Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Devine Right to Eat Animals

It's hard to express how confounded I became reading this article by Miranda Devine. I know it's from last week - I only stumbled across it today. I only read Devine when I feel like being irritated - and today I really got my wish. There are so many confusing aspects, things to be surprised at, shocked even. But the most unsurprising aspect of course, is that Miranda Devine is a dullard. There's no other conclusion to draw. 

Of course, I'm sure you all had concluded this some time ago, probably when she insinuated lesbian parents caused the London riots. It's just that sometimes, a person's level of idiocy defies even your low expectations of them as a functioning human being.

It's air. You need it to breathe Miranda. Suck it in and blow it out. There's a clever dear. 

If I were a meat eater, and passionate about my right to eat meat, I might choose to use less idiotic justifications than "well plants have feelings too!" (sticks out tongue and puts hands on hips). I mean, really. That's what you're going with?

The point of the article (if there is one) seems to be to rebut High Court Judge Michael Kirby's statements about animals as sentient beings. She seems a little put out by his suggestion that humans can empathise; "In other words, those of us who eat meat do not have sufficient empathy. Thanks, your worship."

Jumping on the defensive, jumping to conclusions, and being patronising - she really has earned her stripes as a News Limited columnist.

She goes on to say that most people feel sadness in relation to animal deaths. Quite true. - If that death is happening in front of you. But if it happened in a remote factory with high fences, and the delicious suckling pig on the plate in front of you bore no resemblance to the sweet little thing who had its throat slit so you could pay $120 to have it served to you in three different ways ... Probably not.

The idea that farmers "more than most" empathise with their animals is laughable. I grew up on a farm. Farmers are made of hard stuff - I suppose because they have to be. It would be a rare farmer who shed a tear at every head of cattle sent to slaughter - and one that would likely need to be institutionalised at suffering so very much empathy - considering the amount of animals killed in modern-day factory farming. But of course as a self-proclaimed product of the uber-urban lifestyle, Devine would probably know best about such matters. 

Let's see, what else does she have to say? Oh yes, she mentions Jonathan Safran Foer's "new" book, Eating Animals. That would be the book he released in 2009 - which she should have known seeing as she clearly checked the Wikipedia page (having nabbed a Natalie Portman quote from it). 

Then there's the old poor-people-don't-have-the-luxury-of-choosing-not-to-eat-meat argument. Some poor people don't have the luxury of choosing to use a toilet, or to change their clothes - so we fat, rich, elites in the developed world probably shouldn't do those things either. Devine seems a little jealous of their 'get out of jail free' inability to source sustainable food that is not meat. Perhaps she should move to a Sudanese village where she can enjoy all the goat stew her heart desires without that nagging 'empathy' she feels so very deeply. 

"Moral vanity"! "sentimental meat phobia"! Strong made-up language there, but hold on to your hats people - us dirty hippy vegos are trying to destroy the ready availability of protein!!! Is nothing SACRED? Will no one think of the CHILDREN? We have a tax on carbon and now THIS?! 

Devine uses professor of agriculture, Dr Greg Hertzler, to bang out the everything-you-eat-harms-a-living-creature argument. Okay, so instead of endeavouring to be aware of where our food comes from and to not harm living creatures in sustaining ourselves, we should just kill all of them because some of them are going to die anyway! I mean, if the mice are being killed in the bread factory - we might as well kill ALL mice! And if we're going to kill all mice, we might as well kill ALL animals! And if we're going to go that far, we might as well kill ALL LIVING THINGS!! Including EACH OTHER!! Mwahahahahah!

Wow, sorry, I got carried away there - but as Good Christians love to say; it's a slippery slope. 

Then there's the poem. The poem that Devine seems to be using to prove her point, but that actually disproves at least one of them; That farmers feel empathy and acknowledge the suffering of their animals. In fact, the premise of the poem is that after a while, when animals are murdered on the farm, the narrator 'just shrugs' - such has he become desensitised to the act.

