John Rogers Profile picture
Mar 8, 2021 7 tweets 2 min read Read on X
1) A quick thread on what we, in TV writing, call the Idiot Ball. This is a term used to describe when one character, in order to make the show work, has to behave, uncharacteristically, like a complete idiot. It is usually a different character each week.
2) This term was coined, I heard, by actor Hank Azaria, who was complaining about a show he was on and asked "who's carrying the idiot ball this week?" The modern conservative intellectual movement is now reduced to passing around the idiot ball.
3) Dr. Seuss is this week's idiot ball, and in order to be part of the show, you have to carry it. You have to make bad faith or stupid arguments to be part of the show. The difference is, now, *everybody* has to pass the idiot ball around, all episode.
4) Freedom Fries. Antifa. Dr. Seuss. Millions of missing ballots. Neanderthals. Ordinarily smart people have to pretend to be earnestly dumb and make idiotic arguments about each of these, or be tossed from the show.
5) Ross absolutely knows that this was a decision by the rights holder to pull books with illustrations which are racist by even lax standards. This is their right, and is actually just smart capitalism. But he has to carry the Idiot Ball.
6) So now, you have the shorthand. Whenever you hear some ridiculous fake scandal or outrage, you can just chalk it up to "Oh, it's this week's Idiot Ball" and it says everything you need to know about both the subject, and the person carrying it.
7) But remember, the ball's just the ball. The person carrying it's the idiot.

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More from @jonrog1

Aug 9, 2023
As we head out to picket for Day 100, there are a lot of positive messages of solidarity out there, true, but for my little corner I want to remind you of two sentences:

"Rejected our proposal. Refused to counter."
There are a lot of punters out there proposing "their solve for the strike", and to a one they're like those tech bro buddies of Musk who lectured us on how Ukraine wasn't going to last a week.
When you see "the WGA is holding firm" on some term or another, that's not us rejecting some middle ground the companies are offering, and being the problem.

We''re holding firm on the radical idea that we want *more than nothing*.
Read 17 tweets
Jul 23, 2023
Last time I had a failure - which was collateral damage in an argument between the studio and the network - I had to personally fire 200 people, they all were off payroll by that afternoon, and I was also out of a job. The executives all continued to get paid. So fuck off.
Actually, that’s not true. The failure after that one happened as collateral damage in one of the mergers, so it had nothing to do with the quality of the show. And I had to wait, forbidden to work, not earning a dime, as they shopped it for six months.
Also several of my writers were cheated of their expected salaries, some losing up to 75%, for reasons too complicated to explain here. Those executives, both studio and streamer, all kept their jobs. So double fuck off.
Read 7 tweets
Jul 19, 2023
1) A moment at the Teamsters/UPS rally this morning clarified our current struggle with the studio CEO's (among other bosses). Teamsters got a lot of wins, but one of the main sticking points is the pay for the 65% of local UPS workers who are part-time ...
2) If you read the SAG-AFTRA demands, a truly STUNNING amount of their points involve protecting background actors, and trying to improve conditions for the 87% of their union who makes less than $26,000 a year.
3) As WGA members know, this is not a strike for the showrunners. We're trying to fix the fact the the current younger generation of writers can't even afford housing and their pathway to advancement has been cut off.
Read 17 tweets
May 7, 2023
1) Okay, we did "You have writers on set for dialogue" and now we're going to do "we have writers on set for TRAINING."
2) My Dad, on his first visit to a set, after an hour of watching, said "Oh, it's like a construction site, but once an hour good looking people wander through" and goddam I have never topped that.
3) I have written this before: a showrunner is both the lead creative voice of a piece of art and is the head of a company with a burn rate of $3-10 million a week, 200 -500 employees, with unmissable deadlines. Always at the same time.
Read 23 tweets
May 7, 2023
1) There have been a couple threads today about the importance of having writers on set, and a lot of them have focused on last minute changes to to physical locations, story continuity, etc, but there are two other reasons I want to hit a) dialogue and b) training
2) It's not just "don't say X, we find out Y three episodes from now", props, etc, but dialogue is art coming out of unpredictable humans. I always say I choose both writing staffs and actors like a jazz combo -- you're here to play an instrument *I can't play*.
3) There are shows where the writers are considered automatons -- play the score, etc, there was one show where you had to call upstairs to change a "cannot" to a "can't", but I like it when you play one by the text, and then find the reason we cast YOU and not ... not You.
Read 17 tweets
May 4, 2023
1) Non-members ask how they can show solidarity with the Writers Strike. The most effective way is to donate to the Entertainment Community Fund. It's NOT for us, it's to support fellow Hollywood employees, crew who may suffer hardship due to the strike.…
2) Choose "Film and Television" in the drop down menu. *This donation is tax deductible*. We writers have our Strike Fund, and the Good and Welfare fund. We're asking supporters to aid those we work with.
3) If you would like to make a more substantial donation, DM me and I'll send you that contact info. Thank you all, I'm pleasantly surprised by all the interest from those not in the industry in this strike.
Read 4 tweets

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