What Would Machiavelli Do?
That's a question I've raised before in the context of the Writer's Strike, and now it's popped up again in the context of divisions that have popped up as the Screen Actor's Guild prepare to start negotiations on their contract with the AMPTP.
Now on the surface, the fighting over "qualified voting" and the very public pressure to start negotiations early and to rush to a deal would seem to be the sort of strategic blunder that Machiavelli would frown on.
Or is it?
By provoking these issues the "A-List" and their allies have effectively split the union, making it weak in the face of the united AMPTP.
Now on the surface this is a major league pooch-screw. You never go into battle, and negotiations are battles, with folks that are supposed to be allies at each other's throats.
However, this is just on the surface.
I've always said that the A-List has divorced itself from the great unwashed of the general public, and now it seems that they've split from the fellow actors, especially the ones who don't make millions of dollars a year. I've also discussed the reason. Any radical rethink of how Hollywood does business, especially with actors threatens their position, which owes mostly to the clout of their agents and publicists than their box-office appeal.
But what about the non-A-listers who are supporting the divisive measures?
There's a saying that if you want loyalty in Hollywood, get a dog. Almost all relationships in Hollywood are based on who can get you your next job, whether you like them or agree with them. So there's no doubt that many will sign on with the A-List against the rest as some sort of protection or promotion for their own careers.
Hollywood is a cutthroat town, and it looks like the big money actors are quite willing to cut the throats of their own union.
Now is that properly Machiavellian?
Possibly, it is ruthless and geared toward preserving their own power.
However, there's an element of self-destruction in it that Machiavelli would not approve of. Because stardom is fickle, no one stays on top forever, and when you're down, and the union that's supposed to protect you has been neutered by you, it's not good.
While Machiavelli believed in getting and maintaining power, he learnt the hard way that you should always have a plan for when things don't work out.
So I guess what we have here, are a bunch of people who think they're being clever, but are really shooting themselves in the foot.