20 October 2006

20 ways the ABC can end its bias

Wow, Pastor Al has really been eating his spaghetti shapes this week, with his eminently sensible recommendations for the ABC and the National Curriculum (we'll turn Minister Julie Bishop into a Pastor yet...)

Pastor Al got me thinking, with his fine suggestions about redressing the ABC's insidious bias against FSM and Pastafarians. (I'm thinking Penne in Pyjamas might just work: those stripy pyjamas are a perfect fit for the little stripy ridges down your average penne pasta.)

But, as I said, he got me thinking that Pastafarianism is a positive faith. (I for one am positive that it's true.) Yes, we like a whinge, and we'll be watching closely for bias under the new guidelines. In our hearts, though, we want to work with the ABC to address this unsustainable prejudice, this blind spot, this bias that is robbing the Australian people of his Noodly goodness.

In addition to interviewing Pastor Al, or finding him a spot on Hornblower, I have prepared 20 suggestions for how the ABC can begin to address this glaring gap in its coverage.

1. Devote a series of one of the endless array of cooking shows to pasta.

2. Whenever global warming is discussed (Catalyst, 7.30 Report, documentaries, 4 Corners, evening news, etc.) interview a Pastafarian for an alternative view about the cause of the rise in atmospheric temperatures.

3. Require science program Catalyst to address its shameful silence on the vital area of research into causes of, and cures for, gluten intolerance.

4. Film the lesbian mothers on Play School taking the kids to the Nanda factory.

5. On Radio National, require Philip Adams to show equal disbelief in our beliefs whenever he is professing disbelief in Christian principles.

6. Screen a worthy literary biography of Robert Louis Stevenson. (Sunday evening please, not the empty wasteland of Sunday afternoon).

7. Screen a worthy history documentary about a search for "the real" Treasure Island (and don't skimp on the hammy re-enactments, gee-whiz computer graphics, interviews with assorted twitching academics, etc.)

8. Encourage the comedians on The Glass House to make repetitive and sexually risqué jokes about pasta and the FSM.

9. Use every opportunity for the ABC's rural programs to profile the wheat farmers who are so essential to the spiritual health of Australian Pastafarians.

10. Ask Anthony Green to produce a natty little computer graphic for election night illustrating the impact of Pastafarianism on the vote for the major and minor parties.

11. Set up a national vote for "My favourite pasta" (with website, postcards, etc.) The national special could be hosted by Alan Saunders, Radio National's resident epicurean. (Did someone say food?)

12. Lobby the BBC to produce a radio/TV program about the FSM (a sure-fire way to get something broadcast on the ABC).

13. Give equal time to FSM whenever educational program Behind the News does a story on religion, science or pirates.

14. Devote Jennifer Byrne's national book group program to The Gospel of the FSM.

15. Organise for all local ABC radio stations to interview Pastafarians in their area.

16. Suggest Radio National's high-minded programs about language produce a series promoting pirate talk ("welcome to Lingua Franca-harrrr").

17. Send foreign correspondents to Italy to report on the villages where pasta is made by hand.

18. Run a series of classic spaghetti western movies on ABC 2 digital.

19. Encourage ABC journalists to ask the Australian Bureau of Statistics why there wasn't a "Pastafarian" box to tick on the 2006 Census form (more repression, my friends).

20. Bring Jonathon Saffran back to the network that discovered him. (Pastafarianism is the only living faith to which he has not converted, or subjected to his post-ironic witticisms. Egregious discrimination or oversight? I have my theories.)



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