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Officially a Curmudgeon
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I just read an article today that federal regulators have approved a $50 million installation of anchored fabric over the Arkansas River in southern Colorado by the artist Christo.

We are assured that there will be little or no adverse ecological impact as a result of this two-week display of the work of his "artistic vision".

This project will draw visitors to Colorado, thereby supporting the tourism industry and bringing attention to the state's "tremendous outdoor recreation opportunities", according to the Interior Secretary.

The 42-mile long monstrosity supposedly could generate $121 million in economic output and draw 400,000 visitors, both during the construction--which could become itself a tourist event--and the display when completed. Estimates by the feds, who of course want to support their own decision. Did anyone really think they would find otherwise?

My first reaction was that I can think of a lot more important uses for 50 million dollars. Large fabric panels stretched along a river (for two weeks), maybe a financial windfall for tour operators, versus feeding hungry children...let me think. Yes, it may be that feeding the appetite for art/voyeurism trumps feeding the bodies of the poor, a long-term investment in people.

But I don't see it that way.

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