Friday, April 23, 2004

the NEA and their bastard chairman 

the other day Eleanor Wilner sent me an article written on April 20th about the NEA's latest project: funding writing programs and grants to U.S. soldiers to write about their experiences in the war in Iraq. i wish i could reprint the article here, but am not sure that's legal. (if you want a copy, write me at CAConrad13@AOL.com, and i'll forward it to you)

but the gist of it is that NEA chairman Dana Gioia is working with Boeing, a leading weapons contractor on this project. Boeing has donated $250,000 to the project. and they have writers like Tom Clancy (no kidding, seriously, no kidding) leading these writing workshops at different army and marine bases. espionage thriller meets real combat. it's just too weird that he's teaching (along with others). well, then again, not too long ago we did have Hollywood actor Ronald Reagan in his fictious-nonfiction role as president.

one of the most BIZARRE comments from Gioia in the article though was this one:

"I have noticed a lot of similarities between the military world and the
literary world. Both are highly specialized and highly professionalized.
And when that happens, you tend not to see a lot of things outside of
your immediate world. I'm hoping this program will make a difference."

okay, first of all, WHAT!?

second, after talking to Frank Sherlock about it, i can see his point, that the program doesn't necessarily have to be a bad thing. he made several points, which i hope he'll share here on the blog. one in particular was that we don't really KNOW what direction these soldiers will take their writing. true. after all, i've heard that there are soldiers with blogs who are writing some pretty fucking serious criticisms about the war these days.

and really, i'm NOT being some elitist asshole who thinks that soldiers don't have the ability to be creative writers. wanted to make that clear.

BUT i am saying that it's a slap in the face at a time when Gioia joyfully burns down many a house, withholding funding every direction turned, not the least of which being The Poetry Project at St. Marks.

also, i have to say it, i really DO FEEL that this smacks of more of the old BUSH reallocation of funding to better suit his administration's agenda of Jesus and bombs. take the money from arts programs (most of whom have harsh criticism for Bush) and give some to the soldiers. take money from domestic programs and give it to organizations with a faith-based determination for the ever chaotic world. as though the Salvation Army wasn't bad enough! oh i know they do good things, but i recall being a kid, and my mother and i spent some time in one of their shelters, but you couldn't eat a speck of food before hearing their fucking sermon and sing their fucking Jesus music! as though charity has a price outside generosity!

God bless Momma, and, and God bless the prez-president of America. Thank you prez-i-dent Bush for, for killing the bad brown peoples.

not only that, we invaded Iraq, and are occupying it. it's so grotesque to me, this new NEA project. sort of like if Hitler had won there would have been Nazi party funded writing projects to write Memories of Invading Poland.

how about the NEA funding Iraqi-American writing programs for THEIR take? or even Iraqi citizens for that matter? we are their evil stepfather at this point. the whole thing makes me sick. sick sick SICK!

maybe the day will come when NEA grants only go to those writing American praise poems, complete with biblical epigraphs.

fuck the NEA!
double-fuck Dana Gioia for openly supporting the war machine!
it seems Mephisto has made another new friend in the USA!


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