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Satire on Australian Television

Transcript:

After 2001 and the attacks on 911 Americans began to lose trust in both their government and the media.

According to a 2002 Pew Research Center study, American audiences of television news fell by almost half between 1993 and 2002. The data also reveal a generation gap across the ages. Among 18–29-year-olds, only 40% reported watching television news at all in the previous day, a number that climbs to only 52% among 30–49-year-olds.

Along with Pew Center’s 2004 study on election coverage, that showed 18–29-year-olds increasingly turned away from mainstream sources of broadcast news, only 23% saying they “regularly learn something”. It is plain to see American audiences lost the faith they had in the traditional sources of mainstream news.

During this time though, American audiences turned to a different form of news and campaign information, late-night television and comedy shows. The 2004 Pew survey found that 21% of people ages 18–29 say they regularly learn about news and politics from comedy shows. With one program rising above the rest, The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. With the post–September 11 passing of ABC’s Politically Incorrect, The Daily Show has risen to the cutting edge of the genre. Its unique blending of comedy, late-night entertainment, news, and public affairs discussion has resonated with a substantial audience.

It’s not just the younger audience either; research shows that the show also attracts an older audience, with 27% above the age of 44.

With American audiences turning to satirical comedy shows to catch up on news and politics, I was curious if we’d done the same thing in Australia.

The short answer to this is no, but why?

Australians are definitely unhappy with the Government, an Australian Nat­ional University survey conducted last year shows 40 per cent of Australians are not satisfied with democracy, 26 per cent believing government can be trusted, with 74 percent believing the government makes “little difference” to household finances, and 69 per cent thinking government policies have little impact on the country’s fin­ancial position.

Australians also have a low opinion of the media with only 39 per cent of Australians saying they “think they can trust most of the news most of the time”.

There are two reasons though why Australians haven’t turned to satirical comedy shows like American audiences have, the first being that though Australian audiences have a distrust of news media in general, if you change the previous question so it only focuses on the news they watch the number jumps to 53%. Australians it would seem have found themselves in a bit of an echo chamber, choosing their couple of news sources and sticking with them.

The second reason Australians haven’t turned to programs like the Daily Show, is that we simply don’t have any. Australia has a long history of satirical programs, but none have been able to do the same job as The Daily show has in America, and I’ll be discussing why this is in my next video.

 

Transcript:

Senator Nick Xenophon and journalist Peter Green have lamented the lack of anything like The Daily Show or The Colbert Report in Australia. For Green, this is a field in which we cannot let the Americans win because: “We are a nation known the world over for an inability or at least reluctance to take ourselves seriously”.

On the contrary, I believe this is exactly why we can’t produce shows like The Daily Show.

Because we take ourselves so un-seriously in Australia, I mean honestly this is our police service; we have a completely different way of doing satire.

In Australia what passes for political satire is ridicule. The audience has to have someone to look at as the butt of the joke and laugh because it feels superior to that person.

Australian comedy then, tends to attack the messenger not the message.

A great example of this can be seen in Norman Gunston. When Norman conducts an interview were not only laughing at him but more so, his ability to take the absolute micky out of famous, talented people. To bring them down a couple of pegs.

Australia has suffered a bit from this long poppy syndrome for a long time, and it is deeply rooted in our culture, so much so that it spills into more than comedy.  Donald Horne presents this well in his book, the lucky country when he writes,

“Much energy is wasted on pretending to be stupid. To appear ordinary, just like everybody else, is sometimes a necessary condition for success in Australia.”

When Australia does satire the message we convey is, “Look what these wankers did, what idiots.” The kind of satire that The Daily show presents sends an entirely different message. More like “Why is this happening? Is this really the best we can do?”

The closest thing, at least recently that Australia has come to emulating the Daily show, is probably The Weekly with Charlie Pickering. The Weekly focuses more on social justice issues, rather than just taking swipes at politicians, but still falls in to the trap of focusing on the messenger and not the message. It has also been criticised for being unoriginal, copying too much of the American style seen in The Daily show and Last week tonight.

So it seems Australian satirical programs are in a bit of weird place, being asked to be like that in America, but remain completely original.

