I haven't written much on here for a while, because I've been fighting with a much longer piece of prose writing. I'm going to put a bit of it up here in a day or so, to remind you I exist and occasionally do thinking. In the meantime, a thought on arts subsidy:
In Ancient Athens, theatre productions were largely funded by the state. The audiences, up to 14,000 strong, came for free. This was the production model of Sophocles, and Aeschylus, and Euripides.
The audiences had, for the most part, recently been on the stage themselves, in the opening of the Festival in which they were watching these plays. They'd been in one of a number of choral dithyrambs, singing and dancing to the same rhythms as the chorus in tragedy. So when they saw a chorus on stage in the tragedies, they knew what that felt like.
(The chorus in Greek tragedy is usually constituted of a gathering of citizens. Anyone who tells you you're meant to identify with Oedipus, or Medea, isn't paying attention. I'm looking at you, Aristocratle. Because really: as an audience member, you've got an embodied understanding of what it is to be the chorus, and you share a social identity with that chorus. And there they are, interrogating their political leaders.)
In Ancient Athens, theatre productions were largely funded by the state. The audiences, up to 14,000 strong, came for free. They had an embodied understanding of what it was to be in the chorus as they watch the extraordinary catastrophes befallen by their political leaders.
When you're told "they didn't need arts subsidies in Ancient Greece", know that this is a lie, and know for what purpose this lie is being told.
Pessimism of the Intellect, Optimism of the Will