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Thread: The White House has become a cultural wasteland

  1. #1
    Sally Sitter Paris's Avatar
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    The White House has become a cultural wasteland

    https://www.economist.com/blogs/pros...tless-dealings

    Cultural types don't like Donald Trump, and he has returned the favour by insulting and ignoring them



    Aug 29th 2017 by E.W. | WASHINGTON

    IT IS hard to imagine a presidential duty as easy, uncontroversial and plainly enjoyable as hosting the nation’s greatest artists, writers, actors and musicians at the White House. Such events offer a reprieve from politics and partisanship. They bestow glamour on an administration. They are a routine part of the job—a means of recognising and supporting the indispensable role of the arts in a great civilisation.


    Yet for Donald Trump even this duty is proving difficult. Artists have snubbed him since the inauguration, when musicians like Elton John, Céline Dion and Garth Brooks refused invitations to perform. “Anything that gives aid and comfort to the adversary is a poor idea,” tweeted Joyce Carol Oates, a novelist, in support. By contrast, Barack Obama’s inauguration in 2009 drew together the very best in American culture—Aretha Franklin, Yo-Yo Ma, Itzhak Perlman, John Williams, Elizabeth Alexander and (for the Obamas’ first dance that night) Beyoncé.

    The country’s cultural elite have hardly warmed to Mr Trump in the months since. After his comments on Charlottesville, all 16 members of the Presidential Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, established by Ronald Reagan in 1982 to advise on cultural policy, resigned. “We cannot sit idly by, the way that your West Wing advisors have, without speaking out against your words and actions,” they wrote in a letter. Unlike two other councils, one on manufacturing jobs and one on economic strategy, which Mr Trump disbanded in the wake of a wave of resignations, the arts committee is an official agency, making it the first White House department to quit.


    Around the same time, the White House announced that the president and first lady would not be attending the Kennedy Center Honors, which recognise lifetime contributions to American culture. The cancellation came in response to artists’ calls to boycott the White House reception, held before the ceremony. It is the first such cancellation in the history of the Honors, which will recognise Lionel Richie, a singer (and Trump supporter), LL Cool J, a rapper, Gloria Estefan, another singer, and Norman Lear, a television producer. Two previous presidents have missed the Honors—Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis and Bill Clinton during a conference in Europe—but their wives attended in their stead.

    Of course it is not really artists who have abandoned Mr Trump but Mr Trump who, they feel, has abandoned them and their values—free expression, dissent, the inclusion of marginalised voices. Chastising the cast of “Hamilton” last November, the president tweeted, “The theater must always be a safe and special place. The cast of Hamilton was very rude last night to a very good man, Mike Pence. Apologize!” He seemed not to understand that an artistic “safe space” means safe for the artists—a place for them to push boundaries and challenge power, not submit to politicians.


    The president’s attitude toward the arts may have been best expressed by his budget proposal: it cut 87% of the $971m that supports the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. The remaining funds were intended to serve as operating costs to close out the agencies. Though past presidents have slashed funding for the NEA, they have resisted conservatives’ calls to eliminate it entirely.


    In the face of concerns like North Korea and neo-Nazis, Mr Trump’s rift with the art world seems insignificant. But it is another indicator of the tenor of his presidency and how drastically it breaks with previous administrations of both parties. Indeed, artists have usually attended White House receptions even when they disagreed with the sitting president. Bill Clinton honoured Charlton Heston, a staunch conservative. George W. Bush hosted Barbra Streisand, an ardent Democrat.


    Mr Trump’s stance toward the artists who criticise him suggests he would rather take after, say, the Kremlin if he could: last week, Russian authorities placed Kirill Serebrennikov, one of the country’s leading theatre directors, under house arrest. In America artists still roam free. Will their resistance matter?
    Thoughts?


    Addendum:

    Flabbergasted by my incompetence to find a sub-forum dedicated to the arts, I've decided to put this thread under Education. However, considering that I may have missed it, feel free to move it to the relevant sub-forum, or, even better, create one!
    Last edited by Paris; 15th April 2018 at 05:55 AM.

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    Most Americans care more about jobs, the economy, national security, inflation, their paychecks...you know, the stuff that touches their everyday lives.

    Those "cultural elites" and "artists, writers, actors, and musicians"...not so much.

    I think that would be shocking news to many of the Hollywood elites who loved to schmooze (and fund raise) with the Obamas and the Clintons.

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    Dick with my Buzz...Try DebateDrone's Avatar
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    Artists are Americans and like other Americas are just a shocked and disgusted with his behavior and temperament.

    They are equally disgusted with his actions as president and his policies as president.

    The Republican party has normalized Donald Trump. America and Americans have not.

    People wanting jobs is has nothing to do with the topic.
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    Thought Provocateur NightSwimmer's Avatar
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    It may well be so simple as this: Some folks who have no inherent talents to speak of are bitterly angry at those who do.
    Thanks from Friday13 and BigLeRoy

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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller47 View Post
    Most Americans care more about jobs, the economy, national security, inflation, their paychecks...you know, the stuff that touches their everyday lives.

    Those "cultural elites" and "artists, writers, actors, and musicians"...not so much.

    I think that would be shocking news to many of the Hollywood elites who loved to schmooze (and fund raise) with the Obamas and the Clintons.
    Yep. This is a lot like people who buy clothes off the rack at TJ Maxx thinking their purchases have nothing to do with fashion.

    You never read an Ayn Rand novel?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller47 View Post
    Most Americans care more about jobs, the economy, national security, inflation, their paychecks...you know, the stuff that touches their everyday lives.

    Those "cultural elites" and "artists, writers, actors, and musicians"...not so much.

    I think that would be shocking news to many of the Hollywood elites who loved to schmooze (and fund raise) with the Obamas and the Clintons.
    May be shocking to some of our members, too.

    Well, that's not really a surprise...

  7. #7
    Undercovfefe Agents TennesseeRain's Avatar
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    The last guy knew the importance of giving artists a platform.

    That Whorange Menace in the White House is nothing but trailer park trash with a large bank account.
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    Spock of Vulcan Ian Jeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Miller47 View Post
    Most Americans care more about jobs, the economy, national security, inflation, their paychecks...you know, the stuff that touches their everyday lives.

    Those "cultural elites" and "artists, writers, actors, and musicians"...not so much.

    I think that would be shocking news to many of the Hollywood elites who loved to schmooze (and fund raise) with the Obamas and the Clintons.
    The people mentioned in the OP article are some of the most popular in the United States, and thus touch the everyday lives of most Americans. They are popular entertainers, not "cultural elites" that conservatives love to despise. (And funny how they do so without recognizing the elites they themselves love - such as Trump, for example.)
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    Undercovfefe Agents TennesseeRain's Avatar
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    The last time culture and dignity graced the White House before it was turned into a daycare center.
    Thanks from Babba, Paris and Friday13

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    Veteran Member Dr.Knuckles's Avatar
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    Cultural events are an industry. Lucrative and with ripple benefits for everyone from taxi drivers to cops on overtime to restaurants and retailers in the area.

    No different from any other major industry.
    Thanks from MeBelle and Blueneck

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