And we’re off! With the crew at The Feed focussing on the unspeakable and the impolite throughout the last week of May for its ‘Taboo Week’, what better way to kick off than with a brief look at the tragedy that are the Isla Vista killings. Whenever a shooting takes place, we as commentators and media consumers are left in a difficult position- how do we talk about the event and the killer without buying into their deluded dreams of notoriety? I’ve said it time and time again, but it speaks to the skill and class of the news team at The Feed that they’re able to strike a the perfect middle ground between public interest and compassion in these type of events. Seeing the impassioned speech of a victim’s father on gun control is enough to shake anyone.
Onto the taboos though- and the first feature of the week was a great one. Being fat is not like any other social taboo- it’s a very safe minority to knock, joke about and view as different. They’re hurting themselves and costing the public healthcare system money right? But what if they’re not. What if being healthy and overweight is a fine option to live one’s life? This is (at least part of) the message the fat acceptance movement is pushing. Through a handful of personal accounts, all of which traced back to times in youth and adulthood where the individual was ridiculed for their weight, a group of people explained that yes, they are fat- but who cares? As one lady said at the segment’s conclusion, “It’s really good to not hate myself”- if accepting she is fat and not caring is the avenue to reach this, should we care?
The second taboo featured was entirely different. We find it ‘awkward’ to talk about fatness due to fear of offending, but our taboo about death, especially children’s deaths, seems far more carnal. Two stories ran here- one featured a woman who had imprints of her stillborn daughter’s fingertips cast in metal for necklace pendants she wore regularly. The manner with which she spoke about this was moving in the extreme- the pendants weren’t merely a part of a healing or grieving process, they acted a concrete and real reminder that for a period, her daughter Gabrielle existed and was a real human. The second story was far deeper into taboo territory, with a lady explaining how she would spend time in the morgue with her deceased baby’s body, bonding with it. As she, and the morgue employee, explained- the theoretical notion of this is where most people will knee jerk react away from the idea. It’s creepy or wrong- yet as they would go on to say, if you can view the idea in the hypothetical, then that’s wonderful as it means you have never had to experience this level of grief. If someone has something that assists them in grieving for their child, who are we to view it as incorrect?
Despite the heaviness of this story, the final good news item managed to end things on a more positive note. Huey’s Diner has dancing! This seemingly non-sequitur sentence means a lot to TV cook Iain Hewitson. A judging ruled that the man is able to have both music and rock n roll dancing in his new nostalgia diner, Big Huey’s Diner, after a previous Footloosian ruling decreed that there would be no revelry of the sort. It was a charming and positive note to end an otherwise rather heavy, yet terrific, half hour of TV. This was a great start to what should be a great week of TV.
Review Score: FOUR STARS (OUT OF FIVE)
The Feed airs Monday-Thursday, 7:35 (repeated 10:30) on SBS2