Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Is Nostalgia Stimulative?

Remember this?

S Amdt. 309 to S Amdmt 98 or HR1. None of the amounts appropriated or otherwise made available by this Act may be used for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, swimming pool, stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project.
As always, final versions of Constitutional amendments get tweaked here and there, rarely clipped for clarity, and certainly never edited for slightly more sensible wording or acceptable logic. But, here's the final version that was accepted Friday:
SEC. 1604. None of the funds appropriated or otherwise made available in this Act may be used by any State or local government, or any private entity for any casino or other gambling establishment, aquarium, zoo, golf course, or swimming pool.
Seems sort of abitrary. I mean, just editing the whole line about "stadium, community park, museum, theater, art center, and highway beautification project" is better than allowing federal funds to go to building casinos, sure, but I know of one "aquarium" that could use the money. In fact, I give my own money so that schoolkids can go and learn about their world, which seems like a good investment. I wouldn't mind my government eliminating the nuisance of me having to write a check.

By now, everyone has heard the term "wasteful and non-stimulative." And by now, everyone has heard the arguments for The Arts as a "stimulative" part of the overall economy. But that doesn't alter the reality: a bunch of knuckle-dragging dopes (some of them elected) believe that The Ahts are wasteful playgrounds for elitist lefty navel-gazers and fruity kooks.
Remember: that $50 million to the National Endowment for the Arts is still in the budget because it was supposed to be in the annual budget anyway. And to think that the industries that are mislabelled "The Arts" generate SEVEN DOLLARS for every dollar invested. (Except for some local Arts initiatives like AHA!, which actually generates NINE.)
But many of those more doltish ideas about The Ahts are fading. Back last century, art was generally sequestered to two- or three-room "galleries" or "art centers," presided over by former sorority gals who had married well and enjoyed plenty of free time to devote to drinking and proselytizing the significance, beauty, and cultural importance of whatever crap they were currently obsessively collecting -- usually something involving brass and driftwood.
This was fine for me when I was hired as an arts center roustabout, since I had a blue-collar skillset and lace-curtain credentials. Having me around was a win-win for the Nantucket basket and vodka-splash crowd. I could set up the folding chairs, and set the luncheon table -- oyster fork and fish knife.
The Ladies Who Lunch would then drink themselves into mind-bogglingly inaccurate gossip sessions, congratulate each other for another successful year of showcasing walls filled with watercolors of badly-helmed schooners, and then toodle back to their respective estates to catch a few minutes of Merv and sneer at the help -- who were probably pilfering Aunt Dahlia's rare Eighteenth Century silver cow creamer.
I'll miss them when the real Creative Class professionals take over. Thanks, again, Lawmakers.

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