The Weekend Australian - Review - - Viewpoints -

PETER Wil­son’s as­sess­ment of the in­fe­ri­or­ity of Big Brother and the in­stant celebrity of shal­low re­al­ity TV com­pared with lit­er­ary fes­ti­vals ( Re­view , June 23- 24) is com­mon knowl­edge, at least to most read­ers of this pa­per. How­ever, re­al­is­ti­cally, Big Brother ’ s indispensability to TV pro­duc­ers, or what makes shows of this kind lu­cra­tive, is not the young au­di­ences’ cel­e­bra­tion of medi­ocrity as Paul McCart­ney so con­de­scend­ingly put it. BB is a game. The young mil­lions tune in to watch how sim­i­lar peo­ple are liv­ing their real lives in what they be­lieve to be recorded re­al­ity. It is dis­cov­er­ing one­self through ob­ser­va­tion of oth­ers. Re­al­ity TV is a tool for self- as­sess­ment for the viewer and self­ex­po­sure for the con­tes­tants. The sus­tained in­ter­est in such shows is the zeit­geist of a dif­fer­ent gen­er­a­tion. Be­lieve it or not, some of BB’s view­ers are well read, but find dis­dain­ful lec­tures at lit­er­ary fes­ti­vals, now dom­i­nated by mind- numb­ing re­gur­gi­ta­tion of his­tory and other trite top­ics, just as shal­low as re­al­ity TV is said to be. Peter Run Collinswood, South Aus­tralia CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS to Jon Kudelka for his ‘‘ great mo­ments in Aus­tralian art’’ il­lus­tra­tion ( Re­view , June 23- 24). Great idea, that toast­ing marsh­mal­lows twist. Also the ex­e­cu­tion: I don’t know if Fred­er­ick McCub­bin was left- handed, but mak­ing him so gives per­fect bal­ance. Bril­liant. Syd Cur­tis Hawthorne, Queens­land PAUL Kelly ( Re­view , June 23- 24) need not worry. I es­ti­mate the silent ma­jor­ity of ‘‘ non­re­li­gious’’ in this coun­try to be be­tween 60 and 70 per cent. Our re­jec­tion of or­gan­ised reli­gions, and their fan­ci­ful and in­cred­i­bly in­fan­tile sto­ries and ob­ses­sions is prob­a­bly sec­ond to none in the West­ern world. Aus­tralians are no fools, and I think Paul Kelly has joined a cho­rus of peo­ple in this coun­try who be­lieve we do not need to be dic­tated to or con­strained by ar­chaic re­li­gious doc­trine. Keith Wilkie Beau­mont, South Aus­tralia COULD Frank Camp­bell ( Re­view , June 23- 24) at least spare us his croc­o­dile tears? In an ar­ti­cle in which he says a col­lapse of the Abo­rig­i­nal art mar­ket would be dis­as­trous for in­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties he goes on to de­scribe Abo­rig­i­nal art as ‘‘ tire­somely repet­i­tive’’, ‘‘ repet­i­tive two- di­men­sional de­sign’’, ‘‘ two- di­men­sional de­sign with very lim­ited tech­nique’’ and ‘‘ in­ca­pable of be­ing high art’’. It is a won­der he re­strained him­self from telling us that black peo­ple can only paint with nat­u­ral rhythm.

What is galling is not that Frank is bash­ing black peo­ple in a col­umn in a na­tional news­pa­per, but that he is not able to name a sin­gle Abo­rig­i­nal artist. His dis­mal ig­no­rance of the topic is ob­vi­ous to any­one with the most min­i­mal in­ter­est in art.

I would sug­gest that if you have doubts that Abo­rig­i­nal art is ca­pa­ble of ‘‘ three­d­i­men­sion­al­ity’’, con­sider the works of an artist such as Kath­leen Pet­yarre, who evokes three di­men­sions sub­limely. You will need to go to an art gallery though, not the tourist shop where Camp­bell did his re­search. Steve Walker Largs Bay, South Aus­tralia

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