WHAT WITH THE continuing debate over funding for the National Endowment for the Arts, we believe, in zapping through the cable offerings the other night, we stumbled upon the nadir from which all taste in culture can be measured: A "Love Boat" re-run guest starring Hulk Hogan, performing a wrestlemania on the aft deck. Could Mapplethorpe really have done worse?
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HOW DID THAT insightful observer of the American scene, Walter Lippmann, feel about politicians and the U.S. electorate?
"With exceptions so rare they are regarded as miracles of nature, successful democratic politicians are insecure and intimidated men. They advance politically only as they placate, appease, bribe, seduce, bamboozle, or otherwise manage to manipulate the demanding, threatening elements in their constituencies. The decisive consideration is not whether the proposition is good but whether it is popular -- not whether it will work well and prove itself, but whether the active-talking constituents like it immediately."
Thirty-seven years after Lippmann wrote these comments, his words remain sadly accurate.