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My latest post to Blogcritics is all about my conflicted opinion about the Pencils2MediaMoguls campaign, where fans and writers are encouraging people to send pencils to the heads of the companies on the other side of the strike. It’s yet another Send Crap Campaign but now tainted with self-interest, since the writers have begun spearheading it instead of fans. But it’s a well-intentioned campaign started by viewers, anyway, bound to get publicity for the writers if it succeeds, just when negotiations are slated to resume. And it’s clear this strike is a PR exercise more than a negotiation at this point.

So the Blogcritics post is my way of helping spread the word without wholeheartedly agreeing, and to put in a word for the Actors Fund again (hey, it’s good enough for George Clooney…):

  • Pencils Down For Writers, Pencils Up For Fans
    “I’ve never been a fan of futile gestures. I’ve (all in good fun) ridiculed fandoms for proceeding with “send random crap to the network” campaigns immediately in the wake of Jericho‘s successful nut campaign, both for the lack of creativity and the lack of rationality in some cases – no amount of crackers were going to save The Black Donnellys. But I appreciate the desire to do something when our favourite shows are threatened with cancellation. Now, there’s more at stake than my favourite show; all our favourite shows of the present and future are at stake.” Read more.

The post was inspired by writer Doris Egan of House. So here’s my challenge to House fans: let’s all do something concrete and practical to show our support for the writers who have brought us so much joy and food for thought. I’ve donated to the Actors Fund and now to the pencil fund, despite my misgivings. Whatever you feel comfortable doing, whether it’s donating to something, or phoning Peter Chernin or Kevin Reilly of Fox to (politely) express your displeasure with the network’s stance on the strike (310-369-1000), let’s all commit to do something to make our voices heard.

For Americans, I’d encourage at least that last option. For everyone, I’m still pulling for the Actors Fund. From Variety:

Joe Benincasa, exec director of the 125-year old Actors Fund, said that the payment process is quick, after claimants apply for relief and meet with social workers who evaluate their need and resources. Last year, the Fund distributed $2 million in its emergency program. That figure is likely to soar if a strike continues and workers are displaced.

“If you can’t make your mortgage or buy food for your family, we can cut a check the same day or the next day,” he said.

Still wonder what the fight’s about? This is what the writers are up against: