Congressional Candidate Gleefully Declares War on Arts
Posted by Sep 21, 2011 1 comment
Although written unevenly and built into a money-making machine by FOX and it's production company over the past two years, Glee is at it's heart a love letter to the power of music, and more general, arts education.
During the recent summer hiatus, it was rumored that cartoon-like villain Sue Sylvester (played wonderfully by Jane Lynch) would be running for Congress throughout the show's third season. I even read that her platform was going to be anti-arts, and after last night's season premiere, that rumor was confirmed.
After viewing some early polling numbers, Sue realized that she couldn't just be for something (immigrant deportation), but needed to be against something in order to gain traction with potential voters. Since she spent the last three years trying to destroy the school's glee club, it dawned on her that she could be against public funding for the arts/arts education.
As she spouted off about spending money for what we all hold so dear, I couldn't help but chuckle at the satire, yet of course we all know that it's a reality -- particularly during a time when FEMA and even FAA funding can almost cause gridlock just a few blocks from where I sit here in D.C.
We know that the creators of the show are very much in favor of arts education and it will be interesting to see how they decide to paint Sue's campaign (or if it even carries on past last night's episode). I hope the writers continue to approach it with their tongues planted firmly in their cheeks, showing how ridiculous her stance is, while continuing to back up our arguments for arts education (Matthew Morrison's Will rattled off a few stats at Sue during the episode) each week.
They've already committed to helping music education programs in partnership with the National Association for Music Education in launching the 'Glee Give a Note' campaign and I'm sure it's not going to stop there.
All of this leads me to a point.
There are many Sue-like politicians out there campaigning at every level of government right now. They are dogged about their 'ideals' and aren't planning to budge on them anytime soon, but that doesn't mean advocacy doesn't work.
And the more proactive you can be to support the arts and arts education in your school district, town, Congressional district, state, or region, the better chance we all have to keep the arts in schools.
I've noticed that the hyper local Patch.com websites have become a great platform for our advocacy messages as local editors often spend time at school board meetings, going to school productions, and attending arts and crafts shows that often support local arts education.
Let's take advantage of this newer phenomenon and invite the editors of these sites, plus local bloggers and reporters, to arts events to continue to spread that message.
Here is an example of students from New Jersey speaking to their school board over concerns about arts education being lost in the shuffle of a reorganization at their school:
What other ways can we utilize new media or other platforms to stop the Sues of the world in their tracks?
For the record... this is Watchung Hills Regional High School. Students are responding to the hasty elimination of the arts supervisor and the consolidation of the arts department with world languages. Original reporting is here:
and the follow-up from Monday's board of education meeting here: