Sunday, August 16, 2009

Kyle Sandilands

I added Kyle Sandilands, to the list, on the day I came back from my hiatus and posted about Ernie Dingo.

Ernie Dingo and Kyle Sandilands had a bit of a conflict while they were on the radio together. From what I heard, I put more blame on Dingo. In the research I had done, Dingo seemed like a fairly decent person. But his attack on Sandilands seemed uncalled for. It just seemed really rude.

I did a brief glance at Lord Wiki's information on Sandilands. The guy was controversial. Dingo wasn't the only person out there who had issues with him.

In comments, some people assured me that Sandilands was quite indecent.

I decided I needed to add him to the list....get the full story. Well, I don't think we can ever get the full true story of anything. But I want to get MORE of the story.

What is the deal with Kyle Sandilands?

Is he a complete asshole who deserves the wrath of others?

OR

Is he a misunderstood innocent that has been given the role of scapegoat?

Might it be a little bit of both?

Will I leave this entry hating Sandilands, completely disgusted by him? Or will I be able to find at least one thing decent and/sympathetic about him?

I don't know.

Let's go learn and play.

Lord Wiki says that baby Kyle was born on 10 June 1971. I think he's a Gemini.

The birthday website says I'm right. I'm getting good at astrology! I've noticed that lately I know the sign before consulting the birthday calculator.

Sandilands is a 7 in numerology. That's my number! See? I've already found something to love about Sandilands. I love our number. It's all about learning. And it can actually explain why Sandilands might be such a jerk. See, my theory is this. 7's love to learn. But we all go about it in different ways. I'm a reader. I read books. I read magazines. I read the Internet. I read the cereal box. I read, read, read.

Other 7's prefer to learn in other ways. They might not like reading, so they learn by interacting with other people. Unfortunately these interactions can get a bit trying. The 7 might ask excessive questions, sometimes inappropriate and/or hurtful ones. The 7 might also do mini-psychological experiments on people. They'll push buttons. If I trip that guy as he walks past...how will he react? I think we all push buttons sometimes, but some people do it more. And those people are often hard to love.

Lord Wiki doesn't say much about Sandiland's childhood. He just says he was born in Brisbane.

Last night I asked Jack to name all the capital cities of Australia. He was able to quickly remember all of them. Brisbane was the only one he forgot. Although once I reminded him of Queensland, he was able to say Brisbane. Okay. Yeah. Just trying to squeeze in a little bit of mommy-bragging here.

I'm reading Sandiland career stuff now.

He moved to Sydney in 1999. He was on a show called Hot30 countdown. I'm looking at the hits for today. I'm so out of it when it comes to music.

The number one song right now is "I Gotta Feeling" by Black Eyed Peas.

You know....I expected to hate the song. But I actually like it a little bit.

Now I know what song is popular in Australia. I wonder if it's popular in my country too.

In 2005, Sandilands became a judge on Australian Idol. I just almost typed American Idol. Oops.

Sandilands attracted controversy on the show because he said mean things to the contestants. He belittled women for their weight.

I can't love him for that.

He told a teenage contestant (Jessica Mauboy) that she should lose her jelly belly.

That's VERY rude.

If that's not bad enough, Sandilands used the word mong to refer to one of the male contestants. Mong is a derogatory word for Down Syndrome.

Yikes.

What proves to me that Australian Idol is an awful evil show, is that this happened in 2005 and 2006. When was Sandilands finally fired? August 2009....just a few days ago! So, Sandiland is NOT the only one to be blamed here. I mean he's up on the top of the list, of course. But who the hell allowed him to stay?

Maybe they couldn't break some kind of contract. I don't know how that stuff works. My feeling is though that his cruel words attracted controversy. Controversy attracts viewers. Viewers bring in money.

Yes. We'll allow abuse as long as it makes us rich.

In 2007, Sandilands appeared on Big Brother. He was actually supposed to be one of the house member people. I think. Maybe? But then he got in a fight. That led to a migraine, and he started throwing up every thirty minutes. He left the house. Was this the same season that featured Germaine Greer?

Okay. No. It's not.

