A Question for Ricochet Members

Before the next installment of the running of the scapegoats and the burning of the straw men (more commonly known as an Obama debate performance), I thought I would pose the members a question I struggled with over the weekend.

Namely, should I agree to appear on a regional talk radio program if it ‘outs’ me as a conservative?

For most (if not all of the members) this would be a simple ‘of course’. But my situation is complicated in that I’m a professional artist. A professional, conservativ…

  1. Mollie Hemingway

    At first I thought, “Don’t do it!” But then I thought that you *should* do it and while you’re talking, keep in mind those clients of yours who are not aligned politically. Speak as if they were right in front of you. It would help you offer thoughtful commentary in a unifying manner.

  2. No Caesar

    I suspect you are going to take the gig, otherwise you’d not have posted this.  In light of what you’ve already been through I suggest you take it, but present yourself in a non-partisan manner, but don’t shy from answering a direct question on that.  Discuss the philosophy that undergirds your worldview.  Discuss specifics about how governmental “helpers” hinder private business.  Talk about the good your employees do for their communities, etc.  Talk about the positive benefits of small government (show your stripes positively too).  Good luck. 

  3. Cornelius Julius Sebastian

    Tough call.  Mollie makes a good point.  My thoughts as a non-artist, for whatever they are worth. This economy is tough enough even for people trying to make it outside the art world. I think if you seriously fear retribution for being open about your political views, and that retribution would jeopardize your abiltiy to provide for your family, then decline and work underground to kill the beast from within.  Your first obligation is to your family.  But if you think you can ride out a blacklisting without significant risk to your abiltiy to provide, go for it . 

  4. Arahant

    Okay, here’s a crazy idea: use a pseudonym as the CEO of the company to separate it from you as an artist.  You can even say that you, the pseudonym, recently bought the company in a leveraged buyout and have the artist chained at his easel/computer/workbench/whatever is appropriate.  If you want, you can even borrow one of mine.

  5. David Carroll

    I agree with Mollie.  You have the opportunity to prepare simple answers without tarring yourself as a dreaded conservative.  For example,

    “Governor Romney had a successful career fixing broken organizations.  Is there any more broken than the federal government?”

    “I am hoping for a change.”

    “Too many broken promises.  Unemployment promises.  Cutting the deficit promises.  Keeping your own health plan promises.”

    Keep it simple and unarguable. 

  6. Valiuth

    I like to think that people enjoy good quality products and service. I certainly do. I have never not gone to a movie just because I don’t like an actors political views. I don’t think we should hold liberals in such low regard as to think  all decisions they make have a political basis. Have faith in the quality of your work and business, and in your own reasonable nature. 

    As long as you don’t plan to go and Troll the left on Radio I think you should be fine. 

  7. Indaba

    I would say no to not muddy your business brand.

    If you do go, I would start with talking about your hesitation to speak publicly and give an example like Clint Eastward, who spoke about how conservative people think they have to hide in the shadows. The Left “hotdog” around! Remember that line?

    I do admire Romney and Ryan for managing to keep going and for being so positive about what to do rather than throwing mud at their opponents. 

  8. Eeyore

    You must be lying. You can’t be an artist! My ex-sister-in-law loudly extolled that “Art is so important to society that no artist should have to work for a living. The Government should just pay artists to do their work!” 

    My brother is part of a struggling artist-owned gallery and is attempting to convince some other members that they can’t rely solely on sales, that they have to push more for grant funding. I said “You mean corporate and patron grants?” He said, “Yea….and State grants.”

    You have “employees”? It’s not a collective or cooperative? How can you call yourself an “artist”?

  9. sawdustmachine

    No Caesar

    I suspect you are going to take the gig, otherwise you’d not have posted this.

    Good call.  I’ve agreed to appear sometime after the election.  But I did take the weekend and have the discussion with my wife and family to get their opinion.  I didn’t include that in the original post because I wanted to hear Ricochet opinions, not ‘atta-boys’.

    I can do ‘soft conservatism’ on the radio without going full-on Goldwater.  So the actual content of the spot doesn’t worry me.  But no one will confuse me with a liberal afterward, and that seems to be a litmus test these days.

  10. Doc

    I wouldn’t presume to advise you on such an important decision.  It just makes me so sad that you have to weigh speaking your conscience against feeding your family.  What has happened to our country?

  11. Fredösphere

    Deciding to take a pass would not have been a crazy or cowardly thing to do, btw. Since you’ve decided to do it, keep it factual and stick to a few simple points. Follow the advice of David Carroll and Indaba and you’ll be (mostly) fine.

