Friday, February 29, 2008

Fundies are all for free expression... long as they can control it.

Oh yeah. For the last few months, authoritarian social conservative types have had an uncharacteristically wild (and maddeningly arousing) little ride on Ezra's Free Speech Train, but it was just a matter of time until their furious free speech masturbation shook the masks loose and their real nature was again revealed. When it comes to "free expression", I always felt that the rubber would meet the road for these people when it came to defending the arts -- all arts. And behold the vile hypocrisy:
"A new bill that would give the federal Heritage Department the power to deny funding for films and TV shows it considers offensive is creating shock waves in the industry." [...]

"The amendment to Bill C-10 would allow the Heritage Minister to deny tax credits for Canadian productions, even if federal agencies such as Telefilm and the Canadian Television Fund have invested in the production.

Representatives from the Heritage and Justice departments would determine which productions are unsuitable and therefore ineligible for tax cuts." [...]

"Stephen Waddell, national executive director of the Alliance of Canadian Cinema, Television and Radio Artists, the actors union, said it seems the government wants to set up a form of "morality police." [...]

"Waddell said he wonders whether the standards to be applied would be representative of a modern Canadian society or what he calls a "fundamentalist perspective" borrowed from the United States."
The snarling cretins who support this amendment (and indeed, homophobifascist Charles McVety claims responsibility for this hit on indie art) will insist that it's not censorship -- it's just the denial of government support in the form of tax credits. The twisted, family-hating, western culture-destroying, islamohomofeminazi perverts who produce "offensive" movies are free to continue making them.

But when a tax credit is offered to artists, it shouldn't be up to the state to police their art. Some art is made for mass consumption, some caters to a limited audience. The denial of a tax credit imposes financial difficulty that might make it impossible for smaller productions to happen... which is exactly what the proponents of this amendment want. And by the way, who decides what's offensive -- Charles McVety?? (Excuse my projectile vomiting.)

With respect to state support of the arts, I depart from my usual instinct to say let the market decide. The nature of innovative art is that the market doesn't seek it out -- the market, in its overwhelming artistic ignorance, doesn't even know it exists until it comes to them. Without a little support, that wouldn't happen: artistic innovation wouldn't see the light of day, and our arts culture would end up a moldy gray mish-mash of inoffensive, unexciting, derivative pablum, as dull and dreary as Charles McVety's worldview.

But that's exactly what this amendment does -- it allows the government to define what is "artistically acceptable" (boring pap) and reject what it deems "offensive" (innovative, exciting). That is policing of the arts. That is censorship. The fact that Christalibangelists like McVety are in any way involved is, in my view, doubly offensive.

UPDATE: Reading this over, I have to conclude that it would be dishonest of me not to admit that I think that in a perfect world, the optimum situation for the arts would be self-reliance. (Whether that's possible is another post.) There's always a downside to accepting the state's largesse -- in the case of the arts, eventually there are bound to be demands made that put a chill on the creative process. But as long as the government is involved in any way (taxation), and tax credits are being handed out, everyone should get them -- there should be no Ministry of Virtue and Vice deciding what constitutes "acceptable art".