July 07, 2004

COLUMN BEGS: "LEAVE MY FAMILY OUT OF THIS!"

This week's Continuing Crisis column in The Bulletin mentions Glenn Milne, Brian Loughnane, Bob McMullan, Peter Garrett, Toni Collette, Julia Gillard, Mark Latham, David Kilby, and Chris Uhlmann, and includes this image from The Observation Deck.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 7, 2004 04:55 AM
Comments

tim, regarding your next environmentally friendly check out line neighbor.....you could ask said person to carry your purchase out to your car, sans bags.....or tip. "Hey, dude, it's good for the environment!"

Posted by: The Real JeffS at July 7, 2004 at 05:43 AM

"Labor finance spokesman Bob McMullan said Seven 'shouldn't trivialise democracy'."

"We're the politicians; that's our job, dammit!"

Posted by: PW at July 7, 2004 at 06:12 AM

Thankfully, it was preserved by web site www.observationdeck.org. l

Why does it seem like all of these columns get cut off?

Some sort of vast left-wing conspiracy, perchance?

Posted by: david at July 7, 2004 at 06:26 AM

Tim,

Any comment on the anti-Monsanto piece in the bulletin - filled with such unbiased passages as:

"Monsanto, with its deep pockets and powerful political connections, came up against an opponent armed with something just as potent a sense of history and the strength of her convictions.

*gag* *gag*

Posted by: attila at July 7, 2004 at 09:53 AM

So you say the dingo ate your baby? Riiight

Posted by: papertiger at July 7, 2004 at 10:54 AM

For a woman, Julia Gillard's really got a handle on us westie guys. Brawling is our Business, right, Tim? Nothing better than a bit of biffo round the water cooler in the factory or during the tea break. A warm mellow feeling comes over me as I recall the number of cabbies I've bashed over the years. And as for the occasions I've whacked the wife after a tiring and emotional evening in the Liverpool Council chambers, well to tell you the truth I've simply lost count. And you wouldn't be a man, even with only one ball, if you didn't have the occasional root with some of the chicks in the office. After all, that's what they're there for, isn't that right, Mark?

Yes that Julia's got us pat.

Posted by: Freddyboy at July 7, 2004 at 11:22 AM

lol Freddyboy. I reckon Gillard is there just to be rooted anyway and bovver boy and lame dick Swann would be helping themselves. Who knows, she probably likes a bit of a slap with that as well while she's being tied up in caucus.

Posted by: scott at July 7, 2004 at 12:11 PM

On a completely unrelated note, go to the following page:

http://radar.smh.com.au/archives/2004/07/romance_for_30.html

And tell me if you think that "flower" in the top left-hand side kind of looks a little bit "familiar". Like, something you've seen before...

Posted by: Richard at July 7, 2004 at 01:05 PM

Anyone willing to bet Toni Collette won't be seeing F 9/11?

Posted by: Andjam at July 7, 2004 at 01:36 PM

Does anyone agree with Mick Gill and me -- after hearing audio on 3AW -- that Lacker when attacking Janet Albrechtsen in the House under privilege called her a "sHanky ho". Can't even get that right.

Posted by: slatts at July 7, 2004 at 01:57 PM

A comment on another blog today made me laugh, all those lefties who howled for old Arnie to be punished for his behaviour to women, now defending latham wihout any compunction.

Posted by: nic at July 7, 2004 at 02:20 PM

I thought only Americans called soccer, uh, soccer. Good to know we don't have a unilateral name for a dumb sport!

Posted by: Dylan at July 7, 2004 at 04:14 PM

Is Toni Collette really being 'hypocritical'? She's not saying there shouldn't be any American movies shown in australia, or that Australian actors shouldn't have international careers, just that it would be nice if, amongst all the American stuff, we and our kids got to see some actual Australian stuff as well, heard Australian accents, saw Australian stories etc etc. As we are an English speaking country, the size and power of the American industry simply means that an Australian media industry is unlikely to survive without some protection, and this would surely be bad for our country. I usually agree with you about most things, Tim, but this seems a reasonable proposition to me, and the fact that Toni Collette has made some money from American movies doesn't seem to me to preclude her from making the argument.
Are we wrong to want our kids to see and here some Australian movies, TV etc, to try to maintain our uniqueness, or should we just sink into some awful bland pseudo American torpor?

Posted by: Richard at July 8, 2004 at 07:58 AM

Is Toni Collette really being 'hypocritical'? She's not saying there shouldn't be any American movies shown in australia, or that Australian actors shouldn't have international careers, just that it would be nice if, amongst all the American stuff, we and our kids got to see some actual Australian stuff as well, heard Australian accents, saw Australian stories etc etc. As we are an English speaking country, the size and power of the American industry simply means that an Australian media industry is unlikely to survive without some protection, and this would surely be bad for our country. I usually agree with you about most things, Tim, but this seems a reasonable proposition to me, and the fact that Toni Collette has made some money from American movies doesn't seem to me to preclude her from making the argument.
Are we wrong to want our kids to see and hear some Australian movies, TV etc, to try to maintain our uniqueness, or should we just sink into some awful bland pseudo American torpor?

