I catch a lot of crap in here, and a lot of it is either unfounded, misdirected or just plain nuts.
But not this time.
If I weren’t me, and I read the L.A. Times article that came out yesterday, I’d be pretty annoyed.
Actually, I am me, and I’m pretty annoyed.
When I talk to the media, it’s for a purpose. I’m trying to do whatever I can to get my union to do a better job of getting us a deal on New Media. That’s all I care about. You may disagree with both my purpose and my execution, but like I said…it’s my union too, and I’m doing what I feel is necessary.
My purpose is not to simply run down the leadership. When I speak to the media, as I did on KPCC the other day, I try as best as I can to balance the message. Any criticism I have of the leadership is directed in such a way as to say, “I wish they would really do X, because I think it’s X that is going to help writers the most.”
When I spoke to Claudia Eller, her intent was to do an article alleging a possible growing splinter movement within the Guild.
While it’s true that I know many writers who share both my concerns about our current situation, they also all share my committment to trying to get a good deal. No one wants to roll over, no one wants to cave, and no one wants to give away our future. When I said I would strike to the death if they never moved off their separated rights rollbacks and profit-based residuals baloney, I meant it.
She asked for names, and I refused to give any. She asked if there was some kind of movement, and I denied that there was…because hey, guess what? There ain’t.
There isn’t anything like a Union Blues right now, and thank God. When there’s no deal on the table and no specificity to even argue over, the thought of some kind of formal pressure group should give us all hives.
Sooooo…while I have no problem reiterating my essential thesis, which is that New Media is the only thing that matters right now and our union should drop its valueless bargaining chips in order to get to the meat of the issue, I insisted to Claudia that she also print my larger point, which was that this was no time for splinter groups in our union.
She promised to do that.
So, I got screwed here. I’m not the first guy to get screwed, but it’s very disappointing, and because the article was full of comments by dissenting writers who didn’t give their names, the whole thing sounds like I’m leading or involved in some kind of Union Blues movement…or giving tacit approval of one…and I will never do anything like that.
And so I apologize. Frankly, my spidey sense was tingling on this one, and I should have just hung up the damned phone. I didn’t, I was stupid, I hate the way that article portrayed my feelings on this subject, and I apologize to anyone who read it.
I know some of you think I’m an attention whore who loves being in the paper. Trust me, I’m not. It’s actually very upsetting to read a lot of the things that are said in here about me, because I don’t like being called a coward, a sell-out, a stooge, a jerk, “I’ll see you (punch you in the face) on the line,” etc. Not much fun, ya know? Usually, I get over it pretty quickly, because I’m not a coward (well, maybe I am a little bit, but walking against the wind on this one is one of the braver things I’ve ever done), I’m not a sell-out, I’m not a stooge, and…
…well, okay, I’m a jerk, but nobody’s perfect.
This time, however, I have to tell you…none of you were sicker than I was after reading that. I wanted to make a point about what kind of dissent is defensible and what kind isn’t…and instead, I got used.
Yes, this time I’m perfectly willing to say that I got used.
It’s one thing when the AMPTP decides to make oblique, distorted references to what I write. I’m on record here about the AMPTP. Anyone can come and hear my true opinions about their lying, greedy, manipulative, exploitative ways.
It’s another thing when I’m selectively quoted…particularly when I was promised I wouldn’t be.
So once I finish my Dust Up obligation (in which I’m fairly in line with leadership anyway), I’m done with discussing this topic with the media. All of it. Papers, radio, semaphore…morse code. Go ahead, break out the champagne.
If someone wants to interview me about my thoughts on steroids in baseball, I’m still available.
But in the meantime, for anyone who felt that article crossed a line, I agree, and I apologize. It was a misrepresentation, and I feel terrible about it. I acknowledge that readership comes with certain responsibilities, and I failed this time.
There won’t even be an opportunity for it to happen again.