You are here to listen.
Is that really what ABC QandA host Tony Jones commanded of the vocal Monday night “town hall’ audience in the Western Sydney suburb of Penrith as they gave Joe Hockey what for?
(NB: This piece is not about Hockey, nor were any Joe Hockeys harmed in its creation…)
This kind of dressing down by the audience makes Jones sound like some nineteenth-century Dickensian school marm talking to her unruly class of naughty children.
Ok – maybe Jones was feeling a little riled by the student protest he recently had “to deal with”, I’ll give him that, but asking people to calm down?
Effectively silencing them?
That’s not my QandA.
I was once a fond fanatic of this ABC show. In fact, Monday nights would be kept clear of social activity specifically so I could settle in with the QandA crew and enjoy the discussion. And then, when QandA got twitter-fied, I was more than happy to tweet like crazy when urged by Tony to “join in the discussion” in the hope of my “140 characters of fame” moment at the bottom of the screen.
Sadly, progressively I have found myself unable to watch the show – and in fact rarely do any more, preferring if anything to watch it on catch-up via the ABC website so that my Monday evenings are free once more for the finer things in life (ssshhh – #realhousewivesofMelbourne isn’t on any more, so it’s not that…Ok, it might be Fox Footy instead but I’m not allowed to talk sport so let’s pretend I’m watching some mad David Attenborough nature piece or On the Buses or whatever…)
I am unable to watch QandA any more because not only has it lost its edge, despite there being occasionally some great biffo between different side of the political spectrum – it has also lost it’s heart.
And by it’s heart, I mean its host.
The admiration I once felt for Tony Jones has diminished to the point that I can’t imagine where it came from in the first place. The silver-haired, once-sharp-tongued host, whose witty repartee and managing of QandA in the most diplomatic yet intelligent way, has become more a nanny for the show – and by nanny, I’m talking the Fran Drescher type where the show sometimes seems to be more about him than the people on it and the issues being discussed.
I’m also referring to that more benign version of a nanny – the one who in Enid Blyton books might smack naughty children…or promptly put them in their place…saying things like “Children are to be seen and not heard”…
Or maybe “You are here to listen”…for example…
Something is rotten in the state of QandA…and it’s time for the King to make way for a new Crown Prince…or Princess…