In recent days, a spirited response to the WGA contract, purportedly by WGA member and science fiction legend Harlan Ellison, has been making its way around the Internet. In a phone conversation this morning, Mr. Ellison confirmed he wrote it. "Yes, I got a little angry," he chuckled. "A friend said, 'If Ellison wants to convince people, he should speak more kindly. You catch more flies with honey.' To which I responded, 'I'm not in the fly-catching business, I'm in the writing better than anybody in the fucking world business.'" Ellison was surprised to hear that his thoughts on the deal were being reposted and forwarded around the Internet. "I'm not a big fan of the Internet." In the interest of airing diverse (and colorfully worded) opinions, we bring it to you here. -JACreds: 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
Photo: Chris Cuffaro via HarlanEllison.com