Donald Trump

Artists Fight For The National Endowment for the Arts
April 17, 2017 4:24 pm

President Donald Trump is not the most popular person in the U.S., which is funny considering how he won the presidency.

Nevertheless, he is the president, and the president gets to make a budget to float to Congress. Just last month, Trump floated a budget that would completely cut funding to the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts, a notion that hasn’t been spoken about since LBJ. The NEA budget is $150 million, which factors out to every American being charged $0.46 as a result. It’s a small piece of the overall big picture and would kill art projects across the country.

Many of these cuts would have direct impacts on various TV and radio mainstays like PBS and NPR, in addition to the many shows that have loyal fan bases across America, like the beloved “Sesame Street”.

There have been multiple musicians and artists that have been vocal about their distaste for funding cuts; like us, they would love to see the annual budget increase, not decrease. We would like to showcase these musicians and artists and stand toe-to-toe with them in the fight against cutting any funding for these great programs that have driven art projects across America.

We ask the question “What is more American than the freedom to show the world how you feel about being American?” At ATYPICAL SOUNDS, we say fuck that shit, and so do many others in the arts community.

NEA PROTESTORS

David Byrne

Byrne is the charismatic frontman of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame-inducted band Talking Heads. He is a powerful voice in the music community and has also extended his influence well into other sectors of the arts. Byrne has been one of the most vocal against the cuts, attending a rally at New York’s City Hall in protest. Byrne also penned a wonderful essay entitled “What Good Are the Arts?” on his website adding that killing the economy in the arts sector is “completely stupid”. He continues “It’s probably the best investment the government makes—as far as a means of generating jobs, growth and social good […]”.

David Bryne protesting for the NEA

Wynton Marsalis

Wynton Marsalis is a Grammy Award and Pulitzer Prize-winning musician and composer. He is also the co-artistic director of Jazz at Lincoln Center. Marsalis recently took to “CBS This Morning” to speak out against the funding. Marsalis said that the proposed cuts to arts education and funding are “preparing the public to become more ignorant”. Marsalis expanded on this, stating: “When we tell people our arts are not important, we’re preparing our public to be more ignorant so that we can exploit them more.”

Wynton Marsalis speaks out against NEA defunding

Robert Redford

Redford, an Oscar-winning director and Oscar-nominated actor, cited the NEA as playing a fundamental role in the creation of the Sundance Institute. The NEA has made significant contributions to the Institute, including the grant to help launch its first labs for independent filmmaking. He also credited the NEA with launching the Sundance Film Festival, which has, in turn, become a mainstay for launching the careers of a variety of filmmakers across the world. In an open letter posted on the Sundance Institute’s website, found here, Redford passionately writes about the funding cuts occurring at the wrong time and how “more than dollars, the NEA represents a civilization that values critical and creative thought.”

The St. Louis Symphony

The St. Louis Symphony is a hallmark of the Midwest. Founded in 1880, it is the second-oldest symphony orchestra in the United States. The symphony asked their board members to call their elected officials and let them know why cutting funding was important. Chief Executive of the symphony, Marie-Helene Bernard, joined other symphonies across the country, including the Metropolitan Opera, to voice opposition to the cuts. Bernard also urged its board members to contact members of their elected officials to oppose addition cuts under the Trump administration.

Julie Andrews

Listen, when Julie Andrews speaks, you fucking listen. Andrews recently co-authored an article on CNN with her daughter Emma Walton with regards to children’s participation in the arts. The screen and stage legend speaks to how arts budget cuts are a “huge mistake and enrich kids lives through community and culture sharing.” They highlight the importance of the arts by drawing on history, stating that “decades worth of research attests to the fact that the arts are among the most profoundly important and valuable ways to improve learning and promote success, from early childhood through adulthood.” The two then invite readers to view the positive statistics in a linked study published by the NEA, showing the long-term academic achievements for children involved in the arts. Their article can be read in its entirety here.

Julie Andrews speaks out against N

THE END OF GAWKER MEDIA
August 18, 2016 10:57 pm

 

Here’s an article by Mary Elizabeth Williams, candidly discussing her brief stint as a Gawker punching bag, all while not only battling cancer, but also grieving the loss of two family members. Her tone throughout just screams “I EXPECT BETTER,” questioning the validity of the site’s mastered craft of insulting someone in a public sphere, no matter the circumstances. In response to Williams’s piece, the pop culture dungeon of snark gave a rather long-winded, unsolicited lesson on the importance of criticism that basically boiled down to this: suck it up. Such was the Gawker way.

Watching its existence dangle in uncertainty – courtesy of a self-proclaimed racist, washed-up, wrestler’s lawsuit, secretly bankrolled by Grudge Holding Billionaire Peter Thiel – ‘The Gawker Way’ is what made rooting for the media outlet very difficult for many. Both sides were terrible, but one less than the other. Here’s a hint: any side not getting secretly bankrolled by Grudge Holding Billionaire Peter Thiel is usually going to be the lesser of two evils. The fact that someone rich enough had the ability to wipe an entire publication off the face of the internet because of something written about him, no matter how tasteless, sets a worrisome president. Oops, I mean precedent.

