Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Live Television

When we were watching The Voice, Jack was very excited about watching the live shows.  He was insistent about not being late to the viewing.  He wanted to watch the show as it was happening.

I wasn't too keen on the whole live thing.  I'm kind of scared of it.  

I worry something awful will happen, and I'll have no choice but to see it.

Someone might drop dead from a heart attack.

They might have a stroke.

Someone might go crazy and start shooting people.

And today it happened.

Something scary happened on live Australian TV. 

On ABC's Q and A, one of the panelists (Simon Sheikh) collapsed in the middle of the program.   One minute he seemed fine. The next minute his head hit the table.  

The panelist next to him was a Liberal politician, Sophia Mirabella.  She's getting a lot of criticism because she didn't rush to his aid.  Instead she leaned away and looked a bit disgusted.

I'm wondering.   Is there some accepted protocol for these situations?  What to do if you're on live television and the person next to you collapses....

Personally, I think Sophia Mirabella did the right thing.  Or at least she did the normal thing.

I think in the first split seconds of a freaky medical incident, you go into shock and look totally freaked out.  Your facial expression should say, Holy shit.  What the hell is happening here?

If you're well-versed in zombie movies and viral pandemic horror movie, you need to take at least 5-10 seconds to worry that you're going to be attacked by a newborn monster; or catch a fatal illness.

After about 10 seconds, then you show signs of concern and helpfulness.

Of course if it's your child, all of this does not usually apply. Then you'd probably jump to their aid immediately.  

Sophie Mirabella did not have time to show her ability to be heroic towards ill people.  Simon was quickly whisked away by Q and A staff.

I don't know anything about Sophie Mirabella. She might be awful, for all I know. But I certainly don't think she's awful for briefly shying away from a fainting panelist. 

I think her later actions are more important.  Does she send him a text asking if he's all right? Does she send a card or flowers?

OR does she accuse him of faking his illness to get attention? Does she blame him for his illness?  Does she use his illness for her own political gain?

I hope Simon Sheikh is all right.  Supposedly his scary live television incident was caused by workaholic exhaustion and the flu.

I didn't see it live.

I'm really into Q and A now, though.  I recently started watching random bits on YouTube. Then a few days ago, I started downloading the show. But I've just started working my way through 2012. 

I'm only on episode 2 for now.

I did decide to watch the scary medical bit. I wanted to see if I'd feel there was any merit to the criticism of Mirabella.

I considered not watching it and writing this post anyway.  But  I imagined writing, posting; then later seeing the show and thinking, Oh never mind.   She was awful towards Simon!     

Okay.  That's not my only reason for watching.

I also probably had some morbid curiosity.  I hope if it HAD been a morbid situation, I would have fought against my curiosity. Otherwise I'd probably be traumatized.

Obviously we can't avoid encountering all scary medical situations.  Bad things happen.  Sometimes they happen in front of us. Sometimes they happen to us. Sometimes they happen to those we love.

But if something has already happened, and it's on film, We CAN choose to watch it, or not watch it.

Right now I'm thinking that if Sheikh ends up being totally okay...it's kind of good television.   I'm sure it's good for ratings.  It's like a stunt, but unplanned.

If Sheikh ends up not being okay, if this is the beginning of some kind of long-term serious medical problem,  then it's depressing and scary.  Haunting. 

Hopefully all will be well with Simon Sheikh.


  1. I rarely watch Q and A, but there certainly was some ink spilt over Sophie's reaction. She's not someone universally praised for warmth and I wonder how much of the negativity is because other conservatives feel threatened by her astonishing strength of character. As someone said she shouldn't have just sat there... she should have reached straight away for the first aid kit she carries with her everywhere she goes.

    She has worked hard to get where she is but, as I often say, some people have more opportunities to create opportunities than others.
    She sees herself as 'self-made', I think, and believes not-so-successful people only have themselves to blame.
    She has held her seat [Indi?]for quite some time and although I find her attitude a tad rigid she has enormous commitment to her views. There's nothing duplicitous about her, and for a politician this is quite refreshing.

    I'd rather vote for someone honest enough to be right wing than someone who claims to care about the little people while treating them abominably.

    Do I think she might have sent flowers? Probably not.

  2. A related story is something that happened when the Other was at a re-union a few weeks ago of past scout/ guide cast members of their annual 'Gang Show'. Very late in the night someone came up and told her a chap needed first aid. Her first reaction was to put her hand in a pocket and pull out a bandaid.

    When she realised it was serious it took her forever to push her way through the crowd to get to where this poor man had collapsed. The Other was one of the very few people there who had not been drinking, so most peoples' first reaction was that he was just a bit more drunk than they were.[Something sad that in this country a lot of people would see it as normal to drink til they pass out].

    She said he was dead before he hit the floor, and she was late getting to him, but she started CPR anyway and had to tell people to call an ambulance etc because everyone was just standing around staring. Eventually they snapped out of it and pitched in. [Ironic considering first aid is such a big part of scouting].

    I'll spare you the black humour out of respect for him and say that although she could not save him, some of his organs were still viable for donation because of the CPR.

    All of which is to say Sophie's reaction was fairly normal, considering she is not someone who teaches nursing and also works in a hospital recovery room like the Other does.

    It's easy for people to say 'If I had been there...', but that's a fairly huge claim to make before they are tested.

  3. Fruitcake:

    It's sad that the man wasn't able to be saved; but it's very nice that his organs were still viable.

    Maybe then The Other ended up saving a life...or more. I mean just in that act alone. I'm sure she's saved many other lives, at other times.

    We're in agreement about Sophie Mirabella's actions. I think you said it well in your last sentence. It's easy to SAY you'd do the noble thing. It's also fun to criticize people who don't act in the perfect way you imagine you would act.