Thursday, September 5, 2013

Dopey, Sneezy, Sleepy, and Umpy

WHAT an unseemly scene at the ABC, with Red Kerry asserting a silverback’s right to leave his spore all over election night. Ms Sales won’t be appearing, despite Mark Scott’s entreaties, and the thought of declaring her in contractual violation has not, apparently, occurred to him. Of the ABC’s personalities, Sales is the one who best approximates a professional interrogator, often near enough to fair to be forgiven when she is not. You can understand why the poor girl is miffed. Compering the public broadcaster’s last, ever and absolutely final election night coverage, at least as the organisation exists today, will be worth a historical footnote or two. And quite frankly O’Brien doesn’t deserve that notation after his three languid years of introducing Four Corners and, a nice little earner, his corporate gigs and moonlit public speaking. Neither does Ms Sales, for that matter, as she has disqualified herself. Just fancy, an alleged professional so consumed with preciousness that she cannot bring herself to report for duty, and on the very night of nights when her services would be most in demand. Murdoch or Stokes or Spiro the Fishmonger, men of less mild mien, would move to sack an employee who pulled that stunt. But not the taxpayers’ servant, the indulgent Mr Scott.

So what is to be done? The national broadcaster must have some recognisable figure to catch the eye of channel surfers, which is how the returns will mostly be watched across Australia. Little Emma could achieve that, but the talking part is the problem. One can almost hear the topic of a candidate’s second preference being raised and her responding that she had no idea he was bi!

So it is quite the dilemma unless…well, what about… yes, that would be quite edgy…yes, yes, a big ABC ‘yes’!  To compere election night, men and women of Australia, let us welcome to our lounge rooms Stella Young.

The most irritable 60cm in all Australia will be the perfect crucible for the angst and despair certain to consume the ABC  by, oh, 23 seconds after the polls close. The other gabblers will get away with the snipe and the snide as the acid of their disappointment bites, but the special consideration given Stella will free her to really let it rip, just as she has done before.

It was Stella, tweeting from her ABC desk, who demanded a boycott of Myer when the CEO observed that NDIS taxes would leave less disposable income for shopping. Stella bobbed up and down in a fury that time and no one took her to task for attempting to ruin a commercial entity. It was just another day at the ABC, where you can come to work or stay away according to inclination, or play social media vigilante while the boss drips piffle at Estimates hearings.

Stella’s other recommendation, perhaps the greater, is that she is in fine form and just now spitting chips all over the shop. The St Kilda football players who thought a dwarf might make a suitable suti offering at the funeral of their season set her latest rage ablaze, and it was to The Age, Melbourne’s sheltered workshop, she turned quite naturally to vent a little spleen. What she says about the Saints is true, but then anything said or speculated in regard to that team’s excesses is likely to be so. St Kilda altered its colours at the outbreak of the Great War in order not to be mistaken for bestial Germans but reverted  to the original some years later, an appropriate switch for a club that all these years later embraces one Hunnish depravity after the next. While the Saints have not yet hung nuns upside-down in church bells and used their heads for clappers, that day cannot be too far off – especially given the sacrileges that occupied the players when not making like Smaug with their combustible little friend.

Stella is not done though, not by a long chalk. She also has a bit of a barely restrained go at “dwarf security guard” Blake Johnston for paying the rent by taking part in the “dwarf entertainment industry”, which she says encourages people to laugh at those of diminutive stature. Funny, that. Earlier in the column she rather testily reports how annoying she finds it to be offered assistance by strangers who engulf her with their unwanted compassion.  If Blake Johnston’s employment encourages ridicule of all dwarfs, as she asserts, then it would seem not to apply to her -- just like the ABC’s ban on employees using their desks, computers and Twitter accounts for the partisan purpose of intimidation.

While it is Stella’s habit to be very short with those she dislikes (to her credit one of those is the Fat Wog) her notion that the AFL should elevate little people to positions of greater prominence boasts definite merit. If umpires, for example, were to be recruited entirely from the ranks of football-loving dwarfs we could expect them to be so far behind the play that all the tired excuses for this season’s many curious and capricious rulings would no longer be needed. Dress a dwarf as a lime-green maggot and the action at one end of the field will revert to old-school biff and contact while the far-away man with the whistle waddles up from the other.

