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Art is vital and shouldn’t be ‘shorn’

March 19, 2017 - 12:05am

Mahalo for publishing George F. Will’s column regularly. Though I often don’t agree with him, I always admire his intelligence and superior writing. When I approach one of his op-ed pieces, it is with the same kind of anxious anticipation that I felt in grade school while lining up to be seen by the school nurse. She was either going to give us a shot, which hurt, or a dose of nasty medicine, which was hard to swallow. But all of us knew it was for our own good, and we would be better off for having gone through with it.

I have recently had a renewed appreciation for Mr. Will since he has bravely criticized President Trump. However, I was unhappy to read in the March 16 issue of your newspaper his piece headlined “Art program a government frill that should be shorn.” Like what I got from the school nurse, it hurt and was hard to swallow. It grieves me that such an influential person has such a low opinion of art, and deems the NEA unnecessary. At one point, he takes specific aim at theater companies. I am a professional theater practitioner, and take his comments very personally. It is ironic, or maybe appropriate, that I read this column during a week in which the board, staff and volunteer brigade of my theater company are all working very hard preparing for our biggest annual gala fundraiser. Our community leads us to believe we provide something of value.

Mr. Will closes with “Distilled to the essence, the argument for the NEA is: Art is a Good Thing, therefore a government subsidy for it is a Good Deed. To appreciate the non sequitur, substitute ‘macaroni and cheese’ for ‘art.’”

To this I say, “substitute ‘bologna’ for ‘Art program a government frill that should be shorn’”

Jerry Tracy is the artistic director Aloha Performing Arts Company in Kainaliu.

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