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[P]
Rudolph Giuliani: "Fascist"

By Speare in Culture
Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 08:05:36 PM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

The other night, Jay Leno didn't pull any punches. On The Tonight Show, he specifically called New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani a fascist. No jokes, just Jay's own view on the Mayor's crusade against 'indecent' artworks.

Giuliani railed against public funding of exhibitions and museums, citing works such as a dung-covered virgin Mary in the 1999 Sensation exhibit, and a nude black female Jesus series by Renee Cox in 2001. Both were held at the Brooklyn Museum of Art.

I've included an open letter I've written to Jay Leno, in support of his statement. As this is a contentious issue in America (as well as other free speaking parts of the world), I wanted to open the discussion here.


8 April 2001

To:

    Jay Leno
    The Tonight Show
    NBC: National Broadcast Company

CC:

    Rudolph Giuliani
    Office of the Mayor
    New York, New York

CC:

    William Fugazy
    National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations
    New York, New York

Mr. Leno,

I'd like to praise you for speaking your mind openly and candidly during the production of The Tonight Show, 6 April 2001, where you called New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani a 'fascist' for his recent dictatorial stance and reactions regarding so-called 'indecent' public artworks.

In defense of your statement, I include a couple dictionary definitions.

  • fascist:
    1. An advocate or adherent of fascism.
    2. A reactionary or dictatorial person.
  • fascism:
      A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.

    Excerpted under fair use from this source:
    The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language
    (Third Edition)
    Copyright © 1996, 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company

While the Mayor's actions have not shown any use of terror or racism, I feel your assessment of his dictatorial belligerence against public exhibitions of certain artworks to be otherwise accurate.

If the Mayor would speak privately as an individual, I would support his viewpoint. If he were to say, even to a national audience, "Personally, I find that sort of stuff to be repulsive, and I wish my tax dollars would not fund such exhibitions," then I would have no objections. His opinion is just as valid as any other person's opinion.

Instead, I would say that the Mayor has used his government pulpit, and used the powers of his office, to control and suppress views that are opposite to his own. He is dangerously close to officially banning those artworks which he personally finds offensive, and thus crosses the line to ignoring our Democracy, and putting his own views above those of this nation. As a governmental official, he must defend every American's right to the freedom of expression, rather than suppress such views through censorship.

I applaud you, Jay Leno, for standing up for artists and performers and all Americans who know the importance of the freedom of expression. I urge Mayor Giuliani to end the abuse of his office to attempt to quash those opinions and viewpoints which do not align with his own.

Sincerely,

Ed Halley
<!-- Copyright © 2001 Ed Halley
  -- These ideas are not necessarily those of my employer.
  -- Permission granted to reproduce freely, as long as the entire message
  -- is reproduced intact, in a format reasonably similar to the original.
  -->

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Poll
What Is Most Offensive?
o art depicting religious figures 0%
o art depicting religious figures covered in dung 8%
o radio disc jockeys fined for cursing on the air 3%
o radio disc jockeys not fined for cursing on the air 1%
o a government official trying to censor art 43%
o a government official trying to censor the media 33%
o the media trying to censure a government official 9%

Votes: 122
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani a fascist
o Mayor's crusade against 'indecent' artworks
o a dung-covered virgin Mary in the 1999 Sensation exhibit
o a nude black female Jesus series by Renee Cox in 2001
o Brooklyn Museum of Art
o Also by Speare


Display: Sort:
Rudolph Giuliani: "Fascist" | 80 comments (71 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
I agree with Giuliani (3.65 / 20) (#2)
by Carnage4Life on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 01:43:34 PM EST

As a black male who has lived in New York and seen the effects of Giuliani's anti-minority including his vociferous defence of police officers that killed unarmed minorities (best shown by the infamous "He was no altar boy" quote) I have no love for Rudy Giuliani.

That said, I think he has a point. It is one thing for people to have freedom of speech and be able to say or do things that are offensive to others but it is another thing for them to be funded by the government to do so. Religion is important to a lot of people in the U.S. contrary to what TV may have us believe. There are several million American christians and catholics and I don't think it is right for their tax money to be used to blaspheme against their religion.

This being a democracy I'd prefer that the city of New York had a referendum than if it was a decision from on high.

A question that you have to answer. (4.00 / 6) (#6)
by www.sorehands.com on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 02:35:39 PM EST

Who is to determine what is offensive?

Who is to determine the value of art?

If the George W. Bush holds up a burning cross in front of the White House for a government painting would you consider that offensive? Would David Duke?

I agree that many people, including myself, would find that offensive -- but not ALL!

What about a picture of a mother and her two childen at the beach, in conservative bathing suits, playing frisbee? Some Muslem would find that offensive. What about men in suits and ties having dinner at McDonalds? Could vegetarians find that offensive?



------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.barbieslapp.com
Mattel, SLAPP terrorists intent on destroying free speech.
-----------------------------------------------------------
[ Parent ]

Who Determines? (3.60 / 5) (#13)
by bigbird on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 04:08:00 PM EST

Why, whoever pays for the work, of course. In the case of work subsidized by taxpayers, their elected representatives or designates / appointees of such. Then, every time an election rolls around, make your preferences known, and you will get to pay for the art you vote (indirectly) for.

You raise an interesting point, though, about almost any artwork being guaranteed to offend someone. One more reason to avoid taxpayer sponsorship of the arts.

bigbird

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom 1:16
[ Parent ]

Taxpayer Subsidized Art (none / 0) (#65)
by Commodore Sloat on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 01:43:27 AM EST

you will get to pay for the art you vote (indirectly) for.

This is great in a dictatorship of the proletariat, but in the United States the First Amendment protects all expression, not just the expression of those who happen to be in the majority. In fact some First Amendment scholars (e.g. Steven Shiffrin) would argue that the speech of dissenters is uniquely deserving of protection (as opposed to the speech of the majority, which is rarely under attack).

One more reason to avoid taxpayer sponsorship of the arts.

The US spends near the lowest of any industrialized nation on the arts. It is pathetic that we expect other nations to look up to our culture yet we take no active role in shaping that culture as a nation and generally allow that culture to be shaped by an elite minority for profit alone (i.e. the entertainment industries). In my personal view there should be more public funding for arts, not less, and there should be as few restrictions as possible on the viewpoint and content of that material. Sure the taxpayers will end up paying for stuff they don't like or want -- just like we end up paying for roads we never drive on, soup we never eat, weapons we don't want, and firefighters who put out fires in other peoples' neighborhoods.

