So, this is the day. Day four of the writers strike. This is the day that all the previously working members of the guild are required to comply with the WGA's Strike Rule #8: The Script Validation Program. And, yes, I confirmed this with a guild lawyer. All writers -- well, again, the writers who were working -- must submit ALL their outstanding scripts or face possible (unnamed) sanctions.
That's on one side.
On the other side are those strongly worded letters from studios and production companies reminding writers that those outstanding scripts are their intellectual property and cannot be shared with a third party without permission.
The studios claim they are controlling what is rightfully theirs.
The guild claims that it is taking proactive measures to protect writers from future false accusations of "scab" work. And isn't that frightening: that when this is all over we may be pointing fingers at each other.
I was told by the guild lawyer, who was very pleasant and took her time in explaining the guild's position to me, that though the guild expects the scripts to be submitted, theoretically the VSP may never be activated.
I was told by an entertainment lawyer that although the guild's position was inducement to breech contract with the studios and was therefore unenforceable, the chances of a studio wasting time and money after the strike trying to figure out who slipped who crappy first drafts of next season's crappy sitcoms was -- again -- theoretically unlikely.
And that, to me, is why this day of reckoning is so intriguing; it exists in a speculative place. Away from the baying of the picket lines and the denouncements of ex-and-disgraced media company CEOs, the formally working writers of the union -- as opposed to the perpetually non-working ones for whom all of the strike and its resolution will always be a matter of theoretics -- will have to make a solitary choice: alone with myself and my conscience am I a collaborator, or a resister?
And I'm not saying which side is the oppressor and which is the liberator.
I will say this: very serendipitously, I started reading Ayn Rand's Anthem for a Literature and Politics conference I'm attending later this month. The last lines of the first graph describing Rand's dystopian future is: "The laws say that men may not write unless the Council of Vocations bid them so. May we be forgiven."
With that, my decision regarding the Script Validation Program was made.
Read more about the strike on the Huffington Post's writers' strike page.