TV & Radio

Nov 2, 2017

Razer: the ABC is bloated with intellectually unambitious, moralising Gen X-ers

The ABC's new TV review show, Screen Time is, like a lot of stuff produced by the ABC, absolutely informed by the Gen X morality.

Helen Razer — Writer and broadcaster

Helen Razer

Writer and broadcaster

Ours, apparently, is a secular West. But, darn, if we don’t retain some awful Christian quirks. The nobler customs, such as loving one’s neighbour uncritically, disappeared along with the Tridentine Mass. But, more dreadful Christian traditions persist -- even, and especially, among avowed atheists.

Penitence is so hot right now. Someone is always adopting a Jesus Christ pose. We can barely read a publication of the present where someone is not dying a little for our sins: She apologises on behalf of all white women; He apologises on behalf of all men. Here, a bloke writing at News Corp is personally sorry for the dispossession, theft and massacre white Australians enacted on Aboriginal peoples, but argues simultaneously for no address to this past. Feeling guilty is enough. Sorry seems to be the easiest word; say it like a prayer, then return to everyday, non-neighbour-loving behaviour.

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69 thoughts on “Razer: the ABC is bloated with intellectually unambitious, moralising Gen X-ers

  1. Wallywonga

    Watching this show and similar new ABC stuff, is like going to a live performance, and being surrounded by people taking selfies, or incessantly talking about why they are there, who they came with, who else is there – rather than just listening, or being genuinely critical.
    What is more important to the participants is defining or maintaining self in a social media context. Considerable pre trawling of social media is important to ensure they will not affect their “like”scores too much by what they say, as well as the “like” score of the show. Participants like Chris Taylor and Zan Rowe used to be edgy, but now give off this neutered commercial vibe.
    Disturbingly Guthrie has publicly declared this path as her new mantra, to push the ABC further down a internet, social media interactive path, so after a few years of that, we may as well hand management to Hansen and Abbott. Any challenging pleasure for us baby boomers will be all gone.

  2. Itsarort

    Really? I can’t wait till the barnacle like sycophants from the millennials arrive to entertain us on the little screen…

    1. Helen Razer

      Itsa, I genuinely think they’ll be okay.

      1. Dog's Breakfast

        So do I Helen, but we’ll have to get past the execrable gen y first before we get to the millennials.

        Yes, just joking, only some of the gen y crowd are execrable, just like all the other gens.

  3. Serendipitous70s

    Helen, As for Paddy above, I didn’t mind Screen time so much that I switched over or off, and I’ve even watched episide two.
    The presenter is well-known to ABC audiences, so some of us give him a chance despite his pretty obvious un-Sales-like awkwardness. He’s just SO awkward! If you’ve seen Chris on The Book Club, he does a wholly wankerish ‘with glasses-elite’ version of himself, truly sickening, and now that has morphed into this ‘contacts-wearing-yet-squinty-moleish-critic’ version.
    I think he has the panel with him on Screentime for moral support, since his bookish and screen-critic styles have in common this cringeworthy awkwardness. Sammy S. and particularly Judith Lucy save Screentime from absolute hopelessness. They seem the sane ones. (Not axing the show after ep. one obviously seems all Strangelove to many ABC viewers.) Lucy and Shah’s humour, despite Lucy’s familiar line in vintage observational schtick, is true, fresh and cuts through the discernible low-energy vibe. But that leaden atmosphere is there from the first second, humming throughout; while ABC viewers are bloody loyal they won’t persevere as long as further episodes if something doesn’t pick up the ‘hour-long 29 minutes’ feel Zut Alors notes above, as emanating from this offering. It probably isn’t going to work itself out, but didn’t someone at the ABC twig that non-ratings season is just around the corner? Perfect!

  4. Awkward

    Perfect again Ms Razor. Thank you. All of the major political debates in the US (and some yet to see the light of day) are central to the one issue, that the US has not fallen out of love with slavery, or segregation.
    Police violence against black people, the gun laws, health care, incarceration as cheap (slave) labour, the disenfranchising of ex crims, very low minimum wages (wage slavery), the poor funding of education are all of the things you can do to promote segregation. If you can’t have slavery these things will do.

    But ‘Moonlight’ wins an oscar and it’s all good. Whose ABC?

