Saturday, January 5, 2008

What do Writers and Teachers Have in Common?

With the Writers Guild strike showing no signs of coming to an end, largely due to the studios’ refusal to restart negotiations, I have been thinking of the parallels that exist between writers and teachers. Surprisingly, we have much in common.

1. Without writers, there would be no entertainment industry. Similarly, teachers are the lifeblood of education, a self-evident truth to most, but often an apparently arcane concept to ‘the bosses.’

2. The entertainment bureaucracy, including studio heads and production companies, is most reluctant to adequately remunerate writers, without whom their lavish (some would say profligate) lifestyles would not be possible. Again teachers, gross financial disparities aside, are rarely rewarded even with praise or sincere acknowledgement by boards and administrators, who seem eager to take most of the credit for success and none of the blame for failure.

3. Both writers and teachers need to be creative, imaginative, even inspired to succeed in their professions. What masquerades as imagination in both the entertainment and education chain of command is frequently merely uttering platitudes and 'buzz' words or following trends,

4. The upper echelon of both the entertain industry and education is rife with demoralizing arrogance. (See #1, 2, and 3 above, and just try talking to them.)

5. Writers and teachers, when they are doing their best work, can have real impact on people. Bosses ‘take meetings.’

6. When they retire, teachers and writers can take some satisfaction in their body of work. Mercifully, many of the bosses lack the capacity for real self-reflection, sparing them the realization of how they have wasted their lives.

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