I know it’s like totally a conspiracy or whatever, but your voluntarily chosen behaviour really does have consequences. In the real world. For other people. You know, those people who you expect to respect you and take responsibility for you while you refuse to acknowledge or respect their rights or safety.

Cycling through red lights is particularly stupid, and threatens the safety of pedestrians. Cyclists are threatened by car drivers and feel weak, but this no justification for them behaving in a similarly arrogant and threatening manner to pedestrians who are even weaker. You know, like the Jewish people of Europe being persecuted by Nazi Germany, then Israel evicting Palestinians from their homes and herding them into ghettos. How like metaphorically ironic is that?

So I’m pleased to see that the Victorian Police are going to focus on cyclists who ride through red lights and not wearing helmets. Which brings me to a related topic – the stupidity of showing people doing illegal things on television, particularly in documentaries. I watched the doco on Melbourne restaurant Lentil as Anything via Youtube recently (playlist), and was aghast at what I saw.

First, the behaviour and attitude of founder Shanaka. He appears to be a sociopath. Consider his indifference to the complete mess he made of his business, and his carelessness about endangering the livelihoods of staff and suppliers by failing to pay them, in relation to the common symptoms of antisocial personality disorder:

  • Persistent lying or stealing
  • Superficial charm
  • Apparent lack of remorse or empathy; inability to care about hurting others
  • Impulsivity and/or recklessness
  • Lack of realistic, long-term goals — an inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals
  • Tendency to violate the boundaries and rights of others
  • Persistent attitude of irresponsibility and disregard for social rules, obligations, and norms

Shanaka has all of these and more. Lentil as Anything complain on their website that the doco was too negative; I think it was amazingly positive and Shanaka’s failings should have resulted in numerous legal proceedings, not least for his negligence as an employer.

They state:

Lentil As Anything had no say in the final production of the documentary on sbs… It is unfortunate that such a priceless occasion was spent focusing on our financial status and the emotions of some staff… What sbs has achieved is a misrepresentation and often gross fabrication…

Absurdly, they also state that:

Hopefully more and more people will take responsibility for their actions and participate in building a kind, robust and vibrant society…

Perhaps they could swallow their ridiculous hypocrisy and practice what they preach – take responsibility for your legal obligations as an employer and pay your staff, honour your debts and pay your suppliers, and meet your corporate responsibilities and don’t trade while insolvent.

Second, consider two scenes from the doco. In one, Shanaka is cycling through the streets of Melbourne without wearing a helmet. He is responsible for choosing to behave that way, but the filmmakers and SBS are responsible for showing us this image. It’s a small crime perhaps, that is likely to harm no one else, but head injuries cost taxpayers lots of money in health care. Not wearing a helmet represents indifference to the public health system and Australian taxpayers.

lentil1 attention hipsters - behaviour has consequences

A still image from The Naked Lentil, episode 1

What kind of idiot filmmaker chooses to show their subjects breaking the law? This may incriminate the subject of their work. Why aren’t they trained to consider the legality of what they record? Having worked at the Australian Film Television and Radio School for two years, I can answer that by saying the precious darlings educated there are rarely held to account for anything lest it cramp their precious creativity.

While the director may not care, the producer should know better. They’re responsible for legal issues. What about the SBS commissioning people? Don’t they have guidelines on this? And the SBS legal people? What were they thinking? The whole lot of them should be prosecuted for the same offence as Shanaka. Their negligence is unconscionable.

Then there’s the scene of the chef driving while talking on his mobile phone. This is a much more serious crime because it has the potential to make a murderer of a moron. And no one else should have to share the roads with someone so selfish and stupid. He should lose his licence immediately for at least a year. No excuses. No pity. Ditto the producer and the SBS commissioning and legal people.

lentil2 attention hipsters - behaviour has consequences

A still image from The Naked Lentil, episode 2

And the Police should inform Immigration of the issue. He doesn’t deserve to receive permanent residency if he refuses to demonstrate his willingness to obey the law of the country he wants to live in. You have to earn it and I call this snubbing it. These people appear indifferent to their obligations and responsbilities as residents and citizens of Australia. We don’t need them.

attention hipsters – behaviour has consequences

4 thoughts on “attention hipsters – behaviour has consequences

  • 19 March 2010 at 9:15 am

    I agree with you about the Lentil documentary – I was absolutely shocked about the way that Lentil is run and the stress on the employees and suppliers. Honestly, I was disgusted at how they treated their fruit & veg supplier.

    I think the concept of Lentil is great but I don’t know how comfortable I would feel supporting the place now, given how it seems to be run in a shambolic fashion.


  • 20 March 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Sadly, the great concept of Lentil has become besmirched with reality and someone’s couldn’t care less attitude.
    As for showing the various people breaking the law …when judges get real on sentencing and the cops get decent support and funding then hopefully they will take these knobheads to task and fine them appropriately, which will scare the bejebus out of aspiring film-directors who appear too precious to pay attention to detail.

  • 25 March 2010 at 7:15 pm

    You routinely post photos of a complimentary nature of graffiti. How is that ok when you don’t think someone filming a documentary should be filming people breaking laws? Even though they are filming an entire documentary on those people that are breaking the law? Don’t you thing every side of the person should be filmed? Or should you leave out the bad bits so everyone gets a positive impression of the subjects?

    • 25 March 2010 at 9:25 pm

      You miss the point that a lot of the street art is legal and commissioned. For that which is not strictly legal that I photograph, I can show it because I am not a business or a broadcaster funded by the taxpayer. It’s not about leaving out the bad bits to make a positive impression but about responsibly managing what is shown to the public. I may show street art that is placed on property in an illegal manner but I do not show the people in the process of making it. Your comparison is ineffectual and flawed.


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