[ Parent ]

Art? (2.33 / 3) (#49)
by hadashi on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 03:14:46 AM EST

It is fairly obvious, IMHO, that this is not so much "art" as an obvious attempt to insult Christians and Christianity. It is that simple.

Would the defenders of this so-called art be defending me if I were to paint a picture of Buddha sitting in a pile of insect-infested shit?

How about a picture of Mohammed (sorry, my spelling on that may be off...) eating a pork sandwich?

Is that art? Hell, no. It would be a deliberate attempt to insult the believers of those faiths.

While it is rather obvious that the coastal crowd of NY and CA love to make fun of Christianity it isn't obvious that the rest of the country feels the same.

Insulting a religion is not art, and it should not be funded as such. If they can find private funding, more power to them. My tax dollars should not go for this.

Hey, Jay Leno, how about putting your money where your mouth is? Sell one of your precious cars and fund some "art".
-- If the .sig fits...
[ Parent ]

Sorry, you're just wrong. (5.00 / 1) (#60)
by DavidTC on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 03:53:44 PM EST

This isn't an attempt to insult anyone. It's a painting of the virgin Mary done a traditional African format. This includes using elephant dung as a paint.

People who call this 'A virgin Mary smeared in elephant dung' have no idea what they're talking about. It's like building a cross out of metal and having people complain about your cross 'dunked in machine oil'. Or a clay model of Jesus refered to as 'A model of Jesus, filled with dirt.' It's part of the friggin format, people.

And, BTW, I am offended by all painting that show Jesus as a white man, and want all such painting removed from public displays. I'm sure you'll be with me on this.

Less sarcastically, insulting a religion is art. Art is anything that isn't speech (or actions) that convays a message, period. (And, yes, I am aware there are fuzzy boundaries with speech and actions, like ballet, interactive art, or poetic terrorism, which are not important at all for this discussion.)

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Art? (none / 0) (#63)
by hadashi on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 10:22:20 PM EST

While I won't argue with your definition of art, I do not agree with funding these sorts of art displays with public money. If they can find private funding then more power to them... If not, well, time to get another job.

I was not aware of the story behind the "elephant dung" virgin Mary; in fact, I was actually commenting on earlier works that depicted items such as Jesus on the crucifix in a jar of urine.

A depiction of Jesus, Mary or even God in a traditional manner (such as you mention) is not necessarily an insult; just take a look at the saints that Catholicism accepted from Haiti as an example of how accepting Christianity can be if necessary... :) Assuming your explanation is true, I'm not surprised that this is actually a traditional art form - and not surprised that this went missing from the press coverage. It wouldn't sell as many papers if they explained it correctly.

However, I have no problem saying "you don't get public money for creating and displaying this sort of work". There is no right to the public trough, regardless of how favored the artist is by religion-mocking groups of art fans.
-- If the .sig fits...
[ Parent ]

Then the question becomes... (none / 0) (#66)
by DavidTC on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 08:20:05 AM EST

Why the hell do relgions get special treatment? Let's just remove public funding from all art that offends people, or even if some people just don't think it's that good.

And, for the record, I will now state that I consider all art idol worship and all art offends me.

No more public funding. Tada. Of course, if we didn't want public funding in the first place, we should just vote against it, same with libraries. And, same with public libraries, once they exist, you or me or the pope or Jesus himself get no say over what they do. Their purpose is to get art, hopefully popular art, and display it.

If you disagree with that, then get rid of the public galleries. But don't march in insisting to get rid of one piece. That is censorship. Censorship is not only the removal of one thing, it is funding of everything else. If you have an item in a public exibit that charges 10 dollars and takes 10 dollars a person out of the public coffers, and you have an item in a private gallery that cost 20 dollars to get into, you've just taxed the artist who make art you don't like. (Taxed, not the ten dollars, which the artist wouldn't get anyway, but the fact his work is now harder to see, and thus he will not become as popular if it's good.)

Now, granted, galleries don't have room for everything, and some choices have to be made, but, like libraries, they aren't only made on popularity. The also go for cultural significs and many other things, and they chose to include this work, which they got on loan and didn't have to pay for, like they get many of their works. I'm not going to go and second guess the people in charge, they presumably know how to allocate space in their own gallery.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

Oh no! Non-liberal opinion detected! (1.00 / 1) (#75)
by snellac on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 04:22:10 PM EST

Wow! Someone posted an opinion that goes against the common thought of Kuro5hin! Better rate it 1.0! Or even better, give it a 0! Liberals (and hence, the entire Kuro5hin audience) are the most intolerant people I have ever seen. They want you to be seen and heard SO LONG AS you're not challenging their opinion, then you'll be rated down in exile.

[ Parent ]
Art referndum? (3.33 / 3) (#23)
by Philipp on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:34:12 PM EST

You argument sounds reasonable, but the idea that there should be a referendum before any art exhibit can open sounds really scary. Isn't there already enough catering to the greatest common denominer?

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]
Blasphemy? (4.50 / 4) (#37)
by j on Mon Apr 09, 2001 at 12:07:43 PM EST

There are several million American christians and catholics and I don't think it is right for their tax money to be used to blaspheme against their religion.
I am one of them. Not Catholic, but I do like to think of myself as a Christian nonetheless. And I don't mind if some of my tax money goes to exhibitions like this.
It might be uncomfortable to look at depictions of Christ and His mother that don't conform to what we are used to. But we might derive some benefit from looking at them, also. We could ask ourselves whether the traditional pictures of Christ are really better. You know, the ones where the Aramaian carpenter looks more like a Western European noble. If the pictures in question can do that, even just for some of us, they can't be all bad.

[ Parent ]
Government Funded Art & Censorshit (4.00 / 1) (#64)
by Commodore Sloat on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 01:28:09 AM EST

That said, I think he has a point. It is one thing for people to have freedom of speech and be able to say or do things that are offensive to others but it is another thing for them to be funded by the government to do so.

