We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Re our post yesterday about the HuffPo lawsuit by the writers (about which Coyote observes:
In short, I would say that these folks are utterly without personal honor for filing the suit, but in the current state of labor law they potentially have a case. How sad that would be. And what would be next? A class action suit by product reviewers at Amazon for back wages?)
a reader noticed this hilarious rant:
This issue does not arise at Maggie's Farm. Being a commune, we all get paid exactly the same generous amount regardless of what we do: zero.
he is right though. So many people will give publishers, movie studios, and magazines crap for free just for the vanity value of seeing their name in print that it's getting ever harder to get paid for doing creative work.
As a professional software engineer I see the same thing. "Open Source" (which many people equate with "software for no payment") is causing customers to expect ever lower prices for projects and products in my business as well.
10 years ago as a junior I was worth $150 an hour. Now, as a senior, my employer's salesteam has trouble getting $100 an hour for my work. Customers just expect everything to be free and are unwilling to pay for quality.
But of course they WILL come to us to repair the mess left by those amateurs, then demand we do it for the same low prices those amateurs charged (if not less).
Ellison has a point. And he speaks from experience. He's probably gotten the short end of the stick on more projects--publishing, film, TV--than anyone. His editing of the Dangerous Visions books is an example. He personally ended up paying some of the contributors because the publisher did not follow through on promises made. And where the hell is book three of that series?
A majority of Ellison's legal and payment problems are his own damn fault, but he keeps on insisting that he's being boned by nefarious and double dealing lawyers, publishers and anybody else who has ever actually paid him for something. Still, he continues to write his own contracts, etc.
As you may expect, I'm not an Ellison fan. He's living off a reputation made a long time ago and is fairly representative of what is wrong with modern science fiction - self important writers, authors and editors patting each other on the back and handing to each other prestigious awards for what is basically crap.
His point that the "amateurs" make it difficult for the "professionals" is valid - but not the way he thinks.
It shows that writing talent is plentiful and there are fewer and lower barriers to entry, hence lower market value for "professionals."
The difficult part is FINDING that valuable talent out of an ocean of atomistic providers.
Harlan Ellison's main value is that he had a brand name, making his selection for a project less of a crap shot for the buyer. A reputation for delivering on-time and to spec would help but having a reputation as being law suit-happy and "difficult" hurts.
I read one or two of his books in my youth but doubt I would seek his work out or even recognize it today. He is entertaining when on a rant though.
I've met Harlan, he's crazy, amusing, interesting and sometimes a ass.
Try finding a copy of his (never filmed) screenplay for "I, Robot". (1977) THAT would have been the greatest Science Fiction movie ever made.