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So - Did The Writer's Guild Get A Good Deal For The Pain Of Its Strike? Not According to Harlan Ellison

Hey folks, Harry here... Harlan Ellison and I go way back... We first hung out after he was buying some funny animal comics from my parents at an AggieCon in the early Seventies and tried to teach me how to draw an Elephant. It took decades - but we became friendly after a couple of panels I did with him at DragonCon some years back - and well... We're about to hook up again on a panel at SXSW - well, technically it is just me having a CONVERSATION WITH HARLAN ELLISON. Harlan and I discussed it just two days ago - and when this came across my desktop - I had to share. Cuz, well he's Harlan - and he's right...

HARLAN ELLISON ON THE WRITERS STRIKE SETTLEMENT YOU HAVE MY PERMISSION TO RE-POST THIS ANYWHERE: Creds: got here in 1962, written for just about everybody, won the Writers Guild Award four times for solo work, sat on the WGAw Board twice, worked on negotiating committees, and was out on the picket lines with my NICK COUNTER SLEEPS WITH THE FISHE$$$ sign. You may have heard my name. I am a Union guy, I am a Guild guy, I am loyal. I fuckin’ LOVE the Guild. And I voted NO on accepting this deal. My reasons are good, and they are plentiful; Patric Verrone will be saddened by what I am about to say; long-time friends will shake their heads; but this I say without equivocation… THEY BEAT US LIKE A YELLOW DOG. IT IS A SHIT DEAL. We finally got a timorous generation that has never had to strike, to get their asses out there, and we had to put up with the usual cowardly spineless babbling horse’s asses who kept mumbling “lessgo bac’ta work” over and over, as if it would make them one iota a better writer. But after months on the line, and them finally bouncing that pus-sucking dipthong Nick Counter, we rushed headlong into a shabby, scabrous, underfed shovelfulla shit clutched to the affections of toss-in-the-towel summer soldiers trembling before the Awe of the Alliance. My Guild did what it did in 1988. It trembled and sold us out. It gave away the EXACT co-terminus expiration date with SAG for some bullshit short-line substitute; it got us no more control of our words; it sneak-abandoned the animator and reality beanfield hands before anyone even forced it on them; it made nice so no one would think we were meanies; it let the Alliance play us like the village idiot. The WGAw folded like a Texaco Road Map from back in the day. And I am ashamed of this Guild, as I was when Shavelson was the prexy, and we wasted our efforts and lost out on technology that we had to strike for THIS time. 17 days of streaming tv!!!????? Geezus, you bleating wimps, why not just turn over your old granny for gang-rape? You deserve all the opprobrium you get. While this nutty festschrift of demented pleasure at being allowed to go back to work in the rice paddy is filling your cowardly hearts with joy and relief that the grips and the staff at the Ivy and street sweepers won’t be saying nasty shit behind your back, remember this: You are their bitches. They outslugged you, outthought you, outmaneuvered you; and in the end you ripped off your pants, painted yer asses blue, and said yes sir, may I have another. Please excuse my temerity. I’m just a sad old man who has fallen among Quislings, Turncoats, Hacks and Cowards. I must go now to whoops. My gorge has become buoyant. Respectfully, Yr. Pal, Harlan Ellison
Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:34 a.m. CST

    Wow Harlan is STILL bitter?

    by skywalkerfamily

    Jeez man, get over yourself. Everyone else has.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:35 a.m. CST

    Agree or not ...

    by KnightShift

    ... you gotta admit that Harlan has style.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:42 a.m. CST

    Harlan is never happy...

    by Sick Fixx

    But dammit, he has a way with words like Michael Ironside has a way with his eyebrows. Everyone should read his short story, 'Hitler Painted Roses' from the Strange Wine collection at least once in their life.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:43 a.m. CST

    Harlan is a great writer, but as a person he

    by skywalkerfamily

    needs some serious social skills.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:45 a.m. CST


    by Redfive!

    Of coarse the writers got a s*it deal,its hollywood,corporate greed is the sole reason writers dont make 10's of millions like the higher up's.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:46 a.m. CST

    I just knew....

    by tensticks

    The talkback would ALREADY have Ellison Basher & Haters, Ellison Lovers, Ellison Apologists...Harlan is Harlan. Brilliant, pain in the ass, and brutally honest. Love him hate him, agree or not, what you see is what you get with him. And I have to add, most of the people many of you revere aren't fit to sharpen his pencils.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:47 a.m. CST

    Harlan Ellison's an asshole.

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    That's what his famous for, that and writing some Star Wars novels.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:52 a.m. CST


    by Pipple

    all i have to say. excellent read.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:52 a.m. CST

    He does make a good point though

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    Why would you be eager to end the strike and go back to work with a halfassed deal? Like you're afraid of upsetting someone, in which case you're just a coward so fuck ya. I mean if you came all the way in the first place, why bother.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:53 a.m. CST

    Stick it to the man, Harlan

    by skywalkerfamily

    You've been doing it for years.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:54 a.m. CST

    Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    by bacci40

    are you like 10? ever been to a library? ever read "i have no mouth but i must scream"? ever hear of a trek episode called "city on the edge of forever"? ever seen a roman gladiator movie?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:54 a.m. CST

    Guy Who Got a Headache

    by Sick Fixx

    Ellison is a self professed enemy of the Star Wars series, and feels it's intellectually no different than Pop Tarts. He has never written a Star Wars novel. Star Trek maybe, but not Star Wars.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:55 a.m. CST

    Wait a minute, MAYBE Star Trek

    by Sick Fixx

    I forgot City on the Edge of Forever. But seriously, he hates Star Wars.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:56 a.m. CST

    "They arrested Harlan Ellison!"

    by Thick McRunFast


  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:57 a.m. CST

    I think Harlan hates Trek too.

    by skywalkerfamily

    Case Gene screwed him over and no one watched Babylon Five.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:57 a.m. CST

    Ellison takes a contrary position? THE HELL YOU SAY!

    by TallBoy66

    Harlan Ellison bitches about something. In other news, water is wet and sky is blue. Film at 11.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:02 a.m. CST

    At least the Trek movie delay made Harlan

    by skywalkerfamily

    happy for a few minutes.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:05 a.m. CST

    calm down some

    by geraldbeans

    not everybody is as successful as you. not everyone can hold out forever. Also, this rambling rant gave me absolutely no specifics about the points of the deal you lost on.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:06 a.m. CST

    i love harlan

    by bacci40

    and fuck all you haters....ellison aint just talking for himself, hes talking for all the writers who got screwed by this deal...the guild did cave...they were screwed by the showrunners working behind the scenes...the late nite, cable people, animation writers and reality show writers all got fucked...the studios get 17-24 days of ad supported streaming of which only the studios get a cut...right now, do any of the networks have a library of older shows that stream? will they in the future? the answer is no...because they make more profit going to the dvd/blu-ray market...which the guild took off the table...oh, and net viewing habits are much different than tv viewing habits...and no one took into account torrent and third party streaming sites...preach on harlan...oh, and you should go over to evaniers site and bitch slap that fact, you and evanier should have a steel cage match...the midget vs the that i would pay to see

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:09 a.m. CST

    No, it's not a great deal

    by newc0253

    but it seems like it was good as they were ever likely to get, even if they went on strike for a 3 years not 3 months.<p> the sad truth in this day and age is the limited power of unions against the studios (and, by extension, any transnational media entity).

