Some things make you laugh out loud the instant you read or hear them. One simply can't help the eruption of rowdy and uncontrolled guffaws which come from wherever deep inside of you. We had that experience this morning when reading online about protestors railing against the Detroit Institute of Arts possibly having to sell off some of its memorabilia in order to satisfy Detroit's debts. The protest was organized by the Socialist Equality Party.
You're laughing uproariously too, aren't you? We're still giggling as we type this. We may be wrong, yes, we'll admit, as we never really delved that far into socialist theology (yes, we use the word theology purposely). But the idea that socialism would actually care about art objects which have generally been created for the haves rather than the have nots of society, well, if these aren't folks simply playing to what they perceive to be the grandstand solely for the sake of generating publicity for themselves...you see the joke.
Culture is a social right, they say. Yes, we're quite sure that younger workers on ramen noodle diets think deeply of culture as they are trying to move up the economic ladder. We're sure the poor single mother trying to nurse her sick child feels that trip to the DIA would cure him. Quite frankly, if socialists think at all about art and culture then Vonnegut is likely more right than the Socialist Equality Party. Bring on Harrison Bergeron!
We're not mocking struggling young people or single parents or anyone whom socialism has traditionally sought to defend. We're just pointing out that they almost certainly care more about their immediate needs far more than about bourgeois banalities such as artifacts stored away from the public anyway (as are the bulk of the DIA's collections). Yet even beyond that, even before we consider as a body politic whether we should maintain large collections of what other people call art (for much of what passes for art these days is not), to see socialists defending what has generally been seen as an upper class fancy is, well...
Sorry, we couldn't finish that last paragraph because we're snickering again.