Don’t Expect Biden at the Ballet

Joe Biden, just selected by Barack Obama as his running mate, has a fairly consistent record of supporting federal funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, but otherwise Biden’s cultural profile is pretty scanty. He isn’t the sort of guy who spends his free evenings at the Kennedy Center imbibing Boulez. But that, Obama’s handlers would argue, is exactly the point: to counteract his elitist image the campaign needed someone with beer-drinker tastes — someone who knows more about wide receivers than about Tennessee Williams. That an interest in arts and entertainment involving both “high” and “low” is considered by the media class in America to be automatically suspect tells us more about the pundits’ ignorance than about the true state of American arts consumers. I’ve never been a great fan of Bill Clinton but I do think he’s a wonderful example of eclectic taste: he’s just as likely to turn up at the ballet or a concert as he is at a basketball game. Hillary’s support of the arts is also genuine — though alas wasn’t sufficient to have her tapped for Vice Prez!

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