Everyone in America has access to “the arts.” America is awash in art. You can turn on a radio and hear it for free. You can download Spotify for free and get the most noted recordings of the most noted music for free. Every great painting is yours to view for free right now on the Internet. Wanna watch a production of Hamlet? Google it. I imagine there are full productions there for the taking. You can probably even watch the noted BBC version with David Tennant and Patrick Stewart.
You can actually—here on YouTube. There’s also a Patrick Stewart version from 1969, seen above. Back to our reader:
There are free plays in the park and performance artists on campus and graffiti artists in the rail yards and a jazz band at your high school and on and on, and that doesn’t even speak to the extraordinary amount of commercial art that’s a part of our lives. Taylor Swift and The Walking Dead and Star Wars and graphic novels and more!
Who should pay for art, The Atlantic asks? Anyone who is willing. Beyond that, no one. Because, while it’s true that some things in America are quite scarce relative to their demand (health care being a good example), the arts? No. There’s lots of art to go around, and it is the job of artists to make their own art so damned compelling amidst the extraordinary glut that people are eager to open up their wallets and pay for it.
This reader is more blunt: