30 Rock superstar, PETA activist, board member at the progressive group People for the American Way and self-acclaimed lobbyist Alec Baldwin has been spending some time in the beltway this week pushing for more federal funding for the “arts.”
Baldwin tweeted on Tuesday: “Lobbying Congress 2day 4 federal funding 4 the arts. Those $s create jobs and tax revenues, raise kids’ test scores, build communities..”
@ErinHaust replied, “Y not pay for it yourself?” and “U have $$ & a commanding audience. Y not start a charity instead of digging ur hand into taxpayer pockets 4 ur pet project?” Haust asked, “R u saying only the govt can save the arts?” and “How does SPENDING tax $ RAISE revenue?”
These couple of tweets started a wave of activity from both Baldwin and Haust followers. Baldwin jabbed, “The Defense Dept is the pet project of rich Republicans. You got a problem with that?” and “if we don’t secure our cultural heritage, what are we fighting 2 protect? Big Macs? Video games? Shopping malls?”
Followers of Haust responded in kind with statements like:
“next time we get attacked We can send the artists into battle to protect us” – @Rightwingdharma
“Seriously? American families can barely afford milk & gas. Why not just write a check yourself?” – @TheMommyLobby
Baldwin was in D.C. as special guest speaker at the National Press Club luncheon on Monday and touted his meetings and lobbying activities in his speech. Calling out representatives from Idaho, Illinois, New Mexico and 3 other states for what he called “favorable” and unfavorable actions in regards to funding for the arts, Baldwin said that he was pleased with his success.
This begs the question, is it ethical to lobby representatives that are not YOUR representatives from your district?
Baldwin doesn’t get it.
Despite his claims that funding for the arts creates jobs and tax revenues, Baldwin failed to see the irony of his thinking. He tweeted, “You sound like all GOPers. They only love any regs and tax policy that stimulate the Dow.”
Was he not using job creation and revenue as argument FOR federal funding?
As @MShack87 pointed out, “Yep. Most hard working American’s pensions & 401k’s are invested in the market. You dont care about them?”
Most conservatives are actually in favor of some funding for the arts and architecture that preserve American heritage but, as G Linzmayer suggests, most would be “happy to see them spend more for the arts – IF they took it away from some other BS program that isn’t working…”
Baldwin had recently visited Europe and mentioned several times his affinity for the art and architecture of Rome, Paris and London. He said that they are “doing it right” in Europe by creating a culture appreciative of the arts.
In the same moment, however, that he is praising Rome for “doing it right,” he is complaining that money from the National Endowment for the Arts and other federal funding for the arts typically comes with strings attached. He made reference to state and local governments not allowing “obscene” art and artists having to give the funding back to the government should their art be found inappropriate.
Respectfully, Mr. Baldwin is not taking into consideration several things when it comes to art and architecture in Europe. First, Roman emperors, senators and dignitaries dictated what the architecture in Rome would look like. They designed the structures and sculptures. They told their musicians what they wanted to hear in their music, what they wanted painted on the walls. Kings in France and England did the same. Any ‘government funding’ of the arts in Europe, even in recent times, has had heavy strings attached.
Also worthy of consideration is the fact that the art and architecture in Europe is thousands and thousands of years old. America can’t possibly, no matter how much federal money is spent, have the kind of historical context associated with the art of Europe.
Alec Baldwin, like many in Hollywood with similar views, fails to see the greatness that true freedom of expression provides. Hollywood seems all too eager to lobby, push, advertise and admonish tax payers into funding that which makes them feel generous and righteous, even when they could solve the problem with their own money.
Perhaps Baldwin could gather some of his fellow 1%ers and use the money they would have spent on the Buffett Rule tax plan to start a charity to expand the arts, sans strings, throughout the country.
For the record, I am fully aware that Baldwin resides in New York and not Hollywood. He does, however, maintain the Hollyweirdo mentality!
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I’m not completely deaf to the argument that it is not the government’s job to subsidize art, or that when something is obscene it should not be paid for…but I keep coming back to what Churchill said during World War II when things were at their worst. It was suggested that the cut funding for the arts…now keep in mind this is during total war with Germany…and he responded by saying, “Then what are we fighting for?” As for obscenity, art is subjective. Have you never had the experience of watching a movie with someone and when it was over you both had completely different viewing experiences. What one person finds offensive, another person may find completely profound.
The tweet from Rightwingdharma, that if we get attacked we can send artists to attack us…If it weren’t for soldier artists we wouldn’t have literary masterpieces like Catch-22, The Caine Mutiny, From Here to Eternity, Slaughterhouse Five, The Things They Carried, The Sun Also Rises, The Naked and the Dead…and that’s just from American artists who served! So, you know, more like Wrongwingdharma…ugh. That was a bad joke. Have a good weekend.
Erin, appreciate seeing this ‘angle’ of isues. There are so many involved it’s almost impossible to see them all on one’s own. When it comes to some of the commenters I consider the source. Some are content only to be malcontent.