I now don’t watch Q&A for fear it will cause the kind of brain dissonance that would put me in the hands of the tender mercies of an old age care home. But discussion at coffee with my chums went to Q&A despite my attempts to steer the discussion to my current reading of David Christian’s Maps of Time and, inter alia, the transition of fish into lizards and the apparent facts that Neanderthal man had bigger brains than humans – speak for yourself I say – and that a fly at rest can handle at least a hundred times more computations a second than can a fast modern computer. No, I didn’t understand that last point either, but found it strangely consoling in view of the current fad among some scientists (e.g. Stephen Hawking and Martin Rees) to predict the demise of humankind at the hands of robots.
What to do? Watch a rerun or download a transcript? I decided on the latter to avoid the self-harm which comes from listening to the inane clapping of ABC audiences whenever a panelist makes some senseless, sanctimonious remark. Mind you, as the transcripts record applause and cheering, it’s hard to entirely blank out these discordant displays.
I wonder, to get to my theme, whether other countries have audience-participatory chat shows which continually bucket, insult and demean government leaders from other countries? Maybe they do, for all I know. Maybe in New Zealand there is a show on TV run by the New Zealand public broadcasting corporation which has panelists levelling pointed japes at Mr Turnbull to the rowdy acclaim of leftie Kiwis. I simply don’t know and will leave it at that.
In Australia we have the ABC, which provides a platform for all those who dislike Donald Trump. So far as I can tell – or could tell if I only watched the ABC — no one in the country likes Mr Trump. Certainly the managing director of the ABC doesn’t like him. Ms Guthrie described his election win as a “bruising experience for women everywhere.” That takes all Australian women out of the equation in one go. If there are any Australian men who like Trump they are obviously very hard for the ABC to find.
I like Trump enormously. I might even have a ‘man crush’ on him. Certainly, I spontaneously wept with joy when he won; which is a bit unnerving and worrying, to say the least, in these gender-conflicted times. It is safe to say that Norma Liga from the Q&A audience has a different take on Trump. She found his victory “really scary because this guy is an obvious bigot, right?” Wrong, but who could blame Ms Liga for arriving at her view.
The ABC and all of the MSM in Australia demonized Trump, insisting he couldn’t and wouldn’t win. Now put yourself in the position of an ordinary punter whose knowledge is sourced entirely from this media. It would be very hard to form a balanced and objective view. And you might well be scared. After all, he is a demon in disguise, as Elvis might have put it.
Okay, but now that he has been elected it is surely time for the media to provide more balanced coverage of the next leader of the Free World, who will hold our national security in his hands. Give Trump a chance, as John Lennon might have put it. How silly of me to think that; wrong planet.
Benjamin Law (on the panel as a writer and columnist) pointed out, with all of his considerable ignorance on show, that Trump’s new chief strategist, Steve Bannon, was a “known and vocal anti-Semite.” And that a “lot of his hires so far have been very, very extremist.”
Give him his due, serial Trump-insulter though he was (“no-one found Trump more odious than I did”), Greg Sheridan correctly reprimanded Law for his scurrilous and baseless slander of Bannon. Trump’s other picks so far are Reince Preibus, chairman of the Republican National Committee, as his chief of staff; General Mike Flynn as national security adviser; General Mike Pompeo as CIA director; longstanding senator Jeff Sessions as Attorney General; South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley as envoy to the UN and Betsy DeVos as education secretary. Both Haley and DeVos opposed Trump in the primaries, and beyond to some extent. Donald the Magnanimous comes to mind.
Mild-mannered, ex neuro-surgeon Dr Ben Carson is tipped as the favoured choice as the head of Housing and Urban development (HUD). Who knows, he might even invite ‘Never-Trump’ luminary Mitt Romney to join his team as Secretary of State? Now that would be truly magnanimous – and a bridge too far for even generous-hearted me.
There is nothing, nothing extremist about Trump’s picks, except in the fevered minds of the jaundiced left. But it is those of the jaundiced left — willfully ignorant and deluded, clinging to the politics which has wreaked misery and despair on humankind — who are continually given a platform by our (their) ABC to spout mind-bending disinformation. It is not surprising that people out there in ABC-land, insulated from Andrew Bolt, Fox News and Quadrant, applaud inanities.
Nakkiah Lui (on the panel as a playwright and actor) accused the American voter of supporting someone “who had a campaign that was based on blatant racism, blatant transphobia, blatant homophobia, you know making it OK to make fun of people with disabilities.” I kept up with Trump’s campaign. Funny I missed all of this prejudice. I missed it because it wasn’t there. It is a figment. But it is a figment that takes on reality not only for Ms Lui but for all those who rely on the ABC and the MSM for their information.
“When a true genius appears in the world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him.” (Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects, 1711) Replace ‘the dunces’ with “the ABC collective” to bring it up to date. Maybe “genius” goes too far, but then you know how I feel about Donald.