By Maria Millers
Pondering on the results of our recent election it suddenly struck me that we had experienced a Seinfeld moment.
Readers may remember the episode where George suggests to Jerry that they pitch an idea for a new show to NBC. The show is to be about nothing. Jerry is sceptical as to how a show about nothing could appeal to the public, but eventually is persuaded to go along with it when George points out that; “Everybody is doing something. We’ll do nothing.” To which Jerry replies; “I think you may have something there” and goes along with it. NBC is delighted to go ahead.
Jerry Seinfeld later refuted the tag of his show being about nothing but it was undeniably lacking in a narrative, and centred around the self-obsessive concerns of a group of characters whose main preoccupations were the daily minutiae of their lives with no regard or interest in anyone else’s welfare or what was happening around them, unless it impacted on them in some way.
So what is the connection between Seinfeld’s show about nothing and the recent federal election? Seinfeld knew who his targeted market/audience was and so too did Scott Morrison. Not for this ad man the dangers of taking strong policies to an already cranky electorate, fearful of losing benefits held at the expense of wider social goals. Better to concentrate on denigrating the opposition and offer the electorate nothing substantive beyond clichés.
Tim Costello reminded us recently that, like the callous Seinfeld characters, we no longer understand the notion of the common good or have empathy for those who have missed out on our often-heralded uninterrupted economic growth. Let alone feel any obligation for those in worse circumstances beyond our shores.
Bill Shorten and his shadow ministers tried to put out a comprehensive program of reforms aimed at taking us to the next stage of maintaining prosperity, but with a more equitable distribution of social benefits as well as dealing with environmental threats. Policies that would have eventually benefited us all, so we would be then able to truthfully shout: “How great is Australia!”
Regrettably we all know that this has not happened and we will now face uncertainty in so many different ways.
Seinfeld ran for nine seasons on NBC from 1989 to 1998. I hope we do not have to wait that long for change!
Yada yada yada.
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