Along with this, a lot of people in the industry have put running a satirical show in the too-hard basket. Partly because television comedy as a whole is a struggling market here. When the obvious career path for local comedians is to head overseas, why build up a bunch of jokes based on politicians and references no-one overseas will get?

Along with this to air a show on the ABC you have to adhere to their editorial guidelines that mandate “balance” in political coverage, making satire harder to pull off, especially when only one party is in power.

Australia has a long history of great satirical comedy shows, and it’s disheartening to look at how far we’ve come. Satire used to be something we praised, in 1966, Australia aired its first satirical program, The Mavis Bramston Show and it won three Logies.

The closest thing a program that was even mildly satirical has come to winning lately was in 2006 when The Glass House was nominated in the category of “Most Popular Light Entertainment or Comedy Program”.

It was beaten by Dancing with the Stars.

 

References:

https://dailyreview.com.au/why-australia-doesnt-get-political-satire/1944/

http://www.sbs.com.au/guide/article/2016/05/12/how-tv-satire-died-australia

https://theconversation.com/now-youre-laughing-the-unhappy-state-of-australias-political-satire-61742

http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10584600591006492?scroll=top&needAccess=true

http://www.smh.com.au/federal-politics/political-news/distrustful-nation-australians-lose-faith-in-politics-media-and-business-20170118-gttmpd.html

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-06-16/australians-digital-news-trust/6548232

https://academiccommons.columbia.edu/catalog/ac:132290

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/democracy-on-the-nose-as-distrust-of-politicians-hits-a-high/news-story/653d7d97d153a9081313a53524d2fc30

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Poverty Porn

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I’ve heard the phrase ‘poverty porn’ being used quite a bit, in the news, in videos, by friends, and a bunch of other places, and if I’m honest I didn’t really understand it, I didn’t know why it was an issue, until I did my own research.

So for those of you, who like me had heard of poverty porn but didn’t understand exactly what it meant, I hope I can present what poverty porn is and why it’s an issue.

So the definition you’ll find on Wikipedia reads like this, Poverty porn, also known as development porn, famine porn, or stereotype porn, has been defined as “any type of media, be it written, photographed or filmed, which exploits the poor’s condition in order to generate the necessary sympathy for selling newspapers or increasing charitable donations or support for a given cause”.

And that definition works, but I think we can unpack that a bit.

 

Firstly why is it called poverty ‘porn’ why are the images, videos, and stories of poverty likened to that of the pornographic industry?  Well to paraphrase Jamie Folsom, a lecturer at Colorado State, like porn they’re a great way to get our attention. They have the power to not only draw us in, but also the power to repel us. They can make us feel a little guilty, and like porn they make a lot of people uncomfortable.

Secondly why is poverty porn a bad thing? What’s the issue?

Well there are two things I really want to touch on. First is that society has a habit of removing itself from other groups. Let me explain what I mean, when we see these stories of poverty we tend to separate ourselves from the people that the stories about, and the people in the story become ‘them’, not one of us. The issue there, is that these people that we’ve removed ourselves from, are like us, are connected to us, and they can see what where saying about them.

This brings us to the second problem. Poverty porn tells one repeating story. It may have different faces, starving children in Africa, desperate asylum seekers, teens from the lower socioeconomic group, but the story is always the same. The poor, helpless people needed help and one of ‘us’, the hero of the story has stepped in and saved the day, and nothing was going to get better without ‘the hero’.

We can see now where the two problems intercede. If where telling the same story of desperate people who need help and can’t do  anything to help themselves, and then those same people  see those stories again, and again, and again, and again, those people start to believe that what’s being said about them is true. The truth is that is a lot of those communities poverty may exist, but not everyone in that community lives in poverty, and there are people in that community helping those that are in poverty. That doesn’t matter though if we only tell the story, all that does is tell us that they’re helpless and it makes them believe that they are.

 

So now hopefully we can see why poverty porn is harmful, but if we know that it’s harmful why haven’t we stopped? Well there’s a reason it’s still such a popular depiction of poverty, and this especially applies to humanitarian organizations, and it is that when it comes to getting donations, poverty porn works. It gets the profits to do what it wants.  Tom Murphy, a journalist who focuses on the humanitarian/aid/development industry, states that non-governmental organizations marketing and communications teams are creating these messages because they have been proven effective through rigorous testing. The fact is that audiences are more likely to make a financial donation when an ad shows a child that is suffering, rather than happy and healthy. At the end of the day, poverty porn is the result of well-meaning organizations attempting to raise money for their programs, and it works.

