links! links! links! (strike edition)

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Monday, November 12, 2007
I believe in art.

I believe in fairness.

I believe in the value of the written word.

I've been thinking a lot about this strike and wanted to have a lovely rah rah post about why it is important (even for non-writers) and why it is not, as you may have heard, simply a matter of privileged artistic types having a hollywood hissy fit, but I keep getting angry. Not just because the situation is unfair, but because it brings up a lot of other related issues (the lofty status of The Corporation in our national mindset, how art is habitually undervalued and derided, how people who engage in creative work are treated as if it's not "real" work and therefore should be content with whatever they get, the grotesque reign of George W. Bush and the wave of anti-intellectualism he rode in on). I get so mad I can't think straight (rage blackout!) and find myself waking up pages later in the middle of a rant on Why Don't We Have Universal Healthcare!? which is not particularly helpful.

So I will say this: I hope for a speedy and fair resolution to the dispute and hope that the writers (and the scores of others affected by the strike) can get back to work making the shows and movies I love, the shows and movies I love to hate, and yes, even the shows and movies to which I am fairly indifferent.

Some links:

this youtube clip (The Office Is Closed) is a funny and pointed explanation of the "we're not paying you for promotions" issue.

Jane Espenson -- I heart Jane! She is as kind, smart, generous and funny as always, now with added strike news and strike-lunch updates.

John August makes sense of the underlying issues and language (why residuals and not royalties, etc.) in a smart yet easy to understand way.

Doris Egan -- on Living By The Pen, the human appetite for stories and some historical perspective. (among many other interesting things.)

Billy Mernit with tips for keeping your writing sharp during the strike (or, you know, any old time) and a recommendation for a book that sounds so good I have already ordered it! (novels in three lines! I can barely stand it.)

if you haven't already, I encourage you to read Joss Whedon's pointed, angry yet hilarious summation of early NYT coverage and overall issues. It's good and jossy which is a very good thing indeed.

...and another video. This time the Heartbreaking Voices of Uncertanty. (Screens will be fed.)
4 comments on "links! links! links! (strike edition)"
  1. Although I agree with the writers strike and all of that I just see the whole thing as class struggle and the lowest class of all being totally forgotten about and discarded. It is hard for me to cry for people collecting residual checks when other people don't have that luxury. And I think that the companies in charge should just give the writers what they need and get on with this new season of tv that was way better than last years...I agree with everyones perspective during this crisis except for "the man"...

  2. Hmmm.

    You raise a number of interesting points -- things that are often brought up in labor disputes. I agree that class inequity is one of the looming social problems on the horizon in this country, but I don't think this strike represents More For the Fabulously Wealthy. Just like everywhere else, the creative middle class is being squeezed out of existence to leave only the insanely rich and the profoundly poor.

    I think one of the key (and eye-opening) things for me in reading about this strike is that residual checks are what *allow* for there to be a middle-class of writers. (the John August article explains that very well.) Most are not super-rich fat cats with an extra room in their house dedicated to the purpose of rolling around in money. (maybe some are, but most not.)

    I guess you can frame it however you want, but I'm looking at it from here: 1) creative work rarely gets any respect (sure, some does but mostly people say "why didn't you go to school for something practical?") and I believe that art is crucial for the culture at large. 2) the writers are not being fairly compensated for their work. Their demands are not unreasonable.

    I think if you only read one of the links in this post, you should read the Joss link. He sums it up in a way that really resonated with me.

  3. I forgot to add that you are TOTALLY RIGHT that this season of tv is way better than last year!

  4. I didn't mean to imply that I think that writers are rolling in the green or that I think they are even close to being paid enough for what they do. They are the shows they write. I mean of course there is always crap on the tube that goes on forever such as According to Jim, Two and a Half Men, Will and Grace...and you have Arrested Development that was mad crazy and no one watched. Either way, that is a different point. I just wish that all of the unions would/could get together and go against the common foe, you know?


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