12 Jan

Harlan Ellison would like a gentle word in your ear before the working week begins again.

This interview is just crammed with excellent wit and righteous anger. And lots of swearing. My favourite part is this:

“They want everything for nothing; they wouldn’t go for five seconds without being paid, and they’ll bitch about how much they’re paid, and want more… what is Warner Brothers, out with an eye patch and a tin cup on the street? Fuck no!”


3 Responses to “PAY THE [N]”

  1. Jeff 13/01/2014 at 1:25 PM #

    His comments about amateurs spoiling things for pros makes for a counterpoint to Eric’s series on those at the top of the art tree spoiling things for those struggling to sell:

    The IT industry seems to be getting off lightly while fingers are pointed across the hole (it helps create) in the middle of the economy from both the top and bottom.

    • Alistair 13/01/2014 at 4:49 PM #

      I completely agree that it’s not (or not only) as simple as plutocrats and their pet artists just being arseholes (although they are all arseholes). Ellison does allude several times to the role that the likes of Time Warner (i.e. an entertainment media arm of the IT industry, which is all ultimately owned by a handful of cartels/covert monopolies) play in overpaying and overvaluing certain people and encouraging the devaluation of everybody else’s labour, and cynically setting the providers of that labour against one another. YouTube (AKA Google) is superficially democratic but still as much a part of the industrial-entertainment complex as Time Warner, Newscorp, and so forth. Indeed it frequently collaborates or colludes with its fellow megacorporations to maintain the monetary value and tight control of profitable IP. It never sides with independent creators against these big business interests except in exceptional cases where the negative PR about a particular act of draconian overkill has built up to toxic levels.

      I also think amateurs spoiling things with their scab labour and the elite spoiling things with their status anxiety are corrolaries of one another, not separate issues. If things were financially evened out then the status objects so precious to oligarchs would be within reach of more people, and therefore less interesting to oligarchs as statements of wealth and power. It’s in the elite’s interests not to admit too many artists to the elite factory floor and that those artists don’t flood the market, just as it’s not in the elite’s interests to admit too many people to the upper echelons of wealth. And clearly (with a few honourable exceptions, past and present) it’s not in the interests of the wealthy to give away any significant portion of their wealth and therefore a certain significant portion of their power.

      Not that it can’t be done or never happens. Billionaires Bill Gates and Warren Buffet have pledged to give away 95% and 99% of their wealth respectively. Do the maths: neither they nor their heirs will be poor even when they’ve given away more than 95% of their money

      The irony that Harlan Ellison probably gets absolutely fuck all from this video being shown endlessly to thousands of people on YouTube was also not lost on me.

  2. Alistair 11/02/2014 at 6:48 PM #

    Reblogged this on Alistair Gentry.

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