I’m not sure how much Dog Bloggers have ranted (if at all) about the case of Franke James, a Canadian artist whose funding for an international show was pulled by the government because her work is critical of the tarsands and Canada’s obstructionist carbon climate policy. Anyway, New York Times’ blogger Andrew C. Revkin picked up the story last week and interviewed James. Here’s a short excerpt:
Q: Some will say, of course, that governments are free to shift spending priorities and it’s not as if they’re censoring you, just cutting off government subsidy. How do you respond to such points?
A: Your question contains several questions so let me break it down: Is the Canadian government free to shift its spending priorities? Most people would automatically say “Yes, of course.” However when it comes to arts funding it’s not so simple… Let’s rephrase the question this way: “Is the Canadian government free to deny funding to art which does not support its official policies?” Then the answer from many people would be “No” because to deny funding threatens free speech and freedom of expression. (And it starts to sound like only government propaganda will get Arts grants, which does not sound like a democracy.)
Read the whole thing here.
Oh yeah, one more thing: this is Canada. We support and nurture culture and free expression and we’re proud of it. Commentators eager to whine about how government funding of Canadian art and artists is a waste of their tax dollars are welcome to share their miserable, selfish and toxic remarks in this forum. They are also strongly encouraged to move somewhere where governments don’t support culture. Preferably Mars.