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:09 a.m. CST

    Sick Fixx and Bacci40, it's called sarcasm

    by Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    get over yourselves you pseudo intellectual jackasses. I've had it up to here with people on here trying to tell me how educated or high brow the shit they read is, I don't really give one fuck about what you guys read, a lot of good it's done you obviously, you're posting in the asshole of the internet.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:14 a.m. CST

    re: sarcasm

    by Sick Fixx

    And I'm supposed to give one fuck about what you've had it up to 'here' with? No, I'll continue espousing my opinion, right, wrong or abstract. And I'll continue dropping names, offending people for whatever reason and doing generally everything I do. You people are turning what I said into something else entirely. Someone said I had a short attention span. I told him what I read that clearly overturned that argument, then everybody latched on to the 'you have a superiority complex' idea because of your own insecurities, jackass.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:15 a.m. CST

    Guy Who Got A Headache And Accidentally Saves The World

    by bacci40

    woulda been sarcasm had you stopped at the asshole comment...for that is indeed what the man is known for...that and his prolific lawsuits...the star wars line wasnt really that funny...dont quit your day job...and thanks for joining us here in the asshole of the make the room smell so much nicer

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:16 a.m. CST

    This is only the beginning...

    by Prossor

    The greedy studios will be their own destruction. This little "slave"-revolt was only the beginning. Expect more shit shoveled down our throats , more remakes and cookie cutter crap for now. However there will be more strikes, even from other guilds and eventually nature will step in and end this monopoly and we'll be back to a 70s-era of creativity, boldness, and freedom!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:22 a.m. CST

    Why is he making fun of Jar Jar Binks?

    by RobertBaron

    I don't get it. “lessgo bac’ta work” Is Jar Jar running the WGA?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:25 a.m. CST

    Prossor...i agree

    by bacci40

    but the guilds wont need to is progressing by leaps and 5-10 years, the studio system will be well on its way to permanent death...the internets will become the number source for entertainment...a few smart people with startup caishe will be able to produce their own movies and shows...all with the internet as the main source of distribution...the cost of internet access will continue to drop as the quality of streaming continues to is truly an amazing thing to behold...and the studios are indeed frightened, because those fat, useless, uncreative ceos will all be begging for quarters in front of your local 7/11....stan lee media had it right...just a few years too early, and with the wrong crook at the helm (lee's partner, not lee, who is just a befuddled old fool)

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:46 a.m. CST

    I hate the internet

    by Pipple

    Though it's already many's primary source of entertainment, there's a serious danger of the whole matrix thing actually happening... i don't know, nothing I can do to stop it but it's a pretty complicated new frontier we're heading into with the digital era. Maybe the writers were too hasty...

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:55 a.m. CST

    Ellison is my favorite writer...

    by sonnyfern

    I don't even always agree with the things he has to say, but he always manages to poke me with a stick enough to piss me off and that's pretty cool in and of itself. Over the years, reading his stuff, he's told me to take action, to stand up for myself, to be honorable and stand up for what I believe in and there is nothing wrong with that. I'd like to have a conversation with him one day, Harry is a lucky bastard. I don't know enough about the writers strike to say one way or another, but I just like reading when Harlan rants..."Geezus, you bleating wimps, why not just turn over your old granny for gang-rape?" It don't get much better than that.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:05 a.m. CST


    by Ass Lesson

    Harlan Ellison is an angry, dwarfish wanna-be hormone deficit feminized bitch who has coasted for decades off a couple of pulpy B sci fi stories and a successful lawsuit. He's more famous for his self aggrandizing anger than his writing and not everyone speaks of him or his half-assed insult-filled opinions with the biblical reverence or assumed insight he demands. He's a midget with a small opinion expressed through the high art of sarcasm who has his acolytes post for him because by his own account, he's simply too important and busy to do so himself. Hubris is only a sin, not a killing offense. The burden of being a living legend in all endeavors and all subjects would be a full time job for a man twice his size, which he isn't. Harlan's opinion means about the same as any other faded writer-retiree who drops turds like they're Picasso napkin drawings that should pay full fare freight, and they mean less than those of current earners who sacrificed real income for this strike. By all means let this aging, raging elfin anger monkey jump up and down and toss his scat through the bars of his cage. The people who puzzle me are the ones looking at the Mandrill's back side entranced by the beautiful colors.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:12 a.m. CST


    by Catnip_Thieves

    "Gang rape." This guy's a HOOT.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:13 a.m. CST

    Who cares, we get more SMALLVILLE and TEMINATOR TV SERIES

    by Mike_D

    so there.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:14 a.m. CST


    by Tourist

    Ellison brings out the best in others, it seems. Why doesn't he just wait for someone to write a story about time travel or robots and sue them in revenge for caving?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:21 a.m. CST

    Harlan Ellison is pissed off about something?

    by Sledge Hammer

    Well stop the fucking presses, it must be a day ending with a 'y'!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:22 a.m. CST


    by Cagliostro

    I thought this was going to be an article on all of the nifty famous people that Harry has known for years. Tricked again.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:25 a.m. CST

    "No duh" story of the year.

    by half vader

    Does Harry know the meaning of the word "redundant"?! Post us an article where Ellison's all roses about something - THAT would be cool news. He went from angry young man to cranky old git in .25 seconds. <p> P.S. Of course I'm not disagreeing with him on this. Just sayin', that's all.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:25 a.m. CST

    So....did he have a point in there somewhere????

    by Executor

    Behind the diatribe, it sounds like he may have some points. I just don't know what they are. Is there somewhere to go for an intelligently written critique of the strike deal?<p>Or maybe Harlan can write back, cut back on the vitriol, and tell us what they got and what he thinks they should have got.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:26 a.m. CST

    The Creepy Thin Man

    by bacci40

    very nice sentiment, however, in today's world, very few people you are asking a bunch of people who make their living by writing to basically starve...and if you think writing is not a real job, you should try it...or talk to someone who makes a living at it and sweats bullets to put out a quality most tv pablum? yup...but dont blame the writers, they are told to dumb things down for the audience...gone are the days of alfred hitchcock presents, the twilight zone, ge times get harder, people want escape and brain dead gives that to them...mostly to their detriment...but thou dost not blame the writer...blame the audience for not demanding better

  • not being from the US which I'm now trying to make amends for. His name has been mentioned during the writers strike on various posts on the 'net, so I Googled him. I can understand now why opinion is so polarised about him with only reading a fraction of his stuff. But I've got to tell you, love 'em or hate 'em, you've got to have people like Harlan Ellison throwing verbal grenades from the sidelines. It makes others try to be better and raise their game even if its just to say 'Fuck you too' back at them.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:38 a.m. CST

    Another thing about Ellison...

    by Sledge Hammer that this is a guy who effectively has no real stake in this to begin with. He's written one teleplay in the last ten years or so, and the vast majority of his income comes from his, admittedly mostly brilliant, print work. Therefore the strike could literally go on forever and it's not really going to hurt his wallet any. He's still making money in print, both from old works and new, and on book tours and magazine articles and on the college and convention circuits. So it's all very easy to blame the front line troops for folding when your own life and livelyhood was never really on the line or at stake.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:45 a.m. CST

    He's right.

    by Darth Fart

    The writers are not benefiting from current royalties but future media royalties, and who knows what the future holds?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:48 a.m. CST

    Sledge you miss the point

    by bacci40

    ellison isnt screaming for himself...hes screaming for his coleagues...he sees the future very clearly, and is upset that the union that he still pays dues to, basically rolled over very much in the way they did in 88...he is very much like the late steve gerber, who spent alot of time trying to wake other comic book writers and artists up to the fact that they were indeed important creators and not just untalented hired hands

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:57 a.m. CST

    I don't miss the point...

    by Sledge Hammer

    ...I just think he's wrong. The writers overwhelmingly chose to accept the deal, not just by a majority, but by all but a couple of hundred members, that's democracy in action right there. Majority rules. But Harlan, being Harlan, thinks he knows best, especially when it gives him the opportunity to rage against "the man" and prove what a rebel he is, despite having nothing to lose himself. Life is compromise. Ellison doesn't compromise. He's made a career of that. And that's fine for him, he can get away with it, but most of us have to live in the real world. And in the real world most of us don't get everything we want, so we have to settle for what we can live with.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:59 a.m. CST

