Tim Blair


New Criterion



Tuesday, October 01, 2002

Late Night Live, a program that gets eight hours of Auntie’s shoulder time each week, is an expensive instrument for self-abuse by the presenter, Philip Adams and his cronies.

This might be a matter of little importance, but for the opportunity cost, which you and I are paying.

Think also of the wasted talents of the producers and researchers, of the wasted opportunities to engage with some of the planet’s best minds, who are attracted by Auntie’s reputation to find they are spending their precious time with this gigolo.

Aiding and abetting in this disgrace are the three “regular contributors”. Their role is to contribute nothing that is not already on the menu.

Beatrix Campbell “journalist, author, social commentator and broadcaster” is a feminist publicist formed intellectually at the correct time in history. As Professor of Women’s Studies one of her main tasks is to debase language to the point that it serves a simplistic political agenda.

You won’t be surprised to find that she sees the late Princess Diana as “a sexual and political icon like Marilyn Monroe or Eva Peron”.

Uncle is no fan of the late Princess, but to compare her with a third-rate actress and a tyrant’s moll, and all of them with objects of religious devotion, seems to me an unworthy product of any mind that asks to be taken seriously. I fear that Beatrix, like Philip, just wants to be taken, by her comrades, that is.

And to be published in The Guardian and Marxism Today

She is also interested in "Men, women, children, community, crime politics, child abuse, aboriginality and land rights". All that while she is "Visiting Professor" at the venerable University of Newcastle upon Tyne. Imagine what she could do if she got tenure!

Stroke, stroke, stroke.

Bruce Shapiro moves in similar circles in the USA. Founder of the radical magazine (that is with a readership of five, who don’t believe in reading) Haywire, co-author with Jesse Jackson of pamphlets opposing the death penalty – on racial grounds of course – and also a contributor to The Guardian.

The on-line journal Slate found him “perceptive”, Village Voice prefers “nuanced”. His horizons are certainly broader than Beatrix’s.

These two are used to reflect the Adams attitudes as they may be applied to UK and US affairs. Never been known to resist.

Australian national affairs are left to Margo Kingston, in comparison with whom the first two contributors are made to appear intellectual giants. See for yourself, if you can navigate the Sydney Morning Herald site, or if you’re lazy, let Tim Blair or the Professor tell you.

The thing about the LNL’s regular correspondents is not their shared left-liberal ideology, but the way the program’s lugubrious leader uses them, and their willingness to be used. Or their inability to move outside the stereotypes they have become.

Stroke, stroke, stroke; purr, purr, purr.

They know what is expected of them and deliver it on cue. We are not here to analyse “shrub/little johnny” comrades, but to bury them in our complacency. We are all children of the 60s and 70s and will never let the décor of the nursery change.

Adams shows a total lack of professionalism in the way he uses the soapbox we all pay for. You want proof? Listen, if your stomach is up to it, on some occasion when the minders have served up interview talent with professional integrity and expertise, not our three professional media performers. Watch when they stray from the true path defined in the glorious decades of revolt and Saint Gough.

If Chairman Phil can’t oil and smarm them into wry acceptance, their sentences are fated to be short, their appearance in Auntie-land a solitary experience, in two senses of the word.

In the world of Adams there are no new ideas. Conversation is a glissando around what all right-thinkers already know. For that reason, with even the liveliest minds as talent, the show never really takes off.

If we were excited by the ideas we would not be paying attention to the host. And that, children of Auntie, is not allowed. Time for another interruption.

Stroke me, stroke me. Purr, purr, purr.

For a person of integrity an interview with Adams must feel like being placed naked with the porky host in a bath-tub full of mud. What the hell do you do when he starts flashing his ideological G-spots? Stroke on demand? Or pray for an out-of-body experience? Disgusting.

You should really be paying Uncle hardship money for all this.