By Maxwell Woodger Esq.
Nothing in life is for free.
When I hear news about Michael Jackson’s staff filing a possible lawsuit against their employer for arrears and non payment since December of last year, I feel their anger.
While Jacko high-tails it and spends a little more cash to keep himself out of the limelight somewhere in the Arab Emirates, butlers and cleaners are pouring flammable liquids over his effigy in rage.
Normally, I would browse my illicit contacts list and pluck a piece of political skulduggery out of the murky depths for all to see, but this week I’m turning the tip of my poisonous pen towards thieving hacks and dishonest employers. You see, there is an area of the media that flies under the banner of Freelance- a concept where the journalist is free to work for whoever and whenever they want, but their work is only as good as the next filed copy. It’s a risky business, but needless to say many a fine journalist has dabbled with the discipline. Freelancing is also a good way to work on different styles, and express a little freedom in your choice of words.
However, the only part of freelancing some worthless turncoats have MIS-understood is the premise ‘Free’. If it’s freelance, it must be free, right..?
Everybody has got to eat, and a professional relationship between two parties usually means that their collaboration is a means to an end. You make a living out of professional work, otherwise you’d be an amateur on work experience. So, even if you’re getting paid in product, skin or rupees, there’s something in return.
Now, imagine getting short-changed for your hard graft, but then realising your effort was in vain because someone (No-one ever knows who, goddammit!) has given it a facelift. And not a top of the range face lift that only the most beautiful people deserve- No. Someone has transformed your work into a false entity that distorts reality and enhances an ugly reaction from anyone unlucky enough to lay eyes upon it.
So, on top of being swindled, your good name is now in disrepute because of a problem at the printers! How a machine can erase your copy and replace it with some twisted fineprint does not cease to amaze me. Is there a little angry man in that box of wires, cogs and screws..?
You can run but can’t hide forever.
Whilst shady employers lay low and count their coins on white beaches, much more loathsome activity hits the radar. Slobodan Milosovic died of a heart attack whilst waiting to stand trial for Crimes against Humanity, and America aired its latest instalment of reality TV- Black. White; a bizarre social study where races swap lives in hope of understanding one another a little better. Both of these headlines have left communities feeling cheated and lost. Who benefits from such situations?
After this many carrots, you’d think we could see through the darkness by now…
Maxwell Woodger Esq – Tuesday, 21st March 2006