Proof that Devine hasn't understood the poem, or the topic, or anything really, is in her final line; "The point is, we all feel bad about killing animals. But in the end we have to eat." Well, no actually, that is not the point at all. In fact, that statement is completely wrong, (a) because no, not all people feel bad about killing animals, and (b) the need to eat does not relate to animals being killed. At least, not for us privileged folk in the first world - in fact, it is our privilege that should make us want to at least try to eat sustainably and to avoid inflicting pain on other creatures as much as we can.

Indeed Miranda, "living replaces false sentiments". - If we're only talking about your living, and the false sentiments are those that you feign in relation to having your food die for you. The fact is, I don't eat animals, or use animal products, or even eat factory-made bread for that matter - because I figure if I can live without having another animal feel pain because of me, why wouldn't I do that? Why wouldn't anyone do that?

The whole article is just a selfish, spoiled columnist justifying her selfish, spoiled food choices. And it bothers me. Can you tell?

You eat meat because you can, because you like the taste of it, because it's easy. Just say so. Don't write a whole fucking column of crap to make yourself feel better about it. You answer to no one but yourself ... oh yeah ... and me ... because of this interwebs thingy. Cool, ain't it? 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Negus Fail on Animal Cruelty

During Monday night's channel 10 news, George Negus told us what stories were coming up on his 6.30 program. He said he had a horrifying story of animal cruelty - perhaps worse than the recent Four Corners investigation into live cattle exports. You know the one? That amazing and detailed piece of long-form journalism from Sarah Ferguson that resulted in a massive outcry from the public and temporary live export ban.

I don't usually watch 6.30 with George Negus, but I stayed tuned to see the promised story as it's a topic close to my heart. In the intro to the program George mentioned the animal cruelty story and called it a 'special investigation'. He then mentioned at least two other stories that would be on the program that evening. 

The half hour program. 

At least two other stories. 

So, this 'expose', 'special investigation', 'bigger than Four Corners' story was so very important that it was sharing a half hour with commercial breaks, Bear Grylls, and David Beckham. 

The story was actually around four and a half minutes. Viewers were warned at the beginning that what they were about to see was very disturbing and may upset some people. 

Over the next few minutes was an 'investigation' into dog pelts from China being used in fur clothes exported to Australia. Verna Simpson from the Humane Society featured heavily. In fact, she was really the only person in the story besides the reporter, Natasha Exelbey. There was a very short section of video footage of dogs in dirty, cramped conditions, one being held by a man with a knife. What the man did with that knife we do not know because the screen went black and remained so for a moment while the dog yelped in pain. It wasn't actually clear that the dog was being skinned alive - something a simple voice over could have explained. Skinning animals alive is not uncommon - though strongly denied by fur farmers. The rest of the story was Simpson and Exelbey examining items of clothing and declaring that shock! horror! gasp! - some of the fur products right here in Australia are DOG fur, when they are clearly labelled otherwise. 

I have several issues with this story. First of all, if the producers really thought the story was so important they would have given it more than a few minutes. If they really wanted it to have an effect on viewers, they would have actually shown some of the confronting footage. 

Secondly, the footage used was from as far back as 2009, the investigations referred to as old as 2003. Third, even comparing a pissy little few minutes of badly cut footage to the amazing research journalism of Sarah Ferguson and the bravery of animal activist Lyn White is insulting, to say the least. 

And here's the thing that really annoyed me; It's only shocking because they are dogs. No mention of the fact that millions of foxes, raccoons, rabbits, wolves and other beautiful animals are tortured every day to produce products that are readily available in Australia. Oh hang on, there was mention of foxes and rabbits - when the women were discussing what the dog fur was mixed with in the 'dodgy' clothes; "rabbit or fox - which is perfectly legal". Because it's okay to torture and kill those animals. We don't usually have them as pets. We can't relate. They're foreign like those nasty foreigners killing the pretty doggies. 

There's a scene in the documentary film Earthlings that stuck with me for days after watching it. It was the image of two beautiful little raccoons in a very small cage, huddled, shivering, wide-eyed, frightened. Holding onto each other, they stared, almost mesmerised, at their third companion lying dead in the cage next to them - whom they had been forced to cannibalise.

Animals in fur farms are starved you see - because loose skin is easier to remove. Delightful isn't it?

