Table of Contents


Supporting Art & Culture
by Alfred de Grazia


What Effects Do (and Should) Producers Have ?

What is the truest portrayal of most culture audiences as now constituted: (679)

a. Persons unable to escape form sponsors of cultural expression such as educators, advertisers, and dominating producers for the market? (680)

b. Passive consumers of whatever happens along on television, radio, etc., that affects their cultural senses? (681)

c. Cultivated groups, whether engineered by promoters, or manipulated by friends and family? (682)

d. Independent culture-choosers who are highly selective and operate over a wide scope of cultural expression? (683)

e. (A better definition?).................. (684)

Should the social value (therapy, recreation, sociability, self-respect, enjoyment, learning, involvement) of art and culture be given official policy recognition on a par with the aesthetic-technical value? (685)

If "music soothes the savage breast" and hostility and crime are rampant on the American scene, should not music and other cultural sublimations be justified and even paid for on grounds of national therapy alone? (686) Extending this line of questioning: inasmuch as the American people are being put under unceasing and increasing pressure to give up conventional and traditional comforts and expectations and mush consequently grow increasingly agitated and irritable, would not a great cultural effort provide a potent means of reducing anger and diverting anxieties into constructive channels? (687)

Can culture-support policy provide the most powerful tool (aside form disarmament) to help Americans adapt willingly and successfully to the coming new style of life that apparently will prevail for an indefinite period of time? (688)

Can a culture effort be mobilized to motivate people to reoccupy the central areas of cities and to choose to occupy more economical types of residential building? (689)

How do creative people affect others? (690)

1. Do they improve their earning potential? (691)

2. Do they improve their morals? (692)

3. Do they improve their civic sense? (693)

4. Do they improve the physical condition of their lives? (694)

5. Do they provide them with mental therapy? (695)

6. Do they teach them to get along better with their fellow humans? (696)

7. Do they broaden their minds? (697)

8. Do they provide low-cost alternative to other free-time activities? (698)

9. Do they enhance their morale on the job? (699)

What is missing form among these possible effects that the creators might have upon people? (700) If we consider the entertainment industry as apart form the culture industry, how does it affect people in terms of the questions above? (701) What of the automobile industry? (702)

Is what the culture producers do consumed (or felt) by only a limited range of the population? (703) If so, would not a veritable social explosion of effect occur if the population range were expanded? (704)

Which of the effects cited above are contained in the notion of "culture-industry economics" developed in Chapter VII? (705)

Although the set of questions asked above was to be answered for good or bad, a negative rephrasing may be helpful: Under what circumstances can it be said that the culture production fields:

1. interfere with "efficient" function in industry and services? (706)

2. devalue other more important virtues? (707)

3. turn into snobbery, pride, or an agent of social stratification? (708)

4. reduce the earning ability of a country or people? (709)

5. reduce the earning potential of individuals, and therefore create welfare support problems? (710)

6. corrupt and confuse morals, especially among the young? (711)

7. turn people away form hard practical problems facing the citizens of a republic? (712)

8. teach discontent and mutiny against authority? (713)

9. divide people and group in the population? (714)

10. set up wrong and harmful stereotypes of quaint (or scary) foreigners, noble savages, etc.? (715)

11. are 98% traditional, conventional, and dogmatic (with the remaining 2% not likely to be developed by any conceivable policy)? (716)

12. are organized for the profit of a few outstanding creators and for the humiliation and continuing economic poverty of the 99.9% who are almost as good? (717)

13. have a built-in aversion to using culture support constructively? (718)

14. create more neurotics than the overloaded medical system can handle? (719)

Inasmuch as activity in the arts, such as dance, music, painting, and drams, can, like drugs, cause the derangement of normal people? If not derangement, then miseducation? (720) What general principle can one establish in this realm that would prevent an overall takeover and regulation of cultural pursuits, because of the risks involved? (721) (Is hard rock like marijuana? (722) Are military marches and pornographic movies like alcohol? (723))

