ABOLISH THE AUSTRALIA COUNCIL - QUESTION MARK

By Derek Strahan BA Cantab (Modern Languages, French & Spanish)
   
 

Part 7 - A SUMMING UP - A PLAGUE OF GURUCRATS

A PLAGUE OF GURUCRATS

That might sound obvious, but that statement is anathema, for example, to some academics and to some musicologists who feel that the basis of their employment rests upon their ability to prescribe the kind of art which should be created.

Their job description implies a superiority of knowledge, and a right to guide students along recommended pathways.

The test of their power, the proof of their influence lies in the degree to which students, when they become artists, follow the precepts laid down by their teachers. Such individuals strive to extend their power base by becoming critics and journalists, and, by their opinions, they seek to influence the judgement of committees, in the hope that their own careers will be enhanced by the success of their protégés.

The last thing such individuals want is for the general public to have a say in what kind of art is created, and so we may expect them to be rigorously opposed to any move towards allowing ordinary members of the public to express preference by supporting individual artists of their choice.

I once had a discussion about this several years ago with Antony Fogg, when he was in a position of influence with the ABC. I pointed out that the ABC, being able to accept donations, might wish to consider the wishes of a donor in supporting the work of a particular composer. He was shocked! His reply was: "Oh, we can't allow to public to have a say in that! Who knows what kind of music would get written!"

It was a revealing response, all the more so, since the formula I suggested was exactly the one which prevailed in Australia for the three decades when the Australian Elizabethan Trust was the sole conduit for donations to arts. Such donations, by law, had to be unconditional, but the form supplied to donors to accompany donations stated: "This is an unconditional donation. However, it is not the policy of the Trust to disregard the wishes of the donor."

This is legalspeak for saying: "This is a directed donation which is not a directed donation". It is a principle which is still practised in the legal device of the Chair in an orchestra, which is not a person. It is a chair.

So, let us please avoid any discussion about what kind of art might created if artists are able to seek out and be paid by their own supporters. The public deserves to have a say in this matter. They buy the tickets. They already pay the pipers. They deserve the right also to pay the composers who write the tunes, and to pay them on the same basis that they already pay the pipers.

Here now is a reprise on the topic of how four composers in the past earned money - or, in some cases, failed to do so!

Next >>

 

 
Part 1 - Biography
Part 1 - Preamble
Part 2 - Agenda
Part 2 - Arts Organisations - History
Part 3 - Rise of the Committee
Part 4 - Radical Proposition
1. Direct support?
2. Funding?
3. Funding bodies?
4. Bureaucrats?
5. Not empowered.
6 Statistics!
Part 5 - Loose Ends
The Medici Program
Part 6 - No Reasons
Part 7 - Summing Up
Part 8 - Composers earning money
J.S. Bach
Josef Haydn
Beethoven
Wagner
 
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SEE ALSO
“THE ECONOMIC DISEMPOWERMENT OF AUSTRALIAN COMPOSERS”
“COPYRIGHT REFORM”
“ACADEMICS AS TERRITORIAL MAMMALS”
"MUSIC AS AN INDUSTRY "
 
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All rights reserved Copyright © Derek Strahan 2004