Saturday, April 4
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The WGA strike and entropy

Writers Guild of America (WGA) strike

George Carlin opined years ago about his love of entropy – that is, the amount of disorder and randomness in a system (a gross oversimplification, I know). When an ice cube melts, that’s entropy in action. When a new deck of cards is shuffled, that’s entropy in action. Extrapolated to our society, you could say that a riot is human entropy.

Like Carlin, I’m a fan of entropy in society, although perhaps not to the extreme he is. Nonetheless, I like seeing the natural order of things breaking down. It makes life more interesting and jolts people out of their complacency, which is never a bad thing. I don’t root for human misery on the scale of a major earthquake or economic depression, but sometimes it’s what has to happen for humans to wake up and re-examine their lives and prioritize a little better.

So what does this have to do with the fact that for the first time in almost 20 years the Writers Guild of America is on strike? Well, it’s a great example of entropy in action. And this time I have a major rooting interest. See, as long as the strike continues then no more TV shows or movies will be written. The impact on scripted shows won’t be felt for awhile, as they usually have them filmed months in advance. But for shows that air live or tape close to broadcast, they will feel the pinch immediately. That means no soap operas, no Saturday Night Live, no Daily Show or Colbert Report, and no late-night talk shows.

But really, will any of this dreck be missed? I know, I was just as surprised as you are to find out that someone actually gets paid to write the horrible jokes Jay Leno tells. Maybe he could do a straight hour of those wacky newspaper headlines or interviews with the common man. That’s gold right there, I tells ya.

So anyway, what does this mean for me (and by extension, all mankind)? Well it means I will have the perfect excuse to at least temporarily unshackle myself from the few quality programs there are out there. Yeah it would suck a little bit to not have new episodes of Boston Legal or House to look forward to, but I think I’ll manage to move on. And what I’m hoping is that millions of other viewers feel the same way and simply choose not to come back once the strike ends.

People in the entertainment world (of which pro sports is included) tend to severely overvalue their importance in society, often to their detriment. It took Major League Baseball years to overcome the ill will generated by its 1994 strike, while some argue that the National Hockey League still hasn’t fully rebounded from two lockouts in the last 15 years.

I know it’s a pipe dream – as the last half century has shown that even more than religion, TV and movies are the real opium of the people – but I can still dream of a world where Hollywood is finally rendered irrelevant (or at least relegated to the role of “pleasant distraction”), and people once again take a more active role in entertaining themselves. That’s entropy I can get behind.

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