My advice really should have come with a caution. You should watch the program Q & A only in those weeks that I am not a panellist.
I’m pretty sure I made a good program crap. Of course, find I have absolutely no intention of watching. But, patient really, there is no need. I was there and I have a hazy recollection of berating Tony Jones, a uniquely pleasant and intelligent man, and telling him to, “let me speak or I’ll explode and leave nothing but a smear of detonated Helen on your desk.”
Why, Helen, why?
Then, when Tony relented and allowed me to speak, I said something about internet freedom so unfathomable that the ABC security guard looked at me like I was a child pornographer when I left the building. My performance also caused my mother to leave a voice mail message suggesting that (a) my lip-stick made me look like a prostitute (b) I was disinherited.
It was not as though I was under-prepared for this program. I’d made dozens of phone calls and read hundreds of thousands of very dull Ministerial words to bolster my particular beliefs. Nonetheless, I seemed unable to utter a very simple sentence about what I believed to be the government’s inadequate redress of WorkChoices and, frankly, I was as dazzled by the studio lights as a big Angora Rabbit.
Why, Helen, why?
It didn’t help that I was seated next to a man who, in all likelihood, also thought my lip-stick made me look like a prostitute. Then Minister for Home Affairs, Brendan O’Connor, seemed combative in the Green Room from the get-go.
I found his refusal to answer my queries about the government’s proposed net-filter with anything more than “That’s just not true!” quite distressing.
Now, I know I’m not a Michelle Grattan or a Kerry O’Brien and, under normal circumstances, my questions do not merit any consideration by government ministers. Except, when they are asked on television in a forum where all participants have implicitly agreed to a suspension of usual journalism. In short, questions from dolts like me need to be answered with respect.
If O’Connor didn’t want to answer these queries, which surely he knew were coming, then he should have stayed at home, I thought at the time.
Anyhow, the guy just didn’t like the cut of my jib and I shouldn’t have taken it so personally.
But, I did. Between this ministerial brush-off, the paralysing threat of live television and the pretty, bright lights reducing me to the appearance of an Angora Rabbit in prostitute’s lip-stick, I did quite badly. And so, it occurs to me, I really must learn to be a kinder critic when it comes to TV. And I should probably stay at home.
And so, I have been sitting here at my screen nursing the pain of my own misadventure and the sense that, after all, I am in awe of anyone who can utter an entire sentence on TV without telling everybody that they are, “about to explode”.
So, I’m all praise for television,now. Expect nothing but a high-speed ride on a unicorn where I have nothing but praise for everyone from Hi-5 to Budget Coverage. I am very sorry for blighting one of the nation’s best television programs, I am sorry for my lipstick and, in short, I am sorry that I didn’t. in fact, psychically explode on the Q and A desk.
This Great Angora is wiping off her lip-stick and crawling back into her hutch.