(Note: The following is a copy of a letter to the publisher of Art Showcase Magazine, written by Ms. Dulce Fuller of Birmingham, Mich., in response to Jonathan’s Himlin’s piece "Lights, Camera, Censorship?")
October 5, 2006
Dear Mr. Himlin,
I recently received the September/October 2006 Art Showcase Magazine and opened it to find your Publisher’s Note. Thank you for inviting me to write. I’m glad to take the opportunity.
I love art, of all types, though not all examples. I love freedom of speech, though not all rhetoric and not all opinions. Whatever D. H. Lawrence wrote, you can be fairly certain he did not do it at the expense of any taxpayers, thus sparing his readers (or non-readers) injury added to their insult. Your aggravation with the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and like-minded legislators for exercising their freedom of speech has caused you to ask a question that is not at all relevant to your argument.
The Mackinac Center makes its case against public funding for the Ann Arbor Film Festival (AAFF) not for the sake of censorship, but for the sake of reserving the taxpayers’ assets for the genuine needs of all taxpayers, not the favored non-essential spending of a few. The AAFF and all aspiring filmmakers I am sure are welcomed by the rest of us to pursue their artistic aspirations as they see fit and are able to finance for themselves.
Like you, I too object when special interest groups and publishers attempt to decide for me what is art and what is not; what is important, mature, thought-provoking material, and what is offensive. Now I ask you: As adults in a free society that holds the First Amendment as one of its most precious guiding tenets, shouldn’t we all have the opportunity to decide for ourselves which is which? By using my taxes for such purposes you are compelling me to support art that I might not consider to be art.
I must also take exception to your designation of the Mackinac Center as a special interest group. Closer to the mark would be to say that it is a group of people who are interested in the quality of life for those of us who make Michigan our home. They are especially interested in each of us being able to hold good jobs, earn a decent income, own personal property and pursue our interests and dreams free of over-reaching, overly expensive governance. I think you would benefit by a visit to their Web site to familiarize yourself with who they are and what they do.
After all, if the proposal to deny the AAFF the "much-needed" funding does pass, you can at least be thankful those tax dollars will not be transferred to the Mackinac Center for Public Policy.
Dulce Fuller is a small business owner and member of the Mackinac Center’s Detroit-area Board of Advisors.