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Supporting Art & Culture
by Alfred de Grazia


What kinds of culture Are (and should Be) Practiced?

Does the word "culture" carry an unfavorable connotation among many people? What synonym would be preferable ? (142)

Assuming that in every one of the 3,000 American counties a highly or partly qualified person wished to write or revise the history of the county, and each project would cost $30,000 and therefore the total cost would probably be about $100,000,000, or approximately the annual budget of the National Endowment for the Humanities, would it be well to do this, allotting $20 million a year for five years? (143) If not, how does one justify any county history grant? (144) Would one say that there is no more reason to write one county's history than that of any other? (145)

Practically among the "lost arts" of America are conversation, harp-playing, whittling, whistling, reading, letter-writing, various parlor games, certain dance forms, and many crafts such as weaving, wrought-iron-making, sewing, decorative plastering; are these worth any major concern of culture policy? (146)

Are there any newly developing culture activities that have any positive features ? (147) Could these be promoted by the government ? (148) How ? (149)

Which of the declining media of culture in America are worth supporting for their cultural contributions: fraternal lodges; fraternities and sororities; men's clubs; cinemas; "the extended family"; churches; small school districts; small colleges; others? In any event, is rescue possible? (150)

Using the check list in the Appendix, how would you rank the cultural fields for their degree of development in America? (151) (Using a rating scale from 1 ["low development"] to 10 ["high development"] may help keep track of your judgments.)

What are the five top cultural fields in America? (152) The five bottom fields? (153) (Use as criteria the opinions of experts, the number of persons engaged, the audiences.)

Should the culture fields be ranked according to which ones America most needs and wants? (154) What criteria should be employed for this purpose? (155)

How does the American state of culture compare with the state of culture abroad, using for comparison various cultural regions and six individual countries? (156)

REGIONS : 1. Latin America

2. Eastern Europe (Communist)

3. Near and Middle East (Muslim)

4. India

5. Malayan South Asia

6. China

7. Western Europe


2. Italy

3. France

4. The United Kingdom

5. Japan

6. Germany

7. Other...

Should America have definitely more of (indicate 'Yes' or 'No' before discussion) (157):

..... a. The theater

.....b. The opera

.....c. The ballet

.....d. The large orchestral performance

.....e. Ensemble music (classical)

.....f. Jazz, rock, and other popular music

.....g. Folk and ethnic music

....h. Painting and sculpture

.....i. Architecture

.....j. Historical (museum and gallery) displays

Should America have definitely more of (rank in order of preference before discussion) (158):

.....a. Experimental are in all its forms

.....b. Classical and conventional are in all its forms

.....c. Non-European (African, Asiatic) art in all its forms

.....d. Classical and conventional are dealing with constructive social themes

.....e. Experimental art dealing with constructive social themes

Should America have definitively more of (indicate `Yes' or `No' before discussion) (159):

.....a. Poetry

.....b. Information retrieval systems

.....c. Biography

.....d. Small magazines

.....e. Meditation and yoga groups

.....f. Debating societies

.....g. Futurology

.....h. Philosophical speculation

.....i. Moral philosophy

.....j. History of science

.....k. Amateur writing circles

.....l. Foreign language programs

.....m. ...........................................?

Actually, might it not be feasible to run all the way down the list of cultural forms in the Appendix, marking "I" for "need more of," "2" for "OK as is," "3" for "need less of," and "?" for "don't know or can't guess offhand"? (160)

unlike most countries, America has various separate agencies for education, culture conservation, and creation support; is the logic correct? (161) Is the organizational separation necessary ? (162) Should the separation be retained but the whole system reorganized internally ? (163)

Are cultural studies disappearing in the schools faster than any conceivable culture-support program outside the school can replace them ? (164)

Does the word "education" amount to a help to hindrance when tied to the word "culture" ? (165) That is, do all the connotations of "education" reduce the like hood that people will think clearly and favorably about culture support (because they keep thinking of culture as a branch of education)? (166)

Is culture "education without bars"? (167)

If children learn culture from their teachers and parents, must not their teachers and parents learn a culture to teach ? (168)

Is the inclusion of culture into education what psychologists call an "escape mechanism" which forever places culture support among the problems of educating the next generation of infants ? (169)

Should the humanities insofar as they are logico-empirical be placed under the National Science Foundation, and insofar as they are more distinctly creative, under an "arts-culture foundation," and a small agency (perhaps the Federal Council), staffed by philosophers and public-policy representatives charged with the interpretation of national culture-support and science-support policy and given power over their general direction? (170)

How many writing projects in the humanities would you guess to be commentaries upon the work of other people, including upon other commentators ? (171) In what ways is this similar to the musicians' playing of the same operas times without end-though each time a little differently ? (172) And when will there be an end to recordings of the Fifth Symphony of Beethoven ? (173)

If the performance of artists and writers is based upon the works of others, should they be supported in their work or is it better to make the works themselves universally available in recordings, reproduction, and reprinting (with the best of the imitations of the model, of course) ? (174) Or should commentaries and performances of the "classics" be regarded as muscle-building exercises, learning experiences, for teachers and thence to the improved teaching of students ? (175) Must not, then, the most intransigent qualitative criteria be applied so as to insure a maximum of creativeness in the secondary works ? (176) Should the field of critical reviewing-in its many forms- also be given this hard-nosed treatment, since it wields great influence in all cultural expression and is almost generally ( even in science reporting ) slap dash, unsystematically handled, without standards, and politicized ? (177)

Would it be logical to organized for culture support, the fields of culture into 1) science and 2) arts, capped by a policy and philosophy council charged with overseeing the two general divisions ? (178)

Would the council then also logically take upon itself the support of fields of policy studies and philosophy ? (179)

(Isn't it about time to organize the top of a big agency frankly for policy-making and policy-breaking? ) (180)

Consider this sub organization: would it make sense ? (181)


A. Arts B. Science

1. Verbal 1. Anthropological

2. Pictorial 2. Biological

3. Acoustical 3. Physical

If all fields of knowledge are divided into culture, science, and sociological technology, and the American child is schooled in these for fourteen years should not the population be in an advanced state of cultural development, capable of spending the rest of its life on a self-sustaining cultural basis ? (182) Must the education system remain, as some would have it, a costly giant watch-and ward society, or as others would have it, a costly giant welfare system for educators and teachers, or yet again, a costly giant sump pool draining resources form culture, science, and technology ? (183)

Further, if one takes one-third of the cost of the American educational system up to junior college as a culture-support cost and contemplates the results, and if one supposes that the same efficiency is to be expected from government support in culture generally- that is, that the same cost-benefit ratio would be maintained-would not the cost of any measurable cultural gain of the population be fantastically high ? (184) Or, in terms of the cost-benefit ratio, would the efficiency of culture-support outside the educational system be twice, or five times, or ten times, or 100 times as great? (185)

Or is there ultimately, beneath the drive for culture support, a concealed intent to keep a few conventional large culture organizations going, just as the French Secretarial of Culture spends 20% of its total budget to keep the Paris Opera alive, while its leading figures are not even French ? (186)


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