Richard Crowson

Are you as excited as I am about this royal—yawn—wedding thing?  Brother.  I’m sorry, and maybe it’s a guy thing, but weddings of any sort have never really done that much for me.

I view the royal wedding about the same way I view NASCAR.  It’s not really the sort of thing I can get into, but I’m glad it’s there for all those people who seem to enjoy it so much—they’ve got to have something to do.  Come to think of it, that’s probably what a lot of folks say about banjo playing, I guess.

I joke around a lot during KMUW’s pledge drives with my little song parodies and twangy banjo riffs. As a cartoonist, I guess I’m used to making light of serious issues. That’s what cartoonists do, after all.

But don’t let my silliness obscure the significance of public radio’s economic plight. Recessionary pressures affect us all, including this radio station. What if they had to lay off Click and Clack? What if Sylvia Poggioli or Garrison Keillor found themselves in line at a soup kitchen somewhere?

Now that our Kansas Legislature has passed a law protecting us all from the scourge of voter fraud, I believe it’s time for another law addressing another fraud issue. Seems to me that our culture has become awash with anonymous Internet comments of the snarkiest sort.

Are you as happy as I am to see those daffodils popping up? Man, it seems like it’s been a long winter. And I’m not just talking about the weather. The news itself has brought us dark cloud after dark cloud as of late. I’ve found myself transfixed to an unhealthy degree by images of Northern Japan’s tsunami misery.

Whenever I feel a little bit down about this old world of ours, about the direction things seem to be going in, I turn my thoughts to Fred Phelps and, by golly, I see the beautiful side of life again. His skeletal facial features are hardened by decades of wallowing in the odious, putrid mud of hate and self-loathing. Yet that face always serves as a reminder to me of our society’s amazing ability to resist the pull to meet violence with violence.

If Governor Sam Brownback is really serious about attacking our state’s 492 million dollar deficit, why is he messing around with teensy little amounts like the $600,000 that the state will “save” by obliterating the Kansas Arts Commission?

Just finished the terrific biography of Louis Armstrong by Terry Teachout entitled Pops. It paints an image of the jazz trumpet master as a man of great emotional, artistic and intellectual complexity. That might be surprising to many who only knew him as a clownish, gravelly-voiced pop vocalist with an outrageous ear-to-ear grin.

It struck me that the best way I could respond to the Governor’s call for discontinuing all state funding of arts and music in Kansas is with a piece of music. So here goes:

Oh give me a home where we cut to the bone
All the arts funding here in our state
We see folks as heretics if they value aesthetics 
And the artwork that artists create

Who needs theater and ballet? Why should symphonies play?
Museums are a nuisance at best
Why expose kids to arts when we know in our hearts
Art and music are not on the test

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