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Strike Me Out

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Well, I don't know much about 'the show biz', other than the basics; there are as many ways for liars to lie, and for the weak to take runs at power as there are in any other world, with the possible exception of academia, which is the worst of all. But I do know a little about life, and outside of Hollywood - it is going on. And it's terrifying.

Millions of kids remain uninsured in this country, and we are embroiled in a war that WILL go on and on, with no real end in sight, for at very least the next decade. That war could soon expand to include yet another cool and exciting enemy nation, Iran. Our economy is not-so-delicately poised to swan-dive towards the bottom of the ever-emptying pool.

Personally, in terms of things to believe in and get "jazzed" about; I am lining up behind a candidate for president mostly because I admire her brilliant ability to be ruthlessly and cynically practical, not because she's an inspiration, god forbid. I sorta hope she may become a benign and centrist version of Prime Minister Thatcher. She's, at this point, nearly as tough.

I digress. That's life. Show biz is show biz.

In the show-biz, there are crooks, bullies, hypochondriacs, victims and murderers everywhere you look. It's Chinatown, Jake. Cowardice is as powerful as loyalty, and the entire industry suffers from an undiagnosed form of attention deficit disorder. Most of what we make is of questionable value. And sometimes it looks like it was made by zombies. And yes, yes, yes, I am a (skeptical) advocate for the strike, but I find John Ridley and Ari Emanuel in their Huffington posts not without a certain "truthiness" in their pronouncements about the damage and futility about to come.

On measure, I'd rather be on the side of the writers in this one than on the side of the giant corporations -- whose functionaries should be as gracious as a goddamn group as they are when you have dinner with them one on one. (But at dinner, they are usually having it with you simply because they need you.) Mostly I feel for the honorable and (often) lesser-paid men and women of other unions; hair dressers, grips, drivers, caterers, etc, who are forced to make moral choices in tough times. About picket lines and how to get past them, or not. And whatever other sector of the trickle-down economy is going to be hurt in the collateral damage.

Yeah, I am for the strike. But deep down, I have to admit, my heart is not here in this fight, even though I have a big dog in it, in the form of a TV show on one of the networks. I just don't much care for groups of policy makers, and I don't like pissing contests; they're vulgar and they smell bad. I've seen too much other stuff in my 46 years. Been depressed, broken-hearted, watched the dying die and the living live So. Re: The Strike-Out: There will be a war, and then a peace, and I think the endgame will be sooner rather than later. After all, he said slyly, nobody wants desolation. (Or do they?)

But like all ugly and brokered cease-fires, it will be based in mutual fear and loathing rather than a new kind of thinking. I'm gonna take a guess and bet there won't be any big winners, and there will always be new and magical ways for bright and cold-hearted sparks in huge corporations to hide money from credulous artists. Ever was it thus. Smart people tell me that pretty soon there won't be any networks, and this is an end-days battle for what's left of a dying empire. Everyone knows it, apparently. Soon, I am told, the artists will just partner up and it'll all be on-line and the studios will have to buy into a new game, at a new table, in a new part of town. Whatever.

Yeah, yeah, yeah - I want people who write movies and TV to get paid what they deserve, and they deserve a lot more of the future-markets than the producers want to give, or even discuss. But I want better citizens a lot more than I want better WGA contracts. I want better politicians, and I want better (higher paid!) school-teachers, and better health-care and better fuel consumption and more national service and less national entitlement. I want this country to regain it's stature in the world, and to lose some goddamn weight and start eating well. I want the tax codes to be re-written so that Warren Buffet's secretary doesn't pay a higher percentage of her income than her boss. That is a picket line I could get enthusiastic about. I want real separation of church and state. Less rich people. And honest generals.

If (in my vast ignorance) I have offended any good readers, which seems pretty much a given in the odd and vituperative world of stone-throwing and glass-houses that is the culture of commentary on the HuffPo, I will paraphrase the good Reverend Jackson and say "God hasn't finished making me yet" to those to whom I do not say, "Yeah? What have YOU done lately?" Two lines I find myself falling back on more and more.

Read more thoughts about the strike on Huffington Post's writers' strike opinion page