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November 09, 2007

Comments

Warren

Hi,

Ya know as a non union carpenter (and I'm sure this applies to union carpenters as well) I get paid a salary for labor. When I'm done with the house/structure I don't get paid more as it's value increases or is designated for a more profitable use. As a jeweler who sells wholesale I don't get a cut each time a piece changes hands and increases in value. I get what my value is at any particular time based upon my abilities.

If any of these writers are struggling to provide for their families I'm all for it. If they just want more ie are unsatisfied with what they have...that's a problem money will never fix.

Thanks Jimmy love the site!!!

Warren

Peter Knight

Jimmy that's a fine post. Thanks for taking time to get down to the heart of the matter. I know we're not the most sympathetic lot sometimes, and I'll bet we spend more time applying sunscreen than most union strikers, but that doesn't mean we don't deserve a fair shake. Well done. Now, let's make this thing short and effective so we can get BG back into production. Honk if you love writers!

MaryAn

You're right that the press hasn't explained the "cause" very well. This spells it out in simple terms.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ55Ir2jCxk

IA_

Forget how it will affect BG. Look at these new shows like Pushing Daisies and... well I'm sure there are other great new shows out there. That caveman show?

Dan

I think this is just a big money grab. The TV shows for example already get broadcast over the air waves. Is it being suggested that the internet is more free than the airwaves.
Also I think of the Biblical principle where they are getting paid for what they signed for. They are trying to grab more than they are being contracted to get. That is opportunism and frankly I find that to be nothing but greed. If they want to make laws, that is fine, but to strike because they can't rape the people for more money for their pornographic garbage? Who cares.

Foxfier

I think they're nuking the problem.

Treat the internet as any other TV station, abet one which costs more for when more folks use it.

I've got to agree with the first poster, too-- if they sell a script they should hold to the contract they signed for said script. If they're a big enough name to get a really great contract, good for them. If they were trying to get their name out and took a relatively poor contract to do so, well, that's their cost-benefit analysis.

Augustine

The funny thing is some media professionals are accusing the studios of greed. The writers are as greedy for more payments just because their work is more profitable.

Meanwhile, let's turn the telly off and move on to more productive activities or to more enjoyable forms of entertainment. It might be a golden moment to find out how irrelevant in our lives the writer's work is.

Blackadder

Like Jimmy I'm not a big fan of coercive unionism. Unlike him, I don't see how the principle that a worker is worth his wages means that writers have a right to be paid every time one of their works is broadcast over the internet. If a group of writers refuses to sell their work to Hollywood unless they get residuals from internet broadcasts, that is their right. But if other writers are willing to sell their work without getting residuals, I don't see why they should be excluded from doing so.

Cade_One@yahoo.com

The "Catholic in Film School" Blog writes from the front lines of the Strike!

http://catholicinfilmschool.stblogs.com/2007/11/06/strike-strike-strike/

God Bless,

P.s. This better all be over before Season 4 of LOST is supposed to be back on!

LarryD

Fortunately my favorite show is produced by BBC, although the downside is that Sci-Fi airs "Dr Who" several months after it's been shown in England!

If this drags out too long, maybe the studios can hire scab writers....I mean, they might even improve "Two and a Half Men" and "Rules of Engagement"!

JoAnna

Makes me glad I don't watch TV.

If the staff of Catholic Answers and/or EWTN ever went on strike, THEN I'd be in trouble. :P

Chad Toney

One problem with Knight's argument is this:

Yet, the companies' position is that they can't make money off the Internet yet. Then how did those commercials get there? Pro Bono ad sales?

Assuming the companies are not lying, just because they are making revenue (off ads) doesn't mean they are making a profit. This is ECON 101.

ajesquire

The studios have a track record of screwing the writers. At the advent of DVDs, they cut a deal with the writers that gave the writers extremely low residuals for the DVD release of their work, claiming that the technology was so new that accurately estimating income/profits/etc was impossible.

Well, fast forward just a few years and DVDs have taken off, there's hardly a show that doesn't end up on DVD, and the writers have been locked into a residual schedule that is unfair in relation to the income generated by DVD sales.

The studios are trying to do the same thing now, and lock the writers into an extremely low (by some estimates, nonexistent) residual schedule for online rebroadcasts, knowing full well that this is where the future lies.

