lucy van pelt holds the football


Jesus, Mary and Joseph. On Monday there was this terrific news: the major studios (collectively called the AMPTP) and the WGA (my union) were getting back together to negotiate. This was after weeks of nothing but picketing, bad blood and most of all, silence. Incredibly (almost unbelievably, if you ask me), the mood of the public tipped slightly in the writer’s favor – I don’t know if it was the viral videos, the lingering mistrust of giant companies… or maybe average Americans heard both arguments and concluded that writers were indeed getting screwed.

Hell, I was stopped for having an expired license plate in Massachusetts last night, and could have been arrested because of an unpaid speeding ticket from 1991. Instead, the cop asked what I did for a living, knew I was on strike, and being a union guy, he let me go with just a ticket. More and more, I’ve talked to people who not only have an affinity for the writers, but consider the whole thing a no-brainer.

Meanwhile, the rumors coming out of Monday’s meeting were beyond encouraging; gossipers were using words like “done deal”, saying an agreement had been struck by the major talent agencies as mediators, and we were all getting together just to iron out the specifics.

Ah, but then we all forgot, the Beast is a sociopath. The AMPTP came up with a proposal so bereft of value that it staggers the imagination:

– $250 for unlimited internet usage of TV shows for a year. Yes, two hundred and fifty dollars.

– NOTHING for unlimited internet usage of movies.

– they can still call an entire movie a “promotion” of that movie and give us nothing

– no internet jurisdiction of our material

And, well, you can read all the details and comments here. The studios’ move was meant to be a disheartening “brick in the small of the back again” as Morrissey sang, to demoralize the WGA so badly that we’d cave, and come limping back to work. I can’t speak for anyone else, but this kabuki theater dumb-show has only made me angrier.

Look at the WGA’s response and crunch the numbers. The WGA – as an entire body of thousands of writers – is asking for less than the sum total of the yearly bonuses and severance packages of the major studios’ CEOs. That’s right. Individual people, added together, are making more being fired than the entire WGA membership is asking for in residuals.

When did this country get so far out of whack? When did this become acceptable to you, to me, to everyone? When did we stop caring about anything being remotely fair? I’ve been loath to admit this, but the effortless way we can ignore these disparities in abject wealth says more about us than them. We’re so disconnected from financial equality, care so little about what the Big Guys do, that I’m beginning to think the real sociopath might be us.

0 thoughts on “lucy van pelt holds the football

  1. LFMD

    I hope that the strike ends soon. There is only so much “A Shot at Love with Tila Tequila” that I can watch before my brain cries out for some quality television!

  2. kent

    The people of the world fought and paid dearly for political democracy over the past 400 years. It will probably take another 500 years for economic democracy. We can vote for our government, but when you go to work, you’re still a serf.

  3. wyatt

    Kent’s words echo a conclusion at which I’ve recently arrived. The only effective dissent is to be less productive and consume less. Voting your conscience, going to a peace rally on Saturday mornings, and laughing along with Jon Stewart are still admirable. But those acts won’t motivate the powerful to choose differently, as long as we continue to pay $3 for gas and meet sales expectations for the holidays. Pricey health care, scary future college costs, and the prospect of being a WalMart greeter in our 80s keep us in line, producing and consuming, +/- accumulating.

  4. Andy

    I just can’t believe how asinine the studios are being about digital media. It is very simple: If the studios make money on something the writers have written, the writers should make money on it as well.

  5. tbruns

    I saw the bleak the future in a :30 spot:
    Coming this January the AMERICAN GLADIATORS ARE BACK!!!
    The horror the horror……

  6. cullen

    Each time my kids have run across the original American Gladiators on ESPNClassic, they’ve become transfixed, and my daughter gets downright nutso off the top rope active w/energee! (of course she’s a specimen of Wonder Woman’s Amazonian/original Bionic Woman ilk).
    There’s real TV on, it’s called sports.

  7. Anne

    I’m no communist, but I have pondered long and hard in recent years about the marriage of democracy and capitalism, and where it has led us. The extreme manifestations of America’s worship of wealth-growing and individualism (I’ll take care of me, and you take care of you), and the whole materialistic marketing culture, curiously resemble the economic polarization in a feudal society.
    I’m not sure what “abject wealth” means, Ian. I’m concluding that the discrepancy is what you consider to be abject. Or you’re just having fun withthe cliche “abject poverty”?
    Writer-serfs unite. Don’t let the studio heads try to serve you cake and send you away.

  8. Anne

    Just want y’all to know if you try to use the word “s o c i a l i s t” in a comment, you’ll be blocked for inappropriate comment. Why? Ian had to explain to me: it contains the letters in “C i a l i s”. That gave me a good laugh today!

  9. gard

    You know, I do think we are moving toward a feudal society now that you mention it. That’s some stout political economy there, Spinoza.

  10. Chris M

    The YouTube pieces show the media corporations are simply lying. They don’t want to pay and they won’t unless they are forced to do so.
    Not that long ago everyone understood that in a “free country,” money in the bank brings you freedom.
    If you wanted to be free, you worked hard and saved your money rather than spending all of it and then borrowing even more for things you don’t need and can’t afford.


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