Horner: It’s past time to get serious here

Parksville Qualicum Beach News columnist Neil Horner says it's time to talk about some serious issues

Okay, I get it.

Enough with the cutesy stuff. No more tales of personal misadventure with my son, reminiscences of life on the cougar ranch or touching tales of dating disaster. I should use this space to write about something that matters — something important.

I guess the question has to be posed though, of what is important. Depending on one’s point of view, the answer could end up all over the map. What I might think to be a crucial issue may seem trivial to some and downright misguided or even delusional to others.

I guess my best bet would be to hold up my ideas about what’s important and see where they fit with our societal norms. If there’s a match, then I’ll write this column about it.

To me, the issue of a runaway greenhouse effect would probably be right on top of the list. They say the climate on Venus was caused by a runaway greenhouse effect and it’s hot enough on the surface there to melt lead. If this really gets going — and we can see evidence of it all around us — where will it stop? Will temperatures stabilize once there’s been a huge die-off and what is left of humanity is reduced to impoverished savagery, or will the process continue until, like Venus, there’s little hope for any kind of life at all? Read all about it — not!

When I hold that belief up to the societal cues I see around me though, I don’t get the feeling that it’s important. One would think stories about the possibility of civilization’s collapse and species extinction would dominate, but they don’t. Any such stories are buried, if they’re told at all, somewhere in the back pages.

Strike one.

Perhaps what’s important has something to do with the Wall Street swine and corporate CEO scum who tanked the entire economy to satisfy their insatiable greed and who, to date, have been handed a pass by both the courts and the media, even as they give themselves more obscene bonuses.

Whoops, I guess I answered my own question there, eh?

Is it the rapid deterioration of the parliamentary democracy used to govern this country? Judging by the headlines, I would suggest not.

One might think the acidification of the oceans or the disappearance of 90 per cent of the large fish species in them might make it into the top 10, but no.

The yawning gulf between the rich and poor? How about kids getting blown to bits by drone strikes in other people’s wars? Nope and uh-uh.

So what the heck am I supposed to write about?

My conundrum didn’t last, fortunately.

It cleared itself right up when I took a trip through the checkout at a local supermarket and what I saw there in blazing, urgent headlines showed what society evidently believes to be important.

So … I don’t care what anyone says, Britney is still hot, regardless of what she looks like without makeup.

Then there’s the cellulute issue. I’m not sure which star that was because her face was blanked out but honestly — a bikini?

Speaking of disasters, what’s with those Kardashians? How can they be so mean to their sister? She’s just a human, like Britney. Be kind!

That message can certainly go for Jen and Brad and Tom and all the other one-named celebrities.

As for for the Royals, Kate really should put on just a little bit of weight before she has the baby, don’t you think?

Yeah, I know, it’s delicious, but I like to believe that what’s important to our society can’t just be confined to salacious gossip about beautiful, young rich people.

Fortunately, our cultural priorities are not only determined by tabloid headlines.  Discussion at the coffee pot also has a role to play and in this regard, it appears Canadians at least are just a little bit deeper than that.

I am comforted in the knowledge that we in this country  know there is more to this life than debating who has the best body on the beach and who will never forgive whom for what. Hence the subject of this column.

So … how about that one goal eh? Right between the pipes!

Neil Horner is the            assistant editor of the Parksville Qualicum Beach News and a regular columnist.

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