Posted by: Richard at July 8, 2004 at 07:58 AM

Hey Richard, I'm sure it's nice that you shared your views with us and all, but they weren't worth posting twice.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 8, 2004 at 10:52 AM

By the way, what makes you think Australian movies are inherently more exciting to watch than American movies (or movies made by anyone else for that matter)? I've watched quite a few Australian films -- there was a big wad of them thrown this way in the late 70s -- and I'd say the ratio of artistic thrills 'n' chills vs. "bland torpor" was similar to that of the American product.

I'm sure it's exciting and all to see one's own hometown and hear one's own accent up on the silver screen, or even on the small one. But there needs to be more than that. I grew up in Miami and I and my friends were all initially thrilled when Miami Vice hit the big time. But once the special feeling of seeing one's childhood streets used as the scene for fashionable car chases wore off, it was just another cop show.

Posted by: Andrea Harris at July 8, 2004 at 10:57 AM

And the "it's inherently a good thing if Australians are able to see Australian movies" argument entirely disregards whether Australian actually care to see Australian movies in the first place.

The existence of quotas pretty much indicates that that's not the case, as the quotas wouldn't be needed otherwise. So we're left with government-mandated production of movies that people don't care to see. And the money needed to produce them? Why, tax payers' money, of course.

It's obvious that Australians care about the preservation of their culture (heck, just look at the vegemite threads for a rather bizarre example *g*), but preserving it through domestic film production doesn't seem to be what the public at large has in mind.

If somebody wants to see more Australian movies produced, I'm sure there's a way for them to put their money where their mouth is, and get involved in financing an up&coming Aussie director. If you find enough people who feel the same, you'll get enough money to start production. If not...well, perhaps there's no demand for the movie then.

Posted by: PW at July 8, 2004 at 12:03 PM

Sorry about accidental double posting.
Andrea, I would have thought even an American could understand that there's a little more than 'excitement' at stake here What we're talking about is the preservation of a culture and the protection of a country from being completely overwhelmed by a huge, infinitely wealthy culture and industry.
PB, the trouble is that that's all bullshit(with great respect!). The fact is that, it's all driven by marketing and huge budgets. People are simply overwhelmed by the saturation marketing of American movies and TV shows. Also, American product, because of sheer volume, is comparatively cheap. So Aussie stuff has absolutely no chance to compete. Actually, when Australians get a chance to hear about and see Aussie movies and TV, which isn't all that often, they generally like it, but in the real world, Aussie material simply can't compete with the size and power of the American industry, without some protection. If there were no quotas or other assistance, cheap, plentiful American stuff with saturation marketing would simply take over.
Maybe some of you don't care if we just dissolve into a poor imitation of America, but some of us rather want to preserve our unique culture if we can. Living overseas for a year, as I am, has taught me the value of this. I admire many things about America, but that doesn't mean I want Australia to become American.

Posted by: Richard at July 8, 2004 at 09:06 PM

Sorry - I meant PW.

Posted by: Richard at July 8, 2004 at 09:13 PM

The key part seems to be this:

People are simply overwhelmed by the saturation marketing of American movies and TV shows.

Translation: 'People just don't know what's best for them, let me (or a government I favour) make that decision instead.' I'm sorry, but any argument founded on such a belief won't get much mileage with me, unless you can prove that what you think people should be consuming is objectively more worthwhile than what they actually want to consume at the moment.

You may feel that Australian culture needs defending from all the cultural influence of U.S. movies, but that doesn't mean the majority of Australians or even a sizable minority feels that way. (And even if they do, it doesn't mean they necessarily want to see it waged via quotas.) Unless you can give me some credible statistics showing that many Australians would want to watch more Australian movies if only they had access to them, you're not speaking for anyone but yourself here.

And as I said, put your money where your mouth is; nobody's stopping you from financially supporting Australian movies. Coercing others (via taxes) to pay for your envisioned cultural diversity program is only so much lefty boilerplate.

Lest you think I have it in for Australian filmmakers only, the same argument can be made about my domestic scene (Germany)...there are no quotas here (to my knowledge), but a rather large-scale system of motion picture grants, both on the state level as well as federal.

Frankly, much of what's being financed through them is utter crap, especially in the area of fiction. (I tend to be less harsh on grant-funded non-fiction/documentary movies, which probably makes me a bit of a hypocrite. But anyway...) It tends to be carbon-copy American-style movies, just less competently produced. Thanks, but I might as well go for the original, then. Interestingly, most of the (handful of) good and commercially successful domestic movies over the last few years relied on grant money to only a minor degree, or not at all.

All of which indicates to me that, just like most art grants, state funding of motion pictures suffers from a massive case of rent-seeking. The stuff that people actually want to see would have been produced even if the entire grant system didn't exist. What was funded was the stuff that wouldn't have survived on its own, and usually for good reason. I can't imagine it's much different in Australia, from what I've read on the subject.

Posted by: PW at July 9, 2004 at 02:34 AM