Welcome to

Webster's World of Cultural Issues

An online center for the discussion of cultural issues,
in light of the goals of cultural democracy

Contact us to respond to what you read,
and to suggest additional issues to address here
or linkages to other discussions and resources


Let Them Eat Pie: Philanthropy à la Mode

For most of our history, cultural activists in the U.S. have had to make do with a public cultural policy that defers to the private philanthropic sector -- all the while denying that we have any cultural policy at all. (For more background, see "The Privatization of Public Policy" in Webster's World of Cultural Policy's page on Cultural Policy in U.S. History.) It's impossible to track all the damage done by this policy-by-default: how do you measure lost opportunities?

But popular Webster's World essayist Arlene Goldbard lays out the human cost of dealing with our philanthropic system in Let Them Eat Pie: Philanthropy à la Mode (39K, All text). First published in Tikkun magazine in the summer of 1996, this one's been making the rounds in the activist and foundation worlds and getting a big response. Meanwhile, some of her friends have warned her that she's once again gone too far in biting the hand that sometimes feeds.

See if Arlene's essay triggers your own memories of facing the funder, and if so, share them with us: we promise to respect your conffidentiality in doing so.

Family Values for Cultural Democracy

The family is truly our major cultural institution. The Right has dominated discourse about the family and taken many policy initiatives under the guise of "strengthening family values," while our side has yet to formulate a coherent response.

These two provocative essays are offered as a stimulus to your own reflections on the theme of family values.

We encourage you to read Lakoff's and Goldbard's essays, then share your responses via e-mail or post, in care of the addresses at the bottom of this and every other WWCD page.

A Platform for Cultural Democrats

Why wait for the national political corporations to lay out their mandates for America? We need to create a forward momentum of our own.

Writer and cultural activist Arlene Goldbard runs her own notion of a national political platform up our virtual flagpole in her essay What's Needed Now: A Call for Courage, Intelligence, Art, Judgment and Guile (39K, All text). Would you salute it?

Take in Arlene's essay, and let us know how you think her program compares to the Corporate Product on offer in our existing electoral system. Sorry: our prize of a free night in the Lincoln bedroom for the best response has had to be canceled. The place is already over-booked

A National Conversation on Racism

Racism is arguably our society's deepest and most destructive cultural problem. Too many deny that it is a problem, or argue that it has been solved, which only makes it worse. All the more reason to insist on creating as many places as we can to open the issue up and use our social imaginations to envision a society free of racism's curse and ways to get there from here.

We invite you to read another essay contributed by Adams & Goldbard -- Race and Redemption: Notes for a National Conversation (31K, All text). Then join in the conversation by sending your thoughts to Webster's World and turning us on to people who are doing interesting cultural work that takes on this vexing problem.

Watch this space for people's contributions and links to other places where good work is being done to promote respect for cultural differences.

Summary of Links in This Document

Let Them Eat Pie: Philanthropy à la Mode

Metaphor, Morality, and Politics,
Or, Why Conservatives Have Left Liberals In the Dust

Better Late Than Never,
or Confessions of a Premature Cultural-Policy Wonk

A Platform for Cultural Democrats

Race and Redemption: Notes for a National Conversation

Return to the overall WWCD Home Page

Webster's World of Cultural Democracy
The World Wide Web center of The Institute for Cultural Democracy
icd@wwcd.org (Don Adams, WWCD Project Director)
P.O. Box 404, Talmage, CA 95481-0404 U.S.A.
© Copyright The Institute for Cultural Democracy 1997