I have this entrenched pattern of behaviour at the end of the day that goes: drive home through peak hour Sydney traffic for an hour or so, arrive home and pour some kind of liquid relief, assemble something resembling food for First Mate, Tim the Cabin Boy and for me, and flop in front of the ABC news.
But as the ABC’s decline into mediocrity or worse, as the cliché du jour says, as the ABC “races the commercials to the bottom” and incredibly, as they stretch out this bit of linguini to “cover” 24 hours of News, they have unwittingly set me free from the chains of habit.
I don’t know whether you’ve listened to ABC News radio, or as an antidote to insomnia watched the interestingly arrayed Virginia Trioli on ABC2 in the morning, but the modus operandi is well-established here and here.
OK, it’s not just that they run a tightly-repetitive cycle that’s so off-putting, it’s the bloody content. Who’s responsible for throwing together this dog’s breakfast of thin, gruelling, regurgitated tripe?
Let me illustrate.
Take a look at the news items that show up on the increasingly not worth the trouble web site. A quick scan this morning reveals the cheerful parade:
- Liquid bomb plotters jailed
- Oil spill, oil spill oil spill
- Gangster’s girlfriend charged over murder plot
- Men ‘possibly’ shot in mass brawl – let’s hope so, otherwise this item loses its punch
- Child sex scandal
- Drunk attacked after attempting to wrestle croc
- Death toll in Uganda
- Scary economic news
- Outrageous medical fraud / misinformation
- Endless speculation about political power / malfeasance, skulduggery and incompetence.
There was more folderol, but I’m sure you get the drift.
Today is clearly a pretty upbeat day – after last week’s headlines with photographs of one deceased digger coming back from Afghanistan and another being buried by his family and all the political heavies – 2 out of the 5 headline articles – only broken by an apparently important game of soccer going on in South Africa.
I used to think that the ABC was the last refuge for staying in touch without having to sit through or listen to unremitting trivia, gloom and despair. I used to think that it was important to stay informed and keep in touch. But when I stopped perving on Juanita Phillips and actually listened to her speak her lines I fell into a rather deep disappointment.
We were given a warning when Kerry O’Brien mistook insolence for investigative reporting and Tony Jones confused his guests’ shameless self-promoting buffoonery with “public debate”. We should have heeded the warning sooner.
But now, I can comfortably set those silly notions aside, comfortable in the knowledge that there’s nothing left to miss and sink into a post-work stupor, blissfully numbed, reminisce about the days when the ABC was more than just a recycler of BBC comedy and take a long pull on an exquisitely dry martini.
…. also showing off over at the Daily Bludge