Tuesday's story on 6.30 with George Negus might as well have been on Today Tonight it was so lacking in any journalistic credibility. It boiled down to "Look at this! Look at this! Your shoes are made from DOG! Not some lesser animal that we don't give a shit about!" It reeked of desperation to ride on the coat-tails of the amazing response from the public in the wake of the Four Corners story. 

And the thing is, the horrors of the fur trade are enough. Show any fur farm. I mean, if you're going to use two year old footage, why not show Australia that terrified little raccoon? Why not show Australia where their expensive jackets and shawls come from? Why not give some statistics on just how many animals are killed so that some bourgeois woman's skinny shoulders can be draped in an expensive corpse as she waltzes down Chapel Street like the ignorant moron she is? 

I never watch 6.30 with George Negus, and I won't do it again.

EDIT 06.10.11

Well that was a blatant lie because I watched the 'follow up' story last night. I just can't help myself can I?

It was the same crap - a few minutes of 'expert' opinion on whether or not the fur was dog. Negus said in the intro that they had received a 'huge' response from viewers after Monday's story. Might have dedicated some more time to it and reported the broader issues then.

Double fail. 

There's an online petition over here. By the look of the comments and tweets on the topic - people overseas seem to think the dogs are being tortured in Australia, by an Australian company, under the approval of the Australian government.

Triple fail.

Don't get me wrong - it's great that the issue is gaining a wider audience. It would be even better if a reputable reporter/program did a story on the fur trade in general and wasn't afraid to show it for what it is. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

X to the power of WHY?

I watched some of channel 7's X Factor last night. Wow. Settle in for this one folks.

On a scale of 'mistakes I have made' where telling a dear friend the man she was dating was a complete wanker resulting in me not being invited to their wedding two years later is extremely bad, and just now not being able to find a spoon and thinking it was a good idea to just tip the sugar from the bag into my tea is not that bad at all, I would gauge deciding to watch even a few moments of X Factor somewhere around the time I tore a hole in the palm of my hand with a stick at the age of eight and told the local priest I was stigmata just to see what would happen. I'll let you decide for yourself how big a mistake that was - but I should point out that I chose to make this revelation when receiving holy communion and that there may or may not have been fainting and/or collective kissing of rosary beads as a direct result. 

What was I talking about? Right, X Factor. You know the drill, people who want to be famous audition in front of a pre-pubescent crowd recently plied with free energy drinks and a panel of 'where are they now' judges to get through a series of rounds where they are told yay or nay and sent home in a flurry of curse words and tears vowing to return next time, and that you'll one day see their name in lights whether the judges could see their 'talent' or not. This year, I was rather chuffed to note the inclusion of former Spice Girl 'Mel B' as a judge. I loved the Spice Girls - of course I did. And Angry Spice, as I liked to call her, (to which my friend James would point out "she's not one of the bloody Seven Dwarves!") was my favourite. I also think Natalie Bassingthwaite is simply lovely. I've had a thing for her since she played Izzy on Neighbours and not only shagged Karl Kennedy but had his illegitimate child - and took it to London! After an affair with Paul Robinson of course ... shhhh Marian ... you know too much. But even the potential for a Mel B performance of the Spice Girls classic 'Two Become One' (because she's pregnant, see what I did there?) could make me watch another minute.

There were young men being made to take their shirts off. Yes. Call the Melinda Tankard Reist bat-phone because that shit was just wrong. Oh hang on, it was at the behest of a hormonal pregnant woman though, so I guess it's okay. Oh wait, except that it wasn't just the one man who had bragged about his hardened six-pack, - it was him and every buff young thing that came after him. And after they got one of the lads to remove his shirt for a better look at his bronzed abs, they let him sing and preceded to tell him that he was absolutely awful, had no talent whatsoever and was lucky he was good-looking. I thought it was nasty. And I am a raging feminist. Indeed, that feminist voice inside me was trying to rebut my horrified reaction with tidbits like "well women are objectified and belittled like this ALL the time!" and "it's rather refreshing to see men as the butt of sexualised jokes isn't it?!" But no. It isn't really. Because no one deserves to be ridiculed and treated like shit - let alone in front of a crowd or on national tv. Even if they've been silly enough to sign a release form allowing whatever they do to be used in whatever manner channel 7 thinks is appropriate because they are so damned hungry for that 15 minutes of fame that has been promised to them by every reality tv show since Sylvania Waters.

