November 01, 2007

Strike! (Based on an Idea by ...)

SINCE IT APPEARS QUITE LIKELY the Writers Guild of America will go on strike within a few hours, The Rant would like to offer its open support to the WGA and its member scribes in their fight against the entertainment-industrial complex, also known as the "Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers."

As a former Los Angeles resident, who made the acquaintance of some folks within the entertainment industry during my time there, I am somewhat aware of the unpleasantness writers out there face. As a rule, writers are constantly getting screwed over. Their credits get stolen; their payments get "held up;" incompetent producers ruin their work. As it seems clear the proposals from the industry side are designed to screw over the writers even more, I think everyone should support the writers should they decide to walk out.

Admittedly, this is not an issue that affects me, other than the fact I myself write for a living (in another trade) and I generally have a policy that it is good for writers to be paid, and paid well. I have, however, been surprised at the vitriol that has been spewed in the writers' direction, particularly the attacks against their work. Some wags have quipped that one would hardly be able to tell if the writers walked off the job, while others have been more direct and said the writers' work is shit.

I don't think this is an entirely fair argument. After all, it's not like the writers determine what ends up on screen. That's the work of people, often overpaid and undertalented, above them in the food chain. If the final product turns out to be shit -- and there's an increasing amount of shit out there, it seems -- it is not generally the fault of the writers, but the producers and other executive-types who decide something needs sexed-up or more bathroom humor or what not.

I mean, come on. Think of the poor bastards who got stuck writing "Big Momma's House 2," or "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo," or "Alone in the Dark," or "From Justin to Kelly." You think they wanted to write those? You think a writer gets up in the afternoon and says to himself, "Boy, I can't wait to get to work on this crappy sequel!" Hell, no. A writer gets up and says to himself, "I can't believe what they're charging me for this earthquake insurance," and then starts churning out something like "My Little Pony: the Movie." And then they STILL get screwed over.

So I would encourage Loyal Rant Readers to support the WGA in their strike. Doing so would hopefully lead to better-quality entertainment in the future. Of course, in the short term it will be a slog, because the God-fearing American public will be forced to watch reality television programs and game shows and various other shows featuring the cream of America's bumper moron crop. But that in itself could have good effects, such as having people watch more football.

Anyway, I wish my fellow writers good luck and all the best in their struggle. You've got at least one guy out in flyover country* rooting for you.

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* Well, actually, not really. I do live in New Hampshire now. But I am a Michigander at heart, so take that for what it's worth.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at November 1, 2007 07:51 PM | TrackBack
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