As I see it, getting paid for your work and stopping others from gaining unjust enrichment from your work is a matter of social justice.

Mary

Because carpenters agree to a flat wage does not mean that anyone else is entitled to impose one.

Besides, if carpenters got paid when their houses went up in price, they would be paid a lot less up front.

Maureen

Exactly. I'm not liberal, but I do believe in fair pay and fair royalties. If you love your DVD box set or watching your show on the Internet, why wouldn't you want the writers to get paid a share of that? Why would you interpret that as "greedy"?

Don't bind the mouth of the cattle that tread your TV grain.

Radical Catholic Mom

What does the Church have to say about unions, Jimmy?

Blackadder

The Church supports "the right to establish professional associations of employers and workers, or of workers alone." Centesimus Annus 7. The Church makes clear, however, that its support for the right to unionize is "not because of ideological prejudices or in order to surrender to a class mentality, but because the right of association is a natural right of the human being, which therefore precedes his or her incorporation into political society." I'm not aware of the Church ever endorsing coercive unionism, which would seem to violate the right to associate of workers, but I could be wrong.

Fred C.

According to the rumor mill, sci-fi wants to milk the final season of BSG into a half season next year and another half the year after anyway, so perhaps the impact of the strike will be minimal. Doesn't give me any solace though :'(

Geoff

The distribution end of the entertainment industry has a long, sad history of dealing poorly with the challenges of the Internet. It's getting better, but verrrrrryyyyyyyy sllllllooooooowwwwwwllllyyyyy.

Blackadder

By the way, suppose that the studios had given writers a high percentage on DVD residuals instead giving a million to the union health fund, and that DVDs had never gotten popular. I suspect that many of the same people who now say the studios "screwed" writers by giving them low DVD residuals would be claiming that the studios had "screwed" writers by giving them high residuals on someone nobody ever bought. It may seem obvious in retrospect that DVDs were going to catch on (I'm great at predicting things in retrospect), but it clearly wasn't obvious to the writers' union at the time, or they wouldn't have taken the deal.

Blackadder

Should be "something nobody ever bought" not "someone."

David B.

Also I think of the Biblical principle where they are getting paid for what they signed for. They are trying to grab more than they are being contracted to get. That is opportunism and frankly I find that to be nothing but greed.

Thety signed to be payed a percentage every time their work is shown. That isn't happening.

to strike because they can't rape the people for more money for their pornographic garbage? Who cares.

Generalization don't help anything. Not every show on TV is porno-Prison Break[okay, maybe that has about the same worthiness as porno :-)], Lost, Extreme makover: home edition," etc. Some people who view life through all-or-nothing glasses miss good stuff.

Peter Knight

Hi, seems like folks are digging into this one already. I saw a few comments that I thought were worth responding to.

A reader named Dan made this point:

"I think of the Biblical principle where they are getting paid for what they signed for. They are trying to grab more than they are being contracted to get. That is opportunism and frankly I find that to be nothing but greed."

Every writer on a movie or TV show made by a company signatory to the Writer's Guild (since the 60's I believe) is contractually entitled to residual payments for the script that they wrote. Residuals, are not "hidden extras." They are not a bonus. A residual is deferred payment for services rendered. The understanding between the writer and the studio goes like this: We will pay you x now for the script and increasingly smaller portions of x each time the TV show or movie you wrote airs on television. If the movie or TV show is a turkey and they don't want to run it again, the studio gets a break and doesn't have to pay the residual. If the movie or TV show is a smash they'll want to run it again and again. And in keeping with what both parties contracted for the writer receives his or her residual.

But here's the thing, they aren't running the repeats on TV anymore. Most shows used to run two or three times. Now, shows like Lost and some others run only once --even though they are some of the most highly rated shows on TV. So instead of running them on Network air. They put them for free on the internet, where they generate revenues through ad sales. Because the residual formula was put in place well before the Internet was around, we had no idea that the web was the future of entertainment and a place where the companies could air our content without having to make those deferred payments known as residuals. We are not asking for more than what we contracted for. We are banding together to make sure we don't get dramatically less than our old contract (based on the all-but-dead model of second runs on broadcast TV) secured for us. I agree that there is some greed at play, but I don't think it's on the part of the writers.

