Leftist Lexicon Word of the Week

As a semi-kinda-sorta-famous blogger, people come up to me all the time and ask my opinions of the issues of the day. Most of the time, the questions are “Where are your pants, sir?” but lately another question has crept in there: What is your opinion of the Writers Guild of America and Screen Actors Guild – American Federation of Television and Radio Artists strike going on right now?

I’m glad you asked, mainly because there are only so many times you can talk about trans issues, climate change, gun control, and other common Leftist squawking points before you get burnt out. This topic has some political elements to it, so we’re not completely out of my wheelhouse here.

So, by popular demand (and by “popular” I mean because 3 people asked me), here’s the hottest take I can give on the subject.

the WGA/SAG-AFTRA strike

What the Left thinks it means – writers and actors banding together to ensure writers get fair compensation for their work

What it really means – the result of a fucked up system that makes the powerless knuckle under to the powerful

Off the top, I have to say my opinion differs from most of my conservative compatriots, but I have reasons instead of disdain for the actors driving my opinion. But don’t worry, kids. I will show my disdain for the actors later!

I feel sympathy for the striking writers for the most part. As a writer myself, I understand the time and dedication it takes to produce even a remotely good story. Hell, anybody can churn out another Madea movie. Oh, and while we’re here…Tyler Perry, I’m thinking the only reasons you continue to put out the Madea movies is so you can dress in drag. It’s okay, buddy! Dressing in drag is some of the least creepy shit coming out of Hollywood these days!

Bob Iger aside, the writers’ enemies aren’t the studios themselves, but the Hollywood system itself. I’ve seen slasher movies less cutthroat than Hollywood, which is ironic on levels I can’t even begin to comprehend fully. Everybody involved in the entertainment industry there is competing for a spot in the big time, and that leads to a lot of backstabbing, undercutting, and fucking over. The big brains behind the big box office movies aren’t the directors, actors, producers, or even the studios.

It’s the writers. They’re the people with the ideas (albeit bad ideas sometimes), and they’re the ones who try to make sense of a story. And if you’re not high profile enough to print money for shit content, you’re not likely to see your project go from writer’s room to screen without a lot of interference from the Hollywood system. And the movers and shakers of the system know that, so they treat writers like most people treat used chewing gum.

And even if you get your vision on the screen, if it doesn’t make money or garner attention that can be translated into money, you’re not ever going to move up the food chain. You are stuck writing scripts for movies and TV shows that would get cancelled before the opening credits start. Meanwhile, those writers who find themselves within the Hollywood system are making bank for coming up with yet another “Scary Movie” sequel.

That’s where the Writers Guild of America comes in. Or, rather, should.

The WGA is a labor union with presence on both coasts who are supposed to represent the writers. And they do, but they’ve done a shitty job keeping up with the times when it comes to payment for new media. If you look at the Wikipedia link I provided (which, I grant you, is like trusting Hunter Biden to keep an eye on your cocaine while you go to the bathroom), you’ll noticed six strikes since 1960, and all six have dealt with residuals, i.e. getting paid for your work.

Maybe it’s me, but I would think a labor union that represents media writers would be able to, you know, keep up with the changing landscape of media and adjust accordingly.

Just because I’m a curious individual, I dug a bit deeper into who is running WGA West, the union that covers Hollywood. Guess what? The top three officers are part of the Hollywood machine. And if you look at the Board of Directors…same fucking thing! No wonder the rank and file of the WGA have to keep fighting and striking for their money in perpetuity; their union is helping the “enemy.”

This is where I have to part company with the writers out there. Yes, Hollywood is beholden to the labor union system because of their Leftist nature, but they aren’t the only game in Tinsel Town, just the easiest. And when you settle for easy, you don’t control the vertical nor the horizontal. You will get what the system will allow you.

Going off on your own is going to be tougher, but it can be done while retaining your artistic freedom. That’s why I respect people like Tommy Wiseau, Lloyd Kaufman, and Roger Corman. Sure, their work doesn’t match up to a big Hollywood production…with the exception of the “Transformers”… or later “The Fast and the Furious” movies…or recent Marvel movie and TV projects…or the bulk of the Disney “Star Wars” projects…

I take that back. Wiseau, Kaufman, and Corman are much better.

Anyway, the reason I respect these and other independent filmmakers as much as I can is because they prove it can be done outside of the Hollywood system. You might not get more than a credit at the end of the movie and maybe a hot dog out of the deal, but you’re still free of the system that makes it impossible for you to afford a hot dog in Hollyweird.

That brings us to the SAG-AFTRA members marching with the WGA. They’re doing their best to show their solidarity with the writers, as evidenced by their Twitter and Intagram posts. But, the operative word in that previous sentence is “show.” These people get paid to pretend, and right now they’re pretending to be strikers. They don’t go back to a one-room apartment so cramped the cockroaches have hunchbacks. They go back to the homes they purchased with money earned off the word processors of the writers. How many of them are opening their homes to writers? None that I’ve heard so far. Are any of them using their clout to force the machine pay writers better? Of course not! That would make them pariahs in the industry, and they need to keep up their lifestyles, so they’re ultimately on Team Machine.

Sucks to be a struggling WGA member, doesn’t it?

But, I have come with a solution, one I call the Sinatra Solution. Back in the 1950s, Las Vegas was segregated by race, including the talent. After Sammy Davis Jr. was denied a room at the Sands, the Chairman refused to perform there until Davis got a room. It was a huge risk at the time, considering how vital Frank Sinatra was to the elevation of the Las Vegas nightlife and image. But, it paid off because Sinatra was so vital to Las Vegas. He used the leverage he had to make things better for everyone.

If enough actors, producers, big-name writers, or studio heads had the balls to do it, they wouldn’t march on the picket lines and take selfies; they would pull a Sinatra and refuse to work until the writers got paid better. Hollywood would grind to a halt if the Avengers (the actors in the movie series, not the comic book characters) collectively told Disney to fuck themselves until every writer got paid well for their work.

And don’t think it would stop there. Hollywood right now is a house of cards (a house of playing cards, not the TV show of the same name), and one gust of wind from enough powerful people slamming the doors on the corrupt system would cause it to all fall down around them. And as long as the WGA/SAG-AFTRA folks are part of that system, they will be left to pick up what’s left.

Aside from the Sinatra Solution, let me also posit the idea that the WGA should be phased out in favor of a group that doesn’t suck Hollywood’s dick while pretending to be working for the writers. All it takes is enough people to tell the WGA to shove their efforts up their collective asses and there’s a chance they would get the hint.

You know, in a few years after it happened.