Haven't yet watched this controversial doco Struggle Street. But I've got a very good idea of what it's like already. Pretty clear it's one of those shows that purports to be an unflinching expose of capitalism-caused social dysfunction that was created solely out of compassionate concern for its poor, unfortunate subjects. But it's actually more about exploiting their misery to attract as many pairs of eyeballs as possible. That's why some have called it "poverty porn".
As well as this dishonest element, there's a strong undercurrent of superiority about it. The show is clearly meant to confirm the worst stereotypes associated with the area it's covering. Basically, you just know that it's been made by a bunch of ultra-smug, inner-city, latte-slurping, Greens-voting, bong-suckling, beret-wearing plonkers. They're presenting a simplistic take on a diverse bunch of people so that all their fellow travellers out in TV land can roll their eyes and think, "Ugh. Those westies are all such redneck, white trash losers. Just appalling!"
There have been heaps of shows like this. And it would be great if something truly new and innovative were attempted in this genre. Why not aim the cameras at the milieu that produces this kind of doco, and confirm all their worst stereotypes instead? Artsville, Orstraya is chockas with the most grotesque and ridiculous characters you could imagine. They're all just screaming for a gleefully exploitative televisual expose that's not so much "poverty porn" as "smuggery smut".
Take the primping, preening, smirking socialists who dominate Australia's theatre scene. Certainly not living on the bones of their, er, collective arts, these plump little poppets are still quite sad in their own way. Their tragedy is that they've never had to struggle. They constantly get thrown big wads of public money for work that just isn't very good, and that only a few people actually wanna see.
When not fearlessly pushing theatrical envelopes these writers, directors and producers spend much of their time pissing in each others' pockets, quacking on about how they're creative geniuses who can enrich society with their courageous and coruscating insights. But really they just sussed out who the cool cats were, became besties with 'em, cracked the arts funding code, and found a comfy little place of power in the inner sanctum. Positions are definitely limited, so if anyone else wants to receive similar privileges they have to go through the same arduous, soul-destroying process.
If anyone wanted to make a "smuggery smut" doco about these clowns -- some of whom are actual clowns -- it would be pretty easy to do. You'd just have to rock up to some state funded theatre, get access to the movers and shakers within and start filming.
If you have your doubts, then you should have a squizz at a little gem called The Talented Mr Stone, which was broadcast recently on their ABC. Even though it's po-faced and laudatory in tone, the subject of it is such a patently overrated and self-obsessed jerk that it kinda qualifies as smuggery smut already!
Now imagine if this guy and the grovelling, credulous enablers who surround him were filmed by someone who could see them for what they truly were and was intent on presenting that lurid, compelling truth to his audience in the most gruesome way possible. The resultant doco -- which could be titled something like Sneer Circuit or Luvvie Loop -- would not only be comedy gold, it would be a ratings winner too!
But sadly, considering the extent to which lefties rule Artsville, a doco like that would have close to Buckley's chance of being made ...