The right has developed a visceral knee-jerk reaction to anything involving culture, and their "loyal opposition" stranglehold doesn’t seem to be loosening anytime soon. Bombs make jobs, but renovations and building projects and part-time jobs or anything else within a stones throw of a—gasp—opera house do not. This is government as violent adolescent child.Listen up, punk: I majored in drama and minored in art and managed to squeeze in two semesters of music theory along the way. Right now, I've got a day gig as a documentary film editor. I've got more culture in the tip of my pinkie than you've got in your entire swinish soul. So don't you tell me about my "knee-jerk reaction." Klein gives us a splendid insight into the central conceit of the liberal mind: Nothing exists -- or has existed, or ever will exist -- unless it's funded with federal taxpayer dollars. Therefore, to oppose federal funding for "the arts" is to be anti-art, just as opposing federal funding for public schools is to be anti-education. Such is the shriveled state of the liberal psyche that it never even occurs to these dimwits to let people keep their own money to spend on whatever they want. You want to renovate a theater? Go renovate a theater. But don't bring the IRS down on my back to force me to pay for your tastes in architecture. Is this what Russ Smith is paying you for, punk? To be a commissar for the People's Ministry of Kultur? And does he know that you're basically recycling the same kind of lame crap you wrote for your student paper at U of Michigan?
What hasn't been noticed is a distinct artistic apathy regarding politics, and though this is a more specific approach to a larger issue, in a university with as much opportunity for free expression as ours, it's just as relevant.OK, I wrote some lame crap in college, too. But when I was your age, punk, I was driving a forklift in a warehouse on Atlanta's Fulton Industrial Boulevard, saving up money to buy a P.A. rig for my rock band. So exactly what right do you have to lecture me about "culture"? I've put my own sweat into culture, pal. (One of my 16-year-old sons just interrupted me, walking in with his -- actually, my -- acoustic six-string to show me he's learned the guitar part to some song by Avenged Sevenfold.) Where was I? Oh, yes: Andrew Sargus Klein, 25-year-old kultur commisar, telling the rest of us what lowbrow philistines we are! Nice work, if you can get it. "The Vagina Monologues," indeed . . .
There are plenty of examples of this freedom, from Natural Resources and Environment students putting up installations on the Diag and in The Nichols Arboretum to performances of Eve Ensler's "The Vagina Monologues" and Moises Kaufman's "The Laramie Project."
But with the possibility of a few exceptions, the above examples represent the extent to which our University's art scene pushes the political envelope. The fact remains that not everyone is (or should be) politically oriented, nor should everyone should be held to a standard of artistic expression. But students in our School of Art and Design and School of Music, Theater & Dance seem to keep a tight lid on any overt political leanings - at least, there's little to no political expression to be experienced by the campus as a whole.
UPDATE: Watch out, Klein: I've just been nominated for "culture czar," and you don't want me to send the cossacks after you!
UPDATE II: Enjoy that beer and chill, Andrew. Some of you people keep mistaking me for a serious intellectual, although I can't imagine why.