• gerard van weyenbergh

Culture for all, is the only worthy debate

A political debate begins in France, on a thousand and one questions, which all seem more important than the others.

They indeed deal with major subjects that occupy the media: purchasing power, taxation, the environment, the rules of democratic participation, public services, health. It is, however, astounding, distressing, intolerable that, in this list, no one has so far mentioned the slightest cultural subject! As if culture were not a subject for the nation. As if everything was fine. As if the French population had access to all the culture, they could feel the need for.

Unless we can, on the contrary, make of this gap a radically opposite and infinitely sadder interpretation: culture is not a subject of debate because nobody cares for culture. No one claims it except those who, thanks to their social environment, already have it, and are not in a position to miss it.

Culture is not like food: when you are deprived of it, when everything is done to keep you away from it, you don't naturally feel the need for it; it is when we begin to have access that it becomes essential. However, today, everything seems to be done so that nobody feels the need.

We are overwhelmed by many other requests: the hours spent on social networks are stolen from literature, exhibitions, concerts, sharing these emotions with others. And even more to the practice of artistic activity.

However, if you want to think about it, nothing is more important than culture; that which one acquires by personal curiosity, by parents' solicitations, teachers, and friends.

It is this culture that allows us to understand the world, to know what is beautiful, creativity, emotion. It is through frequenting masterpieces (and incidentally through artistic education) that one can begin to think of succeeding in life. It is through access to culture that the doors to economic and social success also open, in fact, much more than by changing a tax rate or by disrupting school programs.

Let us say it: no reform that does not give itself as ultimate goal helping everyone to have equal access to culture, cannot claim to serve democracy, social justice, freedom, responsibility, nor contribute to creating a nation capable of defending its identity and making it shine.

No solution to the problem of unemployment, social justice, even the environment is possible without action on culture. No reform is more important than finding a way to make everyone discover the infinite pleasure of reading, reciting poems, drawing, playing a musical instrument.

So, it would be good to replace all the questions posed for the great debate, which begins with a single, subversive because very simple: "How to open to each inhabitant of France equal access to all forms of culture? " . Article January 2019, Le Journal des Arts