Wednesday 28 September 2016

It's time to pull the plug on our tired old talk shows

Published 23/06/2015 | 02:30

‘‘The Late Late Show’ died when Gay Byrne, pictured here in the 1960s, left in 1999’
‘‘The Late Late Show’ died when Gay Byrne, pictured here in the 1960s, left in 1999’

Everything has a sell-by date, including talk shows. Now that 'The Late Late Show' and 'The Saturday Night Show' are on their summer break, could this be made permanent?

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Since they went off air a few weeks ago, I have heard no cries of despair from a pining public.

Let's face it, the talk show format is dead. 'The Late Late Show' died when Gay Byrne left. As for 'The Saturday Night Show' it's so dull it makes the European parliament programme seem like riveting viewing.

The shows are full of has-beens and wannabes, from the average to the boring, and nobody remembers anything about the guests the day after.

Talk shows have become as insipid as stale bread, the guests as forgettable as a wet weekend.

The dreariness of the same ploughed ground is mind numbing. It's all been said, the stories have all been told.

The fake tans, frozen smiles , and dyed hair have had their day.

Nobody wants to hear another boring guest tell the nation: "The taxi driver was telling me on the way in blah, blah, blah".

No amount of redecoration, or other gimmicks, can save a sinking ship. RTÉ , do the country a favour and pull the plug on talk shows permanently.

They're about as entertaining as a drunk trying to remember the words of 'The Fields of Athenry', at a wedding reception that has gone on too long.

Joseph Kiely

Donegal town, Co Donegal

 

Callous treatment of Clerys staff

The bland announcement of grandiose plans to redevelop Clerys department store will test public patience while the former Clerys employees flounder in frustration, anger and bewilderment for some semblance of dignity, validation and due process.

The new owners stated that "all issues with respect to the liquidation of the operating company are legally a matter for the court-appointed liquidator".

No explanation, however plausible, and no excuse can compensate for basic decency and moral fibre.

Public goodwill is not derived from inscrutable legal hopscotch, or mummery about the creation of a large number of unidentifiable jobs.

Perhaps the new owners are presuming that the Irish public suffers from chronic collective amnesia and that the public memory of the callous treatment of Clerys employees will vanish like the phantasmagoria of a dreadful nightmare.

Do they think that the public will not boycott their ambitious project?

Clerys has a storied past. Nothing evokes the past more potently than the sense of smell. In this particular case, the prevailing smell is the stench of moral bankruptcy and pervasive ethical decay.

The former employees have been treated with inhumane disregard in the course of this crude asset-stripping transaction.

If there is not to be an implosion of public goodwill towards this proposed property development, the stakeholders concerned would need to think and act with a sense of basic morality that conforms to generally acceptable ethical practices.

Myles Duffy

Glenageary, Co Dublin

 

'NY Times' should be ashamed

Ireland is still hanging its head in shock and sorrow at the needless deaths of six of its brightest and best young adults and the serious injuries to others.

Today 'The New York Times' should be hanging its head in shame at how outrageously - and without the remotest evidence - it has rushed to judgment on those deaths.

I was a J1 visa student in San Francisco, California, over 40 years ago.

Tens of thousands of Irish J1 students have spent happy summers there over the years since.

By far the vast majority have been a credit to Ireland and only the tiniest minority have not.

Yet within hours of the most appalling tragedy in the history of the J1 visa programme, when the one salient fact to speak for itself was the collapse of a fourth-floor balcony in a relatively new building, 'New York Times' journalists reached for the lazy tabloid stereotype and heaped deliberate injustice on top of the most awful grief. Shame on you.

Dr Michael Murray

Queensland, Australia

 

Berkeley has showed best of USA

With the huge Irish diaspora in the United States, and the economic importance of that country to our own economy, our neighbours in the parish just to the west often feature in the news.

This past week, we've been more intimately connected in the most tragic manner with the loss of six students' lives in Berkeley, California.

We've seen the outpouring of support by not only the Irish community here and in the US, but also the local community in Berkeley. Americans "do" tragic loss of life well - you can really see a sense of community in such tragedies.

Unfortunately, one of the reasons Americans support each other in tragedy so well is that they experience it so much. Their rate of death from car crashes is nearly four times our own.

For every four Americans killed in vehicular crashes, three die in firearms incidents. This tragic statistic was once again brought home with the racially motivated mass murder in South Carolina this past week.

America has lots of problems: a firearm culture, pockets of intractable poverty, a problem with race that does not seem to go away, and an utterly gridlocked political system. But America has lots of great things too: it is passionate about individual liberty, the people are as hard-working as any you're likely to come across, they innovate fearlessly, and they'll likely give you the shirt off their back if you need help.

The J1 visa programme allows students to catch a glimpse of all of these facets of US culture, and more. I should imagine most go over with rose-coloured glasses, just as many Americans come here thinking of the forty shades of green without having contemplated just how much rain it takes to keep it so.

When people ask me "you're American, why in the world did you choose to live in Ireland?" my glib response is along the lines of "the grass is always greener somewhere, but I've seen it nowhere near as green as here."

Ireland suits me and my family, it is as simple as that. I hope that the Berkeley tragedy does not put off students from considering the J1.

It is through experiencing other cultures, both the good and the bad, that one can gain a deeper appreciation and understanding of your own culture.

Phil Miesle

Ennis, Co Clare

Irish Independent

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