It irked me. I changed the channel. I flicked back at one point to see 18-year-old twin girls in too-short-for-tv school uniforms with not a whole lot of talent being let through to the next round because they had 'something'. They also had a camera behind them which very nearly showed the audience at home what they ate for breakfast - a camera angle that not-surprisingly wasn't really used on any of the other performers. 
I know, I am constantly saying that I shouldn't be surprised at this kind of crap - and as far as you can tell, I seem to be constantly surprised, right? Well no, not really. I am constantly disappointed though.

I was wondering, throughout the bits that I watched, where the classic sob-story was for this season. You know, the whole "I'm singing for my dead dad" or "I have a painful disease and singing makes me feel better" schtick. Well, this is where the bat-shit-crazy and how-is-this-on-tv-let-alone-rating-well 'X Factor' kicked in.

A young man named Emmanuel was the final performer on last night's program. Emmanuel is severely disabled. The tv audience were told that he and his brother were saved by their adoptive mother as babies in Iraq. It was a heart-wrenching story. The producers added a touch of haunting Middle-Eastern music just to make it completely clear that this, people, was the real deal. After a lengthy introduction, Emmanuel was finally given the chance to sing his chosen song; Lennon's 'Imagine'. This is where it all got confusing. I mean, the intro and the story of the boys and their heroic mother was the stuff of current affairs programs, not talent contests. My eyes welled with tears at their mother's courage, and at Emmanuel's brother, side-of-stage, beaming with pride and cheering his best friend on. Then I realised I was watching A SINGING CONTEST. 

What the hell were the producers thinking? I mean, sure, as far as your reality tv had-a-shit-life-gonna-sing-my-heart-out stories go this one pretty much takes the cake, but I felt angry. Angry that Emmanuel's story was being used as a gimmick, as I'm sure it will continue to be as he progresses through the competition. Angry that the serious political and human rights issues that Emmanuel's story represents (unfortunately whether he likes it or not) were glossed over for the soft-focus close-up of a tear in Ronan Keating's eye. And finally, angry for the other contestants because clearly, as usual, it's not actual singing talent that has any bearing on the outcome of these stupid shows - it's the gimmick. Because even though Emmanuel sang his heart out, it's quite clear his singing talent isn't extraordinary - as much as the judges gushed otherwise.

Am I being cynical? My thoughts are that Emmanuel, like all the other singers who weren't quite good enough, should have been told, politely, where they could improve and sent on their way. His audition didn't have to be aired and turned into the drama that it was. I would expect anyone with a disability would resent being treated differently or given special favour. And the worst part is that it's all to boost ratings - when the novelty of his story wears off he will no doubt be cast aside like so many reality tv contestants whose names I can't remember. Maybe I'm being cynical. Maybe his singing will improve, the gimmick won't wear off and he will win the competition and record an album (that he gets stuff-all royalties from). Hey, maybe he knows exactly what the producers are doing and is happy to put up with it for the chance of a 'big break'. I hope only good things happen for him, and I hope channel 7 don't chew him up and spit him out like we know they will. 
So, I guess you can tell from that rather lengthy rant, that I wasn't AT ALL impressed with the first episode of X Factor Australia. Maybe I'll check back in near the finals just to see how my beloved Nasty Spice is doing, and to bathe in the warm glow of Nat Bassingthwaite's smile.

I'm not surprised. I'm disappointed.

Here's a link to the video. Nineteen and a half thousand views and counting.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Putting me off my dinner

Look, I'm sure I come across as a real intellectual-type, high-brow, educated, woman. But I have to confess. I've been watching trash tv. I'm confessing because, I didn't just watch it ... I taped it. Granted, I started recording when I realised that I would need to show my friends later just exactly what I was ranting and raving about, but still, to record such rot and have it sitting on my hard drive next to the likes of Seven Samurai and Grand Designs is just dirty. Will these hands ne'er be clean I ask thee? (See how educated I am? I played Lady Macbeth in year 10 drama!) Alright, enough of the fluff, let's get down to it.

