Those late night guys have … writers?

Like most people I find myself unsympathetic to the plight of those poor, underpaid, overworked Hollywood writers.    Also confess I’m ignorant about the issues involved and might even wind up agreeing that the writers are the cornerstone of Hollywood content, and therefore may deserve fatter paychecks and tons of internet royalties.

But this raises the key problem.   Hollywood writing stinks. 

You are telling me it takes a legion of clever writers to put out a few hours of the late night network talk show drivel that passes as “entertainment?”.  Apparently so because they are immediately switching to reruns.  Reruns of late night talk shows.    (better stock up on barf bags before I tune in).  

Even with the most robust satellite network you can hardly escape the constant onslaught of Britney, Paris, and Lindsay party jokes mixed in with silly monologues featuring a few clever shots at Hilary or Rudy G.   This is writing?

Is this going to affect Charlie Rose or McNeil Lehrer?    Now THOSE are writers who deserve a raise.   Or how about the writers at the New York Times, Washington Post, or the legions of hard working and *really* underpaid journalists struggling under the weight of blogOspheric news mania?  THOSE writers deserve raises as well as they keep the fires of quality journalism burning even as, um… those of us who don’t have any of them journalism degrees keep on jabbering away as if we were real live journalists.

But don’t take my word for it.   Here’s a quote about the implications of this strike from the President of the Writer’s Guild East:

“Losing Stewart and Colbert is something like losing Cronkite during the Vietnam War. ”

Excuse me, but now I definitely have to go find those barf bags…. 

David Carr has a good summary of the event, and the lack of much interest.   Hey, I say give HIM a raise instead!

12 thoughts on “Those late night guys have … writers?

  1. Zohner I do think we all have our favorites and will want them to keep going, but on balance I have a feeling nobody is going to notice this – it’ll be a blip on Hollywood’s radar of silly history.

  2. This won’t affect me at all. I’m a pure Netflix junkie and before that used only library movies, or occasionally went out to see the real thing. The rest of my entertainment comes from a variety of online sources, mostly blogs.

    I wonder if enough others have moved into this sitcomless demographic to make this writers strike have less impact than those of the past.

  3. Prime-time TeeVee does not offer much intellectual fare, but the writers are not to blame: the producers and hyper-egotistical actors are to blame. Screenwriters and comedy hacks perform the dirty work for the Hollywood production-line, really. It seems reasonable that the people writing the zingers and yuks for Dave or Leno (a pretty obnoxious phuck, really) should be compensated nearly as much as the yukmeisters.

    In the case of flicks, hi-powered producers just rip off literature (as with PK Dick–his estate hopefully took in some shekels off of Blade Runner, Total Recall, Minority Report–but nothing like Spielberg or Ridley Scott did), etc.), or comic books (Batman, Spiderman, etc.). So I support the strike, knowing a bit about how Ho-wood producers and directors have screwed writers–whether unknowns, or big guns like Faulkner–for years.

    Blog writing presents different issues and problems. What are there now, 50 million+ blogs? Sort of reaching a point of saturation, if not virus-like. Blogs are not inherently more intelligent than TeeVee or movies: there are very few writers online who do something like the writers of the original SNL did (maybe one out of 10 Onion gags does).

    While I respect some “big” online US writing/journalism sites–Slate still entertains— the writing of most blogs tends to be colloquial, emotional, or pop culture-related. Lacking the standards of pro. journalism or scholarly writing (except on the more academic sites, like JSTOR, etc.) BlogSpeak may in fact be contributing to a certain dumbing down of the language. American “Bloggers” schreiben sollte in der deutschen Sprache, vielleicht.

  4. Sitcomless demographic. Ha, good one. And yes Max I think you are right that the people who would have been more supportive of TV Writers in the past may not be watching anymore.

    BlogSpeak may in fact be contributing to a certain dumbing down of the language
    Ha – I resemble that remark Horatiox!

    I’m actually torn between thinking that blogs are elevating things because they bring in more total commentary and analysis vs the idea they are simply throwing more garbage into the mix. My working hypothesis is the first option due to my experiences at niche blogs like the climate places, where there is a lot of junk but also a lot of very intelligent commentary. You can immerse yourself in topics in a way you could never do with TV or in a library. For example in Climate stuff I had a few questions about Lake Chad – answered by email by the world authority on that region, Dr. Mike Coe. Another question about Climate change and economics – answered by Dr. Mendelsohn of Yale – another globally recognized expert. That’s internet power, and that is cool. Globally cool!

  5. I’m actually torn between thinking that blogs are elevating things because they bring in more total commentary and analysis vs the idea they are simply throwing more garbage into the mix. My working hypothesis is the first option due to my experiences at niche blogs like the climate places, where there is a lot of junk but also a lot of very intelligent commentary.

