Saturday, December 29, 2007

Striking Writers

You know, I have very little sympathy for the writers who are on strike. Oh, I know, they want to be paid for their work that ends up on the Internet, and I think it's smart of them to see that the Internet will likely play a huge roll in the entertainment industry in the future and to carve out their niche now rather than later. I even think they deserve to be paid for the work they do.

What disturbs me, however, is the strike. And I hate the fact that the negotiations have become so public. Neither side wants to budge on their position, and I'd bet a big reason for that is because if they do, they'll be seen as "weak" or the "loser" in this epic battle the news media has created. And everyone in the industry pays the price. I don't mind of writers themselves want to strike, but it's caused others to lose their jobs as well who have nothing to do with the strike. Cameramen, actors, set designers, and those thousands of folks that create what writers imagine are out of jobs. Did the writers ever consider them? I don't think so. Are the writers banding together to figure out a way to help all these displaced people? No, they're more interested in themselves. Selfish, little people they are. If it hurts the rest of the industry, it's not their problem.

And that's the part that bothers me. I read that the Ellen DeGeneres show went back on after shutting down for one day, and she took a lot of flak for that for "not supporting the writers." Good for her! She's supporting her employees, and she should be applauded for that.

If I had my way, I'd just fire all the writers and replace them all. If they don't like their jobs or their compensation, they can find something else they do want. No matter how this all turns out, there's going to be a lot of hurt feelings and grudges. What happens when the writers come back to the Tonight Show and all the cameramen had been fired or are at risk of losing their home because they haven't been able to pay the mortgage? You think they'll be working together as efficiently as they were before?

Nothing, and I mean nothing good will come from this strike. It was a stupid thing to start, and I'd like to see the writers go back to work even if it's under the agreement that all new work will get paid with whatever agreement they can come up with later. Perhaps when the stakes aren't so high or public, the two sides can quietly come up with an agreement they both like. If it's the Internet that's the big sticking point, perhaps the writers can refuse to work on any material destined for the Internet but keep working on everything else.

I might support the writers more if they weren't so happy to inflict pain on so many innocent victims, but they've long lost my sympathy.

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