Dana Loesch at BigGovernment has some employment stats on the folks on that conference call.
The one thing immediately apparent is that the idea that art is somehow being coerced from the artists is off-base. By the looks of it, this lot would gladly sniff Obama’s underwear. Rather than a bribe, the NEA monies given were a reward for past service and a retainer for future service.
Then, too, there’s a remarkably commercial aspect to these folks. The American people are used to supporting art that can’t survive on its own. When people think “NEA”, they think of institutional recipients, things like art museums and orchestras (at least when they aren’t thinking of “Piss Christ” and photos of gay guys making it). These guys mostly have some pretty plum media jobs and don’t look like they really “need” an NEA grant. Individual NEA grants are a bad idea anyway, just because they can be readily politicized (especially bad, I mean; I know the NEA is a bad idea and unconstitutional). But then, their success is a vital part of the movement; if their work wasn’t getting “out there” to the masses, it would be of no value to the President.
And if this was the “blockbuster from left field”, it’s an anticlimax. That was virtually inevitable; the Giles-O’Keefe prank and the way it was dribbled out over a week was so incredible in its audacity and perfection that nothing could possibly equal it (well, maybe finding the real Obama birth certificate). Note that so far, this is only about corrupting the process of public arts funding. That’s bad, but really, most people don’t give a shit: if the NEA doesn’t give out free Beyonce tickets, what good it is? The last time people got good and stoked at the NEA, there was sex and religion involved. Now, we might see that yet from this lot. Or the line between quid and quo might get drawn straight and bright enough to make folks call for the abolition of the NEA. But none of this is going to topple this government. At best, it will keep them fighting so many brush fires that they have no time to implement their agenda, but even that is a stretch. If Buffy Wicks does time on Hatch Act violations, it will be glorious, but Buffies are legion.
I have been asked by people in the White House and folks in the NEA about a month ago in a conversation that was had. We had the idea that I would help bring together the independent artists community around the country. — Michael Skolnik
If you’re sucking NEA titty, you aren’t an independent artist.