Presenters on most shows, Q&A, Quantum, First Tuesday book club, the hungry beast, message stick, talk to the audience like they are presenting BTN for kids. There is no respect for audience intellect, and any back-story information to a discussion is explained like we are all five year-old children that, when presented with a concept we might not understand, will freak out in a frenzied tantrum and shove crayons up our noses.
The abc is so scared of presenting anything that might go over 'anybodies' head they have forced an intellectual and cultural
enema upon themselves.
I'm not the smartest or most cultural guy on the planet but i am interested in culture and history and art. What's more, I am interested in what people smarter than me think about culture, history and art. Consider this intriguging but somewhat superficial fact. Now with 3 digital channels, ABC1, ABC2 and ABC3 Kids - programming is drastically skewed for children. Between the hours of 9am to 12pm and 3pm and 6pm on a Monday - between the 3 ABC channels it represents 18 hours of TV programing only TWO hours could actually be described as Adult viewing (and I am using that terminology loosely - it includes Landline). Two hours out of 18. OK, yes, I understand that one of those channels is devoted entirely to kids programming and the times I selected are times skewed towards children - but how many TV viewing options do kids really need.
Intelligent, cultural ABC programing has been slashed. Sunday Arts, Counterpoint, Bill Cooks lecture series. Where have Jonathon Biggins, Peter Craven, Clive James, Meaghan Morris - people who know about art, history and culture, gone. They can't get a gig on the ABC but for the glut of people like,Tony Jones, Jennifer Burns, Marieke Hardy, Andrew Denton and Poh the cook. Anybody that wants a recent example of the interlectually lightweigtness of the ABC these days should watch the most recent episode of First Tuesday book club where Colm Tóibín and Lionel Shriver, made the regular panelist look like retarded children with 'adult" intelligent discussion and insights into books beyond "i liked this book because it mentioned the street i lived on" type discussions. Or consider that Catherine Deveney was consider a cultural critic when she appeared on Q&A.
I know these days, to be a cultural critic all you need to do is find something low-brow and popular, like masterchef or Jake Gyllenhaal, and write an essay saying how they reflect the cultural mores of our time and perhaps mention they are the modern day Clarke Gable or Katherine Hepburn. Or that being an artist requires little more than arranging puppies in cute, satirical positions or drawing cock and balls on revered cutural symbols - but knowing stuff kinda matters. Knowing history. Understanding art. Learning. Matters. Culturally we should posesss slightly more in our intellectual, cultural and artistic arsenal that irony, satire, simplicity and a few fart gags.
ABC was once there to challenge us, provide us with programs not accessible on the other commercial networks. when all you are serving up to us is a slightly more refined reality TV show, or A current Affair but presented by someone in glasses, all you are challenging is our ability to find "adult" programing. We have the other commercial TV stations, we have the internet - ABC talk to us like you at least think we are smart and stop being so scared of alienating some views because a certain discussion will go over there head - don't worry, they will swicth over and watch Hey Hey it's Saturday.