"Why don't we try this?" Trioli ventured.
"It was a remarkable comment that was made by Peter Dutton about people in Melbourne and the south-east being afraid to go out at night to restaurants. Let's have a show of hands. If you were, around about the time of that comment, if you were afraid to go out at night to a restaurant, whack your hand up."
Trioli: "Anybody at all?"
"One up the back. Thank you, sir. Thanks for saying that."
The mysterious, frightened gentleman up the back was not further identified, and the concerned viewer was left lingering with the hope that he had been delivered to the studio via armed escort and provided with a home-cooked meal.
It was that kind of Q&A: leaving more questions than answers, though the program did manage the rare feat of weaning itself off coverage of Malcolm Turnbull's 30th consecutive Newspoll loss relatively quickly.
We were done with it in around seven minutes, but it was an excellent seven minutes, or a terrible seven minutes, depending on your current tolerance for the term "Newspoll".
Blessedly, the opening questioner framed his inquiry so even Sam Newman could understand it.
"On Friday, Carlton lost by 24 points to Collingwood. Malcolm Turnbull just lost his 30th Newspoll. Who's going to have a worse 2018?"
The implication that Victorians can only understand… anything… through the prism of football was a vaguely offensive if entirely accurate shot at the host state, but it drove us straight to both the point and the pointlessness of the inquiry.
"Well, there's three possibilities in there. Collingwood, Carlton and the PM," said Trioli, throwing to panellist and Herald Sun writer Andrew Rule.
Trioli: "Well start with you."
Trioli: "Even though you beat us. Even though you beat Carlton?"
Rule: "I'll stick with that."
Which was, let's be frank, as good a summary of Canberra leadership tensions as anything else on offer this week.
Poor Alan Tudge was the Turnbull government representative on the panel, and it would be churlish not to acknowledge that Alan Tudge does an extravagantly good job of looking and sounding like a man named Alan Tudge.
Tudge is the minister for Citizenship and Multicultural Affairs, a role in which he is occasionally required to explain Barnaby Joyce to the nation at large. And so it was on Monday night, when Australia's most reluctant New Zealander came up in the conversation, along with the football.
Trioli: "Alan Tudge, who is going to have the worst year?"
"I hope North Melbourne has a great year and I hope Malcolm Turnbull has a great year. He is having a great year for the Australian people," replied Tudge, as the Australian people swiftly fell into a coma.
"And yet, and yet, and yet," said Trioli, "Newspoll marks him, the people of Australia mark him down in that poll every single time."
Tudge: "It's very common actually for governments to slip in between elections…"
Trioli: "You're saying Malcolm Turnbull can catch up?"
Tudge: "Of course he can. Of course he can. Politics these days turns very, very quickly, as you know, Virginia."
And then we came to Barnaby.
Trioli: "I should put this to you… Barnaby Joyce is calling on Malcolm Turnbull to improve by Christmas… or consider giving up the leadership. He says, 'If you truly believe this is exactly the sentiment of the people, then you also have an obligation not to drive your party or the government off a cliff.' Do you agree?"
Tudge: "I don't think it was a particularly useful contribution from Barnaby this afternoon."
Left unresolved: what a useful contribution from Barnaby might be. When it comes to the simmering Barnaby/Malcolm war, it might be easier to make sense of Carlton and Collingwood.
Morning & Afternoon Newsletter
So, we guess this means Beyonce and Jay-Z are OK then
The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last..
The first couple of pop music took the world by surprise by dropping their first album together last weekend. As you'd expect, it's a statement.
There is arguably no couple better at controlling their own press than Beyonce and Jay-Z. When a video surfaced in 2014 showing Bey's younger sister Solange attacking her brother-in-law in an elevator, rumours of a strained marriage proliferated.
Rather than battle the tabloids, the spouses used the gossip to fuel the creation of two critically beloved, commercially successful records: Beyonce's Lemonade and Jay-Z's 4:44. And, in them, they offered just as many details about their private lives as they chose.
Now the couple have continued their domination of pop music, surprising the world last Saturday by releasing their joint album Everything Is Love, which is something of a sequel to those two solo records. Though they have collaborated for at least 15 years, this marks their first joint album, which they dropped under the name The Carters.
The record is a victory lap from a couple who have mined their relationship for universal truths and then presented them as art. It's a fierce love letter to success, to family, to blackness – but, most of all, to each other.
Lyrically, it primarily focuses on two aspects of the Carters' lives: their marriage and their success. (more…)
Rachel Griffiths: female characters are finally getting real on screen
Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, P..
Almost a year into the #MeToo era, Rachel Griffiths believes the likes of Mystery Road, Wentworth, Picnic at Hanging Rock and Top of the Lake show that female characters are finally coming of age on Australian screens.
In a spirited speech at the launch of a new state government scheme to support more women directors in television, the actor-turned-director said it was exciting to see female characters move beyond "the typical tropes of 'likable, f—able, adorable'" to "more complex depictions of female experience" recently.
While she acknowledged there were male directors who created fresh and compelling women characters, Griffiths said the "male gaze" often reduced them to colouring the characters of their male counterparts.
"[They are created to] make him hot, make him authentic, make him empathetic, make him fatherly, make him conflicted, make him grieve," she said. "In the male gaze, we are so often not the gatekeepers; we're not the ferryman. Sometimes the mentor but usually only ironically, like Judi Dench's M…
"Under-written and under-observed, brought into our sexual awareness precociously and prepubescent in order to accommodate the male libido.
"Often in television we're used by lazy writers and producers who can think of nothing more interesting this week than 'let's have her have sex with X' or 'discover she's a lesbian – for an episode'."
Griffiths, who is about to begin editing the Melbourne Cup drama Ride Like A Girl after finishing the shoot, endorsed Hollywood star Sandra Bullock's recent comment that it was time for women to "stop being polite" about gender equality. (more…)
Rachel Maddow breaks down on air over Trump immigration policy
US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest development..
US television host Rachel Maddow has broken down on live air as she delivered the latest developments in the Trump administration's controversial "zero tolerance" immigration policy.
Maddow, who hosts her own show on MSNBC, was reading from a breaking news release from the Associated Press that revealed government officials have been sending babies and toddlers to what are being called "tender age" shelters in the US.
The youngsters are some of the 2,300 children who have been forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border since the White House announced a zero-tolerance policy on migrant families in May.
"The AP has just broken some new news," Maddow started.
"Um, this has just come out from the Associated Press, this is incredible. Trump administration have been sending babies and other young children – oh, hold on," she said, her voice breaking.
Maddow attempted to get through the breaking news piece one more time before moving the show over to a guest. "To at least three – three tender age shelters in South Texas. Lawyers and medical providers… I think I'm going to have to hand this off. Sorry."
Maddow took to Twitter shortly after the segment aired to say sorry to her viewers. "Again, I apologise for losing it there for a moment," she wrote. "Not the way I intended that to go, not by a mile."
She also tweeted out what she had been trying to say in her live read, writing out what was presented in the AP story. "Lawyers and medical providers who have visited the "tender age" shelters described play rooms of crying preschool-age children in crisis…" she wrote.
"Decades after the nations child welfare system ended the use of orphanages over concerns about the lasting trauma to children, the administration is standing up new institutions to hold Central American toddlers that the government separated from their parents." (more…)
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