Last week, I debated the former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities William Ferris about his proposal for a U.S. Minister of Culture on WNYC's SoundCheck:
In France, the government has had a minister of culture for over 50 years, but here in the U.S., a cabinet-level cultural affairs post has never existed. That could soon change, as members of President Obama's arts review transition team have expressed interest in creating an "arts czar" position. William Ferris, former head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, and Reason magazine columnist Ronald Bailey join us to discuss the possibility—and necessity—of a Secretary of Culture.
One of my better moments occurred when, after going on about how marvelous it is that Brazilian pop star Gilbert Gil is that country's minister of culture, the program played a segment from one of Gil's recordings. I innocently asked if the recording had been produced and supplied by the Brazilian Ministry of Culture? Answer: No. WNYC had bought it from a private profit-making distributor.
In any case, go here to listen to the debate and to hear some of the insightful comments from call-ins.
You may also want to read my blogpost on the idiocy of having a minister of culture.