Tuesday, February 23, 2010

That’s just terrific, Cate. Take our money. You deserve it.

Blanchett explains her demand for a new luvvie levy:
Australia has been enriched, challenged and changed by taking a stronger and more complex place on the world stage, rather than just selling ourselves as a great beach resort populated by smiling outdoorsy larrikins …

I know this from having worked recently with Benedict Andrews.
That’s just terrific, Cate. Take our money. You deserve it.
We process experience and make experience available and understandable. We change people’s lives, at the risk of our own. We change countries, governments, history, gravity and after gravity, culture is the thing that holds humanity in place, in an otherwise constantly shifting and, let’s face it, tiny outcrop in the middle of an infinity of nowhere.

What absolute and astounding (not to mention delusional) pomposity. This is your rolled-gold special pleading for sectional interests from the top of Mount Stupid.

What Cate wants is for ordinary taxpayers to shell out more of their money on an insular and out of touch artistic elite, who make no bones about the fact that they despise said ordinary people and hold them in utter and complete contempt, so that these self-appointed "tellers of our stories" can continue to make films virtually nobody watches and art that hardly anyone goes to see.

Films and art already largely paid for (either directly or indirectly) by taxpayers.

So, does the self-assessment of their own vital importance hold up to even cursory examination?

If they genuinely did "tell our stories" (in a phrase redolent with their own fixation with themselves), why do so few of us recognise them as being our stories? Why do we stay away in droves when given an opportunity to make a free decision with the money in our own pockets?

Why do these people then have to get us to pay anyway via the backdoor and the backroom, by way of the various grant and other support schemes?

Are the arts in Australia really operating "at the cutting edge of a science that is now trying to unravel the puzzle of consciousness and identity?"

Gosh, sounds rather grand doesn't it?

But what, if anything, does it really mean?

Is this the "science" that allows them to "change" gravity? Though again, what on earth does this actually mean?

If you have to plead your case with this kind of drivel, what does it say about the strength of your case.

Then she brings out the dodgy economics.
We know the ripple effect of funding the arts leads to better dollar multipliers than many other expenditures and we know that cities with strong arts opportunities are more vibrant and attract more business and tourism.

Er, no we don't know this actually Cate. The argument runs something like this - look at New York or London. They are very rich cities with some of the most vibrant art markets in the world. Therefore, there must be something about promoting us luvvies that attracts wealth and success.


Apparently there are "studies" that prove this. But as anyone who pays attention to these things in relation to public health, government programs of all kinds etc, one thing you do know is that you can pay someone to prove exactly what you want them to prove, and produce a lovely glossy report to prove that you've proved it.


But the same problem with assumed directions of causation that plague so many epidemiological studies about the supposed health benefits or dire consequences of this or that, (with different studies often giving quite contradictory results about the same thing), are manifestly obvious here.


It is not only as likely but, on balance, far more likely that the thriving artistic scenes in places like New York are the products of having so many people with plenty of disposable income concentrated into one place.


Throughout human history it is wealth that has ultimately provided the environment that has allowed high art (if not artists themselves often times) to thrive, not the other way round.


There is zero reason to expect that somehow, other than in the tracts devoted to special pleading for the arts community, this has changed for some reason.


Posted via email from Garth's posterous

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