You Have to Wonder

… if Andrew Bolt is really a right wing op/ed columnist or a master of satire? Check out his thoughts on Channel 7’s Desperate Housewives or feast yourself on this Bolty appreciation by Jess at Ausculture, and make up your own mind about the mystery of the preacher-teacher man. And then there’s Bolty’s role in Pandagate to weigh in the balance…

Ok, enjoyed my weekend’s blogging – it’s back to work on the Phud tomorrow…

ELSEWHERE: Martin Pike at Northcote Knob has more on Bolty. Phil Gomes at Citystate predicts other right-wing op/ed pundits will be singing from the same songsheet as Bolty. MrLefty at Anonymous Lefty challenges Bolt to write about Cornelia Rau instead.

UPDATE: Jess at Ausculture thinks Bolty needs to let off some steam by posting to his blog again.

About Mark Bahnisch

Mark Bahnisch is a sociologist and is the founder of this blog. He has an undergraduate degree in history and politics from UQ, and postgraduate qualifications in sociology, industrial relations and political economy from Griffith and QUT. He has recently been awarded his PhD through the Humanities Program at QUT. Mark's full bio is on this page.
This entry was posted in Films and TV, Print media, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.
Subscribe
Notify of
guest
35 Comments
Oldest
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

i haven’t seen this particular series but really, one has to wonder about Mr Bolt’s … .
standard soapie and throw in your standard male fantasy (come on, surely every straight male must’ve had this fantasy some point in their lives) about an oversexed Stifler’s mom having it on with a teen male gardener and all he can extract from it is that it’s anti-male?? seems more like it’s geared to titillate both sexes cleverly.

Mark Bahnisch
2022 years ago

I didn’t see it either, Jason, but Teri Hatcher was always good value in Lois & Clark – an underappreciated comic actor for mine.

AlanDownunder
AlanDownunder
2022 years ago

Agree with Jason & Mark. In her Seinfeld guest appearance, Teri was no less than … spectacular.

Hasn’t it been noted that US ratings for Desperate Housewives are higher in red states than blue states? Methinks Andrew is suffering an alignment malfunction.

Robert
2022 years ago

Okay, this is ludicrous. Let’s have a look at Bolt’s arguments.

1. A woman tells her husband to wear a condom. He refuses, because he’s oblivious to the fact that she is struggling with the four kids they’ve already got, and she belts him one. Big deal! To continue against her wishes would be rape, so I don’t blame her for whacking him.

2. “Bree has turned herself into a juiceless, joyless scrub-and-wipe housekeeper, and horrified Rex indeed does want a divorce. So she feeds the sap the onions to which he’s allergic and near kills him. Go get him, girl, you victim you.”

I thought it was made reasonably clear that Rex was the victim here. Nobody with half a brain could think her cold, crabby character was portrayed sympathetically.

3. It is “understandable” that a husband should tell his wife that if other men want to grope her she shouldn’t stop them. I don’t think I need to comment.

So with one of his examples, Bolt misses the point, and with the other two he defends sexual assault. Nice work, Mr Family Values.

Factory
Factory
2022 years ago

Did he really just use the word ‘slut’ in a newspaper column?

Irant
2022 years ago

Given that I “Desperate Housewives” hasn’t grabbed my demographic (which is jsut me of course), I eagerly awaits Bolt’s review of “Lost” which he will regards as a metaphor for the Labor party.

Irant
2022 years ago

Memo to self: Confuse Post with Preview and your typos are shown to the world and embrassment doth follow.

Rex
Rex
2022 years ago

Like an unguided missile, he’s gone off-course, latched onto the heat-wash of a passing fad, and exploded brilliantly.

Someone needs to remind him that this is private enterprise he’s attacking here. Its Channel Seven’s big audience grabber. It’s popular, its democracy, its freedom. Its what the war in Iraq was all about wasn’t it? Our right to watch American trash, drive 4WDs and have cosmetic surgery.

I prescribe a dose of the old Boltox, a nice sit down with a cup of tea, and a little ABC on the telly, that’ll get him back to normal.

Guido
2022 years ago

Well..I am profoundly disappointed at Bolt. He missed the opportunity of somehow linking ‘Desperate Wives’ with Julia Gillard’s kitchen practices and giving the ALP yet another deserved kick.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

I am delighted that Andrew Bolt deprecates Desperate Housewives.

