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February 08 2008

Joss Whedon Climbs the Ramparts. Slate hears Joss's cry of "FIGHT. FIGHT. FIGHT."

Joss's post was amazing. He definitely seems to understand the point to the strike aside from getting what the writer's deserve. The point is to hold the studio's feet to the fire and let them understand who it is that provides them with their fortune, who is the talent. WGA strike will no doubt set an example to coming contractual renegotiations. In particular that of the Screen Actor's Guild.

In the last two decades, CEOs and corporate executives pay has gone from millions to multimillion and in some cases even billions. It's time the working class organize for the change they want.

In Solidarity!
I'm happy to have Joss' post at United Hollywood made more public, but did everyone read that linked article where the producer of the Oscars complained that the WGA wouldn't tell them whether or not they would be picketing the Academy Award Show? It is funny, and shows how clueless these people can be. It should be obvious that like the Emmy Awards, the Oscars are just promotion and advertising for the Studios and Networks (the members of the AMPTP) so of course they will be picketed if there is no contract.
This really answers Michael Eisner's quote about a deal being struck.

FIGHT. SLAY. FIGHT.
If this oddly sneering New York Times article is correct in its summary of the proposed contract, the writers have won what they needed -- a share of the future. It's 2 percent, not 2.5, and it kicks in during the agreement's third year, not its first, but it is a percentage of the online revenues. A cut of the gate, as Shakespeare would have it.* (Again, if the summary is accurate. We don't know anything until we know everything.)

Still think the creatives need to find ways to become their own producers, because the people who claim that role tried to cut them out.

ETA: *And did.

[ edited by Pointy on 2008-02-08 05:58 ]
I laughed at this sentence;“We refer to a post by writer Joss Whedon on the United Hollywood Web site, which hints that he still feels he has some vampire slaying to do.” The perfect metaphor for the AMPTP.
The point is [...] to let them understand who it is that provides them with their fortune, who is the talent. [...]

In the last two decades, CEOs and corporate executives pay has gone from millions to multimillion and in some cases even billions. It's time the working class organize for the change they want.

I second that.
Wow, that NYT article Pointy linked is kind of annoying.
The arrangement offers bragging rights to writers, who can claim to have won what the entertainment conglomerates said they would never give: a residual based on their gross revenue from the Internet.

Bragging rights FFS ? Yay writers, rather than securing a fair deal you've acquired ammunition for gloating next time you and Nick Counter are having a pint together, good job.

Then there're the loaded phrases pertaining to the writers' reps like "militant", "well-heeled", "pet demand" whereas the AMPTP reps are only "protective of company interests", "frustrated" that the WGA won't deal and keen to negotiate with a "more flexible bargainer". Oh and let's not forget, the WGA "could end the walkout as early as next week, allowing ... tens of thousands of people to return to work". Glad to hear it was never in the AMPTP's power to end the walkout by, y'know, negotiating 2 months ago.

Nice subtle bit of propaganda that, kudos (except for the part where newspapers are meant to report the news, not spin it).
When did newspapers report the news and not spin it, Saje? Have you seen Citizen Kane?
Yeah, i'm well aware that's what print (and TV and radio and internet and skywriting ;) news sources do redeem147. Doesn't mean we a) have to like it or b) should just accept it. And that seemed a particularly pronounced case, especially from (as I understand it, correct me if i'm wrong) the paper of record in the US.

Murder is even older than spin, folk are still against it ;).
There's no record anymore, if there ever was. The NYT in its heyday was the voice of a liberal-ish East Coast Establishment that hardly matters anymore.
If The New York Times says it, it must be true.

That's one of the great things about the movie "Newsies." It not only portrays an uprising of powerless children against the most powerful people in the country, it also shows how the newspapers have always been used as tools to crush unions - and to undercut, undermine, and ridicule them in the process.

The Times has always been a sounding board for the powerful against the powerless. It may be considered a "legitimate" source by those in academia and education who've bought into the propaganda, but The National Inquirer is just about as true and accurate in it's reporting.
For those interested in the vampire analogy, there's a literal (and very funny) interpretation of it in one of the FairDeal4Writers.com contest entries, David Twohy's "The Creature From the Black Casket." For that six-degrees-of-Joss, David Twohy wrote and directed "The Chronicles of Riddick," which costarred "Angel's" Alexa Davalos (he also did "Pitch Dark," which had monsters :) ), actor Bruce Greenwood (the WGA person) was in "I, Robot" with Alan Tudyk and Kurt Fuller (Count Nicholas) was the NSC director on an arc on "Alias" (Drew Goddard connection, though I think possibly before Drew Goddard joined the staff).

