02 November 2007


First off, let me say that I am not a member of the Writers Guild of America. I wish I was. I wish I could earn some part of my living writing for Hollywood. But, I'm not and I don't. I am a writer, but I don't work for Hollywood.

With that out of the way, let me add that I grew up in a union household. My father was a Teamster. He made a good living, and only went on strike a couple times. I remember the first time he went on strike, I was really young. My mom told me we wouldn't have money and we couldn't buy anything because he was going out on strike. I had no idea what that all meant, but I started crying because it seemed so serious. I didn't know what would happen.

Clearly, we survived, but I never liked the idea of a strike.

I'm not much of a fan of unions. They don't seem to do a whole lot of good for their workers in today's world the way they did when they were new and really achieved something in the late 1800s and early 1900s. I mean, look what just happened at Chrysler: their union ratified a new contract and a couple weeks later the company announces it will lay off 12,000 employees -- many of whom, one would imagine, just voted for the new contract. How did that help anyone?

Now, put that all together, and let me tell you why I am all for a writer's strike:

Writers are the backbone of every creative venture. They create the movies, they create the television shows, they write the books, they write the plays and (please forgive me) they write the songs that make the whole world sing -- or at least that segment of the world that can carry a tune.

For virtually ever writers have gotten the end of the stick that was just used to stir the pile of steer manure: yes, the shitty end. Hollywood has been on top of the list of people who hand that stick to the writers. They give a writer $5 for a great idea that then goes on to make the studio millions. When the writer asks for more, the producer doesn't even remember him or her. That's the way it's been since Hollywood was still just a gleam in the eye of H.H. Wilcox.

But still writers keep writing. They like the idea of their creation being made real, of seeing their name in print, or on the title card, or on the base of the little gold statuette that says "Best Whatever." They know the producers get rich off their work, and yet they still plug away, trying for a new spin on the old story of "boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy gets stabbed in the eye with a stick."

Now -- finally -- the writers are fed up with the producers making millions, and them getting little in return, and are going out for the first major strike since 1988.

And I say, "GO!"

What will happen with the writers on strike? Who cares? The major networks could all go dark, and I guarantee I would not lose a minute's sleep over it. Except for "The Simpsons" what good television is on the networks, anyway?

I'll wait while you try to think of an example.

"Meerkat Manor" ended tonight. "Torchwood" is on BBC America, so that's not going to be affected. We have the first eight seasons of "The Simpsons" on DVD (the only really good seasons, anyway) so we're set.

Audiences will leave the networks in droves (like they did in 1988). We might get a few episodes of a remake of 25-year-old episodes of "Mission: Impossible" (like we did in 1988), but -- meh! -- who cares? More reality shows? Who cares? More repeats? Who cares? We get something like 8,000 channels on our satellite system, and another million or so on the internet, so I say "Screw 'em!"

Let the producers plead poverty all they want. I want the writers to stay on strike until they get everything they're asking for.

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