This week we all learnt something new.
Who would have thought that our ruler and Prime Minister Clive Palmer was so skilled at the back-flip that he could have been an Olympic Gymnast?
Those in the Senate certainly learnt that this week when the Carbon Tax and the changes to financial advice legislation hit the agenda.
However there were a couple of other things that we were also reminded of this week. It turns out the planet isn’t flat, the Abbott/Hockey budget isn’t fair, and that Ian Thorpe isn’t straight.
None of these came as any great surprise of course but that didn’t stop the media from beating one of these facts up as if it was the most startling revelation of the century.
The Ian Thorpe interview by Michael Parkinson was one of the most hyped up interviews I’ve ever seen. It was amazing how many people tuned in to hear someone asked a question they already knew the answer to and couldn’t really care what the answer was at any rate.
Channel 10 would like you to think that its ratings win was because there is so much interest in Ian Thorpe’s sexuality.
I’m not quite so sure.
The reason I tuned in, and I suspect so many others tuned in is because there was nothing else on. It was the least nauseating of the programmes on the major commercial networks.
The two alternatives were both reality TV talent (I use the word lightly) shows involving B Grade musical celebrities who once had an ounce of credibility and are now making a living by displaying their lack of acting ability when faking enthusiasm for some poor kid with a dream on TV. These shows look and feel like reruns of reruns of reruns.
The question to me regarding the Thorpe interview is Why?
Why the enormous fuss?
And why was this the most over-hyped event since Geoffrey Edelston’s last wedding?
If Ian Thorpe wanted to come out he could have done it on Sixty Minutes, A Current Affair, or if it had to be done on Channel 10 on The Project.
For that matter he could have done it on radio, in the printed press, or even via his Facebook page or by using Twitter.
Instead Channel 10 thought that Ian Thorpies coming out warranted a massive payment of around $400,000 to Thorpe and also warranted the interview skills of Sir Michael Parkinson for a coming out that was completely pre-planned.
It is worth noting that Sir Michael Parkinson didn’t request an interview with Thorpe either, he was asked if he would interview Thorpe he told presenters on The Project.
Clearly given it was pretty much the first thing Parkinson asked Thorpe, his coming clean and coming out was the main reason for the interview. It certainly set the tone for the rest of the chat.
Not only that all of the promos on Channel 10 for the interview focused on nothing else but the question of whether or not Thorpe was gay.
Maybe it’s just me but it kind of felt like someone’s sexuality was being exploited by a television network.
I don’t blame Thorpie either, after all if I was looking to come out and there was any way of doing it that paid a king’s ransom and boosted my profile for possible sponsors of course I’d take it…
Some would call it progress that society has gotten to the point of acceptance where so many TV shows have a token gay or lesbian person on them.
Some would, but not me.
Having a token gay man or lesbian and highlighting their sexuality is not dissimilar to the token black guy we used to see on so many TV shows it was eventually spoofed by South Park.
Acceptance of someone’s sexuality should not be about singling them out and putting a label on them as we see so often these days, particularly on reality TV shows.
For me real progress will be when nobody cares if someone is gay or not, because you know what? Unless you are the one in a relationship with them it means nothing really.
Real progress will be when a massive chunk of a television shows cast is gay or lesbian and we are all blissfully unaware and none of them have to dress or talk in a way that makes it a focal point
I am curious what it has Channel 10 has planned for Ian Thorpe as it seems to me with the amount of money they have spent that they would be seeking more than a one night ratings spike and more than likely view their spending as an investment.
I just hope that whatever their plan it is not about further exploitation of his sexuality.
All this fuss begs the question, does Thorpe really need to be a gay swimming superstar to achieve ratings success?
Can’t he just be a swimming superstar?
Or isn’t that enough anymore?