Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Strike Day 80 (5 A.D.)

What a day, what a day.

Lots of stuff happening.

First off, we had the Martin Luther King commemorative picket at Paramount. It appeared to me to be well attended. Lots of familiar faces, from the past decade or so of my career and from the picket lines over the past two-plus months.

Seemed to me like it went well. Don't know if it made it onto the local news but my guess would be probably not.

Then came the really big development -- word from WGA headquarters that we were formally removing our demands for jurisdiction over Reality TV and animation before our negotiators begin their informal talks with various CEOs from the agenda-setting conglomerates of the AMPTP.

Pretty big, huh?

Hard to call our leadership "radical" when they throw a bone that size to the opposition before even re-entering into active negotiations.

Seems like the road is being paved to a settlement -- at least on our side of said road.

Then came my least favorite development of the day -- and the one that I have been obsessing over since I read it a little less than twelve hours ago: the op-ed column in the LA Times written by Patrick Goldstein, in which Patrick Goldstein compares our president, Patric Verrone, to Yasir Arafat.

I shit you not, my friends.

You gotta' laugh... don't ya?

I'll tell you what makes this even more obsessive for me. Patrick Goldstein and I are dads at the same school. I've said a few dozen words to him in friendly passing over the course of the last three or fours years. So I've been thinking about what to say the next time I see him up at school...

I came up with this:

-- but before I write it I feel like it's necessary for me to do something which I've never done here on this blog, though it was not an omission by design.

Oddly enough, although I reference my credits and my colleagues, I've never once mentioned my own name. I don't know exactly why. I think at the start I felt like the strike was not the place to try and grab a spotlight or become a center of attention. Of course, the truth is my little blog here has no spotlight and is no center of attention, so I shouldn't have worried about it.

Anyway, for the record, my name is Ethan Reiff.

Now, regarding Patrick Goldstein...

What I will tell him is that he blew it. Missed a real good opportunity. He would have been much better off comparing Patric Verrone to Adolph Hitler.

Speaking for myself, I believe you can kind of make the argument that Patric does slightly resemble Hitler, in a strictly physical sense -- he has kind of the same straight and stringy black hair and does favor conservative attire. At least then -- with a Hitler reference -- there would have been SOMETHING IN THE ENTIRE EXPANSE OF THE UNIVERSE for Patrick Goldstein to fall back on in defense of his pathetically sorry excuse for a newspaper column.

No matter what you think of the WGA or the current strike, how can you believe comparing Patric Verrone to Yasir Arafat is an appropriate thing to do?

Yasir Arafat?!?!?!?!

I was pissed at the column before it reached that surreal "Arafat" point. Two or three times Patrick Goldstein -- addressing himself to the leadership of the WGA -- said something along the lines of: "It's time for you to return to the negotiating table."

You know, if Patrick Goldstein believes that us refusing to publicly back off from the six items listed in the ultimatum the AMPTP presented back on December 7th made it impossible for the AMPTP to return to the negotiating table and was foolish and unreasonable on our parts, he's entitled to think that. Hell, for all I know he may even be right. But he is not entitled to lie.


Why is it so difficult for so many highly-educated, sophisticated and well-informed members of the press to get that through their heads?

Again, if Patrick Goldstein believes we were wrong to refuse to give up on a bunch of stuff that the AMPTP wanted us to give up on in exchange for their return to the negotiating table, why can't he just say so? Why does he have to push it over the edge into what is undisputed untruth?

I gotta tell you though, I don't think it hurts our cause at all.

Not. At. All.

Because now, as before, only one thing matters on the WGA side of this dispute: solidarity. Unity. Sticking together.

No, that doesn't mean we all need to agree about everything. No that doesn't mean we all need to love our leaders. And no, that doesn't even mean we all need to hate Patrick Goldstein.

It just means we need to keep picketing until our very reasonable Negotiating Committee informs us they have come back with an offer for a new contract with the Writers Guild.

As I've said before, I didn't want to go out on strike. As I've said before, I was surprised and disappointed when a deal much like the one the DGA just got for themselves wasn't offered to us just before our own contract ran out.

At that time I would have been the first member in the meeting room to get on my feet and state the case for taking such a deal -- a deal that was not even close to what we were asking for but still a lot better than nothing. A deal that, most importantly of all, would enable us to get at least half of one of our feet through the door of internet profit participation.

That would have been enough for me.

If Patric and all our other leaders from the PLO, Al-Qaeda, HAMAS, North Korea, the Warsaw Pact, Imperial Japan, Fascist Italy and the good old Third Reich say it's enough, then it will be enough for me now as well.

But if the Overlords of Darkness to whom we have pledged our unholy fealty say that in order for evil to triumph our barbarous brotherhood must keep holding out, that all we extremist partisans must keep on picketing a while longer... then that is what I will do.

Ironically enough, one of the items included in our leadership's e-mail update earlier today was a polite request for the membership to please remain calm, cool and collected when speaking with the press, in light of what an extremely sensitive time it is for negotiations right now.

I thought that was very smart and very appropriate.

If only the AMPTP had sent a similar e-mail to their bitches.

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