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Time to demand return of TV shows, movies

I think there is something very weird going on. This writer’s strike does not seem to be ending. In fact, no one really seems to care in the halls and offices of government, or out on the golf course of big business. The media isn’t particularly interested. They gave it lip service when it all started and showed some picket lines in California. The networks are having a field day running reality shows which, Lord knows, have no need of writers.
The late night talk shows are a huge moneymaker for NBC, ABC and CBS so, of course, they have worked out a solution to that pesky writing problem and are back on with some fresh stuff. But they aren’t programs that put forth the kind of writing that stirs any emotion. These are just entertainment venues to dip into before you hit the hay.
I almost feel like a conspiracy theorist here. My imagination is telling me that the powers that be really don’t like creative writers and would just as soon get rid of the whole messy bunch. Sound familiar? The most intriguing aspect of all is how this whole ‘striking’ scenario plays into the angle that the writers are doing all this to themselves. How convenient for everyone.
There is a trend in this country toward (I may have to whisper here; imagine it in a smaller font) a totalitarian government Shhhhhuuuusss. This is a term that you tippytoe around because to say such a thing about our leaders is enough to be taken to task with a vengeance. Except that our leaders are not the ones who are pulling the strings of so many aspects of life here in America. Maybe it is the military industrial complex that Eisenhower was so afraid of. Maybe it is the world of the global corporate conglomerate that lies below the radar. Maybe it is the rise of religious zealotry. We don’t know.
And how can we know when the media of this country is controlled by a few and the laws are being changed as we speak to make that control even more refined. There is proposed legislation to allow once again a single owner of a newspaper and television station in any market. First you control the media machine, then you go after the writers.
Any system of government, when it wants to become omnipotent, goes after the creative workers first. Writers are anathema to people who are interested in producing non-thinkers. When you watch a provocative program like ‘The Wire’ on HBO, which incidentally is ending its run with no Emmy after five seasons, a person can’t help but be questioning about a country that spends billions of dollars overseas to solve problems elsewhere unasked and then allows ignorance, corruption, misery, drugs and vice to flourish in one of its own cities. And this show isn’t even about New Orleans!
When George Orwell wrote ‘Animal Farm’ in 1945, it described allegorically how a society of citizens (in this case, pigs) can be manipulated by someone in a position of power. Considered now No. 31 on the Modern Library’s list of the Best 20th Century Novels, can you imagine a more potent reminder of where we have been heading? As George W. Bush kidded once with the media, ‘A dictatorship would be a heck of a lot easier, there’s no doubt about it.’ Followed by his much used and gargantuanly inappropriate chuckle. We all have felt the sting of someone driving in a point and then saying, ‘Just kidding.’
We are used to the wide black marker of censorship as it is used in government security material or the squeaky beeps of forbidden cuss words, but this allowance of the writer’s strike is a much more subtle and hidden form. When a book is banned, the powers that be must put up with all those vocal intellectuals yakking around about Freedom of Speech and what not. My goodness, how easy is it for them right now when all they have to do is shrug their shoulders and shake their heads back and forth with a puzzled and sad look on their face. ‘The Daily Show’ and ‘The Colbert Report’ are not able to satirize political absurdities as usual. Are they sorry about that? No way.
George Orwell, when writing his preface to ‘Animal Farm,’ wrote of an England that banned and censored his book in ‘largely a voluntary way.’ There seemed to be a tacit agreement that it just wasn’t timely to take a stand against a totalitarian government like the one in Russia post-World War II. They were our allies, after all.
I really hope that this country hasn’t engaged in the same unspoken subsurface agreement that will allow a mass silencing of those with thoughts that ripple the waters and create discussion. We should be stomping our feet and demanding a return of all our TV shows and future movies that make us question, cry, laugh and think.