Reading the news of the Doofinator’s administration is like reading the same bad story, only with a bad rewrite and a Hollywood cast to make it seem shiny and new. The story is “pay to play” politics and the hypocrisy of elected officials – but Gov. Doofinator has a special charm that allows him to get away with pretty much whatever he likes.
Gov. Doofinator can rip Gray Davis for raising lots of money and rewarding political donors with goodies, then out-raise him and award more goodies to his pals instead. He can blow out the deficit with credit card spending, and claim to be a sound voice of fiscal reason. No one really questions him, and the press doesn’t care – it’s more infatuated with the idea of being near a Movie Star more than playing watchdog.
The recent announcement by the Doofinator Administration to manipulate rules regulating workers’ lunchtimes in the name of “flexibility” (i.e. to help Gov. Doofinator’s donors) was one that made me laugh.
Why? Because I have no pity for the hapless worker who may get their lunch break taken away? Not at all. No, I had to laugh because, you see, the Governor is a member of the mighty Screen Actor’s Guild and has been a SAG actor in all of his films.
For the uninitiated, when you’re making your movie and you sign on to the SAG rules and regulations, you inherit a phone-book sized list of rules and regulations designed in response to the many ways The Man and the Studios have tried to get people to work for (almost) free.
Considering that the Guild has been around for decades, it’s a lot of rules, regulations and whatnot that can drive both the actor, and the producer, and the director crazy. But it’s also the only way you can work as an actor and not get totally screwed out of your royalties and your lunch break.
Yes, you read that right. Lunch. You see, as a SAG actor, Gov. Doofinator was entitled to having his lunch no later than 5 hours after the start of the work day. If the production didn’t do so, that production earned what’s known as a “meal violation” and has to pay a fine for every half-hour lunch (or any meal) is late. The money goes to the actor’s pocket as compensation.
So while the Governor got the benefit of some seriously tough union rules that made sure he didn’t go without his lunchtime, apparently that’s not cool for the rest of us. Now, if I had more time and resources to investigate, I’d try and find out if Gov. Doofinator ever got compensated for meal violations in the past. It might make for an interesting story.
If nothing else, it would be nice to see a star-struck reporter put on some shades and ask the Governor point blank why he insists on denying others what he benefited from for decades as a well-paid movie star. Might make for an interesting read. It’s not like there’s much news out there now anyway, right?
UPDATE: Today’s San Francisco Chronicle has an update on the Governor’s plans.
Read the story carefully. While it sounds like the proposed rules have been stopped by a storm of criticism, in fact they have not. Instead, the administration will no longer try and get an “emergency” rule that would have only been in force a few months. Now they’re going for a permanent rule change.
In other words, they plan to keep at it for now, unless they hear otherwise from voters/taxpayers/citizens. How anyone could call this situation a victory, as some labor leaders do in this article, is beyond me, though.
© 2003-2006 Greg Dewar | All Rights Reserved | Originally Published at www.schadelmann.com
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