On the value of art
In response to an Arkansas Blog post on state Sen. Bart Hester's tweeted question of UA Little Rock's decision to advertise its dance program, "They lease a sign to encourage computer science degrees or math teachers? No they push for dance majors? Lots of hardworking Arkansans subsidizing this. Not ok.":
"It shouldn't be necessary to ask why the arts are worth fighting for, nor should it be necessary to answer such a question. The answer should be self-evident, making the question redundant. It is distressing, to put it mildly, to have reached a moment in the decline of the West at which the question is being asked and needs to be answered.
"Art can afford us exaltation ... the emotional force of great music, the profound effect of great words, the new ways of seeing we are shown by great images. It brings the extraordinary into ordinary life and nurtures and lifts up our spirits.
"It is telling that authoritarians and fanatics make the arts their first targets. Dictators the world over imprison writers; the Taliban banned song, dance, and theater; terrorist bombers attack music venues. Censorship and persecution are tyrants' ways of saying they know how important the arts are, how closely connected to liberty.
"Those of us lucky to live in free societies should value and support what the enemies of freedom fear. Without adequate funding, theaters close, orchestras disband, films are not made. The arts are strong and will endure, but artists need and deserve our support.
"Nourish the arts, and they will nourish us right back." — Salman Rushdie
North Little Rock
I have a cousin who majored in dance. He flies Vipers for the Marines.
As a dancer, artist and dance teacher, Sen. Hester's comments about the UALR dance program do not sit lightly with me. The sign itself says "Unlimited Pathways." I think that is one of the greatest things about the arts. Dancers, musicians, artists, writers ... are always trying to push the limits and create new things. In the arts, we are always told to "think outside the box" and look at things in a different light to see the vast amount of possibilities. The world needs these creative minds just as much as we need our scientists, physicians, lawyers, etc. Several years ago, if the university had have had a dance program at the time, I probably would have stayed in Little Rock for my college career, but instead I went to school out of state where I could get a degree in dance. And now I am proud to be back in Little Rock sharing my love for dance with my students and audiences. Dance has helped me to not limit myself and has given me so many wonderful opportunities in and out of Arkansas. I am currently teaching a blind woman ballet and will be starting to work with students at the Arkansas School for the Blind. I love that I can share my passion for dance with my home state and give back to a community that I grew up in. Those dance majors are the artists performing at Robinson Performance Hall, the actors/actresses on the stages of the Arkansas Repertory Theatre, The Weekend Theatre, the Children's Theatre and dancers who grace the stage at The Nutcracker each December. All of these things bring revenue to our state. Why limit that?
If the "dance" was the "Two Step" and at the Electric Cowboy he'd be for it. Where seldom are minorities found he'd be for it.
Oh, he's beyond backwoods. In fact he makes primitive Neanderthals look like a tribe of Einsteins. No, Bart, like President Trump, revels in his own truth. So what if it is diametrically opposed to fact? Bringing another reality to replace the present one is heaven on earth for these folks.
Coming from a Baptist background I know that all dancing leads right to mouth gasping, hair pulling, clothes-sofa-car seat smeary hot sex! Hot, hot, hot, hot sex! And in the mind of Bart Hester, prayer, blood-letting and leeches are the only medical treatment needed. He no doubt wishes white people could still own black slaves and believes that wife beating is recommended in order to promote a good Christian home. Jesus says, don't you know? I hope to die in Arkansas in the 21st century, but first the state needs to move out of the 19th century. Electing and re-electing assholes like Hester and Jason Rapert and Denny Altes will prevent that from ever happening. This country laughs at Arkansas, and it's not very hard to understand why. One must wonder if Mrs. Hester was forced to undergo a clitoridectomy before the wedding?
Now, this Mr. Hester may be onto something, re wasteful expenditures! As noted above, legislator per diem? Gee, don't think too many Wal-drones get money to travel to the place of their employment. CUT! Home office tax-credit? They turned what was otherwise likely a little-used room in their house into an office. CUT! $40k a year for part-time work? In the interest of a living wage, how's about $15 per hour during the workday hours that the legislature is in session? CUT! He's right about ONE thing: "Lots of hardworking Arkansans subsidizing this! Not ok."
Hester is the kind of guy that probably gets all weird feeling when he sees anything slightly artistic. He'd probably see the statue of David and make a penis joke.
In response to the Times' Feb. 8 feature on the new Windgate Center for Art and Design at UA Little Rock:
Sen. Bart Hester demands it shut down because he doesn't understand it.
In response to the Arkansas Blog's post on Donald Trump's tweet that "lives were being shattered and destroyed by a mere allegation," apparently in defense of his former aide who was accused of abuse by two former spouses:
MAGA = back to the days when husbands can beat their wives with impunity.
In response to the Feb. 8 review of The Avenue restaurant in Hot Springs:
The duck confit might have been as good or even better than what you had in Paris. It also cost about twice as much. I'm in Paris now and just had duck confit at our favorite cafe, just a 10-minute walk from the Eiffel Tower. It was 12 Euros. And it was a larger piece than what's pictured here. Remember, this is freakin' Paris, not Hot Springs. Been to the Avenue once —and enjoyed the food. But thought the prices were nuts, especially for a mid-sized town in Arkansas. $26 duck? $28 halibut? Apparently that hasn't changed.
I do not hold with fruit and meat. Or fruit and fish. Fruit and fruit is fine. Or just fruit. But it's this degenerate mixing of the foodstuffs that is destroying America.
In response to the Arkansas Blog post musings about the upcoming action on Medicaid expansion by the state legislature:
If A$a! thinks that failure to continue Medicaid expansion will blow a hole in the budget, wait till he gets a load of Drumpf's infrastructure plan that shifts costs to the states, bigly.