I really grow impatient with the idiotic notion that artists being mercenary is somehow a new idea, when it really really isn't.
People tend to forget that the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel was a media tie-in work for hire. The tie-in was to the Bible, and the work was commissioned and owned by the Vatican, with Michelangelo working at the Pope's direction in much the same way tie-in writers work at licensors' direction.
The notion of the "starving artist" is a myth. It's been perpetuated by a combination of artists who can't actually sell their work and need an excuse and the pervasive Protestant Work Ethic that still infests the consciousness of this country (SEE ALSO: the country's fear of sex, best illustrated in the absurd overreaction to Janet Jackson's wardrobe malfunction), which views the arts as not being "real" work (a perception I've been fighting for eight years now).
The truth is that artists have always worked for money, just like everyone else. The successful artists are the ones who had wealthy patrons. The reason why art flourished in the middle ages is because lots of wealthy people wanted art in their homes and it was considered a noble profession -- but it's not like they were all independently wealthy.
Yes, we're hacks. And we've always been hacks. Get over it.