TALES FROM TINSELTOWN: Please show your support for our coddled, overpaid actors

Serious PR problems are undermining the striking members of the commercial Screen Actors Guild.

Serious PR problems are undermining the striking members of the commercial Screen Actors Guild.

Serious PR problems are undermining the striking members of the

commercial Screen Actors Guild.

When I think of strikes, I think of coal miners with hard, weathered

faces. Often they hold children in their arms on the picket line -

which, in terms of eliciting widespread support for their cause, is

incredibly effective.

You see, strikers must look like they have difficult, thankless work

that pays less than it should. The effective picketer should make us

think, ’Thank God I don’t have that job. Damn glad someone’s doing it,

though.’ Janitors had that going for them during their recent Los

Angeles strike.

Actors do not.

To begin with, the word ’strike’ is associated with the word ’labor.’

Which is associated with lifting heavy objects, tool belts or other

things that result in the buildup of grime (politics excepted). ’Labor’

is not associated with stepping out of an air-conditioned trailer to

utter, ’Thanks to very pricey medication, my headache is gone and I can

resume the exciting, rewarding life you wish you had.’

Also, a strike must cause serious public inconvenience. Again, like the

janitors’ strike, or a work stoppage by bus drivers, trash haulers,

short-order cooks or, in Hollywood, hair colorists. Little distress

would result from fewer TV commercials being made, or if they were made

using animation, graphics or stick drawings instead of human actors.

I like human actors. I work closely with them and admire their energy,

courage in revealing raw emotion and ability to maintain concentration

during 17-hour days. Of course, as an absent-minded daydreamer, I’m awed

by people who can remember what they had for dinner and what day it


Still, I feel little sympathy for people dissatisfied with well-paying

gigs that do not involve saving lives, placing their own lives or health

in danger or benefiting society in a larger sense than telling us in

30-second spots that ’our stock portfolio might not be earning all it

could.’ This includes athletes, CEOs and those millionaires selling

oranges at major intersections.

SAG wants residuals each time a member’s ad airs, which sets a dangerous

precedent. What if authors demand residuals when someone reads their

books at the library? Or if my friends expect repayment every time I

borrow money from them?

The guild’s PR department is in for an uphill battle. If the strike

persists, it will not help their cause if unemployed members hold signs

reading, ’Will plug for food.’ Or if advertisers begin plucking pitchmen

off the street, and you turn on the set to hear ’I’m not an actor, but I

play one on TV.’

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