TORONTO — Coming on the heels of the Writers Guild of America strike, several bloggers are taking up the picket line in a sympathy motion.
The first and possibly only bloggers to strike in solidarity with the WGA are three women who write for the small, TV-based website Boob Tube: Mean girls, idiot box.
“I was set to post a pretty scathing send up of the third episode of Ghost Whisperer, but then the strike happened and we decided to lay down our writing implements,” blogger Tanis said from a Toronto Tim Hortons, where she and fellow blogger Jess met to discuss the strike, visit the Lush store and make up funny signs to wear during their planned picket line.
“Part of it is solidarity, but in all honesty, the other part is laziness,” Jess said while drafting a protest sign in response to one Lost writer Carlton Cuse was seen carrying on the picket line. “Do you want to know what the Island is?” his sign reads, referring to the ABC show’s mysterious island where plane crash survivors found, among other things, a polar bear, a smoke monster and numerous mysterious hatches. “No,” reads Jess’s sign. “Because it’s probably something dumb.”“It’s sad, really,” she continued. “I don’t think anybody wants us to stop writing our posts. If the strike continues for long, it will mean no Lost. And without Lost, the Internet-surfing public will be without our sharp commentary about exactly when Lost started sucking. Nobody wants that. Nobody.”
“It was episode 2, in case anybody was wondering,” Tanis said.
Boob Tube’s third main blogger, Salome, did not return calls made to her Alabama manse by press time. But the others seemed sure of her loyalties.
“Salome is a Boob Tube blogger and she will not cross a Boob Tube picket line,” Tanis said. “She is a proud mean girl and she believes passionately in the power of the idiot box. Look at her commitment to the belief that Cavemen is good. There’s nothing she won’t sacrifice in the name of comedy. Including her dignity.”
Meanwhile, the Internet was buzzing with the latest gossip from the Hollywood picket lines. Videos of Jay Leno desperately feeding striking writers Krispy Kreme donuts and Grey’s Anatomy star, Sandra Oh walking the picket line were available on youtube, while the co-stars and writers of NBC’s The Office made a particularly ironic video underlining the main issue the WGA has with major studios: Writers are not being paid for material written for the Internet and posted to the Internet for purchase. The studio executives, who have all declined to be named, say the technology is too new to determine its true worth. Better, they say, the studios rake in the cash and keep it all than find a way to portion it out to those who actually deserve it.
The strike has prompted fans on sites such as Livejournal’s Ohnotheydidn’t! community to stage their own “strikes.” TV fans are switching off, refusing to turn on their TV sets or download any television online “until the strikers win.”
The women of Boob Tube said such motions are unnecessary.
“The thing is, writers aren’t being paid whether I download or not. They’re not being paid if I go out and buy the entire DVD box set of Deadwood either,” Tanis said. “So I might as well download it and watch guilt-free.”
Said blogger Jess, “I am not going to stop watching Mandarin subtitled X-Files bootlegs.”
They also scoffed at fans who were planning on sending pencils to studio heads to show their support for striking WGA writers.
“Pencils?” Jess asked. “How about sending them a fat sack of nothing?”
“I think we should send them a sack of something,” Tanis said. “Like, a sack of balls.”
The two women then dissolved into giggles, presumably at their own cleverness.
“But seriously,” Jess said, wiping away tears. “Did you know Heroes fans are apparently sending paper cranes to NBC?”
Tanis appeared confused by this news. “So, like, two people are frantically folding paper cranes then?” she asked. “Everybody hates that show suddenly. I don’t really get it. It’s not like it’s Ghost Whisperer bad. It’s not even Lost bad.”
“It just reminds me of that story about that girl who tried to fold 1,000 cranes so she wouldn’t die,” Jess said. “Then, she totes died.”
A press release from Salome’s camp read simply “Studios love balls and Cavemen is the bomb. You just don’t know it like I know it.”
One TV executive, who refused to be named, expressed doubt that a sympathy strike by three bloggers for a small, unknown website would mean much in the grand scheme of things.
“I don’t know what all this Interwebs fuss is about. We will still produce quality reality TV programming,” said the executive. “They can review that.”
The Boob Tube bloggers responded that reviewing shows such as “Pussycat Dolls: The Search for the next person who won’t actually be in our act” hardly presented much of a challenge. They vowed to continue their strike until the WGA’s labour issues were resolved.
“When the writers of our favourite shows are finally paid what they are worth, we will happily go back to our unpaid gushing,” Tanis said. “When the people who write the words that make David Caruso’s Horatio Caine sound like such a pompous douche return to the job, we will return to our regularly scheduled hateration.”