Did you see QandA last night? A bunch of supposedly intelligent people gossiping about the private lives and personal characters of women they don’t know. One woman was called a “tart” because of her job. Another was called a “floozy” because she was an ex-girlfriend. And in another charming moment, Barry Humphries referred to Gina Rinehart’s “neverending hole”. Which was applauded. Hoo hoo hee hee, how funny. This is how our “intelligentsia” discusses women and gee, doesn’t it make you proud?
You can see the episode on the ABC website. The transcript will apparently be up from 2pm today.
A lot of the blame for the stupid should be directed at Tony Jones and the QandA team. Firstly, for choosing questions like this:
Emelia Starbright asked via facebook: Why is Gina Rinehart so greedy?
Rinehart is a businesswoman. Her job is to make money. I don’t hear Andrew Forrest or Frank Lowy or Gerry Harvey or Harry Triguboff or James Packer or Ivan Glasenberg (the second richest in the country) being called greedy for doing their jobs. The lack of a culture of philanthropy in Australia is a serious issue, but that’s not what’s being discussed with this question about greed: Rinehart is rich, and she wants to make more money, how much does one woman need, she’s ambitious so clearly she is unhappy and maybe if she was a better mother then she wouldn’t need so much money.
And secondly, for encouraging the panel, one by one, to discuss Rinehart’s character. Like this, from David Marr:
Well, I think it’s a personal question, isn’t it, really? [And then goes on to be very personal] She’s the richest woman in the world and she’s humiliating herself and her family in the courts in order not to have to pay her children the money that is pouring into the estate so that she can control it and dole it out exactly as she wants. This is amazingly perverse behaviour. But as I understand it, behind it all lies this towering ambition to fund in her own right, to get up this immense iron ore mine, and for that she seems to be willing to appear as greedy as all get out, she’s willing to appear brutally cruel to her own family. And so she goes. There is a funny way in which huge amounts of money in some people don’t actually sate the appetite but make them crave more, it’s something about us human beings… There are ways of behaving when you are one of the richest people in the world, with a little more grace than she behaves, particularly vis a vis her own family, and she appears to display a quite remarkable wish to control every cent that goes through her hands.
I see David Marr is also lacking in grace.
Thing is, how the fuck would he – or any of us – know what goes on in the Rinehart family? There have been a few court stories published, but since it’s an ongoing case they don’t give the full picture. Perhaps Rinehart does want to be in charge of all the money? Perhaps the children are incompetent with money? Perhaps it’s just like any other family argument except that when you can afford lawyers, you say “fuck it, let’s get the lawyers”? The point is that we don’t know and it’s really none of our business what Rinehart does with her own money and this sort of character assassination of someone I’m pretty sure they have never met is pretty disgusting. Good on Jacki Weaver for saying, “I think we are getting a bit unkind about Mrs Rinehart” and trying to change the topic. But then Jones brings it back by asking Miriam Margolyes what she thinks of Rinehart, and she mentions Rinehart’s appearance and apparent lack of generosity. Obviously, being a big lefty, I do not support mining companies digging shit out of the ground without giving money back to the country. I do not support Rinehart trying to get out of paying for the pollution her business creates. And I certainly do not support the casual misogyny that’s encouraged on QandA every time they talk about women.
It’s funny* (*not funny), Marr was happy to say nasty things about Rinehart, but later comments that the “vicious” attacks on Cate Blanchett for “joining political debate” were “unfair”. The word you want here, David, is hypocrite.
And then we get into “no one’s sayin’ it but we’re all thinkin’ it: who’d believe a sex worker?” territory. From Marr: “I don’t really think we need the testimony of the tart”.
Then Humphries refers to Clive James’ ex as “some floozy”, and calls Craig Thomson a heap of names in order to get a cheap laugh. It’s all oh so funny.
And then a video question about how women have too much power and have emasculated men:
Newton Gatoff asked: G’day mate, in a country where women are the richest in business and most powerful in politics, has the Ozzie machismo lost its mojo on the international stage?
Directed at a man who dresses as a woman on the “world stage”. The question was rubbished by the panel, and quite rightly. So why waste our time with it, when I’m sure there were plenty of intelligent questions submitted for the show. I don’t know why I keep expecting QandA to be intelligent, because most of what I see certainly isn’t.
What should have been an interesting show because it wasn’t filled with politicians staying “on message” with their boring talking points (and I’m not the only person bored by that, since last night was the show’s biggest audience of the year), was dominated by misogynist drivel that was encouraged by the show’s host. The one politician on the show, John Hewson, just looked like he was politely tolerating idiots the whole time.