How old is old enough to know better?
Something struck me last night as I watched the 7.30 report on the 2DayFM prank scandal. After three days of the story I was only half paying attention until radio veteran Mike Carlton piped up about how the Austereo management had let down “these kids” who were now at the centre of a firestorm.
He was expressing the view of many people on this topic, but I had to go back and check. Michael Christian probably does qualify as a “kid” in media circles. He’s 25. But the other half of the Hot 30 team that is now in hot water, Mel Grieg, is 30, and until recently taught at the Australian Radio School in Adelaide.
According to the ARS website: “We’ll teach you everything from classic communication techniques, producing great shows, copywriting, voiceovers, commercial production, promotions, all the way through to using new media like podcasting and internet radio to score your first gig.”
I know the woman is under enormous pressure, and I stand by this position, that she and Christian have been unfairly blamed for the tragedy of Jacintha Saldanha’s death.
I also agree with Carlton that station management let everyone down. But listening to Christian and Greig last night was like listening to two teenagers.
“It’s not up to us to make that decision we just record it and then it goes to the other departments to work it out. I don’t know what they then do with it - we just do what we do which is make those calls,” Greig said.
And Christian: “I’m certainly not aware of what filters it needs to pass through, all we know is it’s passed on and then we’re told either yay or nay, essentially and they don’t give us much more than that.”
Do people in highly-paid, high-profile jobs generally operate with that level of knowledge about the processes determining their output? To call it a Generation Y thing is an insult to the many members of that much maligned group who know exactly what they are doing and why.
This topic of age and who is a “kid” first came to mind this year when old quotes from Julia Gillard resurfaced during the Slater and Gordon story. In 2007 she told News Ltd she was “young and naive” about her relationship with Bruce Wilson. In 1992 when the now-infamous Workplace Reform Association was set up, Gillard was 31 and a salaried partner in a major law firm.
Has the age when you can call yourself “young” gone up? I know 50 is the new 40 but I thought that had more to do with being allowed to wear jeans that don’t look like they’re designed for a geriatric and being able to drive a convertible without being accused of having a mid-life crisis.
A popular phrase for immature 20-somethings, still living at home, eating Mum’s cooking and spending their salaries on fun, not the future, is “kidults”.
The law says you’re an adult the day you turn 18 but society is saying something else altogether.
The cliche goes that at the same age their parents and grandparents were stating families, building businesses and fighting wars this generation still can’t boil and egg or operate a washing machine.
But is 30 the new 20?
A (possibly futile) plea to commenters: I would love for the comments on this post to be about age and maturity generally. If you would like to go over the entrails of the prank and who is to blame it would be great if you went to David Penberthy’s piece here. Tory M)
Comments on this post will close at 8pm AEDT.
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