During floor debate, a Republican legislator complained that state expenditures on TV and film productions have extended to a long-running series celebrating cheating spouses.
Rep. Jodie Laubenberg of Parker initially asked a House colleague about his proposed amendment to the House version of the 2014-15 state budget.
Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, said he sought to shift money from the state’s film and music marketing fund to teacher pensions. When last we wrote about the fund, overseen by the governor’s office, we noted the 2011 Legislature had agreed to spend $16 million each year to “market Texas as a film location and promote the Texas music industry,” according to the May 26, 2011, House-Senate conference committee report.
Laubenberg asked Leach: “Would you like me to give you a couple of examples of things being funded with this money?” At Leach’s go-ahead, Laubenberg replied: “How about ‘Bad Kids Go to Hell,’ ‘Cheaters,’ …a TV series on spouses cheating on their wives, kind of glorifying the act of cheating–yeah, entertainment for some, unless you’re the one cheated on.”
It turns out that state funds have subsidized the late-night caught-on-camera dramedy (drama for the people involved, comedy with a side of moralizing for the viewing audience) Cheaters.
Is using state funds to glorify adultery wrong? If you want to find a person who will put up a robust defense of this show, look elsewhere. And, let me say that if I had to make an either-or, the gun is pointed at the heads of one of these programs and one must die, I’d pick teacher pensions over film and music promotion.
I don’t think, however, that it is fair to pit those expenditures against each other quite so dramatically. The arts are a critical part of society, and promoting film and music in Texas is an investment that pays dividends not only in the creation and performance of some great art, but in the more prosaic arena of job creation.
If you need Exhibit A on how I can turn government funding for television with no nutritive value whatsoever into making the case that adultery can inspire great art, I give you the great Hayes Carll, with an assist from the fabulous Jesse Dayton, good Gulf Coast boys the both of them:
It is a video and song that only get better with repeat viewings/listenings. Something to ponder on a Monday morning! 🙂