Ridiculous Republican attacks on public art

I’m a very politically oriented person — I can’t help bringing this up, especially in light of my love of public art: Taking the organized labor battle another step in the direction of truly absurd and farcical, Governor Paul LePage is taking down a mural depicting Maine’s workers’ history. The mural, residing in the state’s Department of Labor, is 36 feet long and three years old, and is apparently a dangerous commie plot, according to some random guy:

A spokeswoman said Mr. LePage, a Republican, ordered the mural removed after several business officials complained about it and after the governor received an anonymous fax saying it was reminiscent of “communist North Korea where they use these murals to brainwash the masses.” (New York Times)

I generally avoid politics as much as possible in this journal, but this is directly affecting my interests. I really think that attacking and censoring art, rather than engaging with it and providing alternatives and more art, is an incredibly cowardly act. It’s the canary in the coal mine telling you that you’re in big trouble with rising totalitarian trends in your politics. I get really depressed reading and watching the news these days, with the Republican insurgence across the country. Yes, the Dems are ineffectual and sometimes wrong, but the Republicans are simply wrong in damaging, divisive ways. Removing public art because of your political motivation is really disgusting.

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2 Responses to Ridiculous Republican attacks on public art

  1. patrick says:

    ‘“The Department of Labor is owned by the people of the state,” said Ms. Bennett, the spokeswoman. “We need to make sure we’re representing all Mainers.’

    If we are now being honest about ‘ownership’ of government, then let us be frank: you do not own something because you voted for it or are eligible to vote for it, you own something because you paid for it. Ms. Bennett is employing ownership as a metaphor, but in a literal sense there are probably owners (stakeholders, investors) of the government of Maine, and they are a different – if overlapping – set of individuals from ‘the people of the state.’

    Also, brainwashing is a fun concept, isn’t it? I mean, for some value of ‘not a fake idea,’ it refers to an activity, a way of coercing people into believing something, not the content you want them to believe. I don’t believe that murals are brainwashing the masses, or whatever, but if we accept that they are for the sake of argument, then I’d say all these patriotic murals of Washington, the Founding Fathers ™, et al are a much more egregious example (and probably closer that what they got over there in the ol’ Democratic People’s Republic).

  2. Jericha says:

    Well, this is terrifying. Because how does brainwashing start? Oh, yeah, with censorship of whatever doesn’t happen to align with your agenda. Let’s face it, this is a call to arms: MAKE MORE ART! The revolution…will be creative.

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