And it is still another thing for the government to decide to fund art based on whether its content or viewpoint is consistent with the morals of a vocal religious group (whether or not they are the "majority.") I think it is best for public art to be funded on artistic merit alone rather than based on its content and viewpoint. To do otherwise, in my mind, offends the First Amendment because it clearly constitutes a point-of-view discrimination. To me this is obvious but unfortunately the U.S. Supreme Court inexplicably forgot to ask my opinion when it decided NEA v. Finley (1998), a case where the Court upheld National Endowment for the Arts "decency" regulations that were put into place in response to pressure from religious zealots in Congress who found the moral foundations of their constituents shaken to their very roots in the face of Serrano's inexpiable "piss-Christ." When it comes down to it, the decency veto for public art funding is little different from outright censorship - in both cases, the state tells the public that only some of its members have opinions worthy of free speech protection.

[ Parent ]

Surely fascism's going too far? (4.26 / 15) (#3)
by imperium on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 01:59:56 PM EST

I don't like Giuliani any more than the next liberal does, and he's certainly a racist and a philistine. However, only in pampered America could being opposed to public funding of certain artworks get you the epithet "fascist".

A little perspective, please. Let the man look like an idiot. Just remember he's not actually a dictator. He was elected, and he has no absolute power as Mayor of New York.

For real examples of fascism, see

Myanmar, a.k.a. Burma- persistent slavers and anti-democrats
Iraq- say no more
Saudi Arabia- fascism with a monarchist twist
Italy's government in waiting- fascist sympathisers with a democratic sheen
Russia's government- lovers of a media controlled entirely by themselves.

Once the oppressed people of New York City are dealing with this kind of shit, then you can rate your government fascist. Right now, all you've got from your definition is "reactionary", which is not to my mind enough to justify such firm language. Don't devalue it. And watch out for Godwin.

x.
imperium

Hardly (4.19 / 21) (#4)
by bigbird on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 02:08:26 PM EST

From your definition of fascism:
A system of government marked by centralization of authority under a dictator, stringent socioeconomic controls, suppression of the opposition through terror and censorship, and typically a policy of belligerent nationalism and racism.
Lets go through point by point, shall we:
  • dictator - he has one vote, along with the other councillors / ward representatives elected by the citizens. His term will end, and there is no indication that he will try to remain in power by force.
  • stringent socioeconomic controls - he is not a Democrat :) No price controls in New York that I am aware of.
  • supression of the opposition through terror or censorship - any artist is free to fund their own work, and pay for space to display it. The opposition is free to write letters, and waste airtime on late night TV.
  • belligerent nationalism - apart from supporting the Yankees or Mets, I doubt it.
  • racism - I am tired of anyone using this word against people who disagree with them. It is overused. The actions of Klansmen are a good example of racism, the actions of people who are offended by art are not.
Yup, looks like a pretty clear-cut case of fascism to me. Why, I bet he even makes the (subway) trains run on time, the @#$$.

When a mayor is democratically elected, people are in effect saying "we want you to decide how to spend our money". As I believe he has been re-elected at least once, a majority must agree with him.

If funding offensive art is so important to you, open up your wallet, and dish out some cash. Don't whine about someone taking a stand against publically funded art which is created for shock value, and is not wanted by most of the people who have to pay for it. In fact, there should be no governmet funding of the arts - the local Shakespeare society in my home town is funded through a revolutionary concept - user pay. Ticket sales cover their costs. Of course, I believe their actors are largely volunteers.

BTW, here is a new word for you to look up - histrionics.

bigbird

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom 1:16

Some motivation for "fascist" (3.25 / 4) (#8)
by Philipp on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 03:24:23 PM EST

Rather than going by dictionary definitions, consider this: When Hitler came to power in Germany, the Nazis labeled a wide range of then-contemporary art as "degenerate" (at that time it was all kinds of abstract art, like dadaism, cubism etc.) and banned it from museums. So here we have a mayor who labels all kinds of art as "degenerate" and wants to ban them from museums. See the parallel?

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]
Hitler was a nazi (3.66 / 3) (#10)
by funwithmazers on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 03:53:37 PM EST

Mussolini was a facist. The two countries had completely different forms of government and different parties at the head of each government.

[ Parent ]
What? (4.00 / 1) (#20)
by Philipp on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:23:35 PM EST

You know, I lived in Germany in over twenty years and paid a lot of attention to the history of the Nazi era. But this is definately the first time ever that I heard someone claim that Hitler was not a fascist.

The ideas behind Moussolini's Italy and Hitler's Germany are very similar.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]

Re: What? (none / 0) (#47)
by eofpi on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 09:24:35 PM EST

I lived in Germany in over twenty years and paid a lot of attention to the history of the Nazi era.

Then you probably know that the expansion of the abbreviation "Nazi" translates to "National Socialist Party", and therefore claimed to be socialist, not fascist. But I digress: Hitler's germany was much more fascist than socialist.

[ Parent ]

NSDAP (4.00 / 1) (#54)
by Philipp on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 05:10:22 PM EST

Actually Nazi comes from "Nationalsozialistische deutsche Arbeiterpartei", which translates as "National Socialist German Workers Party". Let's not forget the German workers.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]
There are no other definitions (3.75 / 4) (#12)
by bigbird on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 03:55:58 PM EST

People use dictionary definitions as a tool. Without a common understanding of what a word means, communication would be somewhat impaired.

The definition includes a series of characteristics which, when present in the same system / person, would be fascism (notice the "and" connecting the characteristics in the definition). Any one of the behaviors is not characteristic of a system such as fascism. It would be equivalent to calling a person who does not want to pay taxes a libertarian - a single characteristic is insufficient to meet the true meaning of the word.

As for the remainder of your comment, I invoke Godwin's Law. You lost.

bigbird

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Rom 1:16
[ Parent ]

Godwin's Law (4.00 / 3) (#19)
by Philipp on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:14:53 PM EST

I invoke Godwin's Law

I can't mention Hitler even in a discussion about fascism? Jesus, this is tough.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]

3 blind men and an elephant (4.33 / 3) (#14)
by Tatarigami on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 04:24:58 PM EST

Having a similar opinion in one are doesn't necessarily mean being cut from the same cloth overall. We need to be wary of oversimplification, it leads us to see correlations where there aren't any.

Hitler ate bread. You probably eat bread. See the connection I've forming?


[ Parent ]
The movement of bread eaters (2.66 / 3) (#21)
by Philipp on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:29:22 PM EST

Don't you think that there is qualitative difference between eating bread and banning "indecent" art?

Anyway, this thread starts to drift off into pointless definitorial games.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]

You evil bread-eater (3.00 / 1) (#25)
by Tatarigami on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:51:33 PM EST

Don't you think that there is qualitative difference between eating bread and banning "indecent" art?

