published Tuesday, September 18th, 2012

You paid for robot porn!

Over the past two weeks, the eyes of the entertainment world have focused on Canada and the 37th annual Toronto International Film Festival. The eyes of American taxpayers, however, should've been fixed on wasteful lawmakers who are busy robbing them blind to subsidize outlandish film festivals here at home.

The National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) received $146.2 million from federal taxpayers this year to bankroll a myriad of artists and arts projects. A major emphasis of the NEA's spending in recent years has been subsidizing film festivals. Judging by the long list of film festivals that taxpayers funded this year, it seems like no film festival is too small or too bizarre to receive a government handout.

For example, the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival received $10,000 in tax money, as did the South Asian International Film Festival in San Francisco. Rather than relying on the wealthy residents and visitors of Martha's Vineyard to underwrite the cost of the Martha's Vineyard International Film Festival, the event's organizers forced taxpayers to pick up part of the tab.

The 2012 Environmental Film Festival was held from March 13-25 in Washington, DC. Among the films screened at the green movie gala using an NEA grant funded with taxpayers' greenbacks was a documentary with the gall to criticize a car company for bringing jobs and economic prosperity to a poor village in the Czech Republic. Predictably, the hackneyed hippie film fest also featured no fewer than five flicks vilifying the oil industry.

Perhaps the most outrageous film festival taxpayers will fund this year is the New Orleans Film Festival. Among the gems screened at last year's edition of the festival were "Barracuda," a movie in which a phone sex operator drives her Plymouth Barracuda across the country to exact vigilante justice on various perverts, and "Moon Pie," a short film that follows a man's journey through his double-wide as he accuses family members of eating his last Moon Pie.

The highlight of the most recent New Orleans Film Festival for taxpayers, however, had to be "The Human Centipede II: Full Sequence." The film is heartwarming cinematic treasure in which a gentleman named Martin abducts a dozen people, then severs their knee tendons and knocks out their teeth. Next, Martin uses a staple gun to attach the mouth of each victim to the anus of the next, creating a 12-person-long human centipede. Wondering how the victims eat? Let's just say that the process consists of one large bowl of soup and 11 syringes filled with a powerful laxative. Eventually all 12 people are brutally murdered.

In addition to the film festivals that the NEA funds directly, state and local officials use federally-funded NEA grants to subsidize dozens more film festivals across the United States. Such a grant allowed the Rhode Island International Film Festival to screen "Tub," a movie in which the protagonist masturbates in the shower and, as a result, impregnates his bathtub.

Closer to home, the 2012 edition of the Nashville Film Festival snagged $32,200 from state and federal taxpayers to show movies such as "Meaning of Robots." The short film follows a man who was spent a decade making a stop-motion robot sex film in his apartment. As his collection of robot porn stars fill up his home, he finds himself literally "up to his neck in robot wieners," according to the Nashville Film Festival program.

Film festival welfare programs are the very last thing government should ever be in the business of funding. By using tax dollars to fund film festivals, politicians are suggesting that a struggling single mother's money is better spent ensuring that filmgoers can get into a movie screening a little cheaper than it is buying food for her children. They are also indicating that it's appropriate to force a church-going grandmother to subsidize the screening of movies like "The Human Centipede II," even though she may find it offensive and morally repugnant.

It's time for Congress to yell "cut!" on the practice of showering the NEA with tax dollars to fund film festivals. By allowing Americans to keep those dollars in their pockets to spend as they see fit, lawmakers can finally stop the silver screen from being a black hole for taxpayers.

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conservative said...

"Film festival welfare programs are the very last thing government should ever be in the business of funding"

A no brainer but let's see how many no brainers will disagree.

September 18, 2012 at 9:35 a.m.

Now wait, I'm told that the wealthy ARE taxpayers, the ONLY taxpayers, but wait, wait, isn't that meaning their taxes ARE paying for these film festivals?

But it's funny, you describe a movie without daring to name it. Is it because you're afraid that somebody will take YOUR spin on things and refute it?

Besides, you know you don't want that single mother to get any money from the government to buy food for her children, so don't pretend you care about her enough to do anything.

You just want US to believe you care. What would really happen is you'd defund all these programs, including SNAP, then you'd pass tax cuts that would go to other people, leaving them all out in the cold.

