As a former Soviet citizen, I can tell you: it’s never a good sign for a political system when artists start speaking out against it. And when their statements visibly strike a nerve, chances are that the system is sick.
In a democracy, art can simply be ignored. Of course, one can appreciate culture, but that is a matter of choice, not necessity. Indifference is a luxury afforded to those whose freedoms are well protected. When those freedoms are threatened, however, art becomes a critical line of defense. The United States is learning that lesson today.
In just over a month, President Donald Trump has changed the rules of U.S. politics – and not for the better. If the facts contradict his administration’s line – or, worse, suggest that he isn’t popular – he denounces the journalists who report them as purveyors of “fake news” and an “enemy” of the American people.