Strike Fever: Catch It!

It's been a couple of weeks since we've been forced to contemplate the looming labor Armageddon that will soon bring about the end of the entertainment industry as we know it, preferring to distract ourselves with the contemplation of more pleasant matters, like daydreaming about the depilation techniques that Britney Spears uses to keep her ladyparts adequately prepped for its biweekly, post-meltdown paparazzi close-ups. Today's Variety hits our company town with an unwanted reality check (lede: "Strike fever's about to hit Hollywood hard!" [exclamation point ours]), reminding us that it's time once again for sabers to be rattled and expensive pants soiled as contract negotiations between the WGA and Alliance of Motion Picture & Television Producers resume tomorrow.

Var reports that the studios still haven't received a detailed Guild response to their "How does completely throwing away the residuals system that most writers depend on to live sound to you greedy ingrates?" proposal, having spent the last two months staring at the fax machine, awaiting a message on WGA letterhead with "Go fuck yourselves" scrawled in Sharpie that never arrived. But WGA West president Patric Verrone did offer this succinct response to the AMPTP's batshit opening salvo to Var:

Asked about Counter's complaints, Verrone said they're nonsense and the companies need to move on.

"If they want a detailed response to their proposal, the answer is no," he added. "And if they ask again, the answer will still be no." [...]

Some observers don't believe the AMPTP is completely serious about the proposal.

"I interpret the AMPTP position as a negotiating ploy more than anything else," said Jonathan Handel, a partner at the Troy Gould law firm and a former WGA staff attorney. "The studios are aware that eliminating residuals is a nuclear option that would most surely trigger a strike."

Should this "nuclear option" fail to inspire the morale-weakening outbreak of incontinence in the WGA camp the studios are hoping for, perhaps they'll offer a marginally less insane compensation proposal as a show of good faith, countering that if writers really depend on residuals to feed their hungry families during inevitable career lulls, maybe they should be paid for their work in a more practical combination of canned goods and livestock.