A laid-off journalist has proposed a fancy idea that would have the twin benefits of re-employing a lot of unemployed journalists, and producing a quality historical record of our time that could reside in the halls of our nation's finest libraries forever. So needless to say it will never happen, because the public hates journalists, and is functionally illiterate. But that doesn't make it a bad idea, now that the liberal elite is in control of the public purse strings! So is it time to bring back the Federal Writers Project?
Sure! Hell, I bet you could pull the whole thing off for a billion or two, which is now formally classified as "pocket change." The FWP was a program that ran from 1935-39, where the government paid for writers to go around writing... lots of things! FWP materials are considered a great resource by historians, and even produced a few decent writers:
Gifted FWP alumni who went on to distinguished literary careers in literature include John Steinbeck, John Cheever, Nelson Algren, Saul Bellow, and African Americans Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, and Richard Wright. The recent death of Studs Terkel— a FWP veteran who went on to use the skills he developed in the program to chronicle the working- and middle-classes on his long-running radio show and in his Pulitzer Prize-winning books—is a reminder of how valuable this kind of experience can be.
Yes, but times are different now. What was the program's return on investment? Couldn't this meager amount be better spent by throwing it down the black hole of a failing financial institution? Can Obama afford to be seen as soft on writers? We'd be stunned if this program ever came back, because Americans are mean anti-intellectuals. [TNR; pic via]