Andrew Denton’s Enough Rope can be good. There were three interviews on Monday night.
Bernie and Karen Banton were just wonderful.
At great cost to his deteriorating health, Bernie Banton has been the face of the James Hardie compensation case. For the last five years, in his own words, he’s been, “dragged through a pit of hell by a mob of bottom feeders”. In doing so, he’s been a constant reminder of what is really at issue here – the dreadful legacy of the asbestos industry and its all too human toll.
Here is the way this society often works, sadly.
ANDREW DENTON: We’ll get back to that. I want to go back to those first couple of years, sitting across the table from Hardies when they were saying there’s enough money.
BERNIE BANTON: “We don’t owe you anything.” That was their line.
KAREN BANTON: They laughed.
BERNIE BANTON: We don’t…
ANDREW DENTON: They laughed?
BERNIE BANTON: “We don’t owe you any money either morally or legally.”…
ANDREW DENTON: Can you give me an example of…
BERNIE BANTON: Well they always wanted to talk about numbers and the amount. I think what I brought to the table was a humanity that they couldn’t deal with. I was so cranky with their attitude, that all they were doing was trying to minimise and put into numbers the hurt that they had -not personally -but they were representing the company that had the technology to away with asbestos, and yet they chose to continue to use asbestos till ’87. For that, I don’t think there is any forgiveness for that, because they killed thousands more Australians.
After that, actor Kevin Spacey was urbane and interesting. But the third interview got to me. At the risk of seeming uber-grumpy and a philistine to boot, I found Malcolm McLaren, ‘one of the world’s influential elite’ famous for his connection with the phenomenon of punk rock, a total waste of space, an atrocious self-absorbed wanker. What did you think?