Et Tu Delta? Don’t Count On Corporations to Protect Public Art

Shakespeare in Central Park. Sounds harmless enough. Like a good, safe institution that Delta and other companies can sponsor as part of their community outreach. And they did, for many years, but this weekend two sponsors pulled their affiliation because the Julius Caesar being performed was a modernized version. A version which apparently depicted a Trump-like character in the role of Caesar. And we know what happened to Caesar.

In response to public — err, conservative pundit — outcry (folks were largely silent when Obama was depicted as Caesar in similar productions), some brands fled.

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You know, so what. You want to get mad at Delta or Bank of America and threaten to boycott them? Instead adjust your expectations of corporations. Instead don’t rely on companies to support the arts. Reach into your pocket and give MONEY. Give more than you’ve ever given before to support the organizations you care about — whether they be arts, education, health, or political in nature.

Yes, continue to let brands know that you’d like them to exhibit a consistent set of values and as best you can, focus on spending your dollars with those who mirror your own sense of justice. But understand that these companies cannot be counted on to support the institutions you care about. I’m not even 100% sure we can trust our government to do this either. To a greater extent than ever, it’s going to be expensive and inconvenient but it’s going to be about us. As individuals and as a community.

So yeah, tweet at Delta all you want, but also, if you have the ability, write a check to Shakespeare in the Park. The best way to ensure artistic self-expression is preserved is to keep it unencumbered from corporate entanglement.

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You’ll find me @homebrew , Seed Stage Venture Fund w @satyap . Previously made products at YouTube, Google & SecondLife. Married to @cbarlerin .

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