Anyway, this thread starts to drift off into pointless definitorial games.


It's not what you do, it's how you do it.

:o)

But you're right, I've said my piece on the unsafe disposal of toxic nouns. Now I'll go and find some other point to get pedantic about.


[ Parent ]
Nice Try.. (2.00 / 1) (#38)
by gmlongo on Mon Apr 09, 2001 at 09:46:52 PM EST

Absolutely no parallel...

[ Parent ]
Hard to see... (4.40 / 20) (#5)
by daystar on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 02:13:44 PM EST

.. how his position that government should control LESS culture could be construed as "fascist".

Now, if he was arguing that private citizens should not be allowed to create the "obscene" art that he's whining about, sure, but he's explicitly NOT saying that.

To call Guliani a fascist is to make ACTUAL fascists seem a little less threatening.

--
There is no God, and I am his prophet.

That is not what Giuliani wants (4.25 / 4) (#9)
by Philipp on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 03:52:12 PM EST

Giuliani does not want to reduce the funding for the arts. He put a "decency commission" for the arts, so he wants to influence what art is allowed to be shown and what constitute "degenerate" art.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]
slippery slope (4.00 / 2) (#16)
by dr k on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 04:59:33 PM EST

The public function of art is quite different from the function of the museum as an institution. The museum wants to aquire and display art that is representative of what artists have done, and a lot of artists are intentionally making work to challege public perceptions of indecency/degeneracy.

For the past few decades, a number of artists have been trying to make art with the intention of dismantling the public notion that a museum is where you go to see art, or that art is what you only see in a museum. So there is some truth to the rumor that "art ain't what it used to be."

Giuliani's motivations are pretty transparent: he wants to keep the Catholics happy. He's trying to fill a public museum up with wholesome Catholic art. I don't know if that is fascist, I think it is just dumb. We all should know by now that decency is a slippery slope.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

You hit the nail on the head. (2.00 / 1) (#58)
by static on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 07:57:06 AM EST

    a lot of artists are intentionally making work to challege public perceptions of indecency/degeneracy.
I think that's the crux of the problem.

Paraphrasing Francis Schaeffer, art from artists who are trying to challenge public attitudes and perceptions are generally on the leading edge of the next step of philosophy. This means that in the next few decades, it will be far more than just artists who will be challenging public perceptions of indecency and degeneracy.

I think that might be a scary idea. I wonder if Guiliani has any idea this might be happening - I would hope he does since he's a curator of a major world museum. And that's not to say he will be eventually steamrolled away as society moves over him. I rather hope he's trying to tell these artists that this is not a direction for philosophy to move in...

Wade.

[ Parent ]

Seeds (2.75 / 4) (#50)
by majcher on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 04:09:54 AM EST

To call Guliani a fascist is to make ACTUAL fascists seem a little less threatening.

Everyone little dictator has to start somewhere.

Do not allow the frog to be boiled through jaded inaction.
--
http://www.majcher.com/
Wrestling pigs since 1988!
[ Parent ]

Museums can not survive without public funds (4.25 / 16) (#7)
by Philipp on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 03:17:45 PM EST

The common cyberlibertarian reaction here seems to be that the government should stay out of art and therefore Giuliani is right.

What is ignored here, of course, is that museums are not self-sufficient. They have to be able to get funding from either the public or other sources, such as rich donors (Guggenheim?), or corporate sponsors (McDonnalds Museum of Fast Food Art?). Since the number of extremely rich donors is quite limited and I could really do without a McDonnalds museum, public funding is the only viable option, expecially for smaller towns.

If there is political pressure on the independence of these institutions, this means that there is simply not place for more provocative forms of art and we are left with exhibitions of cowboy hats and paintings that are at least a hundred years old.

That said, of course, the term "fascist" is clearly an exaggeration. But I guess one is allowed to use extreme words to make a point. And the point is: Elected officials should stay out of deciding which art is worth showing in established museums.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'

Re: Museums can not survive without public funds (3.40 / 10) (#11)
by Wonko The Sane on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 03:54:45 PM EST

Of course, if the government stayed away from all those things it should stay away from, it would collect much less taxes, and the number of rich donors would increase...

Besides, if a museum can not find enough direct funding from the public, then the public is not interested in the museum's continued existence, and there is no real justification for keeping it alive.

So, no, the `cyberlibertarian` view point doesn't really ignore anything, it's just that the situation is significantly more complex than your outline of it.

This is an EX-PARROT!
[ Parent ]
How about parks? (4.80 / 5) (#18)
by Philipp on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:09:50 PM EST

Look at it this way: Central Park in New York city has a land value of easily $10 billion. If the city (the "government") would get rid of it and a private enterprise would run it, the enterprise would expect returns of $1 billion per year, otherwise it would just use it for real estate development.

In order to generate $1 billion per year, the company would have to charge, say, $10 for a park entrance ticket. A lot of people would not enter the park anymore and its overall value to the people would be diminished.

The role of government is also to "serve the common good", something that capitalism by itself is not always very good at. This includes parks, museums, libraries, education, roads, police, maybe even (just a crazy socialist idea) health insurance.

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]

What about parks, indeed? (4.25 / 8) (#35)
by Wonko The Sane on Mon Apr 09, 2001 at 07:35:23 AM EST

First of all, I was born and spent my childhood in the USSR. For me, socialism isn't a joke, it was a reality, and a rather unpleasant one.

Second, yes, assuming the Central Park has a land value of $10 billion, any use of it which is `below` that value is simply inefficient. And I don't see inefficiency as serving the common good. You see, there are two options:
Either a) The city is acting for its own economical good by not selling park, or b) It's acting against it, since it would make more money by selling it than by keeping it.

If (a) is correct, then those $1 billion/year are collected trough taxation, which shows people are willing to pay that kind of money. But taxation, unlike paying for entrance directly is less fair, since the amount people pay does not depends on whether they visit the park.
If (b) is correct, then people would benefit more from the city selling the park and distributing the money between its citizens then they do from it keeping it.

Both ways, the people lose. QED.

This is an EX-PARROT!
[ Parent ]
Quod erat errandum (3.50 / 2) (#39)
by Philipp on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 12:38:06 AM EST

You make a simple mistake in this analysis: You define quality of life in purely economical terms.

