Friday, November 9, 2007

Nothin', Y'hear, Nothin'!

No posts from MM today. Is she off to Vietnam & Cambodia already? Is she not letting us know 'cause she's afraid "obsessional critic" brad will hitch his way to D. C. & go through her underwear drawer while she's out of town? Before I start obsessing on her undies (& I'm guessing big white granny panties, 'cause we all know one of the many crosses Ms. McA. must bear is difficulty in finding clothes to fit her statuesque proportions) let's take a look at her item on "Ezra" citing Atrios.

It's titled: "It's not theft, it's capitalism!" (Next week: "It's not theft, it's property!")

Considering that intellectual "property," especially in the case of original, creative (OK, it's film & tee vee, just give us a break here) writing, comes, Minerva-like, directly from the brain of the creator, and is not in any way, shape or form dependent on anything an employer may supply (labs, equipment, research assistants, what have you) this is the perfect illustration of the non-productive, non-wealth creating nature of the executive/investor/stockholder class that reaps the profits of others' labor & receives the Bush/Laffer tax breaks for the obsessively greedy.

Of course McMegan doesn't address the actual issue Atrios (why doesn't she call him by his first name?) raises (sympathy/understanding for workers, even if a fraction of them are veddy well off) but, much as I occasionally do here, picks on his use of one word, "expropriate." Again, it's not theft if an executive does it, but it is if a gov't. does it.

In Megan's fantasy world, the gov't., w/ its black helicopters & IRS agents ("Shoot for the head") even a gov't. that is, in name & style at least, a representative democratic republic, allegedly responsive to the people by whose consent it governs (Are those enough qualifications?) is a coercive force when it taxes you & provides services & protection from terrorists (cough, cough).

And the other side of her fantasy world is that everyone (even though unions only represent what, 12% of working people?) can negotiate some sort of contract w/ their employer, rather than the vast majority of us having to take what we're offered, or spend more time, money & effort in a probably vain hope of finding something better, in a world where the HR dep'ts. somehow manage to set the "prevailing wage."


No one is stealing from anyone else, except in the sense that the shopowner I purchased eyeglasses from yesterday expropriated" several hundred dollars from me, when I would much rather have had the eyeglasses for free.
Well, don't let us stop you from learning how to grind your own lenses, four-eyes! (NB: I've been sporting cheaters since the age of six. A loooong time.) And I suppose the writers can just establish their own distribution channels & production facilities. So it's all completely fair & equitable, if you already have the money & things are structured in your favor, that is. But soon enough, w/ digital you name it, writers will be able to produce & distribute their own material, & the studios & suits will be aced out. Last gasp of the dinosaurs here, but they're not going w/o a fight.

And we get to the closing lines of Ms. McA.'s item. I'm puzzled here, whether she's actually this foolish, or if she's showing a previously unseen subtlety.
I'm also upping my Netflix subscription. Luckily, I haven't even started Lost or Babylon 5 . . .
The major bones of contention, for those who do have a dog in this fight, are residuals for Internet plays of programs & DVDs. Is she subtly admitting that DVD sales are a serious issue, & that the writers should be better compensated for DVDs? Or is she undercutting her argument w/ a bit of "Ha ha, you can go on strike but I'll still be watching tee vee programs & you won't be getting adequate compensation for it?" Mystery, thy name is woman. (No sexism intended, just a bit o' cornball humor, gals & feminists of all genders.)


Anonymous said...

I can't believe how much she got wrong in the space of a couple of sentences.

"The writers have a contract."

No they don't; that's why they're striking.

"The writers would like to sell this product on more generous terms; the studios would like to buy it on less generous terms."

Not true. It's not about selling the product, it's about how big a slice of the profit pie writers expect to receive after it has already been bought, produced, and consumed by the public.

"No one is stealing from anyone else"

I guess not, but only in the sense that it's technically not stealing for producers reaping profits from television shows streamed over the internet that contain advertisements and downloads through outlets like iTunes and not cutting writers in on one cent of the proceeds from these new media formats, despite the fact that revenues have gone up. Nor do they want to pay more in DVD residuals, which have skyrocketed in sales since the last contract was negotiated (nobody could possibly have forseen back then that it would become standard for entire seasons of television shows, old and new, to be sold and bought at the rate they are these days). So, no, they're not stealing. You can't steal something somebody never owned in the first place. I believe the word that might be appropriate here is "withholding."

Seriously, Megan. When you don't have a clue what you are talking about, you look dumber when you try and act like you do than you would if you just kept your mouth shut.

M. Bouffant said...

Thanks much for the factual background on this mess. Are you the same "anonymous" who comments here on a regular basis, & is kind enough to agree w/ our pathetic obsessional woman-hating? Assuming of course that it's the same "anon" at all? Why not pick a clever pseudonym so we're less confused & you can get credit for your perspicacious sycophancy (um, erudite positions & informativec comments)?

Anonymous said...

I'm not the sole "anon," to be sure. But from now on, I'll use a clever internet pseudonym when commenting.

And, BTW, if it gives me any non-woman hating credibility when reacting to Megan's pretentious rubbish, I happen to be a woman myself, but I suppose my criticism could then just be dismissed as catty jealously (which they're not. Believe me, the last thing I want to be in this life is a snobby, immodest, displaced Manhattanite).

Anonymous said...

Was it noted that M. made the NYT, at least Lets see, Economist, Atlantic, NYT... all that is left is the New Yorker.

M. Bouffant said...

No, please, not the New Yorker! Even if it (like everything else) isn't what it used to be (in the '60s when I only read the cartoons) it remains the best rag in the country, & the thought of,, I won't even think it!
And it's not as if the NYT asked her to type something just for them. It's just a bite from her bloggingheads thing, right? I've not looked at it, & may not either.

brad said...

I know a couple people at the New Yorker, vaguely, thanks to a friend of mine working his ass off to eventually get there. Megan would never, ever get a gig there, for a very simple reason.
She'd make an extraordinary claim, they'd ask "why do you say that?", and her inability to directly answer would be the end of it.
There's a reason research assistant is the basic intro level job there.

M. Bouffant said...

Yes, the much-vaunted fact-checking would doubtless get in the way. And her inability to write a clear sentence. Fortunately, we'll always have the webs.