Two events this week have demonstrated how badly we’ve lost track of the measure of reason, of a sense of perspective of events in the larger scheme of whatever part of the universe we occupy. As I type this, the closing ceremony of the Rio Olympiad are unfolding, just the last paroxysm of blather, bluster and hyperbole in a two-week long assault on the media landscape. The most telling incident of the whole games for me, growling curmudgeon that I am, was the arrest of the Irish IOC rep for scalping, followed closely by the gratuitous frat-boy incident with the US swimmers.
In terms of excess, the Olys are followed some ways back by the telecast of the final concert in the Tragically Hip’s current tour, met with a frenzied fervour inspired by Gord Downie’s recent (?) diagnosis of terminal brain cancer. Whether or not I like the music of the Hip is somewhat irrelevant to the fact that this event has been blown all out of its proportionate importance as a unifier of Canadians and as representative of all that’s good in Canadian culture. I get it that lots of people really like this band and its music, and that there is an outpouring of empathy for a group of people handling a difficult situation with grace and aplomb, but the transmogrification of that grace and aplomb into our own Velvet Revolution is, as the French say, “de trop”. The two really fine items springing from this event have gotten some attention: Gord Downie apparently having called out Justin Trudeau on his ongoing lack of progress on improving lives, specifically First Nations’, in the North, and a comment I saw echoed on Facebook this morning about a broadcaster that puts up an event on national television with no ad breaks, no ticker ads and extends the broadcast when it goes beyond its allotted time, demonstrating the value of a publicly funded, owned and directed national broadcast system.