Just about everyone is familiar with this phrase, or it’s more colloquial cousin: “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.” The dictionary defines quid pro quo as “something that is given to you or done for you in return for something you have given to or done for someone else,” or, “I’ll scratch your back, if you scratch mine.” We do like to complicate the simplicity of language! Why the interest in these phrases? There was a news item today that caught my eye. It talked about the upcoming Super Bowl, in particular the halftime show and it’s star-studded cast – Kendrick Lamar, Mary J. Blige, Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and Dr. Dre, heading up what is being billed as a “hip-hop dream team.” But this isn’t about them. Instead, it is about the throng of would-be actors, dancers, singers, etc., that are being solicited to partake in the spectacle – you know, the lights dim the performers appear on stage, and then the horde of extras storm the field, surround the stage, and start gyrating to the music. Great fun, except what you may not know, and what this article is essentially about is that they are doing this for nothing, not a dime, nada, bupkis. And, that includes the roughly 72 hours of rehearsal! Why, might you ask? Exposure. Let’s forget for a minute about the millions and millions of dollars being spent, generated, and earned by owners, coaches, players, and supporting staff, not to mention the headliners themselves. I’ll bet if every player and artist on the field donated .0000005% of their salaries, every extra would probably be set for life. Let that sink in!
In this day and age, exposure is everything, but we seem to have taken it to the next level. Ask anyone between the age of 25-45 about their work experience and I’m sure you will be inundated with stories about long hours in unpaid internships and the like. I suppose that it is better to work for nothing in the hope of being noticed, than to not work at all, or is it? If you scratch someone’s back by breaking your back for them with unpaid service, is it fair that the scratching you get back is: “Thanks, I sure hope someone notices you?”
Los Angeles 2022