Mr. Fleming Replies:nI agree with Anita Evangelista’s praisenfor George Garrett’s piece and herninsistence that the funding of arts andnhumanities is a complex issue. But asnsomeone who has observed government-fundednarts, humanities, and educationnat all levels, I do not think shengrasps the seriousness of the issue.nOnce upon a time local communities,nsometimes with the help of thenfederal government, did a reasonablenjob of running museums and schools,nand in some parts of the country honestnefforts are still being made to providen”cultural” activities that do not offendnlocal sensibilities. But these are antiquatednrelics of days gone by. Much ofnwhat our cultural agencies do is, if notndownright evil, at least contemptible fornits mediocrity and grossly inefficient innits use of public money. Bureaucraticnagencies are always parasites that grownat the expense of their hosts — thenMILLS COLLEGE recently repulsednthe male invasion invited by thencollege’s board of trustees, and it willnremain all female, for the immediatenfuture at any rate. At the same time, innthe once proudly independent Commonwealthnof Virginia, the state’s attorneyngeneral, a woman, is attemptingnto defend the prestigious Virginia MilitarynInstitute against a federally orderednfemale invasion. A private institution’snboard of trustees may wellnprove easier to beat into retreat thannthe federal government’s immensenequal opportunity and affirmative actionnmachinery.nMost observers and commentatorsnhave applauded the victory of the MillsnCollege women, while at the samentime — and often in the same article —napproving the federal mainmise againstnVMI. Such is the case with WilliamnRaspberry, who is unhappy about whatnhe calls his “inconsistent opinions.” Asnthough to confuse an already complexnquestion, Raspberry evokes the phenomenonnof black colleges — no long­nfunction they were set up to discharge.nJacob Neusner, who has served on bothnthe Humanities and the Arts Councils,npoints out that these government agenciesnhave built-in mechanisms (routinenpay raises) for increasing the personnelnbudget at the expense of projects.nBut even if the NEA and the NEHnwere paragons of bureaucratic virtue, Instill fail to see why taxpayers in Illinoisnshould subsidize the enlightenment ofnWest Plains, Missouri, or vice versa.nIllinois has a legitimate interest in promotingnawareness of its own AbrahamnLincoln, just as Missouri and the peoplenof West Plains have a perfect right toncelebrate Mark Twain, but neither statenneeds federal money to promote its ownninterest. I am also curious to learn whynany government money should be spentnon popular entertainment like “MarknTwain Tonight.” Can’t the people ofnMissouri read their greatest authornwithout the help of an actor?nI am well acquainted with the opera­nCULTURAL REVOLUTIONSner segregated, as they once were, butnstill predominantly black.nMr. Raspberry defends the existencenof black colleges and, indeed,nsends his own children to them. Heneven defends the existence of separatencolleges for black women and for blacknmen. His reasoning: black men andnblack women should have the right, ifnthey so desire, to pursue their studiesnunder circumstances that they findncomfortable, even if they prefer tonstudy only with members of their ownnsex. His conviction that people mightnstudy best under conditions they findncongenial explains Raspberry’s supportnof the women of Mills College whonwant an all-female environment, but itndoes not explain his dissatisfaction withnall-male VMI. Mills College is a privateninstitution, while VMI is a publicnone, but this is not the important thingnfor Raspberry. All-male institutionsnbother him, public or private.nTherefore it is, Mr. Raspberry says,n”not quite all right to have predominantlynwhite all-male colleges.” Hennntions of local arts councils and what theyndo with their state and federal subsidies.nBack in South Carolina I observednmore than one such group in action,nbringing in guitar-picking boyfriends tongive concerts that no one attended,npaying themselves grants and salaries forncultivating their hobbies, bringing in artnexhibits that displayed illustrated worksnby Anais Nin who taught the countrynboys a thing or two about lesbians.nIf local people want to entertainnthemselves putting on theatrical versionsnof light fiction, that’s swell, butnthey ought to pay for it and they oughtnto realize that Agatha Christie is culturenin the same way that MTV or Batmannis culture. In America, at least, entertainmentnis not a government-backednright included under the “pursuit ofnhappiness” clause of the Constitution;nit is something people are expected tonpay for themselves.ndefends his position on black collegesnby saying: “We believe our childrennmay be better off, socially and academically,nin an environment where race isnnot an issue.” But he argues that itnwould be “patently racist” to attemptnto provide a similarly “comfortable”n(Raspberry’s term) all-white environmentnfor white students.nOne of the arguments used to persuadenor pressure exclusive institutionsnsuch as previously all-male Ivy Leaguencolleges and clubs to open their doorsnto women was the contention that suchncolleges and clubs provided academicnand professional advantages that wouldnbe unfair to deny to women, evennthough some or even most of theirnstudents or members might prefer itnthat way. On the other hand, in arguingnthat colleges such as Wellesley andnMills ought to be allowed to remainnall-female, the argument is that theynprovide their students with importantnadvantages that are not available inncoeducational institutions. Somehow,nthis does not quite rhyme.nSEPTEMBER 1990/7n