Another comment which caught my eye was Chad Toney's. He said:

"Just because they are making revenue (off ads) doesn't mean they are making a profit. This is ECON 101."

He is certainly right about the difference between profit and revenue. And in my desire to make my case perhaps I oversimplified. So, allow me to stand corrected. They are making revenues on re-airing the content we wrote on the internet, but they may not be making profit. The difference would be more meaningful to me if Hollywood were not notorious for its deceptive accounting practices. Forrest Gump was unprofitable according to Paramount. Men In Black was unprofitable according to Sony. And The Simpsons is unprofitable according to 20th Century Fox. If writers have to wait until Hollywood studios show profits before we find an equitable replacement to the deferred payment system of residuals we may well be waiting until doomsday. Instead we are asking for a share of revenue. A small share. 2.5%. And frankly that's just the figure the negotiating committee came to the table with. I'm not on that committee, but I have to imagine there was some room for a counter offer. But like every single one of our demands, the AMPTP's response has been, this is non-negotiable. I think our strategy for streaming Interent broadcasts boils down to this: "Let's sneak our foot in the door before the companies slam it shut in our faces locking us out the internet for good."

Thanks for reading. And sorry if that was too long winded. Respectfully, Peter Knight

David B.

(Gasp) we're not alone folks!

Foxfier

Mr. Knight-- I think the main objection is that it's a % of *revenue.*

Which means that if a movie flops-- even if it's the fault of the writers-- they get paid. (I am tempted to say something about the lack of quality in their product, but I'm trying to be serious here.)

Maybe they should work out what counts as profit in the contract, but....dang, I wish my folks got even a full % of the revenue from selling cattle! They do the FULL production of the cattle-- not even just a vital part, like the writers-- and a good price on cows wouldn't even be 1% of the price for chuck roast. Maybe 1% if you turned the whole edible part of the cow into hamburger, but when you add in the use of the non-meat parts.....

David B.

Foxfier,

Maybe 1% if you turned the whole edible part of the cow into hamburger, but when you add in the use of the non-meat parts.....

You're lucky it's friday! I like beef(?)burgers.

John Hetman

Jimmy:

I agree completely with you on unions, and I was once an organizer. Public service unions are especially little soviets, and when election time rolls around they either engage in rubber stamping or mafia wars break out among the true believers on opposing sides.

As for television, my old black and white, 16" from Walgreen's broke right after "Wheel of Fortune" in 1989 when my kids and I were watching. I have television, but it is reserved for dvds and old videos. The other family members are still addicts of the frail and the fatuous.

Charles Shurman

I'd never even heard of "Big Wolf on Campus" until today. Perhaps in a few years, I'll turn on the TV.

Tom Simon

Mr. Knight-- I think the main objection is that it's a % of *revenue.*

Which means that if a movie flops-- even if it's the fault of the writers-- they get paid.

As Mr. Knight pointed out, nothing ever earns a net profit in Hollywood according to the studios' notoriously dodgy accounting systems. If the writers of The Simpsons were paid a percentage of net profit, they would never have been paid at all. Would Fox have kept The Simpsons on the air for 17 years if it were losing money every year? Of course not; but that's what their accountants want you to believe. So either you get paid cash up front, or a percentage of gross revenue — or you never get paid at all.

If a movie flops, it earns far less at the box office than a movie that succeeds; so the writers do get paid, but they get paid a lot less. I don't see what's unfair about that.

By the way, it's safe enough to say that when a movie flops, it is never the fault of the writers. If the script is that bad, it's the producer's fault for buying it. Producers are paid to know better; they have a sense of smell and should know the difference between gold and garbage. In any case, the screenplay is often changed beyond recognition during production — a process beyond the writer's control.

Someone mentioned Doctor Who. The BBC has an entirely different system, one that puts the screenwriter in almost total creative control and greatly increases the chances of quality work. On the other hand, the BBC pays a tiny fraction of the SWG scale. In effect, Hollywood writers are paid extra to compensate them for being treated like raw meat. By taking away the residuals on Internet broadcasts, the studios get to treat the writers like meat without paying them.

I am not a fan of unions in general, but the entertainment industry deserves the worst it gets at their hands.

