zeborah: Map of New Zealand with a zebra salient (Default)
So the Writers' Guild of America is on strike at the moment, which means that instead of linking to hilarious YouTube videos of the new Colbert Report episodes, the blogosphere is linking to hilarious YouTube videos about why there aren't any new Colbert Report episodes.

Now, most days you can't get the blogosphere to agree on the result of 2+2, yet every blog post I've read is supporting the writers 100%. What's going on here? Could it be that the writers' case is so self-evidently just that only the lowest of the low could bring themselves to argue against it? Could it be that the number of writers' blogs I read outnumbers the number of studio blogs I read by quite a lot to none?

Probably. But that's no fun, so let's consider another hypothesis: could it be, perhaps, that so many people have been persuaded by the writers' case because that case has been written by, well, writers -- who after all are good at their jobs? I mean, these are people who attempt to make a living by being incisive and convincing, so they've got an advantage going in here, don't they? I ask you, is that fair? Is it chivalrous for writers to engage in a battle of wits against people armed only with a bazillion dollars?

Take this video, for instance:

in which the incisive and convincing narrator (obviously a writer) points out that studios tell their investors that new technologies are worth millions, even billions of extra revenue, while simultaneously telling their writers that hey, we just don't know yet: maybe in three years' time everyone will wake up and say to themselves "The internet? That's so last decade!" Okay, okay, so there's a bit of a discrepancy here, but come on, is that the studios' fault? The studios' job is making money, not noticing continuity errors. That's what writers are paid for, as long as they don't do it in new media.

And that's another thing: a capitalist society relies on division of labour -- everyone doing what they do best to keep the economy running smoothly. Doctors don't practise law and lawyers don't practise medicine. English teachers don't drive and taxi drivers don't speak English. It's the same thing in Hollywood: politicians don't engage in fiction and actors don't run for government. Producers don't write and writers don't make money. See how it's meant to work?

Philosophy aside, let's look at the practicalities. An extra four cents per DVD, for example. Do these writers really expect the studios to cave in to such blatant extortion? Look, I own 35 DVDs myself. At 4c per DVD that comes to US$1.40. Now, with the decline of the US dollar I just have that much in my loose change pocket, but do you think studios can afford that kind of money? They've got exploding cars to pay for!

I could go on, but I have tv shows downloaded from the internet to watch. I'll just conclude by exhorting the studios to keep fighting the good fight. Don't let the general support for the WGA get you down. The public will support you just as readily if you can get your message out there in an incisive and convincing manner. May I suggest hiring some writers to do it for you?


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