By Darryl Mason
Gerard Henderson, Australia's most boring columnist, and former John Howard government staffer, hates a new doco on the Howard era so much he makes me want to watch it. I mean if it shits Gerard Henderson this much, it must be good :
If you want to work out who won what was billed as "the culture wars" during the time of the Howard government, tune into SBS One at 8.30 pm tonight. This is the first episode of the three-part series titled Liberal Rule: The Politics that Changed Australia, which is produced by Nick Torrens Film Productions and written by Nick Torrens and Garry Sturgess.
Liberal Rule is a shocker and a disgrace.
There would have been no problem if Torrens and Sturgess had sought to present a balanced picture of the Howard government by seeking a diversity of opinions....
Sounds like they didn't bother to interview Henderson. That's a cardinal sin for producers of documentaries about John Howard.
Over the three episodes, the left has free kick after free kick with the support of the documentary's narrator, who added what Torrens described as "the necessary layers of subtext". In fact, the "balanced picture" of the Howard government was provided by...Howard-haters...
Only people who like John Howard should be interviewed for documentaries about John Howard, apparently.
Unlike the Labor Party, the Liberals do not take their history seriously.
C'mon, Hendo, it's hard for anyone, even some Liberals, to look back at the last five or six years of Liberal Party history and not splutter with laughter.
It was a party even Brandis knew few would bother to attend, even if the booze was free and Peter Costello was booked to do Peter Garrett impersonations. Probably why Henderson didn't organise such an anniversary celebration at his Sydney Institute.
The Opposition frontbencher George Brandis is one of the brightest Liberals. Writing in The Spectator, he complained that that Liberals are not celebrating the 100th anniversary of the formation of the inaugural Liberal Party. But Brandis could have arranged such a celebration himself.
Henderson castigates those he brands Howard-Hating Lefties for spending thousands of hours researching, filming and editing a three hour documentary, for not a whole lot of money, but who else is bothering to make documentaries, even for YouTube, about the Howard years?
What exactly is stopping all these people who truly believe the John Howard years were the golden days of 21st century Australia from going and making their own documentaries?
With digital video technology, searchable document and record databases, cheap or free sound editing software, and presumably easy access to all the Liberal Party talking heads they could want (and don't forget Gerard Henderson), conservative Howard Hugging documentary makers can go to town spending a couple of years crafting their own version of the Diamond Days Of John Howard without spending hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars.
They could probably raise a reasonable production budget at a couple of fund-raising dinners.
But they won't do that, of course.
Pulling together a three hour documentary, featuring dozens of interviews, on a low budget, is fucking hard work.
Watching the same interviews dozens of times until they haunt your sleep, doing transcripts, searching endlessly for that one bit of essential footage or audio clip you were sure you had but now can't find, and when you do finally find it it turns out to be useless, all of this leaches away at your life and spirit. It's not a nine to five job, it becomes an obsession to get the thing right, to make it flow, to make the story move forward, always.
Anyone can do all this now for a small to reasonable budget and make 1, 2, 3 or 12 hour documentaries about that tell the story of the Howard Years that Goddamn Lefties Don't Want Australiia To Know About.
Gerard Henderson could have made a John Howard : He Made This Country What It Is Today You Ungrateful Bastards documentary himself, for very little money, screened it at his Sydney Institute, whined until the ABC paid him for the rights to screen it, complained about them not promoting it enough, or giving him an interview on the 7.30 Report, turned a reasonable profit, and then Gerard could have spent months bitching bitterly about its reviews.
But he didn't do that, did he?
No. He didn't.
Too much like hard work?
Tobias Ziegler at Pure Poison has more.
And Peter Brent has more here