Saturday, April 21, 2007

Chaser Team gets 1st Strike

The Chaser TeamThe Chaser’s War on Everything, Wednesday evenings on the ABC, is pretty much the last bastion of biting political satire on Australian TV. (The Glass House, one of the ABC’s most popular programs, got axed. The suits cited needing to give other comedy a chance. But the smart money is on Howard having had a quiet word with the new ABC Head, after seething from all the replays of him, dressed in a green tracksuit, rising from an armchair in a failed attempt at virile celebration of a Socceroos goal. It’s an uncomfortable truth that a democracy can easily edge towards totalitarianism.)

Recent revelations give the Chaser Team a wealth of material — the AWB wheat to Iraq kickback scandal, politicians secretly lining their own pockets, a PM defending a radio broadcaster responsible for a show likely to incite racial violence — the list goes on and on. So why they pick on such innocuous targets as white goods retailer Godfreys and The Australian Chamber Orchestra is a mystery. (And their pranks against undeserving targets are the lead balloons of humour.)

But it’s their attack on moderate Muslims that gets them their first Strike. The skit parodies The Biggest Loser (a reality show about competing to lose weight) with The Biggest Muslim. “I’ve lost over 40% of my Faith!” beams Chas Licciardello, dressed in a full burka, as he removes his veil.

So it seems Muslims in Australia are going to be pilloried no matter what they do. Women who follow the guidance of traditionalist scholars on dress, chaperones, etc., will be accused of not integrating properly into society. And those who have come to the conclusion that the interpretations of key Koran passages by male scholars over the centuries are not, in fact, true to the spirit of The Koran, will be ridiculed as selling out on their Faith.

It is really not on to attack women who are trying to free themselves from the subjugation they were born into while retaining their Faith.

So that’s Strike 1 against the Chaser Team. 3 Strikes and they’re out of The Guru’s — and, I hope, your — viewing line-up.

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