Let me try another thought experiment: Instead of having a government run park, let's take the Central Park, slice it up in pieces and distribute it evenly among citizens of the great city of New York. I estimate that the park has the size of maybe 20 million square feet (it's huge!), and distributing it among the 10 million citizens of New York gives each 2 square feet. Since this is a thought experiment let us say that each citizen can add simply add these 2 square feet to his back yard.

Now, my argument is that these extra 2 square feet do nothing to improve the quality of life of Joe Sixpack. It's hardly enough place to stand on. However, having free access to a park, where he can make long walks, play frisbee, rollerblade, ice skate, enjoy nature, have BBQ with friends, etc., is a much larger benefit. By sharing this space, a much higher benefit is created.

Clearly, Joe Sixpack does not personally own the park, so having $1000 worth of land may be better for his personal wealth. Still, the benefit of sharing in the "common good" (that this park constitutes) out-weighs this personal property dramatically.

[Math Disclaimer: the numbers might be off, but they should be roughly correct, I making this up as I go.]
[Political Disclaimer: if the park would be distributed the same way wealth is distributed in the US, Joe Sixpack would not even have a square inch, while Bill Gates would still have enough space for his manson.]

alias kn 'killall -9 netscape-communicator'
[ Parent ]

Not really (4.00 / 1) (#40)
by Wonko The Sane on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 04:28:42 AM EST

Quality of life can be defined in purely economical terms. Anything (Emotions excluded. I don't want to get into that right now.) has a monetary value that can be attached to it. The value of 2 sq. feet of land in a park is higher than the value of 2. sq feet of land in a back yard. There's a certain amount of money the park is worth to the citizens of NY. If that amount is lower than the pure land value, then my analysis stands completely, because in that case, option (b) is correct.

If that amount is higher, then a company running the park would be able to get more from admission fees than it would from converting it to real estate. Hence the park, after privatization, wouldl still exist and be self sufficient.
(By the way, Had you noticed someone moderated my above post as 0 (spam)? Hmpf.)

This is an EX-PARROT!
[ Parent ]
Moderation (3.50 / 2) (#41)
by Ludwig on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 06:11:40 AM EST

Yeah, I'm the one who moderated your post as 0 to steer down from the 5 that it inexplicably had when I did so. Otherwise I would've given it a 1.

The reason for the less-than-laudatory rating was because your premise that everything can be assigned an absolute financial value is idiotic. Anyone who's given it a moment's thought will understand why. Anyone who still thinks Ayn Rand is tha cat's pyjamas will not. Those of us who are not crippled by the zeal of the converted understand that not every value can be expresed monetarily. We're all very sorry you were forced to grow up in the economic dungeon that was the USSR and had to wait on a queue for scratchy toilet paper or crummy vodka or whatever, but please try to come to terms with the notion of The Commons without assuming that every instance thereof is some calcified Stalinist artifact. Thank you.

[ Parent ]

Reading comprehension (4.00 / 3) (#42)
by Wonko The Sane on Tue Apr 10, 2001 at 07:55:22 AM EST

From the FAQ: If it goes high enough (rumor has it that it is 3.5), you will be able to rate other comments below 1 to 0. This is to be used on spam only! Which part of "To be used on spam only" don't you understand? Moderate me at `1` as much as you want, that's what moderation is there for. (On a side note, you're supposed to moderate according to the quality of the comment, not its content - also from the FAQ: Also, try not to vote based on whether you AGREE with the comment or not, or whether you like the person posting the comment. Try to base your ratings on HOW the comment is presented. - but honestly, who does?) Zero is reserved for use on spam by trusted users. That means you're trusted to only use it on spam. And your way of using it is a violation of that trust.

I do applaud you on coming forward and admitting you did it, tho` - I'm pretty sure most people wouldn't have. At least you're honest about it...

This is an EX-PARROT!
[ Parent ]
[OT] Moderation (5.00 / 1) (#52)
by DJBongHit on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 03:54:28 PM EST

Ludwig claims he moderated your comment down to 0 to offset the 5 that he thought it didn't deserve - this is a valid use of the moderation system. I talked to Rusty about it, and he says that moderating very low to bring down an (in your opinion) undeservingly high rating or moderating very high to bring up an undeservingly low one is acceptable. I don't know how he'd feel about using 0 to bring down a 5, but I think it's acceptable - in doing so, he didn't bring your comment down to a 0, but brought it down to where he thought it should be.

Since moderation on kuro5hin is an average-based system, sometimes measures like this are needed when you feel that somebody else has rated a comment in an unfair manner.

Also note that you shouldn't be getting upset about this - moderation is not supposed to benefit the poster of the individual comment, it's supposed to benefit the readers of all the comments by allowing higher-quality material to rise to the top. If you get moderated down, try to figure out why, and try not to do it next time. Don't bitch about it, because it shouldn't affect you!

~DJBongHit

--
GNU GPL: Free as in herpes.

[ Parent ]
Difference between parks and museums (2.50 / 2) (#48)
by Rainy on Fri Apr 13, 2001 at 09:32:43 PM EST

There are quite a few people that don't go to museums. Let's think of this joe sixpack.. he pays his taxes, part of which pay for museums. Would he not rather keep that money and buy another sixpack or maybe another bag of chips or uh.. a dvd of 'scary movie'? So why don't he? Because the general opinion is that museums are good and if a candidate came out and said 'I'll cut all funds for arts', he wouldn't be elected. I enjoy museums, and I really like the fact that I can go to Guggenheim's, for instance, and only pay ~$10 instead of $50 which it may have come out to, if funding was cut (okay, maybe not Guggenheims, but museum of natural arts or whatever). But, I don't see how is this setup fair to Joe Sixpack. Lets face it, we're stealing from him to pay for our shit. It's that simple. As for the central park, the same can be probably said about the geeks (as they sit in their small rooms, pale; and never go to any parks) but at least they get payed handomely! Okay, I'm kidding :-). The truth is, I think most Manhattan-dwelling geeks do go to parks, if not as often. To sum up: Joe Sixpacks everywhere are getting screwed by museums, and once they realize it and all join libertarian party, there WILL be the payback time. That may never happen because this particular slice of population is politically inactive (inherently) and that's precisely why they're getting screwed. But please, please don't make it out like public-funded museums are fair and square!
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day
[ Parent ]
Socialism & quality of life (4.00 / 1) (#62)
by Mr Fred Smoothie on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 01:17:03 PM EST

First of all, I was born and spent my childhood in the USSR. For me, socialism isn't a joke, it was a reality, and a rather unpleasant one.
Millions of happy Swedes might well resent your equation of socialism with 'Soviet socialism.'

