Wednesday, February 24, 2010


An article on the Huffington Post website -- "Reid spars with CEOs, walks out of meeting" -- finds the CEOs of major companies making, to my ears, similar arguments to the large theatres that argue that they are deserving of ever-increasing portions of the arts funding pie.
CEOs representing 11 major corporations argued that the Democratic emphasis on small businesses missed the important role that Big Business has to play, several people in the meeting told HuffPost."The way I heard it was, 'Small business was important, but you have to understand that these companies in the room, we work with thousands and thousands of small businesses around the country, so when we're doing well, they're doing well,'" said Sen. Mark Pryor (D-Ark.). [ital mine]
 The article goes on, in a paragraph eerily reminiscent of recent conversations on this blog:
W. James McNerney Jr., chairman, president and CEO of Boeing Company, was one of the more outspoken executives, arguing that helping big business was the same as helping small businesses, and that either way he supported them doing both, not one or the other. For every job created at Boeing, he said, two small business jobs are created. [ital mine]
 Have they been reading Michael Kaiser? Here's the final sentences of the post:
Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.) quipped that he bought the argument that American corporations are good job-creators -- with one caveat: "Yeah, in China."
 Which I echo in the theatrical context: "Yeah, in Nylachi." I'm sorry if this seems divisive, but like big business and small business, I don't think big institutional theatres and small ones are on the same page. All you have to do is scratch many of those in large institutions and you find the same hierarchical attitude toward the arts in the country as in the CEOs of corporate America. All it takes is a suggestion that the small business, or small arts organizations in small places, should receive some funding and bam! the big organizations from the big places shove themselves to the front of the line with their hands outstretched, complaining that the attention to the small doesn't recognize that paying attention to the large is the same thing as paying attention to the small.

As Woody Allen says, quoting the Bible: "And the lion will lie down with the lamb, but the lamb won't get much sleep..."


Deaf Indian Muslim Anarchist! said...

that's crazy...

Anonymous said...

OK - the following is not really to the point, but I hope it's not too far off either... -
It's a quote from William Jennings Bryan's speech at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1896, which I found recently in a post by Robert Reich (URL below)

“There are those who believe that you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it.”

quote via:

Don Hall said...

Prof -

Here's my beef with the Nylachi nonsense - I agree with you that the Big Corporate Institutions are swallowing up all the dough but to condemn the entire urban arts community is to condemn thousands of artists that have NOTHING to do with those institutions ORE the Big Grant Money they get from the G.

It's why you're fight with NYC and Chicago artists is uncompelling - you're fighting with the cats on the shit end of the economic stick and telling us that we're the bad guys.

Devilvet doesn't get money that you think should go to Toadsuck...why lump him in with those that do?

I'd wager that without the creation of a false bad guy in the form of urban theater artists, you'd get a lot more support from us on that end of the stick.

I also think you're argument would be more on point if you just declared that part of your issue has nothing to do with money or grants or inequities in the distribution of dough and everything to do with your personal taste in theater. Transparency on this part makes the rest of the argument stand on its own.

Scott Walters said...

First of all, Don, the next time you decide to refer to a rural town, I expect you to use a name that is not insulting, or I will not publish your comment. It is time for small town America, or people like me who are representing small town America, to call out that kind of nonsense.

Second, if you can't see that my beef is with the big institutions in this nation, not the small companies, then I don't know what to tell you. However, when I encounter the Big Corporate attitudes in the artists who live in Nylachi, then I will treat them in exactly the same way I treat the Big Corporate institutions. There is no room in this nation for parochialism.

As far as my personal taste in theatre, while it is important to me, it has very little to do with this argument and just muddies the water. That said, I think over the years I have been pretty transparent about the kind of theatre I personally like.

Dazed said...

Scott, I don't know that I find Don's reference to "Toadsuck" insulting, although his mistake in typing it is unfortunate. Perhaps that's the ultimate condescension? Dunno, but Toad Suck (that's two words, Don) is a darling little place.

Scott Walters said...

*LOL* Well, I certainly take it back, Dazed. I'm not certain Don chose that name for its beauty, but I am certainly glad to find out that it is, indeed, a nice place.