Union Blues

It’s week two. I guess I should weigh in on the writers strike before it’s all over. Which may only be in another thirty weeks or so.

No, I’m not on strike. It’s the Writers Guild of America that’s on strike. I’m in the Writers Guild of Canada. And much as I’d rather be out in the fresh air picketing, I’m stuck inside working on a couple of more cartoon shows. The various writers guilds are all affiliated, which means I’m not permitted to work for American productions at the moment, but that currently has no impact on my income whatsoever.

And why would I ever want to work for Americans anyway? Their money ain’t worth shit. One American greenback equals about one Canadian nickel these days, right? Something like that. Ah, how times change. Go on, you American smartasses. Let’s hear you make fun of our rainbow-coloured money with the Queen and forgotten Prime Ministers all over it now. Aren’t you sad you used your leftover Canadian cash for toilet paper and kindling after the last time you drove up to Montreal to drink beer and go to tittie bars at the perfectly legal age of 18 to 20? Maybe if you held onto a few bucks as souvenirs, you might be able to afford that liver transplant your HMO won’t cover. Suckers.


The guild dispute, if you care to follow these sorts of things, mostly concerns new media royalties for screenwriters. DVD has exploded over the last ten years, and TV shows and movies are being downloaded over the web in massive quantities -– some of it even legitimately. It’s only a matter of time before the studios commit fully to offering downloads of their libraries for anyone with a computer and an ISP. It’s the future, and there’s boatloads of cash to be made by embracing the technology and making it easier for the consumers to get what they want, rather than fighting the pirates and trying to shut down every fly-by-night bittorrent site out there. The writers obviously want a cut. The studios don’t want to give them a cut because they claim they don’t know how much money stands to be made. Of course they don’t know. The profits will probably be beyond anyone’s wildest imagination. All they know for sure is that whatever they might end up making is better off in their pockets than the pockets of the sniveling little hacks they hired to write their hit television show years ago. Who wants to continue to dole out cash to writers for their past successes that continue to generate income to this day? They should just shut up, take whatever they were paid when they first wrote their scripts, and get busy drinking themselves to death in a timely fashion. You know, like proper writers.

How long this strike will go on is anybody’s guess, but it’s already hitting the industry hard. Hopefully there will be a positive resolution for my brothers and sisters in arms in the near future. This is my fond wish, mostly because I know the exact same crap is going to come up next time the Writers Guild of Canada has to renegotiate our deal. If the WGA sets a precedent on the issue, we’ll be in a better position to get the same thing. Or at least have a shorter strike before we get the same thing. Or at least have the right to bitch and complain when our strike fails to get us the same thing.

I know it will be tough going without your favourite TV shows for a while, or having the current season end prematurely, or missing out on yet another Saw movie come next Halloween. But rest assured it’s for the greater good.

What? This just in! The stage hand union has gone on strike? Broadway is all but shut down! Theatre patrons are disappointed as dozens of shows close their doors! Theatre patrons are doubly disappointed as Xanadu stays open!

But I was going to New York to see Spamalot this week. I go there, like, once a decade and now Broadway is closed for business? Stupid unions! Stupid fucking fucking stupid unions! Where are the club-wielding strike breakers when you need them? I thought the Republicans were still running things down there.

Better pay? Improved working conditions? What a buncha commie pinko claptrap. They should be grateful to have jobs in show business. Hell, they should be paying the producers for the privilege of working in show business. I have the constitutional right to be entertained, and I want to be entertained now Now NOW!

Shit. I guess I’ll stay home and watch TV instead.

Oh wait…

I loved CNN’s snide coverage when the WGA strike began. They’re writers, why can’t they write cleverer signs, Jeanne Moos querried. Because they’re writers on strike dumbfuck.

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