Saturday, January 25, 2014

Satire and our ABC

I may well have posted about this word before. It is my blog and I can cry if I want to.

It is a word I use rarely. I use it in moments of drama or for emphasis. I deplore the way the way it is used in every sentence by a certain demographic. Well, more than one demographic really.

I first heard the word publically broadcast on ABC radio in the eighties, spoken by an ex minister of religion Terry Lane, who now writes a camera column for The Age Green Guide, the local paper's tv and radio supplement.

Around the same time I heard the word on television, in a rather grim Aboriginal tv play. Think The Street and Redfern Now, and go even blacker (no pun intended) and grimmer than that. An Aboriginal in the show said fuck.

The word went on to be heard very often on our ABC. But now? Do you even hear the word fuck now on our ABC? I am too old to stay up for Rage. Maybe you hear it in music clips. Our ABC has even broadcast the c word, quite a long time ago.

More recently the c word was used by a comedian on ABC 2, and premier ABC radio broadcaster Jon Faine gave him a very hard time about using the word. Personally I think it was quite an appropriate word to describe Nigella's ex  husband and Faine was being a little too prima donna like for my liking.

Our ABC has become a very tame beast now. Satire using irony has almost disappeared. You won't hear the word the derogatory word for Aborigines, boong, on our ABC anymore. You won't see satirical racism used to make a point.

The list of shows through the 70s, 80s and 90s presented by our ABC that challenged mores, society and especially politicians is long. Where are they now? Gruen is challenging and clever, but too clever at times. I am not sure that the Chaser has any more wind in it. There was a great and perhaps too slick consumer show last year, but I have forgotten the name.

I'd be happy to see some shows from our ABC that are a little rough around the edges, but somewhat more challenging.

23 comments:

  1. I think I read that the movie 'The Wolf of Wall Street' has the word fuck spoken more than 570 times. It is an R (Restricted) rated film in Australia but I suspect for reasons more than the language.

    That's a far change from my younger years when four letter word expletives were never heard in movies.

    I still recall the first time I ever heard the word shit spoken in a film. It was by Liza Minnelli in 'Cabaret' in 1972. It was said once only. My face went a burning red in the darkened packed cinema at the sound of an expletive in public.

    Times have changed.

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    1. Victor, I am getting used to the word being liberally spread around via podcasts. I remember when Sally said shit in Cabaret, although I wasn't really shocked by it. I was older when I first saw the film.

      However, I do recall being very embarrassed in front of my parents when the word sex was used on tv. As for Don in Number 96, I was mortified. But not so much by the camp Dudley Butterfield.

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  2. The f word never bothers me. The c word bothers me because of how it can be used to put women down. I don't use either. Much. Mostly because people are so sensitive to its use, but I don't really understand why. In comparison to the s word, the f word sounds so innocent. I don't like the s word. :)

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    1. Rubye, I am with you. I dislike the s word more than than f word. A person who you call a c, is a bad person. Woman part, bad. I can't get past that.

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  3. "There was a great and perhaps too slick consumer show last year,"
    Are you thinking if The Checkout, jointly presented by The Chaser and Choice? It's currently being rescreened on ABC2.

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    1. Altissima, the show is still before the courts, I believe, defending a segment. Yes, it was The Checkout. Brilliant work by the youf.

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  4. Hi Andrew

    Remember Tony Manero in Saturday Night Fever (1977),

    'It's a decision a girl's gotta make early in life, if she's gonna be a nice girl or a cunt.'

    Pretty mainstream film, as I recall.

    Re ABC - The Book Show (Radio National) about 2009, when it was still presented by blessed and much lamented Ramona Koval. An interviewee said 'cunt' twice, between 10-11am. No repurcussions, as far as I know.

    xxx

    Pants

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    1. Pants, of course I saw the movie, and I do not remember that line. I am surprised at what you say.

      Ramona should be an ABC living treasure. How shabbily she was treated. The RN audience is very sophisticated and is not listened to by Maude from Muckerton.

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  5. I don't care about four letter words, one way or another. TV, film and theatre directors who want to be challenging, gritty and radical put in four letter words, but they are just swear words. To be challenging and radical, they would have to challenge male violence, right wing politics, wars in the name of nationalism, capitalism destroying families etc etc.

    I agree with you about Gruen, by the way. Challenging, but sometimes so funny that the probing issues are covered over.

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    1. Nice work in your first para Hels, reinforcing why I like you.

      I might write something soon about Gruen host Wil soon, from one of his podcasts.

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  6. The F word is never spoken on network TV over here, but it is on cable of course. The word does not bother me at all - and in come contexts/scenarios it makes the show more authentic and real.

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    1. Keith, the it is like there is two Americas, I think. The free tv America and the cable tv America.

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  7. I despise the C word, but I've got used to the F.
    I remember days when I never swore at all, but working for Coles changed that, so much about that job was just wrong for me. I was good at it, but never enjoyed the work. I do miss the girls I worked with though and pop in now and again to say hi, but it's a long day out just to do that.

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    1. River, working at Coles made a man of you? Only girls you miss? There were not some Check Out Chaps who you got along with?

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  8. Well it wasn't on the ABC but Mary Hardy famously dropped the f-word (accidentally) on The Penthouse Club in 1974. She was temporarily banned from TV because of it.

    More recently Jane Fonda dropped the c-word on the Today show in the US only a couple of years ago. In her defence she was using the word in context - as the word was the title of a segment in The Vagina Monologues - and she barely batted an eyelid when she said it. Not sure how middle America coped with that while having their breakfast!

    For the record, not a fan of either word. I've said the occasional f though I have to be honest.

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    1. TVAU, I had forgotten that, but I remember now. I loved Mary. What a treasure she was.

      Interesting about Hanoi Jane dropping the c word. The nuances of American tv are very puzzling.

      I think the f word is fine when we hit our thumb with a hammer or drop a piece of fine porcelain.

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    2. well that was Mary's defence. She'd bashed her hand on a concrete block to imitate a karate chop, thinking the block had been weakened to allow a break but it hadn't been. So she smashed her hand on the block and let rip! If only we had YouTube in the 70s!!!

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  9. Some people did not like Mary Hardy, but I thought her a treasure. Her catch-cry at one stage was "Look it up in your Funk & Wagnells" - which just shows that she preferred to be clever than use rude words out of laziness or a lack of imagination.

    In my lifetime I have used the C word to describe 3 different people. They each deserve[d] the description which is, quite rightly, reserved for very special occasions. Not all are females - I've decided to [re]claim the word.

    I do swear far too much. [blushing]

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    1. FC, I remember that FW phrase, but I don't remember her using it. Clever.

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  10. Mary could well have said that phrase but I think it originated from Laugh In

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    1. You do know your stuff, which is why you are TVAU, and it seems TVUS.

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  11. Don't say anything bad about Will.. I love him, he cracks me up AND I love that he wears thongs all the time and doesn't care :) Never would say the c word, is 'orrible.. but the f one does escape now and then, usually at the computer!

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    1. Grace, after listening to some of his podcasts, boy can he swear. But yes, I like him too.

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