[ Parent ]
Parks and such... (3.00 / 2) (#55)
by provolt on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 10:42:45 PM EST

I agree that the government should provide parks, museums, etc for the common good of the people. But there are rules about what you can and cannot put in a park. Government owned parks can't have nativity scenes in the park in December because that offends non-Christians (somehow). Why is it a problem for the Mayor to enforce another standard to prevent people from being offended? The painting my belong to a private collection, but it is still on public property. I doubt there would be a real cry of outrage when a private nativity scene was taken out of a public park.

[ Parent ]
Nativity scenes (none / 0) (#56)
by Ludwig on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 05:29:07 AM EST

Nativity scenes aren't excluded from government land because they might offend non-Christians, they're excluded because allowing them can be interpreted as government sponsorship of religion, which is forbidden by the U.S. Constitution.

[ Parent ]
Nativity scenes (5.00 / 1) (#74)
by spiff on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 04:40:32 PM EST

But using the same logic wouldn't directly or indirectly funding art offensive to a religion be interpreted as government sponsorship of anti-religious sentiments?

[ Parent ]
public funding (3.50 / 12) (#17)
by Seumas on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:00:40 PM EST

I'm completely against any act of censorship. However, there is something aggravating about my tax money going to someone who's artwork serves no other purpose than to insult and harass. If I were a religoius person, I could see myself being completely offended by a virgin mary out of dung or some of the other crap the public has wound up funding -- and the insulting part is that one's own taxes are going to fund something that is attacking them on a very personal level. Would people be so supportive if the artists were funded to create pieces about the holocaust and jewish culture? A minorah covered in dung with dildos instead of candles?

I sincerely doubt that would fly.

I really think the wisest avenue is simply not to use public funds for art. There are enough people in the world with real talent who will produce art with or without grants from the government. And after all, what kind of funding do you need to play with feces?
--
I just read K5 for the articles.

It's not what you think (3.80 / 5) (#22)
by Bobort on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:30:50 PM EST

The whole virgin-mary-in-feces thing has been blown way out of proportion. Here are the facts: it's a painting of the virgin mary done in some particular traditional African style. One of the components of the paint used in this style is elephant dung. That's all there is to it. It's not a painting smeared with feces, it does not look or smell like feces, and the artist did not intend to make any symbolic connection between the subject of the painting and the ingredients of the paint. I'm pretty damn sure the artist is a devout Catholic, in fact.

Some fundamentalist blowhards heard about the elephant dung and went out of their way to spin the story so as to elicit reactions like the one above from well-meaning people who don't know any better.

[ Parent ]
however... (3.00 / 1) (#24)
by Seumas on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 05:48:12 PM EST

That's all true, but it is the representative example used in arguements and is better known than the crucifix submersed in a jar of urine and other less popular examples.
--
I just read K5 for the articles.
[ Parent ]
Public funding (3.12 / 8) (#26)
by Tatarigami on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 06:20:18 PM EST

I don't see a problem in the mayor creating a board to oversee the 'decency' of publically funded artworks, but I think it would be more appropriate for them to be supervising the suitability of the artwork overall rather than just one facet of it -- and provided there was a broad enough cross section of citizens on it, rather than just right wing morality zealots.

If public money pays for it, then the public should be able to enjoy it -- which means that avant garde displays of holy icons decorated with elephant excrement are probably out. It may be restrictive, but Joe Average off the street would probably appreciate his money going towards something a little more tasteful. If that means the resulting work is too bland and generic for the art buffs, so be it. Let them patronise their own class of creative spririts.

Personally, I like landscapes. And portraits. Not exactly cutting edge, but it means I can recognise the artist's skill when I see it.


Funding *museums*, not artists. (3.83 / 6) (#27)
by Ludwig on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 06:35:12 PM EST

Some people are assuming that this situation parallels the NEA flap of a few years ago. It does not. The funding in question is going to museums, not artists' pockets. If you want to argue that museums and parks should be financially self-sufficient, or that art is inherently wasteful because we don't need it to survive, go ahead. But let's please forestall any more comments about taxes paying for offensive art, since that isn't the issue at hand.

Central theme (none / 0) (#28)
by Tatarigami on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 08:02:22 PM EST

Public funding, and whether that gives the mayor input into what should or shouldn't be displayed, seems like a central theme here. The fascist comment was more to do with his attempt to exert control over what was shown and why than his actual political beliefs.

Don't you think it's worth debating how much free reign artists should get if they routinely go about alienating significant numbers of the people paying for their works to be created?


[ Parent ]
Re: Central theme (3.66 / 3) (#29)
by Ludwig on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 09:34:45 PM EST

Don't you think it's worth debating how much free reign artists should get if they routinely go about alienating significant numbers of the people paying for their works to be created?
This illustrates my point perfectly. The public is not paying for these works to be created. Giuliani is willfully taking advantage of that popular misconception. The public is contributing money to run museums in which art is shown.

[ Parent ]
Creation vs. Promotion (3.66 / 3) (#51)
by Macrobat on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 02:04:02 PM EST

The public is not paying for these works to be created.
True. But they are paying for them to be promoted. Placing a work of art in a museum is a conscious decision to create a wider audience for a work, an audience which might otherwise not exist.

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

The role of public art (4.72 / 11) (#30)
by Sunir on Sun Apr 08, 2001 at 09:53:26 PM EST

First, note that tax money wasn't used to buy the art. The exhibitions were privately funded. The public funds went to the upkeep up the public building in which the art was housed, as well as some staff.

Of course, I don't really believe that the public money used to pay for the building is inconsequential, but the point is that any private exhibitor can petition the museum for space. So, it looks like the public at large would like that have that voice.

Still, even with private funding, the government should continue to maintain an arms length distance from the museum because it's much better for it in the long term. Art provides useful critique of common society that a goverment--as the strong arm of that society--must be responsive to.

That's why democratic societies created press freedoms, but we all know what has happened with the press as its industry has pined in recent decades. The profit motive has consolidated power and reduced competition to who is more efficient at feeding the mainstream. Works of conscience cannot survive.

