Wednesday, October 05, 2005


Anti-intellectualism is rife in this country, asserted one of the panelists on last night's edition of the ABC's new prime-time arts and culture programme, Vulture. Having sat through this mess of self-satisfied nonsense, I think I'm beginning to see why. Eddie McGuire may not be feted as a top intellectual (as was "ironically" posited by those funsters at Vulture) but at least his shows are coherent and have an identifiable point. They also don't feature Helen Razer, which is always a bonus.

Vulture gets it wrong in almost every department. The opening credits are a meaningless retread of the Enough Rope formula; host Richard Fidler looks distinctly uncomfortable; the panelists (last night, at least) are an irritating mix of the verbose and the practically mute. The show's brief is too inclusive, the discussion barreling from topic to topic, without really stopping to fully consider any of them. The alleged comedic element is disastrous. In one sketch, which petered out without so much as sighting a punchline, we were introduced to a (fictional) fan club of the poet Les Murray. In another, a reporter visited a garden show for a spot of vox pop hilarity, including a Wil Anderson-esque comparison between garden weeds and the invasion of Iraq. Ladies and gentlemen, this is the reason we remain under Howard's yoke.

These problems may well be ironed out in coming weeks, but I feel that the show's tone will be its downfall. Instead of insight, Vulture's panelists serve up cliche; instead of rational debate, they shout over one another. Always, there is the sense not of conversation, but of performance. Similar criticisms could be made of Vulture's predecessor, Critical Mass, but at least it was a genuine arts discussion programme, not some hybrid panel/sketch show that simultaneously decries the dumbing down of Australian culture while actively embracing it. Critical Mass also benefited from having a host, Jonathan Biggins, who was personable, intelligent, and skilled at directing the conversation to a point. Vulture is a waste of air time. Chalk up another point for the enemies of Aunty.


'Thought & Humor' said...

We work like a horse.
We eat like a pig.
We like to play chicken.
You can get someone's goat.
We can be as slippery as a snake.
We get dog tired.
We can be as quiet as a mouse.
We can be as quick as a cat.
Some of us are as strong as an ox.
People try to buffalo others.
Some are as ugly as a toad.
We can be as gentle as a lamb.
Sometimes we are as happy as a lark.
Some of us drink like a fish.
We can be as proud as a peacock.
A few of us are as hairy as a gorilla.
You can get a frog in your throat.
We can be a lone wolf.
But I'm having a whale of a time!

You have a riveting web log
and undoubtedly must have
atypical & quiescent potential
for your intended readership.
May I suggest that you do
everything in your power to
honor your encyclopedic/omniscient
Designer/Architect as well
as your revering audience.
As soon as we acknowledge
this Supreme Designer/Architect,
Who has erected the beauteous
fabric of the universe, our minds
must necessarily be ravished with
wonder at this infinate goodness,
wisdom and power.

Please remember to never
restrict anyone's opportunities
for ascertaining uninterrupted
existence for their quintessence.

There is a time for everything,
a season for every activity
under heaven. A time to be
born and a time to die. A
time to plant and a time to
harvest. A time to kill and
a time to heal. A time to
tear down and a time to
rebuild. A time to cry and
a time to laugh. A time to
grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones
and a time to gather stones.
A time to embrace and a
time to turn away. A time to
search and a time to lose.
A time to keep and a time to
throw away. A time to tear
and a time to mend. A time
to be quiet and a time to
speak up. A time to love
and a time to hate. A time
for war and a time for peace.

Best wishes for continued ascendancy,
Dr. Howdy

'Thought & Humor'

P.S. One thing of which I am sure is
that the common culture of my youth
is gone for good. It was hollowed out
by the rise of ethnic "identity politics,"
then splintered beyond hope of repair
by the emergence of the web-based
technologies that so maximized and
facilitated cultural choice as to make
the broad-based offerings of the old
mass media look bland and unchallenging
by comparison."

Tim said...


TimT said...

The show also had Peter 'Ravin' Craven on it. That guy is an idiot.

UnderCrackers said...

I read that whole post and all I kept thinking was 'I like shoes'.

TimT said...

Do you, Ranter? I'm wearing shoes right now. We're obviously made for one another.

bruce said...

Couldn't agree more about the ABC's new 'culture' program. When will the ABC get the point that generalised culture programs don't work and they need specific ones on dance, music, drama, books etc. The Music Show on Saturdays fills two hours on Radio National and is never boring.

mscynic said...

I only saw the first episode and was so disappointed. The comedy sketches? Cringeworthy. I was so embarrassed for them.

I like Fidler and thought he did a good job of trying to keep the conversation together but .....

Such a shame.

Ben said...

Yeah I caught a bit of the first episode and wasn't impressed - then I watched this weeks episode and heard them talking about the latest Australian films. The Proposition sucking and Wolf Creek being a masterpiece?? I think bloody well not.