Foxfier

Mr Simon-- if you read the rest of my post, you'll note that I suggest they define what counts as profit.

Mary

Does anyone think it unfair that the carpenters get paid even if the house doesn't sell? Or the builder doesn't make a profit?

Ed Peters

Yeah, I was not impressed with the carpenter argument either, but others have posted well why. That said, I have no dog in this fight. I rarely watch TV, and never syndicated shows.

Donald R. McClarey

Most television shows have writers? What do you know!

StubbleSpark

I am all for the strike.

Intellectual property is different
from sticks and bricks,
thank you very much,
and it is getting easier than easy
to steal/pirate/"buy for a penny in Shanghai" intellectual property.
"Ideas have wings" yes they do,
but that doesn't mean
they don't have mothers
who need their food!

At least the writers were well-timed enough to have their strike during NaNoWriMo!

radio45

Correct me if I am wrong, but I believe that JP2 in Centisimus Annis makes an analogy between real property and intellectual property. The point is that intellectual property is just as much property as the farm in Iowa. And, as such, each person should be allowed to negotiate the best return in exchange for it. And, since the right of workers to associate in trade unions has always been upheld by the Church since the 19th century, I presume that Church teaching would uphold the rights of these workers to negotiate a fair settlement for their property just as the farmer would try to get his fair price for his farm. Yes, the rights of workers joining together to drive up wages and improve working conditions is always hotly contested. But do those same finders of fault have a problem with owners joining a national or local chamber of commerce to drive up profits? How about business trade associations that lobby Congress for subsidies and fair trade? The fact of the matter is that trade unions provide a certain dignity to the worker in industries where that worker can feel small and immaterial. And when businesses neglect to acknowledge the proper value of the worker in those workplaces, a strike of workers can aid in bringing home the fact that profits exist because of the efforts of an entire team. Look for da union label!

Dan

Peter Knight said this "They put them for free on the internet"..
I don't know about the rest of you, but I watch "Lost" which he mentioned for free on TV, not cable.
They make money from ads, same way.
So what is his point?

Peter Knight

Hi there, Dan. I can see where I may have left some room for confusion. When I say they (the networks) run work we have written "for free" on the internet, I mean, it's in effect free for them because they do not have to pay the writers the residual they would have had to pay us if they were re-running it on their networks. I described the way residuals work a few comments back. Have a gander at that. Essentially the networks have found a loophole in the form of streaming broadcasts on the internet. We are hoping to close that loophole and reap a meager slice of revenues since the longstanding residual model that myself and other writer's have relied on is disappearing faster than you can say "broadband." Is that clear? Here's hoping, Peter Knight

Dan

Peter, that makes it a little more clear what you meant, however I am still confused about whether the networks are breaking some kind of law, or they are acting within the law. If it is within the law, then I don't see the problem. If they are breaking the law, then you should seek legal action. I don't get the objective of the strike. It seems like you are trying to get something that you wouldn't have if the internet didn't exist. So since it exists, you want money for it. But why would you think that you are entitled to it? Unless they have violated some copyrights?

JoAnna

Dan, the problem is that the technology is still so new (i.e., the technology of putting TV shows online) that there aren't any laws yet that cover the situation. Even so, just because something is legal doesn't mean it's necessarily just.

Peter Knight

The companies are not breaking the law. They are breaking faith with a long established mutually agreed upon tradition of deferred payments in the form of residuals. Remember that by allowing the companies to defer our compensation we gave them some leeway in the event that the end product was a disaster, or was determined to be unfilmable. The intention of that arrangement was that both parties, the companies and the authors of the product, would benefit in success while hedging against failure. One hand washed the other. Now, in the age of internet, a show can be a wild success, but not run a second time on broadcast television and instead go straight to the internet. The networks are not required to pay a residual or share in the success of the show as it generates revenue in a new distribution medium which was not a factor when last we agreed to our contract. Writers have never suggested this was illegal. It was merely a loophole that landed in their lap and they went about exploiting it for as long as they could. I don't even begrudge them their success in exploiting it. Well done, guys. You made billions in revenue on the Internet and you didn't have to pay a dime more for the product. But when the WGA's contract with the AMPTP (which is the negotiating arm for the six major media conglomerates: SONY, News Corp, Viacom, et al.) expired on October 31, our membership felt that the time was now to make sure the companies did not stake out the internet as a place where they could have free reign to endlessly reuse our material. Obviously we want the internet to grow and develop as a profit center for the industry. Every writer I know is an ardent capitalist. But we will use our collective power to insure we can participate however fractionally in the future success of our material. We are striking not so much to gain a share of what we never had, but to prevent an unmitigated loss of income from the companies breaking faith with our traditional relationship.