Besides, showing the NEA with tax dollars? Do use some math for once. If you want to deal with showers in the federal government, try the defense industry.

Oh wait, you've got to oppose the cuts there, don't you?

September 18, 2012 at 10:40 a.m.
aae1049 said...

The defense industry does need the Okie Doke cuts for sure.

On art, film or otherwise, why am I responsible for giving artist jobs with tax dollars? I am not.

Our tax dollars are for essential services, not warm and fussy emotions, or abstract notions of the meaning of a shape.

Get education and support yourself, then sculpt and film away, but don't ask the taxpayers to fund artist hobbies.

Secondly, government does not exist to favor one profession, or a hobby. Because someone chooses to study art, and chase their dreams, instead of obtain skill sets that generates paying work, is not the taxpayer's burden to bear.

September 18, 2012 at 11:15 a.m.
Easy123 said...

aae,

"The defense industry does need the Okie Doke cuts for sure."

Very true.

"On art, film or otherwise, why am I responsible for giving artist jobs with tax dollars? I am not."

You aren't responsible. But those things help the economy. And you would be wise to support them.

"Our tax dollars are for essential services, not warm and fussy emotions, or abstract notions of the meaning of a shape."

Art, film, etc. are not "abstract notions".

"Get education and support yourself, then sculpt and film away, but don't ask the taxpayers to fund artist hobbies."

Federal tax dollars go to those schools that offer fine arts. Are you implying that we should defund these institutions?

"Secondly, government does not exist to favor one profession, or a hobby."

The government doesn't favor any profession.

"Because someone chooses to study art, and chase their dreams, instead of obtain skill sets that generates paying work, is not the taxpayer's burden to bear."

It isn't your burden to bear anyway. You pay taxes. The government allocates that money accordingly. You aren't going to get a refund if the government stops funding the arts.

September 18, 2012 at 11:24 a.m.

aae1049, actually the government does have a proper role in funding several professions and hobbies, for reasonable and prudent causes.

You MIGHT be able to make the argument that not all causes meet that standard, but there are several which do.

For example, fire-fighting, and other disaster response, education, law enforcement, weather forecasting, and more.

As for art, well, I personally like buildings that have character and art in them, rather than bland utilitarian structures, so given that the government will have properties and exist, I'd like them to be paying for some art.

I can also see art in the form of education and information. Which is also a role of government.

So I think you're going a bit too far on an absolutist stance here.

September 18, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Easy123, and HappyGovBlubs,

There is not empirical data to support that art funded with tax dollars benefits the economy, only speculation with emotion driven, artful economy 101.

Art is optional and Patrons that wish to support art may. No one is stopping them. It is their choice. However, it is criminal to take money off the table of working families to hand over to a hobby. Yes, Art is a hobby, food and shelter is essential.

Further, it is not a function of government to fund art. In fact, it is ridiculous as that $32,000 Blue Rhino with property taxes. Only stupid people spend public money in this manner.

http://us.myspace.com/rogeralanwade/music/songs/blue-rhino-blues-40-ode-2-andre-39-n-ron-41-84513980

Mandating property taxes for art is absurd. Look at the families that Gov is forcing money from to fund a self proclaimed artist. The people that pay the most dearly for increased property taxes are the people teetering on the fringe of poverty.

If these artists want to create a product and sell it, in free market, have at it, but I believe it is a let them eat cake attitude to force taxes from people for optional art, because guess what,art will still continue to exist without taking tax dollars.

Catch ya left of Obama Liberals Later.

September 18, 2012 at 1:09 p.m.
Easy123 said...

aae,

There is not empirical data to support that art funded with tax dollars benefits the economy, only speculation with emotion driven, artful economy 101."

Wrong.

http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2007/10/art3full.pdf

http://filminflorida.com/docs/pdf/Haas%20Center%20Study%20Relese.pdf

http://www2.timesdispatch.com/business/2011/jul/07/tdmain01-picasso-exhibit-had-a-nearly-29-million-i-ar-1156663/

http://www.economicscenter.org/research/reports/economic-impact-arts-greater-cincinnati

"However, it is criminal to take money off the table of working families to hand over to a hobby."

No, it isn't. Unless taxation is a criminal offense (which it isn't), how the government decides to allocate those tax dollars is not criminal.

