Flat White

The New Year’s Eve exorcism for ABC viewers

6 January 2022

2:00 PM

6 January 2022

2:00 PM

ABC viewers manifested as if undergoing an exorcism when Tina Arena ended the national broadcaster’s New Year’s Eve telecast by singing, ‘it’s time to go to church’ from her hit Church.

Offended viewers were legion, frothing at the mouth and spitting abuse at the singer/songwriter for daring to perform her new single.

The song, released in May, mentions heaven and sin, forgiveness, and the need to be in church – all of which are triggering concepts for ABC viewers who reacted like people possessed.

‘Tina Arena singing “go to church” made me want to vomit,’ complained one viewer.

Just like an exorcism.

By the reaction, you could be forgiven for thinking the seven-time ARIA award winner had appeared on screen waving a crucifix and chanting, ‘The spirit of Christ compels you!’

But – in reality – the song sounds more like a James Bond movie theme than a Christian hymn. And the lyrics are, at best, obtuse…

Something within places I’ve been

Blood running thin, I’m sorry


Somewhere between heaven and sin

It’s time to go to church’

Obtuse or not, the song should have come with a trigger warning for ABC viewers, many of whom seemed to regard even the mention of church (unless in association with paedophiles) as a kind of violent assault.

One fumed: ‘Tina Arena, you have a national platform with a country in pain and you use that moment to scold us to go to church – shame on you!’

That people took the lyrics as a personal rebuke rather than as an artistic metaphor tells you more about ABC viewers than about the song. Still, how does the old saying go? ‘If the cap fits …’

Hundreds more viewers insisted that the song was ‘preachy’, ‘creepy’, a ‘rant’, and ‘very disappointing’. They whined that the performance had ‘hijacked’ their New Year’s Eve. Many complained it had caused them to ‘switch off the television in disgust’ and made them ‘uncomfortable’.

‘Sorry Tina but it’s never time to go to church. It’s time to go to science,’ tweeted one genius, who had gotten so worked up that he completely forgot science is only possible if one assumes a rational order to the universe.

But ABC viewers did not believe in random chance when it came to the choice of song. Many demanded to know if Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a professing Christian, had ordered Tina Arena to sing it.

(This is obviously ridiculous. Everyone knows that if the Prime Minister was going to intervene in New Year’s Eve celebrations it would be to order everyone to speak in tongues.)

But what of the suggestion that, in 2022, it might be time to go to church?

Surely our need for community – once satisfied in church, where every saint had a past and every sinner had a future – has been adequately provided by social media. And if you don’t find community on Facebook, you can always pick an aggrieved group with which to identify. It’s not called the LGBTQ2S+ ‘community’ for nothing!

Our longing for purpose – once met by the church, which taught of a reality beyond the mere material – is now found in any number of political causes.

Why seek the divine in church when we can create heaven right here on earth by incessantly tweeting about taxing the billionaires, expunging our colonist past, ridding ourselves of toxic masculinity, recognising 72 genders, cooling the oceans, harnessing the wind, and using correct pronouns?

Moral guidance – once provided by the church with Jesus as the gold standard – is now amply supplied by Hollywood celebrities, Mark Zuckerberg-directed online Fact Checkers, and wokey corporations whose incessant moralising keeps us on the straight and narrow.

As for hope, which used to be found echoed in the church’s uplifting songs about salvation – well, just as soon as big pharma approve the tenth booster shot for triple-masked babies in utero, we’ll have all the salvation we need. Hallelujah, praise Lord Fauci!

You know, the more I think about it, maybe Tina Arena’s onto something. 2022 might just be the time to go to church.

You can follow James Macpherson on twitter. His new book, Notes from Woketopia, is available here.

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