Monday, May 16, 2011

Government Out of the Arts !!!

As an example of a transgressive or disobedient aesthetic act, Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" is a famous focus of public controversy involving public funding of the arts. Exhibition of the piece caused a scandal when it was shown in 1989. The photographic (Cibachrome) image is of a small plastic crucifix submerged in a golden yellow liquid, which Serrano declared to be his own urine. Were he not to have made this claim, the liquid might have appeared to be, or be seen to be some other fluid. Serrano also stated that the work refers to the commercialization or compromising of Christian icons in contemporary secular culture. The image itself is diverting and strange, though not formally very innovative. It bears comparison with religious imagery from across the historical spectrum of art. While it is not overtly critical of religion per se, it does resonate with unsettling energy, and, taken together with the artist's descriptive captioning, is clearly meant to arouse viewers in ways that certainly include negative intuitive feelings about Christianity--though, again, what those negative feelings might be directed toward, or against, remains stubbornly non-distinct (ambiguous).

Enlightened members of any democracy want to preserve the letter and the spirit of free speech. It is the foundation of our political system, and any attempts to abridge or curtail it--no matter from what quarter, or for what purpose--are to be regarded with suspicion and resistance.

But tolerance and encouragement are not the same thing. The National Endowment for the Arts, which began in 1965, is intended to encourage artistic activity through direct financial support to organizations, communities and individuals--"to help create and sustain . . . a climate encouraging freedom of thought, imagination, and inquiry." The Congress, concerned that NEA not become a kind of cultural czar, urged that "there be given the fullest attention to freedom of artistic expression" and that "the standard should be artistic excellence."

During the 1930's--the period of the Great Depression, and the Administrations of FDR, the Works Progress Administration [1935-43] was created to support artistic activity in America during a time of social and economic hardship, and also to facilitate the creation of documents and events which would dramatize and bring to public attention, conditions which would awaken the national conscience of the electorate to the difficulties of the period, and inspire pride among the citizenry in our homegrown cultural accomplishments. By most accounts, the WPA was a signal success.

Government support of the arts is not a new idea. Noble and religious patronage has been going on for centuries. Pre-democratic support of the arts sustained the Renaissance, and religious and secular glorifications of all kinds have kept painters, artisans, performers, writers, sculptors busy for thousands of years. The question today, of course, is a different one. In a time when kings and bishops and generals ruled, responsibility and justification for support of artistic activity began and ended with vested authority--it was an expression of power. Since the inception of parliamentary democracy, with its power, theoretically at least, vested in the people (or the people's majority, or the people's organs of popular representation), the right and privilege of patronage of the arts has an entirely new dimension.

If the power to tax and regulate and fund commerce and standing armies is extended to cultural realms, the question of how that power should be administered is always under dispute. In aesthetics, there can be no fixed dogma. No one can define the public's interest as a judgment of taste in artistic enterprise.

Any kind of entertainment, any kind of artistic product or artifact is an expression of a specific and individual talent, creative energy, and taste. Though it may well be "in society's interest" to foster an environment in which the free expression of artistic production can occur, the manner in which such encouragement is to be carried out is fraught with contradictory interests and factions. Who is to say what the public's interest should be with respect to the production of art or literature or entertainment?

Writers, artists, performers all are free, in a free society, to express themselves through their artistic media. Private philanthropy and support owe no allegiance to any public interest. It is free to encourage any kind of artistic activity, without limit, as long as it doesn't tread on the rights and freedoms of other members or groups in society. But when government sets about trying to decide whom or what to support--in the public interest--contradictions abound. It is not the business of government to determine public or private taste. Taste is a matter of fashion. It changes over time. There are vast disagreements about what constitutes the value and purpose of all artistic activity. Art and literature and music and performance are, in fact, luxuries, which do not sustain humankind's need for food, shelter, and safety from harm. Nor does art serve a purely political interest. The public's right to be informed and consulted through media does not require that it should necessarily believe in, or invest in, any form of public speech or expression which arises from private, personal or limited ends.

