Thursday, October 25, 2007

How They Could Really Raise Money for the Telethon

Do people in general feel nauseous towards this awful Telethon, or is it just your curmudgeonly correspondent, his pestilency An Spailpín Fánach? The rumble has been building for weeks, and now it’s only the habitual alcoholism of the Irish public, that happy refuge that has saved us so often in the past, that can keep the nation’s sanity on a even keel tomorrow evening. As kryptonite is to Superman, so the Telethon is to the right-thinking man or woman. Five minutes will bring you weeping and gibbering to your knees, while anything over half an hour could certainly kill. The doctors can fight at the autopsy over the diagnosis of what offed you in the end, boredom or disgust, but you’ll be clearing your throat with the Choir Invisible by that stage. And it’ll be a blessed bloody relief, after listening to God knows what kind of sanctimonious patronising pap out of Tubridy and his ilk.

I hear a voice at the back – you sir, you with the fashionably long high-maintenance hair. What’s that you say? It’s for charidee? Why am I am having a go if it’s all for charidee?

Well, because saying something is for charity isn’t a license to do what you want. All that is just old blather. It’s cheap programming for the weekend that lets RTÉ’s outrageously over-paid presenters feel good about themselves giving alms to the poor for a day.

A quick read of the sixth chapter of the Gospel of St Matthew is instructive in this regard: When thou doest thine alms, do not sound a trumpet before thee, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory of men.

Sounding trumpets? Hypocrites in the street? You’d imagine that the former tax collector had actually sat through an RTÉ Telethon, and was still shaking as he sat at his desk to compose. Perhaps a vision - an apocalypse that made John's look like an episode of Little House on the Prairie.

For sinners who don't truck with the Bible, perhaps a story about another great leader of men is instructive in this case. Francis Albert Sinatra is a great hero of An Spailpín Fánach, and Francis, famously, cared little for the media. The great love of Frank’s life was Ava Gardner and, although their marriage was short, Frank and Ava always loved each other even though they couldn’t live with each other. Human beings are complex creatures.

Twelve years after their separation, Frank was in Italy filming Von Ryan’s Express, and Ava came over to visit. This made the paparazzi very excited, but they could never get a good shot of Frank and Ava together. So the lensmen pooled their resources and offered Frank $16,000 for a picture of himself and Ava, together.

Frank came back with a counter-offer; double the money, $32,000, if he could break an arm or a leg of one of them.

Imagine their shocked little faces. Good old Frank.

And in the spirit of the Hoboken Canary, An Spailpín Fánach humbly suggests that our Telethon heroes, doing it all for charidee and coming on, everybody, simply auction the following the delights to an eager nation if they really want to make a few pound:

  1. Doing It for Duxie: Half an hour in a handball alley with Ryan Tubridy and a hurl. You have the hurl.

  2. Sign o’ the Times: Liveline presenter Joe Duffy walking the mean streets of Tallaght-fornia with a placard, reading “Maybe if you took a FÁS course instead of a forearm’s fill of heroin you wouldn’t have these problems.”

  3. Hannibal Lyster: The Sunday Game presenter is locked up in a high-security bughouse somewhere in Maryland, USA, and left there to hell.

  4. That’s Life, Bouys: Pint-sized pottymouths Podge and Rodge have their mouths washed out with soap and are forced to read Molière in his original French.

  5. Ryan Line or Soap on a Rope?: Enormously fat radio presenter Gerry Ryan is boiled down for soap to be used on the missions.

That'd soften a few coughs, by Japers. C'mon everybody!

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