||Year End 2004|
Interview: The King of Comedy
Unions: Ten Simple Rules
Politics: Rampant Indivdualism
International: Global Struggle
Economics: Cashing in the Year
History: Grass Roots
Review: Cultural Realities
The Locker Room
Beyond The Law
The Price Of Tea In China
Cry For Me, Argentina
Ho Bloody Ho
Right Is Wrong
Business As Usual
All In The Family
Swing Left Wishful Thinking
Mike Moore was the clear champion of this trend and, while Fahrenheit 9/11 was hardly a shift from his usual style, its timely nature and clear achievement in hitting its mark on the international stage made it something for others to emulate.
While the US and Australian election results gave the would-be majority plenty to be pessimistic about, Fahrenheit 9/11 and Robert Greenwald's Outfoxed at least provided some of the answers to the question 'why?'.
In fact Fahrenheit 9/11 was considered such a powerful tool by Republicans that they attempted to capitalise on the formula to help boost their own election chances. Not that they needed to and nor did most places outside of the US get to see their efforts after the offering backfired badly.
Meanwhile, Outfoxed revealed the ugly side of media oligopolies by subjecting audiences to 90 minutes more of CNN than could ever be considered healthy. The argument against was easily won, with the producer simply letting CNN supply the flashing slogans and rolling banners, and providing footage of the devout Bush-loving presenters to telling it themselves, as they wanted to have us believe it.
After taking in Outfoxed and Fahrenheit 9/11 hungry audience members steered well clear of McDonalds, thanks to Supersize Me. In this mega non-delicious health catastrophe of a flick, viewers watched, stunned, as their star aimed for suicide by Big Mac - surviving on nothing but Macca's until doctors called the whole thing off.
McDonald's took the disendorsement badly, attempting to challenge the rogue former customer through a counter advertising campaign. Insisting that anyone who lived on fast food was a bloody idiot anyway, the superpower finally settled for boosting its salad bar and withdrawing its offers to supersize.
But this year's overdose of reality did not only play out on the big screen. On the box this brand of television went from bad to worse, yet became only slightly less watchable.
Highlights included Donald Trump's The Apprentice, which confirmed everyone's greatest fears about the personality traits required to claw one's way to the top of the corporate ladder.
In The Amazing Race, the world looked on as a bunch of American couples darted across the globe too quickly to take in any of the surrounds or meet any of the locals. Race contestants bit and clawed and lied and doublecrossed their way their way to the Texan finish line where the one million dollar booty distracted the winner from all sins in the getting there.
Other watchables included Big Brother's bastard club edition, in which the producers outdid themselves by filling the household with as many disagreeable characters as possible and letting them fight it out to the end. One housemate frequently moved to tears and solo boxing sessions on the inside became an instant sensation following his eviction night, at which he covered his mouth with tape and held up the words "Free th Refugees".
Merlin Luck's action signalled a turning point in the reality television department, in which its potential as a political tool of the masses was revealed.
The Movie Show's Margaret Pomeranz and David Stratton were also well aware of the message they were endorsing, refusing to be associated with commercial concerns by quitting SBS for bowing to advertisers. The pair voted with their feet all the way to the ABC.
Stage performances were also used to translate political issues, including Katherine Thomson's 'Harbour' - based on the 1998 maritime dispute. Meanwhile version 1.0 and the Department of Performance Studies' CMI (aka A Certain Maritime Incident) spilled the beans on the Senate inquiry into the 'children overboard affair'.
As for works of wonder and imagination on the fictitious front, the pickings were slimmer on the ground - particularly on the small screen. Aside from 'safe' reality formats, television stations seemed to be letting up in the entertainment department, unless one's idea of fun entailed non-stop crime show marathons and court room accounts of the American legal system, punctuated by the odd, ironically titled, situation comedy.
All in all a rather gritty - sometimes grimy - year on the cultural front, but with consumer dollars doing the steering the fluff is sure to win out in the end.
|Search All Issues | Latest Issue | Previous Issues | Print Latest Issue|
© 1999-2002 Workers Online