    More important than attacking H.E.

    by Redbox

    What if he's right? What if you guild writers are all bitches and you blew your big chance by being completely screwed and played? Wow, attack him all you want, he's a controversial figure and an arrogant ass, but he sure can write and I think he may have your number. Wow. Are you all a bunch of defeated bitches? Honestly, I have no idea, are you?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5 a.m. CST

    That's writing?

    by Paulseta

    Jesus Harlan, you can't even string a sentence together and you have the gall to put down anyone? That was third year junk, and I suspect your once-cogent mind knows it. How much shame does this place on your once and plentiful fans? We grew up, Harlan - isn't it time you made an effort to do so too?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:04 a.m. CST

    What I didn't understand

    by Napoleon Park

    was when they reported they were getting double on staming internet videps. didn't they originally say they were getting nothing on those? Isn't double of nothing still nothing? That's what I don't understand. Oh, and the whole deal with screwing the animation and reality show writers. That just sucked.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:14 a.m. CST

    Again, attacking Harlan doesn't help anything

    by Redbox

    You might as well go outside and kick a tree. Folks like Harlan are troublemakers, and folks who just want to get along don't like his extreme, "no compromise" attitude. But Harlan is one of those voices who you need to listen to at certain times in life. Yes, he probably will never be happy, but he will also never sensor his true thoughts, and its always great to hear someone speak his truth, unblinded, or afraid of repercussion. Harlan's note above should be a cue to be reflective, "Did we get a good deal?" "Were we screwed?" or "Would holding out have given us something better or worse?" If you're attacking Harlan, I would lay odds that your ass is smarting from this. If you really feel you got a good deal, then smile at his inability to civilize. If he makes you angry, then he's probably shelling out a little bit of truth.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:15 a.m. CST

    Bitter, party of one, your table is ready.

    by Yeti

    If it's so bad - find a different line of work.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:26 a.m. CST

    " I'm surrounded by assholes!!!"

    by DigitalDong

    If he has anyone to blame he doesn't have to go any further then himself. The very institution he went on strike for was the same one that caved in. The talented peers he speaks so highly of are the same ones who let him down. His hopes where too high, guilds ( or Unions if you perfer ) don't work. If this was a fantasy world they would have gotten all they wanted, but this is the real world and most of the time it doesn't have a hollywood ending.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:32 a.m. CST

    How come?....

    by Dr.DirtyD

    No one is bitching about Harry's Harlan romance. Usually you all go to town on his ass if he even mentions seeing some crap tv actor crossing the street...then it's all dropping Harry-son-of-a...blah, blah. Now what the fuck! Your all to busy sucker punching Harlan, you let the sweetest fruit fly right on by. The damn article is about Harlan beef'n with the strike ending and Harry feels the need to tell us a li'l old tale of a "boy and Harlan", meeting way back when. You guys are getting old. And while i agree with you often Creepy Thin Man, I have to be honest and say: you calling anyone arrogant is a little like calling the old kettle...Do you ever read your own post? self awareness is golden people. So is having fun!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:49 a.m. CST

    All of you people are cunts, and so is Harlan Ellison.

    by Ol' Gravy Leg

    But he has the brains and talent to make up for it.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 6:18 a.m. CST

    While thats a piece of crap Mr Harlan

    by gomez33

    Is it just me or did the union vote over-whelmingly in favour of the new deal? Sounds like majority rules, something called democracy arsehole. When 90% of your members vote for the deal, it would suggest its not as bad as you are making out.

  • Also if you are not happy with guild, leave the guild. If it's a matter of principal.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 7:02 a.m. CST

    Harlon Ellison pissed = Sun rising in east

    by Blanket-Man

    Loved HULK #140, BTW. But I believe ol' Harlan sued someone over that one, too...!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 7:44 a.m. CST


    by stvnhthr

    Harlan is a great writer, but a pretty egocentric person from the few times I've dealt with him. Imagine if he took the time to care for people as much as he did crafting a story. If he had the social skills to match his writing ability he could be a real force for change, as is people just see him as argumentative.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 7:45 a.m. CST

    If Harlan had his way...

    by critch

    If Harlan had his way, the strike would go into summer and then with the SAG guild we likely wouldn't see anything resolved till late this year. We would lose an entire season of shows and movies. A large part of the television audience and movie audience would not have returned, just like what happened in 1988. Especially now with the internet, with the world's entertainment at your fingertips, a lot of people would have moved on. The studios were greedy. The writers are greedy too. I haven't heard one good argument for why they should get anything for internet releases of their already-paid-through-movie/tv/dvd-royalties. And considering they had already lost more than they could ever get back, and had cost the livelihoods for months of everyone that wasn't a writer...yeah, they really had no choice but to settle.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 7:59 a.m. CST

    He's right, though.

    by criticalbliss

    Writers are getting robbed.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 8:02 a.m. CST

    I wish he would stop with the writing gymnastics...

    by DarfurOnTheRocks

    ....and tell us in plain and simply terms way the deal was so bad. Mr Harlan failed to impress me...

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 8:41 a.m. CST


    by Meglos

    No. He almost sued over Hulk #287 which heavily resembled an Ellison story. And thank you, Thick McRun Fast, "Mitchell" was one of the best...

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 8:43 a.m. CST

    It must be miserable to be Harlan Ellison

    by SpyGuy

    I've followed his various interviews, columns and articles over the years and in every single one, he's always pissed off about something or brings up old stories about being pissed off about something. Nothing -- NOTHING -- seems to make this guy happy...unless he's busy suing somebody. <p>Yeah, he's entertaining as a cranky curmudgeon and he makes excellent observations every so often, but it's sad that he appears to be nothing more than just a bitter old sociopath.</p>

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 8:51 a.m. CST

    Creepy Stupid Skinny Douche

    by Schih Thayde

    "Writer welfare"? Are you retarded? If you are, that's a tough row to hoe, and I only wish you well. If you're not, then you appear to have a profound misunderstanding (if I feel charitable) of the purpose of residuals. See, a writer writes a script, and sells both his script and his authorship to the studio. In exchange for selling the authorship, the writer will receive a set of future payments based on FUTURE EARNINGS BROUGHT IN BY HIS SCRIPT. If the script turns into a project that makes a lot of money, the writer will get a cut, which may be thousands of dollars. If it makes a little money, the writer will get a cut, which may be pennies. It's not welfare, you big douche, it's a chance to keep earning money when the work you wrote keeps earning money for the Alliance members to whom you sold your property and authorship in the first place. As to whether this current deal is equitable, or if Harlan Ellison's opinion has any merit--that's a different conversation. I just felt compelled to respond to your invective with a review of certain facts and, if you are a genuine retard with a medical condition, I apologize for my venom. But I think you're probably just a douche.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 8:57 a.m. CST

    Cranky old bastard

    by mascan42

    Harlan Ellison's picture is in the dictionary under "curmudgeon".

