Thursday September 14, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated September 18, 2023]
Editorial commentary by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
“My decision to return to work was made when it seemed nothing was happening and there was no end in sight to this strike. Now that both sides have agreed to go back to the negotiating table I’m going to delay the return of Real Time, for now, and hope they can finally get this done.” ~ Bill Maher, September 18, 2023
Political satirist and host of his own discussion-style TV show, Bill Maher, broke rank from others in the other late-night talk show genre yesterday by saying his show will go on despite the current writer’s strike.
Real Time with Bill Maher will return to HBO with an original episode on Friday September 22 at 10 pm.
The writer’s strike in film and entertainment has been impacting the entire industry as in bringing production to a near dead-stop as well as audiences who will soon notice the lag in new content available on all major channels as well as the movie theatres.
The 2023 Writers Guild of America strike is an ongoing strike action that began on May 2, 2023.
Maher announced his return to the airwaves yesterday in a post on X (formerly Twitter). Drew Barrymore has also decided to take her show back on air recently. But other late night talk show hosts including Stephen Colbert, Jimmy Fallon, Jimmy Kimmel, Seth Meyers and John Oliver seem not to be following in these footsteps so far. At the very least that speaks to the strength of Bill Maher as himself a writer on his own show.
Here’s what Maher had to say:
“Real Time is coming back, unfortunately, sans writers or writing. It has been five months, and it is time to bring people back to work. The writers have important issues that I sympathize with, and hope they are addressed to their satisfaction, but they are not the only people with issues, problems, and concerns. Despite some assistance from me, much of the staff is struggling mightily. We all were hopeful this would come to an end after Labor Day, but that day has come and gone, and there still seems to be nothing happening.
“I love my writers, I am one of them, but I’m not prepared to lose an entire year and see so many below-the-line people suffer so much. I will honor the spirit of the strike by not doing a monologue, desk piece, New Rules or editorial, the written pieces that I am so proud of on Real Time.
“And I’ll say it upfront to the audience: the show I will be doing without my writers will not be as good as our normal show, full stop. But the heart of the show is an off-the-cuff panel discussion that aims to cut through the bullshit and predictable partisanship, and that will continue. The show will not disappoint.”
Island Social Trends — the pen of Mary P Brooke — is of the same ilk as Maher, though less edgy (unless you read between the lines). For 15 years we’ve written about ‘stuff that matters’ on the west shore of south Vancouver Island, as well as across BC and Canada as might impact life here on BC’s west coast. That’s our polite way of saying what Maher says point blank: “cut through the bullshit and predictable partisanship”. We do that because people appreciate straight-up truth — not raw, but given context and reason for why it’s important in the first place.
The world needs the creative inventive minds of writers, who should never be replaced by artificial intelligence processes (one of the main issues of the strike). The human mind always thirsts for truth and fresh thought, sadly battling against a world that most often contains and restrains people’s minds and choices. Journalism is essential for keeping the wheels of democracy greased in a way that keeps the gunk out.
Island Social Trends @IslandSocTrends posted on X (formerly Twitter) this morning, replying to @BillMaher:
“#Writers are essential in a modern free-speech society and should be properly paid and respected (i.e. no issue with the strike). But your forthright approach to carry on for the benefit of your other staff and your audience is commendable and refreshing in the corporate world.”
Some of our readers disagree with the show returning — without writers.
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke has been guiding public discourse about stuff that matters since 2008 on the west shore of the Greater Victoria area. Her publication series began with MapleLine Magazine (quarterly colour print magazine, 2008-2010), then expanded by community demand to covering local news weekly which we did with Sooke Voice News (print grayscale weekly, 2011-2013).
When the footprint of political and economic influence from the broader region was too great to ignore, Ms Brooke expanded the publication once again to being West Shore Voice News (weekly colour print/PDF 2014-2020). When the pandemic hit that morphed into an online portal at IslandSocialTrends.ca which is active right up to this minute.
The print editions of MapleLine Magazine, Sooke Voice News and West Shore Voice News have been permanently archived in the collections at the Sooke Region Museum.