As you know if you’ve read any of my most recent posts and letters to the editor, over the last couple of weeks there has been a bit of a public furor about the Art Aids America exhibition that traveled through Kennesaw State University.
Front and center in the mix are several of our elected officials who were, shall we say, upset by some of the more provocative pieces in the exhibit. Undoubtedly the most aggrieved was Powder Spring Republican Earl Ehrhart, whose “solution” to viewing art with political overtones at a public university is to have State House budget members vet samples of art from potential exhibitions in lieu of those same state universities receiving their funding. This is of course censorship and has no place in free and open society.
My satirical reaction to that idea below, ran in the Sunday, June 5th edition of the Marietta Daily Journal.
Regarding Representative Ehrhart’s comments in Tuesday’s Around Town, I, for one, applaud the representative’s burning desire to protect the students of KSU and indeed, art patrons across Georgia from art that he personally deems unsuitable for viewing. His idea for university presidents to bring art samples to the Gold Dome along with their budget requests is a wonderful first step that sends an encouraging message not only about academic freedom, but also about the value he places on the open marketplace of ideas that is so integral to the university experience in Georgia.
I would add that while he is at it, he should also ask state-funded university presidents to review the books in their libraries, as I’m sure there are many with content that would offend the finely tuned sensibilities of Representative Ehrhart. Beyond that, I imagine there are even professors who are expressing opinions that might inflame the good Representative’s acute sense of decorum, so let’s add their lectures to the list of items that need his approval before a university can get funding.
As we the citizens of Georgia are unable to form our own opinions and judgements, who else is going to protect us from ideas and images that bother him? Once Representative Ehrhart is finished ensuring art is safe and meets his high standard of decency, then perhaps he can host a good old fashioned book-burning for all those volumes that fall short! He could start his protective fire of censorship with John Milton’s “Areopagitica,” Richard Hofstadter’s Pulitzer Prize winning classic “Anti-Intellectualism in American Life” and a copy of the U.S. Constitution.