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:04 a.m. CST


    by ArcadianDS

    First off let me say that I'm angry that they are serving lime jello today. Everbody at the home knows that orange jello is superior in flavor, color, and viscosity. For those without my superior vocabulary and ability for grump, that means it lubes up your colon so's you can pass your oatmeal easier.<p> As to this deal that the union me and James Hoffa helped form back in the oh dark hundreds, I AM GRUMPY ABOUT IT. Let me repeat that because it bears repeating, only this time let me play a little fast and loose with the English Language: "WEEZ DONE GOTS CLOBBERED! LETS GIT DA HELL OUTTA HERE, SCOTTY!" See, we should have held out until they jammed a flagpole up my butt and hoisted me above the Paramount lot so you could all salute my brilliance. The problem is two-fold: I'm an old codger all but entirely forgotten by the world, and our union is full of snotty nosed punks who think I'm the guy who used to sell Intellivision on TV. Well I'm not! I'm the guy who made Captain Kirk say a curse word on television. I'll pause here because I enjoy hearing the faint buzz of the florescent lights as people are stunned into slacky jawed, drippy chinned awe of me.<p> *pause*<p> okay so where was I? oh yes - lime jello is the faggot of the jello kingdom. YOU DARE BRING THIS LIME JELLO BEFORE ME?! I CURSE THEE!<p> Oh yeah the WGA strike - I was really hoping that the union would stand up for my right to keep getting fat paycheck everytime some stupid fat kid downloads babylon-5 episodes on his Xbox 360. Because my Malibu home doesn't have enough splashy water fountains in its garden courtyard. My mexican grounds people love the splashy fountains cuz its where they bathe - when they're not basking in my naturally cleansing aura of EXELENTE!<p> To sum up, I request that you distribute this letter anywhere that you wish, but in accordance with proper ettiqute, please send a postcard to the first address on the list, and then put your address in at the bottom.<p> Take care my homies! I gotta jet - there's a badminton tournament today in the back lawn and if I dont get to hobbling that way now, I'll never make it before sundown. And please dont watch me walk away - the gowns dont have backs in them.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:05 a.m. CST


    by Uncapie

    Thank you, Clarence Boddicker!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:07 a.m. CST

    Harlan Ellison's writing

    by Olsen Twins_Fan

    It's like he's using a word of the day calendar with the definitions removed. Dogberry's got nothing on this guy.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:11 a.m. CST

    Just a 3-year deal, right?

    by Abin Sur

    If the writers don't see their wallets getting fat enough in that time frame, just strike's not like they're trapped in a ten year contract. Still, Harlan has the best old man rant this side of Zell Miller.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:23 a.m. CST

    I hate Harlan Ellison so much...

    by django_il_bastardo

    I actually love him...strange ain't it.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:29 a.m. CST

    Harlan plays the part of

    by K|LLDOZER

    world's smartest backseat driver very well.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:41 a.m. CST

    Oh, snap. Now you done did it now.

    by SkidMarkedUndies

    You done pissed off Harlan. Wait to go WGA.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:47 a.m. CST


    by Schih Thayde

    Or, "Way to go WGA" if you desire to be understood.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 9:52 a.m. CST


    by Sithdan

    I take it that Mr. Ellison is not satisfied with the WGA strike resolution? Could someone translate his pretentious rant for me?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:05 a.m. CST

    Just Goes to Show...

    by Mr. Winston

    ...that writers are only a "union" in the most academic sense. Did they get a "fair" deal? Not really. Do they deserve a hell of a lot more? Absolutely. Should they have pressed harder on the DVD issue? You bet. Did they lose this battle? Not at all. The comments from some of these writers suggest that not only do they understand very little about business (and more specifically labor negotiations), but that this is the first time that any of them felt any kind of power whatsoever...and then they found out that they had no idea what to do with it. This strike caused some bloated fucking egos to erupt along with some wholly unrealistic expectations. I'm tired of the whining. You don't get everything you want in one fell swoop - you fight every time the contract comes up, and you chip away the pieces until you get the whole. Or close to the whole. That's the thing about a give-and-take situation - you never get EVERYTHING you're looking for, and certainly not the first time. That's how ALL negotiations work, and for some reason a lot of these writers can't understand that. Progress was made here, ladies and gents - next time, have the balls to keep going with the momentum you built instead of sitting on your asses and crying about what you DIDN'T get this time.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:06 a.m. CST

    Old THUMBSUCKER is still bitter and on his Soapbox

    by Monkey_King

    and he's still bitter about Abrams TREK movie utilizing elements from his COTEOF story and characters. You can't take it all with you, Harlan! Write something new and shut up.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:09 a.m. CST

    as soon as I am done...

    by irrelevntelefant

    looking up all the big words in his rant, i'm sure i'll have some opinion on the matter! <p> when do we get new episodes of 'ghost whisperererer'? i miss me my jlo hugetits

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:20 a.m. CST

    Harlan is the bomb!

    by flippypog

    There's nothing "grade B" about Harlan. He is one of, if not the best, SF writer ever. His stories are classics in every way imaginable. And I respect his desire to see that at least his writing doesn't get screwed with. The fact that he's won so many times makes some jealous. Perhaps Harlan should have been the Guild's chief negotiator; would have guaranteed a better deal. You go, Harlan!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:27 a.m. CST

    It's not a great deal, but not for the reasons Harlan says

    by HarrysNemesis

    The 17 day streaming window is a red-herring issue. The issue is residual payments. RESIDUALS. Residuals are for repeat plays. Anything debuted on the internet is not like on a network. If you put Lost up, it's not like it's on at 9pm and you can't watch it afterward. People come on and watch it at various times after it is first posted. The 17 day window IS THE FIRST RUN. After that is the residuals. The people who say this is bad are asking to be paid for the first time someone watches a show online -- by definition, that is NOT a residual. What they don't say is that the writer's are PAID UP FRONT for the script as their payment for the original airing. So when it debuts online, they have ALREADY been paid. Now how is it not a good deal? They let them get away with not upping DVD payouts because they think in 3 years tv distribution on the net is going to be a bigger payer than DVDs because no one will somehow need DVDs in 3 years with the internet. What morons. DVD will still be king in 3 years, and net tv will be a minor part of the revenue stream just like it is now. Growing, but still minor. Now in 5 years, 10 years, you might say DVD is less important and net runs are more important. But this is a THREE YEAR contract. So they did all that fussing over net payouts which won't be significant over the next 3 years anyway, and gave up additional DVD payments that WILL be important, especially as TONS of people convert to a new high definition format. In addition, the guild leadership fucked the whole strike up from the start. SAG's contract expires in a few months. Instead of waiting to strike at the same time, they shot their load and went on strike as soon as the contract expired without giving time for further negotiations. Working under the previous contract terms until SAG went out to strike was totally doable, but the leadership shot the WGA in the foot... then caved after 3 months.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:27 a.m. CST

    Repent, Harlequins!

    by scalio

    Harlan Ellison gotta hate!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:31 a.m. CST

    My turn to rant and rave. . .

    by ElGringo

    After several years of simply "lurking", I now feel compelled to post a response to Harlan's comments. You can keep sympathizing with the writers but don’t complain as the prices of goods and services continue to increase to a point where you can no longer afford them. Where do you think the money comes from to pay these writers the extra “compensation” that they feel they “deserve”? Advertising, that’s where. And where does the money come from to fund the extra advertising? – Increased pricing on consumer goods and services. And who pays for this? – Hello. I say give the writers an annual COLA increase based upon a regional CPI index. If the writers are not happy about this, find another job. They should try working in the real world for a change and then let’s see how many of them still fell that they have it bad making 6+ figure salaries while sitting on their asses all day in front of a computer. I am amazed how many people work in “dirty jobs” where they are happy to barely make a living. Writers, grow up you pompous, spoiled children. And Harlan, find a means beyond anger to satisfy your dopamine fix.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:36 a.m. CST

    Flowery words, but NO DETAILS

    by Randfilms

    So I read this diatribe and enjoy the puff, but where are the FACTS? I see no details that outline just WHAT THE FUCK he doesn't like at all? From what I read, the deal wasn't the best, but it did produce results. And besides, all the poor below the line slobs I know are in desparate straights to get back to work. Gotta pay the mortgage, feed the kids and pay for gas somehow. If the deal sucks, then TELL US WHY and lose the flowery language. Leave that for your next opus that you'll be PAID to write.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 11:03 a.m. CST

