Ep 109: Reaper, Pushing Daisies, James Talia

James Talia LIVE from London. Long awaited Sopranos wrap. Reaper and Pushing Daisies in Pork. Get into it.

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12 Comments

  1. Nearly 90mins! Great to see a longer episode again.

  2. catbrain says:

    I’ve watched a lot of telly, but not everything; however, I think that The Sopranos is the best thing I’ve ever seen, even the so-called “dud” eps – they were a reflection of the times, being shortly after 9/11, when everything was more subdued. The storyline reflected an overall demeanour plus, specifically, a curtailing of their business activities. I’ve never had an inclination to watch another series over and over again as much as I’ve had with this.

    David Chase has said in interviews that, should the right script come along, he would consider a Sopranos movie sometime in the future (not television – he has specifically said no more tv eps), so don’t discount the door being left open (although I agree that using that device was not a calculated attempt to do so).

    ……….

    What is it with all these shows using the “brain as storage” device? It’s like they’ve all just read Johnny Mnemonic by William Gibson.

  3. David Boxcutter says:

    The convention of not reporting suicide because it “encourages copycats” is such bullshit. I’ve heard this before, but who came up with this twisted logic? People commit suicide just because they want to copy a news report? I don’t think so.

    They show car crashes on the news that are the result of reckless, or drunk driving. Why doesn’t the same logic apply there? If showing suicides encourages copycat suicides, why doesn’t showing car smashes ancourage drunk driving?

    If anything, this policy is contributing to suicide, because it avoids the issue. Out of sight, out of mind. It’s easy for people to dismiss suicide as an issue when it is so frequently ignored.

    James said this himself – most people don’t realise how many people kill themselves in our most beloved cities. Doesn’t this mean that the public is misinformed about current affairs? Isn’t it the job of the journalist to inform the public about the world they live in? But in this case, there is a deliberate policy of misinformation.

    Why is it that journalists are able to cross so many lines of ethical responsibility, but when it comes to covering suicide, this is somehow a sacred line that must not be crossed? Even though it doesn’t make any sense? It would be more ethical to report as many suicides as possible.

  4. …interesting points, DB. Would discussing suicide more wake enough people up to the problem? Enough people to offset the numbers of those who take it as that last little mental push?

    Sidenote: I remember hearing SBS were contacted by some mental health professionals after John Safran’s “vs God” series. They’d been dealing with some sad cases who were convinced they were possessed by the devil following his possession episode. As John put it at the time (I’m paraphrasing) “I didn’t feel real good about putting that episode out there after that…”
    Now, I’m dubious about making long-term policy on the basis of what the mentally ill may or may not believe- but you can’t just discount it altogether.

    In any case, I suspect it’s actually just something the networks decided long ago in days of yore as a ‘decency’ provision, and then have never really revisited the question. Much like how the media used to look the other way when it came to politicians’ mistresses. It’s one thing not to mention at the time that JFK was doing the happy-happy with Marilyn Monroe; in general I have no problem with that in theory – as long as it IS reported when relevant to the public interest.

    (By contrast, Laurie Oakes should’ve been sacked for sitting on the Gareth Evens-Cheryl Kernot affair for so long. See? I couldn’t get through a week without having a crack at media ethics – sorry, Jimbo! *slaps forehead* )

  5. David Boxcutter says:

    Would discussing suicide more wake enough people up to the problem? Enough people to offset the numbers of those who take it as that last little mental push?

    I think I’d bet a lot of money on that. Especially as I doubt that there are any people who would commit suicide to imitate a news story, who wouldn’t already commit suicide. On the other hand, there are thousands of people out there who would benefit from an open discussion of the issue. Both “victims” and the families of people at risk who might be ignoring it.

    In any case, I suspect it?s actually just something the networks decided long ago in days of yore as a ?decency? provision, and then have never really revisited the question.

    So, what’s keeping them? Australia has one of the world’s highest suicide rates – surely that is a powerful message that the strategy of silence isn’t working?

    Even if the commercial networks won’t remove their heads from the sand, what’s stopping the ABC and SBS from holding their feet to the fire?

