In today’s Wall Street Journal Nat Hentoff takes note of the efforts of National Endowment for the Arts chairman Dana Gioia on behalf of the great American invention: “The Gioia of jazz.” Hentoff writes:
The chairman is involved in expanding audiences for all the arts, but he is especially driven to “expand the country’s awareness of jazz, to use it to combat the cultural impoverishment that threatens us.” In an era of “reality” television, and a music scene where even Merle Haggard is hardly heard on commercial country music radio stations, Mr. Gioia doesn’t consider it necessary to define “cultural impoverishment.”
I love how how Hentoff slipped in Merle Haggard there. Hentoff concludes his column with a proposal that Gioia receive a Medal of Freedom accompanied by a New Orleans marching band. How about a Medal of Freedom for the Hag?