If he is correct about its cultural messages, its massive popularity proves how out of touch our right wing commentators are in the culture wars. These people, with their continual, constipated, conspicuous indignation, are off in lah lah land. They have no idea, and it’s great to see.

Bolt himself is fast becoming the Moira Rayner of the right – whinge complain moan, everything’s just so bad bad bad – that’s all you get with Bolt nowadays.

Gaby
Gaby
2022 years ago

“Desperate Housewives” was truly crap TV and that by TV’s own crap standards. It wasn’t even redeemed by being good “bad TV” like say “Footballer’s Wives”. Crap characters, dialogue, plot, clothes, sets. And especially crap, crap sex. The music I didn’t notice.

It seemed to borrow heavily from the look and feel of “American Beauty”, a crap, vastly overrated movie.

If I were a woman, I would be truly embarrassed by how the women in the show were portrayed. Or not portrayed as there was no characterization as such. Other than stock traits of dependency, hysteria, self-pity, nymphomania etc.

And by the way, what is it with American TV sex? Bras and women on top seems to be de rigeur. Is there some semiotic meaning to this that I am missing?

As for Bolt’s analysis, that was an article looking for an excuse to publish. Its analysis is exactly wrong. The show is not about “man bashing” but rather about “woman bashing”.

The show is crap because its female protagonists are trite caricatures and bear no resemblance to real flesh and blood women. It fails because it trivializes womens’ aspirations.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

“The show is crap because its female protagonists are trite caricatures and bear no resemblance to real flesh and blood women. ”

Maybe so, but real flesh and blood women (and men, for that matter) lead, for the most part, dull lives which no one would be interested in. Let’s face it, in real people’s lives, day to day, nothing ever happens.

“It fails because it trivializes womens’ aspirations.”

Fails in what sense? This is commercial TV, for God’s sake. The show succeeds in attracting viewers, hence advertisers, hence money, which is its objective.

Don Wigan
Don Wigan
2022 years ago

I probably won’t see it again because my wife controls the remote and she toook a set against it without seeing it.

But the one episode I saw I found hilarious with its exposure of the phony values and arch-materialism of these wealthy women and their families. My daughters likewise found it funny.

How Bolt can see this as some sort of feminist conspiracy is beyond me. Makes me wonder if he’s the day identity of Evil Pundit.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

“If I were a woman, I would be truly embarrassed by how the women in the show were portrayed. Or not portrayed as there was no characterization as such. Other than stock traits of dependency, hysteria, self-pity, nymphomania etc.”
The naughty bits of human nature are as a rule more interesting than the good bits. Thus they become the focus of fiction. Good writers are therefore usually misantrophes (as opposed to merely misogynists) by nature.

Gaby
Gaby
2022 years ago

Dave,

On the sameness and dullness of the quotidian: really. I would have thought each of the three or four tableaux are all common in our day to day. Trophy wife, perfect wife, corporate wife, single wife, man eating girl etc. Why not try and say something meaningful? And given that the show doesn’t, the puzzle to me is why is it so popular?

Also, on your terms why are shows like Big Brother so popular? Given that they largely consist of people mumbling and scratching themselves. Is it the mere possibility of a couple possibly shagging? Hasn’t yet happened in Oz.

Unlike one of the Scandinavian versions where BB had to ask the housemates to desist and do something else apparently.

Sorry I didn’t realize that the actual show was mere filler for the ads. I suppose you subscribe to the view that failure to watch ads is “theft”.

Why then the acting awards that are so trumpeted for this show? Why not just have ratings on which ads are watched? Surely the latter would be more efficient.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

“Why not try and say something meaningful?”

Because nobody would watch.

“Also, on your terms why are shows like Big Brother so popular?”

Dunno, it’s a mystery to me.

“Is it the mere possibility of a couple possibly shagging?”

Quite possibly.

“Sorry I didn’t realize that the actual show was mere filler for the ads.”

Then you don’t understand commercial television.

“I suppose you subscribe to the view that failure to watch ads is “theft”. ”

Nope.

“Why then the acting awards that are so trumpeted for this show? ”

Why, indeed? I suspect it’s all part of the hype. What do you think?

Stephen Hill
Stephen Hill
2022 years ago

“dull lives which no one is interested in”

Martin Rowland in the Telegraph placed the show in the context of Camus’s “The Myth of Sispyhus”. I’m sure Bolt would be banging on about the degenerate nature of exisentialism/modernism/expressionism/19th century realism if this had been the contemporary meme. Not to mention those suffrage upstarts that triggered those nasty World Wars, and don’t get me started about Oscar Wilde and all that sexual re-enlightenment stuff civilisation was rooned in the 60s – the 1860s.