"Yes, Art is a hobby, food and shelter is essential."

Art isn't a hobby. Millions of people make a wage working for museums, film companies, fine arts schools, etc.

"Look at the families that Gov is forcing money from to fund a self proclaimed artist."

No one is being forced to do anything. You have to pay taxes. End of story.

"The people that pay the most dearly for increased property taxes are the people teetering on the fringe of poverty."

False.

"but I believe it is a let them eat cake attitude to force taxes from people for optional art,"

You act as if artist are stealing these tax dollars. They aren't.

"because guess what,art will still continue to exist without taking tax dollars."

You just said art was optional. Which is it?

"Catch ya left of Obama Liberals Later."

Don't let the door hit you on your "right of Romney" Conservative ass.

September 18, 2012 at 1:40 p.m.
conservative said...

Just two of the usual atheists in favor of wasting taxpayer dollars on pornography so far. Very good!

September 18, 2012 at 3:16 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Just one of the usual Bible Thumpers making baseless statements. It's all conjecture with you, conservative. Same ignorance, different day. Congrats!

September 18, 2012 at 3:26 p.m.
Rickaroo said...

There are some excellent films and newly discovered artists (directors, writers, actors, etc.) that come out of these film festivals. Yes, there is some indisputable trash, too. But to focus on the trash and to completely overlook the good stuff, well, that's just what the conservatives do best.

It would be impossible to please everyone with regard to where exactly our tax dollars go. But the government-hating, tax-hating libertarian/teabagging set of rabid righties seem to think that they can just pick and choose where their tax dollars should go, and if they go somewhere they don't particularly like, then they'd just as soon cut the flow of money to those programs altogether. They are incapable of seeing the big picture (pun intended). They see only what they want to see.

September 18, 2012 at 5:14 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Lordy, Easy.

All your data is from the art industry. That is like asking the Dems to poll Repub candidates.

September 18, 2012 at 6:03 p.m.
Easy123 said...

aae,

"All your data is from the art industry."

No, it isn't. It comes from empirical data done in different studies and by economists.

Would you like to try again?

September 18, 2012 at 8:09 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Easy 123, I go through each link to spell it liberal out. I know you guys have a hard with Economy concept, because we are sinking fast.

First Link http://www.bls.gov/opub/mlr/2007/10/art3full.pdf From LA and NYC-Leaders in the Film Industry

Second Link http://filminflorida.com/docs/pdf/Haas%20Center%20Study%20Relese.pdf Press Release from the Florida Film Agency of Gov

Third Link http://www2.timesdispatch.com/business/2011/jul/07/tdmain01-picasso-exhibit-had-a-nearly-29-million-i-ar-1156663/ Free Market at it best, present a product and charge people to view. Supply Demand, I love it, no gov money.

Fourth Report http://www.economicscenter.org/research/reports/economic-impact-arts-greater-cincinnati Report generated by consultants for nonprofit that cites, without referencing sources. Where did this data come from?

September 18, 2012 at 9:21 p.m.
Easy123 said...

aae,

Let me correct you. I know you Conservatives have a hard time thinking critically and reading, in general.

First Link

Data from the BLS Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages

Second Link

Overseen by the Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade, and Economic Development

Third Link

It's art. Where do you think the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts gets some of their funding? Oh yeah, the government.

Fourth Link

It came from the Economics Center at the University of Cincinnati. They published the report themselves. You don't have to cite data that you gathered.

http://www.economicscenter.org/about

Nothing you have said to this point has been accurate. You have also showed a severe lack of reading comprehension skill and ignorance to demonstrable facts. Would you like to keep going?

September 18, 2012 at 9:31 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Easy123,

For me, I could care less about the relevance of art. Government does not exist to be in the art business and other optional pursuits. that is the bottom line. I would rather see government money go directly to poverty issues, SS and Medicare, than to film makers.

September 19, 2012 at 9:20 a.m.
Easy123 said...

aae,

The government isn't in the art business. That's the bottom line.

Government money does go directly to poverty issues, SS, Medicare via art funding. Funding the arts creates jobs. That gets more people employed. That alleviates the poverty problem and gives people a wage to pay in to SS and Medicare.

You aren't very good with this 'economics' thing. It's all conjecture and baseless opinion with you.

