- The Washington Times
Friday, March 17, 2017

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Democrats — and the elitist liberal media — have gone apoplectic on President Trump’s proposed funding cuts to the National Endowment of the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

“Trump wants to cut the NEA and NEH. This is the worst case scenario for arts groups,” The Washington Post warned.


The Christian Science Monitor wrote: “What America without the NEA and NEH would look like, and why that matters,” forewarning a world without these institutions would mean those in the most rural areas — Mr. Trump’s own voters — would be deprived the cultural enrichment they deserve.

So, I was curious to see what this cultural enrichment looks like. Here’s what I feel are the top 10 contributions to society the NEA and NEH have made. I can’t imagine my taxpayer funds going to anything better.

1. $495,000 to create medieval smells in a museum

According to a wasteful spending report from Oklahoma Sen. James Lankford released last year, the NEH, NEA, and Institute of Museum and Library Services spent almost a half a million dollars for an exhibit that “intends to provide attendees with the sights, sounds, smells, feel and taste of medieval times.”

Mr. Lankford’s report said there were ‘multiple flags on this play,’ including that while Americans may be interested in medieval smells, ‘it is not the responsibility of every hard-working taxpayer to fund olfactory experiences.”

2. $95,000 to adapt Shakespeare without words

In 2015, the NEA invested nearly $100,000 to bring Shakespeare to the stage — only without the legendary playwright’s words, Elizabeth Harrington, at the Washington Free Beacon reported.

“The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) and its state agency the Virginia Commission for the Arts has funded numerous shows from the Crystal City-based Synetic Theater, including a production of Hamlet without words, making the title character’s ‘To be or not to be’ soliloquy slightly less potent,” the Beacon reported.

3. $10,000 for a play about two anti-gun lesbians

This year, taxpayers will support the premiere of “Cocked” a play that “follows the relationship between a Caucasian woman from rural Iowa and her African-American girlfriend, who are staunchly opposed to gun ownership,” the description for the project reads. “When a family member arrives unexpectedly to stay in their Chicago condominium, their position corrodes as new discoveries surface and the lines between safety and protection are blurred.”

4. $50,000 to help bring “Trans Scripts” to the theater; hundreds of thousands more to support LGBTQ issues

The American Repertory Theatre got $50,000 to help bring “Trans Scripts” “Trans Scripts” a play about real people in the U.S., U.K. and Australia who transitioned from male to female, to the U.S. this year, according to the Daily Caller. The Caller identified nine grants totaling $280,000 that were dedicated to plays promoting LGBTQ lifestyles in this year alone.

5. $20,000 to support a series of public art presentations “on the theme of climate change” in Minneapolis

The NEA grant, to be issued this year, is dedicated to “as many as three commissions will be planned exploring climate-induced challenges specific and unique to the Minneapolis region.” Selected works included “Making the Best of It: Signal Foods for Climate Chaos” and a “Chill Out” public art installation constructed from ice harvested in the winter.

6. $35,000 for “affordable housing and sustainable communities for San Francisco artists”

The monies, assigned this year by the NEA will include “outreach, education, individualized support, workshops, peer-support, and access to the municipal services necessary to meet the basic eligibility requirements for affordable housing. Outreach will focus on low- to moderate-income artists to ensure that individuals are aware of the affordable housing options available.”

7. $100,000 in (quite literal) puppet projects

In 2015, Arizona Sen. Jeff Flake’s waste book flagged $100,000 the NEA spent on six puppet projects. Those included a $10,000 grant to the Union Internationale de la Marionnette (UNIMA) to “support the publication of ‘Puppetry International’ magazine, a resource website, and electronic communication services for the puppetry field.” Also on the list, funding for the Family Puppet Festival featuring “interactive performances, roaming marionettes, giant puppets, live music, and puppet-making workshops.”

8. $845,000 to support film festivals that showcase movies with decapitated heads, public urination and sexual promiscuity

In 2014, as this paper reported, the NEA spent more than $800,000 on 39 film festivals which showcased movies like “Wawd Ahp,” a short film in which a rapper decapitates himself, then has sex with his own severed head in a bathtub; and “Eczemus,” which uses stop-motion animation to portray a man urinating a stream of blood while pummeling a baby bird to death and watching his dog defecate.

9. $6,000 to finance research that looks into the lives of pets in Victorian England

Three years ago, a professor at Baruch College, a branch of the City University of New York in Manhattan, scored a $6,000 NEH grant to conduct a project titled “Pets and the Animal Protection Movement during the Victorian Age.”

10. $20,000 for “Piss Christ” a photo of a small plastic crucifix submerged in the artist’s urine

OK, this is an oldie but goodie. The artwork made a stir back in 1987, after it was discovered by lawmakers that the NEA sponsored the inflammatory work.


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