INSTEAD of having Jonathan Franzen give back his ill-gotten unneeded 2002 National Endowment of the Arts grant, we find out instead that they're celebrating him, by having Franzen read in their pavilion during the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. this September 25th. What up with that? Few can disagree that his award was one of the most questionable of any in the NEA's history, based on the fact he was making millions at the time, and he made some questionable statements to questions about what he would do with the money. Again, see a good summary of the matter from the time at
Could the timing possibly be worse? The federal government is broke to the max, trillions in debt, millions of tea partiers are expressing outrage, and in the midst of it, the NEA throws a swanky celebration centered, in part, on a major lit-corruption poster boy. Are they insane? Where's Marie Antoinette? Or Nero with his fiddle? Can anyone BUT conclude that the whole gang needs to be run out of town as quickly as possible?