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Issue No. 123 21 December 2001  
 
E D I T O R I A L

The Unmaking of History
The new millennium has got off to an ominous start. The fireworks, circuses and self-congratulation of 2000 were a thing of the past and we were left with the task of redefining ourselves in a new era.

F E A T U R E S

Interview: Braveheart
Labor Council secretary John Robertson looks back on a turbulent year and forward to a dynamic 2002.

International: Global Year in Review
Labourstart's Eric Lee gives his take on a year where the world changed forever.

Unions: A Year at the Barricades
2001 was a year when workers were forced to fight for what they once took for granted.

Technology: Unions Online 2001
Social Change Online's Mark McGrath looks at the advances unions made in web development in 2001.

Republic: Terror Australis
ARM national director James Terrie asks where to now for the Republic?

Economics: 2001: Annus Horribilis
Frank Stilwell looks back at a troubled year and looks forward to the challenges for the labour movement.

Campaign Diary: Melanie and Me
Strewth's Steve Cannane went into the viper's nest on election night and emerged with an ordinary feeling.

Politics: Tony Moore's Final Word
Wide boys, spivs, spin doctors and hereditary idiots have hijacked a once great Australian institution.

Review: You Are the Weakest Program
Cultural theoritician Mark Morey deconstructs the televisual subplots of our collective consciousness.

Legal: The New McCarthyism
The “war on terrorism” declared in the wake of the American events of September 11 dramatically threatens Australian democratic life.

N E W S

 Unions Take Lead in Refugee Rethink

 Workers Christmas Wish List

 Sparkie Snares Organiser of the Year Title

 Bosswatch Gets International Attention

 Bank Workers Get Serious in 2002

 Qantas's Warfare Agenda Exposed

 Cabin Crew Stand Up for Themselves

 Win for Medibank Workers

 City Council's Tactics Rival Worst in the World

 Dynamic New Start for Musos

 Unions in the Mosh Pit

 Scholarship Opportunity

C O L U M N S

The Soapbox
Into the Crystal Ball
What will happen in 2002? We asked some of the players in the world of industrial relations to look into the crystal ball.

The Locker Room
The 2002 Workers Online Sports Awards
There may have been no Olympics, but there were some stellar performances in 2001, from madass bad boys to terminated talents, these are the big ones.

Trades Hall
Neale Towart's Labour (Year in) Review
Sporting a Costa crew-cut, a new look Neale looks back on some issues of 2001 that look likely to the centres of debate for unions in 2002.

Tool Shed
Tool of the Year? You're Standing In It
After a year when Australians brought out the worst in themselves, we all stand condemned for a stint in the Tool Shed.

L E T T E R S
 A Fair Go For All
 The First Bastion
 Tom Collins' Christmas Wish
WHAT YOU CAN DO
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Review

You Are the Weakest Program


Cultural theoritician Mark Morey deconstructs the televisual subplots of our collective consciousness.
 
 

Mark Morey

***********************

In a year packed full of great TV ranging from ABC's the Blue Planet to great angst ridden drama of the Secret Life of Us (Mmmmm????), it was the trashy reality TV the mind numbing gibberish that rated the best. Boobs, bottoms, dead pigs and bunny ears mixed in with the Australian outback made sure our viewing year had it all.

Shipwrecked should have been entitled, what happens when a trailer park sinks and the white trash make it to an island. This show is and was total crap. Even I had to turn it off, and that required getting out of the lounge. This show was definitely the weakest link, goodbye.

Chains of Love, what a show what a concept. Who said there are people in TV without an imagination and talent????? Four slappers of either gender, chained to a prospective suitor who evicts them one at a time until they are left with their chosen date. They also get to divvy up $10,000 depending on how much they liked each person they evicted. And can you believe it, they won't be renewing Chains of Love next year, shit no. The only thing any good was the locksmith who would enter the show at "random" points signalling the exit of another contestant, scary!!! The only episoded I caught, well one of only a handful anyway, that was any good was where one person got the money, the final contestant, and subjected themselves to the ignominy of then having sex with them on TV, and then gave a bullshit phone number despite pretending they wanted to continue with the new found relationship. Irony, irony, irony. You are not the weakest link, you are just crap, piss off.

