12 July 2011


Anyone cringe to death watching Q&A last night? Our brain dead PM, getting bludgeoned by an audience of wife bashers, yet turning her other cheek with that persistent monotony in her feminine resoluteness. We'll love her in the end.

We need someone with an understanding of semiotics and the ideology that is conveyed through such imagery, to deconstruct Q&A, and to bare its inner workings that are bluntly hidden from view, in that dark yet lit ABC studio. Someone like John Berger or Bill Nichols, but more contemporary and Australian, so as to pick up the more subtle cultural meanings.

Like reality television, Q&A pretends to be live, and it is, after all the staging and choreographing of what the producers think are the issues. Then there are the camera operators, the video mixers and the Twitter monitors, all reacting to that staged and choreographed tension, hunting for image based meaning, all too often semi consciously reinforcing new stereotypes, or not so subtly projecting their own bias and prejudice.

And I can't help notice, or maybe wounder, about the host, Tony Jones. Does he carry this sort of critical insight for his productions? Sitting there with a look like he knows better, like he's seen it all before, through his designer glasses that will age suddenly in a few years. Sitting there like a conductor of a country town marching band, he knows all the questions and the answers - the city slicker. Occasionally he spontaneously tries to circuit break the predictability of it all, but never so much as to disrupt the trajectory of the production - the message that is hidden from plain sight. In the end he surrenders to the "democracy" of it all, them the aristocracy, us the masses. Packaged in a new form of infotainment, all rising up from our technopoly.

May it all collapse some day.


Ben Rattray said...

you're not embarrassed admitting you watch it?

Leigh Blackall said...

Just this once. Never again.

Anonymous said...

Chapter 4: Propaganda in a Democratic Society

Aldous Huxley gives a good plain English explanation of the nature and reason for QANDA type propanganda in a "Democracy". A great book on techniques of manipulation in all aspects of communcation including education.

"Propaganda in favor of action that is consonant with enlightened self-interest appeals to reason by means of logical arguments based upon the best available evidence fully and honestly set forth. Propaganda in favor of action dictated by the impulses that are below self-interest offers false, garbled or incomplete evidence, avoids logical argument and seeks to influence its victims by the mere repetition of catchwords, by the furious denunciation of foreign or domestic scape­goats, and by cunningly associating the lowest passions with the highest ideals, so that atrocities come to be perpetrated in the name of God (Global warming) and the most cynical kind of Realpolitik is treated as a matter of religious principle and patriotic duty.... 33"