The National Portrait Gallery is removing a video from one of its current exhibits. You probably still don’t want to take your kids there.
The removal of the video is a concession after complaints about the exhibit more broadly than the ant-covered Jesus video.
The Gallery is part of the Smithsonian and gets taxpayer support. a spokesman for John Boehner yesterday said: “Smithsonian officials should either acknowledge the mistake and correct it, or be prepared to face tough scrutiny beginning in January when the new majority in the House moves to end the job-killing spending spree in Washington.” Echoing the tea-party mood that elected a new House, Boehner’s office continued: “While the amount of money involved may be small, it’s symbolic of the arrogance Washington routinely applies to thousands of spending decisions involving Americans’ hard-earned money at a time when one in every 10 Americans is out of work and our children’s future is being threatened by debt.” And Eric Cantor promised: “When a museum receives taxpayer money, the taxpayers have a right to expect that the museum will uphold common standards of decency. The museum should pull the exhibit and be prepared for serious questions come budget time.”
Their Hide/Seek exhibit is a questionable use of taxpayer funds at best. And this time it’s not just a “culture wars” issue. It’s about being good fiscal stewards, too. This time there’s a real obvious big-picture coalition opening. Even with smaller expenditures.