Sunday, 16 August 2009

Accidentally turning your Child into a Question Time Monster

Sue Dunlevy wrote this article in the Daily Tele about the difficult issue facing parents on the issue of teen drinking. And I'm not talking about my precious orange juice either, which seems not to be nearly as controversial as I thought it was.

Parents didn't always want to let their kids drink alcohol, preferring them to stay on the wholesome sugar-not-alcohol infused options as long as possible. At least it just kept you up all night watching cartoons and dancing rather than spewing in the toilet. You got fat rather than dizzy on overdoses of juice, Coca Cola, and really big home made chocolate milk shakes.

Anyhow, keeping them off the juice - I mean the alcohol, which for some reason is often nicknamed juice - for as long as possible, was desirable to many, but it also meant possibly getting put down by your kids.

Ms Dunlevy said that none wanted to experience the withering put down Frances Abbott gave her father, Tony Abbott:

“What would you know, you’re a lame, gay, churchie loser,” Frances Abbott told her Dad when he offered her some advice.

"Clearly she is a young woman who has learnt her parental handling skills from watching Question Time." - wrote Ms Dunlevy

There, I think, Ms Dunlevy has a good point. What the heck are pollies thinking at Question Time - except maybe a bit of nostalgia from school years when they got to call others name and brawl a lot. "Mr Speaker" is just another name for "teacher"?

Politicians often have families and children. They're often mouthing off about family values and lamenting the lack of courtesy and respect in the community and in certain generations. Then they go and put on a great display in Question Time when they blast all that away.

OK, yes, sometimes it's funny, in the same way reality TV is funny, but basically it's also hypocritical, so if you really think about it, it's a matter of 'do as I say, not as I do' or mainly 'Yes, I lament the loss of certain things in our community and I believe that those values should be there in the community, but not for me, not at this time, because I'm privileged.'

That probably isn't an easy one to explain to some younger children and I would treat my Dad or Mum with quite a bit of contempt if I caught them at that contradiction. Maybe that's why Question Time is not on till quite late/early and isn't shown with kids' cartoons. Pollies' children cant' risk that their children might see it and ask 'awkward' questions.

Anyhow, honestly I wouldn't mind seeing Question Time being more civilised. I wonder what it would be like if people tried to conduct it in a more civilised manner. Would they have anything to say? I don't know that heckling adds that much to Question Time but is there much else to it and do they have much else? Maybe they would be stumped for words and end up walking out?

Most of the heckling seems to be name-calling, booing and yelling which seems quite inane to me, and childish, if there was some subtle mind and wordplay, clever humour and wit and interesting psychological manoeuvrings used, it would probably show some class. The fact that it seems to be "whose voice is louder" is a bit stupid. If they called it "REALITY TV: WHOSE VOICE IS LOUDER: WHO WILL LAST THE DISTANCE?" and played it with some judges' commentary over the top and a number to call for each politician, everyone would go on about how it was tacky and what a bunch of common no-talents they are. People probably still think that now, it's just the lack of a good phone no. and a catchy name and a "nasty judge" that keeps their mouths shut.

I wonder if they weren't heckling whether it's possible they would concentrate less on booing and trying to stave off booing, and more on trying to make intelligent, conscientious decisions about issues affecting the populace.

Or is that too much to ask?

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