Andres Serrano's "Piss Christ" is a legitimate form of personal expression which is protected by the 1st Amendment. It does not follow, however, that the public, through its elected officials and administrators, has any obligation whatever to support such forms of expression. Serrano's work is a private, personal vehicle of artistic expression. Not one penny of the public's wealth should go to support its creation, or the life of its creator, or any institution which supports it (or him). There is no argument that can be brought forward to defend Mr. Serrano's dependence upon the public purse. If he is independently wealthy, or enjoys private patronage, or is a letter carrier, or a teacher of art at a private college, or sells his art on streetcorners--it matters not, as long as the public is not obligated to judge the value of his art through financial or quasi-financial support. Because it cannot judge. It doesn't have that authority, and it doesn't have that mandate. No one can take the public's tax money and decide--by whatever means--who or what constitutes "the standard of artistic excellence." There can never be agreement about this, and that is a very good thing.

That art is strongest which carries the fewest obligations, which is most free of encumbrances. If artists wish to criticize government, or anything else, they should be free to do so. But they cannot be supported by government. Government support of the arts is by its nature backward and oppressive. It should never be permitted. Not one tenth of one percent of the public's treasure should be given to it. In fascistic, or monarchical, or communistic societies, artistic control is from the top down. In a democracy, in which the arts (and religion, and business) are intended to be separate from governance, there can be no official patronage.


Conrad DiDiodato said...

Bravo, Curtis!


"If artists wish to criticize government, or anything else, they should be free to do so. But they cannot be supported by government. Government support of the arts is by its nature backward and oppressive. It should never be permitted. Not one tenth of one percent of the public's treasure should be given to it."

It's precisely my view of arts funding & I've been reviled constantly by Canadians for saying it in my blog & elsewhere. To decry the obscene amount of taxpayers' money given to the arts in my country is almost tantamount to blasphemy.

J said...

Your use of Serrano's ahht is really a straw man fallacy: "why, we can't have public funding for arts, because it leads to...Piss Christs." That's hardly different than what Annie Coulters or biblethumpers say every day, Sir F.

What about say public funded symphonies, or mural projects, or even some...poetry (about the least deserving IMHE)?? I wager the p-chr's are a minority.

Furthermore why have any public funding for arts education either? The hicks also use that one--my tax dollars being used to pay for... educating some freaks to make art that a monkey could do?? etc.

The alternative to your philistinish, libertarian approach would be having smarter people in the Govt. assessing the applicants and so forth. An unknown composer, artist, etc applies for a grant, yet he's not just applying to bureaucrats but to professional composers, etc. Better a bit of intelligent statism than vegass libertarianism, Sir F.

Curtis Faville said...


We may have a clear disagreement on this issue, J, but I'm not sure it's a useful one.

If you're arguing that some art is better than other, and that that justifies rewarding the "better" with financial encouragement, then I can't follow you down that pathway.

I applied for a writer's grant way back in the early 1970's--didn't get it--then read the list of "grantees". Nearly every name was either Gay or Hispanic or well-heeled already. My point isn't ethnic or racist or classist--it's that no one can (or should) be set up to judge art at the behest of the body politic. It's a matter of principle. It doesn't matter to my argument that we spend more on a single navy jet than we do on all the artistic activity of the nation. I wouldn't expect incompetents to design my airplane. Why would I agree to let you--or the guy in the suspenders in Washington--decide who's more deserving of the public's support?

I used to believe that symphony orchestras and ballet companies and dramatic groups deserved some help. But who are we to decide that 3% of the population deserves to have "its entertainment" while the other 97% goes begging?

Government has no obligation to fund luxuries and pastimes and entertainments (except, perhaps, July 4th extravaganzas in DC). That's what the Hitlers and the Stalins and the Kings of Sweden do. We're a democracy. Our tax money is the expression of the people--it's not to be expended on taste-making.

J said...

Given democratic principles a majority of voters might decide to fund Ahht of some type. And they do--NPR for one. Your POV does not sound democratic--it's more akin to Ron Paul-style libertarianism; ie, you hold any sort of statist obligation as injust, even if decided upon by voters. Why should taxpayers support the DoD, or education, or national parks either? Paying taxes to support Yosemite's hardly different
than paying taxes for a symphony. --actually the wealthy should foot the bill--obligatory philanthropy of a sort.

I understand your viewpoint to some extent--at least in regard to Serranos--but the public is educated and/or inspired by "good" arts--ie, Beethoven, IMHE, as it is by Yosemites. And that could be...and is...decided by judged by intelligent people. Your anti-statist view would mean no monuments to honor veterans either--don't WWII vets deserve a bit of recognition, a statue, or park or something?? Yes.

Curtis Faville said...


