Thursday, 9 October 2008

Today I understand Candian Cynic a little more

Oftentimes I find Canadian Cynic a little off putting in his relentless mockery and attacks on denizens of the right.

Today, CC's righteous mockery would have come in handy.

Exhibit A:

I have a discussion over at Olaf's place with a LindaL.

I assert that Call me biased, but I have found Harper to be the most divisive, dishonest, and slimiest PM in recent memory. Harper doesn’t care about anyone, except himself. And that comes off him whether he’s attacking Dion, Linda Keen, Dalton McGuinty or brushing off citizen’s concerns.

To which LindaL replies: You [Catelli] are an excellent example of how foolish, unfounded personal attacks have come to dominate our political discourse and perceptions.

Well damn! The logic of that (given the last parliamentary session) a little hard to take.
I’m living up to the example of our fearless leader who castigated Linda Keen as a Liberal and therefore unworthy to head the nuclear safety commission.

Unfounded personal attacks from a leader that operates from a position of cool logic. A little contradictory perhaps?

If Mr. Harper were only about cool logic, I would have supported him a long time ago.

And LindaL comes back with this: If you indeed value logical thinking, then I suggest you take a close look at your personal prejudices and unsubstantiated assumptions. You are a text book case for “the myth of the rational voter.”

Its fascinating isn't it? I attack Stephen Harper, admittedly harshly, but as a voter, that is my right. We are a democracy right? However, LindaL calls me on it, says I'm an "excellent example of foolish unfounded personal attacks" and goes on to imply I'm an irrational voter.

I guess her personal attacks on me were founded in logic and were not foolish at all. That little scream you just heard was the sound of logic vacating the premises.

Exhibit B:

I get involved in a discussion about arts funding at Macleans. I voice support for government funding of arts and culture, and well, read:

20. comment by jwl on Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 4:19 pm:
Mathew F, Catelli

Why did Mozart continue to play the piano after he was a teen and not become an engineer instead? There was no welfare or subsidies for artists back in his day.

21. comment by Catelli on Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 4:29 pm:
Because he was a brilliant composer that relied on wealthy patrons for his income? That income was uneven leading to times of financial stress and uncertainty.
So your point is only the brilliant will have marginal financial success and the rest will fall by the wayside?

22. comment by jwl on Thursday, October 9, 2008 at 4:54 pm:
“So your point is only the brilliant will have financial success and the rest will fall by the wayside?”

I removed the word ‘marginal’ from your quote but that would be the gist of my argument, yes.

Anything would be better than what we do know, where we subsidize no-talent clowns while the capable achieve fame and fortune on their own.

I would also argue Mozart had passion for his art and money was neither here nor there. I bet there would lots of people like that now, as well.

Did you get that? As long as you are brilliant at your art and don't care about the money, jwl supports you. The rest of you can fall in the gutter and rot for all he cares.

The twists of logic here are astounding. First with his example of Mozart. Many hold him to be the most brilliant composer of all time, and yet, for much of his life he was poor. But hey! At least he wasn't subsidized, he loved his music and didn't need the income. Mozart's financial situation, which in 1790 was the source of extreme anxiety to him.... Well then again, apparently he did worry about money. Inconsistent income and periods of penury will do that to a man.

Next the assertion that we subsidize no-talent clowns while the capable achieve fame and fortune on their own.

Do I really need to go there? Do I really need to point out that the most successful actors and musicians may not be the best, just the most popular? Do I really need to point out that it is really, really hard to make a living as a musician, author, actor, painter etc. regardless of your level of talent? That you have to be "discovered" and promoted? Its not like most normal careers, where you see and ad in the paper and apply, get interviewed, and get hired with a regular salary. Artists live by different rules, gigs and the resultant income can be inconsistent and infrequent. Talent and love of their art is a very small part of their success, which is unfortunate.

Maybe that's not a complete argument FOR public funding. But that was one of the worst arguments AGAINST public funding I have ever seen.

Anyway, LindaL and jwl are prime examples of conservative values in the modern Conservative movement. I can feel Dred Tory's quaking rage from here....


Anonymous said...

we subsidize no-talent clowns while the capable achieve fame and fortune on their own

ok....... why is there suddenly all this money bail out the auto industry?

M@ said...

People who make these kinds of criticisms have no idea how the system works.

When Yann Martel was writing Life of Pi, he got government grants. So did some other writers who didn't write international best-sellers.

When Yann Martel sold Life of Pi, and it became an international best-seller, the following people benefited:

- Yann Martel
- His agent, a Canadian small business (most of which goes back into our economy)
- His domestic publisher, a Canadian large business (most of which goes back into our economy)
- His domestic booksellers, who sold a raftload of Martel's books to an enthusiastic domestic audience (most of which goes back into our economy)
- His foreign publishers, who paid his agent for the rights to make money from it (most of which goes back into our economy)
- The people whose awards he won, whose award money ended up back in the Canadian economy, and whose promotional money trickled back through the agent, publishers, and authors (most of which goes back into our economy)
- Brent Butt, probably, apparently, somehow

Want me to name some more? Joseph Boyden for Three Mile Road. Dennis Bock for The Ash Garden. Michael Ondaatje for the English Patient. Miriam Toews for A Complicated Kindness.

The arts are almost a forty billion dollar business in Canada. We sink far more money into soccer and hockey. Far more into failing American auto manufacturers. Far more into failed software startups (and believe me, I know something about that sector too -- google SR&ED if you want to know about the $4.6 BILLION we sink into that area some time).

The arts aren't just good business, they're great business, and extremely good ROI. Anyone with half a brain would see that.

Uh... sorry to hear about your learning impairment, Stephen.

Catelli said...

Thanks M@, that's the kind of information we need in this debate.

If people are going to argue about arts funding being wasted, we'd better see the numbers then shouldn't we.

ADHR said...

It's also worth noting that the patronage system funded a number of no-talent clowns who none of us remember -- because they were no-talent clowns!

The point of a funding system is to give the talented a shot; the reality is that no funding system can tell, in advance, who has no talent and will fail and who has great talent and will succeed. So, everyone who passes a few relatively low hurdles gets a shot, and anyone who continues to succeed will be continually supported. This is basic.

It's, oddly, parallel to the capital punishment issue: while it might make sense to say that some criminals should be killed, it's impossible to design a system that doesn't kill the innocent. Or the welfare issue: any welfare system that is adequate to meet the needs of the needy will wind up giving money to those who don't need it.

Catelli said...

Fair enough Adam, but does that then mean we should stop these programs becuase they aren't perfect?

Or do we accept that there will be losses, with the understanding the gains overcome those losses and provide net benefit?

ADHR said...

I would say keep 'em, but I tend to favour government supporting a whole bunch of things including the arts. But the point I was trying to make is that conservatives are dishonest when they act as if were possible to create a funding program which only funded the talented. The options are funding (accepting that this will fund some untalented folks) or no funding. That's the policy debate to be having. Not "well, we could have funding, but some untalented people will get money, and that's no good, so we should have no funding until we can fix things".

Catelli said...

For the record, so do I.

Thanks for clarifying.