The program in question is Dinner Date, aired Tuesdays on channel 7. Of course I initially tuned in because Manu Feildel is the host and he is adorable (besides that sexist remark during Dancing with the Stars that his PR people quickly brushed aside as 'lost in translation' *wink*). 

Well, Manu doesn't disappoint. His cutesy narration and naughty smirks to camera do have me giggling along, rosy-cheeked like a school-girl. The actual show on the other hand, is about as enjoyable as a hot poker stuck in your eye - but with absolutely NO hotness. 

The premise of the show is that one single contestant chooses to have dinner with three suitors. The contestant, after the three dates, then chooses their favourite to take on an overnight date somewhere 'fancy'. That's all. That's the prize. An overnight stay at a nice hotel is worth losing your dignity for, it seems. If the pollies need any more evidence that these tough economic times are effecting real people out there, I can't think of any better. 

Episode one featured a very attractive young woman and three male suitors. She had a 1-year-old baby and had been dumped by the father just 3 weeks after the birth. One could assume, most likely, that she has a pretty good history of dating arseholes. So when, after her three dates, she chose the 'Italian Stallion' who was a complete Neanderthal, misogynist wanker, I was a little perturbed. Not shocked of course, because going on a reality tv show to date three complete strangers whilst being filmed is clearly not the actions of a logical thinker, but perturbed because shouting at the television "Don't you DARE pick him you idiot!" had absolutely no effect.

When discussing it later with my friend, she pointed out that the woman was probably just 'after a shag' so chose the man with the bangin' bod who seemed like he had the most experience of one night stands (trust me, no one would go back for date number two after they discovered the names of his future children).

- But that can't be right, because the contestant was hot. She could go to any club and pick up. SO, after episode one, it became clear that yet another reality tv show was going to rationalise my general disappointment in humankind. The stupid woman chose the buff cad, who will cheat on her, spend her money, and generally disrespect her until he dumps her for a blonde with a lower IQ who doesn't have a baby or a mind of her own.

So when it came to episode two, my head was on straight. Gone were my fanciful notions that humans generally have their own and other's best interests at heart and that, if given the chance, humans will generally surprise each other with their actions.

With those notions buried deep in the pit of despair (where they lived the entire time Big Brother was on television), I was able to successfully predict before the third ad break that the horrible little man 'looking for love' would choose the skinny blonde with the cleavage who couldn't even cook *GASP!!* over the nice country girl with whom he got along wonderfully and who had exceptional culinary skills (good little lady that she was, of course).

Mind you, I was happy the contestant chose the blonde, because the country girl was too nice for him. I would have preferred though, if he'd chosen contestant number one: the bad dancer who made him sit on the floor and didn't really like him at all. Because I'm sure they would have had a terrible time on their follow-up date, and I would have enjoyed knowing that - because that's the kind of person I am.*
So that's Dinner Date. An exercise in finding morons and showing them to be the morons they are, with soft lighting, diary-room style bits-to-camera and a charming host holding back his laughter (or is it tears?) at just how low he will go to keep his mug on tv in the off-season of My Kitchen Rules.

And here I am, waiting for episode three to start, because I want to be horrified. I've been sucked in ... and don't even get me started on Four Weddings.

* I'm really not that kind of person at ALL!! You see what reality tv is doing to me?!?

Friday, July 29, 2011

Why the world is fucked: example #3457

A friend sent me a link to this story on today (- I've done research into the sexualisation of youth in the Australian media - they didn't just think I'd like to look at made-up girls in sparkly dresses.)

I opened the link, read the article, and yep, pageants are indeed fucked up, but the thing that really bothered me, that really made me stop and wonder at the state of the world, were these two images in the sidebar next to the pageant story;

Kids in detention and a child on the brink of death. Next to the pretty little darlings of the American beauty pageant circuit.

I'm not dissing the reporting of the pageant business, it's all news, and the asylum seeker and drought stories are being reported too - even if they are tucked away with yesterday's stories (I can't expect much more from - I'm simply saying that seeing these images together made me feel sick. That these events are occurring simultaneously in this wide world of ours put a lump in my throat that is difficult to clear.

That's all.

