Opinion » Maxed Out

Maxed out

The next step in bailouts: reality TV



Finally, a bailout I can get behind. No, not the Save the Dead Whales bailout set for Congressional approval in our newly-minted socialist CEO’s paradise south of the border, the one hammered together to swap empty bank accounts for full ones so the Big Three auto(sic) makers can survive to die another day. That bailout still has me baffled.

The bailout I’m down with is one that hits closer to home. A writer in The New Republic — reported in the New York Times — is urging the Obama Mama administration to bailout, well, writers. No, seriously. It seems someone who was paying attention in high school American History, a class virtually guaranteed to put even ADHD kids to sleep, remembered the Federal Writers Project, one of the New Deal programs. It paid writers to write the oral histories of backwoods hillbillies who couldn’t write themselves and produce reams of studies and guides to the various states, themselves invaluable to hobos aimlessly riding the rails and seeing the sights.

Another wag, possibly the only other person wired enough to keep his eyes open during history class, takes the tantalizing prospect of government largesse for the wordy classes even further. Likening writers more to farmers than WPA workers, he suggests we borrow a page from the Agricultural Adjustment Act and simply pay writers, of which there are arguably too many, to not write, in much the same way as we pay farmers to not farm or Canadian senators to not… do whatever they’re supposed to do.

As much as I enjoy inflicting my view of the world on all of you, the idea of being paid not to write has, since 2002, been part of my personal financial plan. While I have too much pride and gratitude to accept money from Pique for not writing, I have no such bourgeois barriers when it comes to taking payment from others to not write.

VANOC, for example. Having popped up occasionally on their radar screens — I know you’re watching — for various unflattering things I’ve said about the Holympics, the IOC’s culture of corporate greed and corruption and that body’s biennial addiction to unleashing economic weapons of vast construction, I’ve been saving the real howls of vitriol for next autumn and winter. So over-the-top do I intend to get in my hyperbolic bloviating against all things Olympic that it’ll only make sense for VANOC to pay me not to write during the first few months of 2010.

My silence wouldn’t come cheap. Cheaper for sure than the Sliding Centre. For that matter, cheaper than the cost of making ice at the Sliding Centre… for a day. But the peace of mind a mindless Pique back page filled with happy images of happy Olympic tourists and athletes would bring is surely worth, oh say, six figures and some swag from whichever corporate sponsors aren’t in bankruptcy by then. Talk to my agent. Okay, talk to my agent if I ever get one.