We're talking apples and oranges here. Preserving wilderness areas and giving veterans health care for war wounds doesn't equate to paying a painter or a poet for things s/he has done in the past. Art should be governed by the marketplace, not subsidized by the public purse.

I'm not a libertarian. What we spend our money on should be prioritized by a sliding scale of applicability to the public good.

I actually heard this joker Bloomberg (mayor of New York) suggest, in answer to the question by a moderator about how to solve our current economic woes: "Well, I propose that we grant immediate waivers for a million Mexicans to be allowed to emigrate to Detroit and quick-start that region. America has a history of foreigners revitalizing the economy, and that's my plan."


He should be drowned in his own urine.

(Sorry, I'm getting a little irrelevant here...)

J said...

""Art should be governed by the marketplace"""

it is. So, MTV, hiphop and kountry, popular music of all sorts must be good according to CF. Britney Spears sells a few million CDs/files/tickets a year. Beethoven probably less than a thousand. Britney wins, according to F-ville rules.

""the public good""

who decides on that? democracy means ...some will decide Yosemites are good, or not, and some may decide funding a sculpture is good.

Then, is politics merely a matter of popular polls? You say yes. --ergo , since a majority voted in Bush, Bush is good!

start over with "tyranny of the majority"--or Plato's Republic, CF

Curtis Faville said...


Methinks you're trying to bait me here.

No problem. I'm a veteran baiter myself.

The question isn't what's best, or who should flourish, but whether our tax dollars should be spent to support art, and who might be "authorized" to decide who should get them (the dollars). In any case, our elected representatives don't make those decisions; they contract that job out to "arts councils" and committees, as if that were a way to make the process "fairer." But it's never fair.

If MTV is more popular than Beethoven, so be it. That doesn't suggest we should prop up symphony orchestras with our tax dollars. In fact, it's the best argument against it I can think of.

Yosemite is a phenomenon of nature, not a work of art (unless you think god is an artist).

My point is that NO ONE in government should be choosing who to give arts support to. Not the majority, not the minority.

Art and politics shouldn't be confused. If we elect Bush, we deserve what we get. If I decide to write a poem, my fellow citizens have no obligation to support me to pursue this.

I think your fundamental error is in conflating the obligations of government with the vagaries of taste. Taste can't be legislated. There is simply no "fair" way of doing it. No one can decide who "deserves" to get the money.

J said...

not exactly. you routinely insist on relativism-- the "vagaries of taste", no one can decide, that the taxpayer rules supreme, etc. Besides, if no one's decision is better than another's--whether in regard to arts, or national parks, or the defense dept-- then democracy itself is a farce (which it is, mostly).

Beethoven is objectively superior to Britney, CF--as is Brecht to the Charlie Sheen show, or Desperate Housesluts. Intelligent statesmen would agree (ie, not the sort of hustlers we have now). Ezra Pound would agree, with reservations... Yet given mob rule democracy, Britneys, MTVs and hiphoppers, Sheens and sluts will be what the USA herd gets.

Curtis Faville said...


Taste, unlike justice, isn't supposed to be "fair."

Democracy functions best when it's impartial and unprejudiced.

But taste is all about discrimination.

In any case, it isn't government's business to decide between Madonna and Phillip Glass. That happens in the public realm--the "marketplace" of taste, if you will. The same argument against the public's support of Madonna can be made against Glass. The marketplace is rife with "tyrannies." As long as my neighbor doesn't drive me crazy with his stereo, he can play any music he likes. I'm not required to subsidize his choice of recording artist.

J said...

Fair, like as in..Justice? Im not the one saying justice should be decided by popular vote--YOU are. Similarly, a decision on Beethoven vs Britney is not a show of hands.

And as far as the marketplace goes---another "petitio principii". What the marketplace decides on is not necessarily fair or just, or beautiful--another populist error. Is Adam Smith the guide here, (rather than ..Pound, Hegel, Plato, etc)?? No.

You're resorting to the personal--"Im not required,"etc.--no different than Ron Paulism. You do pay fed/state taxes, and part of that goes to arts education anyway, doesn't it. That freak next door playing some Mingus like sounds might be doing so on a grant! yikes

Curtis Faville said...


You're getting off point again.

Government support of the arts. That's the subject.

Justice doesn't apply to the arts. Got that?

It's about taste. Taste isn't about justice, or the majority.

