Jul 13, 2017

Razer: Uhlmann’s Trump ‘mic drop’ was banal, an absolute fizzer

Yes, yes. Trump is bad. This just in: water is wet; heat is hot; and urban intellectuals are very easy to poke fun at.

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

I’d always had time for Chris Uhlmann. Not for those minutes he now spends on TV bathed in the unsurprising light of an ageing liberalism, mind, but time for Chris the bloke.

About 10 years ago I worked in the same office as Uhlmann, and we’d see each other once or twice a week. In the lunch room, we’d developed what I saw as a mild affinity based on shared distaste for the staid conventions of ABC presenting. Chris, then a producer, would say that it was all so middle-brow and unsurprising. I’d make a crack about how the afternoon segment on ancient grain breads and gifted children had been more politically engaged than that morning’s interview with the PM. He was kind enough to laugh at my jokes. I was dim and vain enough to think that I was funny.

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40 thoughts on “Razer: Uhlmann’s Trump ‘mic drop’ was banal, an absolute fizzer

  1. Dion Giles

    Chris Ughlman

  2. Jack Fahey

    Yes Helen! One of your best.

  3. zut alors

    Keating was spot on re Uhlmann.

    But the critique also applies to the majority of Australia’s TV interviewers – who are so hellbent on mouthing their listed questions that they frequently ignore the response. Or, worse, actually hear the response & fail to ‘wing it’ with follow up because the interviewee’s reply doesn’t tie in with their next planned question. One of the few journos who does pay attention & accordingly tailors the interview is ABC’s Sarah Ferguson. Another fine proponent of this style was Kerry O’Brien.

    1. klewso

      They operate as though the prosecution of their opinions (confining parameters to their purview) are more important than exploring the bigger picture of the matter at hand : “case closed – spin cycle”.
      Conservative bobbie-soxer and groupie “Sweet & Sour” Sales – with her two-speed persona – is a classic.

    2. craig

      “… who are so hellbent on mouthing their listed questions that they frequently ignore the response.”
      *cough* Leigh Sales *cough* *splutter*

    3. Elbow Patches

      Yes – strong work always from Sarah Ferguson.

  4. klewso

    And doesn’t that observation of Keating’s suit Alberici to a tee? …. Lucky you got out when you did?

    1. Dion Giles

      True Alberici is a bit of a crusader, but she’s manna from heaven compared with that dullard David Lipson that the ABC had been foisting on its Lateline audience.

      1. klewso

        Catch last night’s burnt offering?
        I couldn’t decide which was the weirdest :-
        a) The “Vance Joyce/Politics 101 = go looking for embarrassing foreign (Russian) intelligence about your electoral opponent” or

        b) The George Brandis “You are in fact the scholar of Liberal ideology” sketch?

  5. kwikcounter

    Exceptionally stupid piece by Ms Razer.
    We are in USA . The Uhlmann piece has been quoted widely. As an expression of an Australian opinion it is of far more value, here, in USA, than the opinions of US writers. Forget what has gone before. Uhlmann was right and has been credited accordingly

    1. Barbara Haan

      I wholeheartedly agree. Regardless of your personal opinion of Chris, he has cut through in the US. Americans do NOT like we foreigners commenting on their President. Kudos to him for managing to do that.

  6. Murray Scott

    Sorry folks, I am too distracted by Razer’s language to guage her intellectual rigour. Eg “[Razer: apparently ‘the world’ hates Trump. Well big fucking whoop.]” and ” — but some fucking historical context.” I can’t see the relevance of fucking to either context.

    “Fucking” has become an nasty word for a beautiful event, raising ugly social consequences. Used as meaningless punctuation of language, the term is simply distracting. Used to connote “useless, broken, dysfunctional” or ” contemptible”, it has disturbing implications for sexual relationships including misogyny, sexual violence, rape and murder. Society can do without habitual evocation of these evils. If Helen could eliminat this distraction from her argument I will be better able to follow it.

    1. zut alors

      Hear, hear.

      The four letter expletive – once useful in times of crisis – has been diluted & rendered defunct by over use. Obviously this is a result of the English vocabulary being dumbed down, we are losing valuable words & expressing ourselves less effectively.

        1. zut alors

          A good illustration. It now lacks any punch.

        2. Nudiefish

          hee hee hee…

          Of course, condemning rude words is the actual fucking point of this piece.

          *shakes head*

        3. Woopwoop

          The really shocking words now are to do with race. You won’t write them.

    2. Marilyn J Shepherd

      Oh my frigging god, are you in the Victorian era of prudes, we girls have been swearing for a good long time and like Helen I will continue to swear. I am so sick to death of judgemental little men and fuckwits who think swearing is worse than locking up babies on Nauru, or bombing Syrians, Iraqis and Afghans to bits. Grow up and get over it sunshine.

      1. Duncan Gilbey

        I for one am appalled at the torrent of foul language in this forum.
        Fucking appalled I tell you.

      2. mikeb

        Not sure what women swearing has got to do with it. The point was that it’s losing it’s punch. Have to throw an “n” word in every now and then to get a reaction.

  7. bref

    Gosh Helen, sounds a bit like sour grapes, old girl.

      1. bref

        Sorry Helen, I was trying to be amusing (a smart arse?). Didn’t succeed. In future I’ll leave it to the experts :-).

  8. Marilyn J Shepherd

    WEll said, Uhlmann wrote and spoke reams about the so called power crisis caused by renewables LONG AFTER the fact that it was 7 tornadoes in the worst storms in living memory hit SA last September. I was in SA without power for 9.5 hours, but I had gas heating and cooking, a portable radio and a source of music along with torches and candles. I cooked a full roast dinner, kept warm while the outside temperature was -6 and the wind was blowing at 90 km per hour – I live on a hill in the Barossa – and survived while the ABC kept us up to date without the tedious Uhlmann.

    1. Barbara Haan

      We in Adelaide did a lot better than you in country SA. Our power was only off for, in total 4 hours, and came back on for 2 hours in the middle of that time. Personally, I enjoyed it and cooked by the light of a LED lantern and didn’t miss the meeja at all. As someone who grew up riding horses, I’ve always sworn loudly and proudly. I’m following in the tradition of the royal family after all. I don’t think fuck has lost it’s impact at all.

  9. Lee Tinson

    Helen! Bold! I have to say, I’ve never liked Uhlmann. Mostly because I found him both smug and inane. I hadn’t realised he was actually held in such contempt by any of his peers.

    Anyway, I’m with you. Although he did kinda sock it to the trumpster, didn’t he?

    1. Woopwoop

      I don’t like him either, but this time he managed to “cut through” as they say, and not only here. Good on him for that.

  10. Saugoof

    I always found Chris Uhlman one of the worst exponents of the type of journalism where it really is all about the journo rather than their interview subject.

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