Friday, July 22, 2011

In retrospect ...

Right, well, sorry I haven't posted in a while. Actually I've been writing entire posts lately and not actually putting them up. The reasons vary between 'not good enough' and 'someone else said it better anyway' and 'why am I talking about this?' - among other things.

Anyway, last night I attended a Wheeler Centre event that has forced me to break the drought.

Hosted by Crikey's Sophie Black, 'Unaccustomed as I am...' was an hour of wonderful guests reciting famous speeches from history. Julian Burnside, QC, reached lofty heights with the Gettysburg Address, whilst Sam Pang caused raucous laughter with his touching rendition of 'that bit from Notting Hill' - you know the one I mean. Dave Graney has a stage presence that commands attention, but it was Noni Hazlehurst that left a marked impression on the full house.

Noni chose to recite Paul Keating's 1992 Redfern Address. The famous words of Don Watson hold very different meaning two decades later. What was, on its first reading, a speech filled with hope and good intention, is now a reminder of lost opportunities and disappointment. You could have heard a pin drop as Noni read, but it wasn't until the end of the speech, where she said, simply, "isn't that sad?" that the crowd collectively sighed and shook their heads - snapped back into the harsh reality that is the current conditions of Australia's indigenous population.

I actually hadn't realised just how long ago Keating had made that speech. I was thirteen years old and had started high school. So why had I not heard it until I sought it out for myself on the eve of Rudd's 2008 Apology to the Stolen Generation? Why did my Catholic private school not think that message was an important one to share with developing young minds?

That was the point that stuck in my mind last night - and this morning. I thank the Wheeler Centre for holding events such as this, and I thank Noni for choosing that speech. I hope it had the same effect on the other patrons last night and that today Don Watson's words are being shared amongst friends and discussed.

Monday, February 14, 2011

To my Beloved ... both of you.

I've been a bit negative in my last few posts. Justifiably of course, but I feel I should balance it out with some love.

D'ya know what I love? ABC and SBS. Just when I lose faith in Australian media and media makers, I am reminded just how talented a bunch we are by switching over to our much-maligned National Broadcaster and it's not-entirely-publicly-funded friend. The new digital channels have had me wondering about the state of the nation (not to mention summer programming) and I've been switching off and - you won't believe it - reading books on the balcony to get away from my television. I know, it's disgusting. I am now only 4 or 5 shades lighter than my siblings who are not creatures of the night and who do not recoil at the slightest hint of sunshine and/or daylight.

First of all, bravo to SBS for the wonderful documentary series Immigration Nation. It was beautifully presented, informative and covered the subject matter well. The production values were stunning - considering the limited footage & photographs of early Australian migration -  the program was entertaining and not at all slow and the academics weren't just talking heads, they were warm and allowed character. I loved it and sat squinting in the darkness of my living room, trying to spy my mother on one of the arriving boats.

 image from

Interestingly, when I told my mother she should be watching, her response was "What for?"

Rather than responding with "Umm, because you're in it?" - which I'm sure seems most logical, I instead told her that it might illuminate for her the plight of the asylum seekers and refugees - a topic we had been arguing about the week before. You see, my mum seems to think that fleeing a country devastated by war and arriving on Australian shores in the hope of a better future was alright 'in those days'. But now that she has been made a citizen and staked claim on this whole nation of 'ours' she feels the imaginary gates should be closed.

Yes, I will be buying her the DVD for her birthday.

While I'm thanking SBS I will reiterate my love for my favourite show, Rockwiz. Over summer we've been spoiled with Rockwiz Rewind - classic episodes introduced by the team. Brian Nankervis is one of my favourite people in the world. Not just the world of television - the world in general. He is such a warm, friendly, amicable fellow. He needs to be made an official National Treasure or some such thing. And Julia, oh Julia. If there is a sexier bundle of intelligence, spark and wit than Ms Julia Zemiro I've not seen it. All hail Rockwiz, may it - like rock'n'roll - never die.

Now to dear Aunty.

