There’s a theory that in order to ensure you never get hassled again, you walk up to the biggest guy in the room and knock him on his butt. If you win, no one will ever mess with you because you knocked the biggest guy in the room on his butt. And even if he gets up and pounds you into the ground, people will still avoid messing with you because you were crazy enough to try to knock the biggest guy in the room on his butt.
In the battle for the soul of our country, popular culture is the biggest guy in the room. And it’s time that conservatives took a swing. The Powerline Prize contest is a potential haymaker in one of the most important battles of our campaign.
Here’s how it describes itself:
The Power Line Prize of $100,000 will be awarded to whoever can most effectively and creatively dramatize the significance of the federal debt crisis. Prizes will also be awarded to the runner-up and two third-place finishers. Anyone can enter the contest–individuals, companies (e.g., advertising agencies) or any other entity, as long as the contest rules are followed. Any creative product is eligible: videos, songs, paintings, screenplays, Power Point presentations, essays, performance art, or anything else, as long as the product is unique to the contest and has not previously been published or otherwise entered the public domain. Entries may address the federal debt crisis in its entirety, or a specific aspect of the debt crisis, such as: the impact of the debt crisis on the young; the role played by the “stimulus” (Where did the money go? Why didn’t it stimulate?); how entitlements drive the debt crisis; the current federal deficit; how the debt crisis impacts the economy; or any other aspect of the debt crisis. The contest is non-partisan. Its purpose is to inform the public about the federal debt crisis.
Conservatives often dismiss the world of art as a milieu of posing half-wits seeking government subsidies for the unsellable, ridiculous and boring crap they churn out for the benefit of goateed posers and other suckers. This is because an enormous amount of what is today labeled as “art” is manufactured by posing half-wits seeking government subsidies for the unsellable, ridiculous and boring crap they churn out for the benefit of goateed posers and other suckers.
However, mockery – while necessary and awesome – is not enough. We need to get into that world – into all of the creative worlds – and compete. That’s the lesson the ubiquitous Ben Shapiro teaches in his bestselling new book on TV, “Primetime Propaganda: The True Hollywood Story of How the Left Took Over Your TV,” and that seems to be the intent of the Powerline Prize contest.
But can conservatives make art? I don’t know – maybe we should ask David Mamet. But there is a problem with conservative art, which is the same with all art in general – most of it sucks. Most art is bad. Conservative art seems to be bad in its own unique way. As my Twitter pal @Salty_Hollywood – a Hollywood graphic artist – remarked the other night over drinks, “Can we get some conservative art without flags and eagles?” I agree – I like flags and eagles as much as the next right-wing knuckledragger, but frankly that well has gone dry. As the old saying goes, we need some new clichés.
The Powerline Prize contest is one way we on the conservative side can start to look for an answer. But it can’t be the final word – it needs to be only the first in a long process of creating art for our sake.