Stone cold

On February 24, the Harrods website released a feature about Malta Month: .

It is not just in Malta where common sense is uncommon
- Tanja Cilia

At the opening of the event on March 5, some of us were already splashing the news across social networking sites. Yet local television (and even then only some stations) didn’t get wind of this until the Prime Minster made his official visit on March 13.

This could be a clear indication that politics affects everything locally. Then again, perhaps it’s one instance where the abysmal lack of basic research is trumped by ‘being busy’. This excuse is also used when going to press with inaccurate or mistaken news and then issuing corrections as well as pulling clips and links off the internet.

It could also be a case of publish and be damned, as happened when the Broadcasting Authority (BA) last Saturday charged Net TV over election day footage in which PN leader Lawrence Gonzi and general secretary Paul Borg Olivier met local council election candidates in various localities, ignoring the BA directive regarding the traditional ‘day of reflection’ and voting day itself.

Last week, the posthumous paeans to Lucio Dalla continued. One disc jockey told us he was a giant among the “kantanti fid-dinja mużikali” (sic) and perhaps inevitably, to make his point he played Il Gigante e La Bambina. A little bit of research would have revealed the purported subject matter of the track.

Another presenter talked about the folklore surrounding the use of organs in churches and the Veneranda Lampada tradition. At one point, reading off a publication no doubt, he described those who “jagħmlu x-xogħol fil-minfaħ tal-orgni.” He elaborated that there were people whose job was “jonfħu l-orgni.” Has he never heard of bellows that need mending, especially in connection with Silent Night?

Then there are the notorious Ta’ Ganza adverts, which play to the cheapest seats in the gallery. The majority of them ask us whether we want our clothes to smell better than those of our neighbour, which whiffs of an anti-chav campaign.

But the current bumph of products being sold at this store is even worse. A man thanks his mother-in-law for teaching her daughter parsimony – and the said wife insists that her mother does not deserve any acknowledgement, for it is the shop itself that allows her to be frugal, by offering good deals.

• It is not only in Malta where common sense is uncommon. Before I go on, I should mention that I am anti-abortion. However I have long been insisting that shows like 16 and Pregnant, Teen Mom, and Teen Mom 2 give the wrong idea about being a parent when you are still a child yourself.

Now we have the theory that these series give an (unspecified) ‘opportunity’ to teens who would otherwise be out in the streets, and serve as a lesson for those in a similar position. Is this not a bit like bolting the stable-door after the horse has fled?

Meanwhile, on local radio, a certain medical professional is still promoting a certain jab meant for young ladies for usage by males. These males have no uterus to protect, but it’s encouraged just in case they decide to experiment with homosexuality – without ever mentioning one possible side-effect. So much for balance. It’s really more of the same – no wonder the TVM recently informed us it was 2010, because no one thought to edit the footage being shown.

• Another note for this week is the issue of unfair advertising, for example when guests ask to be invited to magazine programmes as part of their company’s advertising budget.

The BA will come down on presenters who omit pointing out that the said slot is an infomercial like the proverbial tonne of bricks. And yet when these people are guests as a service to the public, and so technically banned from indicating which company or NGO they come from, the presenter will sometimes allow telephone numbers to go on air. What is the delay button for, then?

• At least there were four bright spots to this week’s dreary offerings, mostly exemplified by the sportscaster who is lost without a fully functional computer.

Gerard James Borg has clinched the Romanian selection for the Eurovision song contest. Artiste Ioana Bianca Anuta sings Girls Don’t Cry: .

There was also the interview that Veronica Farrugia conducted with Josephine Zammit Cordina last Saturday evening. One thing that struck me about this excellent actress was her humility; she was grateful to all those who have appreciated her over the years, and those who selected her for roles in their productions.

Zammit Cordina is one of the very few Maltese actresses who cannot be typecast. She plays understated humour and pathos with equal gusto, charm, aplomb and verisimilitude.

Another riveting interview was the one Andrew Azzopardi conducted with Oliver Friggieri. It is obvious that like Farrugia, Azzopardi spent a lot of time researching his subject, probably managing to wrangle more gems from his erudite guest than anyone has ever done before – mostly because interviewers are usually eager to show how witty and clever they are, rather than their guests.

Yet again, the documentary The Tal-Qadi Stone by Chris and Maurice Micallef has won several awards, bringing the total up to 10. This time it triumphed in the Indie Fest in California, winning an Award of Merit for documentary and an Award of Excellence for research.

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