I spent some time this morning trying to explain the WGA strike to Sis, and probably doing a lousy job of it. The bottom line, for me, is that screenwriters, like any artists, deserve to be fairly compensated for the labor they've put into entertaining us; they also deserve a fair cut of the corporate profits gleaned from streaming content on the Internet, and on the wee little iPod screens I'm too old and squinty to see properly, and through the inevitable direct crainial port we'll all be having installed in 2017. My own aside, in my post about Family this week, has kept me thinking about it: how many times, in my life, have I breathlessly followed the exploits of a fictional character, on a large screen or small? How many times have I done the morning-after "oh-my-god-did-you-see" with a friend, via phone or lined notebook paper or e-mail or IM or watercooler gabbling? How many times did I watch Jim stab Dwight's fitness ball out from under him, BLAM? (and how long after that was it before I could breathe well enough to speak clearly again?)
Sam and Diane. Every stupid Very Brady Everything, forever, sign me up, I'm in. The Diff'rent Strokes marathon I stumbled across, two nights after 9/11 on cable, when I was devastated and too afraid to sleep: some network threw that on in desperation and I allowed it to lull me into relieved oblivion for a few grateful, inane hours, whatchoo talkin' bout Willis? as I dozed on the couch with all the lights on. Crazy!Franken!Kimberly, ripping off her wig on Melrose Place. My father, sitting beside me in a darkened theatre in 1978 for the original Star Wars, and saying "Wooow," softly, right out loud, as that first shot of the enemy spaceship roared on, and on, and on, endlessly passing overhead. Mulder and Scully and the X-Files DVDs I love so much I want to fall asleep under the Christmas tree with them, clutching them like Randy in A Christmas Story hangs onto that zeppelin. Every word, every tearjerking climax and holy-shit cliffhanger and SNL catchphrase I've repeated ad nauseam...somebody had to write, first. I'm willing to pay for that; the production companies should be, too.
The United Hollywood blog explains and monitors it all better than I can, duh. The Why We Fight video that I am not quite smart enough to insert in Blogger is the perfect elevator-pitch explanation that I so clumsily attempted to outline for Sis. Pamie, over there in the sidebar, also offers one writer's generously detailed experience on the line. Pay attention, get informed, choose your side. Um, the WGA side, that is.
In other news, apparently the Broadway stagehands' union has also gone on strike, shutting down most theatrical productions on the Great White Way. There will be no more entertainment! Entertainment is cancelled, go home! We are going to have to start occupying ourselves with rocks and sticks and our own sluggish thoughts!