The question we have to ask is, does the work that these organisations are able to do with this money out way the harm it causes by perpetuating the same false story of hopelessness? I don’t think so. According to Strivastava, if we want to truly transform the communities in these stories we have to create avenues for their voices to be heard. We cannot impose our ideas on them, because they know there community 100 times better than we ever could.

Hope this can get you thinking

Thanks for reading

Hayden

This is The End

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So it’s the final week of blogging for Digc202 and we’re looking at the internet of things (iot). So I guess to start off I’ll explain what I mean when I’m talking about the iot. The iot is about connecting any device that’s connected to the internet, from your phone to your toaster, and interacting with you and among themselves.

To show an idea of what a future of the iot looks like we looked at a concept video by Ericsson showing a guy interact with a bunch of the appliances in his house. I really like tech so it seemed like a pretty cool idea for the future, certainly it looked like a very comfortable lifestyle. After looking at hacking for two weeks though, I’m a little weary of that future concept. The potential damage someone would be able to do is scary, and it kind of makes me want to go and live in the wood hut in the middle of nowhere. My new life in the wilderness was put on hold though as I remembered a video I’d watched in which skilled hackers compared to trained martial artists. In both cases the chance that either of them is going to randomly attack me is highly unlikely.

A Hackers Life for me?

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This was a funny week, I learnt about hacktivism and whistle-blowers, and as I read more articles and thought about the hacker ethics and I’ve come to the conclusion that I must have been a hacker in a past life or something. I don’t know what it is but all of the values and thinking around hacking just seemed to talk to me, free information and the game like thinking, it just sounds fun… I may have even gotten into an argument about Edward Snowden with someone.

It’s a shame that I have no Hacking skill at all though, or maybe it’s not. As hacking becomes more and more a thing and not just something that happens in movies like War games and the Matrix, people and governments are becoming more extreme when it comes to how they think and treat hackers.

Maybe I’ll just stick to blogging.

Reflect This

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I honestly have no idea what I’m doing half the time, and that’s just in day-to-day life. I couldn’t count the amount of times I’ve just finished writing a blog post, and for the life of me have absolutely no idea what I’ve actually written. That was part of the reason the name of this blog is ‘My uninformed opinion’, because most of the time it just feels like my posts are just me giving my opinion, with some sources thrown in for good measure.

Starting another set of blog writing for BCM240, I was a bit concerned about my writing, and sure enough after the first lot of my blog posts were finished my main piece of feedback was,

“Some additional sources could thicken the discussion further.”

It was the feedback I always knew was coming, but what was I going to do with it?

Well the answer seemed childishly simple, include more sources. I think we all know that simple solutions always tend to be harder in practice than we initially planned they would be, this was certainly the case for me, though I think that ended up being a good thing. I had thought I would just jump on Google click the first link that came up and there would be my source, it didn’t end up being that simple. I found that finding a useful source that was also trustworthy/ reliable was a lot harder than I thought, I didn’t like the idea of just grabbing some random bit of info from Wikipedia or something and putting that on my blog, I’m a bit pickier than that. Looking at more sources than I had been ended up being a really good thing for my blog. See I love learning new information about something, and by looking at more sources I became more interested in the topic and was able to write with greater enthusiasm, and I think that comes through in my writing.

 

I didn’t just stop at including more sources though, to try and end up with a better blog I looked at the one point that seems to come up whenever people talk about starting a blog, finding your voice. See for me the concept of finding your voice sounds to abstract, like something someone who meditates every morning, eats paleo(and makes sure to tell everyone about it), and has a huge mandala tattoo, because it’s just so spiritual.

When I looked into it though it was a lot less abstract than I had thought. Your voice is your way of looking at something, a unique sensibility, a distinctive way of looking at the world. The way I understand voice is that it is the parts of your writing that go around the information you’re trying to show. So I had figured out what voice was; now how was I going to develop my own?

