I'm not sure how I can relate this to Narrative and Technology, but the argument I just had with my friend Luke kind of reminded me of "Life in the Iron Mills" and... something else that would have to do with this class. Maybe.
I don't know anything about the writer's strike other than that there is one, and because of it they might be cutting the second season of "Heroes" in half. Unacceptable.
My friend Luke, a criminal justice major who is too late in his college career to change his major to what he really wants to do (which is write) asked me if they might hire "writing scabs" to fill in while the writers are on strike. I'm not sure how I feel about this concept.
Luke is from Kentucky. He explained that these writers are people who are getting paid to do what he only wishes he could do, and if they can't appreciate what they've got then of course he should be able to come in and take their places. He also emphasized that in Kentucky when the coal mining union went on strike and scabs were brought in, those scabs didn't have anything against the union. They were scabs because they needed to survive.
My argument is that writing is a lot different from coal mining. I'm not saying that just anyone can mine for coal. But in the case of being a writing scab, you're coming into an already established piece of work and riffing off of it for pay. That's someone else's intellectual property and you're coming in at the middle of the game and almost… stealing it. It's not for survival, it's not so you can feed your children who are starving. For Luke, at least, he feels like as a writing scab, (hypothetically) it might throw him into the writing career that he always dreamed of but could never have. But would you really want to make the start of your creative career using someone else's work?
This also kind of ties into a question that I had meant to raise with my mid-term project but never really got around to. The project involved online roleplaying forums that were based in an already established universe (X-men specifically). Is using already-created characters and concepts equivalent to plagiarism if you're only using them as a basis for your own creative outlet? I think in a forum-based roleplay community, no. If you're getting paid for it, though? It's still not plagiarism per say, but still not something I'd respect.
I dunno. It's almost like… as a writing scab, you'd be cheapening the profession as a whole. It'd be saying "writers come a dime a dozen and I'm going to prove it by replacing you for less pay and less appreciation," which I think is the real issue. It kind of reminds me, in a roundabout way, of that episode of Friends where Joey is on Days of Our Lives and says in an interview that he writes most of his lines (which was untrue). As payback for being underappreciated, the writers kill him off the show. Instead of just killing off a character, though, it looks like these writers are killing off the actual show with their strike. Which, again, is unacceptable to me, since I'm a creature of addiction and "Heroes" is on my (long, long) list of entertainment-related obsessions.
As someone who means to eventually make money off my writing (maybe), I think if I was writing for a television show, I'd be pissed at anyone who scabbed if I decided to strike because I was underappreciated.
Am I wrong? What do you think? And does this, in fact, have anything to do with narrative or technology?