Arts Cuts Rise From the Crypt

With federal elections unspooling in both Canada and the U.S. (ours is much, much shorter) there was bound to be some similar issues. It's no surprise to see economic woes topping agendas, but I never would have thought pop culture issues would have had any sort of resonance.

But it seems Sarah Palin, she of the much-mocked Republican vice-presidency, has at least mused about banning books, which has got some people justifiably worried. One of those is Cathy Gaines Mifsud, whose father William Gaines was publisher of Mad Magazine and the original Tales From the Crypt. He was subjected to a Senate hearing in the '50s which aimed to clamp down on comics, so it's a sensitive subject for the family.

So she wrote an editorial. "What usually seems to be behind banning books is an attempt to repress ideas that may offer alternative political views. This is not only un-American -- blatantly violating the very concept of free speech -- but it is assuming that people are unable to come to their own informed conclusions." Who knew comics had editorials?

On our side of the border, our Prime Minister Stephen Harper has stirred up a culture war, lambasting artists as culturally elite whiners. Wether or not the programs cut were worthy is hardly the point — it is the atmosphere that it creates, that anyone in a creative field is a lazy drag on society.

The issue is gaining traction, but there isn't much time for anyone to get much of a response going in a campaign which is already more than halfway over. Quebec artists are up in arms, but I've not seen much response from big names in entertainment.

Rick Mercer, as a producer of his own show, told a radio station he's hired employed more electricians and carpenters than Harper ever has — a good line, but we need more to change the idea that the arts - let's call it pop culture - isn't for everyone. It's no book banning, but it comes from the same place.

Crypt -Keeper via underwire


  1. The whole bit of banning books is only one of the many, many things that worries me about Sarah Palin (I tell you, that woman is evil), especially since I know that many in the Republican Party would agree with her. Cathy Gaines Misfud is right on when she said that what was behind banning books was stomping out ideas that may offer alternative political ideas. While it was the content of her fathers' EC Comics that got him in trouble with Dr. Frederic Wertham (himself a liberal--and EC wasn't his prime target even; in Seduction of the Innocent he attacked Fox more often), I suspect it was his politics that got him in trouble with a lot of other folks.

  2. I did not think it possible to be more horrified by a politician than I am by Dubya. Palin make Dubya look like the second coming. I LOATHE her.