Sunday, May 11, 2014

Analists of the world unite this meditative Sunday ... and to hell with the ABC ...

(Above: Mike Carlton setting the rage going, and if you head off here, you can also cop him having a go at Liberal party black ops).

Today is Sunday meditation day, but for a change of pace, the pond would like to examine a profoundly trivial, deeply first world problem.

This might seem wrong. There are after all Islamist fundamentalists performing outrage after outrage in Nigeria and other parts of Africa, there is the Russian Orthodox supporting Vladimir Putin performing outrage after outrage in Ukraine and in Russia, there is Scott 'speaking in tongues' Morrison persecuting people who've been pronounced genuine refugees (not seeming to understand that Christ would perceive him as being less Christian than your average passing Samaritan), and so on and so forth.

But Mike Carlton has been banging on about it now for a couple of weeks - the first time above, and the latest you can read in How to join the Mike Carlton Forum (yes, you can sign up for his forum at the same time), and the pond feels the need to share the solidarity:

Judging by your emails, there are a lot of people angry at the way the ABC so crassly interrupts the end of its television programs to plug the show that follows. 
I wrote about this last Saturday, after ABC1 managed to ruin the climax of the drama Parer's War with a pop-up promotional graphic at the perfectly chosen wrong moment. The complaints from readers have been thick and fast ever since, some in sorrow, some in anger. 
It turns out that viewers who complain directly to the ABC get a syrupy form letter from one Matthew Galvin of "ABC Audience and Consumer Affairs", whatever that is. 
"I am very sorry to read of your frustration with the promotions during some programs. ABC Television advises that viewing habits have changed rapidly in recent years," he waffles. Then there are paragraphs of guff about modern broadcasting, integral strategies and the like, until you get to the soapy conclusion: "Please do be assured that your concerns have been noted and made available to ABC Television management for their consideration. Your feedback, whether supportive or critical, is valuable to us." 
Poppycock. Television would be such fun if only the bloody viewers didn't keep getting in the way.

Of course it's poppycock. The ABC indulging in crass promotion has got nothing to do with viewers changing their viewing habits. It's got to do with networks cramming more self-promoting stuff down the throats of viewers, but they don't end up feeling like foie gras, so much as oily, greasy french fries of the fast food kind ...

Now this is a minor ABC crime, up against sins like Q and A, and the relentless, endless repeating of QI, which under that burden should be re-titled QIN, Quite Interesting Not.

But it's a crime all the same, and it's one borrowed, with no good reason, from the commercial networks.

Commercial programmers have long disliked any downtime dedicated to credits indicating the people who created the show.

Now it's the same at the ABC, and it seems that nobody actually worked on or created the last series of Shaun Micallef's Mad as Hell. 

All you got was a company name and logo.

In some cases the networks feel obliged to put up an obligatory tribute to government funding or to commercial sponsors who expect a mention for their contra, and if you want to know more you can follow a link to their website, where you'll find all information and credits about the show disappeared down an online black hole years ago ...

But what has all this got to do with dramas presented on the ABC? It has no pressing commercial obligation to move its viewers on to its barrage of commercials for its own products and the products it flogs through its shops.

In the case of the commercial networks, they can at least claim that the latest CGI monstrosities boast nine or ten minute rollers of small credits, listing the number of pot plants in the compositing department, and the number of babies born during the production (and never mind that these shows often have no head credits, and instead provide them in mirror form in the tail titles).

But the ABC isn't inclined to show these sorts of films. You're more likely to catch up with shows such as Montana Belle or That Hamilton Woman, often in time slots where the credits stay intact and unruffled (You thought those names were a joke didn't you? How lucky you are not to worry about ABC programming).

It used to be in the old days the tail credits were a chance for composers to strut their stuff, to provide a chance to bring together their themes and provide a musical summary of the film's motifs. You even had walk in and walk out music in the cinemah ... and a nice ten minute bash for the intermission ...


Later, film-makers flung in jokes or out-takes to help maintain the interest, and in cinemas you can still sort the buff wheat from the popcorn chaff by seeing how many stay to the bitter end (and scoring the payoff some film-makers provide in the last few frames as a reward).

Watching the tail credits, and the pleasures they offer is a much diluted tradition.

And yet the intrusion at the end of Parer's War was harsh and unnecessary, as common and as sordid as the sort of huckster hustling which has made commercial television unwatchable.

Which is why the pond shamelessly downloads programs from the ABC and the commercial networks if a show seems like a goer (not many are).

You see if you treat your program makers with contempt, or at least indifference, and you wipe their names from the record, you're also treating your viewers with contempt, or at least indifference - who wants to head off to a website to check out who made a show, or where it was shot, or any of the other information you can glean from the end credits now hastily rammed through while promos and voice overs are ladled over the top?

Well the pond has one response when confronted by contempt. If piratical behaviour is all you can expect from the ABC, then pirates rulez.

It was Woody Allen who explained the notion of the need to watch a film whole and complete.

