Apr 6, 2012

Queensland takes a machete to culture

You will have heard by now that Campbell Newman, der Führer der LNP has dumped, in its entirety, the Premier’s Literary Awards.  The $240,000 cost saving, obviously a vital part in digging Queensland out of its 60+ billion dollar debt.

Jason Nahrung has penned some good wordage on the deplorable situation:

Campbell Newman, subsidised arts and the popular vote

Sadly, today’s editorial in the Australian doesn’t surprise. Had it not been self-published, an editor would’ve have a field day cutting out the tired old tropes. The piece shows as little awareness of the reality of publishing in Australia, I can’t help but wonder if the editor was a board member of Borders.

Good on Campbell Newman for cancelling the Queensland Premier’s Literary Awards. They deserved it. How dare they short-list a bio from that terrorist David Hicks? What do they think this is: a democracy?

Scary stuff, literature, especially that high-falutin’ stuff that goes to pains to use big, fancy words and literary balderdash to criticise and question today’s society and the people who run it.

[read more]

It’s in some of the comments, though on various news papers that my mind boggles. 

These from the Brisbane Courier Mail:

Good, because I know this money could be used for better things than an award. Those that are in the "Arts" need to stand on their own feet and not rely on government (tax payer) money. Infrastructure, education, health etc are, and always be more important than awards.  - JT of Brisbane

The Brisbane Writers Festival Duirector should realise that Queenslanders value literacy; what we don't value is supporting writers that only survive on the public purse! - MetalRat of BrizVegas

Another sensible decision by the newby. Still makes all us mexicans want to move north. Good books will always be read, Literary awards are for the so called learned to feel good and to drink chardonnay at others expense, nothing more Yeti

Please make this a start. There are hundreds of these types of handouts we can't afford.- Peter of Brisbane

What really shits me gets my goat is this idea that writers are slack bludgers sucking off the government teat.

The vast majority of writers I have met, work, they have to in order to pay their bills.  They fit writing in around work, mothering/fathering or they live in a car, with all their belongings and dedicate themselves to their art. 

Surviving off the government teat indeed.  How many of these commenters above eagerly dip their hand in the pie when there’s a subsidy or middleclass welfare bonus on offer?

If a writer is lucky they might receive a grant or an award, usually gained on the back of years spent producing quality work.  This award might equate to a yearly teenage wage from MacDonald's, if you’re lucky.

Writers are tax payers and are contributors to culture. Every bit entitled to awards, grants and recognition as the misogynist, thick necked lovely manly specimens that grace the sport field.

And we haven’t got to the concept of how hard writing is, even bad writing.

Writing is a discipline.  A task that requires perseverance,patience and mental fortitude.

I eagerly await what der Führer has in line for the Sporting community(let me guess he’ll start with the easy targets like women’s sport first). 

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