    Beams and Motes

    by Lang The Cat

    Most of you do not know Harlan beyond an encounter at a convention or an interview you may have seen. Some of you are just repeating cute little snide remarks you heard someone brighter make. Think a moment about who Harlan is. First and foremost, he is a writer, an excellent writer. He has written some of the most iconic (and therefore duplicated) work out there. Harlan has been a subject of fandom for over 50 years. Now most of the authors I have met undergo a change in the first year. They meet people who feel the author owes them. Owes them their attention, graditude, time and help. This is of course bullshit, but it is the price of fame. This is part of the reason famous people will do drugs, alcohol, weird religions and suicide. All because people out there demand attention. The more famous you are the more assholes you will attract. So early on, famous people learn to say no. Now fandom being what it is and has been, that "no" sometimes needs to be "fuck, no" or "can I get a fucking security guy here now!". Most of the complaints I see about Harlan are not reflections of Harlan, but of fans (and I would suggest the posters above might want to review what they have written in that light). I know Harlan is a passionate writer. He fights for writing and writers. He calls writers he admires and offers them advice. He opens his home to new writers and supports them while they develop their craft, simply because those people share the same passion for being great writers (many of these people you have never heard of, but they do write). Now most of us have not done this much to promote anything or even to help people in the way Harlan has. If you are lucky enough to be Harlan's friend, then you will certainly understand he is human and capable of hyperbole and subject to his passions, just as we all are. If you feel you must hate Harlan, well, you might want to review why you don't like him. Is it because he wouldn't stay at a signing the extra 2 hours it might take to get to you? And after you drove all that way. Did he not listen when you where explaining how he could write a sequel to "The Demon with a Glass Hand" and you could split the royalties. Perhaps he did not listen to your half-assed critique of his work (or worse yet, your reading someone else's half-assed critique to him). That Harlan cares passionately about writing and writers should be obvious. He is willing to fight like a rabid dog on angel dust against anyone who would attempt to compromise his ideals. For that I admire him. I feel as passionate about my children and wife and would do as much for them.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 11:21 a.m. CST

    Cheers for Lang the Cat!

    by Redbox

    Honestly, whether or not you all realize it, Lang has delicately put you in your place. ArcadianDS, I'll wager that professionally, you write sitcoms or monologue jokes. Before you mistakenly take that as a compliment, you should know that a) it isn't one and b) I know you really work at Arby's, I was only joking.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 11:29 a.m. CST

    critch...ronald reagan fought for residuals

    by bacci40

    that battle was fought out before you were born...if the internet is a new source of revenue (and it is) writers do deserve a share of that income source...not sure why that is such a hard concept to get

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 11:39 a.m. CST


    by Sithdan

    I notice during the closing credits James Cameron acknowledges "the works" of Harlin Ellison. So did Ellison play a part in creating the Terminator?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 11:49 a.m. CST


    by faison

    Instead of wasting what little time he has left on assinine alliteration, I challenge Ellison to send Harry a follow up with 2 things - What the actual deal was that he was so unhappy with and what he would have liked it to have been. Now THAT'S something I think we'd all be interested in.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 11:55 a.m. CST

    ElGringo thanks for being a tool to your

    by bacci40

    corporate masters...the same argument is used against raising the minimum wage and stopping illegal immigration...ya...lets make sure no one makes any money so we can still get cheap tvs and burgers...the wingnuts have brainwashed an entire generation

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 11:55 a.m. CST

    Re: Star Wars

    by SilentP

    It was an obscure Penny Arcade reference.<br> Don't worry guy who etc., I got it.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:03 p.m. CST

    Has he ever said a positive word about ANYTHING

    by CarmillaVonDoom

    Seems he only speaks up when he is pissy. I've been reading Harlan's stuff for over 20 years and I can't think of a single piece of his that isn't whining or taking someone to task. Does he actually *enjoy* anything in life?!?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:09 p.m. CST

    I've been waiting for a letter like this...

    by MemBirdman

    I'm on the outside looking in and I have yet to see what the new deal entailed. Somehow, it wouldn't surprise me that it was like he says above. Honestly, I'm waiting for Joss to post his thoughts on it at whedonesque.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:12 p.m. CST

    If he is such an excellent writer, how come he could not get his

    by DarfurOnTheRocks

    I am just wondering? Enough of the hero worship of this miserable man...

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:14 p.m. CST

    Ellison - The Old Faithful of bile

    by Shayde

    Just proves old people just argue about everything. He's Abe Simpson.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:22 p.m. CST

    The best thing about this article is I learned what opprobrium m

    by GimpInMyPants

    Nice word.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:24 p.m. CST


    by ArcadianDS

    However, I am happy to admit that I have nothing against Harlan Ellison's WORK when he was still a writer. But he retired from it and turned into an angry crank.<p> As for my job at Arbys, you KNOW how much I love my big beef and cheddar!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Harry can we get real review? or Well written piece.

    by Diagnostic

    I kinda agree with him just not with that language.<br>All the young unioners today are wimps.<br> When I was 9,I remember when the teamsters picketing the grocery stores in my area. My mom was afraid to go in. It's not like that anymore.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:34 p.m. CST

    Okay, so what would be a GOOD deal, Harlan?

    by Bot-Bot

    He says it's a shit deal but doesn't tell us what he wants. What percentage would be considered reasonable for him?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:44 p.m. CST

    Harlan, get the fuck back to work.

    by smackfu

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:51 p.m. CST

    Lost in all the hate is the fact that he's right

    by westwood13

    I was there. I'm a writer, I know the deal. It sucks. In the end, Verrone folded like a paper tiger and all the candy-asses who thought it would be fun to play strike for a while started to realize that strikes hurt people and decided to put their signs and costumes back in their closets and pat themselves on the back for a job well-done. So forgive Harlan a break if he's a little bitter -- again. We expect to be screwed by the AMPTP. We didn't expect to be screwed by our union as well.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:52 p.m. CST

    Ellison enjoying things

    by Sick Fixx

    He once gave a favorable review to a book called Eternity Road by Jack McDevitt on Sci-Fi Buzz, when he was a commentator on there. It was shocking to hear him devote an entire segment to something he enjoyed for a change. The next week, I think he bashed Tim Burton and Hot Pockets.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 12:58 p.m. CST


    by westwood13

    For starters, he's upset with the fact that the WGA dropped their demand for animation and reality jurisdiction and got nothing in return. (Similar to the way they dropped their demand for increased DVD residuals and got nothing in return.) Also, he obviously has a problem with the 17-day free window for streaming of ad-supported television. (A lot of people are pissed about this. I'm not one of them, but there are a lot.) I'm sure there's more, but he does in fact mention those two specific problems with the deal.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 1:15 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    Answer me honestly here, as I promise I'm not trying to goad you into a fight or be a malcontent or anything: do you really think it was going to get any better? <br> <br> Again, I don't want anything to think that this deal represents the level at which writers SHOULD be compensated. But after years and years and years of failing to make any inroads with the Producers...don't you think this is an acceptable first step? You were about to lose all your leverage with pilot season and the Oscars going away, you had used up most of your goodwill with the rest of the town (especially the BTLs that were really, really suffering through no fault of their own and who, for the most part, stuck by you without fail) and this deal, even though far from where you all WANT to be, was way, WAY better than most expected you to get. <br> <br> Why is it so hard for writers to see the big picture, that you hack away at the armor over many battles? Why did so many think that they had to have it ALL now? For Christ's sake, the Internet is not going to become the way to watch TV in the next three years. Study the data, learn how much more you COULD have made, and stand pat when you demand revamped residuals at the next negotiations. This is how business works! I'm stupefied that so many WGAers thought that they were going to get everything they dreamed of here. I think some mistakes were made (specifically withdrawing the DVD demands), but all in all this is a big step forward in a much larger fight. <br> <br> Why is that so hard to stomach? And I don't want to hear about what your Negotiators promised you - if they promised you the whole cow from the get-go and you believed it was possible to get it, it's your own fault for being ignorant (and I'm speaking of the WGA as a whole, not just you, westwood). As someone opposed to the deal, can you just explain your position a bit?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 1:39 p.m. CST

