Marching toward Gilead
Links re: the U.S. House Appropriations Committee’s movements on the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. NYT, editorial. And Bill Moyers on CPB Chairman Kenneth Tomlinson. Update: More from NYT on Tomlinson & CPB internal politics. #2: NPR reports [6/17] that the House reinstated future CPB funding that was to have been zereoed - but not until 2008; FY06 cuts (over 25%) remain intact.
Arts groups should keep a careful eye on how CPB’s dismantling affects public broadcast institutions. With every cultural dollar contentiously vied for, losing 15% of a budget - about what PBS relies on from CPB - can be crippling. PBS's situation will become even more precarious when the individual stations are forced to make hard decisions about what they can afford to show. How will PBS retool? Will it be able to recast itself as a new type of institution if it comes down to it?
These are the same considerations arts institutions should be gearing up to face. An extended neo-con dynasty will get around to putting the NEA on the chopping block before long, too. Drew McManus is constantly noting that arts managers e-mail him with comments about his blog, Adaptistration. I wonder if any of them are taking up his advice. Certainly I hope they’re working on contingency plans for when arts funding patterns we’re accustomed to change.
Margaret Atwood once said, “I delayed writing [The Handmaid’s Tale] for about three years after I got the idea because I felt it was too crazy.” Then changes began and extrapolating to the dystopian version of the U.S. she called Gilead seemed more plausible. This is in the early ‘80s. With 20 years of momentum leading up to today, the force of the neo-con movement is petrifying.
Also, I recently heard the first half of Poul Ruders’s opera The Handmaid’s Tale via OperaCast [via vilaine fille]. It’s really good. I intend to snap it up when/if it comes out on DVD.