29 May 2009

Chk-Chk Slap

This one caused me a bit of a quandary. As I've mentioned previously, I'm not a fan adding to unwarranted attention, but a recent public noise and its more irritating echoes have gotten under my skin. It would take an octopus on Red Bull to issue all of the slaps this situation deserves, so I will focus on the people that have made my blood boil the most. Let the opening credits play for this week's recipients;

The producers of A Current Affair

For those of you who have successfully avoided the story of Clare Werbeloff, here's the quickest of summaries - after a shooting in Kings Cross, Clare sprints to get her head in front of a TV camera and proceeds to invent an eyewitness account. The video becomes a talking point online, Clare hires an agent, and proceeds to hawk herself around media outlets after admitting she didn't actually see the shooting, saying that she didn't think it was wrong because she only lied to the media, not police. She appeared twice on A Current Affair this week, talking about how the public backlash had affected her. How the hell did someone who has interjected herself into a story about someone being shot purely to grab some attention turn into the victim of the piece? If you jump in front of a truck so you can bathe in the glow of the headlights, you have no room to whine about being run over.

But for mine, she is not the most deserving Slapcatcher here. If someone acts a fool in order to get airplay, that's their decision - it is an entirely separate decision for the media to give her that attention, and Tuesday night's edition of ACA showed an amazing commitment to bottom-of-the-barrel scraping. I'm going to give fill-in presenter Leila McKinnon the benefit of the doubt here - after "reporter" Ben Fordham's interview, McKinnon responded with a reference to this whole saga going a bit far. I choose to interpret that as a token protest to the producers about the odour this non-story was creating. Where things got embarrassing was that after McKinnon made her remark, another Ben Fordham piece was aired, namely an interview with Will Ferrell. Fordham then proceeded to ask Ferrell's thoughts on... Clare Werbeloff. He showed Ferrell the footage of the original lie, and - offering no context, no explanation, and not referring to the falsehood - asked for his reaction.


Imagine going to a job interview, and just after you list your qualifications, the interviewer asks for your thoughts on a picture that someone else's kid drew. The inventors of quizzes on Facebook can only look on in envy at just how massive a waste of time this is. And in the most recent chapter, apparently "Clare the Bogan", as she has been dubbed, is being sized up to possibly present "pop culture issue stories" for ACA. Apparently the biggest talent the producers are looking for is a mindless lust for fame (and if you've seen the original clip, you know I mean MINDLESS. If you haven't, DON'T).

While Clare puts the mole in molehill, ACA's attempts to help turn her into a mountain should be met with nothing but derision. If they are so determined to give her her full fifteen minutes, make her the public face of a new create-a-celebrity show... Dancing with the Stupid, perhaps? Or maybe Australia's Got Brain Damage. Either way, the coffin of A Current Affair's image as having anything to do with news just received another nail, and those in charge received a massively deserved SLAP.

Link: Chk-Chk Boom girl Clare Werbeloff may get ACA TV job

22 May 2009

Up there, Slappy

It's amazing how two months can pass in the blink of an eye, when one is up to one's jeans pockets in busy (Melbourne International Comedy Festival, then a month of away games in my case). However, it is time to give qualified Slapcatchers the reward they have earned, starting with a trip into Melbourne's sporting heart - clearly bypassing the brain entirely. Join me as we distribute the digits to...

James Brayshaw.

The AFL held its annual Hall Of Fame ceremony this week, and Brayshaw - co-host of the Footy Show, and chairman of the North Melbourne Football Club - has had strong words about the fact that Wayne Carey, for the second year since becoming eligible, was overlooked. One slight look at broader context, however, would probably deliver a much-needed clue.

Wayne Carey was a brilliant and talented footballer, whose attitude and behaviour towards women has been as appropriate as a rifle range in a primary school. From random boob-grabs all the way to more recent glass swinging, memories of Carey's undeniable skill on field have been permanently handcuffed to stupidity and lack of impulse control off iCheck Spellingt. Apart from the fact that behaviour has always been a factor in deciding who gets the Hall of Fame nod, hasn't Brayshaw read a newspaper lately?

The highest-profile sports story for the last fortnight has been sexual scandal attached to rugby league, and has been just the most recent in a sequence as long and ugly as a parade of hairless cats. The NRL is trying to change its culture, or at least the perception of its culture, to have women feel a little more secure than a carcass at a vulture convention, and it's requiring some work at the fundamentals - rugby players have it ingrained that they are indestructible, and that "can't" isn't part of their equation; getting them familiar with the idea of "shouldn't" is an idea that has only recently arrived, and is proving tricky to enact. The AFL have had their own fun with players sliding the brain in neutral and the ego into overdrive, while not as constant or as dramatic as in League, and so as we try to change the attitudes of the young men who get buckets of money to play these sports, and the younger people who look up to them, Brayshaw should see beyond the Kangaroos' collective navel, and figure out without so much noise that now is not the time for Wayne's ascension.

Wayne Carey will be a member of the AFL Hall of Fame. If he has gone through the personal transformation that he has claimed in recent times, he could well be the poster boy for reforming the attitudes and images that are plaguing our most public winter sportsmen. But as one of the game's most influential figures, by his television job and club presidency, James Brayshaw should have looked around a bit before getting all foot-stampy. So, for not leaving the mouth-before-mind approach to Sam Newman (it's what he's there for, after all)...


Link: North incensed as Carey misses out again