Saturday, November 05, 2005

Subsidizing The Smiter

Not very long ago I raised my head and realized I was drawing red cartoons in a blue state. For a satirist, especially one focusing frequently on the foibles of the left, the local inspirations are many and the opportunities delicious. Therefore many more Minnesotan based toons are on the table. The underlying subject matter is I believe universal enough for everyone to enjoy. Even if you're from Wisconsin.

So, why am I picking on the host of A Prairie Home Companion-

Mr. Keillor is not shy about employing scripture to make a political point. It's well know that he quotes the Bible a lot, something he has done numerous times in his books, columns and articles, in addition to on his radio program. He gets a free pass from the left for doing so, while similar referencing from the right is regularly pummelled as further evidence of the erosion of the Berlin Wall tween church and state. As Jay Nordlinger states in his definitive 1999 National Review article "He has also spent years cultivating his resentment of the religious- minded, whom he skewers at every opportunity (which are numerous)."

Online leftists lazily pointing to faithmouse as the ugliest example they can find of a bad marriage between politics and religion should first peek beneath their own covers. That finger they hear thumping on the Bible sure isn't mine. My last use of scripture was in this pro-prayer cartoon; I can't recall the time before that. I have too much respect for and fear of misusing scripture to employ it as anything more than an encouragement to do good. Mr. Keillor wields scripture to smite his political enemies, and how.

All of this would be darn ignorable if those being smited weren't subsidizing the smiter. Mr. Keillor claims that only 2% of public monies currently underwrites his show, yet that number has been much larger in the past. 2%+ times 31 years has paid for quite a bit of publicly funded anti-Christian conservative religious expression. At the same time Mr. Keillor claims a lack of political content on his show (I believe what he meant to say was 'less') he uses the website associated with his program to knock Christians he does not like. As a general rule these are Christians who would prefer that families keep more of their own earnings and the government grab less. These greedy Christian conservative families would be more than happy to retain control of an additional 2% of their own money. This would include public resources mandated to the careers of droning moralists who complain about the cruelty and stinginess of their benefactors.

Until public grants for the arts are subject to that most undignified and democratic of tests- a poll- they remain culturally invalid. They do not reflect the tastes, disposition, or interests of the public which they feign to represent and serve. At worse, they steal resources from a much wider and capable artistic community, and discourage the development and promotion of actual beauty.

We live in a culture where exhibitions of the works of past masters who actually knew how to draw and paint are regularly sold out at art museums, but where the installation of new realistic works depicting anything, much less recent heroes (a noble and traditional use of the arts meant to encourage a current generation to even greater feats) are nonexistent. Instead we are treated to ugly and meaningless nonrepresentational forms, a long running installation of nonsense meant to wean the general public from reliance upon absolutes. Those accepting the scam are much poorer for the experience. This is why you can find Thomas Kincaide paintings on air fresheners at Wal-Mart, and why magazine with attractive celebrities on their covers sell at checkout. Contrary to condescending definition, commoners aren't too backward to appreciate the finer things in life, or too crude to choose the steak over the tunafish sandwich. People long to own beautiful things and will embrace the beauty within their grasp.

This longing for a graceful society is what Mr. Keillor exploits in his shows for much baser aims; its actual recognition and celebration has become a ghost in his current writings, which continue to dwell in the petty. Mr. Keillor's simple Northwesterners with their primitive understanding of God, quaint folksy customs, and uncanny ability to tell stories and sing are the Mr. Bojangles of the American Left.

Thanks to Loni at Journaling Through The Valley for adding a faithmouse graphic link to her site. Loni and family lost a son to the choking game. Her site disseminates information regarding such and consoles families coping with similar tragedies. I'm proud to have some presence there.

I posted this comment on Druid's Fiacharrey's The Sacred Grove, in response to analysis of two past cartoons-

Thanks for the post, Fiacharrey.

In the panel of the first cartoon, fellow Catholic John Paul II is tending to his own garden (the church), but the job is unfinished. In the second panel Pope Benedict XVI is completing the job. The machines represent willingness to use stronger Papal authority. As you can see from the trees in the distance, the yard is finely cultivated. Even nature has become art. The neighbor may not like the noise and commotion, but it's not only Pope Benedict's right; it's his responsibility to tend to neglect on his side of the fence. All he's doing is improving the quality of the neighborhood for everyone to enjoy.
The character in the cartoon is Ms. StarMole. She's reading a copy of the Relativist Times, which features a photo of Terri Schindler Schiavo. The back cover of the magazine has a photo of an aborted child taken from the Priests for Life site.
The second cartoon is from an earlier series; it's part of a storyline and shouldn't be taken out of context. As you can see from the copy of the Hollywood Reporter, the drink, the cigarette and the Paris Hiltonesque dog named 'Petri', Ms. StarMole is a rather shallow, faddish and decidedly unhealthy liberal who is reading a book which helps her to feel open minded. Ms. StarMole isn't a Pagan; she's a radical atheist and sometimes activist judge. As I've explained to a few Pagans who I've traded emails with in the past, she doesn't represent Pagans (an honorable group which C.S. Lewis thought of as the perfect pre-Christians). She doesn't represent anyone but herself.
However, I think the sub-point is relevant and worthy of reflection-if God is nature (as opposed to the Judeo/Christian view that God created nature, and is separate from creation) where do you go theologically when nature does terrible things to people? I believe the terrible conclusion you must draw is that God is mad at or is punishing humanity, which isn't the case. A worldview which sees nature as God would naturally argue for a policy of non-interference. The Judeo-Christian view is that God want man to both subdue all the world and to act as its good steward.
God bless, and thanks for taking an interest in my work

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