It’s interesting to see how coverage of the WGA strike is shifting now that the action has moved to a point that’s guaranteed to impact more than the talk-shows. Initial news coverage was fairly positive across the board, with an emphasis on how this strike was meant to avert another colossal screwing-over like the one writers were dealt with the emerging home video market. Now there’s a lot more ‘quit whining and get back to work’ stuff getting out there.
You know, the idea that this strike will mean that shows that I personally adore may get axed drives me insane, but I don’t fault the writers in that regard. We’re talking about a strike that is partially hinged on the studios refusing to advance DVD residuals from 4 cents to 8 cents per unit. Four cents, people. Scarily enough, that is indeed very much worth a strike. This isn’t a fight about rich people wanting more money (well, at least not from the writers’ side), and I find it amazing that there’s no parallel being drawn between this situation and the overall wage disparity we’ve been seeing in America (PDF) since the 80’s. The gap between the highest and lowest paid workers of a company are wider than they’ve been in a long, long time, and it’s astounding to me that this isn’t more of an issue for most. We’re in a new Gilded Age, and to get here we’ve traded nearly every labor advance made by our grandparents’ generation.
Sure it sucks to have no Daily Show, or to face an all-reality tv schedule on the tube, but what’s at stake here is more than just our own personal entertainment. If the WGA lose this fight (along with losing public support), it sends a clear signal that we don’t care enough about our own socio-economic system to raise a fuss over an inequity that affects the majority of the US population, and you better believe that message is going to be received loud and clear by the heads of other industries.