Is Kyle Sandilands Australia’s smartest man?
Kyle Sandilands is a genius. An absolute, out and out Einstein.
The 40 year old broadcaster has no talent, no decorum, no personality, no looks, no style, no charm and no knowledge of anything outside the vast universe that is his ego. Yet the guy is hugely successful.
I have rarely listened to Kyle Sandilands on the radio, nor indeed watched the talent shows on which he is a judge. That’s not snobbery. It’s just how it is. But just as you didn’t need to read Eat Pray Love to know it was bag of fertiliser-grade horse manure, you don’t need to listen to Kyle to know his shows are rubbish. And that, right there, is the proof that he’s so damn clever.
Yesterday, regular as clockwork, Kyle attracted his monthly furore. Seems he called India’s Ganges River a junkyard, which given the images we’ve all seen, is hardly the least accurate assessment of India’s most famous waterway.
Sandilands has since apologised, on the grounds that he didn’t realise the Ganges was holy. Ha! Good one! Just like he didn’t know the pyramids were triangular. And just like that cop on the TV show The Young Ones all those years back didn’t know the pope was a Catholic.
See, the Sandilands juggernaut is built on the foundations of Kyle acting much dumber than he really is. The Punch showed that up, a year ago this week, in a piece which had some priceless Kyle grabs from his on-air interview with prime ministerial aspirant Tony Abbott.
It was full of quotes like this:
Kyle (to Abbott): “You seem like an alright guy. We’re a bit dumb around here, we don’t pay that much attention to all the interest rate chatter and bank business and what have you. We are really the swingers, we’ll just go for whoever seems the coolest.”
Yeah, right. All that “bank business and what have you”. Like Kyle doesn’t have at least a basic understanding of finances. He’s got enough money to manage, after all.
That’s the brilliance of Sandilands. He knows his audience. And what he really understands about them at a deep level is that they know jack about squat. And if they know diddly, well, so does he. Publicly, anyway.
So when Kyle stumbles upon the river Ganges, how the hell are his listeners going to know any different if he calls it a stinking crap hole? For all they know, the Ganges is something you catch in a nightclub toilet.
Kyle’s darkest day came two years ago, when a girl revealed on air that she had been raped when she was 12. That little incident would have terminated many media careers. Not Kyle’s. If anything, it fanned his popularity.
In a first person piece on The Punch, Kyle himself used technical difficulties as the excuse for the conversation getting out of hand.
That excuse didn’t really wash, yet he still stuck firm and never adequately apologised to either the victim or his listeners. This is his most ingenious tactic. Kyle is never wrong. Never has been, never could be. He is sorry for people but never says sorry to them. He never stoops to our level. He is above us all. Neither scandal nor wrongdoing can drag him down.
There is another clever ploy which Kyle pulls out again and again. He is mean to everyone to the point of inducing tears. Then, when he is nice, it is like the sun bursting through clouds, bringing with it a shower of lollipops and fluffy kittens.
In war, this is known as Stockholm syndrome. In the entertainment business, it is a short road to pay dirt.
Sandilands probably isn’t evil at heart. In fact, his lifestyle - with the strippers and the monthly trouble episodes and god knows what else - is undoubtedly all a carefully-crafted façade.
In truth, Kyle probably likes nothing more than an early night and a hot cup of lemon tea while reading about the Ganges river in one of the many ancient Hindu texts on his book shelf.
Heck, he’s probably ploughing through a copy of the Kama Sutra this very minute.
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