Agency Negotiating Committee Co-Chair Chris Keyser explains in s 15-minute video.
(The WGA doesn't allow embedding; apologies.)
Most members of the Writers Guild of America (WGA) last week fired their agents because of the intrusion of finance into their business. Large agencies, some owned by finance companies and no longer partnerships, no longer appear to represent the writers they claim to represent, as the agents have interests on both sides of many deals.
The Association of Talent Agents (ATA) has responded to all these principals firing their agents with questionable logic:
For those of you who haven’t been following, the WGA (for which, until recently, my husband worked as a magazine editor) wants the talent agencies to sign a new code of conduct to ensure the agents do their jobs — getting their clients the best deals possible — and that’s it. No using clients as part of an overall package deal or working with affiliated production companies; too often, the WGA contends, these practices result in writers getting shafted.
The ATA says the agencies will not be signing any such code because the WGA is not the boss of them and writers actually benefit from packaging, which has been going on for years.
So the WGA instructed its members to fire their agents, which almost all of them have, and announced it is suing the four major talent agencies.
In response, the ATA accused the WGA of trying to throw Hollywood into “predetermined chaos” and instructed its members to keep a list of any writers trying to get work without using an agent because, according to ATA reps, this is illegal.
So just to recap: Writers are unhappy with how major talent agencies have been repping them. When confronted with this, the agents refused to make any changes, so the writers fired them. Now the agencies are saying the writers cannot do this because, according to them, writers are legally bound to be represented by people who they believe are shafting them.
Even by Hollywood standards, this is Absolutely Insane.
It's going to be interesting as lawyers and accountants start representing writers.
Note: I'm still going through photos from this weekend, so I'll have the official Park 29 and Park 30 postings up today or tomorrow.
WGN-TV is reporting this morning that we will have two extra days in February this year—and they'll be cold:
No word yet on whether March will also have 30 days this year.
Longtime (and I mean, longtime) reader DB sent me James Geary's eloquent essay on the value of puns:
There is no sharp boundary splitting the wit of the scientist, inventor, or improviser from that of the artist, the sage, or the jester. The creative experience moves seamlessly from the “Aha!” of scientific discovery to the “Ah” of aesthetic insight to the “Haha” of the pun and the punch line. “Comic discovery is paradox stated—scientific discovery is paradox resolved,” [novelist and cultural critic Arthur] Koestler wrote.
Bisociation is central to creative thought, Koestler believed, because “the conscious and unconscious processes underlying creativity are essentially combinatorial activities—the bringing together of previously separate areas of knowledge and experience.”
This is precisely how wit was understood in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, when the word was used to describe innovative thinking—something more akin to intellect or consciousness than to glibness or flippancy, a state of mind rather than just a sense of humor.
Lately, though, wit’s been whittled down to a sliver of what it really is. Witty has come to mean merely funny, and a wit is just someone with a knack for snappy comebacks.
True wit is richer, cannier, more riddling.
Aren't you glad I came upun this article?
Since hearing about it on NPR almost 8 years ago, I have loved the book Hint Fiction. It's collection of short stories, none more than 25 words long.
The other day I had an inspiration and wrote one of my own:
She left the office, reading the paper again.
"This isn't possible," she thought. "Brad's not gay."
These may pop up here from time to time.
In addition to crapping on the norms of office that have kept our Republic functioning for centuries, the Trump Administration has lowered the bar for standard written English in politics:
Amid all the chaos in the White House — including West Wing personnel drama, the Stormy Daniels scandal and Mueller’s Russia investigation — some wayward spellings and inaccurate honorifics might seem minor. But the constant small mistakes — which have dogged the Trump White House since the president’s official Inauguration Day poster boasted that “no challenge is to great” — have become, critics say, symbolic of the larger problems with Trump’s management style, in particular his lack of attention to detail and the carelessness with which he makes policy decisions.