I’m sure the Bolters could probable make a case of masculine oppression in the time of the cavemen. What about the Promagnon who not only had to deal with the self-esteem problems foisted on him by those atheistic Darwinians, but much worse. Pity the poor cavemen who without resource to the sophisticated mating games could inflict all sorts of shoulder injuries on himself in the process of clubbing his object of desire. While I’m sure the women would all be whining to each other about the medical affects of concussion as is the case with all those self-help do-gooders. Again just like the political correct club of today they would again be ignoring the true tragedy that happened when their fellow flipped a disk or pulled a muscle in pursuit, resulting in the conclusion of their days of seduction, you wouldn’t expect him to ask nicely would you. You have to remember this was long time before these cavemen evolved into moustached, hairy-chessed, K-mart dancers with a halotosis WMB that would have would have had Han Blix perpetually guarding his daughters worried that these warted warriors on their seventh scotch would ask for something called a “jiggy-jig” or “a jolly good time”

But what of the Fred Flinstone whose Yabadabadoo reveals such a fervent build up of repressed male rage, forced into a gluttinous diet of Brontosaurus burgers as a means to cope with the Wilma’s incessant nagging, not to mention the emotional rubble of trying to keep up with the neighbours. What was poor Fred to do when Dino pooped on the floor and Wilmar was out on her karaoke night with Betty. His only recourse was to build himself into a volcano of indignation that made his adipose chin contract further. WILMAR, WILMAR. I

I’m sure Bolty would tell you that women were let off lightly in the Bible, you apple-eating harpies, you cruel creatures that have foiled all enjoyment from mankind. Thanks for the fall of mankind you rotten wastrels.

Oh, and the link is

http://www.arts.telegraph.co.uk/arts/main.jhtml?xml=/arts/2005/01/27/bvhouse27.xml&sSheet=/arts/2005/01/29/ixartleft.html

Gaby
Gaby
2022 years ago

“Then you don’t understand commercial television.”

Maybe so Dave. But then your position is self-defeating. Nihilism just about always is.

TV stations advertise their shows, ostensibly to induce me to watch it so that it can then subject me to a barrage of ads (including ads for its other shows).

I sit down to watch. May have even taped it since the show’s ads were so enticing. It is crap. So crappy that I have to make a coffee, have a piss, make a call during the ads. I’m incredulous at how bad it is. If I’ve taped it, I fast forward the ads. I want to decide if it is good “bad” or just plain shit. I have a qualm about doing this. Am I stealing?

At the end, I feel defrauded of my time. The TV station has stolen my precious leisure time and has not, contrary to my expectation which it itself induced, alleviated any of my quotidian existential angst.

I start to distrust the claims of TV’s puffery. Can I sue for breach of a unilateral contract? I resolve to only watch public TV historical dramas.

Yours is one way of looking at commercial TV. But then I would have to accept that the whole industry is involved in a massive deception, or that they just don’t understand the meaning of “good”. These are aesthtically expensive beliefs. Surely, it can’t be so.

Alternatively, “great” commercial TV is possible. One counterexample refutes your view: “Seinfeld”.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

Gaby, these things are a matter of taste. I also liked Seinfeld, but others thought that a show with no plot lines, featuring four narcissistic, neurotic New Yorkers was unwatchable. One thing’s for sure though: Seinfeld (both the show and the person) made a shitload of money out of the fact that pople like you and me were tuned in.

Another show that makes a shitload of money is Everybody loves Raymond, which has been described, with some justice, as Seinfeld with Catholics. Myself, I think it’s execrable but mine is apparently a minority view.

The solution to these dilemmas is to not watch television programs that you dislike.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

Gaby
I agree re Seinfeld but in what sense is it more meaningful than Desperate Housewives? Perhaps that isn’t really the word you’re looking for to differentiate good art (and I’m using art in the broadest possible sense) from bad art?

Gaby
Gaby
2022 years ago

Dave,

While aesthetic matters may of taste, this doesn’t preclude reasoned debate. And I suppose I was giving my reasons as to why I think the show is crap. And of course one can always switch off, change the channel, shoot the TV etc.

I watched a fair bit of the tennis in the evening and was bombarded with ads for “DH”. I think it trades off a bit of “porn chic”, but promises way more than it delivers. It tangs of a bit of soft core like one of those “Confessions of Horny Wives…” of the ’70’s.

