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Di Leo: The SAG-AFTRA Deal and Avoiding Reality
Illinois Review ^ | November 10, AD 2023 | John F Di Leo

Posted on 11/10/2023 3:07:04 PM PST by jfd1776

A 118-day-long strike by the actors and writers of the film and television industry apparently came to an end on November 8, as negotiators came to an agreement at last, ready to send to the rank and file for their vote.

Just as Hollywood had to adjust to a changing business model when the movie world had to make room for television, and again when free TV had to make room for cable and video tape, this agreement will hopefully help their world adapt to the decline of cinema attendance and the increase in streaming. On top of that, they hope to make some sense of how technology enables the use of actors, potentially over and over, without their will or participation.

This Hollywood business is a multi-billion dollar industry here in the USA alone. Globally, the value at stake is incomprehensible.

But in the end, does it matter?

No matter what the union says, no matter what their employers are willing to pay today, their industry remains a luxury good. Nobody needs to watch a movie or TV series to live through a cold winter.

The studios will charge what the market will bear, and they can only afford to pay their employees and investors from that revenue. If revenues drop, so must salaries, or management goes out of business.

Thus it has always been, thus it must always be.

People have always been susceptible to popular delusions, from the tulip craze of 15th century Holland to the Beanie Babies craze of just a generation ago. People want what they want, and imagine that society will accommodate. Sometimes it does for a while. But the gravy train eventually ends. It always does. Reality must eventually set in.

The delusion in Hollywood today is that the reason their customers don’t go to the cinema anymore is that they don’t like it; they want to believe that their customers find streaming to be handier.

Actors and producers have told themselves that their public loves their computers and their phones so much more than they love their television sets and their local movieplex, that they are consciously choosing to watch an epic action movie on a 3”x5” cellphone or a 17” computer monitor rather than going to the movies and enjoying surround sound, buttered popcorn and a hundred-foot screen.

Where is the evidence?

There’s another possibility that the denizens of Hollywood simply don’t want to consider: People aren’t going to the movies because $10 is too expensive for a movie ticket. People aren’t subscribing to cable because $200 per month is too expensive for a subscription.

Oh, there will always be a market for luxury goods. There will always be people who can fly to New York and see a Broadway show, at hundreds of dollars per ticket, because they do it once a year, or even once a lifetime, as a special vacation treat.

But Hollywood has been built upon the majority of Americans watching television at home for an hour or two (or three) every night, and going to the movies every other weekend, or even every weekend. The entire pricing model rests on this.

Most Americans simply can’t afford that anymore.

Why not?

The statistics are there, if you want to study them. After a generation in which average American wages had stagnated, we recently went into full retreat. Even with less exciting jobs, less impressive jobs than our parents and grandparents had, average young Americans today cannot come close to affording the lifestyle of their parents and grandparents.

Part of that, we must admit, is because the lifestyle has improved. Today’s houses and cars have more bells and whistles than our parents’ and our grandparents’ houses and cars had. But that’s only a small part of it.

Inflation is the problem.

Thanks to our government, the U.S. Dollar doesn’t go as far anymore. Everything we do costs more than it did, from food to housing to driving, and, relatively speaking, tax rates for most of us have skyrocketed.

Here’s just one simple example, for Illinois residents like me: my Illinois state income tax is 5%; when my parents were in the workforce, it was 3%. When my grandparents were in the workforce, Illinois did not even have its own income tax.

Similarly, our property taxes and sales taxes have jumped. Highway tolls and gasoline taxes have jumped. Our computers are wonderful things, but they are much more expensive than the typewriters of our parents’ day, or the pad and pencil of our ancestors’ time.

Health insurance, thanks to decades of government meddling, now costs tens of thousands of dollars per year, between our employers’ contribution and our own, well over double what it did 20 years ago. (Obamacare, far from making it affordable as promised, only accelerated this crippling growth.)

We could go on, but do we need to? We all know; we are all thinking of examples in our own lives as we read this.

The Biden-Harris regime caused a doubling of gasoline prices, and a near doubling of the cost of new vehicles. But they gave us a few hundred dollars each in stimulus checks, counting on our inability to do math, and realize what a rip-off it was.

At the same time the Biden-Harris regime is shutting down oil, natural gas, and coal plants, they are spending all of your money to build solar and wind farms, which will never replace the energy output of the power plants they’ve shut down – while simultaneously banning the manufacture and sale of affordable natural gas appliances, so that we have to spend twice as much the next time our furnace dies, or our water heater, or oven, or dryer need to be replaced.

The cost of living goes up, and with that, disposable income goes down.

It’s Economics 101: the more of a percentage of your income you have to spend on necessities, the less you have left over for luxuries.

