Dropping my eldest at high school, I used to listen to NPR–but no more. The timing gave me a nice little news summary and a story about the arts. At first I enjoyed that, but as time went by, I often grew offended by an attitude put out by the host. Today she crossed a line.
Her feature story was about a female musician. I won’t name her or the show because I’m not really attacking the musician personally, just the way her story was presented and the attitude this NPR host has-about “art.” This musician was from in an Islamic country where she could perform her music only with other women in front of only women. That made me mad–as intended. The musician had a female band at home. She performed in front of female audiences. then she left her home country so she could perform in front of mixed audiences. Sounds noble at first, well, sort of anyway.
After spending 3-5 minutes idolizing this woman’s bravery for leaving her home country to perform, the host dropped her bombshell: This musician “left behind” two children in her home country. Why? Because she “felt driven to perform her art.”
What a load of crap. All over the world there are male and female performers. All over the world there are men and women who used to perform until they had kids. In community theaters and hole-in-the-wall bars, there are musicians and artists who support their families by accountng or janitorial work… And they do their art at home, looking forward to that open mic night or that annual performance when they might get to perform for ten people.
Because having a child is the greatest responsibility there is. And THEY didn’t abandon their kids.
Yet this snooty NPR host wants us to idolize a woman who abandoned two kids, likely to relatives with kids of their own, in an unstable country, so she could exercise her ego on stage.
To me this represents the biggest disconnect between me–a progressively minded person with strong family values–and NPR, a “progressive” institution now mostly involved in its own ego. Like the debutant at a charity ball, NPR enjoys looking good while “helping” “the arts” as long as those artists are already famous or fit their “tragic, tortured” model for sell-ability.
In my book, this feature about some woman’s ego is an insult to every parent who paints, writes or plays guitar in the wee hours of the night. It may take ego to create art, but ego in itself is NOT art.
NPR, you probably won’t notice, but you just lost one listener in the Great Plains. I’ll drop by a community art show instead.