We haven’t done much coverage of the recently concluded Writers Guild of America strike for a variety of reason. However, that doesn’t mean we haven’t been following others’ coverage and followed much of the commentary that issued forth from folks on both sides of the issues.
Making the rounds right now is a statement from well known curmudgeon and insanely talented writer Harlan Ellison. Say what you will about how you react to the Ellison as a person, his prose work is some of the best that the 20th century has to offer. Even after it had been watered down, his episode “The City On The Edge Of Forever” for the original Star Trek series is still one of the franchises’ finest hours. (Though if they had stuck with his original script, it might have been one of the finest hours of television ever.) Ellison’s book Harlan Ellison’s Watching, collecting his 1980s film criticism columns from Fantasy and Science Fiction Magazine is essential reading for genre fans.
Anyways, Ellison has a few words about the recent agreement between the WGA and the AMPTP that brought an end to the strike. And they are not pretty.
HARLAN ELLISON ON THE WRITERS STRIKE SETTLEMENT
YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO RE-POST THIS ANYWHERE:
Creds: got here in 1962, written for just about everybody, won the Writers Guild Award four times for solo work, sat on the WGAw Board twice, worked on negotiating committees, and was out on the picket lines with my NICK COUNTER SLEEPS WITH THE FISHE$$$ sign. You may have heard my name. I am a Union guy, I am a Guild guy, I am loyal. I fuckin’ LOVE the Guild.
And I voted NO on accepting this deal.
My reasons are good, and they are plentiful; Patric Verrone will be saddened by what I am about to say; long-time friends will shake their heads; but this I say without equivocation…
THEY BEAT US LIKE A YELLOW DOG. IT IS A SHIT DEAL. We finally got a timorous generation that has never had to strike, to get their asses out there, and we had to put up with the usual cowardly spineless babbling horse’s asses who kept mumbling “lessgo bac’ta work” over and over, as if it would make them one iota a better writer. But after months on the line, and them finally bouncing that pus-sucking dipthong Nick Counter, we rushed headlong into a shabby, scabrous, underfed shovelfulla shit clutched to the affections of toss-in-the-towel summer soldiers trembling before the Awe of the Alliance.
My Guild did what it did in 1988. It trembled and sold us out. It gave away the EXACT co-terminus expiration date with SAG for some bullshit short-line substitute; it got us no more control of our words; it sneak-abandoned the animator and reality beanfield hands before anyone even forced it on them; it made nice so no one would think we were meanies; it let the Alliance play us like the village idiot. The WGAw folded like a Texaco Road Map from back in the day.
And I am ashamed of this Guild, as I was when Shavelson was the prexy, and we wasted our efforts and lost out on technology that we had to strike for THIS time. 17 days of streaming tv!!!????? Geezus, you bleating wimps, why not just turn over your old granny for gang-rape?
You deserve all the opprobrium you get. While this nutty festschrift of demented pleasure at being allowed to go back to work in the rice paddy is filling your cowardly hearts with joy and relief that the grips and the staff at the Ivy and street sweepers won’t be saying nasty shit behind your back, remember this:
You are their bitches. They outslugged you, outthought you, outmaneuvered you; and in the end you ripped off your pants, painted yer asses blue, and said yes sir, may I have another.
Please excuse my temerity. I’m just a sad old man who has fallen among Quislings, Turncoats, Hacks and Cowards.
I must go now to whoops. My gorge has become buoyant.
Respectfully, Yr. Pal, Harlan Ellison