September 19, 2012 at 11:33 a.m.
aae1049 said...

Easy,

As Dem liberal type, how can you argue that Trickle Down Economy does not work, fails, and argue funding art trickles down. Please get your story straight.

September 19, 2012 at 5:27 p.m.
Easy123 said...

Aae,

I never mentioned trickle down economics. However, the two are entirely different. Funding the fine arts (schools, museums, etc.) and other similar programs is not "trickle down". Only a complete moron would assert that. But it makes sense that you, a Rep Conservative type, would make that idiotic comparison.

You need to get the facts straight.

September 19, 2012 at 5:41 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Yes, you absolutely did discuss Trickle Down Economics, when you wrote that government should invest in Art due to the economic return of the taxpayer investment.

Further, you provided study links that you claim show an economic return for gov. investment into Art. That is a by definition Trickle Down Economic investment. Get your story straight, stop liberal name calling, "idiotic."

September 19, 2012 at 10:16 p.m.
Easy123 said...

aae,

"Yes, you absolutely did discuss Trickle Down Economics, when you wrote that government should invest in Art due to the economic return of the taxpayer investment."

You obviously have no clue what "Trickle Down Economics" is. You need to do some more research.

"That is a by definition Trickle Down Economic investment."

No, it is not. Creating jobs in the fine arts field through government funding is not "trickle down economics". The money is not "trickling down" to anyone but the person and/or persons that are employed (I would include getting a degree at a fine arts institution or in a fine arts major in this as well). The economy is boosted because more people have jobs and more money to put back into the economy through spending, investments, etc. It has nothing to do with money "trickling" down to people that are less well off or tax breaks.

"Get your story straight, stop liberal name calling, "idiotic.""

Get your facts straight. "Idiotic" isn't a name. I used it as an adjective to describe your comparison.

September 19, 2012 at 10:54 p.m.
aae1049 said...

Trickle Down by government is to capital seed or invest from the producer or product side (ie Art is the product) in lieu of an economic return to the public through job creation, secondary to the creation of the product.

In the Art case, the product being seeded by gov is Art. It is you, that does not understand trickle down. Stimulus is the same process, and both are indeed Trickle Down Economy concepts.

Where we differ is you wrongly believe Gov seeding or investing in Art has an economic trickle down benefit.

September 19, 2012 at 11:32 p.m.
Easy123 said...

aae,

"Trickle Down by government is to capital seed or invest from the producer or product side (ie Art is the product) in lieu of an economic return to the public through job creation, secondary to the creation of the product."

Art isn't a product. The government doesn't fund the fine arts for people to produce art.

Trickle down invlvoves an economic return to the less wealthy, not the general public.

Job creation isn't exclusive to trickle down.

"In the Art case, the product being seeded by gov is Art."

No, it is not. Art is not a "product".

"It is you, that does not understand trickle down."

Au contraire! You have bastardized the meaning of the phrase to suite your own agenda.

"Stimulus is the same process, and both are indeed Trickle Down Economy concepts."

Stimulus is a quasi-Trickle Down concept. And neither are equivalent to funding fine arts.

"Where we differ is you wrongly believe Gov seeding or investing in Art has an economic trickle down benefit."

Again, funding art is not trickle down. If anything, it's trickle everywhere.

Funding art does boost the economy. I have provided several studies that prove that. But you have never been one to care about facts. The only person that is wrong here is you.

September 19, 2012 at 11:48 p.m.

aae1049, I made no statement about the economy, my statement was about aesthetics.

I don't like bland buildings. If I'm going to pay for the government to have a building, I want it to have a pleasing character to it. I also mentioned education and information. But not one mention of economics in that regard.

Do try to read what I say, and not just say whatever wants to come out of your mouth.

And do the same for Easy123, as your understanding of what he said was equally incorrect.

September 20, 2012 at 3:03 a.m.
fairmon said...

Follow the money. The film industry is one of the major political contributors to both parties with the democrats having a slight edge since Reagan. Check the history of grants to the arts to see where Reagan at Nancy's insistence increased the support.

Is it legal? yes.

Is it constitutional? doubtful.

Can we afford it? no, we have to borrow money to pay for it.

September 20, 2012 at 5:09 a.m.
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