    I'm torn. Harlan's right...

    by GrantChastain

    ...but the way he chooses to voice that opinion is unconscionable. If he truly felt as strongly as he obviously does about the issue, then he should have banded together with other well-respected writers and attempted to sway others to their side of thinking. As it stands, he comes off like he nearly always does -- which is curmudgeonly. No question the man has written scads of well-respected works, and his opinion holds weight with others. But to bitch about the outcome after-the-fact while keeping your opinions largely quiet during the proceedings? Come on, Harlan -- you're better than that.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 1:40 p.m. CST

    Although he's talented,

    by Sick Fixx

    people shouldn't defend him so much. Anyone who would make friends walk on eggshells around him isn't a true friend.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:11 p.m. CST

    skywalkerfamily: "Harlan is..."

    by mbeemer

    "Harlan is a great writer, but as a person he needs some serious social skills."<p><p> Have you ever met the man? PERFECT gentleman, but he does not suffer fools. And he's old enough and been in the business long enough to know when people are being played.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:11 p.m. CST

    Sithdan - Terminator

    by mbeemer

    "I notice during the closing credits James Cameron acknowledges "the works" of Harlin Ellison. So did Ellison play a part in creating the Terminator?"<p><p> Read "I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream" and "Soldier". There are... some simularities.<p><p> Ellison sued and I believe one of the crew confirmed that Cameron stated that he used them as source material. They settled out of court for an undisclosed sum and the end credit.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:12 p.m. CST


    by FatherMcGruderKicksAssForTheLord

    So let's all move on, you can cry in your bottled water on your own time. <p> At one point I almost thought this was a worthwhile endeavor, but then I had to listen to WAY too many overly self-important typing monkeys whine over internet residuals, and then dislocate a shoulder patting themselves on the back for accomplishing what some soundbitten fuck had the audacity to refer to as (paraphrasing here) "the most important action in the labor movement in the last 50 years". <p> REALLY???+

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:26 p.m. CST

    I'd be scared to meet Harlan

    by skywalkerfamily

    He'd probably beat me up for looking at him.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:35 p.m. CST

    arcadian Ds, funny shit.

    by Tourist

    Lang the cat, you make it sound like hes subjected to endless fame worship hassles. Hes famous among some genre fans. Which makes him as famous as Paris Hiltons dog. He also a pretty good writer, but hardly a fucking Thomas Pynchon. By the way, I agree with what he said and his tone. The writers and the associated actors just came across as attention seeking whores who desperately wanted to look like they were Bound For Glory extras. Dicks.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:37 p.m. CST

    Mr. Winston:

    by westwood13

    I think you make a good point. The problem is that the history of this industry makes it pretty clear that you don't get anything in this town without a bloody fight. You (and others) mention that this is a first step. The reality is that the companies that the unions are negotiating with are too huge to move faced with anything less than catastrophe. Which the WGA wasn't ready to deliver. Look at home video. Twenty years ago, the "new media" was VHS and studios said, "Hey, take this tiny percentage of VHS profits so that we can grow the market and then we'll increase your residuals in the next contract. We PROMISE." Never happened. DVDs come along. Despite the fact that the home video market was booming, DVD residuals were set at the VHS rate and have never increased. Cable residuals: set and never increased. So the argument that this is a "first step" doesn't hold much water anymore. The VHS deal was a "first step" 20 years ago. We're still waiting for the second step. I'm not holding my breath.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:47 p.m. CST

    One other thing, Winston...

    by westwood13

    I'm not as hardcore about this as I've probably come across. I think the deal is a tepid, weak-sauce capitulation, but I could have been happy with it... except for the fact that we went on strike to get it. The WGA could have started early negotiations back in January of 2007 and talked there way to this point without going on strike. So my disappointment doesn't so much stem from the deal itself, but from what was sacrificed in order to get it. My feeling is that if you're going to call for a strike, what you get had better be worth it. And this, imo, was not worth it.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 2:57 p.m. CST

    Fame Hassles

    by Lang The Cat

    I will say almost every time I have met Harlan, it has been in a place where he would be recognised, conventions and bookstores, mainly. Almost every time he has received one of those questions that make you as the observer roll your eyes at the stupidity of the questioner. Now does that mean he cannot walk down Ventura Blvd. without being harrassed? No, because you never hear about him on the news kicking someone's ass or seeing a video of it. But any reasonable person, at some point will blow up in public and tell the offending party how little they think of him. I know I would not be anywhere near as gracious as some celebs with the general public making demands of me. I deal with the general public daily and I work hard at dealing with all the impersonal shit that comes my way. To have strangers come up and dump shit personally directed at me would probably send me racing for the nearest clock tower with boxes of ammo and my favorite Dick Cheney poster. Sartre said Hell is other people (though strangely no one compares him to Harlan) and that is correct. I like most of the people I meet, but because I do not control who I do business with, I occassionally deal with people who might easily be reincarnated lawyers, producers and agents. I know on very rare occasion I have thrown people out of my office and refused to deal with them outside of email until our business is done and then refused to allow them to return afterwards. Imagine dealing with those people and NOT making money for it.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:03 p.m. CST

    He might be right

    by luis1210

    But he didn't give me a single reason to agree with him.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:24 p.m. CST

    Harlan is the man!!!! This time he says it like it is

    by Proman1984


  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:27 p.m. CST

    Hello. I am Harlan Ellison.

    by Meglos

    And I am suing all of you whippersnappers for defamation of character.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:33 p.m. CST

    Screw the writers .. they produce mostly shit anyway ...

    by Luscious.868

    They should be paid minimum wage .. and if you believe I'm serious ... I've got some great land in New Orleans to sell you!

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 3:45 p.m. CST

    I Have A Mouth, And I Must Scream

    by Moonwatcher

    Love him or hate him, you can't ignore the guy. He's been around enough to know a little about everything, and if you want to dismiss him, you better be well-armed. And yeah, I'd be afraid to meet him, too.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:15 p.m. CST

    Harlan could kick your ass and take your Wheaties

    by skywalkerfamily

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:26 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    Your point is taken and taken well, but don't you think the root of the problem is that this is only the SECOND time in twenty years that the writers have really bothered to put their collective foot down? This IS A good first step, but you're right - it's a step that should have been taken long, long ago. <br> <br> Hindsight being 20/20, though, you have to look at this and say that if the writers show resolve and are willing to strike again if they're getting fucked on residuals (both for streaming and DVDs), the Producers will have to recognize their leverage - even if it comes in the off-season. Even if they have to strike for SIX months next time to get what they want. If you're a writer and you want to blame this deal on the fact that the WGA has been completely nutless up to this point, I'd be hard-pressed to disagree with you. But based on the history here you have to say that they got more than they ever did before. Now getting what they deserve is going to take an actual commitment to fighting, a kind of resolve they haven't showed before. <br> <br> In the end, I'm mostly with you. It's by no means a great deal, but I think tepid might be pushing it a little. If they're not willing to back up this strike in three years, however, THEN it'll all have been for nothing.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:35 p.m. CST