ABC News 24's coverage of the floods, fires and cyclone far surpassed any of the commercial station's attempts at quality reporting. Granted, channels Nine and Seven sometimes had better footage - but when you're willing to put your staff in dangerous situations even though the authorities have expressly advised against it - you're bound to get a better shot of rapidly-moving-brown-water than the broadcaster who respects its staff (and viewers) enough to keep them safe and informed and not pander to those wanting to see disaster-porn. 

~~ deep breath ~~

A very good job in very trying circumstances. Kudos to ABC News 24.

I got to watch the film Bran Nue Dae for the first time a few weeks ago. It was on ABC2 the same night that Ten aired its final Oprah special (followed by Baz Luhrmann's Australia- good grief).

I thank ABC2 for airing it that particular night. When my will to live had almost been sucked entirely dry and the strong urge to shove giant, West Australian pearls up the collective arses of the baying crowd at the Opera House was almost too much to bear - I was soothed by the catchy tunes and wise-cracking joy of Rachel Perkins' lovely little ditty. What a sweet, unassuming bundle of joy. 

Speaking of bundles of joy, Tony Jones returned with Q&A last Monday. Oh Tony, we missed you. - And you can take that as a comment. Monday nights haven't felt right without Australian Story, Four Corners, Jonathan Holmes on Media Watch and Q&A. It makes little difference to me what the stories are about or who the panelists are. They are all great programs. Entertaining and well executed. Hoorah for Monday nights.

Following from Monday, it seems once again that I have to cram my early-week playdates into Tuesday, because one night of freedom and I am locked in to ABC1 again. Hello Wednesday night.

Wednesday night has always been a crowd-pleaser on ABC. Some of Australia's best television has graced the schedule in recent years; Both Chris Lilley's We Can be Heroes and Summer Heights High, three series of the wonderful The Librarians, Lowdown, The Gruen Transfer, regular crowd-pleaser Spicks & Specks, and The Chaser's various incarnations.

Last week I was a bit worried about the fate of Wednesday nights. Who knew what we were in for with Adam Hills in Gordon St Tonight? Let alone the very high expectations that had been growing on social media sites for Marieke Hardy's brainchild Laid. I had decided to expect very little (particularly after the horror that was Ben Elton Live from Planet Earth) and was pleasantly surprised.

Adam Hills is a likeable fellow. He likes himself quite a bit too, a characteristic which in some people makes you want to beat them about the head with a blunt object, but with Hills, is quite forgiveable (for now, anyway). Episode one was slightly self-indulgent but as with most 'episode ones' the aim is to introduce characters and make everyone comfortable. I think Hills introduced himself and his new set very well (even though many viewers know him already from Spicks & Specks and his stand-up). The guests were great, Hannah Gadsby was great, the crowd was great, the jokes and segments were great and Hills made everything seem easy - which is so very hard to do. I liked. I hope I keep liking.

And finally Laid. I would have preferred to be tied to a pew at a Hillsong gathering where Kate Alexa Gudinski was performing Cher's If I Could Turn Back Time* than in Marieke Hardy's shoes last Wednesday night. The amount of pressure that was on her and her team to 'come up with the goods' had reached boiling point by 9:25pm. Not only had the ABC been promoting the show to within an inch of its life but social media had created a frenzy around it too. I was imagining Hardy with a cold compress on her forehead, (turns out she had undies on her forehead - jolly good show!) a port in her hand and fingernails chewed to little stubs of raw flesh.

Well, she needn't have worried - or rather, I needn't have worried for her. Laid set itself up very well. Again, it had the 'episode one' task of getting everything in place; introducing characters, plot devices and core relationships - and still managed to include some real laugh-out-loud moments - no easy task with all that other business going on. Episode ones can often disappoint for this very reason. But Laid didn't. Hoorah! And I'm very much looking forward to the rest of the series. Hoorah! And Abe Foresythe is a babe. Hoorah!

~~~ ~~~ ~~~

And so my love-fest comes to an end. Thank you ABC and SBS. I always had faith in you, but thank you for restoring my faith in us, and them.

Much love, M.
* Organised Religion irks me. Fake cheer irks me. Hillsong very much irks me. Kate Alexa is not a very good singer. Cher's If I Could Turn Back Time is bad. Any performance of it would be bad. I think it's safe to assume that these factors combined would make for a very unpleasant evening.