Australians love a good competition. We can turn anything into sport. So if shows like Australian Idol can give young singers a chance to crack into the music business why not have an Australian Idol for public intellectuals? After all, we’ve already got an intellectual top 40.
Every week a succession of young hopefuls could strut there stuff in front the Australian public and a panel of three judges. Each aspiring intellectual would have two minutes to give their opinion on the topic of the day — asylum seekers, childhood obesity, global warming, or the ethics of torture. The judges would make their comments and then we’d all get to vote for our favourites (btw: what would the hosts wear on ‘torture night’?).
Of course the judges would need to be seasoned professionals — people with experience who know the business. They’d also need to be entertaining, so conflict would be a plus. How about Robert Manne sitting next to Helen Darville? Or maybe Germaine Greer sitting next to Andrew Bolt. Naturally we’d need at least one judge to make rude comments about the contestants’ dress sense and presentation. How about Tim Blair?
Just imagine Blair telling some earnest young environmentalist with an Amnesty badge that nobody was going to take her seriously if she’s got four inches of cleavage on display.