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Telecast grief

By Eleanor Hogan - posted Wednesday, 17 January 2007

She thought about the funeral, how bits from the telecast kept on straying through her mind unbidden all day. Even while she was teaching and watching The Piano with the students.

The evening before, she'd flopped onto her bed and watched TV because she'd been too tired and viral to do anything else. She began by alternating between ABC News and Imparja's repeat telecast of the funeral - not that she needed to do a channel change at times - and then, as she continued to watch the ABC, snippets from the funeral were replayed in news bulletins and current affairs programs. Until she felt as tho she'd watched the funeral from woe to go.

The problem was that she was quite fascinated by the funeral really, though she felt it might be in bad taste to blog about it, because it involved other people's sadness and misfortune. She also felt particularly sorry for people like Terri Irwin and Mr Irwin, having to be in the public spotlight at a time like this.


But nevertheless she was quite fascinated by the funeral.

She enjoyed it more than what she'd seen of the Other funeral, the perfect one, with its racing car number plates donated to Tobin's and its Wurundjuree smoking ceremony. It was probably the convergence of so many bizarre elements that she enjoyed. The Crocoseum. The khaki. The stars. The blue wiggle as MC. “Crikey” in yellow flowers.

Feeding time at the zoo. (As she foretold in an earlier post, the animals were in attendance. She imagined a meeting with Harriet the Tortoise at the Pearly Gates was on the cards.)

The fact that the PM would attend the non-state funeral of an entrepreneur - and manage to get in a speech about family values.

The way that telecast grief, especially by link-up, didn't seem to work so well. The stars looked like they were rehearsing for their Oscar speeches.

And Little Bindi ... (wasn't the wobble board man's daughter also called Bindi?) Well, she couldn't help but be impressed by the girl's composure and that someone from the immediate family had had enough sang-froid, or chutz-pah, or whatever, to say something: but somehow it all seemed so terribly American.


But nevertheless she was quite fascinated by the funeral, how it seemed to throw some of the worst aspects of Australian and American culture together. At one stage, they interviewed a BBC journalist who said how they'd just had to be there and film it all, the BBC, because the British loved everything about Australia.

Of course the Poms would love the funeral; they might even watch it with the same cringing fascination as she had, in their case because it was the kind of Heightened Australiana they mistook for Australia.

So, now she was blogging about it, in a cowardly third person kind of way. She was blogging in the seminar room as she didn't want to use a terminal in Admin, because of the endless war of attrition between academic and admin staff, neither of whom believed the other ever did any work. And because it would mean sitting opposite the woman called Pru who really did talk like “Pru and Trude” and who externalised all her thoughts, like a bad performance poet doing a Stream-of-Consciousness piece.

It was scary, sitting near the Stream-of-Consciousness woman and being reminded that yes, those Ugly Australians, so beloved by the British and other television audiences, really did exist. And it was amazing, really, how blogging immediately made her feel a little less viral, whereas timetabling (which she was meant to be doing) didn't.

But now she knew of at least one person who liked True Blue. And that person was dead.

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First published in The View from Elsewhere on September 21, 2006. It is republished as part of "Best Blogs of 2006" a feature in collaboration with Club Troppo, and edited by Ken Parish, Nicholas Gruen et al.

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About the Author

Eleanor Hogan is a freelance writer living in Alice Springs with a background in Indigenous policy and research.

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