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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2001 9:50 am 
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Well, that is possible Priscilla. Some people do have problems with the curriculum that is taught - on both sides of the political spectrum. But no one is advocating less money for education - in fact precisely the opposite.<P>However, as I see it - we are spending more than ever before on education. And getting less results. Probably lots of reasons for that...broken homes, busy parents working hard...other parts of society having problems. Some of the school districts which spend the most - like Washington D.C. - have the worst records for achievement. It takes more than money.<P>There were some very interesting studies done with Amish children in Pennsylvania. That community only spends a couple hundred dollars per child as contrasted to $10,000.00 in some places and yet their children can read, write, do math, etc. But, one of the differences is the parents are very much involved in the schools. They have one room school houses, non-college graduate teachers. Very, very basic education. But they can read, write, do math. Strange huh?<P>I am not saying that less money is the answer - but something else is missing, it seems to me. And your point about expecting more and more out of the public schools, to some extent is necessary because some home environments are giving the children less and less.<P>Where my sister teaches (PA) the kids come to school without breakfast - so the school feeds them breakfast. Some come with unclean clothes - so the school has a washer and dryer. Some children don't want to go home after school, so the school has an after school care program. Some children aren't given basic health care - so the school provides that. In this particular school (elementary) it isn't just a lack of funds in the child's home - it's a lack of care. Mothers on drugs - fathers long gone. <P>So society tries to pick up the slack for these children, so not all dollars that go to education, end up educating, some ends up feeding and washing clothes. I am not saying we shouldn't do that, but it does point up where some of the problems lie.<P>I don't see the culture fracturing on education, however. I don't know anyone who wants less for education.<P>I think fractures lie more in the areas of values and art.


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2001 1:48 pm 
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I wonder, Basheva, whether there has ever been a period when a majority of those in the US, or the UK for that matter, would have voted in favour of grants from tax for ballet. For modern dance I don't even wonder.<P>I have to say that I'm not sure that this collective culture has ever existed.


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Mon Apr 30, 2001 3:46 pm 
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Stuart - my answer would be "yes" people did vote on money from tax for ballet - and other art forms. <P> Let's take the NEA - it was founded in the 1970's wasn't it? The representatives in the United States House and Senate voted on it - and then those representatives were re-elected by their constituents. That is an ipso facto affirmation of their vote for the NEA. If the taxpayers had been against the NEA then those representatives would have lost their seats in government and the next group of elected representatives would have killed the NEA immediately.<P>Governments that are representative have to in a large part - maybe not 100% - but for the most part, represent the interests/desires/values of their constituents. <P>So when my representative votes for or against the use of my tax money, he will either get my affirmation or my nay, the next time he stands for election. Since he wants to stay in office, he will vote for the most part as his constituents desire him to vote. <BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2001 7:56 am 
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In some ways I would be impressed if voters based their choice on matters such as arts funding and ballet. However, I am sure that nothing could be further from their thoughts when they cast their votes. The economy, the personna of the candidates and a host of other factors will come before arts funding.<P>Thus I do not think that there has ever been a concensus for arts funding. It is an area where Governments have to lead public opinion rather than follow it.


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2001 10:07 am 
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Unfortunately, Stuart - you and I are in some disagreement. There has been some very lively debate on funding for the arts right here in the Congressional district in which I live. Being rather politically active I have attended several such debates and informational gatherings. <P>As to how the general population views candidates, you are probably correct, judging by the abysmal turnout of voters (less than 50%). So many don't bother to vote at all. And, yes, there is a percentage who will vote party over person, no matter what the issue. <P>But, there are those who really do care, who look into the issues and how the representatives vote on different issues. I have an abiding faith in the innate workability of the system, whether it always represents my views or not.<P>Silly old lady that I am.<P><BR>I need to add here - one of the things that has fostered more interest is the development of C-SPAN on television. This shows gavel to gavel coverage of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. You wouldn't believe how many people watch it. Taking into consideration the amount of people one would normally expect to watch such programming - C-SPAN was caught by surprise by the numbers who do watch - far exceeding expectations. This gives the citizen access to exactly what is happening on the floor of these Houses without the filter of the news media. I am an addict.<P>We also get to watch British Parliament - Prime Minister's Question Time is very popular here. Those people are rather raucous sometimes. LOL<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 01, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2001 4:40 pm 
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I also enjoy watching the British Parlament on C-SPAN. Old-fashioned rules and etiquette niceties "Mr. Speaker," "Will the right honorable gentleman..." fail to cover the ascerbic vitriol of the debate. I think English sportsmanship, defernce, and fairplay are dead.<P>I don't like the NEA. It's a government agency. Governments always and only represent their own interest. No amount of reform will change that. The only art that counts is what comes from people who do it for love. No offense if there be any professionals here.<P>


