Obama – Cultural policy we can believe in?

We are waiting feverishly for Hussein Obama’s inauguration as the 44th president of the US of A, while peaking on all the Propaganda weblogs we can find ofhow he will actually change things up in the White crib. If we start browsing for clues at the inauguration on 20th January we find an interesting point in the program with a poetry reading by Elizabeth Alexander, a well-known African American poet. He will also state his full name during the administering of the oath. The name Hussein is thought to give him a fuller image as a cultural remix, instead of a patriot hawk (Would not surprise me if Chingy jumps ut of the pulpit. O how i wish it to be true!). 



The cultural influence that Obama will exert National Post journalist Dave McGinn believes to be massive, but subtle, tracing back to Clinton, Nixon and last but least Reagan:

”There was a huge sense of possibility and of size. Everything had to be big. This was the era of stadium rock and huge megastar performances,” Baxter says. ”This was also the era of the sense that the singular figure could take on the forces of evil single-handedly and combat them. This whole notion of might making right and the confrontation with the Evil Empire – all this rhetoric made it’s way into popular culture.”

And so Hollywood gave us Arnold.

But how will Obama change the culture during his term as president? Nicholas Kristof in NY Times, offers the view that reality TV, which he associates with anti-intellectualism, Bush and humiliation will be on a deficit when Obama enters the field. So Obama seems to be seen as cool, knowledgeable and outspoken, a trait not seen in many politicians. Will this image of him prevail whilst fighting two wars and a great economic deficit? Well, he needs a boost of fervor in building a new image of himself as strong, balanced and capable to lead, something a number of staff members will help him out with. In the meantime a quick look at his policy for culture before the election:

  • Establishment of a ”Artist Corps” of young artists to promote art in schools and low-income communities
  • Increased funding for the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA)
  • Health care for artists, and allowing artists to deduct the market value of any works they donate to museums or public institutions.

These are some basic credos his administration might be working on. The biggest change will probably be the reviewing of the two main agencies responsible for providing government grants to arts and culture projects, the NEA and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). 

In terms of change in contemporary art the shift from a unilateral Hawk in Bush to a mediator of a subtle sort in Obama, there will most likely be an upsurge in optimistic art (whatever that is), with many a look backs on the previous administration. when Obama starts to fit his shoes the criticism of his PR tactics will rise and artists such as Carey Young and Hans Haacke will prosper even more. A great criticism of propaganda or PR as we might call it, is definitely on the up-rise.

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