Everyone was thinking this, and a few said it at the time, but this year the Academy Award show really crossed the line.
It’s always been an irreverent affair – poking fun at egotistical celebrities and, by extension, an overly commercialized industry. So, off-color jokes are nothing new. But this is a program that boasts a global audience
of one-billion viewers, many of whom watch in prime time. And this time it was frequently patently offensive. While the blame is currently being dumped on host and front-man Kevin MacFarlane, one can hardly conceive that one person is permitted to write the lines for such a heavily hyped spectacle. This is an industry putting its ugliest misogyny and racism on display, with bits of antisemitism thrown in for good measure. The New York times today summed up what people inside and outside of Hollywood have been saying Continue reading “The Oscars in retrospect”
Experts agree that arts and culture are an important part of the economy – but the precise relationship is complicated.
As governments and organizations increasingly have to justify spending, the big question remains: does investment in the arts stimulate growth, or are the arts the product of economic development? These questions were posed in today’s edition of The Guardian in a story that continues below:
“Few people think of the economic impact of visiting a gallery or buying a ticket to the theatre. But arts and culture in the US generated $135.2 billion (£87 billion) and supported 4.1 million jobs in 2010, according to the latest economic snapshot from the non-profit advocacy group, Americans for the Arts. It would seem that the case for continued arts funding is clear cut – enjoying the arts boosts the economy. But experts say the link between arts investment and economic output is tenuous. Continue reading “Art and the economy explained”
In the Facebook universe the big news is that after signing up half of the world’s population, the company is going for even more subscribers. The smaller story is that Facebook is poised to eliminate democracy (i.e.,voting) among its users. As the LA times reports,
“ Facebook Inc. is finding out just how messy democracy can be. Continue reading “Facebook, democracy, and world domination”
The U.S. has the highest child poverty rate of any country in the developed world. That means right now, not some abstract national deficit future. Right now millions of kids are hungry, sick, living in economically stressed homes, attending rotten schools –– and not getting talked about because they fall outside the noble “middle class.” According to a recent article in the New York Times, “federal expenditures on children — including everything from their share of Medicaid and the earned-income tax credit to targeted efforts like child nutrition and education programs — fell one percent last year and will fall an additional four percent this year, to $428 billion, according to estimates by the Urban Institute based on the Congressional Budget Office’s projections.” Yet aside from advocacy from few groups like Nuns of the Bus, the actual plight of children is getting short shrift in the current election cycle. The Times’ “Cutbacks and the Fate of the Young” contrasts Romney’s assertions of a “moral responsibility” to protect the inheritance of the nation’s kids from debt with his winner-take-all approach to economics more generally, especially in light of his running-mate’s famously draconian budget. Continue reading “What will we tell the children?”