JoAnna

Peter, I'm curious, do you think that this video is an accurate description of the writer's strike?

Peter Knight

Hi JoAnna, I do think that video does a pretty good job of summing things up.

Leo (it's my Name Day!)

Radical Catholic Mom asked
What does the Church have to say about unions, Jimmy?

From the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church

HUMAN WORK
VI. SOLIDARITY AMONG WORKERS
a. The importance of unions

305. The Magisterium recognizes the fundamental role played by labour unions, whose existence is connected with the right to form associations or unions to defend the vital interests of workers employed in the various professions.

Unions “grew up from the struggle of the workers — workers in general but especially the industrial workers — to protect their just rights vis-à-vis the entrepreneurs and the owners of the means of production”. Such organizations, while pursuing their specific purpose with regard to the common good, are a positive influence for social order and solidarity, and are therefore an indispensable element of social life. The recognition of workers' rights has always been a difficult problem to resolve because this recognition takes place within complex historical and institutional processes, and still today it remains incomplete. This makes the practice of authentic solidarity among workers more fitting and necessary than ever. [my emphasis]

There is lots more goodness in that document.

For a comprehensive listing of Papal Social Teaching documents
vox-nova
on the right-hand column scroll down to Papal Social Teaching. JP2 is probably a good place to start. I think his Laborem Exercens says the most about workers and unions.

Radical Catholic Mom

Thanks Leo. It was a rhetorical question since Jimmy is against the strike. Also I write for Vox Nova :)

Leo

Oops...

Maybe others would benefit from studying Catholic Social Doctrine and discover its riches. The world would be a better place.

Peter Knight

Hey there, Radical Catholic Mom. Re Jimmy's position on the strike, I don't think you could classify it as a straight ahead "against." Unless I'm misinterpreting him, I think he sees it the way most of my writer friends do, which is to say, a regrettable and highly unpleasant last resort. There's a slogan that's made the rounds lately. "The only think we want less than a strike is an unfair contract." Monday begins day 8.

Radical Catholic Mom

Yes, but what else are their options?

Elijah

I was going to make a point by comparing TV writers to a really worthless profession that contributes nothing to society but I couldn't think of a more worthless profession to compare them to! They are obviously right about the business practices of the studios. Big deal. The studios should hire scabs in the form of chimps.

Peter Knight

Well, I've worked with some pretty worthless writers in my time, Elijah, but I would have taken any of them over beat poets, meter maids, or lawyers. As for your idea about hiring chimps, I don't know. Sure you might be able to get a few good years out of them at low pay, but sooner or later they might realize their worth. What line of work are you in Elijah?

JoAnna

I don't know, Elijah. I can think of worse professions. Prostitution, for one, or "exotic dancing" (a.k.a. stripping). I think those professions actually detract from society. Telemarketing can have legitimate uses (e.g., fundraising) but many telemarketing firms are pretty worthless.

Writing is a noble profession. True, some writers write trash, but others don't. And there are some great shows out there that provide food for moral thought as well as entertainment.

So I wouldn't be so quick to generalize, if I were you. Just because something doesn't have worth in YOUR eyes doesn't mean that it doesn't have worth, period.

ed

Jimmy, check out this post from Protestant NT scholar Ben Witherington

Mary Kay

Elijah, you seem to have your theology all wadded up (besides being insufferably insulting). All work (legitimate, moral activity) has value. Writers should be compensated for their work.

Margaret

So can someone explain to me why Broadway is shut down? Those scripts are already written. Is this a sympathy strike? My brother is a (now striking) union stagehand, and I really hope his mortgage application got approved before his paychecks dried up.

