Where the NEA Meets the EPA

Lots and lots of climate news right now, ahead of next week’s UN “Leaders Climate Summit” that no world leaders are attending, but there’s one story out the last few days that deserves special notice: did you know that $700,000 of your tax dollars went to subsidizing an off-Broadway musical about the evils of climate change? Yes, I know, this sounds like a plot to a lame Mel Brooks remake (especially since the play bombed worse that the Kyoto Protocol or Al Gore’s diet plan), but it actually happened:

The curtain has come down on Climate Change: The Musical and reviews of the taxpayer-funded play about global warming are downright icy.

The play, which is actually entitled “The Great Immensity,” and was produced by Brooklyn-based theater company The Civilians, Inc. with a $700,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, ended its run early amid a storm of criticism from reviewers and lawmakers alike. It opened a year late, reached just five percent of its anticipated audience and likely fell short of its ambitious goal of informing a new generation about the perceived dangers of man-caused climate change.

Plus, it apparently wasn’t very good.

“Despite fine performances, the musical mystery tour is an uneasy mix of fact and credulity-stretching fiction. It’s neither flora nor fauna,” New York Daily News reviewer Joe Dziemianowicz wrote in a review at the time. “[The] songs — whether about a doomed passenger pigeon or storm-wrecked towns — feel shoehorned in and not, pardon the pun, organic.”

Remember this one, next time you hear people complaining about proposed cuts to the budget of the National Science Foundation. Or make the off-Broadway producers apply to the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) instead, since that’s where most mediocre artists line their pockets. Better still: why don’t we just merge the NEA with the EPA, since the EPA specializes in fiction?

Besides, our federal science organizations have better and more important things to study with your tax dollars, like finding out why lesbians are obese.


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