Essay: A Loony Parody of Cultural Democracy

Senator Jesse Helms, that noted paleo-conservative, has taken up the cudgels against the most distinguished and useful vehicle of patronage in American cultural life, the National Endowment for the Arts. Neoconservatives want to keep the NEA because they would like to run it. Paleos like Helms don't greatly care whether it exists or not; if attacking it can serve a larger agenda, fine.

Last year NEA money totaling $45,000 was used by the Corcoran museum for an exhibition by the photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and by an institution that gave an award to the artist Andres Serrano. One of Serrano's pieces was...

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