On Monday, for example, the White House rolled out an executive order from Trump aimed at cutting off U.S. investment in Venezuela’s digital currency as a way to pinch strongman Nicolás Maduro’s regime. But in the headline on the public news release, the White House wrote that Trump was taking action to “address the situation in America.”
“Freudian slip????” wondered Rosiland Jordan, a reporter for Al Jazeera.
Liz Allen, who served as White House deputy communications director under President Barack Obama, said in an interview that the press office under the 44th president sought to be as rigorous as possible. Releases typically were proofread for accuracy and content by at least four or five people. Announcements that dealt with domestic policy issues and foreign affairs were vetted by experts at federal agencies and the National Security Council, she said.
“We felt a burden and responsibility to get it right,” Allen said. “We were acutely aware of the integrity of our platform. We took it seriously. No one should meet a higher bar than the White House. They are the ultimate voice.”
Read through to the punchline.
But Allen makes the main point, I think. The Administration's written communications reflect a deeper antipathy to "getting it right." They just don't care. And our allies and adversaries alike have noticed.
This year, The Daily Parker will participate in the Blogging A-to-Z challenge.
Since I've posted an average 1.31 times per day since the modern era* of this blog began in November 2005, and an average of 39.6 times every April, posting at least 26 entries this coming April isn't the challenge. (Also, given trends, it's possible my 6,000th modern-era post will be one of them.)
No, the challenge will be coming up with 26 entries on one specific topic, and making them worth reading. Keep reading to see (a) what topic I pick and (b) how I do.
Sign-up opens March 5th.
* braverman.org had a proto-blog starting in May 1998. Let that sink in. We didn't even call it "blogging" back then.
It turns out, Carter Page PhD—who worked for the Trump campaign and is now suspected of being a Russian asset—failed his PhD thesis defense twice:
Page first submitted his thesis on central Asia’s transition from communism to capitalism in 2008. Two respected academics, Professor Gregory Andrusz, and Dr Peter Duncan, were asked to read his thesis and to examine him in a face-to-face interview known as a viva.
Andrusz said he had expected it would be “easy” to pass Page, a student at the School of Oriental and African Studies (Soas). He said it actually took “days and days” to wade through Page’s work. Page “knew next to nothing” about social science and seemed “unfamiliar with basic concepts like Marxism or state capitalism,” the professor said.
The viva, held at University College, London, went badly. “Page seemed to think that if he talked enough, people would think he was well-informed. In fact it was the reverse,” Andrusz said. He added that Page was “dumbfounded” when the examiners told him he had failed.
Their subsequent report was withering. It said Page’s thesis was “characterised by considerable repetition, verbosity and vagueness of expression”, failed to meet the criteria required for a PhD, and needed “substantial revision”. He was given 18 months to produce another draft.
Page resubmitted in November 2010. Although this essay was a “substantial improvement” it still didn’t merit a PhD and wasn’t publishable in a “learned journal of international repute”, Andrusz noted. When after a four-hour interview, the examiners informed him he had failed again, Page grew “extremely agitated”.
I almost want to read the final, final, final draft. And I want to see him convicted of secretly meeting with foreign agents. Neither is likely.
One of my favorite authors just got awarded N.Kr. 9m:
The novelist was praised by the Swedish Academy as a writer "who, in novels of great emotional force, has uncovered the abyss beneath our illusory sense of connection with the world".
His most famous novels The Remains of the Day and Never Let Me Go were adapted into highly acclaimed films. He was made an OBE in 1995.
The 62-year-old writer said the award was "flabbergastingly flattering".
His work, which includes scripts for film and television, looks at themes of memory, time and self-delusion.
The Nobel committee praised his latest book The Buried Giant, which was released in 2015, for exploring "how memory relates to oblivion, history to the present, and fantasy to reality".
I've just given a friend a copy of Never Let Me Go, and I've got The Sleeping Giant in my to-be-read pile.
Example of why, from last Saturday: