29
Jan
08

Weber’s Word, a note about the strike.

Steven WeberOur Left-Coast correspondent, Steven Weber, writes us about the post we had on the meeting with writers from the Daily Show, The Colbert Report and the West Wing.  We all hope he’s able to get back to work soon before we become emotionally investing in which pseudo-hooker will win Brett Michaels’ heart on Rock of Love.

Read your piece and found it informative on the topic, given that any “inside” information I’ve ever personally received has been through as many generations as pirated dvd’s and video tapes which have been passed around sans any compensation to those people who actually produced them, along with rendering the information scratchy, thumbworn and vague. First person experience is important when getting at the truth behind an issue. So having friends on both sides of the situation I must say once again that the writer’s strike (a particularly punitive appellation, framing the whole thing squarely on the uncompensated writers and pinning the collateral damage incurred by the strike solely on them, as opposed to management who are the ones firing ancillary employees. But I digress. Revolution, comrades!) is a microcosm of one of the key things ailing society at large. Sorry, but that’s the way I think.

Of course it’s not as sexy as the upcoming fix…I mean, election. It’s not as important as Iraq, the economy, the newest and thinnest MacBook. It’s not as incessant as the coverage of the death of a young movie star. But it is typical of what is happening to—dare I say it?—the middle class, a segment of Americans who are being steadily obliterated from the scene. The writers, like the aforementioned shriveling segment of the population, should be able to work hard and still enjoy the fruits of their labor, to contribute to the economy without burdening it with over-dependency, to be rightfully compensated and have certain protections guaranteed in good faith by their employers. It ain’t socialism. It’s good sense. To understand the strike, pick up a paper and read about the massive outsourcing of jobs, the lowering of wages and overall quality in virtually any industry and you get the idea. Nothing wrong with making a profit. Love it myself on those rare occasions. But being disingenuous about the issue of fair compensation in an industry that regularly makes jaw dropping profits (as the AMPTP has been), even as it tries to reconfigure itself for the future will lead to more decline in wages and quality. Does TV suck? Like the business end of a pilot fish. So does public education. But that (again, in my humble opinion) is due to, what kids? Lower standards! Lower wages! Lower quality! Yay! Not aiming high, not being charitable where necessary, not using restraint on occasion and just being plain greedy. Something must happen to people when they make their first million and smell the possibility of more: they finally unburden themselves from civility and common sense. “Thank god I don’t have to give a shit about being fair or polite or helping my fellow man! I’m free to consume with abandon! I’m gonna charge more, pay less, feather my own nest and when it all goes bust take a powder! Outta my way, impoverished swine!” I’m digressing again. Won’t some hot, curvy, amoral young Republican babe anchor me?

So in conclusion (wake up for it), what the writers want is fair. What the AMPTP wants is not. The corporate paradigm at work is glaringly obvious. One just has to choose which side appeals to your own values. But you have to be there to know.

Weber

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