Eileen R

ed, I'd email Jimmy with something that you want him to check out. I don't know if he always has time to keep up with commetns, and anyway, it's a bit confusing to comment on another topic in the middle of a discussion. I clicked your link thinking it'd be more info on the Hollywood strike, and was confounded to be reading more baddly muddled womanpriet nonsense.

Esau

Someone mentioned Doctor Who.

On a wide tangent here, but anybody know about TorchWood (which seems to be an anagram of Doctor Who) and its relationship to Doctor Who?

Is the Torchwood archives mentioned in the Doctor Who episode 'The Satan Pit' the same Torchwood in the new show on the BBC?

KevinK

Esau,

I don't know if the Torchwood Archives in 'The Satan Pit' is the same Torchwood of the new series. The new show is a spinoff of Dr. Who and has been mentioned in several episodes. The origins of the Torchwood Institute are given in the second season episode 'Tooth and Claw'. The last three episodes of season three also featured TW's John Barrowman crossing over to DW(His character started in DW).

Also Torchwood made references to Prime Minister Saxon from Dr Who -- if you haven't seen those episodes I won't tell you who turns out to be. The Martha Jones will also be on several TW episodes this season.

KevinK

Margaret,

BW is shutdown because one of the stage hands unions is also on strike. Two seperate incidents.

Esau

Esau,

I don't know if the Torchwood Archives in 'The Satan Pit' is the same Torchwood of the new series. The new show is a spinoff of Dr. Who and has been mentioned in several episodes.


KevinK,

Thanks so much for the scoop!

FR RP

Considering the bilge that most of these writers put out, I'm not sorry to see a stop. But for the desperate, I suppose, we can get a bunch of 6th graders, a truck of drunk fratboys, and the remnants of the know-nothing party to write. Or...is that who is already striking?

Mike E.

Heh. It cracks me up all you people who start with "I'm glad I don't watch TV" or "I threw my TV out years ago" and then go on to comment on the quality of writing. Like Thomas Sowell said (and I'm paraphrasing), "you're admitting your ignorance and then asking us to take your opinion into consideration? Uh... no. Go away."

There are a lot of good shows out there. Even good shows that aren't your particular cup of tea. What I mean is, that contrary to the apparent position of some... a show can be good, even if you don't like it. Sort of like white wine. I don't like it, myself - but I recognize that there are still "good" instances of it.

Santiago

Jimmy, I don't see how anything but a closed-union shop could confront these greedy moguls:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8a37uqd5vTw&eurl=http://unitedhollywood.blogspot.com/

This is the only way. If some writers gave in, the power would not be there.

FR RP, you are being rude and uncharitable. Not least to Ronald D Moore, who is a fine writer and a Catholic (lapsed, sure, but the sensibility is there).

FR RP

Santiago,
I beg to differ. Most of the TV I saw before I exorcized the TV from my house was permeated with libertine attitudes about sexuality, religion, human life, and morality as a whole. For every 7th Heaven there were a dozen 2 and half men. I have been to people's houses over the last year and have seen what plays on the TV (with their children watching) and it seems to have gotten worse. If I was uncharitable, it would be to 6th graders, drunken fratboys, and know-knowings. I do agree that they should get what is due them for their efforts, but I will acknowledge that much of what is written is worth paying for. I truly believe when we ingest a steady diet of TV/media we become desensitized to its underlying themes and motivations. There are more constructive and uplifting ways to entertain oneself that aren't a constant challenge to faith. They are not as passive and mindless as the media...they take more effort.

FR RP

sorry...line 11 should read 'NOT worth paying for."

Santiago

I don't believe in the conspiracy theory of art -- if artists are decadent they are decadent because they want to be. They are not fighting a secret revolution a la Antonio Gramcsi. So I don't apply a special hermeneutic to discover "underlying...motivations." That said, if I am going to call Madame Bovary a great novel, I have no problem also saying that Sex and the City often offers poignant satire -- not least against the decadent, cosmopolitan, nihilistic class in our large urban areas, who also yearn for God and whom we should also love.

And 7th Heaven is awful -- Two and a Half Men is much better. The preacher on 7th Heaven may as well have been JJ Altizer, he never mentioned God!