In 2008, Sandilands and his old radio co-host became the hosts of the 8th season of Big Brother.
Lord Wiki has a whole other section about controversies. Wow.

In 2004, he had a battle with that band I wrote about recently...Frenzal Rhomb. At a concert, Sandiland's coworker Jackie O came very late. She tried speaking to the audience while Frenzal Rhomb was trying to play their music. They didn't stop playing so she could be heard. And yes, I do think she deserved that. She was late. That's rude. And it's her fault.

Then on the radio later, they fought about it. The lead singer of Frenzal Rhomb said that Sandilands had threatened to have their music banned on radio stations.

So far I am not loving Kyle Sandilands.

I really don't like people like this.

In 2007, he was interviewed by Andrew Denton. There he said he wanted to punch Dave Hughes in the throat. I've heard the men in my family say stuff like that. I've always thought it was fairly normal and not too harmful. I think for most men, it's empty threats. It's a way for them to feel all mighty and big. It's not much different from a gorilla pounding on his chest.

But there is a line that can be crossed. There are times when people take it too far; where the threat no longer seems fictional. If you make someone truly scared for their lives...or their family's lives, than that is inexcusable.

It's also quite foolish and dangerous. What if by coincidence something DOES happen to that person? If the threat was witnessed by others, you'd probably be a prime suspect. I know this because I watch Days of our Lives.

Do I think Sandilands took things too far? Not really. I don't think Dave Hughes needs to be scared. First of all, the threat was made in public. REALLY public....we're talking national TV. If Sandiland really meant to cause Hughes harm, I doubt he'd announce it to all of Australia. I'd be much more concerned about a threat that came from an anonymous source. But I'm not an expert on these things. I don't know the statistics about which kind of threat is more likely to land you in a coffin or urn.

This July, Sandilands and that Jackie O character verbally abused refugees from Cambodia. If that's not enough abuse, they caused more harm a few days later. I remember reading about this on another blog. I hadn't realized Sandiland was involved.

Anyway, what happened is they strapped a fourteen-year-old to a lie detector. Then they had her mother ask her questions. This was all done on radio. Really. The quest for ratings is absolutely insane.

During the show, the young teenager revealed that she had been raped when she was twelve. Did Sandilands say something sympathetic? No. He said. Right. Is that the only experience you've had?

All right. I think I hate this guy now.

And what kind of mother would do this to her child?

What is our world coming to?

Oh yeah. I forgot. We're HUMANS. We're that breed of animal that gassed people in showers and then burned their bodies in ovens. It was our kind that chopped each other up with machetes in Africa.

We're a lovely bunch, aren't we?

And then we complain about other species. Sharks and cockroaches? They're angels compared to us.

What Sandilands and Jackie O. did was disgusting.

I think I probably hate them.

No. Actually I'm very sure that I hate them.

I think this might be the first person I've posted about that I can find absolutely no love or sympathy for.

I think though that I might hate the mother who did this to her daughter even more. I don't know the whole story yet, but from what I'm getting from Lord Wiki....the child didn't want to do this. I could be misreading it though.

Well, he says the child said in the beginning. I'm scared. It's not fair. That doesn't quite sound like she's a willing participant.

Sandiland says he had a difficult childhood. His parents divorced when he was fifteen.

Shit. Almost everyone I know has divorced parents. I'm sympathetic. But no. I don't think it's an excuse to verbally abuse people on the radio. I don't know for sure that he's using that as an excuse. Maybe he's not. I just get the feeling that he's one of those people who says horrible things, and then says well, it's not my fault I'm like this. My parents got divorced.

We all have our childhood hurts.

We all sometimes behave badly because of these childhood hurts.

But it doesn't give people the right to act abusive. At least I don't think so.

I'm done with Lord Wiki.

I shall go look at other stuff now.

He's actually still on the radio. After all that he did? That amazes me.

I'm in a bad mood now. See....I wrote the line above and then went down for breakfast. I started thinking of what I'd write next, and that led to me feeling hopeless and angry.

