Friday, February 20, 2009

Obedience and service

I have been increasingly troubled recently by the tone of the blogs being posted by WGA members about the writers strike. Almost without exception, these postings call for unquestioning solidarity, conformity to the dictates of the leadership, and absolute loyalty to the cause, and they attack and insult in the harshest possible terms those who dare even mildly to dissent. This has led me to reflect that the worst disservice one can render to a cause in which one believes is blind obedience.

In any cause, but especially in that of writers, blind obedience is not only counter-productive, but also morally destructive, for it is in the nature of writers, and it is their duty to society, that they question, that they not conform, that they dissent - often radically but always reasonably. If we do not, who will? And if no one does, what hope is their for progress of any kind?

The WGA leadership does all of us a disservice by calling for and expecting blind obedience, and solidarity at all costs. For in doing so it betrays a fundamental misunderstanding of those whom it claims to represent. It betrays us, and by extension, it betrays those larger constituencies whom we as writers serve: our audience, our society, our humanity. And that betrayal is the ultimate disservice.