Politics can be a ridiculously petty, backward, and childish game, but I never thought I would see the day that a children’s television program could be the cause of so much controversy.
I am of course, talking about the British pre-school television program Peppa Pig.
Upon browsing my Facebook page, and seeing what I thought were just pictures of Peppa from various screen shots, I was forced to further consider the unusually high number of posts in my feed. Upon doing this, I noted what was going on.
Unable to escape Joe Hockey’s arguably scathing new budget, the ABC has been hit with a 43.5 million dollar funding cut over 4 years. When questioned at the Senates Estimates Committee, ABC Managing Director Mark Scott was unable to guarantee the safety of Peppa Pig from the ABC line-up.
I will admit; I don’t have children. This will no doubt cause a myriad of parents to tell me that I can’t comment on such matters as childhood entertainment, but I shall trudge forward anyway, considering that parents and families, along with many other groups, are often perfectly happy to hold opinions on matters which they themselves could easily opt out of.
Upon closer examination of this very contentious issue, I found myself plummeting deeper, and deeper into an abyss of anger and frustration with what I discovered.
My first call was to watch the program, and I can easily admit that Peppa Pig is an adorable little show with good moral lessons, and healthy values. Additionally, being somewhat critical of many American children’s shows, I find it refreshing to know that there is such a sweet program being produced for children. So, I have no gripes with the show at all.
What most concerned me was what soon became evident with further research (which I doubt anyone is actually doing).
First was Jacqueline Maley’s piece on The Sydney Morning Herald, who begins by stating that ‘we all accept’ the Liberal budget and the sacrifices which have to be made in order to fix the deficit. She pitches this statement, a statement with which many disagree, before rambling on in a ‘won’t somebody please think of the children’ sob fest about how abhorrent it is to axe such a sweet, innocent show, using such terms as ‘sausage factory’, and ‘sacrifice to the God of national prosperity.’ Laying on a bit thick aren’t we Jacqueline?
A further Sydney Morning Herald story stated the following:
“Mr Scott warned programming cuts were likely but refused to be definitive about the specifics of potential cuts except to say that it could be to dramas.”
If this is the case, then why the hullabaloo?
…. and then it clicked: Mr Scott’s reference to Australian made drama programs.
There is a more outrageous issue hidden in amongst the apparent looming death of Peppa Pig and her charming educational learning on ABC television. Now, perhaps parents with screaming children don’t give a damn that Australian made, produced and performed programming could be axed in favour of a foreign, 5 minute GLOBAL program which can be downloaded in 30 seconds, but I certainly do.
What caused further anger was the Facebook petition that The Australian Greens party posted, entitled ‘Help us Save Peppa Pigs Bacon’. The question I instantly asked is why? Have they even read their own principles, which are stated, plain as day, on their own website?
I did, and I quote:
- Australian artistic expression, culture, works and institutions should be protected and promoted both within Australia and overseas.
- Australian artists play an essential role in our nation’s cultural life and should be fostered and supported.
Could this be a case of the Greens Party flagrantly ignoring their own principles, in order to stir up controversy about the potential axing of a foreign owned show, the retention of which (whilst it will make millions of toddlers happy) will actually cause the axing of Australian made programming in its place (which I’m pretty sure comes under Arts and Culture, as clearly stated above) – the very thing that they apparently stand for?
Yep, the Liberals are damn liars. This is undisputed. But can anyone reading this honestly say that the Greens are not a bit sly and underhanded themselves, forfeiting their own principles in order to have a childish mudslinging match with an opposing party in an already tense political environment (striking while the iron is hot, so to speak), all the while using Australian parents as their guinea pigs? At least everyone knows the Liberals lied. No one seems to be aware of the game that the Greens are playing. Not that you can expect more from insular parents who care for nothing else but their precious little darlings and their five minutes of solitude, which is the apparent theme on social media right now.
Here’s an example, as taken from The Australian Greens Facebook petition comments stream:
“If they axe Peppa, the parents of Australian toddlers should unite and take our army of squealing, tantrum throwing banshee children to the lawns of Parliament. I bet that would get their attention.”
I would like to suggest that if you have squealing, tantrum throwing, banshee children who need to be babysat by television, and can’t face the reality that one of their favourite shows might be axed, then you have bigger problems than the potential demise of Peppa Pig.
Luckily for me, I have friends with children who, whether they agreed or not, actually saw merit in this argument. There is hope for us yet.
What I found most ironic was the poll I noted on the news.com.au website, asking which should be axed first – Peppa Pig or Q&A? I voted in order to view the results, and Q&A’s axing led with a massive 86.95%
So even Australians, who in one breath will go out of their way to promote the retention of our own arts, culture, and programming, can’t look past their own kids to see merit in keeping an Australian made show, which might actually help them navigate through the lying, manipulative mindfield that politics has become in this country. I thought people were eager to be passionate about politics. However, I think a more effective word would be complacent.
We have Green party voters, as well as others, voting in polls on the subject of Peppa Pig, without noting the mass scale hypocrisy that arises when The Greens defend such a cause in the first place. Well done Australia – on the retention of ignorance; playing right into the politicians hands, just as they like it.
Don’t worry mums and dads of Australia, Peppa Pig won’t be axed; and even if she is, she will still be accessible and alive everywhere else in the world, whenever you want her. Unfortunately, this is more than I can say for the Australian based arts, culture and grass roots television programming that we are apparently so protective of.