The persistent question on television, radio and in newspapers these past few weeks is not whether the United States is going to careen into financial oblivion as it teeters on the edge of the fiscal cliff. Or why a tribal chief wants to starve herself to death to meet Stephen Harper. Or what it means when five men can gang rape and kill a young woman in India and possibly escape the death penalty.
The nagging question on the minds of most Canadian journalists is not about any of these issues but whether or not “the fans will return to hockey.” Let me try and craft my opinion on that burning question, using all the complexity inherent in the English language to accurately capture the depth of my feeling. I don’t give a crap.
If I had any doubts that idiots are ruling the world they have all disappeared with the frequency with which that question has been asked. Why is it even a question? Of course, hockey fans will return to hockey. The definition of a fan is that we do whatever idiotic thing is required of us. That’s why we are fans, as opposed to shareholders, wives, or the guy who cleans the arena bathrooms.
Am I the only one that finds it bizarre that we are fixating on that question? Have we become so shallow as a society that this is the best we can expect of our investigative reporters? Even Peter Mansbridge, the man with the George Costanza hairline and Walter Cronkite’s voice has given in to the banality.
The joke used to be that Canadians had 365 words for snow, now we apparently have only one way to lead off the nightly news – Will the fans return to hockey?
The angst underlying the way the question is asked implies that hockey is a place, Valhalla, the genus loci, the holy land. If we don’t return to Eden are we forever banished to roam the streets, nachos in one hand, a plastic cup of beer in the other? And if the fans don’t return to hockey, is there somewhere else they would go? The question postulates a fantasy world where hockey fans walk past the rink and what – sign up for a spin class? Balance their chequebook? Spend time with their children that does not involve watching a hockey game?
Have we become so desperate as Canadians to have something special that distinguishes us on the international stage that we have made returning to the hockey rink a decision equal to whether NATO fights in Syria? Or how India deals with the reality of a rape occurring in their country every 20 minutes? Or if children armed with grenade launchers is what the American founding fathers envisioned when they put the right to have a standing army in their Constitution
Perhaps reporters are so weary of covering real news stories that they are trying to create a fake one so they can be home for dinner at 5:30? Or maybe, bored with the same old death and destruction, Canadian journalists have got a pool going to see which reporter can, within a month, simulate a revolution, while of course ignoring the one occurring within our aboriginal communities.
Just drop the puck and get on with it. And let the fans fall where they may.