When the writers walked

Writer and executive producer on "The Simpsons."

I began the strike with lofty plans to write a novel, which soon turned into a novella, which then turned into 13 solid weeks of playing "Guitar Hero III" in my underpants.

What I did manage to do was become a United States citizen. (I was born and raised in Canada.) I did it in part because the strike made me feel so patriotic -- I love that this country allows me to carry a picket sign depicting Rupert Murdoch as a money-crazed demon, complete with dollar signs in his eyes, and then go back to work for him the very next day.

During my citizenship ceremony, I sat next to a lovely older gentleman from Guatemala. When I told him I wrote for "The Simpsons," he asked me, in slightly halting English, what the writers strike was all about. I started fumfering about residuals and streaming rights and download windows, and I thought I saw a scowl pass over his face. Great, I thought, he figures me for a greedy Hollywood jerk, grubbing for yet more dough.

But then after the ceremony, as I walked out of the hall, the same man grabbed my arm and introduced me to his wife, a huge smile on his face: "This is Bart Simpson! He wants more money from the computer! He's a good guy!" God bless America, I thought, and God bless the Writer's Guild.

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