    My new insult

    by holidill

    My new insult to people who piss me off. "Pus-Sucking Dipthong" Harlan's whole letter made me laugh out loud, I thought it was hilarious.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 4:54 p.m. CST


    by westwood13

    Trust me, it's been for nothing. There's not going to be another strike. We've shown the town that we'll fold like a house of cards the moment things get uncomfortable or people start saying mean things about us. Nobody will take another WGA strike seriously. The smart people didn't take this one seriously. I was not one of the smart ones, unfortunately. As for the deal, tepid is being kind, imo. All it does is establish that writers get residuals for re-use in new media. That's not a victory of any kind. There are residuals for EVERY kind of re-use. Internet residuals are the absolute least that should have been on the table to begin with. But what the AMPTP did so well was change the playing field. They lowered expectations to the point that people started to think maybe we didn't deserve internet residuals and so therefore anything gained in that arena could be viewed as a victory. Which is ridiculous. It's like asking for a raise and your boss saying that instead of giving you a raise, he'll kick you in the nuts. Then, after months of haggling, he offers a compromise: he won't kick you in the nuts, but you won't get your raise either. And then if you're Patric Verrone, you leave happy and tell all your friends how you stuck it to the man.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:08 p.m. CST

    He doesnt get it

    by Rand92

    One thing the writers (and the studios) don't ever seem to get is that we the viewers of their product pay their salaries. Harlan (or any other egomaniac writer out their) can bitch till they are blue in the face. If they don't work then we're going to find our entertainment elsewhere. By "we" I mean the average movie-goer. I am sure the die-hard film and tv scholars will continue to watch their product regardless. The rest of us pay a cable bill or buy a movie ticket to be entertained. Both mediums overcharge anyway so there will be little hesitation about going elsewhere. Now where are you going to get the money you feel is owed to you, Harlan? As a consumer I didnt give a shit which side won out. They both make too much money as it is. I want to be entertained and if they wont do it, I'll go someplace else.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:13 p.m. CST

    I thought he was dead.

    by rsswope

    Or was that Don Pardo?

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:16 p.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    We'll have to agree to disagree on this. I've studied the proposed contract carefully and I think that this particular go-round saw lower gains in the areas you're speaking of because, like I said, this is the first time the Writers showed balls. You say, "there's not going to be another strike," and to that I say, "Why not?" If you see this strike as getting (more or less) nothing, what have you got to lose by striking again? I think this is far less about a bad contract and far more about Writers not taking their own cause to task in the past. You have to start somewhere. All labor negotiations are like this. You think UAW would have the power they wield if they didn't take some lumps and keep standing their ground? The Writers got here by letting Big Money walk all over them in the past. I have to agree with the prevailing opinion that they made a big stand here. If they end up getting bowled over again you can blame that on a lack or perseverance, not this being a bad contract. <br> <br> I think to expect more than what they got, honestly, is just ridiculous based on the road they've blazed for themselves to get here. You don't get to suck shit and suck shit and suck shit and never do anything about it and then hope the whole thing's going to be solved the first time you stand up for yourself.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:17 p.m. CST

    Like the Record Companies?

    by Lang The Cat

    At some point in the future, technology will allow the writer to fill all of the roles in Hollywood and distribution will be the major concern. Just like musicians can release music to sharing sites and screw the record companies, someday the writer/actor/director will be able to release product without the middleman. My bet is within the next 20 years (perhaps within the next 15). If the WGA cannot find the cajones to stand up and trade some serious punches, then technology may free writers from the tyranny of the studios. However, you also will not find a major paycheck in the mail as a independent artist, you will spend a larger amount of your time on self promotion, and you won't be invited to parties with beautiful actresses unless you throw them.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:21 p.m. CST

    Who cares? As long as the lazy fucks are back at work

    by Spoiler_Man

    Now get to writing some episodes of 24.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:28 p.m. CST

    The question is: is he right?

    by Jack Parsons

    All this ad hominem crap aside (if you hate Harry so fucking much, what are you doing here, besides masturbating?) the question is whether Harlan is right. He is. As for those of you who want writers to stop being writers because corporations deserve whatever they can steal, you Republicans really, REALLY need to lose your trust funds and experience some poverty, much less work at a Burger King because you think that labor should be peons to the great and good Lord Corporation. Listen: corporations are government critters, not noble beasts of the savannah. They are parasites, not lions. NOW. Did the writers give up future revenues? Yep. Dump animation etc. guys to the curb? Yep. Were they pussies? Yep. Real labor strikes were exercises in poverty and beatings -- thousands died at Pinkerton hands, some dragged from their families and hanged in the name of Capitalism. Sometimes, just to honor those real men/women who died for you - REALLY died and impoverished themselves for you to be paid more than a dollar an hour -- you have to strike and strike until finally the enemy's heart fails. This was not done, and Harlan, good old Harlan, was right. It's not okay to be only orally raped. The idea is not to be raped at all. Two out of three IS bad.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:31 p.m. CST


    by westwood13

    The result of the '88 strike was that we accepted the horrible VHS formula. The result of the '07/'08 strike was that we accepted promotional windows, flat-rate residuals ($1600 for a year of unlimited streaming, for instance), and the premise that residuals are a privelage instead of a right. You're right: it is ridiculous to think that we could have gotten more without serious sacrifice. But I think the legacy of this strike is that we're not willing to make those sacrifices. Hopefully I'll be proven wrong.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 5:44 p.m. CST

    Jack Parsons:

    by Mr. Winston

    Where the hell were all the others like Harlan when the Writers went through several contracts when they were, as he's stated, getting reamed over Home Video residuals? If this has been such a big deal for such a long time, then why didn't all these pissed off people convince their colleagues of how right they were? <br> <br> This is the same as the debate as I'm having with westwood13. You're 100% right that the WGA didn't know what the hell a real strike was until this year. But this strike worked in that they started to lay down a path for future fights. <br> <br> There was so little they could gain in this strike because they had NOTHING to work with from past negotiations. Nothing. Next time, they'll have something. Plus you have to understand the tremendous pressure that they faced because of the tens of thousands of BTLers who were getting plowed over in this debacle. It's not the most important point of the strike ending, but it's certainly a cog in the machine. <br> <br> And let's get something really, really clear here: if you work as a writer in Hollywood in any capacity, you are getting PAID - minimum $3,000/wk for a TV show. Does that mean that because you make six figures you don't deserve your residuals? Absolutely not, not in a million years. But this isn't like an auto worker fighting to get an extra couple of dollars an hour that's going to legitimately help them survive. At the end of the day, writers will go back to work and prosper, but this negotiation wasn't a matter of life or death like many labor struggles are. And if you AREN'T making a living as a constantly-working writer, you're doing (or should be doing) something else in the interim until you either find a way to work full-time or give in to another career. Either way, the residuals being fought over for them are ancillary considerations at best. At the end of the day, the people who are truly "affected" by this strike and this contract are - all things considered - considerably well-off. That doesn't mean you stop fighting for the money you do truly deserve, but it also doesn't mean that this deal cripples any writers out there who are struggling to get by. That's not an excuse, but it makes the point that this contract isn't an all-out disaster, especially when you consider precedent.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 6 p.m. CST

    Harlan Ellison

    by Bon Ecrivain

    First off, I've met Harlan. He is a brilliant raconteur and is just plain wonderful to talk with. If any of you actually communicate with him, please tell him to write a book about his experiences as a young man in the 1960's New York jazz scene. He told us a story about Mingus and Roland Kirk performing that is way cool. Secondly, just a thought for any legal gunslingers out there...why doesn't the WGA hire a lawyer with big subpoenas and sue AMPTAS over the residuals agreement for the fact that it uses outdated guidelines for its guideposts? VHS is archaic and dead, so wouldn't that logically void any previous stipulations? Lastly, I find it ironic and just a little bit sad that Patric Verrone would abandon the animation writers when that is how he made his bones in this business. Just a thought or two...

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 6:34 p.m. CST

    That was cute...

    by RetroActive

    "I voted no. But I'll collect my checks because I'm a team player!" I don't have one ounce of pity for any of you. You're all greedy. Get back to work or quit. My guess is, you'll get back to work...

