An Open Letter To Osama bin Laden About Evil & The NEA
Copyright © by Dan Schneider, 3/13/04

  I have dispensed of any opening courtesy for you are an evil & (perhaps even worse) shortsighted man. Would a ‘Dear Osama’, ‘Yo, Big O!’, or ‘Your Most Repulsiveness’ really do in a missal whose import is of such magnitude? You see, I understand you, & your sort- I’ve known killers, rapists, drug dealers, crooked cops, & that ilk all my life. & you’re not even up to that level since most of those people started at the bottom of life’s shitpile. You, on the other hand, never had to do a day’s work in your life, because of your family’s corrupt ties to even corrupter Western industrialists. Yet, jetsetting & screwing around with an assortment of whores was still not enough to feed your egomania. You had to use your wealth to delude poor goatherds & bricklayers that the poverty they hated- of which you & yours were instrumental in forging & maintaining- was the fault of menial laborers & Starbucks’ waitrons whose zest for oppression knew no bounds.
  Like most cowards you hid while your toadies did the deeds & died pointlessly so that your ego could swell. You complain of the USA’s evil even as you grew phat on it, you railed against Israeli oppression even as you murdered other Moslems who disagreed with you, & worst of all- you could not even pinpoint the real sources of evil that hid amongst your misdirected targets. OK, at least you did try to take out a military target in the Pentagon, but those damned oppressive Starbucks folks- you just couldn’t let it go. Not that I can forgive nor forget your bombing of the Twin Towers, but perhaps if you targeted some real areas of oppression & perversion in this country your repute here would rise from the very ill ‘mass murdering coward’ to the merely ill ‘misguided but well-intended mass murderer’. Think of the how well-regarded the IRA is in comparison to you.
  I ask you to re-evaluate your goals. No matter how much this pains you, you will never defeat the USA- even little more than 2 years after 9/11 most Americans see it as a burp in history- not another Pearl Harbor. In short, you failed. But, what did you really want to accomplish? We both know you really wanted more wealth & power, but let’s stick with the BS you spoonfed your lackeys. You claim you wanted to destroy the US’s power structures which oppress, exploit, & demean all powerless people- ok, I’m paraphrasing; you’re not that well-spoken. But, let me tell you the most wasteful, demeaning, & exploitative power structure in the USA. It’s called the IRS- I just got screwed by them a few weeks back- had you bombed them there’s not an American who would not have hailed you a hero. But, NO! You have to go stupid, & kill alot of innocents. On 2nd thought, there’s probably 1 more wasteful institution than the IRS- it’s called the NEA- no, not the teachers union nor the Nuclear Energy Agency, but the National Endowment for the Arts. It stands for just about everything you hate- it subsidizes ‘decadent’ art- & even worse, bad art- by taking hardworking taxpayer money & giving it to a bunch of fey, uncreative dilettantes. & it’s been doing so for nearly 40 years! Longer than Halliburton, which you loathe- or is it love- how tied to it is your family anyway?
  Even better, it’s headed by a bad poet named Dana Gioia; & he’s a Republican- just like your former sandbox playmate- little W. In its history billions of dollars have been wasted as most of the arts have hit a malaise. Consider the lack of important artists that have come forth in the last few decades since government-funded art- is this just a coincidence? I think it is a plot by our government to dole out favors to the 1 segment of society that could help cast a light on our oppression. What better way to quell dissent & increase docility than by throwing a few crumbs to the disenlightened artistes? & don’t think it does not happen. Yes, alot of these bad artists rage- but, like you, it’s an impotent, & mostly misdirected, rage against the wrong things.
  Yes, there have been noble attempts to rid this country of its artistic whores but still the government’s role as the biggest john persists? I believe the Koran considers such as prostitution- & a sin, no? Even worse, most of the money goes to the people who least need it- rich college professors & bourgeoisie theater owners- who have the connections to get their grants. In my own chosen art, poetry, the majority of recipients were folk like Diane Glancy- a horrid doggerelist professor from Minnesota, & Ron Silliman- an even worse poetaster from Pennsylvania. & need I even mention all of the ‘artists’ that are supported? Like people who believe feces & urine are proper artistic media. & don’t for a second believe the agitprop about little girl ballet troupes in Montana who won’t have tutus if the NEA goes away. Most dance troupes are privately funded. Go ahead, get it off your chest, O- DECADENCE & WASTE!
  If the NEA were gone then artists would really get angry & a precious few might actually channel that energy into meaningful art that could enact change & destabilize the power structures- however slowly. Think about it. You could merely tip 1 domino & the whole of the USA would come apart from within! It might take a few decades, but it would be much more far-reaching than toppling a couple of skyscrapers that no 1 really liked beforehand anyway. All you’d have to do is wait for the next time the USA’s Terror Alert lowers down to tooty-fruity, or whatever’s a doable color for you, & then take out the NEA. Go to http://www.nea.gov/ & you’ll see where they are located. I guarantee you- this institution is not heavily fortified & will not be missed. But, remember the butterfly effect.
  Here are more points worth considering. 1st, let’s look at Chairman Gioia’s stated outline for what the NEA is up to this year, & what it really means:

1.                  Provide the focused leadership and careful management the agency needs to better coordinate its many complex activities.

