Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Strike Day 66

Happy New Hampshire primary day!

I'm in a good mood thanks to John McCaine's not unexpected victory in the Republican primary.

I spent the morning picketing at my old stomping grounds with my writing-producing partner.

I suppose if I am the "Strike Hawk" then he is the "Strike Dove."

Not in a weak, surrender-prone way but in more of an open, understanding, sensitive and perhaps even poetic way -- HAH-HAH-HAH!!!

Gotta' love the Dove!

On the "Brooklyn Bowl" football front, well... I received some correspondence which took issue with some of my descriptions of the game. The way I described the adult competition which my 7 year-old daughter faced as "halfway-decent grown-up football players." I thought I was being charitable but others take exception -- and have threatened to leave me "face-down in the mud" next year.

Hmmm. Very interesting indeed!

It was also pointed out that I had forgotten to mention that one of those halfway-decent grown-up players happened to beat me for 2 touchdowns. Well, that certainly did happen -- during the course of the opposing team's LOSS to the team I was on, together with a trio of girls aged 7, 6 and 5 -- and my 6 year-old teammate just so happens to be the daughter of the guy lobbing these complaints!

Maybe I should bring a football to the picket-line...? We certainly have enough sign poles to use as goal-posts.

On the picket line today things were not too bad, with a good turn-out once again and some nice spirit being shown by those present, including a couple of new faces. We had some nice little conversations with tourists on their way in and out and I ran into a friend of mine -- an accounting/financial executive whose son and daughter are friends with my kids. We're supposed to have lunch some time next week. I guess he can come down from his office and pick me up at the picket line when I finish my shift. Oh, well, that's what sometimes happens in strikes and civil wars -- people who know and like each other wind up on opposite ends of nasty confrontations.

The now infamous John Ridley published a so-called Op-Ed piece in the LA Times today which really made me wonder what the people who run that newspaper are smoking when it comes to editorial decisions regarding WGA strike-related matters.

Don't get me wrong -- everyone with every opinion has a right to be heard regarding the strike, no matter what they think of the WGA. My problem is... in his entire essay, Ridley pretty much says nothing of note other than to toot his own horn, so to speak. The punch-line comes at the very end when he basically wishes a pox on both our houses (that of the WGA and the AMPTP) and declares that he is not for either of us but only for... "SELF-DETERMINATION."

So I guess this means John Ridley is now forming his own nation-state.

My question is... will he call it "Johnsland" or "Ridlesia" or maybe something really good like "The United Kingdom of John Ridley" or "USR" for the "United States of Ridlerica"?

I suppose in the fight between the Union and its foes, we know which side he is on. No one's but his own.

Here's the rub. The problem I have. The reason I have to say just a bittttttttttt more...

And I've had this conversation with a couple of folks on the picket-line over the past weeks -- of course, none of them went "fi-core" -- at least that I know of, but their side of this argument annoyed me nonetheless.

Saying that "both sides are equally to blame" and damning the WGA and the AMPTP with equal damnation and declaring a pox on both our houses... just doesn't cut it in my book. It's like back in the Eighties when most people I knew would say the US and NATO were just as bad as the USSR and the Warsaw Pact -- and then I would always have to get into a fight with them.

Like hell they were.

I grant you, during the course of the Cold War the US did many, many immoral, unethical and very, very bad things to a great many people in countries all over the world. Chile, Greece, Vietnam, Iran. I know something about it -- not everything, mind you, but some things. I could list more highlights of our nefariousness but it's already getting late. I don't argue the point. But it doesn't change the fact that the Soviet Union did a hell of a lot worse to a hell of a lot more people on a hell of a lot more occasions.

Just because one side isn't perfect does not mean it is just as bad as the other.

Ridley says he's in favor of the Guild's objectives but against the Guild's strategy.

Hmmm... so he thinks we were right to go to war but that we are not conducting the war properly.

Then shouldn't he try to impact our war-fighting from within the ranks of OUR SIDE IN THAT WAR -- which said war he claims to believe in...???

Ridley says the WGA leadership has left no room in its "tent" for any disagreement or dissension. I attended the same membership meeting in Santa Monica he talked about and I heard a bunch of speakers take issue with our leadership and our strategy. People didn't applaud those questioners enough for his liking? No one was shouted down or prevented from speaking -- except for one fifty-ish guy who kept making hard-to-follow football analogies and whose overall opinion of the leadership was that they were doing a GOOD job!

He got SHOUTED DOWN because after about 6 minutes of him attempting to remake the same point, it became physically painful to keep listening to him drone on. He was the only one -- and I should know since I stayed until the very last person at the very last microphone was done. There were other people whose comments were met with unhappy remarks or cat-calls but no one else was "prevented" from speaking -- in fact, no one at all was prevented from speaking since that one wacky "football" guy actually ended up talking longer than almost anyone else who asked a question.

In my opinion John Ridley has succeeded in turning the 2007-2008 WGA strike into a personal step-ladder from which he can be seen by a wider audience. I say you go, John Ridley. More power to you. I used to know you as the guy who created and ran the TV version of "Barbershop" which debuted on Showtime around the same time "Sleeper Cell" premiered -- but now you have made yourself into the WGA's own George McClellan, the Union General who commanded all Lincoln's armies early in the Civil War and led them to a rather ignominious record of defeats and draws against significantly weaker opponents.

After being relieved of command and replaced by Lincoln, McClellan left the army and gained a national platform as the anti-war Democratic party's candidate in 1864, an election in which he was defeated by Lincoln almost as badly as he had been defeated by the Confederates.

To be honest, personally, I don't really get John Ridley -- how can you be FOR an ongoing strike and DESERT the ranks of the union engaged in it, no matter what you think of its "strategy" for winning...?

But this puts me in rather good company, since no less a man than Ulysses S. Grant himself -- General of the Union Army and 18th President of these United States -- when asked his own opinion of George McClellan, replied: "McClellan is to me one of the mysteries of the war."

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