Ted's RPG Rant

A place to rant about RPG games, particularly the Temple of Elemental Evil. Co8 members get a free cookie for stopping by. Thats ONE cookie each, no seconds.

Monday, October 10, 2005

The Media

I really despise the media in many ways - hey who doesn't? We wouldn't all be reading blogs if we had a decent media, now would we?

The media here in Australia is mediocre. We don't have the excessively bad stuff of the US or Fleet Street, the real scumbag tabloids etc (though we come close at times). But nor do we hit the heights of other countries. I heard some time back - this may be apocryphal, but I hope it is true - that David Irving did a tour of the US, and the media ignored him. They didn't show up to film his opinions, they didn't publicise him that way, or even publish editorial rebuttals - nor did they try to deny him his chance to voice his particular opinions - they simply ignored him. That shows character. That sort of character is sadly lacking here in Oz - if such a person turned up here, the media would surround him or her immediatley, the pack of salivating dogs that they are, eager for and indeed encouraging the person to make some offensive and controversial remark that could be used as a sound byte. I can say this, because Loius Farakand (or however you spell his name) turned up here not that long ago to preach his particular brand of Black Islam to the Aboriginals (who were sensibly unimpressed) and that is how the media treated him. They fawned on his every word, and encouraged him to make offensive comments about Jews. Fabulous.

Some of you may have heard of Pauline Hanson - now there was a shameful period in our history, for more reasons than just the obvious ones. Hanson was created by the media - entirely, completely, utterly. I truly don't believe she ever thought of starting her own party until the media stuck cameras in her face and said, day after day, "are you going to start your own party Pauline?" The underlying addendum - do so, and we will give you all the free publicity you want. Hell, if I could get the media to publicise my every word, I would start a party in a heartbeat. They created her - she said things people are, in the classic words of Lenny from the Simpsons, "uncomfortable with". They hung on those words, publicised every one of them, repeated them, embellished them, gave them the worst context that could be given, feigned outrage and fell over themselves to condemn her but always, ALWAYS hoping she would go on and give them an endless stream of headlines.

She immediately got better than 10% of the popular vote, leapfrogging easily the 'third' party here, the Democrats (no relation). They squealed like the useless clowns they are - one politician famously and accurately described their movement as "the fairies at the bottom of the garden" - and actually went to the next election, where Hanson party folks won a few seats, with the political campaign, "don't give her the balance of power, its ours you know. Really". [Here in Oz, the Democrats, who hold about a seat in every state, used to hold the balance of power in the Upper House. Therefore, no government from either left or right could get their legislation through the Upper House without courting their vote - their slogan had been, "we keep the bastards honest". The current right-wing government of John "yes Mr Bush Sir" Howard is the first government in many long years to have a majority in both houses, God help us.]

Why 10%? Why did so many flock to her meetings and speeches? I sincerely believe many went along to actually hear what she had to say - that she was being misrepresented by the media was so plain and obvious they barely tried to hide it. People wanted to simply hear for themselves and make up their own minds, and good on them for that. Some voted for her. Is one in 10 Australians actually the sort of redneck who would want Pauline Hanson running the country? Perhaps, but really, it was simple disenfranchisement by the major parties. Voting for Tweedledee or Tweedledum had come to have so little meaning to many people they voted for Hanson as the ultimate protest. Votes for her counted - every result, every poll showing support for her rising was a front page headline. People who backed her felt they were making a difference. It was DEMOCRACY.

What happened in the end? For those who don't know the final outcome, she was actually jailed (or 'gaoled' as we say here). A hard-case goverment minister named Tony Abbot (a head-kicker who is, tragically, the public face of the Catholic politician in this country) was given the job of bringing her down, and he had charges brought against her for not registering the party properly. It was crap. Democracy WOULD have prevailed: her bunch of weirdos, racists and conspiracy theorists would have INEVTIABLY self-destructed, were already self-destructing when she was breifly put away. Now she is still a celebrity as women's magazines pay to hear the horrors of her incarceration (what bullshit - no woman has done hard time in this country in a century, any more than in any other western country) and she recently appeared in a celebrity dancing competition, which is what passes for television here nowdays. Thats on its second season - albeit the channel 7 newsgirl does look absolutely gorgeous in her ballroom outfit.