This is the ideology baggage that comes with defending Gawker in this particular instance. So when news broke this Thursday afternoon that Gawker will be ending operations next week after being acquired by Univision, it lead to a healthy mix of sympathy and celebration.

For years, each site spawned by Gawker Media has made a name for itself by being hyper-critical, unforgiving, and often times crude. As evinced by the cringeworthy headline to this Deadspin article featuring a pair of racial slurs, and Jezebel’s Sony-hack-exploiting discovery of Amy Pascal’s recent Amazon purchases, they flaunt this reputation proudly.

So what should be made of a media company that treated their subjects in such a way? Readers and writers alike would frequently waffle on their stance, almost daily, based on whether or not Gawker’s vitriol was being used for good.

MEME-TRUMP

Make no mistake, there was plenty of great writing all across the board. Just a couple of months ago, there was a hilariously thorough investigation on the possible origins of Donald Trump’s infamous hairstyle done by Ashley Feinberg. Gawker also proved to be a launching pad for many important conversations. Although comedian Hannibal Buress sparked the nationwide exhuming of Bill Cosby’s unchecked half-century of shittiness, Gawker also helped with this article written by Tom Socca months before Buress riffed about it on stage. In addition to Kotaku’s consistently strong defense against the endless black hole of gross that is Gamer Gate, Jezebel always provided some of the funniest, hardest-hitting satire online.

Gawker’s sophomoric recklessness, however, can’t be legitimized by claiming that the good outweighs the bad. Gawker always gave a maximal effort when it came to making a point or looking for dirt on pop culture figures. Sometimes it was done by hijacking an ad campaign with Hitler quotes. And other times writers would just blindly throw a dart at a wall of actors’ headshots and whichever beau it landed on, they would insist that he’s gay.

Outrage from these pieces would come and go like the ocean tide. Disgruntled readers eventually moved onto something else, and everyone on team Gawker reveled in all the clicks their outlandish behavior garnered. It seemed as though this would be the perpetual give and take. Little did anyone know, Grudge Holding Billionaire Peter Thiel was biding his time for nearly a decade, looking for a way to finally put an end to this problematic smut-haven.

To be completely fair to Grudge Holding Billionaire Peter Thiel, Gawker outing him was despicable. Reluctant apologists have been sharing the article on Twitter recently, saying that for Gawker standards, it was tame. That same argument was used by Williams’s friends as a way to console her after getting Gawker’d. And admittedly, yes, for Gawker standards the Thiel article actually was tame, oddly complimentary too. But the fact that one of the site’s more tender examples of writing still involves outing a gay man has to be challenging for any Freedom of Press defender to stomach.

It would not be surprising if a fresh batch of Gawker imposters sprout up in the next few years looking to make a name for themselves. Nobody should, though. It was a bold experiment, being terrible to everyone on the planet, but media outlets shouldn’t start priding themselves on being devoid of tact and empathy. Leave that to all the off the wall celebrities out there.

DUMP TRUMP, FIND LOVE
May 23, 2016 11:30 am

When Donald Trump announced his intent to run for president last summer, it was the best joke of the season. Like every time Jimmy McMillan, the “rent is too damn high” guy, runs for office in New York. It was a good bit and I just could not wait to see it crumble. As time and time passed though, you couldn’t escape the cold sore that was Trump. As a journalism student and an avid media intaker, there is not one day, or hour, in which Trump doesn’t come up. I thought I was safe at work, but even then the Trump disease seemed to have spread and infiltrated my offices. Said best by The Smiths, that joke wasn’t funny anymore.

Trump’s notoriety and constant inconstancy have apparently made him so popular among some Americans, that his shot at an American presidency are not altogether impossible. While media outlets like the New York Times have written articles condemning him and warning off against trump and even the Republican party themselves have been against his views, some people have simply given up on the fight. For all of you giver uppers, there’s a way to get yourself out of this political hellfire that will surely ensue. Maple Match.

maplematch

Maple Match iScreenshot_2016-05-15-12-13-49s a dating app that promises to find you a partner in Canada that will help you in your political escape out of the United States. You know how everyone jokes about moving to Canada if Trump becomes president? Maple Match is making that joke a reality. While the site is not up and running just yet, there is an official wait-list that’s ripe and ready to be filled with the inevitable hundreds of thousands of names. While there is no other information for the site other than the email wait-list, the hope that this isn’t just a social experiment is more than enough to get a Trump-enduced anxiety ridden voter to sign up.

While you may be thinking, Canada? Isn’t that country synonymous for being lame? You, my dear reader, are absolutely wrong. Canada is a country that offers so much. It’s got a great music scene, it is a prime film shooting location and it is the home of greats like Ryan Reynolds, Mike Meyers, Ellen Page, Drake, Justin Bieber and Tom Green. Canada also has prime minister Justin Trudeau to be proud of, and not to mention, easy on the eyes.

Now during this coming election, when you’re stressing out over the future of America, don’t build a wall around your heart, and don’t let “the Mexicans” pay for it. Instead, try out Maple Match, and get yourself your own Ryan Reynolds to help you in your time of politically-fueled-asylum-seeking.