Sunday, December 30, 2007

What's your take on the 1988 Writer's Strike?

Thanks to Brian Feldman for submitting this question. The 1988 Writer's Guild of America strike was probably the most significant WGA strike of all time. There had been another WGA strike in 1985, with the writers eventually caving after a couple weeks, and people expected the same thing to happen in 1988. So imagine everyone's surprise when the 1988 strike lasted for five grueling months, making it the longest WGA strike in the history of the world (edging out the 1960 strike by about a week).

The 1988 strike caused irreparable damage to movies, television, and the countless people in their employ. Nobody won that strike. It ended in bitter compromise and made everyone more jaded. But because it so surprised everyone, it had kind of a stupid effect on the studios. Because this year, when it seemed like the writers were about to go on strike, rather than doing everything in their power to stop it, the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers started fast-tracking half-assed scripts and greenlighting every piece of crap they had lying around. So they'd have as much revenue as possible coming in during what they now seemed sure would be a long strike. What a bunch of assholes! That's like if my wife told me she was thinking of leaving me, so rather than devote myself to working out our problems, I had her cook up a bunch of steaks before she left, so I wouldn't starve to death in the coming days. Those steaks would not be cooked with love, and they wouldn't hold up well over time. Which is why we should all be dreading the movies that'll be hitting theaters come the summer of 2009.

Every WGA strike ever is about the same thing. Residuals. The AMPTP should be used to it. And they should be better husbands about it. Be more open and sharing. Maybe go to some counseling, or take the WGA ballroom dancing every once in a while. But I guess none of these guys were history majors, thus dooming themselves to repeat the mistakes of their parents.

One would think that the 1988 strike would have taught us something about how terrible a strike can be. But with the current strike going on two months now, it seems that all the AMPTP is interested in is figuring out whose dicks are bigger. Theirs, or the WGA's.

Who cares about dicks! They are ruining movies and television!

Some people say the entertainment industry never fully recovered from the damage of the 1988 strike. Let's hope the 2007 strike doesn't scar the face of American entertainment any more than it already has.

By the way, if the strike spills a couple more months into 2008, it may then become appropriate to call it the 2007/2008 strike. Right? I would write more quippy things, but I don't want to be labeled a scab during these rough times. I guess that's a question for another time.


No comments: