Strike weary

Okay, so after last week’s Tuesday episode, and the Colbert Report writers showing up in DC, I was rejuvinated and ready to start anew with an Action Item for the fans who read this site and who support the writers.

Then I realized – I’ve bought the pencils, I’ve made the calls, I’ve helped to organize food drops, I’ve boycotted products, I’ve dedicated a ton of blog (and sidebar) space to the cause, I’ve joined coalitions … and nothing has seemed to made a difference.

I want the writers back – although I think Stephen is doing a good show under the circumstances, I miss The Wørd, and I miss the written bits, and I miss “Bobby”, dammit. I just want the writers to come back (under a fair and equitable deal, of course) before the exaustion hurts those who are being forced to work the show without the writers around. I know we all do. I’ve written diatribes in this blog and done everything I’m supposed to as a fan, and I want to perservere, but right now I just don’t know what to do.

One person intimately aware with the issues of the strike suggested calling for a fandom-wide boycott of the show and it just killed me to have to say, um, no. They also suggested another round of phone calls and I just haven’t had the heart to ask the fandom to make one more phone call or write one more letter or buy one more pencil.

I don’t want to give up, but I also want to feel like I’m making a difference. So … does anyone have any ideas? I had an idea for a fan support project the other day, but I don’t have time to manage it. If you’d like to help manage a project, let me know.


  1. YouTube video contests to bring out the points of the strike?
    Or maybe not even so much a contest, but a collective effort?
    A viral video, or an investigative documentary…
    or a comparison of media conglomeration, a collective effort, researching all the major parties (GE, NewsCorp, Disney, Viacom, etc) and how they became to be so massive… how the people, in general, no longer control the mass media (tv, radio, movies)… how you have to be practically a billionaire just to own a tv station now… how the media is owned by companies with other interests…
    If we all got together and put in some notes and research, we could create something.

  2. I think you’re selling yourself a bit short, DB. I think you’re already making a difference by allowing this site to become a forum for rational and informative discussion of the strike. Public education is one of the best tools in a strike. Especially on a site like this, where folks may comment on rumors, but everyone tries to make an effort to refrain from relying on them and perpetuating them.

    Moreover, I’ve heard from writers who frequent this site and others like it that they’re encouraged by all the support to the writers that the fans provide. A boost in morale is no small thing, particularly when times are this hard.

    That said, I like Fifi’s idea of a YouTube contest.

  3. @Fifi:

    I know that AliceinDallas from the Colboards recently ran a YouTube contest, but I don’t think it was strike related.

  4. I think it would be a neat idea to get a group of people and focus efforts on trying to make a video that will really stick out and strike a chord with people who don’t have IVs of RSS feeds to sustain them from day to day.

  5. When one of my friends was sick with cancer in the states, everyone that knew her (offline and online) sent another one of my friends an oragami crane. He then packaged all the cranes up (it turned out to be over 1000) and shipped them to the hospital she was at. It was a huge morale booster.

    Now I’m not saying it has to be cranes, but everyone could write a “stay strong” note that would eventually be shipped all together to the writers. Anyway… just a thought.

  6. @MelO:

    That’s very similar to the project I had in mind.

  7. Ms Interpreted says:

    @ MelO,

    You may already know this, but the paper cranes are actually based on a Japanese legend and a later story about a girl (Sadako) who developed leukemia following the Hiroshima bombing. A very touching gesture.

  8. @ DB,

    I can only imagine how strike weary you, and we, all are. I know, in whatever way we all could, we’ve done our best to make it known that all of us fans support the writers 100%. But, I wholeheartedly agree with Rebnej in that just ensuring that the writers know how much we support them, I’m sure, helps them a great deal.

    Whether or not all of your, and our efforts, thus far have helped actually perpetuate the end of the strike, I think it’s fair to say that letting the writers know how much we love them, miss them, and support them is so incredibly important. So, don’t ever feel like you’re not making a difference — I guarantee you that you have!

    Anyway, back on topic, I like MelO’s and Fifi’s ideas — maybe we could all make a short video submission, and then somehow put them all together into a montage and see if we can’t get it posted somewhere with a lot of exposure. Anyone have connections to someone on an evening news program?

  9. Ms Interpreted says:

    Btw, there was a YouTube contest run recently through; UnitedHollywood posted about one of the entries just the other day.

  10. I’m thinking more along the lines of something that more people could do (I can’t do a video, for example). I was thinking more along the lines of a Flickr group or another way to collect photos of fans who support the writers.

  11. @Ms Interpreted – yes I did… that is what we based the idea on. My friend had acute lymphocystic leukemia (thank goodness she’s better now). But thanks for linking to it. :)

    I’m going to give this more thought later… unfortunately there is a cognitive psychology exam calling my name. (Ugh.)

  12. Those moguls are like dictators! Makes me appreciate our democratically elected leaders, for all their flaws. If only Stephen could be “Che” in this struggle…

    I have a ton of origami papers. I’ll fold a bunch of eagles and/or bears if you go with something like that.

    Lastly, there is the makemeamerica group on flickr…

    I hope all of this is moot really soon!

  13. @DB,

    I like that last idea of yours, the Flickr group/photos of supporting fans idea. We could each contribute one photo of ourselves with a caption that says “I SUPPORT THE WRITERS” or something like that, and save it in one group. Maybe the group can get really big and gain more supporters (ones that don’t read this blog).

  14. @DB- I like the flickr group idea. I also think it would be cool to do something that really focuses on the fact that we (the fans) do notice and appreciate the writing. I’m loving the intro widget on NFZ, so inspired by that, maybe a flickr group of each of us holding our favorite “WORD”, and add a comment of what we love about the writing behind it. (or our fav threatdown, on notice, etc.) It’s easy to do with TCR, since we could pick something like the WORD, but we could come up with something similar to show love for the TDS writers as well.

