Thursday, November 08, 2007

Tool for Manipulating Reality

The basic tool for the manipulation of reality is the manipulation of words. If you can control the meaning of words, you can control the people who must use the words.--Philip K. Dick
The word manipulators, as most of you stuck watching reruns of Colbert know, are on strike. At issue are a few pennies of the billions in profit the producers make by manipulating reality. If the writers got everything they asked for, some producer's daughter somewhere might have to settle for factory rims on her new Mercedes when she heads off to her Ivy League college next fall.

So, the dominoes are starting to fall. Here in LA, the backstage people in my union, IATSE Local 33, are already losing their jobs. We've been told that because of the "no-strike" conditions in our contracts, we cannot honor the writers' lines. We must go to work. Funny, that, since without the word manipulators, there is no reality to manipulate, no work to be done. Soaps, sit-coms, Leno... All shut down.

Those of us who do have work to go to have been told not to write anything if we're asked. You know, because that happens all the time. There have been times, while I'm sitting on top of an A Ladder focusing a light that those damn producers just won't quit bugging me to rewrite that last scene. So, that's how we stagehands are showing solidarity for our writer friends. We're refusing to write.

A grip I knew died recently. He had a sign in his truck that said:

Good, fast, cheap: pick two.

Like so many other businesses in this world, the reality manipulation people are going with fast and cheap these days. Just don't see too many orders for good anymore.

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