TV: Paper Giants–The Birth of Cleo Review.

 

Asher Keddie has never been my favourite actress. So I wasn’t particularly looking forward to her portrayal of magazine mogul Ita Buttrose in ABC’s Paper Giants.

However, after watching both episodes online on Good Friday, I’m now a Keddie convert.

If you’ve read any of the myriad of positive reviews of the miniseries, you’ll know that Keddie gets the Ita lisp down perfectly.

But Keddie gives off a different air to Ita (granted, I’m only really familiar with The Morning Show and etiquette Ita, not the golden age of magazines Ita), though, and really makes the role her own.

Film-wise, the imagery embodies the ’70s perfectly (’cause I was alive then and all!) and harkens back to simpler times, when the printers baulked at having to change their formatting to accommodate the patented Cleo sealed section, saying it couldn’t be done!

Though the role of women was going through an upheaval at the time, and Cleo paved the way for women of that generation.

I found it funny and quite poignant that women like Ita and her assistant Leslie, played by Jessica Tovey, were working to change the status of women through their magazine, while privately their lives were in shambles: Leslie tries to take on the role of sexually empowered woman, experimenting with role play, fantasy and sex toys, but still stays with her unenlightened fiancé Muz, while maintaining an affair with a senior co-worker, who refuses to leave his wife for her. And before Ita’s husband, Mac, leaves her raising one child and pregnant with another, the film juxtaposes Ita arriving home from a long day at the office that included being rebuffed for a loan without the permission of her husband with asking Mac if he’d like onions with his steak, which she immediately begins making.

At this juncture, the Cleo girls raise the notion of Superwoman, and if she actually exists; a debate modern feminists are still grappling with.

My favourite parts of the miniseries, apart from Keddie as Ita, and Rob Carlton as Kerry Packer, was its ability to poke fun at the present day, such as a dig at Time Out magazine, and how it will “never take off” and a Cleo girl asking, “Who’s Paul Keating?”

Related: “Cultural Talking Points”: How Does Jackie O’s “Bad Parenting” Relate to Hunting?

Has Feminism Failed?

Images via Facebook, ABC.

Beauty & the Bestiality.

 

On Friday morning I got a text message from a friend saying I should blog about Joel Monaghan, the Canberra Raiders rugby player who was photographed “getting blown by a dog”.

I had Sunrise and The Morning Show on in the background, whilst blogging and being domesticated, and heard snippets of another rugby player behaving badly, but I had no idea until I Googled Monaghan’s name with “dog photo” and put two and two together. (If you wish to see the extremely NSFW picture with only a red dot protecting Monaghan’s modesty, head to Deadspin.)

It seems that we expect abhorrent behaviour from sportsmen; Matthew Johns and the group sex incident, rape allegations against Collingwood players after this year’s grand final (take two), and now this.

But is the fact that Monaghan is in talks with NRL officials about where to go from here a sign that we have become so desensitised to the repugnant actions of those with the money, fame and power to get away with themsportsmen in particular? Is it just “boys behaving badly?” I feel like I, personally, have become so desensitised to the seemingly weekly sexual assault allegations brought against sports players, that I almost expect it (“Oh, he allegedly raped a woman? Well, he’s a footy player; what did you expect?”). But I certainly was not expecting this, and I think the NRL, RSPCA and the Australian public should come down on Monaghan like a tonne of bricks.

More to come on men who actually love dogs later today.

Related: Why Are Famous Men Forgiven for Their Wrongdoings, While Women Are Vilified for Much Less?

Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna Do? Host a Seven Family Show.

Back to the Draw-ing Board: Australia’s Year of Indecision.

Elsewhere: [Deadspin] What We Talk About When We Talk About A Dog Blowing An Australian Rugby Player.