Tom Ramcigam (magicmarmot) wrote,
Tom Ramcigam

Listening to the radio this morning-- talk radio since the local music stations are boring me to tears-- the morning show is Kelly Guest and Andrew Colton, and I was really amazed at how much I started to get honked off at Kelly Guest. Like bordering on incompetent. The woman is a self-described news junkie, which apparently is different than an information junkie, because the stuf that she was talking about she had not researched, she was just sort of riffing.
Okay, I get that. It's talk radio, you have to talk pretty much incessantly. But if you are lading with your own freakin' story, take the time for due diligence, a'ight?

Cripes. I suppose that I shouldn't expect all that much from a woman whose bio includes the following:
"Who needs a shrink when you've got Mall of America?"
"I am worshipped for my guacamole and carnitas."
Okay, she's kinda hot-- but she's on radio fer chrissakes. That's like being proud of the maserati that you keep in your garage.

(Attention: that was an admittedly sexist comment. See shiny metal ass, bite my.)

Best line heard yesterday: "we should make illegal immigration against the law".

Illegal immigration. Protests against hardening immigration laws because "these people are just looking for a better life". Same reason that Joe Burglar breaks into my house and steals my shit-- he's just looking for a better life, and he figures an easy way to get it is by stealing my shit.

Look, if you really want to pursue a better life and you want to be in this country, go through the legal immigration process. No, I honestly don't believe that you're going to steal my job away from me, but that "better life" doesn't come at no cost. And hey, if there are companies that figure that they need to exploit illegal workers at a less-than-minimum-wage to be competitive, let's create a non-citizen disposable working class that can have legal access to things like health care, shelter, and food, and let those companies foot the bill.

Yeah, it will probably raise prices of food and shoes. You know, I'm okay with that. But I have a really hard time when the CEO of a major corporation talks about having to export jobs or pay lower-than-subsistence wages to stay competitive while he pulls down a $50 million paycheck and enough stock options to feed a third-world country for a year.

See, here's the thing: I don't mind people getting rich. I appreciate the opportunity for someone to do something that is actually beneficial and making a fortune in doing it. What I abhor is people who get rich by exploiting others.

This opens up a huge can of worms because the concept of exploitation is not a clear one that is accepted by all. There are many in corporate amerika who believe that employing people at less-than-subsistence wages is not exploitation and is actually beneficial because otherwise these people wouldn't have jobs, and they should look on it as a favor. It becomes a mindset of corporate loyalty: you owe the company fealty for their continued employment of you.

We are beholden to the shareholders to keep the stock value up is the hue and cry of exploitation. It leads us to the Enrons of the world. It's not even profit uber alles, it's shareholder value uber alles. Decisions are made solely based on the criteria of what will increase the stock price, regardless of ethics or often legality, and corporate officers are compensated grandly for those decisions.

Let me turn this back into my own backyard for a moment. I make movies. I would like to make movies professionally, but that is a bit misleading: what I'd really like is to be financially independent enough to be able to make movies for fun on a full-time basis. The most likely way that could happen was if I was doing it professionally, which I am not.

But I still make movies. And I often ask friends for help making the movies. If anyone gets paid, it's likely to be a dollar as a token payment for a relase contract, and I hold no illusion that is just compensation for the amount of work that is involved. It's not meant as financial compensation, it's a legal issue for the release of a movie.

All of the people who work on the movie understand this, or at least they should. They do it because it's fun, because they enjoy working with exceptional and passionate people, because they're friends. They're pretty understanding that the movie is not going to make money, it's going to lose money.

So in that way, I am exploiting them. I am asking them for their time and talent and not compensating them with anything tangible. And I'm okay with this because I'm not making anything from the project.

But perchance by some miracle the movie becomes hideously popular and brings in a million dollars or more. Suddenly I am left with the choice of how to actually compensate these folks that helped me out. Thing is, it's not even a question of whether I would, it's more a matter of how to split up the spoils. Hell, if I had the money, I'd build a studio complex and hire all of my creative friends and put 'em to work. :)

But that's not a good business decision. Probably indicative of why I'm not a good businessman.

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