Art Pottery, Politics and Food
Friday, June 06, 2003

Highball is a parody site available at

Here are a few particularly idiotic portions of the sentence fragment-laden transcript of Thursday’s Hardball on the General Electric and Microsoft owned cable network MSNBC:

MATTHEWS: This is like Maple Thorpe(sic) all over again. Catch the hot debate tonight.
MATTHEWS: This half hour, the HARDBALL Debate and the art museum built with the help of taxpayer money, features an artist who tramples on the American flag. Is this the best use of our tax dollars?
MATTHEWS: The Cincinnati Contemporary Art Center celebrated the opening of its new building with a performance by a Chinese artist dressed in a police uniform, complete with a Doberman dog, of course on a leash, walking on the American flag. The kicker, is the fact that taxpayers contributed $10 million in federal money from the National Endowment for the Arts to build the center and also they kicked into a portion of the cost of the exhibit.
MATTHEWS: I know that a lot of people, maybe myself included, are pretty much strict First Amendment people because I work in the business. I want to be strictly protected in terms of what I say on the air.
But when you’re getting federal money, is there any way that you can protect the First Amendment and still say, I mean, that dog for all we know could have taken a dump on the flag. Isn’t there some limit to what you can do with taxpayer money in terms of artistic expression?
MATTHEWS: But how do you get taxpayer to pay for any kind artistic expression if they know they’re paying for this?
ARMEY: No, they won’t. And what happens is, first of all, it’s a redistribution of income from hardworking people to privileged people.
And secondly, quite frankly, art like that, getting the publicity it does, I think works against the public’s desire to learn more appreciation for the arts.
MATTHEWS: Well, I don’t buy that part. You mean poor people and regular working people go to museums. You think the elite go to the museums and the working guy pays for them?
I think the people that make the most money in this country pay the most taxes and that money goes to museums for everybody.
ARMEY: You can’t tell me that the average family is going to bring their children to this art to learn something.

MATTHEWS: If I was a friend of that curator, I’d say why are you stirring up trouble? People ought to get some good art in this country. There’s not much money to go around. Why waste a nickel of it on dogs walking on flags?
KOVNER: Well, the answer is I’m sure the congressman has good taste but I don’t want to be bound. I don’t think the rest of us want to be bound by his judgment as to what is good art. Nor do I want my judgment as to what is good art to bind any of you.
MATTHEWS: Do you want that curator making these decisions?
Anyway, thank you, Victor, you’re a good sport. Thank you for coming on. I understand exactly where you’re coming from.
And Dick, this was like shooting fish in a barrel. Dick Armey, thank you for joining us.

Oh, Chris you kidder, it wasn’t "like shooting fish in a barrel” it was shooting fish in a barrel!
A beautiful example of how the media will present completely bogus and supposedly incriminating “facts” to justify poorly researched speculation which then inturn becomes the basis for additional poorly researched speculation or a Movie of the Week! God help our poor country when buffoonery like this is presented as public interest news programming.

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