Monday, March 19, 2007

Celebrating Che

Here is an embarrassingly weird thing about San Antonio: a local arts group called the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center recently put on a play about Che Guevara, one that Jeremy McCarter at New York Theater says "skims over his bloody deeds as an apparatchik—the executions, collectivization, and labor camps that followed his march into Havana with Castro." I personally think Che was a troublemaker at the least (any friend of Fidel Castro can't be all good), but I also believe in free speech. Anyone is free to write plays praising communist revolutionaries if they want to, and theaters are free to stage such plays without worrying about a government shut-down.

But, the Guadalupe Cultural Arts Center gets money from the City of San Antonio, and I'm not too comfortable with that. The city won't reduce or cut off funding because of this, not since the Esperanza Peace and Justice Center won its case against the city over a defunding flap. San Antonio just can't cut off funds to any particular group because of a viewpoint that's expressed.

While I agree that a government shouldn't repress ideas simply because they are unpopular, I don't think that the same government has an obligation to expend money to ensure all views are expressed. If I had my druthers, I would prefer that the city not fund any private arts organization to any extent. They sink or swim on their own, and my tax dollar shouldn't support their points of view.

Especially if it is sympathetic to Che.

1 comment:

AlanDP said...

This is one of the many reasons that "art" should not be receiving any funding from taxes. If they can't find a wealthy patron, or an organization of patrons, then too bad. Let them get real jobs.