One thing led to another. It started with an analogy involving veal at restaurants. Somehow that got me thinking about Obama's health plan. (Yeah, don't ask. I couldn't even begin to explain)

The big Republican rumor is that Obama is going to kill all our grandparents. Grandparents are going to becoming extinct. It's gonna be like Children of the Corn. Once you get to a certain age, the government's going kill you off. They'll deem you unwanted and unneeded. Then they'll cut you off from medical help.

Republicans seem to think that America is the only country out there that still has old people. What do they imagine happens in countries with socialist-like medicine? Do they think I'm in love with a country that doesn't have grandmas and grandpas?

What's the deal?

The Republicans believe that if we have socialist medicine, the government will have too much power over our lives. They'll get to decide who lives and dies. They'll get to decide who gets treatment and who is denied.

They might decide that your mother shouldn't get the treatment she needs.

Well, you know what treatment might benefit Mom? Stem Cell stuff. It might save her life. It might help her be able to see again. It might help her to be able to walk again. It might help her to remember the names of her grandchildren.

But guess what. The Republicans decided that the lives of unnamed clusters of cells needed more protection than anyone's sick sister, wife, grandmother, mother, son, best friend, etc.

Is that not government controlling who lives and dies?

Yeah. I know that has nothing really to do with Sandilands. But to me it does. I put it all under the category of I-am-losing-more-and-more-faith-with-humanity-every-day.

But back to the radio station. I'm bothered by the fact that they haven't yet fired Sandilands yet.

Oh wait. Maybe Sandilands isn't so bad. Look. He has a lifeline. If someone is having a hard time, they can contact the show and Sandilands will throw them some help. Yeah, right!

John Edward is going to be on their show. That bothers me. I like John Edward. Why the hell would he go on the show? I think I've lost some love for the guy.

On one episode of their show, Sandiland told Jackie O that she was fat and needed to lose weight. She cried. And then she agreed to go on a diet. What bullshit. Unless I've gone blind, I don't see a fat woman in this picture. I see someone who's thin.

I hate hate hate hate Sandilands!!!!!

He is now officially the Australian I hate the most.

I did just find something to make me feel a tiny bit better. The show hasn't been canceled. But it HAS been temporarily suspended. That's at least something.

I'm going to leave their site now. Just looking at it makes me upset. And I'm still completely disillusioned about John Edward.

I feel like I'm having a nightmare right now.

Please. Somebody. Wake me up!

I'm looking at the John Edward site right now. He's coming to Australia in November. I'm hoping this radio thing was a one time engagement. Maybe he signed onto the show not realizing that Sandiland is so cruel. I hope so. I hope he changes his mind and cancels.

This article says that the family of the fourteen-year-old lie detector victim has sided with Sandilands. Nice. Really nice.

They say the girl was never raped. She WANTED to have sex.

That may be true. I don't know.

It still does not excuse what was done to her.

This might be a crazy thing to say, but you know what. If she was raped? I think what her parents did to her was worse. Who puts their child on an abusive radio program like that? According to the family, it's not them who has caused the problem. It is not Sandiland who has done something wrong. It's the fourteen-year-old girl. Apparently, she's wicked little thing who deserves to be ridiculed on the radio.

I do like this editorial written by Michael Idato. He basically says that although Sandiland is awful, he is not the only one to blame. Idato writes, There is, however, a bigger issue here and that is whether we, as listeners of The Kyle and Jackie O Show, should shoulder some of the blame. Stunts such as the lie-detector sequence are, after all, produced to cater to the audience's slathering demand for such raucous mischief.

This goes back to the veal analogy I was thinking about at breakfast. We can look at a calf cramped and sick in his tiny cage. We can hate the farmers who do this to them. But doesn't some of the blame go to the restaurants that serve the veal? How about the grocery stores that sell it? How about the people who eat it?

We all like to point to other people and say That's the villain. The sad truth is...we're all villains in some ways. We all contribute to other living things being abused.

I wish I had something hopeful and inspiring to add to that, but I don't.

Maybe later I will.

Here's a whole website dedicating to protesting what Sandiland and Jackie O did.

