Christopher Shea

Christopher Shea is a freelance writer in Washington, D.C.

Recent Articles

Among the Philistines

The Pew Charitable Trusts, a Philadelphia-based foundation, strode into the middle of the culture wars last summer and got mugged. Pew proposed spending some $50 million over the next five years in an effort to answer what seems, at first blush, like a reasonable question: Is the United States doing all it should to foster the arts? In certain ideological quarters, however, simply to ask the question is to commit an outrage. The New Criterion , the curmudgeonly conservative cultural journal, speculated that Pew's intention was to install a Stalinist "ministry of culture" in Washington. The journal could not even find it within its heart to endorse one of Pew's most innocuous notions--that the media should devote more time and space to the arts. It argued that the arts would be best served if the press ignored them completely. (This had something to do with maintaining their purity, although the purity of empty museums seems a dubious ideal.) Amid the attacks, it was easy to miss the...