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2001 5:28 pm 
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Pan - there are lots of professionals here - but there is no offense taken, all views are welcome.


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2001 5:47 pm 
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Ahem (thoat clearing sound---lol) , yes as Basheva pointed out, there are a few "professionals" here. I am definetly guilty of being a professional ...hm!! Dance artist, teacher, choreographer....any number of artsy things. Lol. <BR>Getting back to the original topic...collective culture. I'm still trying to figure out what exactly that means. In my view, our culture, more than most, is one of the most multi-cultural, heterogeneous, extremely diverse in the world--ethnically, politically, religiously (is that a word?)So, to ask what the "collective"culture is or is it fractured, to me begs the question. I dont' know what the collective culture was to begin. Overseas, foreigners think of American culture as: McDonalds, baseball, Coca-Cola, etc. I kid you not. If we're thinking of culture as normative values and priorities, I think there are VERY few values we have in common. Yes, of course we have our laws, Constitituion, etc, etc. But that's where it ends. I've lived in over ten states throughout the US, (and visited or traveled throuhgout almost all the others)and overseas. NO, I'm not in the miliarty, I'm in the ARTS!!! Hey!! Cool huh!!<BR> I am here to tell you, that lifestyles, values, what is acceptable norms of behavior in one area of the country, is most definetly NOT acceptable somewhere else. As far as the arts and charitable giving, (has been touched on here in this topic as mirrors of collective culture)I think the same applies. There is no collective consensus of what is right or proper, or "appropriate". The recent controversies with the NEA, all the way from the halls of congress to this very website, have proven that our society is taking great pains to try to decide what is acceptable and what should/should not be sanctioned by the governement. So before we decide whether the "culture" is fractured, we have to decide on what "culture" means...what is "American" culture. We are a hybrid-we all came from somewhere else. The only real "American" culture is Native American culture, right? <p>[This message has been edited by trina (edited May 01, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Tue May 01, 2001 6:50 pm 
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Ultimately culture is what we agree it is. And there are lots of things we agree on in this diverse country. <P>Most of us agree that education is good. Most of us agree that freedom of the press is good. Most of us agree that stopping at stop lights is a good idea. Most people agree that freedom to travel is good, or going to a ball game is fine, or free speech is a good idea. Even if we don't agree with that speech.<P>It isn't what EVERYONE agrees - it is what MOST people agree. The culture is what represents the majority view of agreement. <P>For instance, most people would have trouble agreeing which form of music is the "best" one, but most people would AGREE that one shouldn't be forced to listen to music one doesn't like. So while we have some differences in views, we do have some basic agreements on behavior. <P>Behavior is part of a culture. Laws are part of a culture. Laws say what a particular culture thinks is acceptable, important amongst the people. <P>We tend to think of food as part of a culture - but it is merely an outer manifestation of it. As is national modes of dress, or holidays.<P>As to art - well now we come to how much we are willing to accept what is art to others. If I feel that dancing is offensive to me, that's ok - as long as I don't interfere with YOUR right to dance. And, some would add - I shouldn't be forced to pay for that which I feel is offensive.<P>Which brings us to the famous/infamous incident of what some consider the portrayal of a Crucifix in an obscene way. Our culture permits an artist to do this - but should someone who resents that portrayal be forced to pay for it through his/her tax dollars?<P>When we start to disagree as to what is acceptable behavior and should we be forced to pay for that behavior, the culture begins to fracture. <P>That is the question. In my opinion.<P>And I have to add, all cultures are real - not just American Indian culture. They too resent when what they consider sacred is abused or denigrated.<P><p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 01, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2001 1:31 am 
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I don't think there is anything at all that the American people agree on - or could agree on - not history, religion, morality, science, politics, aesthetics, etc. Irreconcilable diversity is as deep at nature herself.<P>We all however can be manipulated - like animals - which is what owners of capital do when they dangle money in front of our faces.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2001 4:39 am 
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Pan - I think that the American people have agreed on a Constitution - and they have agreed to try to live together with respect.<P>Not every one - but most. I don't consider myself manipulated - and I don't think you have been manipulated either. You obviously have kept your own mind about you - <P>Diversity can be an agreement too.<p>[This message has been edited by Basheva (edited May 02, 2001).]


