When Prime Minister Harper says this:
I think when ordinary working people come home, turn on the TV and see a gala of a bunch of people, you know, at a rich gala all subsidized by taxpayers claiming their subsidies aren’t high enough when they know those subsidies have actually gone up – I’m not sure that’s something that resonates with ordinary people.
…I slap my forehead. I actually think this is an effective argument, since cultural-elite-bashing always works, but it’s a silly argument; the idea that people in the arts are living in palaces and sipping martinis, all at the taxpayer’s expense, is emotionally appealing (especially because Canadian entertainment isn’t very popular with Canadians; in countries where home-grown entertainment is more popular, it’s harder to argue that taxpayer funding of the arts is going to waste) but incredibly anachronistic.
Even almost 40 years ago, Monty Python already knew that the distinction between “ordinary working people” and the elite arts community wasn’t so clear-cut.