Sunday, October 03, 2004

"She works hard for the money/ So hard for it honey..." (Donna Summer)

A lovely bunch of callers on the line(s) today at the AEC call centre -- my reward for gettin' up at 6AM on a Sunday, I guess(!) Mostly oldies, but the friendly (if verbose) kind, rather than the disgruntled brand. My favourite was probably a woman who sounded like an ageing drag queen and called me "hon" when ringing to enquire whether her ballot papers would arrive by mail in time because she's an MS sufferer -- in remission -- and can't get about easily. Lovely gal, for a Liberal voter(! :)) I shoulda rushed home -- two essays due soon, and I don't have a single full day free between now and the deadline -- but Triple J was playing a nostalgic Blur special (Back in the Js with Blur) and I hadda listen. Ah, memories. Those were the days (Js)...

Back at home I ate a three course lunch rather than get started, then got transfixed by John Safran's new radio show for the next three hours. Among his guests were an outspoken, liberal-minded Catholic priest; a former member of Melbourne outfit The Young Professionals whose petitioning to be let back in; and a Fringe act who use snakes and bellydancers in their performance. How's that for a kooky bit o' Sunday arvo radio? Would love to be seeing more of Safran's Monday night show -- John Safran vs. God -- am intrigued by the dichotomy of the man. At first glance he looks like a cynical shit-stirrer and media prankster. A bit of a laugh, but ultimately another Gen Y naysayer. But the interviews I've read about his latest show have been illuminating and... thought-provoking. The show looks at the world's major religions (and a few inbetween) and has John asking a Shiite cleric to put a fatwa on Rove and hanging out at a voodoo ceremony where he witnesses a goat sacrifice but can't share in the general gorging on blood that follows, admitting he is a "big hypocrite" but looking exceptionally queasy the whole time. In the show he's not just poking fun at the pillars of modern society but at his own audience who he dubs "left-wing pinkos" whose demography he illustrates with a pie graph. Says John the quiet interviewee (as opposed to the feckless larrikin): we may make fun of George Bush for being a stoopid Christian, but the fact remains that religion is an important part of most people's lives and that can't be discounted. Hmmmmm. A big hmmm. Superficially silly but forcing us to see stuff in an entirely new way. A modern day Andy Kaufman.

(endnote: Somethin' tells me that John would disagree with my assessment. That he'd think any attempt to intellectualise his work was pretentious and any tendency to compare him to others was misplaced or just insulting. Whatever. I love ya work, John, call it what you will...)


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