Friday, February 6, 2009

Will All the Fake People Please Rise?

My boss just handed me an article from the Boston Globe, in which Michael Kranish quotes Rep. Jack Kingston from Georgia expressing doubt that I am a real person. Quote:

“We have real people out of work right now and putting $50 million in the NEA
and pretending that’s going to save jobs as opposed to putting $50 million in a
road project is disingenuous.”

My first thought is: FUCK YOU, GEORGIA! But, that’s not really constructive, so here's an attempt at reason. Did Republicans not learn in the last election that arbitrarily dividing the nation between “real” and “fake” people is neither popular nor constructive? Apparently, no.

I am a person, Mr. Kingston. I eat, I breathe, I talk, I walk and I vote (not in Georgia, fortunately for you). But, especially I work. I work roughly 50 hours a week in a university arts department and I work anywhere from 10 – 40 hours a week to make art independently. My friends and I are making a positive cultural contribution to our society. In a thousand years, future generations will look to what we’ve made to find out who we are today. The greatest societies of all time are marked by their art. We wish to be in those ranks.

But, you don’t care about that. You don’t care about future generations, as demonstrated by your reluctance to support constructive environmental policies. I can understand why you wouldn’t want to subsidize the arts when that money could subsidize oil, a clean and renewable energy source that will help future generations thrive…Oh, actually, I don’t understand, cause that’s stupid.

But, again, if postive cultural impact and better lives for this generation and the next aren’t good enough for you, I refer, once again, to the hard numbers provided by the Phoenix editorial staff last year:

“Undeniable too is the economic impact of the nonprofit arts sector. Total
spending exceeds $53 billion by organizations and $80 billion by audiences. The
tax revenues they generate exceed $10 billion for the federal government, $7.3
billion for states, and $6.6 billion for cities and towns. This impact is even
more pronounced in Boston. In 2002, the city’s so-called creative industry — its
seventh largest industry— added $10.7 billion to Boston’s total economic
output, and $12.7 billion to the greater metro area.”

Maybe the reason you are so quick to jump on the “real-fake” bandwagon, is you are having a crisis of conscience, Mr. Kingston. Maybe you realize you have absolutely no connection with reality (which your website supports), therefore endangering your “real” status. Maybe you, sir, are fake?

No, I don’t think so. I think, unless you are revealed to be a synthetically-created robot programmed with all of the worst rhetoric the Republican party has cooked up in the last 75 years, you too are real.

Now that reality has been established, do you think we might elevate the level of debate a little? Maybe with facts and statistics on all sides to make a well-reasoned vote? Or, were you not programmed that way?

3 comments:

w0lf said...

Thanks for writing about this. I wouldn't have heard about it otherwise, and I thi8nk its important to keep in mind when assessing politicians these days. Do they actually count all citizens as "real people", or just their constituents?

w0lf said...

errr, constiutents was the wrong word. I meant their voters, not all the people they "represent".

Turg Talker said...

I've found Republicans have been playing the division card A LOT in the last couple of years, and Democrats have been eating it up. Remember the whole "Bush isn't my president" bumper sticker campaign? Unless you actually defected to Canada or somewhere, Bush was your president and pretending he wasn't doesn't excuse you from dissidence. That was long and slightly off-topic. The recent "real people" malarkey feels like the whole sports team/popular kid identifiers in High School. It's one thing to make a distinction between supporters and opponents but to dehumanize those opponents is another ball of historically-charged wax. Usually that ball is unfurled on racial, religious or ethnic divides which we recognize as obviously wrong now (eventhough we still do it). But the American inherit cultural distrust of artists makes us an easy target. And an enemy helps solidify your base.