The fifteen years since NZ's last Telethon have made us nostalgic. We seem to have lost sight of the fact that Telethons actually suck. Oh, how they suck - 23 hours of tepid celebrities and airwave clogging suckage. When I was 10 or 11, my little friends and I tried to stay up all night to watch the Telethon. Despite being hyped up and high on sugar, the excitement of watching folks morris dancing in Taihape at 1am wasn't enough to keep us awake.
A friend of similar age to me had a somewhat more exciting Telethon story (he used to think that the Telethon song went 'Thank you very much for your kind old Asians', but that's not the exciting part of the story). He'd gone to the studio where the live action was being filmed - and during the celebratory conga dance thing they do when there's a new fundraising total, Tom Bradley accidentally kicked him in the nuts.
Irrational hatred aside, there's something about the upcoming Telethon, TV3's Big Night In, that is a cause for genuine unease. It's to benefit Kid's Can, a charity which aims to address child poverty and 'make a tangible difference in the lives of 42,000 disadvantaged children across New Zealand'. It's deeply sad to me that the wellbeing of children has been relegated to 23 hours of school kids' garage bands and minor celebrities carrying out silly dares for five dollars a time. To me, this Telethon is an undignified admission that we no longer have a welfare state affirming children's right to live free of poverty. It's as though Tom Bradley has kicked our whole society in the nuts.