Well then there was Boot Camp. Yet another attempt to cash in on the Survivor phenomenon, Ha! Despite the initial episode with "real life" Boot Camp instructors screaming at people there was not much to hold the viewer. It was like Stripes was no longer a movie but a documentary. Too much heartache for little return. This was definitely the next weakest link, goodbye.

Temptation Island is definitely sick puppy territory. Would loved to have been in the meeting to devise this:

"No, no no, wait, wait I've got it. Fuck the ethics, I reckon we can get a bunch of not so bright slappers who have been living with each other to root madly with people they have never met. We just bus in a whole lot of goers right, get them to try to root anything and everything that moves. Their relationships disintegrate and we clean up because the general public love to look at the suffering of dumb people. And don't worry, it will be tasteful cause the bubbly we get in will be that smooth stuff...moat isn't it?"

Well, it did work for a while, like the first episode and the last and the 15 or so in between we could have done without. At least the Villa was only one show where it all happened at once. Pommy slappers on islands, please no more. Goodbye. And just think, the Australian version is starting next week aaaaaaaaah.

Survivor III, hoping for so much and it has almost made it. Would anyone have ever though a team would have lost an immunity challenge on purpose in order to vote one of their own off? Unbelievable. And lets face it, Motley Crew have a lot to answer for in creating Lex. He should be Tool of the Week. This series although almost getting there just seems to lack a bit of the heart that Survivor II had. Don't get me wrong I wouldn't miss an episode for quids, but Mark "the only true TV god" Burnett needs to do a little bit of tinkering otherwise the formula we currently have will drive us into the ground. What about instead of voting people off you could kill them????? Goodbye, you are getting tired.

Well here we are at this years championship round Survivor II verse the housemates of Big Brother. What do we have, the pig being hunted and killed, people burnt in fires, beautiful people who finally crack when their parents and family speak to them via email and the all American boy and girl Lizbeth and Cody. And didn't we love to have a show with its own live bunny/bitch Jerry. So much synergy, so much of what we love about reality TV without being too schmaltzy. And lets face it can anyone really believe that Amber actually lives in a town called Beaver?????

But then, what about Big Brother. We were lost when we could no longer drop in on the housemates from 7 - 7:30 weeknights, Saturday Sunday and then late Thursday night. What about the bum dance and the bunny ears, Gemma's lip gloss, boy she was only two dimensional, did anyone catch Search for a Supermodel???? And lets face it good guys do win, even if they are a bit on the boxheaded side. And then Blair, our Neighbours heartthrob? And lets face it who will forget the greyhound racing and the endless talk of stabbing the rabbit without getting caught. We what did we get to know about people and TV? What we always thought, if you scratch the surface you get more surface. (I don't know about the rest of you but certainly I think it was interesting to note the charities people wanted to donate their piece of memorabilia too from the house. I thought that was more revealing about each of their personalities than what we learnt from the weeks of having them on air).

So which one wins??? I'm quite honestly torn. The ending of both shows was unexpected. Both shows had the people we loved to hate, ones we loved to love and those who we kind of remember but can't seem to put a face to any more.

For me, in the end I think I will have to go with Survivor II simply because it was the show I was prepared to set the video for. And that my friends is the year as I saw it. So much TV and so little time. Obviously there are plenty of other great non-reality shows but that is column width I was not permitted.

And for that special little friend who keeps harassing me because I refuse to accept her show is reality TV...That Hot Auctions, what a show, so well produced, researched and presented.

Anyways, have a good reality Christmas and hopefully 2002 will be a year with heaps more of what we like - mindless, reality.

Talking of reality, is it just me or is there an eerie similarity between the hunt for Osama and Wag the Dog... think about it.


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