In which our intrepid hero tries to roll over and go back to sleep, but fails — dismally.

My favourite movie is Apocalypse Now; when Redux came out, with its 51 extra minutes of wallowy fuckeduptitude, I was ecstatic. Of all the material in those movies, one scene always comes back to haunt me: Willard’s opening monologue in his room in Saigon.

Every so often, particularly as summer approaches, I wake up to heat and humidity; intense, unwanted sunlight streams into my eyes from a gap in the otherwise impenetrable barriers I erect to shield my life from the day. I just want to grab a bottle of whisky, flip out and punch a mirror or something, just like Willard (or, rather, Martin Sheen—he really did flip out, and Coppola was merely there to film it).

I call these moments "Saigon Mornings". And today is one of them.

That aside, I’ve been very slack posting to my blog. I haven’t had Internet access at home since I moved (about six months ago), and my work Internet has been down for the past few weeks, whilst we moved office. Mea culpa.

I’ve had a hundred things—almost literally—that I’ve wanted to blog over the past few weeks, but the thing that finally urged me back to the keyboard is something that I’d given up for dead, but has slowly crept back into my life: television. I’m generally so tired and unstimulated that all I can do of a night is to lay myself along my couch, flip on the TV and pass out.

And whilst I’m waiting for consciousness to evacuate my exhausted shell, I actually get to watch something. I’ve discovered that reality shows aren’t all bad (I fell in love with Australian Princess after one episode) and that arts shows shit me more than ever.

(As an aside, Michael Veitch inadvertently lampoons himself on Sunday Arts. He seems to know what he’s talking about—but he unfortunately does it with the same contrived accent that he used to portray Alexander Downer on Full Frontal. As such, it’s impossible to lend him any credibility. Pity.)

Is it just me, or is it a prerequisite for arts show panelists to be infuriatingly dumb and arrogant? I think everyone’s disenchanted with the new Movie Show by now, so I won’t dwell on its failings, but what about Vulture?

I like Richard Fidler; he was the only Doug Anthony All-Star who wasn’t constantly trying to ram his ego down viewers’ throats in an attempt to prove that he was funny. But he seems kind of lost on Vulture; you can almost see him thinking, "If I can hold this pack of morons together until the end of this episode, I might get to keep my job."

I have to give kudos to the producers, too; they prepare a good lineup of interesting discussion topics for the show. But it’s all lost on those imbecilic panelists.

Take, for example, the recent debate on whether computer games are art. I’ve worked in IT, and I write, paint and do a number of other things that might be deemed "artistic", so it’s only natural that such a topic would hold my attention. We get the inevitable parallels between computer games and cinema, but that’s cool, because there seems to be a confluence in presentation technique: games are getting more cinematic, and movies rely more heavily on CG special effects.

Suddenly, out of the blue, one of the panelists starts on a tirade about how both computer games and cinema are militaristic spinoffs. I’m not sure where she was going with this (maybe launching into an anti-Iraq war protest), but she had nothing to back the argument up. When one of the other panelists suggested that she was trying to say that both were phallic in nature, she became defensive and quickly lost what little composure she had.

Fidler then crossed to the third panelist, who proudly announced that he ran what was a de facto IT convention inside an art show—and then I changed channel. As presenter, it’s Fidler’s job to establish the panelists’ credentials at the beginning of the show; if they need to extol their virtues during debate, either Fidler’s failed, the show’s researcher has failed, or the panelists are trying to make out that they’re something that they’re not.

My suspension of disbelief failed, and it was clear that the panelists possessed too little credibility for me to take them seriously. It might have been an interesting debate, had I bothered to stick around, but I doubt it.

Now, given that it seems to be de rigueur to have an offensively inflated self-opinion and an IQ under 80 to be on these things, why not just fill the panel with guests from Jerry Springer?

Darlene: I think that The Piano was the ultimate expression of Jane Campion’s vision, and, as such, she hasn’t yet surpassed its poignancy.

Bubba: Shut the <pause> up, you stupid <pause> bitch! She just wanted to see Harvey Keitel’s ass! I’m gonna <pause> kill you! (He throws his chair across the studio.)

Audience: Jerry! Jerry!

Hell, I’d watch it.

Advertisements