However, as I said, it's necessary for works of conscience be artificially given prominence in the marketplace or else the society risks breaking the feedback cycle that keeps it on track. Studies (*) have shown the richer a society the more insular it becomes, incestuous and xenophobic. The irony is that the richer societies can better afford to pay for public art.

Many people assume that counterculture ideas that were truly good could survive in a pure market. That is false. First, the Theory of Second Best refutes the pure market in an important and relevant way. Consider the difficulty indie musicians have breaking through the RIAA. Secondly, by definition, counterculture ideas aren't as profitable as mainstream ideas. For a profit motivated promoter, counterculture isn't worth the time.

The reason why the public pays for art and critical organizations is to keep itself from becoming too warm in the fleece that covers its eyes. So, while the ideas of those cultural institutions may be offensive to the Institution, that's the whole point. Even if the ideas in the art are bad, the idea of art is good.

So, it would be completely inappropriate for the Mayor of New York to exert political influence over his city's museums, but Guilianni as a citizen is free to combat the ideas directly.

(*) I don't have the studies handy, but I found a decent op-eds from Claude Moisy. If you plied through Journalism Quarterly you will probably find the studies that track foreign news content from year to year. There are also [1] and [2]

"Look! You're free! Go, and be free!" and everyone hated it for that. --r

Look, (3.10 / 20) (#36)
by trhurler on Mon Apr 09, 2001 at 11:19:58 AM EST

I'm going to shout, because this needs to be heard:

JAY LENO IS NOT THE FUCKING NEWS!

I find it hard to believe that k5 has the sort of inbreeds who take late night comedy shows seriously. Do you watch WWF too? It's REAL, man!

--
'God dammit, your posts make me hard.' --LilDebbie

But is it art? (3.30 / 13) (#45)
by marlowe on Wed Apr 11, 2001 at 10:52:54 AM EST

When somebody throws poop on a canvas and expects us to pay for it, that's not art. That's an insult.

I may not not know everything there is to know about art, but shit is shit. Especially if it's literally shit.

-- The Americans are the Jews of the 21st century. Only we won't go as quietly to the gas chambers. --
"Art" is so hard to define. (3.00 / 3) (#59)
by static on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 08:13:59 AM EST

A definition which almost but not quite works is that "art" is whatever an "artist" creates. Unfortunatly, then an "artist" is then defined to be someone who creates "art". Circular definition, Do Not Pass Go, Do Not Collect $200.

(I seem to be paraphrasing Francis A Shaeffer a lot tonight.) Marcel Duchamp in the middle of last century created several pieces of "art" merely by grabbing objects at hand. One was a bicycle wheel mounted upside down on a stool. For what purpose? He was demonstrating absurdity. Absolute absurdity.

But was it "art"? Enough people clearly thought so that it is considered art. From your comment, I gather that a splatter of shit on a sheet of paper should not be considered art at all. Perhaps. I would say the artist was making a statement: So much "art" could pass for shit. Here's the real stuff. I think it fits right in.

Wade.

[ Parent ]

"throws poop on a canvas"? (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by Mintaka on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 03:16:36 AM EST

I assume this is referring to the portrait of the Virgin Mary made with elephant dung. Now, from what I understand, that's the problem; it was made *with* elephant dung, it wasn't just a painting that was done and then had poop splattered on it afterward. The actual paints were made from elephant dung or something like that, elephant dung producing some wierd earthy look/texture the artist liked.

You should really not judge things until you're more aware of what they are. Knowing the above, do you still consider it not "art"? It was something someone put effort into to convey a meaning to other people. Isn't that what art is?

[ Parent ]
I can't believe this posted (1.36 / 30) (#53)
by Jonathan Walther on Sat Apr 14, 2001 at 04:13:31 PM EST

I applaud New Yorks mayor. I don't want my tax dollars being used to fund "art" that insults the majority religion of the place I live. Black female Jesus indeed.

Your open letter stinks. You should go back to the hole you crawled out from until you understand human decency and the different between art and crap.

(Luke '22:36 '19:13) => ("Sell your coat and buy a gun." . "Occupy until I come.")


Majority religion (3.62 / 8) (#57)
by Wouter Coene on Sun Apr 15, 2001 at 07:04:07 AM EST

So just because christianity is the major religion in the place you live, anything that insults it should be banned? Are the editions of whatever non-christian religions' religious books the New York library has next?

[ Parent ]
I can't believe _that_ got posted. (2.00 / 3) (#61)
by Shadowlion on Mon Apr 16, 2001 at 09:08:26 AM EST

Your open letter stinks. You should go back to the hole you crawled out from until you understand human decency and the different between art and crap.

Your post stinks. You should to back to the hole you crawled out from until you understand human decency and the fact that your opinion/viewpoint is not the only opinion/viewpoint that matters.

[ Parent ]
His post.... (2.50 / 2) (#67)
by John Miles on Tue Apr 17, 2001 at 06:37:42 PM EST

... was not funded by your tax money, unlike the "art" Giuliani is complaining about.

We need to get the government out of the art business... now.

For so long as men do as they are told, there will be war.
[ Parent ]

I can't believe ^THAT^ got posted. (2.00 / 4) (#76)
by snellac on Fri Apr 20, 2001 at 04:28:01 PM EST

Your post stinks. ... your opinion/viewpoint is not the only opinion/viewpoint that matters.

Wow, that's funny. It looks like YOU'RE the one who thinks that their opinion is the only one that matters, just look at your subject line. I can't believe _that_ got posted. Grow up.

[ Parent ]

It's called "sarcasm." (none / 0) (#80)
by Shadowlion on Tue May 01, 2001 at 12:28:58 PM EST

I was demonstrating how absurd his post was by intentionally mocking it.

Frankly, I think the guy is entitled to his opinion. However, he should realize that his opinion is just that: HIS OPINION, and that he shouldn't speak for - or attempt to speak for - the rest of us.

[ Parent ]
couple of things (4.00 / 2) (#68)
by naught on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 08:58:30 AM EST

... and then i'll shut up.

1) ignoring our democracy

go back to civics class. we're not a democracy. we're a representative republic. in the case of a city, we elect the officials based on their views, and until the next election they do what they want, within the system of checks and balances. he's not violating jack or sheight.

2) against all forms of censorship (from an earlier response

censorship does *nod* include refusing to fund something. censorship is supressing it once it is funded (and not by you). we are first a capitalist country -- that means if i fund something, i can remove my funding.

