Via the Federal times comes news that in an effort to save money the Obama administration has decided to consolidate websites in order to save the government money. While in principle I think this is a good idea and generally speaking support the theory of consolidation, he has, by calling out this group, given this action a face and a human personality.
The danger here is for people like me who support all things folky and traditional to use that face and personality as leverage to mount a campaign against this action, and yet again make him look like a buffoon. If he hadn’t been specific and called them out by name, then how could you argue with it, right? But now there will be legions of people using this as a lever against him. Well, ok, maybe not legions, a half-a-dozen maybe, but the point is, its a bit of Americana, and there ARE legions of people out there, who think our society is loosing great things such as string band music, like Brazil is losing rainforest, and these things need to be conserved.
Obviously, he isn’t breaking up the band, or telling them they can’t exist, but the headlines on this one write themselves, and anymore, our Hamsterized little brains only pick up the headlines, oooh look squirrel. Take a peak at the top of this page for goodness sake, thats all anyone will see, nobody reads down this far, not even my mother!
If the Fiddlin Foresters weren’t very well known before, I bet they’ll be getting an agent and record contract and a book deal now. TLC won’t be far behind with a reality TV show too.
Details and quote form the story below.
The Fiddlin’ Foresters may live on, but their web site’s apparently defunct.
Monday morning, the U.S. Forest Service string band found itself in the unenviable position of being panned by President Obama. Not for its music, but for a web site that Obama held up as an example of a taxpayer-funded Internet presence in urgent need of pruning.
“Did you know that the federal government pays for a web site devoted to a folk music ensemble made up of forest rangers?” Obama asked in a video posted on the White House’s own site. The video then features a screen shot of the group’s site, accompanied by what is presumably a sample of the band’s playing.
“I’ll put their music on my iPod, but I’m not paying for their web site,” Obama continued. “And there are hundreds of similar sites that we should consolidate or just get rid of.”
A Google search quickly turned up fiddlinforesters.gov, but the url had vanished from a government server. A cached version described the four-member ensemble as “the official ‘old-time string band’” of the Forest Service, adding that “we are proud to bring conservation and stewardship messages alive through story and song to all who value natural and cultural resource conservation on America’s public lands.”
The site was up as recently as Friday, the cached version indicated. Asked today whether it has since been shut down because of Obama’s criticism, the Forest Service bounced the question to its parent agency, the U.S. Agriculture Department, where Press Secretary Matt Herrick had no answer Monday afternoon.