    In terms of archiving and research you may be correct: the Net does offer a great deal, even an overwhelming amount of information. Yet the glut of info. itself presents problems, as the AGW debates show. The writers at Counterpunch, climateaudit, Lomburg, junkscience, etc. assert one thing; the folks at realclimate, Monbiot, Kossacks, GoreCo assert something quite different. Making an objective assessment of AGW claims then requires quite a bit of legwork, and an ability to see through the hype.

    The unstructured nature of the Net may be detrimental to real research. Yes, the online archives and data-bases (like ERIC, the massive edu-data base) offer some great info., but so much of net info. ranks as just raw data, factoids. Those people who can sift through the massive quanities of information may find the Net useful.

    Apart from the research and archives, Blogland tends to reinforce a certain corporate perspective, I believe, and I agree somewhat with Pynchon who once asserted that the Net would be used to further paranoia and a certain J-Edgar-like control of communication (whether those J-Edgars are from the GOP or Democratic party). The mafia has done pretty well online as well, via porn, malware, finance schemes etc.

    The bigname “liberal” sites–say DailyKOS, Salon, DU, Slate– appear fairly corporate-like, and not without a J-Edgarish quality. Slate still offers a certain freedom of expression on the Fray that has been shut down on the democratic pep rally sites, or the right-wingnut sites like Free Republic (but even the Freepers tend not to censor as say KOS does). HuffPo for instance may be one of the most moderated sites in existence. There are still a few Counterpunches–or Hullabaloo’s– around, but they have an ideological bent as well.

  6. DailyKos has over 100,000 real people representing a huge range of perspectives. It’s also entirely community managed; i.e., the community votes with recommends and occasionally troll ratings to elevate or diminish comments and posts based on how they perceive them, not some corporate board or government bureaucracy. True, it can lead to cliquishness and echo chamber distortions, but it’s hardly J-Edgarish.

    I rarely get a diary recommended on DailyKos, partly because I avoid dispensing the easy raw meat kind of content (impeach Bush, hang Cheney) and partly because I suck as a writer and researcher next to the talents of some of the premier diarists who are the reason I frequent the site.

  7. While “lurking” a Kos thread a few weeks ago, we noted HillaryHeads battling with ObamaBots, and both sides were awarding “troll ratings”. Authentic discussion and debate becomes nearly impossible in that sort of environment, and I suggest KOS functions mainly to support or “ditto” a certain centrist viewpoint (ie. Hillary-like), regardless of some token PC views. It’s not debate or discussion, but a type of “pep rally”, based on ID politics and endless pathos: similar to the sort of fratboy chats seen on rightist sites. Not all the Kos writing is like that, but a great deal is.

    The Fray, tho’ perhaps a bit off the beaten path now, at least allows discussion and dissent, even spirited dissent, and the moderators are low-key and rarely censor or delete anything, except outright threats or exceptionally nasty obscenities.

    The silly “Troll” epithet (actually rightist geek-speak) was originally reserved for real troublemakers and flamers on newsgroups spreaders of lies and misinformation, hackers even. That is not the case on the pop-liberal sites such as KOS: “Troll” now means something like “not part of the clique, or par-tay”, or even just conservative. Kos in fact censors (ie via “troll ratings”) leftists as well as rightists: I’ve seen the Hillary and Edwards people do it to ObamaHeads or Kucinich supporters, or Ron Paul supporters. Or some Kossack reg says “I suspect this person is a troll, or “freeper”” and bada bing, his comments disappear, even if he is quoting Karl Marx.

  8. not debate or discussion, but a type of “pep rally”

    I think this is the pitfall of many sites. RealClimate comes close to this when dissenters are “bullied” into leaving. Your Troll point is *extremely* important, and I’d agree the problem of stifling dissent seems to be more at the liberal than the conservative blogs. I’m starting to develop a hypothesis about this but can’t articulate very well. An example of a different “tone” comes from reviewing RealClimate (mostly liberal) posts and especially comments and those at ClimateAudit (mostly conservative). Moderation is different at the sites so I’d admit this is a weak examaple of “more civility at conseravative”.

  9. Max re: KOS –

    I thought the creator of DailyKOS made no bones about his desire to keep away conservative views. Basically he wants KOS to be a watering hole for center to socialist viewpoints? I’m not comfortable with that but at least he admits it. I could be wrong – I don’t read KOS or any other political sites with any regularity.

    Max you should try to write an article and tailor it to the KOS audience and see what happens….hmmmm….

  10. Kos has often said he started the site with the intention of strengthening the Democratic party and helping to get its candidates elected. That said, there’s a rather large misconception that Kos rigorously controls the site’s content which is simply impossible given its architecture. He does have certain rules such as no discussion of fringe conspiracy theories (e.g.; 911) because of the fear of undermining the site’s legitimacy. Beyond that he let’s the community police itself and quite often views are expressed and recommended that are 180 degrees from what Kos himself believes.

    I have thrown red meat at the liberal masses (Bush haters) on occasion and been rewarded with plenty of recommends. When I give expression to my own weird ideas, though often passionate, they are usually greeted with a thud and I get little feedback.

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