Panel discussions, festivals of ideas and organising a ball

pirates_matthews.jpgA whip around a couple of sites commenting on the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and the issue of ‘MSM v blogging’ leads me to post this observation. I think Radio National is a fine thing, but I much prefer it when a program finds someone who’s written something interesting, the presenter and producers read up on it a bit and the journos think of it as their job to try to bring you some new and interesting approach to some subject.

Then there is the . . . panel discussion. I like late night live but turned off after the first speaker last night who seemed to be wondering why she was there and what she was supposed to say. The topic? “After the Binge – the Apocalypse?” How original. Then they trotted out various people to go do their schtick. All the questions are so predictable. The answers . . . likewise. I guess I have enjoyed some panel discussions on radio but I can’t really think of any! I like the idea of the Adelaide Festival of Ideas and might go to a session or two if I were there. But this week apparently the whole week is to be spent replaying such joys. Tonight “Indigenous Futures“. Now there’s a fresh topic. I’m recording it now to timeshift it to later tonight (since this practice was decriminalised just recently by our freedom and amnesty loving Attorney General). But I suspect I won’t get far before flipping the tape to the wonderful Book Show.

There’s an MSM reactiveness to it all. A topic is chosen not for it’s inherent interest because it’s ‘running’ in the media. I really dislike this about the daily press but the ‘quality’ end of that press and of broadcasting isn’t much different.

And why does a ‘festival of ideas’ so inevitably have a theme? This year’s is “which way to the future”. What’s with the theme? There are many things going on in the world. Would it be so bad to have an unthemed festival of ideas in which one invited all those who had said the freshest, most interesting and/or most profound things in the last few years? Should organising a festival of ideas really be like organising a ball? If so then I think we should have more playful themes. Next year the theme should be pirates or Gone with the Wind. All presenters should be required to wear costume and adopt appropriate accents. We chould invite a panel of Nobel Prize winners and dress them up in black hessian, put black patches over one eye and make them say ‘Aye aye me hearties’.

Anyway, I wonder what others think.

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14 years ago

I think Radio National should be compulsory. Aside from a quick look at the SMH site, listening to RN is the only way I get to find out what’s going on in the MSM and I consider it to be fairly mainstream and blogs to be more or less ‘fringe’. Its all become so disparate, while on the other hand, perversely, simultaneously homogenised, which is probably why an un-themed Festival of Ideas would rapidly turn into a Carnival of Freaks. The only thing I’ve noticed about the mainstream is that more and more of it are buying (or wanting) plasma screens to view it on and wanting chicken salt on their chips. Neither of which appeals to me in the least. I will continue trying to not let my right hand know what my left hand is doing.

14 years ago

Your picture (BTW) should have an ‘Adults Only Viewing After Midday’ warning attached. First thing Nicholas, at sparrows’. Most alarming for us little flower fringe dwellers, first woke up.

14 years ago

this from

July 11 (pm) Casualties in the Newspoll wars
I think Dennis Shanahan wrote this this morning (as opposed to yesterday). The “PhD” mentions refer, I believe, to me.
A courtesy call from Editor-in-Chief Chris Mitchell this morning informed me that the paper is going to “go” Charles Richardson (from Crikey) and me tomorrow.
Chris said by all means criticise the paper, but my “personal” attacks on Dennis had gone too far, and the paper will now go me “personally”.
No, I’m not making this up.
If they only get as personal as I get with Dennis, then it should be tame, as I don’t believe I’ve ever criticised anything other than his writing.
And to think I described Dennis, in a chapter in a book being launched this month, as (with no sarcasm) “a fine journalist”.
All very strange. And – I’d be lying if I didn’t admit – a little stomach-churning”

J-HO has got to go NOW

14 years ago

On the topic of pirates…

Peter Leeson continues to report on his research on the rules and regulations that evolved outside the rule of national laws.

14 years ago

I would have liked to go to the Festival of Ideas. As always (such as with the Fringe) I forget until it’s too late.

14 years ago

Apart from having “the usual suspects”, most of whom I quite like, Diddums is definitely losing his edge. OK, he’s an old fart (ie a couple of years older than i am)but come on, the RAGE, the RAGE! Forget 1975 if you must (or weren’t born) but, if today’s crop of shiney arsed, ethic/idea free zones and moral myopics don’t get your adrenalin pumping then I’m off Outback with a sharpening stone, some good blades and a couple of sunhats. Should I return in 10-20yrs and find the staus quo, … look out.