If culture activity is conceived of as providing largely personal enjoyment, will not culture support promote the sheer individualism that already makes for an unrealistic economy and indifference (if not hostility) to present and future social problems? (724)

Can it be argued that the overall cultural effect of all the activities of the Federal government (defense, welfare, science, finance and taxation, pensions, education, building, printing, culture support, highways, aid to cities, regulation of commerce, law enforcement, etc.) is negative and polluting, that is, culturally a drag? (725) Has the Federal government, in our time, become a culturally depressive influence equal or worse in proportionate net effect to the culture drag exercised by the commercial sector of the economy? (726)

Has the rule of eminent domain had, on the whole, a polluting effect, artistically and culturally, upon the sites where it has been exercised by all levels of government (e.g., city centers, army camps, wire lines, pipelines, schools, irrigation systems, airfields, ports and harbors, highways)? (727)

Has the development of government regulation and special systems of law lowered the general quality of literary expression in America? (728) If so, has it done worse than commercial and noncommercial advertising? (729) Has it done worse than Hollywood and commercial television? (730) Have all three together canceled out all increased spending over the past half-century for primary education in reading and writing? (731) Can a culture-support policy do anything to replace the qualitative losses to language, logic, rhetoric, and literary style that are associated with popular election campaigns? (732)

Inasmuch as "The Godfather" has had and will have an audience in television and cinema, at home and abroad, incomparably larger than" The Adams (family) Chronicle," and pretends, like the latter, to portray an aspect of America, should:

a. millions of dollars be put into captivating a larger audience for "The Adams Chronicle"? (733)

b. millions be put into local film and drams groups that do not compete with "The Godfather" in its own territory" (734)

c. more films like "The Godfather" be supported? (735)

d. ? (736)

e. "forget it" (737)

Are some government-supported activities wittingly and unwittingly aiding commercially exploitable expressions of culture forms that drown out noncommercial expressions with unfair competition, because they are able to take commissions on every noncreative object sold and use this commission to command the sensibility gates of the people (for instance, gallery-salable, framable paintings versus mural art or mosaic commissions or "total context" design or landscaping)? (738)

Questions of ultimate aesthetic pleasure aside, how do reading and writing compare with the audio-visual arts as factors in generation and facilitating economy, technology, everyday life, and finally, creativity itself? (739)

Are reading and writing too important to the country to be entrusted to teachers of reading and writing? (740) That is, to the formal education system exclusively? (741) How did some of the classical Greek and Renaissance Italian city-states manage to have practically complete citizen literacy? (742) Has there ever been a high culture founded upon the audio-visual arts alone, that is, upon an illiterate base? (743)

Under what conditions would you accept a billboard while riding through the countryside? (744)

Do you recall any mention of littering and defacing as possible regulable aspects of political campaign propaganda when the regulation of political campaigns has been discussed on a state or national level? (745) Would certain kinds of television and radio campaigning be constitutionally controllable-as, for instance, repetitive 30-second flash-messages? (746)

What means, if any, would you to control environment-monopolizing portable radios, tape and disc players, and self-appointed musicians, in public places? (747)

To what degree is there a network situation in book publishing comparable to that in television, whereby, of the total market demand in book and reading materials, the biggest part is filled by several large and ramified controllers of publicity regardless of the number of creative producer and the number of local publishing stations that exist or could be caused to exist? (748)

Could the analogy be extended throughout the culture scene, that is, are use and demand for culture overpoweringly dominated by mass-market controllers? (749) If so, would it not be quixotic for a culture-support policy to pile up huge amounts of creative fuel alongside a few fires of communication, tended by a few groups that even supply most of their own fuel? (750)

In glamorizing long-haul trucking, a current movie paints a huge "Old West" scene on the trailer body; if 20,000 trucks carried 40,000 mural reproductions of classical paintings and original murals of contemporary artists, where would the thousands of artists come from to do the work, how would they be paid, and when could they work with the trailers? (751) What would be the size of the audience? (752) Would the Teamsters Union be a prime sponsor? (753) Might the State Councils for the Arts engage in a national competition with home base trucks? (754)


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