The strike is just a symptom of the industry's larger anxiety
It's hard to enjoy anything right now, but why?
It’s Friday, May 19th, and here’s where we are…
I wasn’t sure at first that I was going to write anything about the current writer’s strike.
This is a moment of enormous anxiety for many people in this industry. Successful or not, there will be a human toll to this strike, as there is to any extended labor action. I lived through the 2007 strike and felt a profound impact from it. This already feels very different, and I think part of the reason is that social media is very different now. I was firmly entrenched in internet culture in 2007, but right now, there is much more of a real-time connected quality to the way the WGA is organizing and using the Internet to broadcast its message. I haven’t heard a single articulate talking point from the AMPTP to contradict our positions and it feels like they are already taking a fairly severe beating in terms of public perception.
I think blood will have to be drawn before the studios sit down to fairly negotiate our deal, but I think our union’s prepared to do it. Shutting down shows like Stranger Things and Daredevil represents a significant disruption to the pipeline all of these studios depend on for survival, and we’re just over three weeks in. We’ve had remarkable success so far. The key is going to be longevity, and I’m going to find more and more time to be out on the line in the next few weeks. It’s been interesting meeting so many writers all at once… we’re typically more solitary people, and showing up somewhere to find 60 or 70 writers, all working at different levels of the industry, is genuinely thrilling. I think it’s one of the reasons we’re seeing such a good turnout for pickets so far. It was true in 2007 and it’s true now… there is something empowering about hearing so many stories about how other people are navigating the same business as you. No matter how well or how poorly you think you’re doing or you think you’ve been treated, you will hear stories that will offer you a fresh perspective.
It feels strange doing anything other than going out to picket right now. It feels urgent. It feels like concrete action I can take in the face of something that makes me feel powerless. The older I get, the more I’ve identified that as one of my key issues. I hate it when anything makes me feel like I have no power over my own life. I’m going to use some of this energy to get the ‘80s newsletter back up and running, and I’ve already started sending more dispatches here again.
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