…..and not really a “me” either.
The news industry has undergone some radical changes over recent years with once megalithic newspaper, TV and radio organisations seeing their business model denuded of profit and their speed to print/broadcast undermined.
When I think about an average week of news consumption personally, I estimate that I receive 90% of my intake from free online sources with the remaining 10% from TV and radio. I think the last time I read a physical newspaper was in a hotel in India on a business trip and I honestly can’t recall when last I paid for one.
Of the online news sources, I like Twitter. Yes, it’s full of absolute guff and pictures of that woman in the United Airlines social media screw up, but it also has some absolute nuggets which don’t make it to the mainstream until multiple verifications have occurred to minimise legal action. Rolf Harris’ arrest 6 months before the TV, radio and newspapers, for example.
On the subject of Twitter; I’ve noticed a little Twitterstorm regularly occurs on Monday nights when the ABC broadcasts “Q and A”. So I thought I’d drop in last night and see what all the fuss is about.
The format is familiar to those growing up in the UK; it’s basically “Question Time” but sans one of the Dimblebys.
The announcer advised us that QandA (spaces or no spaces? It’s difficult to know which to use) was hosted by Tony Jones, which nearly answered a nagging question I’d had for a while now, that is, “what has he been doing since playing bass in Generation X, Sigue Sigue Sputnik and then The Sisters of Mercy?”.
Of course, I was confusing him for Tony James and the answer is that he formed “Carbon Silicon” with Mick Jones of the Clash/B.A.D. and they seem to only play gigs at their local gastropub in Notting Hill.
I was a couple of choti pegs into the evening at this point and I must admit to then wondering whether Tony James and Mick Jones had fathered a bastard son and called him Tony Jones, but the opening credits finished and we were into the show so I let that thought pass.
My first impressions of Tony were that he has an extremely punchable face. There’s some sort of sneery supercilious thing going on with his eyebrows which, added to his whiny voice and scripted one-liners give off a vapour of smarm mixed with arrogance. Think Bob Monkhouse but less funny and not so orange.
He also has obviously subscribed to the George Dubya Bush school of body language, that is, he believes in making himself look as physically large as possible by keeping an unnatural gap between his arms and body. Remember what I’m talking about?
Tony was probably a journalist once, researching news, doing interviews, writing information in an articulate and erudite way. Now he reads scripted one liners in response to carefully-selected questions from a carefully-selected studio audience.
Our panel for the evening were all women. Being my first time of watching, I don’t know if this is unusual of not or whether it’s like the AFL competition and they do themed weeks to “raise awareness”? I assume that soon there’ll be an Indigenous Round with Adam Goodes standing pointing at an offensive member of the audience and an ANZAC Day Round where the audience all roll up in Wallabies shirts stinking drunk from gunpowder breakfasts at the Dawn Service.
On the panel were the following ladies;
Penny Wong – She’s a senator who used to be in the previous government. She wasn’t very good with numbers back then, I recall, and supported her party’s intransigence in legislating for same sex marriage despite being one of the likely first candidates for the ceremony when it eventually becomes law.
Marise Payne – She’s a senator in the current government. I know nothing about her other than that.
Michelle Garnaut – She owns a restaurant in China, apparently.
Jacqui Lambie – She’s a new senator from Tasmania representing the Palmer United Party. She’s quite orange and particularly inarticulate.
Judith Sloan – An economist, a profession which I am constantly bemused still exists due to the gerrymandering of central banks. Surely “commentator on central bank policy” is a better job title?
So, on to the questions.
First up was a young and earnest lad asking about the possibility that the pension age might have to be raised. My advice (given loudly to the TV) was that he ought to worry more about his dental health than the state of his pension as he had a set of gnashers that would scare Shane McGowan’s dentist.
In between scoring cheap party political points (usually prefaced with the sentence, “now is not the time to score cheap party political points”), most of the panel failed to grasp that “retirement age” is a misnomer; you can retire whenever the fuck you want, you just can’t claim the state pension until a particular age…… and it’s means tested anyway. Judith picked up on this eventually and also pointed out that the people most likely to need the state pension are those least likely to live that long.
Penny Wong conveniently forgot that the reason the debate about pensionable age was being had in the first place was that the demographic maths no longer stacks up; young people are unable to fund retiring old people.
Michelle Garnaut was asked how the wonderful ex-Communist state of China, a country happy to slaughter those campaigning for democracy only 20 years ago, handled retirement? “Much better”, seemed to be the summary of her response. Thanks.
I’m sure that the enforced one child policy since 1979 and increasing longevity rates haven’t added any creeping demographic issues in China, have they Michelle, ma belle? Fucking idiot.
Second question; another earnest young man, this time a 15 year old boy in a sweater. Here’s a tip to 15 year old boys everywhere; if you want to stand a chance of losing your virginity, don’t ever wear a sweater. Ask Bardon.
Something else about pensions, “do we have to work until you die?”. I don’t know mate, it depends what work you end up doing; nobody owes you a cradle to grave existence. If you decide to study climate bollocks you might find the funding drying up pretty soon.
Jacquie Lambie (never trust anyone who chooses a stupid spelling option for their name) said something on the subject too but unfortunately I haven’t been here long enough to penetrate her particular accent so I can’t report the substance.
Another question. This time from an old lady who said that she was still working in her 70s so how dare anyone tell her she has to retire?
I again shouted at the TV that “retirement age” was a misnomer and nobody was making her retire. Charlie looked at the vein in my forehead with concern.
The next question came from a viewer; Charlie TNA from the Manli ™ area of Sydney asked if I would rather switch the TV off and find something more productive to do with my time and, if so, she’d meet me in the bedroom.
Apparently the “hashtag” for Q and A is #Qanda, which sounded familiar. I originally thought it might have been a Matt Munro song, but realised I’d confused it with this one;
No, #Qanda reminds me of the Englebert Humpledink song, “Quando Quando”, which everyone knows means “when when” in Italian.
My advice to the 900,000 regular viewers of Q and A is next week,
when quando considering watching the bollocks that is QandA, just spend the hour listening to Englebert’s greatest hits and save the risk to your blood pressure.