• The U.S. Loves War, Hates Community Theater (or Kansas Won't Buy Anyone Crayons)

    We Americans love art in all forms: reruns of "America's Best Dance Crew;" Wal-Mart reproductions of that painting with the dogs playing poker; and of course, films by Michael Bay. But lately, some lame hippies have been whining about the unprecedented rate at which state governments are slashing arts funding.

    Across the country this is a tough time for small arts groups because state grants have largely shriveled up. Thirty-one states, still staggered by the recession, cut their arts budgets for the 2012 fiscal year, which began on July 1, continuing a downturn that has seen such financial aid drop 42 percent over the last decade, according to data compiled by the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies.

    The impact may hardly be felt at places like the Metropolitan Opera, established regional theaters or other large organizations that rely primarily on loyal donors and ticket revenues to underwrite their budgets.

    Wait, the "opera?" The "regional theaters?" You mean "Gossip Girl" and "One Tree Hill" will be unaffected by these cuts? Then shoot, who gives a crap? Everybody knows the opera is for weirdos like Frasier and Niles Crane, and who even does theater after high school?

    In Kansas, Governor Sam Brownback bravely decided to reduce the state's arts funding to $0 this year. In a helpful move for Kansas's unemployment numbers, he also fired every employee of the Kansas Arts Commission. Do they even have art in Kansas? What'd they even need that money for, anyway?

    In Kansas the Junction City Arts Council has received $10,000 a year from the state arts commission annually since 2005, money it used to provide visual arts scholarships for underprivileged children, a summer community theater program and a storyteller who performed at schools.

    Foolish! Underprivileged children ought to be put to work in the mines, not given scholarship money to take art classes. Visual arts, community theater, and storytelling all take up valuable time that ought to be spent developing black lung or the bends.

    Gov. Sam Brownback deserves a Congressional Medal of Honor for his bravery in battle against the nefarious cabal of painters, actors, dancers, sculptors, directors, writers, and illustrators who seek to turn our nation into a place where every single dollar isn't spent on futile wars.

    Tags: Art, Economy, Kansas, Money, Music, Sam Brownback


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