This is a good Nikki Finke satire piece because it’s grounded in fact. Hollywood is Slacker Town. Almost everyone works long hours — twelve-hour days are fairly standard — but too many in the upper echelons overcompensate by taking extended vacations (“working” or otherwise) that eat up huge chunks of the calendar. Finke’s piece was triggered by news that “some Hollywood types [are] already leaving town for the July 4th holiday.” I’m guessing that the big vacation-takers are those with school-age or younger kids, and I can relate to that. But at the end of the day (especially these days) I subscribe to words that David Mamet wrote 20 years ago for an episode of Hill Street Blues: “I went to sleep dreaming life is beauty — I woke the next day knowing life is duty.” Life is short, we’re all strutting and fretting our hour upon the stage, and either you get it or you don’t. Better creative work is done on less-full stomachs and less vacation money to draw upon, but of course (and this is the bottom line) most of the folks in this town aren’t in it for the creative highs but the money saunas. How many people in this town would do what they do if the bucks weren’t quite as flush? How many are in it for the work itself rather than the creamy compensatory comforts? You know Jack Black would be Jack Black no matter what, but could the same be said of Gail Berman or Brad Grey or Ron Meyer or a hundred others I could name? If Hollywood were to suddenly become socialist and adopt the salary plan that the London magazine Time Out had around 1980, which was that everyone earned the exact same salary, you would see an exodus like nothing since Moses led the Jews out of Egypt. (For the record, HE’s work day is 15 to 16 hours if you count screenings. Longer if you count DVD-watching, primarily a relaxation thing but one with occasional work-related aspects.)