I’ve been seeing protest against specific individuals honoring as national artist, by people who have the gal to say that they know what art is. Well Fuck Off.
Let me be very clear that my protest is not directed at the appointees themselves, who all possess some sterling qualities that lifted them to the prominence they justly deserve. I do not mean to put down certain categories or definitions of the word “artist,” which in these times must surely go beyond the age-old figures and spheres of the poet, painter, and musician.
At the very core of things, no true artist needs an award, especially one granted by a government whose credibility and sincerity many artists will or should find trouble with. But the National Artist Award was meant to rise above petty politics, to give some material recognition and sustenance for our most creative and most productive imaginations—a vain hope, as it turns out, in this politically besotted and benighted country. As one pundit has put it, why be so surprised? How can we be so naïve as to expect that our cultural bureaucracy would be immune to the same strain of corruption that infects our public works, education, and customs offices?
via Pinoy Penman.