mabfan (Michael A. Burstein) (mabfan) wrote,
mabfan (Michael A. Burstein)
mabfan

Thoughts on the Writers' Strike

Those of us who enjoy television shows and movies as more than casual entertainments are probably all aware that the Writers Guild of America has gone on strike today. The last time this happened, in 1988, the strike lasted five months and killed a lot of TV shows. (I myself bemoaned the loss of Probe, a new show that broadcast perhaps five episodes before the strike brought it to an end.)

Almost anyone who knows me is aware of the fact that I am a strong supporter of unions. I remember my father going on strike in the 1970s when I was a little kid, and how my family went for much of a year not knowing how it would turn out. But Dad stuck to his principles that the writers and editors of the Newspaper Guild deserved more than management wanted to give them. My father died in the strike offices of the Newspaper Guild seventeen years ago last Friday; it's not hard to see that I come by my support of unions honestly.

So it should not come as a surprise to anyone that I support the writers in their strike and hope that they succeed in negotiating a new, fairer contract.

However...

It may be perverse of me to say this, but in some ways I wouldn't mind seeing a long, drawn-out, protracted strike. It would give me a chance to catch up on both my reading and older entertainment options. Nomi and I have been watching old episodes of Doctor Who, and we're still in the middle of the DVD set of the series "The Adventures of Brisco County, Jr." We missed Veronica Mars during its three years of broadcast and have been meaning to catch up with it (again, via DVDs). It has not escaped my notice that the simple fact we have old TV shows and movies on DVD as an option to fill the empty hours of programming buttresses the WGA's arguments that their members deserve a share of residuals for the new media.

Of course, in the end what I hope for will have little, if any, effect on the final outcome. But if it weren't for the strike, we wouldn't have paragraphs such as this one, from the New York Times article "Screenwriters Picket as Strike Begins" by David Carr and Michael Cieply, describing the picket line outside Rockefeller Center in New York City today:


All of the trappings of a union protest were there — signs, chanting workers, an inflatable rat, and a discarded bag of wrappers and cups from Dunkin Donuts. The rat was borrowed from Local 79, an AFL-CIO laborers’ union, and commuted in from Queens.


I just wish they had published a photo of the inflatable rat.
Tags: movies, personal, television, writing
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