There’s been quite a reaction to the skit broadcast recently on Chaser’s War on Everything, entitled Make a Realistic Wish Foundation. I’d like to draw a couple of comparisons (some poached):
“Why were there not the same complaints when they made the joke of asking kids in Somalia for money for a private school to build a new boat shed? 30,000 children die every day in countries like Somalia of easily preventable diseases, yet joking about that was fine.” (comment by ‘Jeremy’ on this ABC news story) … perhaps because people recognised that they weren’t poking fun at those children?
I have recently seen a television advertisement where an old man covers over the face of the old man in the hospital bed next to him (clearly indicating that he’s dead), so he can have more of the breakfast cereal being advertised. I haven’t heard any media furor about this one either.
A quote follows from cast member Craig Reucassel, about the skit not being meant literally. Surprise, a skit not being meant literally on a satire show! “It was meant to be so over the top that people wouldn’t take it seriously, but we got it wrong and we didn’t convey that properly and we take full responsibility for that” (Reference)
Next is the title of the show “… War on Everything”, yep, everything. There aint nothing sacred here. I personally don’t like some of what they do, and as such I’m not a big fan nor a regular watcher. I do however think they’re an important part of our democratic society, poking fun at the un-pokable. That’s because hiding amongst those un-pokable things are often things very poke-worthy. I don’t know what the precise intended target of the skit was, but to me it seemed a bit like a comedic experiment (obviously, one that went wrong but scientists have that all the time). Perhaps it was indeed about the apathy toward sick and dying children that is felt by most people who are not directly connected to one. Except, of course, where a bit of righteous indignation can be displayed to make up for it.
Just like I seriously doubt Senator Scott Ludlum wants access to child porn, I seriously doubt the Chaser team have anything against sick children. But you can take on board the complainants’ comments as much as Senator Steven Conroy’s – that is, precisely how much you wish to.
As to my flippant comment about an experiment, The Chaser team have made a statement on their website reflecting the fact that they’re human, and make mistakes. Clearly this skit has had wide-ranging negative impact. I appreciate that they haven’t tried to turn this into a media stunt, even though it’s clearly a small media circus. I am disappointed that the ABC have seen fit to change Amanda Duthie’s job over this. I hope this doesn’t impact too badly on your career, Amanda.
If people feel strongly about this, perhaps they could give money to the Make a Wish Foundation, or the Starlight Foundation. Or volunteer to be involved in some way. I suppose I should be doing something like that rather than giving the issue more air time here. So I’ll stop writing now.
Shameless self-promotion: Next post, Street Van experiences.