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Home :: Archive :: 2000 :: July ::
Re: Exploitation of Actors
The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 11.1360  Thursday, 6 July 2000.

[1]     From:   Jeffrey Myers<
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        Date:   Wednesday, 5 Jul 2000 09:25:32 -0400
        Subj:   RE: SHK 11.1353 Re: Exploitation of Actors

[2]     From:   Sam Small <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 20:19:48 +0100
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1339 For What It's Worth

[3]     From:   Pat Dolan <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 09:12:35 -0500
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1353 Re: Exploitation of Actors

[4]     From:   Larry Weiss <
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        Date:   Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 12:02:53 PDT
        Subj:   Re: SHK 11.1338 Re: Exploitation of Actors


[1]-----------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Jeffrey Myers<
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Date:           Wednesday, 5 Jul 2000 09:25:32 -0400
Subject: 11.1353 Re: Exploitation of Actors
Comment:        RE: SHK 11.1353 Re: Exploitation of Actors

> From:           Michael Meyers <
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> It's simple, people who persists in working in an area with too much
> supply get market wages -- nothing more, nothing less.   Be
> they actors
> or educators, this is not exploitation, but the market fairly reacting
> to the over supply of labor.  Believing otherwise is having
> ones head in "some kind of hole".

And that's why unions were born.  Or are unions unfair because they
subvert the (at least to you) fair reactions of the market?  We should
tell those people making shoes for Nike et al. that all they have to do
is to stop "working in an area with too much supply."  Isn't it
wonderful how market forces solve all of our problems with such
fairness!

Jeff Myers

[2]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Sam Small <
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Date:           Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 20:19:48 +0100
Subject: 11.1339 For What It's Worth
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1339 For What It's Worth

Pat Dolan wrote:

> Union membership is mandatory for all who make commercials, including
>athletes.

I wonder sometimes how many plays Shakespeare would have written had he
been forced at knife point to join corrupt left-wing labor unions or
face exile from London.  That, with the Elizabethan police state, might
have forced him back to making gloves.

When a thousand people who consider themselves fit for a post apply for
10 vacancies they cannot expect to get premium salaries.  Every
bricklayer knows this.  When those applicants are actors and athletes
with over-stuffed perceptions of their own world-value they expect the
economy to see them as completely different life-forms.

While Pat Dolan's piece seemed to come from 1975 East Berlin, I did
notice that it was actually year 2000 America.  Phew! And Americans call
England a socialist country.

Love from soviet London,
Comrade Sam

[3]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Pat Dolan <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 09:12:35 -0500
Subject: 11.1353 Re: Exploitation of Actors
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1353 Re: Exploitation of Actors

>It's simple, people who persists in working in an area with too much
>supply get market wages -- nothing more, nothing less.   Be they actors
>or educators, this is not exploitation, but the market fairly reacting
>to the over supply of labor.  Believing otherwise is having ones head in
>"some kind of hole".

Personally, I think that children working in coal mines or sneaker
factories are exploited, even if there's a market for them.

The problem is a definitional one. If you assume that how the marker
reacts is "fairly" then there's no problem. Then it becomes "fair" that
women who want to become actors must simultaneously starve themselves
and get breast implants or Shakespeare is be done with tattoos and
handguns or that eight year olds assemble sneakers.

If you assume that the market has a reality beyond human intervention,
that it arises out of immutable laws of human nature and social
organisation, then it's neither fair nor unfair, but we've got to deal
with it.

But if you assume (as I do) that it's a human creation, a tool that
we've made to accomplish certain things, then it's worth it to think
about what's fair and what's not fair--should there be a space for
innovative--or merely self-indulgent--production and scholarship? Should
there be a space for meticulous scrutiny of the archive for results that
don't command a huge market? Should we make sure all our students get
acceptable (to them) grades so they don't whine to our supervisors who
can simply not put some of us on the schedule next semester? All sorts
of interesting things follow from the assumption that the market is
simply a tool--child labour laws, unions, the governmentally mandated
forty hour workweek and the Shakespeare play my university has committed
itself to put on once a year. Just because we have hammers doesn't mean
we have to treat everything as a nail. We could make iMacs.

I know my head's in some sort of hole. The problem is describing the
hole without losing my head.

Cheers,
Patrick.

[4]-------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Larry Weiss <
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 >
Date:           Wednesday, 05 Jul 2000 12:02:53 PDT
Subject: 11.1338 Re: Exploitation of Actors
Comment:        Re: SHK 11.1338 Re: Exploitation of Actors

Jeffrey Myers says

>I suspect the young actors and non-shareholders in his company were not
>always compensated in proportion to their contributions.

What evidence justifies this suspicion?  In any event, how were their
"contributions" to be measured to determine proportionality?  The number
of lines read?  The number of arses their popularity put in the seats?
Was a nameless journeyman actor to be what Burbage got if he read as
many lines?

>As for the link between employment and exploitation, a fellow named Marx
>had a few things to say about that.  Anyone who doesn't realize that
>much of what passes in our time for employment is, to a greater or
>lesser extent, exploitation has his head in some kind of hole.

Why am I not surprised?  What I find astounding is that at the dawn of
the 21st Century anyone is citing Marx as authority for anything.
 

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