A Use for the NEA

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Twelve cartoons of Muhammad published in a Danish magazine sent Muslim fundamentalists into a frenzy. It is blasphemous to make any drawing of Muhammad, even if it is flattering; even though some of the drawings were almost illegible, and others didn’t even depict the Prophet, the cartoonists responsible were forced into hiding. Very few Americans ever saw the

If we really want to fight terror in this country, we should stand up to those who terrorize artists as well.

 

cartoons because the American media refused to reprint them. It was unclear if their refusal was based on fear or political correctness.

Over in Moscow, a brave gallery owner has agreed to stage an exhibit of the original drawings. No word if the art show will ever find its way to the U.S. Not long ago, a clamor was raised here in America over National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) funding of Robert Mapplethorpe’s erotic photos and Andres Serrano’s urine-soaked crucifix. Despite the previous insistence of the arts community that controversial art is important in a free society, 1 doubt there will ever be an offer to host an exhibit of the Muhammad cartoons here in the States. Perhaps gallery owners in the former Soviet Union are more sensitive to censorship of the arts, and have a stronger will to stand up against their oppressors.

If we really want to fight terror in this country, we should stand up to those who terrorize artists as well. Although I am normally opposed to any NEA funding, I think that it might be appropriate to provide an NEA grant to any gallery owner brave enough to host an exhibit of these drawings. Since defense of liberty has always been a legitimate function of government, defense of ideas from an encroaching new Dark Age should be a legitimate government expense.

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