Today we attended the festival in honor of the Big Step. It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since those initial steps in our societal evolution. The festival featured a large movie screen reminiscent of the period with the last episodes from the uncompleted seasons the most popular shows from the time. I can’t help but think of how silly things were back then when people would spend hours every night watching such television shows.
Those were such dark times with the Iraq war, the turmoil in Pakistan, rising oil prices, economic recession. Who would have thought that the heroes of that day would be striking writers? Sure, they weren’t thought of that way at first as the nation reeled in withdrawal like an addict aching for a fix. But when the football season had come to a close, the reality began to sink in that life without new TV shows and new movie scripts would have to be learned for the first time in decades.
There were a very few in the United States good at coping without TV, but they became our teachers, reminding us of treasures like parks and mountains and sunsets and football (you know the kind that you actually play outside).
After the first eight months of the strike, folks slowly began to realize that they didn’t need Jack Bauer, or Grey’s Anatomy or Family Guy to cope with mundane ordinary living. The last thing for the public to let go of was reality shows, but finally people got to a point where even reality show just weren’t enough of a fix. At first people seemed edgy and angrier, yet that eventually gave way to a calm freedom. That newly found freedom from television addiction produced the greatest atmosphere for creativity in our nation’s history and ushered in the New Renaissance in which we now find ourselves. It was as if people began to wake up from a deep sleep. They began reading more and talking to one another more. They began getting involved in the political process if only at first because there was nothing else to do with their time and in so doing caused a groundswell of reforms in the government as a result. Oil prices went down simply because there wasn’t the demand because folks just started walking outside more and riding bikes more and taking their time to get from one place to another.
It is hard for me to think how this world would have survived had those brave writers never striked. So after watching numerous documentaries of how things were, I am truly grateful for the big step and the way in which it came to be.