Bring Back the Bard
Byline: THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Friends, Americans, countrymen, lend me your ears. Last week marked the anniversary of the birth of William Shakespeare. To celebrate, the National Endowment for the Arts and Arts Midwest have organized a traveling tour that will bring stage productions, artistic workshops, lectures and symposia to all 50 states. Bravo to that.
NEA promotional material for "Shakespeare in American Communities" notes that this professional program which will stop in 100 towns and cities of all sizes "revives an American tradition of touring Shakespeare's plays." Indeed, it also returns the works to broad segments of society. In years gone by, Shakespeare was as popular in mining towns as uptown. The book standing next to the Bible on shelves in millions of middle- and working-class American homes used to be the plays of Shakespeare. While today's popular imagination largely is distracted by such low-brow fair as reality TV and video games, there were days when more people of all classes looked for a little enlightenment in entertainment. This NEA program brings back the spirit of that dual mission.
We're not convinced the government should be in the arts business at all. …