Also in the LA Times today—celebrities weigh in.
Edward Albee would route money from institutions directly to artists, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar would emulate the WPA with beautification projects, Judy Fiskin would ditch the art-as-educational arguments (amen, sister) and treat art like art instead of a social-improvement program, Tim Miller (one of the NEA Four) would do all of the above, and Rachel Maddow (predictably) talks sense:
The arts are critical to my admittedly totally chauvinistic goals for my country: I want the United States to have the biggest economy in the world, the best standard of living, a healthy population that shoots at each other far less than we do now, systems of governance and justice that are both envy and inspiration to the world, and I want our athletes and artists to be total international badasses.
And Ann Coulter (predictably) tries too hard:
I always wanted to run the NEA so I could fund only tacky bourgeois art, such as Precious Moments figurines, thimble collections, dogs playing poker, velvet Elvis paintings, "Scarface" mirrors from the gift shops by the beach, etc. I'd have a major retrospective on Norman Rockwell paintings and make Thomas Kinkade our painter laureate. My plan was to so enrage liberals and other half-brights with status anxiety that they would finally join with conservatives in demanding the abolition of that ridiculous agency.
(Keep it up, Ann—I can't wait until you're drifting on the populist Limbaugh/Palin side of the impending Great Republican Split. You won't be able to say "half-bright" with a straight face.)
Read the rest of it here.