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entertainment on strike

the world of entertainment is on strike. and how is it affecting me?

not much, i have to say. at least not directly.

first there’s the writer’s strike in hollywood. i guess that if you were a big tv watcher, you’d be upset about this. no new episodes of csi or lost or letterman or whatever, and all. but, having given up television (no cable tv, and our tv doesn’t have a tuner, so no over-the-air broadcasts either), i could care less. if the strike goes on long enough it could eventually affect the movies, and i’d care marginally more about that, but there are enough movies on netflix to last a lifetime. if they stopped making new movies tomorrow, i’d still never get to watch all the movies i’d like to see.

second strike is the stagehands on broadway. we don’t go to as many shows as we used to, so this doesn’t directly affect me in that sense. however, it definitely affects the economy of new york city, so in that sense i’m at least indirectly affected. but again, there are plenty of live entertainment options in new york — some broadway shows, off-broadway, off-off broadway, concerts, cabarets, and so on.

in general i support the concept of unions — we wouldn’t have much in the way of benefits and rights as workers if they hadn’t fought for them. and there are many jobs that i wouldn’t take unless there was a union to represent me. and when i taught school, i always belonged to the union — even though i agreed that they promoted and tolerated incompetence, i still saw the overall value in membership.

i think the writers have a valid point. everything’s going online, and if something they wrote is rebroadcast on the internet or sold via itunes, there should be some payment for that. of course, if the strike continues, there may not be much of an audience left for their product, given people’s limited and continually fracturing attention span. but they have a point, and they should press for a solution if they think the risk is worth it.

i don’t think it helps their image, though, to have big stars on the picket lines, and jay leno bringing them donuts, and so on. i’ll bet the vast majority of striking writers are middle class folks with middle class incomes, and all those big stars do is leave casual observers with the impression that all writers are wealthy people looking for even more wealth.

the broadway stagehands seem to me to have less of a point. i’ll be the first to admit that i’m not fully informed, but from what i can gather, one of their main demands is to retain the right to tell producers how many union members each show must hire.

i’m guessing that most people would think that an unreasonable demand. i know i do.

i’d love to have the contractual right to tell my company that they had to employ a set number of my co-workers. who wouldn’t? but that’s not reasonable. and while i’m sure greedy producers drive up the cost of broadway tickets, having to hire union employees regardless of actual need isn’t helping either.

for the sake of the economies of new york and los angeles, i hope both strikes are settled soon.

personally, though, i don’t care much either way.

update: with the broadway strike, what’s at issue is controlling how many workers are present at the load-in for the show (when all the sets, etc., are brought into the theater). i have less of a problem with that — i dont think the producers should be telling the union how many people that takes.


    Parting Glances O Little Town of Bedlam

    1. And so it came to pass in a land many sizes too large for its tunic that three not-so-wise men got wind of a waning star in the east that it would be deemed most expedient to see before its untimely extinction.

    2. Said the first not-so-wise man to the other two (who were his official yea-verily-sayers), “Let us take time from our wearisome duties, denigrated tho they may be in this the last year of my most magnificent reign to go seek out this heavenly wonder before it blinks goodbye forever.”

    3. Said the second — perhaps wiser by degree, who for reasons of pride and untoward show of piety liked to play tricks with his voice, speaking through persons who opened and closed their mouths without saying their own words — “Yea, verily, verily. But let us take gifts so that should said fading star be a sign (as of old) to mark the birth of an auspicious — compassionately conservative — child, he and his voting age parents (presumably blue-eyed, white, heterosexually married) might be persuaded to look favorably upon us and our country of great and ever-glorious import.”

    4. Said the third not-so-wise man (who in truth seemed but the semblance of a man and was most troubled by mention of color white, as in winter), “Verily and yea! Let each in the true spirit of the season choose baubles for a child that will serve as a reminder in the days to come of who we are, who once we were.

    5. “As there will always be wars and rumors of wars, I shall give the child toy exploding darts to throw and a target with exotic locations to practice upon.”

    6. “And I,” said the leader who dubbed himself Decider, “Because the poor are with us always I shall give a lifetime subscription to Fortune magazine, so that the child, learning to read, may ever know what it is he hath missed out on, living his life more blessed in that knowledge. Perhaps, yea, verily, even selling subscriptions from door to door.”

    7. Then said he who proposed the gift giving in the first place, “Because it is decreed ‘Thou anointest my head with oil’ (and greaseth my palm with petroleum), I shall give the child oil well shares to live up to. Surely that will inspire him well unto the age of accountability and beyond.”

    8. Thus having agreed to such purposeful and theocratic generosity, one by one they left in separate winged conveniences, for it was unseeming for them to travel together. And when they arrived they journeyed their last miles each upon an ass, which was fitting for the impression they wished to convey.

    9. And as they traveled in the direction of the waning star it blinked three short blinks, three long blinks, three short blinks, which made the not-so-wise men fear that they might not reach their goal of abject adoration in time.

    10. And suddenly they heard a heavenly chorus singing with syncopation, “We don’t care if it rains or freezes.” And there were gathered shepherds, each bearing the likeness of a photogenic and calculating evangelist. And in their midst they found a swaddling child.

    11. Drawing near the three not-so-wise men saw that the child was but a plastic dollbaby with a string attached. Pull me, read a tag. And so pull in awe they did.

    12. And like a voice crying in the wilderness it repeated and repeated, “Seasons greetings. Shop for bargains. Bomb for peace.”

    Posted on 20-Dec-07 at 8:10 pm | Permalink
  2. well done, sir, and the happiest of holidays to you.

    Posted on 23-Dec-07 at 7:59 am | Permalink

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