Not only did the media create this fiasco, they created the climate for it. For a decade (the 80's of course), anyone who thought outside the accepted PC framework was labeled racist (or whatever) and hounded from public life. Ordinary folk - the 'rednecks' - hated it of course, and talk-back hosts had a field day, as they still do, airing the opinions of the majority who had no other voice in the mainstream. The Hanson movement was the inevitable backlash. People who had legitimate questions about all the money given to Aboriginals, for instance - which quite clearly had never reached them or done a damn thing to improve their lives, some still live in third world conditions - suddenly found a voice. "We're one nation, no-one should get special treatment". Sounds like Commy crap to me: but at least it was something people could say. People have GOT to have their say: I remember [long and rambling digression with vague analogous relevance] reading a thing about a group home - a place in the community where people with disabilities can live (thats my field for those who are just passing) - group homes are not the easiest things to live next to. Sometimes folks with disabilities get a bit loud - sometimes they throw things over the fence. A place was found in an ideal suburb, in an ideal street, hundreds of thousands of dollars was spent on doing it up, ramps and rails and all the other amenities needed to make it habitable for folks in wheelchairs and such. There was a few problems, and a petition was taken up, and the area got rezoned, and the folks with disabilities had to move out, and all that money was wasted.

Were the people who signed that petition evil selfish fuckers obsessed with their quality of life and their house prices and such? Perhaps, but the thing I read suggested otherwise. See, in that classic PC mentality, this was simply foisted on the street: there was much consultation among the folks doing it, and the folks funding it, and the folks living in it, but there was not consultation with the community who had to be a part of it. When someone decided to take up a petition against having a group home there, it was the first time some people in the street had had anyone ask them for their input. It seems many signed because that way they felt empowered, they felt they were having some say over what was happening in their lives, even if that say was shafting a bunch of folks with disabilities.

The Hanson phenomenon was a bunch of people having their say, tired of having things foisted on them.

Thats Democracy. Call me an idealistic fool ("you're an idealistic fool!" comes the voice from the gallery, ha ha Mr King, go back to publishing your laundry list) but I am a firm believer in Democracy. Its not perfect, its not some eternal law like Justice, its something mad-made, but as far as man-made things go, its one of the best we have come up with. Strong Democracy is a GOOD thing. I firmly believe - and again, call me a fool if u like - that strong Democracy prevents the rise of someone like Hitler (who, you may remember, was democratically elected in a weak democracy). Strong Democracy is important.

The Pauline Hanson phenomenon was a result of Democracy being weakened by the media. It ended with Democracy further being weakened by the Attorney general's office and the Government. It should have been left to run its course - Democracy would have exposed her and her supporters as ratbags utterly unfit for public office - but instead people are left feeling that a peoples champion, a chance to have their say, has been been silenced by the powers that be. Who will be the next one? Probably that has already appeared in the form of John Howard himself, who, forced to back down on his views on such things as limiting Asian migration back in the 80's, has since comfortably gone to an election with the slogan, "we will say who comes to this country" (refering to illegal refugees, not immigrants) and a campaign demonising refugees as people who would throw their own children off a boat to force the Navy to pick them up and take them to Australia (something that never happened and was an utter lie, as the Prime Minister's own office was awell aware, but which was used for electioneering by Howard himself). The Immigration department has since been exposed as having a shameful record of brutalising people in their care, but the ministers involved have been given the Prime Ministerial seal of approval. The media have objected at times, but at other times have bought into the party line that these are illegal 'queue jumpers' who must be - what? punished? made an example of? Generally rejected.

The bottom line? The media, with their cowardice, their hypocrisy, their grab for ratings and over all, their commercial interests, exert a massive influence on how our democratic society functions.

But who elected them?


Democracy ENDS at the media. And that is the tragedy.

And that is also, I guess, why people read blogs.


At 1:25 am, Blogger Carl F. King said...

Shining Ted,
Nice creative blog, keep up the good work!
Carl King

At 1:46 am, Blogger ShiningTed said...


I posted this blog, and within a minute I had 2 replies. "Fucking spam" thinks I, and immediately delete one of them.

Mr King's on the other hand... is it spam? I don't know... I DO know I went to the trouble of finding his blogs to see, and quite enjoyed reading them because I am interested in marketing and trying to get a small business happening.

Was it a marketing ploy, or did he actually pass my my blog? I still don't know. Either way, kudos to u, Mr King!

At 3:49 pm, Anonymous just a bum said...

um democrisy sux but them rich slaevrs corperatians turned evry1 in2 mental zombiez n evry1 is happiehappie bout it. evry1 belivez media without thinkin.
99% ppl in states r idiets n they actually belive taht properganda bullshiet cuz its so e-z - u dun haev 2 think 2 belive, n thinkin maeks hed hurt. n their monkey prez is a perfekt puppet.
well teh same is evrywher i guess...
n teh bottem line is taht it dozent matter wut sistim it is - democrisy or community or feudal, ther alwayz is rulors n slaevz. n rulors will find wayz 2 corrupt evry gud idea.

At 10:04 pm, Blogger ShiningTed said...

Yeah, like u said, 'thinking makes head hurt', people HATE having to think nowdays! No wonder the world is in the shape it is.

At 12:25 pm, Anonymous gaear said...

Ted - 'just a bum' has become the Ed McMahon to your Johnny Carson . . . always there, and always ready with a big "Yes sir!" ;)


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