Well Srinivas Rao, a personal development blogger gives this advice,

“People should write as if nobody was ever going to read what they wrote. If you approach your writing that way you’ll find that there are no limits to how off the wall you can get with your ideas.”

I found this bit of advice really helpful, though it was hard to put into practice when I first started off trying to implement it. I had certain topics/ tasks that I need to do for this blog, and I know that eventually some of the posts are going to be read and marked, so it was hard to just be so open with my writing. I found in taking on the advice I was able to write better though, it meant that I wasn’t solely trying to meet the criteria that was set and was able to bring a bit of life to my writing.

 

One of the other comments I received in my feedback was, “Think about following other blogs and linking further.” If I’m honest I hadn’t ever really thought about this, but it makes so much sense.       The majority of the people that are reading my blog are other students, so why wouldn’t I include more sources from them, they’re writing on similar if not the same topics and will always have some way of looking at something that I would have never of thought of. It comes back to voice as well, a lot of people talk about envisioning your audience when you write, and writing for them. I’ve started to try and do that with my writing, to share in the experience that were all going through, and to be open and able to say “Don’t worry, I don’t know what I’m doing either.”

Some of the littler things I’ve done to make my blog better address this bit of feedback,

“Are there also ways that you can personalise further?”

I wasn’t 100% sure on what to do but after looking around, I came across an article on the WordPress beginner site on the difference between tags and categories and realised I hadn’t been tagging in the most efficient way.

The article splits tags and Categories like this,

“Categories are meant for broad grouping of your posts. Think of these as general topics or the table of contents for your site.

Tags are meant to describe specific details of your posts. Think of these as your site’s index words.”

By tagging my posts correctly, I should not only be able to show my readers what my posts are covering, but also hopefully increase my readership.

The other small change is the naming of my posts. I had been lazy recently and started giving my posts headings like, BCM Week 2 Post, and let’s be honest, no one wants to read that, so I started having a bit more fun with my headings.

 

Well that’s it; it’s been interesting doing another set of blogs and hopefully throughout my posts have gotten better.

Cheers

Hayden

Just One More lvl

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I’ve played videogames for as long as I can remember. Some of my best memories from my childhood are of my Dad and I playing 007 Golden eye on the Nintendo 64. My love for gaming has only grown as I’ve gotten older, along with the number of hours I’ve put in.

In my late teens I started to delve into the world of online gaming, mostly just because it was easier to play with my friends than for any of us to go over to that persons place. What I’ve realised playing online now for a few years, is that there seems to still be this stigma around online gaming and the gamers. People seem to think that gamers still all fit into the stereotype of a white, socially awkward nerd, and that’s really not the case.

For my digital storytelling project I plan on looking at the digital space of online gaming, looking at the people who fill that space.

What do I want to know more about?

I want to learn about what motivates the people to use this space. What their experience of the community that fills that space has been like. The social rules of the space, and how/if there enforced.

Who will your collaborators be?

Thankfully I know a lot of online gamers, of all shapes and sizes, so hopefully I’ll be able to talk to them.

What kinds of digital platforms might help you explore and present what you find?

Well I’ve been looking at a few of the game forums and getting immersed in that space, as well as asking questions. I think I’ll present my story on this blog, it works for what I want to do and will look pretty good hopefully.

Thanks

Hayden

Cyberpunk

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Cyberpunk has always been a familiar term to me, but not until recently did I actually know what it meant.

These two words successfully sum up cyberpunk…

“High tech.  Low life.”

Cyberpunk focuses on a high-tech future full of androids, body modification, virtual reality, and universal Internet connection.  At the same time as this high focus on technology, it focuses huge social division with megacorporation’s ruling, giving little thought to morality, public safety, or the average person in society.

Cyberpunk lets us see into the lives of these average people living on the outside edges of the high-tech society that has been established, and see them question the authority of the world they live in.

As I familiarised myself with the world of Cyberpunk, I found that a huge number of the shows, books, movies, and games carry many of the tropes associated with it. Movies like, Akira, Johnny Mnemonic, Blade Runner, shows like Almost Human and Mr Robot, even the Rpg Shadowrun I’ve been playing weekly for over a year.

 

References:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyberpunk

https://www.reddit.com/r/Cyberpunk/wiki/about