Sunday, January 20, 2008

Strike Day 77-78 (Day 2-3 A.D.)

Well, this Sunday turned out to be quite a day indeed.

First came the football games -- both of which involved 2 teams I really like. It's true -- my four favorite teams made it into the conference championships and faced off against each other, so it was kind of a win-win situation for me. Still, despite despising the Red Sox like a good native New Yorker, I have been a big fan of the New England Patriots since junior high school.

The first game was good but the Giants' overtime win over Green Bay was simply awesome. I'm a Green Bay fan mostly because I'm a bit of a reactionary and traditionalist and the Packers are pretty much it in terms of tough, old time football. I wore a Green Bay jersey when I played with the same bunch of guys for more than ten years in Manhattan and Brooklyn. And if you're a football fan and over thirty you've gotta love Brett Favre, for his longevity if nothing else.

A great day for football.

Then came the big strike-related development.

Now, this is kind of a switch for me, since I'm the guy who's always ranting AGAINST reading tea-leaves, finding hidden messages and/or divining the future.

I'm the one who keeps repeating: it's all very simple. Stick to the program -- which means come out and picket every day or as close to every day as you can manage and leave the negotiating to the Negotiating Committee.

Well, I'm still saying all of that -- but tonight I can't help but say a little something which I have to admit IS like reading tea-leaves, finding a hidden message and/or divining the future.

Maybe I'll turn out to be wrong or maybe not -- but here goes...

Earlier today I read an e-mail that got posted on, the strike-related blog of a friend of mine, Charlie Craig -- the showrunner of Sci-Fi channel's 1-hr drama "EUREKA." There's a link to reach it at the top right of this page.

A friend of his had sent the e-mail to him and then he checked to make sure it was cool to post it on his blog, got the go-ahead and put it up.

The e-mail was about the informal talks held over the weekend by members of our Negotiating Committee and some of the CEOs of the agenda-setting conglomerates that run the AMPTP.

The message was that those informal talks had gone wonderfully well and a WGA/AMPTP deal was close at hand and --

(this is where the tea-leaves start gathering in the form of a recognizable message at the bottom of the cup)

-- it turns out that those who are really to blame for this whole dang strike thing dragging on for so long are -- TA-DUM-TA-DUM...

NOT the chief executives of FOX, Paramount, Disney, Sony, Warner Bros., CBS, MGM or NBC Universal but rather Nick Counter and Carol Lombardini, numbers one and two over at the AMPTP offices in Encino.

Funny thing is it turns out that all this time, the bosses over at the 8 mega-corporations (well, MGM and even CBS probably don't qualify to be called such but they have no one but themselves to blame for the company they keep) have really, REALLY wanted to settle this thing like reasonable, decent men -- but have been kept from doing so by the evil, malicious, self-serving Nick Counter who cares about nothing other than his own EGO and PERSONAL AGENDA.

(In fact, turns out that Peter Chernin -- the big boss over at Fox -- says all he wants is for the strike to be over because it has been the worst experience of his entire career...)


Very interesting.

Now, maybe I'm nuts but this looks to me like the start of the script for our post-strike reality.

Of course, "Reality Shows" aren't scripted, are they?

Hah-hah, please don't get me wrong -- I'm not some "radical" out to unionize "Reality" or anything like that.

No, I'm just a simple fellow who has kind of a hard time believing that Nick Counter and Carol Lombardini could somehow trick or force or seduce (though I admit I've never seen a picture of Ms. Lombardini, so maybe I'm being presumptuous on that one) or cajole or torture or in any other way influence the handful of men who reign supreme over the world of film and television to do ANYTHING THEY THEMSELVES DID NOT WANT TO DO.

Nothing. Not a single, blessed -- or cursed -- solitary thing.

The AMPTP is an agent, a manager, a lawyer. An advocate and representative.

Whose job is to accomplish their client's objective. And whilst doing so, provide cover for their client when what their client wants done may piss off the other party to the deal.

So... maybe this is not just the end of the beginning but the beginning of the end.

Maybe the AMPTP will give us just enough more than they gave the DGA to enable us to make a deal we can live with without falling out amongst ourselves -- and proceed to hang Nick Counter and his sidekick Carol Lombardini out to dry as the twisted individuals who were REALLY AND TRULY responsible for the awful 2007-'08 writers strike.

Straw-man and woman to be burned for sins committed in the name of the media conglomerates they represent -- the conglomerates who, as it turned out, never even wanted things to go the way they did.

If that's how it goes, I'll be happy to gain the opportunity to go back to work ASAP -- so long as I'm not required to actually BELIEVE that's how it went.

Now I will dump the tea-leaves in the trash, put the cup in the dishwasher and go back to picketing like before.

Have a good Martin Luther King Day and I'll see you on the holiday picket line at Paramount on Tuesday...

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