Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York City, has announced his intention to spend $50 million to fund a "grassroots" effort to fight the National Rifle Association on the issue of expanding background checks for gun ownership.
Now, I'm a strong proponent of gun rights, but I do support universal background checks. I read a forum post someone wrote about how he went to a gun show and one of the sellers there did a background check using a laptop or some other kind of personal Internet connection, which shows it wouldn't be that much of an imposition. And rights do have responsibilities, like putting in the effort to make sure you're not selling to some gang-banger or toolbag with a history of domestic violence.
That being said, the article describes how previous efforts by Bloomberg to jump-start anti-gun movements with his money have failed before. Furthermore, Bloomberg is a polarizing figure who would give the NRA and other gun rights supporters a convenient boogeyman to scare the base with. To paraphrase George H.W. Bush (or his SNL parody), that might not be prudent at this juncture.
So here's an idea:
Bloomberg should instead dedicate some of that money to patronizing aspiring writers and artists, a category that would include me. There's a long traditional of well-off people supporting the arts with their money, including the Roman politician Gaius Maecenas who supported Virgil and Horace and various people listed here. Patronizing one hundred or one thousand such people would require much less money than this political project and would help ensure Mayor Bloomberg is remembered as something more than a politician.
In fact, here's something I can do with whatever money Mayor Bloomberg deigns to give me. Buy the book rights for the (New York-based I might add) band/comedy group The Lonely Island's song "I Run New York" and write a novel depicting him as this paladin fighting various evil forces emerging from holes in the space-time continuum in New York's subways and sewers. Given how he has recently been replaced, maybe it's about how he has to train the skeptical new mayor about how it's his sacred duty as the mayor of NYC to fight the horrors coming from underground...
For those of you not familiar with the song, here's a YouTube video:
Does Mayor Bloomberg like the idea of a novel (or series thereof) basically depicting him as Batman? If so, he or his people should get in touch with me.
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