Would You Rather Have An Eagle Tear Out Your Liver Or Fill Out Grant Budget Forms?

About six months ago I drew attention to Vu Le’s humorous recasting of Greek myths with non-profit themes. I was delighted when he released his next installment this week adapting six more myths with similar biting humor.

For example, he riffs on the story of Pygmalion and Galatea, noting that Galatea’s name means “she who is white as milk” to make this observation:

However, it caught on, and eventually other organizations had their own galatea. They shortened it to “gala.” And that’s why we have galas today. And even though no one wears togas anymore, these events are still usually “white as milk.”

Readers won’t be surprised to learn that my favorite was the story of King Midas’ Goalen Touch where Dionysus hears Midas wish for a touch of goals rather than gold. The result is that Midas becomes obsessed with applying deriving every type of metric he can from everything he encounters.

For the next several days, everything Midas laid his hands on became extremely driven by goals, outcomes, metrics etc. When he started eating a delicious meal, the chef popped out and said, “This meal will improve your health and reduce your likelihood of ending up in the emergency room, which saves taxpayers money.”

At first, Midas was confused, but then he was delighted that everything had a purpose and tangible objectives. However, after a while, he lost track of the intrinsic value of art, poetry, human connection, and helping others, and became obsessed with easily defined and measurable goals at the cost of vital but more complex things. When he hugged his daughter, she announced “that hug decreased my probability of becoming a delinquent youth.” Horrified, Midas asked Dionysus to remove this curse. But it was too late. Midas spent the rest of his life obsessing over minor goals, while missing more important ones.

Le applies the gift of Prometheus and Pandora’s Box, among other stories to the non-profit sector. Take a look for a much needed chuckle.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

My most recent role was as Executive Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.


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