THE POLITICS OF GLAMOUR: Ideology and Democracy in the Screen Actors Guild by David F. Prindle

THE POLITICS OF GLAMOUR: Ideology and Democracy in the Screen Actors Guild

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Sympathetic, thorough, well-written history and analysis of the Screen Actors Guild from its hard-fought birth to its present agonies. The guild has many unique qualities. Most of its members (85%) are out of work; what's more, SAG can't go on strike in any meaningful way, since its 60,000 members can quickly be replaced from the huge ranks of unemployed nonunion actors. Also, its members are notoriously temperamental, emotional, unstable, fearful of blacklisting for union activities and given to rabid conservative causes and firebrand progressive causes (the TWA strike, South Africa, etc.), which has brought on a deep division in the membership. In addition, its officers are not paid, not powerful, and not prepared to hold office. Few towering stars with clout wish to give up millions of dollars of income to attend SAG board meetings. Instead, the biggest names available (Ed Asner and Patty Duke) take over the presidency and find themselves rushing to patch up secondary problems that never allow them time to resolve the guild's greater headaches, such as merging with AFTRA (American Federation of Radio and Television Artists). Top celebrities today are often in double harness as producers and are thus--already functioning as management--ineligible for leadership. And even if they were eligible, the economic savvy necessary for dealing with contracts for films and TV series, TV commercials, industrial films, upcoming contracts for performers in music videos, etc., among its 27 branches is of a vastness that would boggle a professor, not just a well-meaning amateur. A unique and necessary study that deserves wide readership, especially among actors.

Pub Date: Nov. 8th, 1988
Publisher: Univ. of Wisconsin Press