Monday, November 26, 2007

Whedon vs. Blue Sun Media, Inc.

The Hollywood writer's strike continues. David has a couple of good posts up about it. Go. Read.

I just saw this today, but a couple of weeks ago, Joss Whedon wrote a response to a NY Times article on the strike. The Times article shamefully framed the writer's strike as something other than a "real" strike. A real strike involves working people, while those writers are just "working" people. As usual, Joss shows exactly why the pen is mightier than the sword (and why a pencil makes for a stake substitute when you're in a pinch):

Reporters are funny people. At least, some of the New York Times reporters are. Their story on the strike was the most dispiriting and inaccurate that I read. But it also contained one of my favorite phrases of the month.

"All the trappings of a union protest were there… …But instead of hard hats and work boots, those at the barricades wore arty glasses and fancy scarves."

Oh my God. Arty glasses and fancy scarves. That is so cute! My head is aflame with images of writers in ruffled collars, silk pantaloons and ribbons upon their buckled shoes. A towering powdered wig upon David Fury’s head, and Drew Goddard in his yellow stockings (cross-gartered, needless to say). Such popinjays, we! The entire writers’ guild as Leslie Howard in The Scarlet Pimpernel. Delicious.

Except this is exactly the problem. The easiest tactic is for people to paint writers as namby pamby arty scarfy posers, because it’s what most people think even when we’re not striking. Writing is largely not considered work. Art in general is not considered work. Work is a thing you physically labor at, or at the very least, hate. Art is fun. (And Hollywood writers are overpaid, scarf-wearing dainties.) It’s an easy argument to make. And a hard one to dispute...

"The trappings of a union protest..." You see how that works? Since we aren’t real workers, this isn’t a real union issue. (We’re just a guild!) And that’s where all my ‘what is a writer’ rambling becomes important. Because this IS a union issue, one that will affect not just artists but every member of a community that could find itself at the mercy of a machine that absolutely and unhesitatingly would dismantle every union, remove every benefit, turn every worker into a cowed wage-slave in the singular pursuit of profit. (There is a machine. Its program is ‘profit’. This is not a myth.) This is about a fair wage for our work. No different than any other union. The teamsters have recognized the importance of this strike, for which I’m deeply grateful. Hopefully the Times will too.

Studios! Settle already! Give the writers the pittance they are asking for so people like Joss can get back to writing and I can get back to complaining that you haven't given Joss another series.

1 comment:

David said...

Good post. I'm surprised the New York Times would stoop to such studio-pandering editorializing, but... Americans re-elected King George, so I'm surprised anything surprises me anymore.

And by the way, Fox has given Whedon another series: Dollhouse, to star Eliza Dushku. Of course... he can't actually write it at the moment.

And, yeah, Fox. The network that screwed him over with Firefly. I'd say I'm surprised, but... you know.