You know how the mind wanders at night? I was thinking about how I need to finish up reading the January 1941 issue of Astounding so that I could write up Episode 19 of my Vacation in the Golden Age. That got me thinking about Golden Ages in general, and then my golden ages, specifically. And one particular time period came to mind: a two week stretch during the spring of 1989 when the teachers of the Los Angeles Unified School District went on strike. Interestingly, I don’t think I’ve written about the Strike in detail before. I did a quick search of the site and found only short references to it here and there. The funny thing about it is that today, it really does feel like a Golden Age. In part that may be because it’s some 22 years in the past…
“There’s a freeway runnin’ through the yard”
I went to Cleveland High School in Reseda, California. Or more specifically, the Humanities Magnet program at Cleveland High School. In the spring of 1989 I was getting read to finish up 11th grade. My memory is a bit quirky. I seem to recall around this time that Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” was getting a lot of airplay. But the album on which it appeared, Full Moon Fever, wasn’t released until late October. In any case, “Free Fallin'” became kind of theme song of our school and that era for me, primarily because of the line “It’s a long day, living in Reseda, there’s a freeway, running through the yard.”
Little as I pay attention to the news, I have heard of the writers’ strike that began yesterday. Screenwriters are going on strike after negotiations failed. They were trying to get a cut of some of the after-market revenues, such as DVD and online sales of TV shows.
I’m torn. The only non-Democratic bone I have in my body is my distaste for the modern union. My experience with people I’ve known who were associated with unions has always been remarkably frustrating. They complain about their jobs and when I say, “Go to your union!” they explain to me that their union is worthless. My feeling has always been that unions were necessary and served their purpose, but they tend to be nothing more than big businesses themselves these days. This may be a naive, an uninformed take on the subject, but hey, I’m a naive and uninformed guy.
It’s one thing to produce a rationale for one’s distrust and distaste for unions. It’s another thing when then the union involved is your peeps. The writers’ are on strike! These are my kind of people and I want to see them succeed. I want to support them but at the same time, I feel somewhat hypocritical in doing so. Well, hypocrisy be damned! I support the writers union in their strike and I hope that they get what they are asking for. As with any strike, for many of the people involved, their livelihood is at stake. I hope they pull through.
How does one go about supporting the writers’ union in their strike? Do we stop watching TV? Do we refuse to watch reruns. I can’t say this is a terrible thing. I’ve been looking for an excuse to quit watching TV for some time now and this one is as good as any. I honestly don’t know how to show my support of the writers. I have never aspired to Hollywood, never wanted to write for the movies or TV, so I suppose I can call the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers a bunch of greedy bastards without fear of being blacklisted. Does that help the writers’ in their cause? I no longer live in L.A. so I can’t walk the picket line passing out donuts.
I would be having a much harder time if writers of books and short stories were on strike. I don’t know what I’d do if I had to stop reading!