It also compares itself to “Sex and the City”. This comparison is laughable when one remembers the subjects broached in the early series before it acquired more soapy characteristics.

Jason, I was using “meaningful” in the broadest aesthetic sense as a bit of shorthand for how all good art connects with or affects life. By “good art” I don’t want to connote “high art” or anything elitist. As is apparent I believe that TV can be good and art simultaneously. Non-commercial examples that spring to mind are “The Office” or “The Royle Family”.

A couple of examples of the art of Seinfeld. I can’t think of another show that dealt with wanking (the “contest”) or cunnilingus ( the “lip”) in such an hilarious and apposite fashion. Now if that is not life touching on urgent life issues, I don’t know what is!….

Gaby
Gaby
2022 years ago

PS Dave, I’m emphatically in your minority about “Raymond”.

saint
2022 years ago

“The solution to these dilemmas is to not watch television programs that you dislike.”

Which is why I hardly watch TV. But sometimes I feel like watching something.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

dave
i’m in your minority too. the only saving grace about raymond is the nasty, cynical father (who incidentally acted marvellously and true to typecast as the nasty, cynical, racist father in Monsters Ball)

James Hamilton
James Hamilton
2022 years ago

“If he is correct about its cultural messages, its massive popularity proves how out of touch our right wing commentators are in the culture wars. These people, with their continual, constipated, conspicuous indignation, are off in lah lah land. They have no idea, and it’s great to see.”

I think it is just evidence that this particular right wing commentator is out of touch on this particular instant. Dear Andrew can be a bit of a fuddy duddy at times. I remember seeing him on TV complaining about the Spencer Tunick, the guy who takes those photographs of naked people in public places (and took a shot of 2000 people who turned up on a wet Melbourne morning) – Spencer is extremely cool.

Fact is that Desperate Housewives is pretty good TV – nowhere near “The OC” which surely we’d all agree is the best show on television.

Another fact is that you are getting shallacked in the culture wars so don’t worry too much when a neo-fogey like Andrew drops the odd clanger. You got worse problems.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

Rob: “A woman tells her husband to wear a condom. He refuses, because he’s oblivious to the fact that she is struggling with the four kids they’ve already got, and she belts him one. Big deal!”

That’s what is commonly known as “Domestic Violence”. It’s illegal, and it’s wrong.

Just saying.

Nabakov
Nabakov
2022 years ago

“”The OC” which surely we’d all agree is the best show on television.”

I don’t agree. I have no interest whatsoever in the mythical adventures of glossy disfunctional brats, plotted out in crayons, with creative directors and media buyers going “ahem” from chairs against the wall while sitting in on storyline meetings.

But hey, different strokes etc, etc, right? Just don’t squeeze me into being an OC lover.

Robert
2022 years ago

Actually, EP, it’s self-defence against rape.

Dave Ricardo
Dave Ricardo
2022 years ago

EP, have you got something against women? I don’t know what your personal life is like (and certainly don’t care), but you remind me of men I know whose wives divorced them, and then to add insult to lack of easily available sex, the wives’ lawyers took them to the financial cleaners.

Which was tough for them, but as Malcolm Fraser memorably said, life wasn’t meant to be easy.

Jason Soon
Jason Soon
2022 years ago

since EP isn’t an economic rationalist at all, nor a Christian conservative, it seems like his allegiance to the right is based on nothing more than simple rage.

Evil Pundit
2022 years ago

I have something against sexism. And you guys seem to hate men, which is unhealthy if you’re a bloke.

tim g
tim g
2022 years ago

“That’s what is commonly known as “Domestic Violence”. It’s illegal, and it’s wrong.”

No, EP – it’s what is commonly known as a TV show; an overhyped but sporadically amusing soap opera, to be precise. It’s not illegal if it’s make-believe. Say it several times out loud to get the hang of it.

No doubt you were similarly outraged when JR was shot on “Dallas”.

trackback
2022 years ago

Hate Women? Here’s Andrew Bolt..

Bolt’s vicious attack on Desperate Housewives confirms his contempt for modern women, but also reveals disturbing ideas about sexual consent in marriage and clues as to why he feels such rage.

trackback
2022 years ago

Bolt Bash-A-Rama!

As regular viewers would be aware, there’s nothing we like better here at ausculture.com than discussing the genius of Andrew Bolt. And by ‘genius’, we mean ‘complete fucking idiocy’ of course. However, there’s no ne…