FR RP

How can I argue, Santiago, when you prove my argument for me? You trot out the same arguments that have been used to reason the downhill slide of the morality of this culture and the attendent destruction of civilization used in other epochs of history. I was neither a fan of 7th Heaven ( a bit saccarhine for my taste) and 2 and 1/2 Men is a truly revolting show (as was sex and the city) whose characters routinely degrade human sexuality as a cheap toy of enjoyment and who , shall we say, are extremely libertine with the truth. You shouldn't hope that a preacher of the Gospel, as myself, would deem these worthy (satire or not)of nourishing the Christian soul.

Santiago

I am not disagreeing with you that they may exhibit immoral ideas or images; but I am saying that they are true, to an extent, and deserve the attention of anyone who wants to understand his country and his people. Not for kids, sure. But for those who care: Nihil humanum alienum mihi. Incidentally, what do you think of Flaubert?

You should watch the Battlestar Galactica miniseries.

Esau

Santiago has a great point!

I mean...

What would become of Folks if not for their daily OVERDOSE of SEX & VIOLENCE on T.V. & Movies!

Keep 'em coming!

Sex & Violence SELLS!

Besides, Catholic Teachings are nothing but a bore and hardly realistic anyway!

Santiago -- U Da Man!

FR RP is too much the Party Pooper!

Imagine what would happen to Folks if all of a sudden SEX & VIOLENCE suddenly disappeared from their T.V. Sets! This might make practicing VIRTUE all TOO EASY! God Forbid!

If they were to put on genuine Religious Programming (as those on EWTN) on these networks as 'religiously' as they do these days with programs that capitalize on SEX & VIOLENCE, I wonder what sort of Craziness would ensue on the World!

Peter Knight

Hey everybody. Seems like the discussion came down to a debate over whether Hollywood is a cesspool. I don't have the energy or the inclination to take the con position on that one. But for what it's worth I'm not a big fan of any of the shows that were mentioned, but I don't think I could pass the Essau's or FR RP's purity test with my favorite shows. In any case JoAnna asked a few days back what I thought of this video.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJ55Ir2jCxk

I think it's great, but I think this one is even better.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RjGbHHtbZP0&eurl=http://unitedhollywood.blogspot.com/

Joe M.

For night-owl BSG fans, Sci-Fi is rerunning four episodes from 1:30-5:30 a.m. this Saturday morning, including "Exodus 2" @ 2:30 - arguably the episode with the best special effects of the entire series.

Zach Foreman

It is problematic to compare writers to other professions. First, there is a very wide range of talent and ability involved. The salary range for plumbers is far narrower than for writers because we assume that 99% of plumbers will do the job competently. This is not true of writers (nor for actors or sports stars). #1 is far, far more valuable than #5 in these competitive fields that are close to being winner take all. So, I think one of the problems with the payment structure for writers is the mandatory minimum payments for scripts/screenplays. Great writing gets compensated very well. In-demand writers should negotiate percentages of revenue in their own contracts. It is the all or nothing mentality of the union that I disagree with. A Larry David or Seth McFarland or Joss Whedon are not substitutable as writers/creators (and usually end up making money as producers as well as writers) and could demand percentages of internet revenue. But does that necessarily mean that an easily replacable staff writer on a mediocre sitcom should have the same deal?
A separate but interesting question is that perhaps it would be better to accelerate this Hollywood die-off. Boys and young men seem to be migrating to video games and the internet in great numbers and studios are compensating by programming more and more stuff for girls and women, which accelerates the male exodus. Hollywood is increasingly out of touch with American values (see Redacted, or rather, you probably didn't which is the point). Also, piracy, foreign competition, grassroots entertainment, reality tv, etc are all chipping away at Hollywood's monopoly. I hope this spurs writers to escape the system and write great stuff and put it directly on the internet, an increasingly viable option since the price of production and distribution is rapidly decreasing. It is obvious that the producers need the writers, but why do the writers need the producers? Maybe a larger slice of a smaller pie would be better. Maybe these Hollywood writers can start earning a living by blogging, if they are such good writers. The blogosphere is a true meritocracy. Until, that is, compulsory unionization comes to the blogosphere.

Karen

Wow. I'm glad I missed all of this during the strike, when I was trying to figure out how to keep my kids from having to drop out of school...

For the record, there are Catholics who are IN this mess, trying to make it better, instead of on the outside griping about how bad it is. We could use more prayers and less condemnation.

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