FWIW, while I don't always like their spin on things, I think the New York Times generally gets the facts right (I subscribe, even though it's on the other side of the country for me). And they're no dummies -- they know that, if they want people to pay attention to an article, mention Joss Whedon :)
Then there're the loaded phrases pertaining to the writers' reps like "militant", "well-heeled", "pet demand" whereas the AMPTP reps are only "protective of company interests", "frustrated" that the WGA won't deal and keen to negotiate with a "more flexible bargainer"

The most common words used have always been union "demands" and employer "offers", not biased at all...
Its all load of junk. AMPTP is using typical corporate tactics. When the ruling class owns the media (arguably the most powerful entity in the world in regards to its reach), it is incredible easy to disseminate ruling class ideology. Like a post-er above said, they helped with the decline of unions, sell wars, racism, and many other things. If they can keep us divided, no one will ever rise up.
I love the snide comments (in the NYT article) about the current residuals paid for re-runs; refering to the "tens of thousands of dollars an episode" that the writers currently make when a program is re-played. This, of course, implys that the writers are once again showing how insanely greedy they are and that this stalemate is only about the money and has nothing to do with what's fair.

And, exactly how many of these "greedy" writers make tens of thousands of dollars for their re-runs?...
If they can keep us divided, no one will ever rise up.


I actually think human stupidity keeps us divided not The Man. Saying that the ruling class causes wars etc excuses the likes of you and me from feeling guilty and indeed from having any responsibility over what is going on in the world.
Yeah, it's sort of a win-win situation ;-).
My rally cry is mixed with some misgiving about the way the studios are being represented. It's sort of like politics. There are people in power doing destructive things that hurt people, and that is very real. But the more people say things like "they have lairs" and use wording like "childish", the less threatening the very bad feels. These people are neither comically evil nor stupid.

It's very well written, but when I step back, I worry this kind of thing is bad for the WGA in the long run. But it was meant to rally them in the short term, and it seems very good for that.

I guess "I don’t think of the studio heads as a bunch of grinning tycoons sitting in a smoke-filled club and drumming their fingers like Montgomery Burns" has gone completely out the window at this point. I'm not sure I'd be saying any different if I was experiencing this myself, but it does worry me when I read these more recent statements.

When the ruling class owns the media

Um. When?

Like a post-er above said, they helped with the decline of unions, sell wars, racism, and many other things.

Racism, sexism, homophobia, and xenophobia are pretty pervasive. That doesn't mean they have to be or should be, but none of them are top-down phenomena. They do make powerful tools for people in power when they want to manipulate people, though. Playing on people's prejudices and fears is different from creating them in the first place. And since people in power fear losing it, challenging these things requires great pressure and action from those of us who are not in positions of power.

The Times has always been a sounding board for the powerful against the powerless. It may be considered a "legitimate" source by those in academia and education who've bought into the propaganda, but The National Inquirer is just about as true and accurate in it's reporting.

It's been greatly disapponting these past few years, and yes, its credibility has fallen, but comparing it to a tabloid is an exaggeration of the distance of that fall. I read NYT with some salt, but I wouldn't take the Enquirer seriously with all the salt in the Dead Sea. NYT doesn't have the best bullshit detector and sometimes gets its information from known biased sources, but the Enquirer creates bullshit.

I don't understand the "academic and education" remark here since that's painting many groups with a broad "establishment" brush, some of whom are and many of whom aren't. Academics and educators are fighting some pretty important fights of their own right now. If you want to learn how much the media can misrepresent a story, read the science section sometime with a scientist, many of whom are academic and educators. Your average academic, like your average WGA writer, is middle class and often underpaid to do work they're passionately obsessed with and that they often carry out in relative isolation. Much of what they do gets reported badly when it gets reported in the mainstream media at all.
When the ruling class owns the media

Um. When?
Sunfire | February 09, 00:58 CET


Um....like, always? I may not agree with everything in the post by ChosenOne5376 but I believe it's an indisputable fact that we do have a "ruling class" in the U.S. It's made up of mega-corporations and they control pretty much everything, including mainstream media. And the New York Times most certainly falls under the heading "mainstream media".
Yeah, I didn't communicate that very well. By "When?" I meant "It's already happened." I still don't think the NYT's credibility is similar to that of a tabloid, even though it is a problem.

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