Writers’ strike forces students to study


(U-WIRE) GAINESVILLE, Fla. — I don’t know about you, but it seems like this term has just flown by. Maybe sleeping 18 hours a day has something to do with it. No, I’m kidding. It takes me three days to sleep 18 hours, if I’m lucky.

My slumber has been limited lately because I’ve encountered a problem that seems to be common among college students. No, not public drunkenness — it’s stress.

The semester may be winding down, but the fun has just begun. And by “fun,” I mean debilitating, soul-crushing stress.

But if you look at my calendar (if I had a calendar), my next few weeks are empty. This is only an illusion. I may not have any paper deadlines or exams for a while, but that means I’ll be forced to spend most of my waking hours worrying about them.

Sometime in December, when I’m on my 50th sleepless hour, I won’t be the least bit anxious. I won’t have time for panicking. I’ll be beyond stress.

For now, however, I’m thinking about those many painful papers and tests in my near future.

I have to worry about getting into law school, dinner reservations for graduation in May and living arrangements for next year.

Yes, I actually have to address these problems at some point, but first I must stress about them.

What’s worse, I know plenty of people who are more stressed out than me, which could only mean I’m not working hard enough — an idea that only stresses me out more.

In this time of hardship, diversions are not just helpful — they’re necessary.

The one drug that I have come to rely on is television. You might even call it an addiction.

To be specific, I can’t go too long without getting my fix of “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” and “The Colbert Report.”

But now I have a problem. The Writers Guild of America has asked its 12,000 members to stop working and organize picket lines outside major movie studios and television networks is expected to start today.

The last time writers went on strike was in 1988. The walkout lasted 22 weeks and cost the industry about $500 million.

The first TV shows to suffer will be late-night talk shows because they rely on new, topical content every day.

At the end of his Comedy Central show Thursday night, Jon Stewart addressed the possibility of a strike, saying, “So we won’t be here, but while we’re not here, you know, you can check out all of our content on our new website.”

The network will air reruns until a deal comes, which means that I will soon experience the pangs of news-satire withdrawal. This couldn’t come at a worse time, Hollywood. How could you do this to me?

Dear screenwriters, I am the powerless one here. I need you more than you need residuals from sales of “new” media, which includes DVDs and online content.

But what of the personal turmoil?

On Sunday, a federal mediator called a last-minute meeting between the writers’ guild and the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers. Hopefully, the two sides will be able to reach some kind of an agreement.

Otherwise, I’ll have no choice but to turn off the TV and do my work ahead of time.

By Vincent Massaro

Independent Florida Alligator (U. Florida)