A Class Dismissed | Letters | Chicago Reader

A Class Dismissed 

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To the editors:

I read a statement in Culture Club [November 18] that as an artist disturbed me. Lewis Lazare wrote that "professor Robert Calder devised a questionnaire that will be administered to . . . people who don't attend arts events regularly, but have the same income and education as those who do." Perhaps it is the ambiguity of this statement that leaves me disquieted, but as I read it now it basically says that it is only a certain class of people, a class defined solely by money and education, who are the ones who attend arts events, and that Calder is only interested in finding out why others of the same class don't attend as regularly as their equals (emphasis mine). In contrast, my questionnaire begins: Why isn't Calder attempting to find out why people of different classes don't attend, i.e., those of lower incomes and lesser education? I hope he isn't assuming that such people have no interest in the arts. If so, he would have the Greek playwrights, Shakespeare, Moliere and any other author whose theaters were crammed full by the lower classes laughing from their grave. And why is he concentrating on people who don't attend arts events regularly? Wouldn't it be more beneficial in building an audience by concentrating equally on those who don't attend at all? But as I said, maybe it is only that the statement is ambiguously phrased. Perhaps he intends to distribute the questionnaire to people of all incomes, from welfare recipients to the Rockefellers, and compare it to people of equal income and education. I doubt it, but anything is possible.

Howard Casner

N. Kenmore

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