If someone were to ask me, “Boston, what is the quintessential Q&A experience?”, I would direct them to watch last night’s episode. After the opening, our host, the esteemed and silver-haired Tony Jones introduced us to the speakers; a Labor frontbencher, a respected economist, a left-wing blogger nobody reads, a conservative think-tank and someone to fill out the numbers.
The question came from a thin, wiry woman whose skin looked like a five dollar note when it’s been crumpled in your pocket for too long. As she fiddled with a metal container full of bait, the audience hung on the edge of their seats with anticipation. Nervously, she said: “Economic inequality?”
Five-dollar woman, are we proud of you to have dared open that literal can of worms.
After a full minute of uncomfortable silence, Tony Jones heroically gestured, his silver mane making any two-bit weatherman jealous in the non-existent breeze: “Respected economist?”
Respected economist began to drone about why Piketty’s work on r > g is instrumental, or something that sounds informative but you don’t really know because you don’t have a degree in economics. Truly, this was the only low point of the episode, as it seemed to be either full of information about something important, or maybe he was trying to confuse us with his fancy words. I nodded along, because I knew which it was. Yep. I did an economics course in first year.
Anyway his drawling did put some in the audience to sleep, like a real-life Jigglypuff or that superhero movie with Ryan Reynolds in it. He suddenly stopped after a while, or at least it seemed sudden because no one was really paying attention.
Pushing the conversation forward, Tony Jones used his bright eyes to capture the room’s attention. “Left-wing blogger?”, he asked. “I think there is more to the economy than economics. I mean, they couldn’t even predict the KFC”. Taking that as a comment, our sugar daddy-esque host motioned towards Labor Frontbencher. “The ALP believes in a more fair distribution of Popcorn Chicken.” The audience began fervently clapping, not really knowing why but because everyone else was doing it, like when I went to see that superhero movie with Ryan Reynolds in it.
“We are about halfway through this pseudo-intellectual gabfest without even a resemblance to what one would call a debate so let’s go to the next question”, our grey stallion remarked. “This question is a video question and it comes from Brent in Coober Pedy.” A static, grainy, poor-quality video began to play with most of the words muffled out except “NBN?”. Tony glanced around, not expecting such a shitty video, until Someone Else To Fill Out The Numbers broke the awkwardness. “The internet is a part of our lives and should be a part of our infrastructure policy. However, high-speed internet is expensive. What really drives up the costs, Brent, is having to run wires to the MIDDLE OF FUCKING NOWHERE. You think they’ve got good internet in Japan because they run wires past bloody Woop-Woop?”. At this point, the cameraman wipes the spittle from the lens. “It’s CITIES that have good internet, Brent, CITIES. Japanese cities are so big they literally have someone PUSH people into trains. You probably haven’t even SEEN public transport have you, BRENT?”
A vein above Tony Jones’ left eye began to bulge. The frenzied, anti-rural comments of Someone Else To Fill Out The Numbers attacked the very sensibilities of Q&A. Having taken comment after comment after comment, our noble prince couldn’t take it anymore.
“THAT IS ENOUGH!” he thundered. “I will not have anyone ruining my show. How else will stupid undergraduates, who explicitly list ‘Social/Political Activism’ as a hobby, assert their smug superiority? Where will people go to be force-fed opinions by idiots who think they are so smart they cannot grasp how stupid they are? Where else could an emotional plea by a musician or actor get the same amount of airtime as an expert opinion by a leading figure in the field? Q&A, that’s where, and by god, do we love it! And so, as long as there are morons who wish to be politically active but don’t want to think too much, I’ll be here, taking that as a comment.”
Amen Tony Jones. Amen.