a point in favor of art snobbery

Art SnobTwo cheers for cultural elitism.

This is from About.com’s art-history mailing:

Do I Have to Like Everything?

This is an awfully frequently Frequently Asked Question that makes me sad and angry. How can The Arts expect to drum up popular support (read: ask for increased public funding) when many Arts writers seem hell-bent on alienating the tax-paying public? It’s arrogant and stupid, I tell you. In a better world, art should be presented to all humans as human friendly, by humans who are capable of BEING friendly.

So is it human friendly to coerce funding, so long as you make it feel inclusive? Or should we conclude from this note that About.com’s art-history guide is hell-bent on alienating fiscal conservatives and principled libertarians?

I have the same frustration with a lecture series I just finished listening to on classical archaeology. Hardly a lecture passed without an appeal for more “enlightened” government policies — meaning a disregard for property rights. Apparently an interest in the physical evidence of ancient cultures requires a paternalistic philosophy and a preference for expansive government.

(And of course, the underlying problem in both examples is the unquestioned assumption that anyone interested in education must have left-wing politics.)

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2 Responses to a point in favor of art snobbery

  1. Gil Guillory says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I *love* the Teaching Company lectures, and have bought and listened to dozens of the series; but, I have steered away from some lectures simply for the statism that seeps through their course descriptions. I’ll stay away from this one. I also encourage you to write a complaint letter.

    A course that discusses libertarianism in a neutral way that I listened to recently was this one:

    http://www.teach12.com/ttcx/CourseDescLong2.aspx?cid=2997

  2. bkmarcus says:

    Gil, the lecture series on classical archaeology comes in 3 sections of 12 lectures each. If you can borrow the first 12 lectures (part 1) from the library, I do recommend them. And I’m glad I listened to the whole series, despite the nods to “enlightened” policy.

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