And goals, too! Throughout the season play was stopped many times while umpires deferred to video reviews. Such interruptions are annoying, break the momentum of play and advantage the defence, which gains extra time to collect its thoughts and re-organise during those interminable minutes before the ruling is announced and the ball returned to play.

The solution is simple: Why not place a dwarf atop each post to endorse the decisions of the goal umpires far below? There can be no doubt such an innovation would give the Sawnoff-Australian community the prominence Stella desires.

Better yet, at such an altitude they would be very hard to set afire.

UPDATE: Stella can fume about the dwarf entertainment industry until the mini-cows come home, but honesty should still oblige her to admit that tiny entertainers have been amongst the greatest theological explicators of our time.


  1. Naughty......But oh so funny!

  2. Dear Santa
    I have been a very good boy this year, so can I please have my Christmas present early?
    I would like that nice Mr Scott to ensure Gerard Henderson and David" Australia doesn't want Tony Abbott. We never have" Marr to be on Insiders on Sunday. I enjoy watching people squirm, especially Marr.
    Please Santa.

  3. Isn't Stella a professional dwarf comedian in a wheel chair? Why does she bag dwarf "security guards"? Things haven't been the same for dwarfs since they outlawed dwarf tossing and Snow White only comes around every few years.

  4. You could've let that one go Professor. Not cool.

    1. "cool" is when one signs up for Groupthink, as I recall. Where, if the influential coolest shake their heads and tut, all the acolytes must do the same whether they know why their doing that or not.

    2. Hi Mick, don't conflate the use of the term "cool" with groupthink. I agree with the premise of the Professor's point, but there are some points of view by others that-whilst obviously absurd to yourself, the Bunyip and I-ought be able to be made, and by extension refuted, without resort to an underhanded ridicule of that nature. I don't think the Professor's latest post was a nice one. I can't imagine anyone born into a wheelchair would find a giggle in that.

    3. "I can't imagine anyone born into a wheelchair would find a giggle in that."

      I'm pretty sure they still wrap them in blankets at such an early stage.

  5. Brilliant piece of comic writing; and I hope we see a 'best bits' anthology some time. A bit puzzled by the update though; it seems that it was the non-vertically challenged one who explicated the theology. Stella will not be happy.

  6. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.September 5, 2013 at 2:08 PM

    Their ABC is usually extremely dull on election night, no matter what, so it matters little, Professor, apart from your incisive pointing out yet further abuses of money and privilege and power at the start of the alphabet. I will be channel surfing anyway, as will many others. Running two tellies if we can - depends where we end up. Wherever it is I am sure it will be pretty wired up, with 4G on the phones.

    May the Great Political Bunyip look favourably upon our cause, Prof. Put in a good word with him (her/it) for those of us following your van, that we may anticipate better parliaments and parleying to come than we have seen in the last six long and dreadful years.

  7. I think the AFL shd have a dwarf round to go with the indigenous and women's rounds. It cd be an ABC exclusive.

  8. "There is a real cultural problem around St Kilda, I’m afraid. Has been for years." From that 3AW thing.

    Yes, that is to state the bleeding obvious. I've been a Saints supporter most of my life, yet I hate all this sidelines crap which makes me disinterested in footy in general, and footy players in particular.

  9. Well Professor, I always thought the ABC was staffed by mental pygmies so maybe she is in the right place. That nice Mr Scott would not allow her to vent outside the precious Charter would he? I just want to be focused on the ABC when red Kezza is forced to admit Kevin is out on his ear.

  10. How would she feel knowing Dave Hughes and Charlie Pickering get the gig but not her?

    Leigh Sales ‏@leighsales 44m
    The ABC coverage across the board is absolutely first class, well done to all my colleagues. Excellent job.

  11. Lot of crabs on Christmas Island. Not sure whether they are hermits?