--eb

--

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.

Wrong (1.00 / 1) (#69)
by strlen on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 11:42:00 AM EST

A representative republic, implies a democratic process. When you elect Giuliani, you're participating in it. By the way, republic in Latin means a democracy. Democracy is just the greek world. Second, constitution follows your fucking money. As long as it's done by a government, 1st ammendment applies, as shown in a 1942 court case. And yes, capitalism does mean that you only have as much liberty as you can afford. Where's my ticket to Canada or Netherlands, bleh. I hope you don't get cloned.



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
*chuckle* (5.00 / 1) (#70)
by naught on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 12:51:37 PM EST

When you elect Giuliani, you're participating in [a democratic process].

absolutely. and once he's elected, he's elected. while in latin republic may mean a democracy, i didn't write the post in latin. the common and modern understanding of a democracy does not include everything which has 'a deomcratic process'.

As long as it's done by a government, 1st ammendment applies.

and if the government choose to remove its funding, then it's not being done by a government anymore, is it? in this case, we're discussing not using tax dollars (that's my money, by the way) to fund something. that's not censorship, as we're not preventing it from being shown, just refusing to pay for it being shown. let's review, shall we?

first amendment (relevant part):

congress shall make no law ... abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press;

i don't see anything in that statement that guarantees funding for all speech. the senate cut funding to the brooklyn museum, they didn't take any measure or pass any law that prevents the display of the piece in question, they just said 'we don't want tax dollars paying for it', which, i applaud. i'm not a big fan of the nea anyhow.

you're so quick to invoke the 'first amendment', but it simply doesn't apply here. put down the free speech flyer, and take a good look at that it means, and why it's there: it's not so joe artist can get money from the government. if it were, i'd be an artist.

another bit: i wrote all of this without getting indignant, condescending, or using the word 'fuck'. listen and learn.

--eb

--

--
"extension of knowledge is the root of all virtue" -- confucius.
[ Parent ]

Funding (none / 0) (#71)
by strlen on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 01:32:42 PM EST

Your second point.

If there's funding for _ALL_ speech, it means all speech. You can't stop funding something just because you're morally opposed to it. If you're going to stop funding, stop funding for all.

--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
[ Parent ]
More replies (none / 0) (#72)
by strlen on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 01:40:13 PM EST

Yes, I did get indignated and passionate. I don't like being told I don't live in a democracy at this moment. I have lived in a totalitarian regime, and I know what it's like when you have no say about any aspect of your life, because all your apsects are controlled from above, by the government. And one way to stop the government from controlling me, is to obey a constitution, and to enlarge, and enhance democractic process, which is voting. I'd actually prefer the congress to be unicameral, a bi-cameral legislature means not trusting the people to make decisions regarding their government, or as was in 19th century, allowing teritorialism to be preserved in a federation, but at this moment, we no longer have the sectional differences we once had. In my country, for instance, a bi-cameral legislature was elected after a rigged refendrum aproved a new constitution, the goal of it was to create a second chamber of legislate, which will have enourmous power rested in it, without any responsibilities to the people. The country is Belarus, by the way.

In any case, just because you're funding someone, you can not tell them what they can do, and what they can't. I don't agree in having an aesthetics comitee, either the artist qualifies for funding (as can be decided by democratic means, such as a citizen art panel), or he does not. Also, the 1st ammendment, only mentions congress, but the 14th ammendment expands it to all types of government, and all branches. Your tax dollars do not constitute a substitute for due process clause of the 14th ammendment as well.



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
Not trully fascist (none / 0) (#73)
by strlen on Wed Apr 18, 2001 at 01:45:04 PM EST

Not all dictators, or authoritarians (which I don't think Guiliani is, even though he does posses authoritarian tendencies), are fascists. Fascism means establishing a glorified government, which instills through the use of racism, nationalism, propaganda and fear, an image of glorious cause, that is to overshadow personal values and any reason. Fascists do not value debate, discussion, reasoning, individualism, socialism _or_ capitalism,their only interest is creating unquestionable loyalty, and patriotism. In fascism, basically you serve the govenrment. Here, the government is trying to "teach you morals", which I think is absolute bullshit, but not fascism. Government's role should be to provide protection for simple rights, and provide services to those who can't afford them (although, a certain political party will disagree about the second part), in order to fully ensure each citizen is given equal political status (though not necesarily equal outcome, that sort of "equality" requires fascism), and equal opportunities.



--
[T]he strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone. - Henrik Ibsen.
Not truly fascist? (none / 0) (#79)
by Mintaka on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 03:28:53 AM EST

Fascism means establishing a glorified government, which instills through the use of racism, nationalism, propaganda and fear, an image of glorious cause, that is to overshadow personal values and any reason. Fascists do not value debate, discussion, reasoning, individualism, socialism _or_ capitalism,their only interest is creating unquestionable loyalty, and patriotism. In fascism, basically you serve the govenrment. Here, the government is trying to "teach you morals", which I think is absolute bullshit, but not fascism.

I would argue here that Guliani's actions are through the use of loyalty to Christianity/Catholicism, propaganda that labels these "offensive" artists as anti-Christian and therefore evil, and using this as a tool to make people afraid of an anti-Christian society rising up under support of the government. This sounds like classic fascism to me. And he really doesn't seem to value debate, discussion, or reasoning on the matter--he just wants the paintings gone. Guliani's just as much trying to use this to make himself look like a good Christian leadier by demonizing others, thereby polarizing all "true Christians and Catholics" in favor of him, as he is to "teach people morals".

[ Parent ]

Random question to those who agree with Guliani (none / 0) (#78)
by Mintaka on Sun Apr 22, 2001 at 03:22:37 AM EST

Where do you stop? I mean, once you agree that some majority or even faction can declare something "not art" and have it stricken from public display, where do you stop? I mean, how far should we go to "protect" 'Christians and Catholics' who don't have to go and see this particular art piece if they don't want to anyway?

People are offended by the concept of a female Jesus, of a black Jesus. Where do you stop? Is anything other than a white Jesus unacceptable? I mean, Jesus wasn't even white! Yet that's how he's depicted in art. Should some group come up and say that it's "offensive" that he's depicted as fairer-skinned than he actually was, should we start going around and ripping paintings of pale-skinned Jesuses off of art museum walls that're publically funded?

Rudolph Giuliani: "Fascist" | 80 comments (71 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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