And the strikers, who are patting each other on the back this morning, so proud of extracting a wonderful new contract from their employers, are blissfully unaware that they themselves are a luxury product, dependent on a customer base that’s struggling to afford heat, rent, transportation, and food.

It is tempting to feel sorry for these poor actors and writers, because they don’t really know what they’re getting into. But perhaps we shouldn’t feel too sorry for them, at that.

After all, while there are certainly some few intelligent patriots stuck in that mix, outnumbered and overwhelmed, the vast majority of the Hollywood crowd voted for the economic destruction that is finally, deservedly, squeezing them out of a customer base.

Copyright 2023 John F Di Leo

John F. Di Leo is a Chicagoland-based trade compliance trainer and transportation manager, writer, and actor. A one-time county chairman of the Milwaukee County Republican Party, he has been writing regularly for Illinois Review since 2009. Follow John F. Di Leo on Facebook, Twitter, Gettr or TruthSocial.

A collection of John’s Illinois Review articles about vote fraud, The Tales of Little Pavel, and his 2021 political satires about current events, Evening Soup with Basement Joe, Volumes One and Two, are available, in either paperback or eBook, only on Amazon.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Miscellaneous; Music/Entertainment; Politics
KEYWORDS: actorsstrike; film; hollywood; television

1 posted on 11/10/2023 3:07:04 PM PST by jfd1776
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To: jfd1776


2 posted on 11/10/2023 3:08:09 PM PST by dfwgator (Endut! Hoch Hech!)
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To: jfd1776

It’s the product, John. Who wants to pay twenty bucks a head to have The Message crammed down their throats?

3 posted on 11/10/2023 3:13:29 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill

Ain’t that the truth?!

4 posted on 11/10/2023 3:14:13 PM PST by jfd1776 (John F. Di Leo, Illinois Review Columnist)
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To: jfd1776

While economics certainly plays into the lack of enthusiasm for the products Hollywood offers, we shouldn’t stop there.

A significant percent of the public is so put off by Hollywood and all that they offer, they are no longer interested in spending hard-earned money for such mindless, uncreative, shallow and sometimes disgusting garbage. Who needs it?

5 posted on 11/10/2023 3:20:24 PM PST by systemjim (Lifetime Lover of Music)
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To: jfd1776

Now I finally get to find out if Mouch recovers from his injuries…

6 posted on 11/10/2023 3:31:10 PM PST by gov_bean_ counter (Eccl 10:2 - The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left )
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To: jfd1776

They are trying to get me to go see The Marvels. There is no way in hell. In the last two years, I went to see Antman and Guardians of the Galaxy both of which didn’t suck, and I saw Black Adam which came pretty close to sucking. I got talked into going to Avatar which was kind of good as a spectacle but had some real failings in identifying the bad guys. Legion of Super Pets and the last Minions movie were actually quite good. I saw The Flash most recently which partially sucked but it had some good parts. That was the last movie I saw.

Before “the ‘pandemic’” I went to every superhero movie and Star Wars movie and some artsy pictures that my wife wanted to see. It was like twice a month. Now I really have no desire to go to the movies and I would not go see the marvels if it was free and they gave me free popcorn and 2 beers. Actually I might if two beers were included. Other than that no way!

7 posted on 11/10/2023 3:49:54 PM PST by webheart
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To: systemjim

That would be me. I was a big movie goer and tv watcher in the past. Since the rise of Trump in 2016 it has been close to zero and very unlikely to bounce back. Virtually all spectator sports have joined that flatlining in the last year or so. Again unlikely to return.

8 posted on 11/10/2023 4:05:08 PM PST by xp38
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To: xp38
Growing up I was a very big movie goer!

Still went to the movies, though far less often, as an adult; but 1984 IN 1984 was the last movie I saw, as an adult, until 1999, when I saw TOPSY TURVY and haven't been inside a movie theatre since!


Movies toto; actors and actresses can't act, the scripts are utter garbage, directors can't direct, the camera and cutters can't do their jobs, CG! stinks on ice, and IF there's anything I just might care to see, it's on T.V.!

The part about my house/apartment being "better" than my parents', or even my grandparents...that's just NOT true!

Okay, we don't have window unit air conditioners ( they did, but so did I, until we had our first house, instead of an apartment ), which is the ONLY difference.

And there is also the fact that today's movie audiences ( and I'm talking about from the 1980s forward ) are less well behaved than the summer CHILDREN ONLY, one morning a week, movie/cartoons/serials/newsreel show that theatres one had for kids aged 5-12 or so.

9 posted on 11/10/2023 4:42:08 PM PST by nopardons (spot on!)
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To: jfd1776

Here’s my two bits. The streaming services and some over-the-air channels offer old productions that are practically all my wife and I watch. I think we just like the way things once were more than the way they are now.

10 posted on 11/10/2023 4:56:46 PM PST by cymbeline
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