Since the days of Annie Hall, Allen's name is much besmirched, and anyway, it was better when his films were funny, but at least he got this right when he spoke up for all the analists in the world:

(They move over to the ticket counter, people in front of them buying tickets and walking off screen). ALVY... (To the ticket clerk) H'm, has the picture started yet? 
TICKET CLERK It started two minutes ago. 
ALVY (Hitting his hand on the counter) That's it! Forget it! I-I can't go in. 
ANNIE Two minutes, Alvy. 
ALVY (Overlapping Annie) No, I'm sorry, I can't do it. We-we've blown it already. I-you know, uh, I-I can't go in in the middle. 
ANNIE In the middle? (Alvy nods his head yes and lets out an exasperated sigh) We'll only miss the titles. They're in Swedish. 
ALVY You wanna get coffee for two hours or something? We'll go next... 
ANNIE Two hours? No, u-uh, I'm going in. I'm going in. (She moves past the ticket clerk). 
ALVY (Waving to Annie) Go ahead. Good-bye. (Annie moves back to Alvy and takes his arm). 
ANNIE Look, while we're talking we could be inside, you know that? 
ALVY (Watching people with tickets move past them) Hey, can we not stand here and argue in front of everybody, 'cause I get embarrassed. 
ANNIE Alright. All right, all right, so whatta you wanna do? 
ALVY I don't know now. You-you wanna go to another movie? (Annie nods her head and shrugs her shoulders disgustedly as Alvy, gesturing with his band, looks at her) So let's go see The Sorrow and the Pity. 
ANNIE Oh, come on, we've seen it. I'm not in the mood to see a four-hour documentary on Nazis. ALVY Well, I'm sorry, I-I can't ... I-I-I've gotta see a picture exactly from the start to the finish, 'cause-'cause I'm anal. 
ANNIE (Laughing now) H'h, that's a polite word for what you are.

You get it now ABC?

People want to watch a drama from start to finish without shitty voice overs plugging other programs or otherwise fucking with the product, and without pop ups turning the image to mush while promoting wretched cooking or talent shows, or all the other crappy ways the programming team attempt to beguile and tease viewers while only managing to alienate vast swathes of viewers who are fed up with this crass shit.

A pox on all your houses, but especially a pox on the ABC, which should know better and which should be a little classier than the crass commercial networks.

You expect people to go out and plead for you when Abbott and his cigar-puffers come to give your feet the red hot cigar and poker treatment?

With everybody else copping a blast of their 'no surprises no taxes' lies?

Remember the good old days?

There you go, a nice double breaster and tie ... even the average agrarian socialist cockie didn't mind a bit of double breast style and swagger.

Never mind it's a first world problem.

Next week in a single blow, the pond will wipe from the earth Islamic and Christian fundamentalists, and every other form of religious fundamentalism, and secular fundamentalism while we're at it (oh let the hippies run wild and free with their Gaia mysticism), and the Bolter and all the right wing ratbag commentariat, deluded conservatives who don't understand that when talking to an Islamic and a Christian conservative, it often sounds just like two prejudiced, biased, angry old fart peas in a pod, especially when it comes to women's rights and gay rights ...

But in the meantime, all we've got is Woody Allen's opening lines to Annie Hall:

Alvy: There's an old joke. Uh, two elderly women are at a Catskills mountain resort, and one of 'em says: "Boy, the food at this place is really terrible." The other one says, "Yeah, I know, and such ... small portions." Well, that's essentially how I feel about life. Full of loneliness and misery and suffering and unhappiness, and it's all over much too quickly. The-the other important joke for me is one that's, uh, usually attributed to Groucho Marx, but I think it appears originally in Freud's wit and its relation to the unconscious. And it goes like this-I'm paraphrasing: Uh ... "I would never wanna belong to any club that would have someone like me for a member." That's the key joke of my adult life in terms of my relationships with women.

Or women's relationship with dismal men for that matter.

In the meantime, maintain the rage, Mr Carlton ...

(Below: special thanks? Now that's a joke. Special crassness more like. And just look at that vile bloody bug in the bottom right hand corner)


  1. D
    being somewhat anal myself, I also like to hear what is being said (by the actors i never know because the credit roll so quickly) when i watch. The modern trend of background music and chatter foils us older generation and forces me to teh internetz. Letters to the ABC give no satisfaction

    1. Interesting link. It's bad mixing, compounded by new fads like 11.1 surround systems, though you can sometimes flatten it out by reverting to stereo. In the case of certain shows - US dialects, The Wire - the pond cheerfully resorts to subtitles, and if the network doesn't provide the solution, the intertubes do ...

  2. Speaking of anal...

    Scanner for ebook cannot tell its 'arms' from its 'anus'

    1. :) You can always rely on OCR for a laugh, much like talking to the Bavarian Helga who tries to help out in the pond's car ...

  3. Ha ha. Excellent Sheehan for thee today Mistress Dot.

    Gillard's turnaround on carbon tax was a betrayal befitting a treacherous witch woman. Boo. Hiss.

    Abbott''s shocks and surprises are politically mad in a 'crazy brave' sense. He lies on behalf of the nation.

    1. Of course there's always crazy fucked in the magic water man's head as an alternative ...


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