They link to this editorial written by Josephine Tovey. She says:

While 2Day FM tried to absolve itself by claiming it did not know the girl had been raped, most people debating this issue online yesterday were able to pick up the more substantive issue: why was a child strapped to a lie detector and asked about her sexual experiences in the first place?
The segment began with Jackie O questioning the girl’s virginity, with all the sensitivity and sisterhood of a mother-in-law scanning the bridal bedsheet, or a town witch doctor testing for a hymen.

I feel so sad for this teenager. I feel so sad for all the children out there who have similar parents.

Back to the other website.....

They say, Difficult though it may be for many parents to accept, children do have a right to a reasonable expectation of privacy. Bullying them in private to reveal potentially humiliating information is bad enough, but to bully them in public is horribly abusive.

I say shame on ANYONE and EVERYONE who has participated in this.

Now I'm going to read the Andrew Denton interview. Maybe it will open my heart up to Sandilands a little bit. I'm doubting it though.

I'm too angry right now.

And I'm hating him more and more.

He talks about his girlfriend being ill. Then what does he say to her? He told her she was being mental.

I hate when people say stuff like that to each other. When you're feeling like crap, you need support and sympathy. You don't need people telling you that you're mental.

Here's something interesting. Sandilands talks about his family troubles, the divorce and all that. He talks about running away. The audience laughs. Sandiland says I don't find anything funny about it.

I'm not sure if he was joking around at that point or not. If he was serious....how dare he? It's okay for him to ridicule others, but it's not okay for people to laugh at his misfortune?

Here Denton asks what I would have liked to ask. Well your reputation and, and a lot of your work on air is actually about being very aggressive towards people and some will call it being a bully. Do you feel that because you were hurt as a kid that’s okay to do that?

Denton goes on to talk about how Sandilands has said he was bullied as a child. He asks how he feels about being labeled a bully himself.

Sandilands says, I just don’t accept it to be the truth. Um I don’t feel that I do any bully behaviour. I see bully like behaviour as repetitively causing injury or physical or mental damage to the one person over and over and over and over again for no particular good reason.
I didn't think I could like the guy any less, but now I do.

So, what is he saying? If you hurt someone only once, it's okay? It's only bullying if you do it multiple times? And what is the definition of good reason? If someone wears the wrong clothes, is that a good reason? If someone had sex when they were twelve (whether consensual or not), is that a good reason? If someone is not skinny enough, is that a good reason?

Denton argues with Sandiland about people Sandiland has hurt on the radio. Sandiland claims he tries to help these people. Denton says, I listen to something like that though and it doesn’t sound to me like those people are being helped. It sounds to me like they’re being used by you for your career.

You know what my definition of bullying is? It's hurting someone for the purpose of entertaining yourself and others. It's hurting someone just so you can look more powerful, and receive more respect from your mates. I don't care if it's done once, twice, or a hundred times. I don't care what your victim wears, what color skin she has, what god she believes in, how much she weighs, or how many times she's had sex. There is no good reason for bullying.

Here's an editorial written by Sandilands himself. He claims to have been shocked and horrified by the rape announcement.

He says, The mum hadn’t said anything about the rape. She was concerned that her daughter was on drugs or was sexually active. Like a lot of mothers worried about their kid, she just wanted to find out what was going on.
Yes, but good mothers don't bring their child to a cruel shock jock to get answers.

Sandiland is hardly apologetic about what happened. In fact, he tries to play hero. Because of him, the girl is now finally getting the help she needs. Blah, blah, blah, blah.

Yeah, not quite. In reality, the child's own family has taken the side of Sandiland over their daughter. They see HIM as the victim.

I think I'm going to end this soon because I have the answer to my question in the very beginning of this post.

Is Sandilands an asshole who deserves our wrath, or is he an innocent person used as a scapegoat?

I say it's the more the former than the latter.

He does deserve much wrath, but I also believe we need to turn some of that wrath upon ourselves.

And in the end, our wrath won't make Sandilands a kinder and gentler human being. It will probably just make him more nasty. In the end, calling him names doesn't help anyone. REAL action needs to be taken. TV and Radio stations need to fire him. Sponsors need to pull their ads. Celebrities (like Ernie Dingo and John Edward) need to refuse to go on his show. And if they fail to do their part, the rest of us need to do our part. We need to stop watching shows that cause emotional abuse to others.