Young people. Who knows what sort of popular entertainments they enjoy? But, we can probably name the sort of thing to which they are likely to remain indifferent. Say, murder mysteries set in quaint and monocultural English villages. Any product involving or inspired by Jeremy Clarkson. Australian television program The Project. Folks in the 16-39 demographic don’t seem to have really taken to the thing purportedly made for them.
Perhaps the people at Ten found themselves in unusually principled spirits when they decided almost a decade ago to tailor news to “youth”. Perhaps someone cleaned the whiteboard used for this noble brainstorming session. Must’ve done, as any discussion of a news show relevant to Young Adults must have produced the thought: include loads of news relevant to Young Adults.
If we are to take The Project as a guide for youth concerns, these are YouTube and making fun of pretty young people.
There isn’t a whole load of that. I mean, I just watched hours of the thing on TenPlay, an app almost shitty enough to exonerate the streaming developers of Foxtel. If we are to take The Project as a guide for youth concerns, these are YouTube and making fun of pretty young people.
Last Sunday, a perfectly reasonable young worker faced a panel led by Lisa Wilkinson to make the case for tax deductions in her trade. The worker was a model and no, not completely thick, you predictable cynic. She made the (legitimate) claim that models were more likely to generate income following cosmetic procedures. The panel made jokes at her expense and laughed about her daring; how could she even compare the deductions of a tradie with that of a MODEL?! Then, Wilkinson spent some time travelling to Back in Her Day when models just didn’t have those procedures of which the broadcaster clearly disapproved.
This was a practical opportunity to talk to a young and often compulsorily self-employed audience about the trial of tax without PAYG. This was a cultural opportunity to esteem a young woman so sober and informed about the realities of life as a professional object. These opportunities were not taken. The experience of this young insecure worker was dismissed.
In recent days, the great anus that discloses the worst hopes of Rupert Murdoch has been dismissing Wilkinson and her failure to deliver value for money. This is just guestimation, and especially silly when we consider how handsomely Rupe subsidises his unsuccessful favourites. You want to start talking about things that lose money? Well, permit us entry to the ledgers of The Australian, or Sky News and its attendant expense even a telly habitué like me can’t justify, Foxtel. Twenty bucks a month for a movie package that seems to feature only Ali G and “tasteful” erotic thrillers. I can’t imagine I’m the only person saying no.
So, the fault of The Project is not Wilkinson’s. Yes, I have wasted time and skin-tone in worrying about the roles played, even if unwittingly, by the journalist. That of warrior for equal pay ticked me off particularly. But not because I take the implicit News Corp view that ladies are just not cut out to be paid as well as men. It is because a majority of Australian workers are not cut out to be paid so very poorly. (Look at the “median” weekly income, dear reader. The “average” is not useful at all.) This amplifies the nonsense that wealth will trickle down from the few to the many. This is really some appalling maths. And, no. It’s not me resenting one woman’s good fortune. It’s simply an objection to wealth inequality. Women can have these, you see.
The Project doesn’t address the interests of its audience, which in many cases is its survival. It’s all Inspiring Individual and Heartbreaking Story and reminders to kids not to do drugs.
Broadcasters could as well. Broadcasters who purportedly offer news fit for youth would, I suggest, do nothing but gain market share in so doing. Young people are poor as all get out and destined to remain so. They’ve got Buckley’s of buying a house and they’re entering a labour market that shifts and shrinks when it pleases. There’s something that can happen to a person who fears for their survival. They can become quite interested in understanding the threat.
Like so much news, The Project just doesn’t address the interests of its audience, which really must be in many cases its survival. It’s all Inspiring Individual and Heartbreaking Story and reminders to kids not to do the drugs, because you never know what’s in them. FFS. That’s precisely why many of us have taken or will take the drugs. An effing relief from the predictable remonstrations of a bunch of old-seeming turds telling us all to behave.
I believe that there are those among the seventy or so hosts of The Project that might be considered “young”. I can’t be sure, as I (a) have very poor eyesight and (b) am rather old. Ergo, that Hamish fellow looks to me like a kid yet to independently file his first tax return. But, he does sound a bit like a school principal. Waleed Aly is also, I think, quite young, but nonetheless sounds like the older gifted alum Hamish the principal paid to give an inspirational speech one lunchtime. Carrie Bickmore looks ageless and rather lovely. She sounds like the most lenient member of the Australian Parents Council. And Lisa Wilkinson. Well, there’s a reason that agreeable head has been so long seen on camera. Would that I looked half as good. But, honestly. In the auditorium of “youth”, she must be heard as an authoritative voice from the Department of Education. It makes me feel almost down with the kids. Well, just as down as one needs to be not to say the words “Netflix and Chill” in public.
Perhaps, like true abhorrence The Hack Live, the function of The Project is to offer oldies a false glimpse of The Kids with whom one has no intention of being down.
Look. Maybe Ten has truly given up on its “youth news” mission. I reckon this might be the case. Perhaps, like true abhorrence The Hack Live, its function is to offer oldies a false glimpse of The Kids with whom one has no intention of being down. I guess the best measure of this would be to watch the piece of shit live and see the advertisers. I will never remember to do this. But, I can note that the shitty app plays ads for mortgage providers.
All the young people able to acquire a mortgage these days are featured prominently in the pages of Rupert’s press. Their function is to shame the many who will never own a home. The function of The Project is a mystery. Maybe it’s to “inspire” older women like me that we too can have a wealth that is equal to Lisa’s.
In short, I wouldn’t bother watching the thing. Or thinking about it for even half as long as I have.