No, I'm NOT resorting to the "personal"--quite the opposite. Personally, I can like anything I want. As a taxpayer, I shouldn't be required to support someone else's selections of taste. No one has the right to tell me that my tax dollars should go to W.S. Merwin or Ron Padgett--because they've been deemed "the best" or the most deserving.

Taste is inherently "unfair" in the political sense. Thats why politics needs to stay out of it.

J said...

No, you said something about fairness, while at the same time praising democracy, popular vote. So, the response--a popular vote/democracy-or capitalism-- does not necessarily produce Justice OR Beauty. I'd say that's a Poundian point. EP wanted something like an Aristotelian state--ie and often tied his discussion of the Ahhts to economics and politics. That's not the Ron Paul-GOP-Adam Smith state, exactly. Indeed one might argue that the free market/democracy has produced all the superficial, pop culture you detest.

And again as a taxpayer, you do support someone else's selections of taste, whether with a Poet Laureate, or education in general. We may not care for say Harry Potter, but they teach that crap in public schools, with our tax funds. Then they teach basketball as well, and they teach drone- robotics over, well, the classics, or mathematics. So in effect you're suggesting the need for a more efficient, reasonable, ethical State. Ron Paulism or anarchism is not the answer, CF; or rather anarchism is the last resort (your POV actually sounds anarchistic)

Curtis Faville said...

No, I'm not advocating fairness in application of state support of the arts. I'm advocating NO application at all.

I never said I "detested" popular culture. That's you.

No, I didn't say I "support" someone else's selections of taste, either overtly or tacitly.

I don't support the Poet Laureate. Utter nonsense!

I do support physical education in the schools. What should be taught in the public schools is a complex subject, which is not relevant to our discussion here.

Don't put words in my mouth. I don't "suggest" a more ethical state. I do draw a distinction between what a democracy is authorized to do on behalf of its citizens' best interests; supporting the arts through a process of taste/judgment rewards is not included in that.

Nothing anarchistic about preferring the government stay out of the arts business.

Kirby Olson said...

Separation of art and state. Today, esp. for the secular left, art is virtually the church. One wonders if artists therefore shouldn't have to pay taxes.

I'm sure the left would go for that.

There are a lot of antiquated art forms that require money: classical music, which is pumped through NPR most days, is an example.

This is a big problem. Without colleges, which are largely state-funded, it would be difficult to train poets.

I like what you are saying, but wonder to what extent it's true.

I can't tell for certain. Isn't there any good public poetry? Good public statuary? Music?

I agree that artists have to be free, but without money, they would have to get it from somewhere. The only wealthy poet I've heard of is Kenward Elmslie.

There may be more, but I don't know them.

Where should poets get their money from?

Curtis Faville said...

Poets and painters should take a voluntary vow of poverty, or earn a living. Those who are born rich--like James Merrill--well, bully for them. It may make it easier to search for "inspiration" but much of the best poetry wasn't written under--shall we say--entirely propitious conditions. In fact, you could make an argument that art which thrives under the least propitious conditions is most deserving of recognition (but not public $$$).

I wrote poetry in high school, and in college. No one paid me to do it. I wrote poetry while I was employed by the government. No one paid me to do that then. I've written poetry in my spare moments away from my rare book business--but no one has paid me to do so.

Where is it written that artists and writers must have public support to practice their art? All you need is a pencil and paper to write. To play an instrument, you need the instrument. To make art, you need artist's materials. None of that requires huge subsidies for living and travel etc. Those are luxuries handed out according to the "taste" of the choosers. Private choosing is just wonderful. Public subsidies--and public choosing--is a corruption.

J said...

Merely assertions, Sir F--hardly superior to KO's usual pathos. You need to support your moralistic assertions with...arguments

Who says it is written that artists and writers must have public support to practice their art? I think it's quite the opposite--ie, the semi-bright "creative" knows it will not likely be lucrative.

And why is a public subsidy--say a grant to some talented student-composer or something--a corruption? Some people might enjoy the end result--ie, X gets the grant, writes symphony, sells tickets or CDs, etc, and humans are pleased.

Merely insisting that you don't like it won't do. Many citizens approve. Nor will, "I don't have to pay taxes for that"--really a lame, pseudo-argument, since probably less than a dollar of any entire yearly tax bill goes to fund creatives.

Curtis Faville said...


I'm arguing both from principle, as well as practical applications.

When this issue was in the news back when Serrano and Mapplethorpe were being attacked in Congress and in the press, many people argued that their tax dollars shouldn't be spent to support artistic expression which was obscene, or anti-religious, or frivolous.