  5. Hunt Ian

    That’s one view of the show. The problem I had with it-but I’m just a “boomer” who does not think things are just peachy–is that there is too much chatter about what they review. Margaret and David could be concise and when they cam to blows that, too, could be fun. More content, even if it is about morality, and less verbal flourishing might rescue a boring show. Incidentally, I think that the Oscar for “Moonlight” is a sign of progress but, as Helen rightly says, there are lot more much more significant signs of losses for blacks in The US, including lower standards of living but also including neo-nazis on the street yelping that “white lives matter”.

  6. Sandra van Winkelhof

    It is e n t e r t a i n m e n t apparently to transform critique into cushioned intellectual rhetoric that makes it seem as though you really are thinking and comfortable at the same time. When was thinking ever meant to be comfortable? If it is it shoud be a happenstance, not because of a method of packaging it as enlightened entertainment. Thanks for waking me up with laughter when your articles find me mentally indolent. Sharp, you are and funny.

  7. Richard Barratt

    Without having seen the show, isn’t criticising it for being too much about presentation a bit like criticising a literary show for being too much about literature?

  8. Robert Garnett

    The worst thing the ABC did recently was to take up most of the evening news with the Turbull – Netanyahu love-in; the Beersheba centenary ceremony. So much sanctimonious bullshit from the same hypocrites who destroyed Iraq “in the name of democracy”. The same people who, when their great friend Benjamin Netanyahu persecutes and murders Palestinians and Lebanese say absolutely nothing about it.

    The ABC is no different from the mainstream US media. It puts the US elites point of view above all else and whitewashes all of their criminal activities. With our politicians of all flavors being such vassals of the US you would think the ABC would take the job on, but they might as well be called the American Broadcasting Corporation or PBS for the bias they have against the third world and anyone else who doesn’t happen be American or a British white anglo saxon.

    I don’t watch them anymore unless by accident. I stick to Youtube and the independent reports and commentary you find there. The internet may have a lot of fake news, Twitter and Facebook, but the real stuff’s there if you take the trouble to find it. And most of it with proper references and bibliography.

    To see our Australian Prime Minister standing next to Netanyahu at this ceremony made me ashamed to be Australian.

    No doubt we will be going to war against Iran or North Korea soon so they will have even more opportunities to help the US kill people.

  9. [email protected]

    Actually, Milo Y IS a sassy lady on TV.

  10. John Richardson

    If Helen is genuinely concerned about the ‘pap’ that the ABC would have us accept in return for our daily contribution of eight cents, she should spend a couple of hours listening to the “kiddies bullshit” served-up on ABC South East Radio each morning, including delectable distractions from the real world such as “Story Box” & “Vocabulus”, offered as “as breaks” for its promotions of the local member & local council. Our local ratepayers association has made complaints to senior ABC management about breaches of standards, only to receive stern ‘lectures’ about how to correctly observe the ABC’s complaints management process. The ABC refuses to use our name, routinely ignores our efforts to comment or correct false statements made by politicians on air. Their latest contribution over the X-Mas break was to simply “disappear”, leaving the locals to enjoy ABC broadcasts from Dubbo. The ABC is a crock, that governments once dreamt of destroying, but which is now being destroyed from within by second-rate careerists intent on keeping city hall happy.

    1. Bob the builder

      Pap, it is. Especially now Radio National has become what Local radio once was, and local radio is absolute drivel. Yesterday, during one of the regular periods when some knob-twiddler accidentally plays the “local” feed on the Radio National frequency in the NT, I had to listen to some twit talk about how it was going to be hot over the next few days, “especially in the south-east”. Having had few days under 35 degrees for the last few months up here in the north I naturally had great concern for the horrors people in Melbourne were about to endure. Then, on what apparently is “National Drive”, I was treated to great tips on keeping cool like spraying yourself with water you keep in the fridge and putting your feet in cold water. Fascinating!
      Thankfully after about half an hour the feed abruptly returned to Radio National where I got to hear another repeat of something I’d heard earlier in the day. That was a repeat of something I heard the day before. That was a repeat of something I heard a month ago.

      1. John Richardson

        Aah Bob … in the words of the infamous Cleese … “how I would love to be alone in the country”!

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