Monday, June 12, 2017
Week one comment 2 June 12, 2017 - Don
Week one comment 2 June 12, 2017
Yesterday, I had the got fortune to enjoy and learn from Vega’s play, Liquor, Religion, and Slavery. It was a drama that combined both an external conflict between African-Americans in Memphis and the local police, and an internal conflict for an individual caught between the allure of money and poverty of principles. I won’t spoil his play in case you have a chance to watch it, but I’ll offer an analogous plot and see how you would respond.
Imagine that you are a new writer and you have just completed your first book. It’s a little salacious, thirty shades of red with some language which is tantalizingly close to vulgar. It’s become an overnight success and you have publishers offering to pay you a $2 million advance for your next book as long as it is written about similar material. While you are waiting to sign the contract, and basking in the publicity and imaging what new tools you are going to buy, you learn about a manufacturing plant in the city of the publisher has been polluting the local communities water. You join the protest and the next day, your picture is on the front page, you’re a celebrity, but the publisher notifies you that the publishing company is also owned by the manufacturer and if you want that $2 million dollars plus more to come with future books, you need to stick to the writing business and drop out of the protesting business. They tell you that you don’t need to worry, because with the money you make, you can move to a better area. You’re reminded that if you don’t sign the contract, you’ll be blacklisted by other publishing companies and you’ll wind up drinking the polluted water. You have a sick mother, a wife, and six children to support. Your brother and his wife have both lost their jobs and have not been able to find one.
Would you sign the contract? Imagine if you had been living in Detroit or Flint Michigan these last twenty years. Imagine if you were one of the screenwriters/actors who were blacklisted during the McCarthy hearings. Let the reality weigh on your mind as you make your case.