21 million for art? What about the poor, the sick, the suffering?

I keep meaning to write about this, and then getting sidetracked:

Christo and his wife spent 21 millions dollars of their own money to erect 26 miles of “Gates” with billowing saffron drapes upon them, in Central Park.

Which is fine. I’m all for art, and if someone wants to spend 21 million dollars to make art (and, even better, if it will only last for two weeks) that’s OK by me.

But I listened to folks being interviewed on the radio about it. They were praising it to heaven, using words like “Brilliant! Stupendous! Exciting!” Many declared The Gates to be “Good for New York!”

You know, a few weeks ago it’s very likely (okay – remotely possible) that these same people were griping that the president should not spend any money on his inauguration, that he should serve ham sandwhiches and use the money “for the poor and suffering in Southeast Asia”. Yet, not once have I heard anyone – anyone! – suggest that maybe Christo and his wife should have put up one or two pointless miles of Gates (instead of 26) and sent the rest of the money to the Tsunami victims.

I know, I know…it’s so obvious, we shouldn’t even mention it. And it’s tiring. But it all merely proves what so many of us were saying on January 19th…that if only, if only, if only George W. Bush was named John Kerry and had a D after his name, no one would have made a peep about the cost of an inauguration.

I just had to say it. I’ll stop, now.

UPDATE: A friend of mine says that he did read, somewhere, that Christo was asked about the expenditure of money which could have been given to the poor, and that Christo responded that they were helping the poor by creating jobs. So…I stand corrected. Someone DID ask. And Christo gave a remarkably “Republican” sounding response, didn’t he? What a world. Even our friend Joe Marshall says “more charity” is not what’s needed.

It seems the more the world changes, the more it stays the same, and the dialogue between Judas and Jesus will be repeated over and over…”We could have given that to the poor…” “You will always have the poor, you will not always have me…” Or art. Or presidential inaugurations! :-) Now, I’m really done…except to say that Sidney Goldberg has a fun piece about this up at Tech Central Station. (Hattip: Jonah at The Corner.)

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