Page 205 - Gay San Francisco_Eyewitness Drummer
P. 205

Gay San Francisco: Eyewitness Drummer                 185
             the razed manses so that 3,000 taxpayers can stack up 26-stories on a lot
             formerly occupied by a family of seven.

             NIXON AND THE ARTS

             Chicago is typical of the tax ground that institutional religion is losing
             just this side of professional atheist Madelyn Murray O’Hare. This past
             year, in fact, as Chicago took frown at its multiple religious exemptions,
             the “Chicago International Film Festival” was declared, at long last, tax-
             exempt to insure its artful survival.
                While a move in the right direction, this art-exemption is roughly
             equivalent to President Nixon appropriating $35 million this year to pro-
             mote culture. This entire annual cost — $35 million — is spent every ten
             hours by the United States in Vietnam.
                Up to this year, the most the U.S. spent annually on the arts was
             $20 million. This is a global scandal when nearly every other govern-
             ment makes provision to sustain cultural activities through the arts and
             humanities. Not through militarism and violence, but through the arts
             does a nation preserve and promote its heritage of civilization.

             Despite the fact it’s fashionable to knock Chicago, this appraisal is only
             accidentally fashionable.
                The “Chicago Seven,” free on bond during their trial, are preparing
             a film of their exploits. They’ll act it themselves in the streets where-it-
             happened-with-the-original-cast. They will film their own Z in a city so
             uptight it’s surprising the Film Censor Board let Z and its political mes-
             sage ever be screened.
                I suspect the board didn’t realize the underlying implications of Z, a
             French film made in Algeria about Greece — and about the Chicago-like
             society that spreads the fascist control of censorship across America. The
             point is the Seven, like Z’s director, Constantin Costa-Gavras, are turning
             to art to make the score they couldn’t make in the Mid-American streets
             and Mid-American courts.
                Maybe art can make sense out of disordered human reality. If so,
             then America’s social reality is certainly disordered enough to give art a
             try. The possibility, at least, is enough that our short shrift of the popular
             arts ought to make us nationally embarrassed.
                Half the kids in our primary schools won’t finish high school. One-
             third of the kids who make it to high school won’t graduate. If so few
             Americans finish even lower-level education, then the informal education

           ©Jack Fritscher, Ph.D., All Rights Reserved—posted 05-05-2017
   200   201   202   203   204   205   206   207   208   209   210