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 7:02 p.m. CST

    The only question is...

    by otm shank

    Was this strike, like any strike, worth the settlement that was received? If the answer is yes...fine. If the answer is no, then it was a failure and a waste of time. So far people seem to be leaning towards no. That's a shame. As it should have been handled better.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 7:35 p.m. CST

    Strike and non-writers

    by Lang The Cat

    Hey, I am not a writer, but I have worked with a few and several artists and I too often have seen people be dismissive of the work being done. I do feel the writers should have a better deal (if you were an artist and your work appeared on postcards, shouldn't you get paid?). I cannot admire those who choose personal comfort over justice, but I can understand it. It is much easier to write heroes than to be one. Being a hero is a tough road with very little appreciation until after the fact. Much like anyone who sees things differently and follows a different path, you know, like writers.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 8:01 p.m. CST

    otm shank

    by Mr. Winston

    It should have been handled better, but out of more than 4,000 votes, only 283 WGA members voted against it. Now that's not to say that many who voted "Yes" weren't disappointed with the deal - more than a few were - but it was accepted by a VAST majority and, outside of a small faction of (I believe unjustly) pissed off writers, it's been hailed largely as a pretty big success.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:19 p.m. CST

    When Harlan raises this much of a stink

    by ewokstew

    when he's alive, I can't wait to be here on the day when Harry posts that "Harlan Ellison is dead". Some serious poo poo kaka is gonna fly then.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:35 p.m. CST

    Does Harlan still obsess over the guy who ...

    by wash

    threw eggs on his door? I bet he does.

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 10:58 p.m. CST

    Mr. Winston

    by bacci40

    there are over 10,000 wga members...seems to me that a bunch just stayed home...if the settlement was so good, all would have voted...seems to me that the wga better be worried when this contract lapses in three years...this may have meant the death knell for the union

  • Feb. 15, 2008, 11:56 p.m. CST


    by Sick Fixx

    Well, even if the writers are getting screwed, and I don't exactly feel sorry for them, maybe they'll get a better deal out of the American government come May when they get their share of the Economic Stimulus Package.

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 12:03 a.m. CST

    Still the Whiny Little Bitch, Isn't He?

    by msspurlock

    Well, vitriol is the only thing he writes of any merit, so good for him. As for the Hollywood writers who gave up Bionic Woman scripts so bad they reeked of cheese and all the other sick they've spit up on us over the years, like Leno's "jokes," I say this: If you had any talent, you'd deserve better, but you don't, so don't expect better. I wish you'd stayed out forever. Computers could write better than you all and I often suspect they are doing so.

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 12:08 a.m. CST


    by Mr. Winston

    First of all, you may be right about the death knell of the WGA - it's a relatively weak organization, historically, and it may end up collapsing. They didn't seem to have the structure or savvy to compete in these situations before, and if they drop the ball in three years, it might well be over for them. But consider that thousands of WGA members don't actually work productively at any given moment. In fact, probably most of the membership doesn't hold a steady job. Therefore, as I pointed out earlier, most of them aren't really affected one way or another by a new contract, no matter what the terms are. The people who cared to vote and had something at stake did, and they overwhelmingly approved the deal. If you talked to anyone who was at the meetings post-agreement you'll find that there were certainly dissenters but that they were in a severe minority.

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 12:31 a.m. CST

    Ellison is just mad....

    by lynxpro

    Ellison is just mad because L. Ron Hubbard got mega rich off creating a crazy ass cult and stealing money from the gullible while Ellison continued writing pulp stories and banked on suing more successful people. It probably eats away at him that mega rich doofi like Tom Cruise worships Hubbard and not him.

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 12:32 a.m. CST


    by lynxpro

    How many people have checked out Jerry O'Connell's spoof of the crazy Tom Cruise video over at funnyordie(dotcom)? Gawd, O'Connell is better in that spoof than he ever was on "Sliders".

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 1:56 a.m. CST

    What a whiner

    by Freakemovie

    You think it's such a shit deal, try DOING something about it. Before you piss all over your peers suggest an alternative - how was the WGA supposed to get a better deal? Under the circumstances they did the best they could, and as it stands, the deal isn't great but is significantly better than it was.

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 6:56 a.m. CST

    big crybaby.

    by Cotton McKnight

    Thanks for ruining my tv season with your stupid strike (oh yeah and putting a bunch of fine crewmembers out of work), you overpaid whiny dork.

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 1:28 p.m. CST

    I'd rather have a moral asshole than a charming quisling.

    by lettersoftransit

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 7:32 p.m. CST

    OK, now Ellison's making up words now? "opprobrium"? "festschrif

    by MrMysteryGuest

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 7:37 p.m. CST

    If Ellison doesn't like the deal, then he should keep striking!

    by MrMysteryGuest

    He'll be the only one out there, while everyone's back at work! Sucker!

  • Feb. 16, 2008, 7:57 p.m. CST

    Harlan Ellison bio film...

    by lynxpro

    James Woods all the way.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 4:41 a.m. CST

    Everyone I know in the Guild...

    by halsolo

    ... has pretty much said "This is not the deal we went on strike for. If we knew that we were getting this, we never would have voted to strike." Say what you want about the man, but he's a legend, and probably one of the only people who can speak out about this. If JJ Abrams, Akiva Goldsman or any other "big studio" writers spoke out against the deal, it may mean something more than the firey old ass, but you know what, they're all going to be fine, and its the small folks who are just trying to write their scripts and now "late" rewrites in between working full time jobs to pay the bills that are going to get screwed the hardest. Ellison has been in the trenches, the man wrote fantastic short stories as well as screenplays. So if anyone can relate to the average writer's situation, its him. Strangely, before seeing this article tonight I just watched "Demon With a Glass Hand" for the first time. The man knows how to write sincere ballsy odd sci-fi, and never compromised his work. Its always got that bizarre edge to it that keeps it unique. Nice to see he's got some piss and vinegar left in the old bones.

  • Feb. 17, 2008, 4:49 a.m. CST

    Damn, Sledgehammer...

    by halsolo

    " the real world most of us don't get everything we want, so we have to settle for what we can live with." You sound like a beaten man. Its sad that our generation pretty much accepts that attitude - the curse of the fucking Baby Boomers. Its never a matter of settling with what you can live with - its making the most of what you have. Otherwise, you're never striving for anything truly great. I mean, Cameron probably didn't rip off Ellison wholesale for Terminator, but the elements are similar if you've seen Outer Limits and read any amount of pulps, and I think Harlan basically didn't want to let sci-fi become derivative pulp with large scale action scenes to fill what once was inhabited by ideas and characters. Look what sci-fi has become now - exactly that. I mean, I AM LEGEND should have been the novella as a movie, and it would have been PERFECT. All they had to do was take Matheson's work, put the action scenes in there, and BAM, done, perfect. Instead everything interesting was culled. We need more Ellisons, less Akivas. If the price to pay for creativity in our media is some anger, so be it. I like old assholes who put up a fight more than complacent tools anyday.

  • Feb. 19, 2008, 11:48 a.m. CST

    you silly creepy thin monkey

    by Schih Thayde

    Why do you have such a passionate opinion about writing when even basic reading skills elude your mastery?

  • Feb. 21, 2008, 11:42 a.m. CST


    by mbeemer

    Dunno about that one, but he did take people to task for selling T-shirts at a con where he was guest of honor, celebrating "50 Short Years of Harlan Ellison". His beef was that they were making money by mocking his height, which he has no control over.

  • March 6, 2010, 10:12 a.m. CST


    by orcus

    Really. Damn. Orcus would be pissed to. Still does not stop it from being funny though. And Fuck you QcoIQh