As an artist, my sentiments were with freedom of speech and the expression of challenging ideas in art, yet I had to agree that spending tax dollars to support something like Mapplethorpe's photos of Negro pudenda and/or his image of pulling a woven whip tail out of his anus, wasn't something that citizens should be required to do.

It was never, however, about the range of permissible taste, but about anyone's qualifications to "interpret" what the government should deem worthy of support. This is the principle side of my argument.

"Merely insisting that you don't like it won't do."

No, it's not a matter of my or your liking it or not liking it. It's a matter of responsibility to the electorate, as well as to the art culture itself. You can make value judgments about the relative values of various kinds of art--we all do that, all the time--but that's really beside the point. No one should be asked (or forced) to pay for someone else's taste. Artistic activity is an inherently frivolous use of time--in that it doesn't support society, except in a philosophical sense. It's a luxury. And in a democracy, we don't subsidize luxury--at least not officially. (Of course, we give rich people "tax breaks--but that's an argument for another day.)

The practical side is that government can't know what is worthy. Ethical issues, and censorship, and the range of the audience--these are areas that government can't legislate, can't mediate. Government can't decide that Braveheart's a better movie than Saving Private Ryan, any more than it can decide that W.S. Merwin is a better poet than Jack Gilbert. Right this minute, Jack Gilbert resides in a rest home, suffering from Alzheimer's disease. The government could step in and make a grant to alleviate the financial burden, but what about all the other writers and artists in similar positions?

Europe is much more indulgent about its artists and writers--several Continental nations grant pensions and stipends to "worthy" recipients. But any choosing process is going to be subject to influence, corruption, and favoritism. It's an inherently prejudicial process--it's inescapable. So in a practical sense, arts grants and awards are a form of favoritism and biased patronage. In a democracy, we trade the security of producing work which glorifies the deity (or the powers) in exchange for the freedom to say whatever we wish, and to let the marketplace--both of ideas, and of artifacts (books and objects)--decide upon their value. In a democracy, government can't decide artistic values.

J said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
J said...

It was never, however, about the range of permissible taste, but about anyone's qualifications to "interpret" what the government should deem worthy of support. This is the principle side of my argument.

I will grant that the current bureaucratic state does not in general have the people qualified to assess which "creatives" are, or are not worthy of support. That doesn't mean that it couldn't. Kurtis Faville, Minister of Kultur...

Also you are focusing on the scandalous sorts of artistes--there are dozens of others who don't produce piss christs, but something "normal"--ie, that's the straw man fallacy, and actually a type of hasty generalization as well--ie, you should have included a much larger sampling of creatives who did receive grants/funds .

Curtis Faville said...


Let me turn the tables, here, and ask you what you want? Do you want government support of the arts? And if so, what form do you think it should take? And how would you administer it? And how would you answer the critics of the choices you made (since there isn't enough money on the planet to support all the writers and artists)?

One man's paragon is another man's anathema.

I wouldn't want the title of minister of culture. I don't think there should be such an office.

But don't argue. Just state your case and let's move on.

J said...

I don't have time or energy to outline my theory of the State, but in short, I think there should be something like a Dept. of Kultur, or at least Kommunication (lets just say in Kalif.), along with the other dozens of departments. They have a bureaucracy dedicated to...fruit flies--so one dedicated to good movies, or musick, Ahht, does not seem prima facie evil. One doesn't have to be a stalinist to understand that--even in say Rawlsian-contractual terms, humans might design education with the aim of producing a few Beethovens. Ie, some govt. support of the Arts would be part of a planned society and economics, along with planning for wise use of technology, science, resources, etc.

Then, I support intelligent censorship as well. Let the market decide, and we'd get nothin' but porn, and hiphop stripper musick to get the bootays shakin'. Or Johnny Depp soft-porn, and some space opera.

Better the plebes watch Of Mice and Men (or read it), until they get it

Curtis Faville said...


J finally outed!

A crypto-anarcho-socialist!


J said...

As opposed to Sir Faville, the crypto-zionist teabagger? (or is it royalist). Methinks you were outed on this thread.

Socialism means many different things to the Herd, CF. Rawls is read as democratic socialist by some, but he wasn't a Marxist, per se. Or do you consider social security a commie plot as well? Or medicare?? Public education itself ? Thats how the Teabaggers think (or misthink).