2.                  Restore the public stature and prestige of the NEA, which, he said, has "failed to replace its old image as an embattled enterprise with a cogent account of its new mission."

3.                  Demonstrate the endowment's potential by creating model programs of indisputable artistic merit and broad national reach.

4.                  Develop and promote effective models for arts education.

5.                  Reclaim the NEA's "leadership role in American culture" and "enlarge the conversation of American public life to include the arts."

  Point 1 is an explicit declaration that the government intends to strengthen its grip on the cowardly herd of American artists. We need help! #2- a blatant declaration that propaganda is a key to achieving point 1. C’mon- you, of all people, know how effective that is in controlling morons! 3 is aimed at marginalizing true artists like me who resent the NEA’s wickedry & destruction & suppression of good art, in favor of government-approved bad art, meant to dull American minds from seeing the oppression around us. 4 means they aim to start young, to inculcate & corrupt possible future dissenters. Osama- where would you be if you had not embraced Allah so young!? #5 is just an unnecessary recapitulation of points 1-4. See? They not only flaunt their evil plans but they slyly & subliminally deploy them from the get go.
  Still not convinced? Let me get more personal then. Surely you are aware of the patronage & cronyism that goes on in all fields of endeavor, including the arts? The NEA is 1 of the chief perpetuators of this system which entrenches the bad & dismisses the good. Let me just cite a typical example. Recently, on my own website I posted an essay that was critical of Chairman Gioia’s poetry & criticism. It began:

  Dana ‘Sugar Daddy’ Gioia has a website: http://www.danagioia.net/. DG is also the head of America’s NEA (National Endowment for the Arts). He’s also a crass, materialistic Republican who supports wasting tax dollars on the arts. Something’s wrong here. Let me start again….
  Dana Gioia is a bad poet. Dana Gioia is a mediocre (at best) critic. ….

  I thus emailed out this criticism to several 100 people on my email list, including a critic & poet manqué named Jack Foley, a man who a few years earlier had- along with his arts commune- solicited my participation. I declined but had sent emails his & the commune’s way as they sent theirs mine. Last year I reviewed 2 of Foley’s books, & told him in advance that I would (I always play fairly- I know you must think me a fool). The work was not good & I convincingly showed why. I also pointed out that Foley had been blurbed for by- you guessed it- Chairman Gioia, a man he reflexively praised within, yet never mentioned his connection to within his praise. After my review appeared Foley attempted a childishly feeble rebuttal & attack, which I denuded by posting our email exchange. Beaten, Foley shrank back to the corners, until reading my deconstruction of Chairman Gioia’s ills. After beating up his Master & Commander, Foley wanted to hear no more. Curious, I checked up & found that Foley recently posted another panegyric for his benefactor which contained such praise as this:

  ….Today is poet Dana Gioia’s birthday, and I want to celebrate it by making today’s program a kind of birthday present…. In a recent article in the Catholic magazine Commonweal, Gioia is quoted as saying that “Art is one of the ways we can call people back into the church.”…. At fifty-three, Gioia has much to look back upon and much to look forward to. He has already accomplished enough for the entire lifetime of lesser souls.

  Needless to say, while I support Foley’s right to suck up to whomever he chooses, I object to such blatant boosterism, & cronyism on ethical grounds (nowhere does Foley mention Gioia as benefactor), but you must be most appalled at the Chairman’s naked ambition to corrupt people into heathenism. The truth is that such mindless boosterism is rampant in the arts. No 1 even attempts to make known their debts (save for moi). This sort of Gioia-Foley backscratching is typical, & a sort of lubricant to ease the Chairman’s, & his followers’, sinister plans as detailed above.
  We oppressed artists in the USA need help, from wherever we can get it. I know you hate W., but, let’s face it, you’ll never get away with what Castro did to Kennedy, so aim a little lower & the dominoes you topple will still be falling long after W. is deposed. Start with the NEA, this time, & a whole generation of good artists will think, maybe Osama wasn’t so bad, after all. The enemy of my enemy & all.
  Ok, I lie- we’ll still think you are murderous scum- but now we’ll be free to depict it & state it & distribute it without the NEA’s hegemony, support of bad art, control of ‘approved’ funds & venues, & suppression of good art to deter. Do us this favor. It will not make up for 9/11, but at least it will show that no man is totally evil. If you read this, at least think it over. No, I’ll never turn to Islam or any other silly religion as thanks, but if you say yes I’ll give you an autographed copy of my Twin Towers Canon poem. I don’t do that for just anyone, y’know.

Happy cave-hopping,
Dan Schneider

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