Posted by: raoulfelder | November 6, 2007

Thoughts On the Writers Guild Strike

            The Writers Guild is about to go on strike and the networks shamelessly announced that this would immediately affect the evening talk shows and daytime soap operas by forcing re-runs to be substituted for their usual fare.  There was not a hint of embarrassment in this announcement.  Is it then admitted that we are left with television notables who cannot even carry on quasi-coherent conversation and actors who cannot improvise the subnormal discourse with other actors intended for the IQ challenged viewers addicted to TV’s daily inanities.

            Ghost  writers have become a recognized occupation beginning with  our Presidents down to our comedian (which, in some cases, might be the same).

            The role of  Ghost Writers first became memorialized in our political culture with FDR.  He utilized, among others, the services of Sam Rosenmund, a New York Judge, who Roosevelt brought with him when he moved from Governor to President.  But Roosevelt heavily edited the speeches written for him thereby molding it to his personality.  His “Day of Infamy Speech” – indeed that very phrase – was basically his alone.

            As time passed, the creative role of the President in writing his speeches became less and less, finally arriving at the point where he basically became an announcer.  Not only was it generally acknowledged Peggy Noonan was the author of Reagan’s Pont du Hoc speech but she wrote a book about it, explaining in exquisite detail how she crafted the speech.  Bottom line:  Reagan, the great communicator, was basically an announcer.  Can anyone imagine Lincoln hiring a speech writer to write the Gettysburg Address?  From there it goes downhill. Mere mortals who have a ghost write a book for them, usually have the decency to put “as told to,” or “with” etc. under the author’s name.  But not politicians.  Hillary Clinton’s best seller “It Takes A Village,” did not list any other writer except herself even though it was generally acknowledged that it was ghost written.  And, of course, the joke was that Kennedys’ “Profiles In Courage,”  was the first book written by a ghost writer to win a Pulitzer Prize.

            Now, can anybody imagine George Carlin or Jackie Mason not being able to carry on a conversation without somebody holding up cue cards?
 
            Maybe the strike is a good thing.  At least the public will discover that the Emperor has no clothes.  Lord knows, they might even be forced to buy a book written by its real author.

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