Hawking Up Hairballs

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Harlan Ellison

The writer Harlan Ellison is pretty much a hack, but he is an outsized personality. As one example of that fact, consider this. He once flew from LA to New York just to punch out some guy who had unsuccessfully hit on his girl friend decades before. And Ellison is only five-four. Well, he's apparently suing Paramount and the Writers' Guild West over some script he wrote for the Star Trek TV show. I don't know much about the merits of the suit itself, nor do I much care, but this rant of his is wonderful, so I had to reproduce it here.

"And please make sure to remember, at the moment some Studio mouthpiece calls me a mooch, and says I'm only pursuing this legal retribution to get into their 'deep pockets,' tell'm Ellison snarled back, 'Fuckin'-A damn skippy!' I'm no hypocrite. It ain't about the 'principle,' friend, its about the MONEY! Pay Me! Am I doing this for other writers, for Mom (still dead), and apple pie? Hell no! I'm doing it for the 35-year-long disrespect and the money!

"The arrogance, the pompous dismissive imperial manner of those who 'have more important things to worry about,' who'll have their assistant get back to you, who don't actually read or create, who merely 'take' meetings, and shuffle papers -- much of which is paper money denied to those who actually did the manual labor of creating those dreams -- they refuse even to notice...until you jam a Federal lawsuit in their eye. To hell with all that obfuscation and phony flag-waving: they got my money. Pay me and pay off all the other writers from whom you've made hundreds of thousands of millions of dollars..from OUR labors..just so you can float your fat asses in warm Bahamian waters.

"The Trek fans who know my City screenplay understand just exactly why I'm bare-fangs-of-Adamantium about this.

"They maintain fortresses staffed and insulated with corporate and legal Black Legions whose ability to speak fluent bullshit is the ramadoola of gyrating, gibbering numbers via which they cling to every dollar. And when you aren't getting paid for the marvels you helped bring forth -- fine, hard, careful artifacts that are making others pig-rich -- at some point any sane person knows he has three, and only three choices: the first is to sit around dinner parties and ceaselessly whine over your sushi about how they screwed you, boo hoo, but you can't beef about it Out There in the World or they'll blacklist you; the second is to pick up an Uzi somewhere, crash your SUV through a Studio gate, and just run amok; and the third, last, choice is this one -- to act like an adult, to take 'em on in Federal Court and to make the greedy, amoral bastards blink blood out of their eyes. What they do is tantamount to common street-thug robbery...just add the pig-rich Madoff-style smoothyguts attorneys.

"And I learned today that the Actors Guild is having to fight, right now, just to maintain the very concept of residuals as part of their agreement with the Producers. So I am happy as a centipede-with-track-shoes that this infamous behavior, arrogantly ignored for too damned long, is timed to call attention to the degree to which the creative cadres in this business are getting parboiled and served up in a dog-dish! The part of this imbroglio that truly dismays me, is that my once-tough, beloved Guild -- my UNION -- that got massively screwed when it let the Alliance scare the slacker-gen dolts into thinking not losing a job meant 'just bend over and grin,' -- if one's own damn Guild won't help you, – when you've entreated them for months -- then hell, you've got no choice but to raise the skull and crossbones, hone the edge of your demon attorney, and just start cutting off noggins and nuts.

"Cowardice is like parrot fever in this town; I think there are writers and other artists who revel in being bitch-slapped, in being pilfered on a regular basis, as if they were artistic trailer-trash! And if the WGAw isn't going to watch my back -- and I've been their loyal hit-man, pit bull, and go-to guy for 47 years -- I dread the possibility that the timorous Guild won't raise the bloody axe for other artists, writers, actors...saner and less pissed-off than I. So you can tell 'em I'm coming!"


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the goddamned H-O-L-L-Y-W-O-O-D sign should be torn off that scrub-brush sad-ass excuse hor a hill in southern California and this entire rant should be erected in its place in fine white marble.

W in PDX

12:35 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home