  15. Scratch that…my idea s*cked.

    I really like the Flickr idea…maybe the picture should include fans holding the “Colbert Report Fans Support the Writers” sign. Or maybe we could also use the “Operation Substantial Truthiness” signs that you made up for the food delivery and pencil delivery actions from earlier.

  16. Someone on the Colboards had the idea of the writeStrong bracelet, with all the profits going to the writers… but I think there’s a several week overhead on that to have the bracelets made…but with all of these deals being made lately, who knows…

  17. Ms Interpreted says:

    @ Fifi,

    There were bracelets on sale at at one point (I think they said, “No justice, no scripts”). As stated on that site:

    All profits are donated to the Writers Guild Foundation Industry Support Fund to assist non-WGA members of the industry who are in financial distress as a direct result of the strike.

    In the interest of keeping the NFZ staff’s time management burden slightly lighter, it might be best to continue to allow that site to coordinate efforts like that one. (It’s a great idea, though.)

  18. As fans I’m not convinced there is much we really can do other than continuing to provide the love. We are fans, after all! I think NFZ is doing a great job at continuing to boost morale.

    That said, a few ideas…

    I have no idea what a share in Viacom costs at the moment but maybe we can buy some. I’m sure Redstone never sees letters that begin “As a fan, I think you should…” but he might see one that says “As a shareholder, I think you should…”

    On the other hand, if you have shares in Viacom, sell them. And write to him to tell him why you are selling them. And then write to the business media to tell them why you are selling them.

    If you live in Los Angeles, or in CA, write to the mayor/governor and remind them that the strike is having a rippling economic effect and that they should be using their political capital to end it. I think 600, 000 letters to Arnold would have more effect than 600,000 pencils to moguls.

    If you live in LA, write to the editorial page of the LA Times complaining about the fact that the mayor/governor have not been working to solve the strike and that it’s having a real affect on people’s lives.

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  19. @babybert
    Interesting idea. Now’s a good time to buy with everything pretty much having plummeted.
    *checks stock stuff*
    Hmm… Dow’s up 164 today… I guess other people have buying idea as well.
    There’s a VIA and a VIA-B. They’re both around $38 at the moment.

  20. *doah* I meant “Superstantial”. My bad. See, still can’t spell. : p

  21. looped linear says:

    Would there be any way to tie a YouTube contest in with a call to boycott the shows?

    Cuz unfortunately, I think the most direct, immediate and *effective* way to actually get a message to VIACOM/CC *would* be a fan-wide boycott of the two shows (=only watching via untraceable/uncountable media, if you watch).

    This way, they’d lose valuable ad dollars during Feb sweeps– a very imp time for setting ad rates, I believe.

    If this act was also linked to a polite phone call/ e-mail/letter telling VIACOM what you’re doing, and why, then they couldn’t mistake the drop in viewers as a sign that people have lost interest in the shows.

    The problem with less ‘financial’ methods like simple phone calls, or sending pencils, etc, is that the Big Guys don’t get the calls or the pencils. People far lower down the rung are ordered to intercept/deal with them.

    And for some of the pencils (eg. on the west coast), the shipment of pencils was just refused. So tho the intentions of the senders are good, they aren’t getting enough ‘bang’ for their ‘buck’ (in terms of effect).

    The only way to ‘speak’ to VIACOM/CC is directly, thru the shows’ viewer numbers. They’re the ones who need to be persuaded to bargain in good faith and end the strike.

    I know it’s hard, but there are ways that people could still watch the show without swelling the viewer numbers.

    “Power concedes nothing without a demand.
    It never has, and it never will.
    If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
    Those who profess to favor freedom, and yet deprecate agitation are men who
    want crops without plowing the ground. They want rain without thunder and
    lightening. They want the ocean without the roar of its waters.”
    Frederick Douglass

  22. TiaRachel says:

    Are you familiar with Consumers4WGA?

    It’s a letter-writing campaign, publishing various advertiser contact info and requesting letters/email intended to influence them to pressure the AMPTP corps.

  23. Ms Interpreted says:

    @ TiaRachel,

    Yes, I’ve actually linked them before (here, for example), but it’s great to remind people that they’re out there. Thanks!

  24. hard done by says:

    Alison Z;’these moguls are like dictators!Makes me appreciate our democratically elected leaders..’

    This brings a tear to my eye.Isn`t it your elected `republican` leaders who waved through the conglom mergers that allowed these AMPTP moguls to effectively form a cartel?

    What i would love to see at this point is stewart and colbert satirically biting the hand that feeds.Sharpening there comedic teeth on these fatcats,dissent,righteous rage,incessant insubordination ,the ball is in there court ,they have tv shows!

  25. For the WGA I’ve sent pencils, letters, calls, plenty of RL local blabbing and made 2 youtube pro writer vids that have gotton over 30K hits trying to get the word out. But in the end it’s all about loosening the deep pockets of the moguls by making them WANT to negotiate a fair deal. They can outwait the strikers and unless they feel that they will lose long term by NOT negotiating, they will do nothing. Perhaps the prospect of losing millions in ad revenues w/o the Oscars will move them.

  26. You are doing a lot and making a difference. You are informing a lot of SC/TCtRt and JS/ADS fans on the strike. You are informing the public on the reasons and background. You are creating sympathy for the writers. You are spreading awareness. You are inspiring other folks to do stuff, however symbolic. You are not only putting pressure on the AMPTP, but also on WGA. Look, in the end, it is not up to us watchers to make a deal. APMPTP and the WGA need to figure it out. But as ‘writer-fans/supporters’, we need to keep the pressure on. Remember that the readers of your website ARE not visiting the Comedy Central Website anyomore. And in a sense, we are responsable for the stocks going down.

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