MURDOCK: American Arts Will Survive Without the NEA & NEH

(Deroy Murdock, Liberty Headlines) Supporters of the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities argue that the troglodyte Trump wants to return America to the Stone Age, before Uncle Sam rescued an uncouth nation from the horrors of square dancing, axe-throwing contests, and wind-swept silence.

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Deroy Murdock

“Without the arts in America, all we have is…Trump,” director Judd Apatow lamented in response to President Donald J. Trump’s plan to delete the NEA’s and NEH’s budgets of $148 million each.

“After all the wars are fought what remains are people, art, nature and culture,” actress Jamie Lee Curtis declared via Twitter. “Trump can try but he cannot cut us out of the picture.”

New York City Councilman Jimmy Van Bremer said at a pro-NEA/NEH rally at City Hall, “You don’t make a country great by crushing its soul and devastating its heart.”

Amazingly enough, America was not an aesthetic backwater before President Lyndon Johnson launched the NEA and NEH in September 1965. Indeed, the generation that preceded these agencies witnessed a florescence of innovation, quality, and beauty in elite and popular culture.

  • Between the mid-1930s and 1965 — notwithstanding the Great Depression, World War II, and the Cold War — the American stage showcased George and Ira Gershwin’sPorgy and Bess, Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Oklahoma!, Cole Porter’s Kiss Me, Kate, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman, and Leonard Bernstein’s West Side Story.
  • Filmgoers savored Duck SoupGone with the WindFantasiaCitizen Kane, Warner Bros.’ glorious Looney Tunes, Singin’ in the RainOn the WaterfrontSome Like It HotNorth by NorthwestLawrence of ArabiaDr. Strangelove, and The Sound of Music.
  • Readers turned the pages of F. Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, John Steinbeck, J.D. Salinger’s Catcher in the Rye, Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird, and Joseph Heller’s Catch-22.
  • Museum-goers marveled at Edward Hopper’s Nighthawks, Jasper Johns’ Flag, the early works of Andy Warhol, and the photographs of Margaret Bourke-White and Alfred Eisenstaedt.
  • Music lovers feasted on Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington, Benny Goodman, Ella Fitzgerald, Frank Sinatra, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Parker, Thelonious Monk, Nat King Cole, Dinah Washington, Elvis Presley, Chuck Berry, James Brown, and the riches of Motown.
  • The small screen delivered The Jack Benny ProgramThe Honeymooners, I Love LucyYour Show of Shows (which started the careers of Woody Allen, Mel Brooks, and Neil Simon), Playhouse 90The Twilight Zone, and Ed Sullivan’s famous words: “Ladies and gentlemen, The Beatles!”

And much more.

The Left should do something productive: Fight for President Donald J. Trump’s tax-cut plan. If Congress snaps out of its permanent vacation and puts Trump’s tax proposal on his desk for signature, Hollywood and Broadway artists and executives would see their top rate sliced from 39.5 percent to 35 percent. Major media companies like Time-Warner and NBCUniversal would see their corporate taxes MOABed from 35 percent to 20 or, even better, 15 percent. When show people pass away, their Death Taxes would have plunged to 0 percent. Trump’s tax system would liberate billions or even trillions of dollars that could be donated and invested in a new generation of American artistic masterpieces, honorable mentions, and beloved near-misses.

Ultimately, one wonders why celebrities and artists scream for the NEA’s and NEH’s salvation. Who do they think will run them for the next four to eight years? Barbra Streisand? Snoop Dogg?

If the NEA and NEH survive, their chiefs will be appointed by none other than Donald J. Trump. These new managers will not share these Leftists’ worldview, and just might be people whom they actually hate.

What if the new NEA director is social-conservative hero, former Republican governor of Arkansas, and rock ‘n’ roll electric-bass player Mike Huckabee? Imagine the shrieks in Laurel Canyon if the NEH were led by Pennsylvania’s former Republican senator, Rick Santorum.

President Trump knows how to make the Left writhe in pain. The liberal glitterati should beware that they don’t get their beloved federal arts funding — good and hard.

Deroy Murdock is a Manhattan-based Fox News contributor and a contributing editor with National Review Online.

  • richjack4

    I have absolutely nothing against the arts whatsoever. However, I do not understand why tax dollars should be a given for keeping a variety of individuals employed within a bureaucratic money pit. If actors and the rest of the liberal left are so concerned about, and supportive of, the arts, then they should utilize their names and personal wealth to contribute to these causes. Let Jamie Lee Curtis create fundraisers if she is so concerned. That is why individuals receive tax benefits for charitable donations!

  • Anika Voin

    I agree with Trump – NEA and NEH are not necessary and only breed leftist pseudo-intellectuals in arts and entertainment who later bite the hand that fed them.

  • John

    True art and expression will survive without the artificial support of the American taxpayer. Like everything else the market will bear it out. What may NOT exist without the taxpayer is junk that passed for art like pictures of a bucket of piss with a cross in it or an American flag on the floor and a sign in book on the other side so people would have to walk on it to sign in.
    Big Bird and Ken Burns would be ok.

    • SAC Vet

      I really can not remember in the recent past any great works of art. Like the article points out prior to the NEA or NEH there were excellent works. But now most of what is passed for art is either trash or is just inane.

      • Nicodemus

        Exactly! Most art these days is exactly what was called for in the Communists Guide to undermining America…. big ugly shapeless blobs (and that pretty much goes for the giant Picasso in Chicago, as well, although that has some character to it). There ARE some artists who make good stuff….like the guy out west that does Remington-like stuff in brass…and the guy who makes robots and motorcycles out of scrap metal and bolts….but most of it is garbage! Make these artists create items they have to SELL and suddenly we might start seeing better artwork!

  • zeno2654

    Where in the Constitution and the Bill Of Rights does it say that the US Treasury is responsible to pay for what ever you claim as art? Art and similar items should be paid for by the individual who wishes to see it.

    • temporary guest

      Amen to that.

  • temporary guest

    As I recall, it was the NEA that, a few years ago, gave some kind of grant or award for creativity to someone who had submerged a cross upside down in a jug of urine.

    If the NEA ever learns what real art is, they should be able to sell it without a government handout.

  • Bobi King

    Respect is a two way street! Today’s artists are anything but that. So watered down anymore that any troglodyte can be a star!

  • Matthew Bowman

    I’d rather watch square dancing and axe-throwing contests than a bunch of fairies prance around in tights while someone is singing in Italian!

  • kap2002

    Well Jamie Curtis why don’t you and all the bollywood morons pay the $148 million budgets for each of them. You all make tons of money. The taxpayer should not have to pay that.

  • Spunky

    I have not seen any art that as worth any money in years.. all leftist brain damage art craap. kill the funding and use the money to build the wall – your so called artists can paint it for free just to let that expression of themselves out.
    When you are done I get to paint in big black letters TRUMP WALL !