Where our gaze will take us

mj“What, me worry?” — Alfred E. Newman.

The iconic gap toothed smile and insouciant devil-may-care attitude of the ginger everyman who graced MAD magazine covers for my teenage years popped into my head the other day as I sat in my favourite easy chair stroking my purring cat, asking his opinion of world events, as I searched (not desperately, rest assured) for a germane and locally relevant take on politics.

I asked his opinion on the Syrian thing, the rising interest rates which may collapse the housing bubble and the playoff chances of the Canucks. He stretched, yawned and intimated, “Carry on.” I asked again, “Shouldn’t we do something?” Asleep, he was.

All politics is local, they say. Since the untimely death of Michael Jackson four years ago, the world lacks a unifying news figure who, by dint of supreme weirdness, plus the public’s need for titillation, immediately elbowed all important political and financial items aside in favour of Entertainment Tonight breathless on-the-spot reporting from Neverland Ranch.

Last month the world was abuzz about the royal baby, and shortly after it went gaga about Miley Cyrus’ porn set at the MTV Video Music Awards. Next week some celebrity break up will upstage US aircraft and drones reducing parts of Syria from rubble into more rubble — can you say Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones? Thank heaven we have Justin Trudeau in Canada.

This indolent spoiled brat is a godsend to scribes because, like his Right Honourable father, he was blessedly endowed at birth by gobs of capital “C” charisma. His recent pronouncement that he smoked pot while being an MP scored points for being honest. Most Canadians know someone who may have done that (the pot, rather than the honesty) too. His potential for prime minister ratings soared while Stephen Harper trudged through the Arctic without any up bump in the polls. (Don’t worry fellow taxpayers — that trip only cost $8 million).

Trudeau, being Canadian and all, immediately bumbled this glorious opportunity and stated that he doesn’t drink or even like coffee. The mainstream press hurriedly buried this point because it directly contradicts the Tim Horton’s totemic grip on our collective psyches and identity. Do we have to vote for Harper or . . . who’s the NDP guy again?

Conspicuous in his absence this time around is another Justin, Bieber that is. Losing his pet monkey to Germany, urinating into a bucket on YouTube and driving his Ferrari, probably drunk, in Beverly Hills got him into the news. Then, hearing this twerp made $55 million last year was ultimately good clean fun but not tongue waggingly so. What the world needs now is a shot of Obama sneaking a cigarette at the White House back entrance with the butler. You heard it here first!

Except for the poison gas casualties, the 400 elephants killed for their tusks today, shark finning, senate scandals, inappropriate sexting and suicide bombings the news would be boring.

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