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2001 4:36 pm 
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I don't think the American people agree on the Constitution any more than they agree on the Bible. <P>But your optimism has a great appeal to me. Day by day - I'd rather hang out with you Basheva, than I would with a pessimist like me. Life is hard - and an upbeat attitude is key to surviving. <P>Optimism is youthful - dancers must be optimistic.<BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Wed May 02, 2001 5:40 pm 
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Pan - my friend - anytime you want to hang out, discussion-wise, LOL - let's !!<P>I have become more optimistic as I have become older - strange huh? My favorite period of history (and history is something I do love to read) is American history up to the end of about James Madison's presidency. The idea that a people might attempt to govern themselves - the first time that was ever tried in history, as a nation, is captivating.<P>Imagine trying to sit down and designing a government....a small group of men in a rural out of the way place, a small town, with no real backers, no real experience of governance, no financial underpinings. Only the beginnings of commerce. No natural aristocracy. <P>Just an idea - that people might attempt to govern themselves. That laws would emanate from the people not from a potentate or an oligarchy. I am not saying it was totally successful but it was a blueprint for future improvement, which hopefully is still going on. Are there more improvements to be made? Of course. Were there mistakes - even horrendous mistakes made? - certainly, sadly.<P>Look at the millions of lives it has effected. How many millions were able to come here in the next hundreds of years and thereby save their lives. My family is a beneficiary of the enterprise of those men. I would not be alive today, had America not welcomed my family and given them a haven from horror. <P>How can I not be optimistic?<P>If the people are not satisfied with the constitution, Pan, it has remedy for change. I think that in any group of Americans you would probably get more disagreement about the Bible than you would the Constitution. That is my view, anyway.


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2001 1:25 am 
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America has never had as many federal police forces with as much power as it has today. Not since the Soviet Union under the Bolshevicks have so many different governmental authorities had the power to confiscate property including homes without conviction; monitor speech and art and books and the Internet; force compliance to Administrative fiat in addition to legislative decree. Even the Department of Fish and Game now has a SWAT team.<P>All this tells me we have a government that passes laws against the will of the people and needs and a evergrowing police force to maintain compliance.<P>I don't believe that the either the law or the government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. Jefferson, Franklin, Madison, Hamilton were very wise. Their Constitution was designed to protect the people from the government. Nowadays, laws like conspiracy, sedition, terrorism protect the government from the people.<P>But from your optimistic point of view there is a Truth here over which we could argue legitimately. From my pessimistic POV there is not truth - only perspective. And this is a place for dancers. You are the moderator. I do not wish to be perceived as argumentative. So you take the last word. I will stop.<P><BR>


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 Post subject: Re: The Collective Culture - is it fracturing? (The Art of G
PostPosted: Thu May 03, 2001 1:59 am 
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I'm not quite sure where, but we seem to have passed from a discussion about dance in a cultural context to a purely political/constitutional debate. This latter discussion, whilst valid and important is not one for a dance board.<P>If anyone wishes to return to the earlier themes, please do, but I'd rather that we did not continue along the current direction.<P>


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