File puptcrit/puptcrit.0606, message 192

Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2006 11:48:42 -0700 (PDT)
Subject: Re: [Puptcrit] House subcommittee voted yesterday to sharply

Thanks for bringing it up. I really appreciate your
post for leaving out the drama and giving your ideas.
I mostly disagree with you, but I have really been
thinking about why, so here are my thoughts. 

Joe wrote:

> > But, it has always puzzled me why people feel it
is appropriate to
 have the government do these sorts of things.

 I am not all that politically knowledgeable, but I do
know some about puppet shows for TV, and from what I
have learned, Sesame Street would never have been made
if it NEEDED to make a profit. Once that need was out
of the way, people came together to produce the best
show they could for kids, and we now have the result
that has been running for over 30 yrs.

> they can get that
> > many signatures for the funding, then they
> certainly can raise the
> > money to support these shows themselves. (though,
> of course shows
> > like Sesame Street seems to make plenty of money
> via toy sales, etc)

I think we all know it is easier to get people to sign
a petition than give money. 

Yes, Sesame Street does make money NOW from toys and
the like, but that has come after many years. It is my
understanding that they did almost NO merchandising
originally. This may seem like a lost opportunity, and
maybe it was, but I think they simply had their focus
elsewhere. Cookie Monster would not have been or
looked like Cookie it a bunch of marketing guys had
gotten in the way. Now, they are doing a lot of
merchandising--probably due to their need to raise
money--and I have heard many say the show is now not
as strong as it used to be. But that is just
correlation, not a causal relationship, so who knows.
I do know that one TV show I worked on, which was very
popular, did not get picked up for a second season
solely because the Network didn't have sole rights to
the Toys. It isn't the quality they are after, it
isn't about the kids, it is about the money. They all
pay lip service to the kids, but apart from PBS, I
doubt that many execs see far past their profits. They
can't because of the nature of Corporate America.

Sesame Street was originally designed to appeal to
Urban kids, many of whom didn't have much money in the
family. There was no incentive to market a show to
them. I would say that most of those families  could
not have home schooled their kids because of finances.
But having the kids educated is definitely better for
society. Our moderator said it better...

> > Let the U.S. government do things like national
> defense, law, and
> > justice, which can't be done by private
> organizations.  

Well, I would suggest they could be done by private
sector. Just look at all the "security" people, and
"Private Contractors"  that are in Iraq right now. The
Government calls it streamlining. 

> > government has a high price, in more than just
> cost.

I would agree, but if you look at the actual amounts
being spent on Art, and examine the other "necessary"
expenses, I don't think PBS is the problem. Right now
we have the biggest government EVER, with Republicans
in almost total control of the government. 

And who is to say that Art isn't necessary? The people
are with their votes, so let's do it.

Also, one more thing about Publicly Funded Art vs.
Privately Funded Art. 

If I get together a show, paid for by myself, and it
doesn't work, I get blamed.

 If the government funds an artist that they think is
important, and that artist then produces a work of art
that only some people like, then the whole government
program is attacked for the actions of one artist.
That seems foolish to me.  Tax dollars go many places,
and as individuals, we don't get to pick and choose
where they go. We get to elect people to study the
issues and choose for us.

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