picked on” card, he said “I don’t know why you’re so upset with me over this painting”.

I’m upset because I don’t know what you think: should governments fund the arts? Should politicians decide what works of art are of value?

I’m upset because in three days you went from expressing your opinion to giving your party’s opinion.

I’m upset because there appears to be little recognition given to the significant economic value of the arts to the Canadian community.

I’m upset because the politicizing of the arts divides us rather than nourishes us. No culture can claim to be a culture without its arts in all their diversity. I like that in our Canadian landscape there are expressions of art that I like and dislike; that we are not governed by people that use art to push their political agenda. I want a government that will continue to promote that landscape.

John Pariselli

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