  6. “Today in the news, three people died in a head-on collision on the Hume Highway, twelve people committed suicide, and thirty-thousand died in a mudslide in India. Naomi-”
    “Wow, Stan. Those road toll figures sure give you something to think about, hmmn?”

    I just can’t see it, somehow…

    The generalisation du jour is-
    Suicide is (usually) solitary, and (generally) simple. ‘Person X was unhappy’. Is there *really* that much more to say about any given suicide? Unless the person was already famous, viz. Rene Rifkin, Kurt Cobain, etc, it’s probably not all that interesting. The only “story” in suicide is the number of people who do it, not any particular individual case.
    By comparison, murder is dramatic, often contentious, and leaves behind people to talk to (and about).

  7. David Boxcutter says:

    Unless the person was already famous, viz. Rene Rifkin, Kurt Cobain, etc, it?s probably not all that interesting.

    Well, there lies the rub. The media are claiming that they are not reporting suicide out of some sort of ethical or moral concern. but the fact that they report (or even obsess over) suicides of famous people shows that to be lie.

    If the justification is that they are famous – doesn’t that lend itself to even more possibility of imitation than regular nobodies commiting suicide? A celebrity suicide is glamourous in a way that most aren’t.

    How abolut they address suicide as a collective? They have no problem reporting on collective issues such as drug abuse (the Ice epidemic, for example) – so why isn’t suicide treated as a similar threat?

    There are plenty of issues where they don’t focus much on specific cases, but just on the overall statistics – why is suicide so ignored in comparison to the other issues, which are arguably of less importance?

  8. David, you’re obviously very passionate about this subject and it’s one on which I would always seek to tread carefully, for obvious reasons.

    I do believe you’ve made a couple of very good points. You’re right about celebrity suicides. The fact is, in those cases, it’s news judgement overwhelming any reasons for usually not reporting suicides. The fact is I’m not sure how you could report Kurt Cobain’s death – and I hope you agree you simply have to – without mentioning how he died.

    Maybe my use of the word copycat was inappropriate. We seek not to glamourise it. Not to encourage and not to condone.

    By the way, it’s not just the TV news. The convention applies to all media, not just us.

    I very much take your point that people who are wanting to commit suicide will not necessarily be induced to do so – or not – by seeing a report on the news or in a paper. But perhaps this is just for people suffering from depression who make a rational decision. I’m clearly no mental health expert but I’m thinking there are other forms of illness, such as schizophrenia, where more delusion may be in play. The Safran example is a good one.

    Can we ever get to a point where, rather than individual incidents, we report a suicide toll the way we report a road toll? I wonder. Maybe in 10 or 20 years.

    I agree that perhaps we all need to pay greater heed to suicide as a phenomenon in aggregate. The efforts of the likes of Jeff Kennett over the past few years have been amazing. I hope you’d agree there’s much greater awareness of depression, at least, than there used to be. But depression isn’t the full story.

    I also very much MEANT to mention on air that it’s now very much the convention to plug organisations like Lifeline immediately after suicide reports. The papers do same. This isn’t something which has just come about by accident. It’s because of far greater awareness of suicide issues because of organisations like Beyond Blue and demonstrates a far greater willingness than ever before to acknowledge the associated complexities with suicide.

    Sorry about the long post but it’s clearly not a simple issue and it deserves proper debate.

  9. David Boxcutter says:

    Pretty much agree with everything you said there, jimbo. Especially that depression isn’t the full story.

    My comments weren’t meant to be directed only at TV journalism, or any particular outlet. It just seems that this “convention” has become a zombie, that just keeps going without anybody thinking about it. We’ve just gotten so used to seeing zombies that we barely notice it’s there.

  10. re: British TV. Why not do a review on Top Gear ?

  11. Grumpy Old Men.

    Best. Show. Ever!

    Everything they say is 100 percent correct.

    Which will come as no surprise to my long-suffering colleagues.

    Should someone try an Australian version? I’m not that old, but I’m up for it.

  12. Oh god no. Grumpy Old Men is great, but and Australian version??!! Jesus you would end up with Sam Newman, Dicko, Lou Richards Bill Hunter and Kamal to name a few. It would be terrible.

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