    What kind of artist are you? I still need a penciler for my graphic novel (which is in danger of turning into a regular ol’ novel if I don’t find anyone).

  12. thelonious
    sawdustmachine

    No Caesar

    I suspect you are going to take the gig, otherwise you’d not have posted this.

    Good call.  I’ve agreed to appear sometime after the election.  But I did take the weekend and have the discussion with my wife and family to get their opinion.  I didn’t include that in the original post because I wanted to hear Ricochet opinions, not ‘atta-boys’.

    I can do ‘soft conservatism’ on the radio without going full-on Goldwater.  So the actual content of the spot doesn’t worry me.  But no one will confuse me with a liberal afterward, and that seems to be a litmus test these days. · 26 minutes ago

    I would say liberals are more tolerant of conservative economic issues than social issues.  If you talk about taxes and how Obama is making your business less profitable I don’t think you’d have much backlash.  Talk about gay marriage or abortion and that could be lethal.

  13. Eeyore
    Fredösphere: What kind of artist are you? I still need a penciler for my graphic novel

    It might be a head-fake, but check the screen name.

  14. Joseph Paquette

    Stay part of the silent majority.  It’s not worth it.  Is there anything that you could add to the discussion that’s worth the cost to your career?   That said, I have a profession, physician, that most would assume I’m a republican, so it’s easier for me. 

  15. FightinInPhilly

    I think if you simply present yourself as someone who has come to certain conclusions through thinking and experience, you’ll be fine. I spent 10 years in the NYC advertising agency life as a copywriter and was open about my conservatism.  (love saying that). When it really got down to brass tacks super liberals treated me as some sort of rare bird that improved the diversity of things. I don’t think I ever lost an assignment or opportunity because of politics. Plus, it was always fun to have people sidle up to me after a fun debate (10 v 1) and say “i thought you were so right.” They had to whisper their conservative leanings but could openly say “hey- who has coke” ? Good times.

  16. Tom Lindholtz

    Not sure I can offer advice.  I can only tell you how I’d evaluate such an invitation.

    What is the opportunity cost?  What else could you profitably engage in during the time required by the appearance?

    What is the opportunity value?  How much would you have to spend to get comparable advertising coverage?  (To optimize this you’d need to go in prepared with a message that you’d revert to at every opportunity.)

    What is the potential of getting positive impact from conservative art aficionados and collectors?

    What is the value of patriotism and standing up for beliefs?  (All that is necessary for the utimate triumph of evil is for a few good men to do nothing.  “We … pledge our lives, our fortunes, our sacred honor”.)

  17. Jojo

    One aspect to consider is whether you will help or hurt the causes you believe in.  Probably with a successful business you don’t fall apart trying to “sell” yourself.  I turned down a request from a local TV station to represent the “pro-drilling” viewpoint after I spoke at a recent town meeting.  The opportunity was unexpected and I had been nervous enough to give my prepared remarks to the twelve people at the meeting.  I feared I’d look like an idiot on TV.  I was able to direct them to a fellow who’s more comfortable doing that, so it worked out all right.  But your dilemma makes me reflect that responsible adults should be able to stand up and coherently counter the foolishness around us.  Good for you.

  18. Foxfier

    Well, when I’m considering making a public statement, I try to figure out what my initial impulse is– and why. 

    If my initial impulse is “this could have a very big, very bad result,” I try to figure out if that is a valid response, then how probable it is.

    Then I balance the probability and size of damage vs the benefits of that action.

    If you work in wood and are popular enough to have folks work for you, then I’d say you are in a fairly good position to politely expose your political views.

    It will probably cost you a few jobs, but the biggest risk wouldn’t have art made in this country out of wood, anyways.  (well, maybe some sort of Native Theme item)

    Based on watching my mom’s customers– horse shoes and cut iron outlines aren’t quite the same, but there is some overlap, and I’ve never seen her very open pride in her Naval children or our country cost her anything she cared about.

  19. Tom Lindholtz

    One other thought: It is my sense that, in the art world, as in many others, quality, creativity, and excellence matter more than politics.  Look at Hollywood.  sure it’s dominated by liberals.  But the really good conservatives still do well.

  20. Kurt Radtke

    If it weren’t for the Left Coast factor, I’d say go for it, but I don’t think any gain would be worth another blacklisting. Now, I’m going to wait to see your decision and just be glad you’re on our side.

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