Anarchism? Not really, if you mean Ted Kaczynski-ish or the frat boy drunken sort--but do have a Bakunin site bookmarked.

Curtis Faville said...

"Whenever I hear the word culture, I reach for my gun." --Hanns Johst [Nazi poet laureate]

J said...

Lovely--and you approve, CF? (usually attributed to Goering).

Nazis were statists, anyway, CF though of an extreme nationalist monstrous sort. In vichy France the nazis allowed classical music, operas, plays-- actually (tho' approved by Goebbels or something).

Nazis vs stalinists--Hegelian history-as-dialectic explodes...

Anonymous said...

Poetry, which is a worker's art, or a whore's art, ought to either get recognized as a 'real' job, and from that moment onwards, let it find its place along with the rest of the workers.. . or not as the case might be. That I suppose, depends on your, or its politics. It being poetry's and those that do it. Fiction writers are another breed; take Joyce Carol Oates, who is a way out there successful type of novelist. She's an awful writer however, and no one will read her down the road . I mean, you know later after she and we and everyone else is dead and gone. It's too bad , but that's how it goes. Her books are really a reminder what fiction writers should not do! She's a nice lady and I betcha she secretly supports and helps out all sorta gals and guys who write or who want to. Harold Bloom once dubbed her our most proletarian writer, but boy o h boy, I don't get that remark at all. Now should writers of fiction be considered whores more than poets? I guess it depends who is buying what and who is selling, right? A poet without a pimp publisher is a lost cause right? So I say fuck it all, and to quote the late dead alcoholic sober ever so briefly John Berryman, " I should have done what other poets did, beg, steal, scrounge, instead of being a professor." It's a shitty deal no matter how you cut it, right? There are no big answers Chris, artists are no different than anyone else, except they get screwed better and more often than not. And they are a minority too.Unlike Christians who are not minorities but money grubbing theologizing maniacs. Peace to all! Fuck everyone and run! Sauve qui Peut! hahahhah

Curtis Faville said...


My name isn't Chris, it's Curtis.

Never liked the name much, but content to be called it.

Artistic enterprise is a luxury, not a necessity. Artists should thrive as a part of the society in which they live, but only to the degree that they command an audience. Anyone is free to produce art which nobody cares about--that's a useful and valuable freedom (of expression--without censure). Piss Christ has every right to exist, but society should have no obligation to support the artist who makes it. It's not a matter of taste, but of principle. Taste is ultimately a part of the marketplace. Government can't direct or reward or condemn art, that's not its function.

Fascist and Communist and theocratic regimes all control art. Sound familiar? Democracies don't.

Anonymous said...

Curtis, __ Sorry about that. Well, there ain't no point going on too much about this, but I will say one thing and that's pretty fundamental. Art is a necessity and not a luxury. By the way, it was not me who originally said that, but a great European poet. After this comment I won't continue as there'd be no point seeing as we disagree. Art and literature were never luxuries, their history proves (think of Van Gogh for one) the contrary. And let's just say that if it was the case once upon a time, it isn't no more. With the great wealth of the world in abundance for everyone to see, there aint no going back to the old ways, there might be setbacks, and bad long ones, but the truth of the wealth of the world will out, and Art's part of that abundance. I think it's a great thing,a wonderful thing that the world knows this. Art is a great thing, and an important one (and the fact that some men and some women produce it in terrible circumstances does not make that difficulty a necessary virtue, but a provisional fact of experience) and so to me, to describe it in such 'reactive' terms would be to pretend we've not been thinking about things for the last 100 years . Thinking about things in general and moving forward with new ideas , and new ways to apply them.
To reduce the great ideas that have been fought for and achieved bodes ill for our intelligence, and one's vision of society, and the institutions that make it up. Things may not be pleasant, but they are not simple thereby. There is poetry that was written and is being written by those in torture cells, by those dying and in every impossible circumstance. That merely states facts, not historical or philosophical truths. I suspect that your perspective is reductive that you do not look at the positive possibilities that range past your own personal situation. I am not big on Arts funding but I don't think it should stop. What's needed is to redistribute the wealth in general and then to apply the same ideas to Art, Literature etcetera. And in this way, things would be balanced out. But to think negatively and reductively is not the answer. In any case, I do enjoy what you write (from time to time) and I don't really care what your source of revenue is. Artists are inventive against necessity , yet the day will come when another vision is possible. What did that French poet write: Poetry will be made by everyone or no one. Cheers.