A matter of values

Ed
Ed Smith
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I admit to being a bit of a sports nut.

But again, this isn't a column about sports. It's more a commentary on the totally screwed up value system that seems to be permeating our society.

That isn't much of a humorous statement, either. Since this is supposed to be a humour column, obviously more than the value system has gone awry. I'll try to get better as we go along. I said I'd try.

Perhaps this is more a ridiculous situation than it is funny, but the big headline on the Yahoo network today was "Jennifer Lopez wears same look as Brooklyn Decker." Evidently the look is hot pink, but I'm not sure I followed the commentary exactly.

The ins and outs of high fashion are rather lost on me, unless there's more out than in, Jennifer Lopez being a case in point. She's the one with the legs, which I noticed because somebody else pointed it out to me. Lopez had one of her legs mostly out of the dress in question, but I think she only did it to get attention.

Angelina Jolie, who has replaced Audrey Hepburn in my affections as the most beautiful woman in Hollywood (although only because Hepburn is dead), did the exact same trick for the exact same reason at the recent Oscars. Just so you all know, I had tuned in because Billy Crystal was hosting. I think he's the reigning comedic talent anywhere these days.

I have no idea who Brooklyn Decker might be, but I'm told that's my loss. I'll try to live without knowing. After all, I have lived these many years without having read the Bible from cover to cover (as many people swear they have, including the "begats," and further swear they understand it all). The two must be equally important.

We haven't gotten to the totally ridiculous part yet. Here it is. A much smaller headline further down in the same news section reads "Siberian airliner crashes - dozens killed." Actually, 31 people lost their lives.

The person or persons putting together that section no doubt believed their readers would be far more interested in the looks competition between Lopez and Decker than in the deaths of 31 souls in a Siberian air crash. That's really sad, not because of the opinions of the editors in question, but because they were probably right.

As I began by saying, I love sports. I have this competitive streak in me that will get off on anything from Indian cricket to Iranian curling. This is a fantastic week for me. The NHL is still going strong, if you forget the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens - not that difficult a task. And the playoffs are about to begin. Ottawa and Vancouver will be in that.

The Blue Jays begin their season Thursday with the strongest team since they won the World Series back in 1992. This year they have the most wins in the Grapefruit League (pre-season spring games) in franchise history.

The men's world curling championships are on in Switzerland. To date, our men's team is undefeated.

On our street in Springdale, the Green Bay-White Bay European earwig championships will begin next week when the ground thaws out.

Happily, Other Half enjoys sporting competitions as well, which is why I'm allowed to stay up late when the games are late, and we can discuss what's happening on the ice, or the diamond or the rink or the street.

But all that being said, my gut still heaves and my stomach urges when I hear of a baseball player being signed for $250 million. Two hundred and fifty million dollars! What in God's good name are we thinking?

Even in Canada, teachers don't begin to get a fraction of that. In the States, teachers are paid what amounts to poverty line salaries. And they wonder what's wrong with their education system.

Medical doctors who keep us alive so we can use our educated brains are rewarded with a pittance compared with the average professional athlete.

The highest-paid neurosurgeon doesn't get much more than the lowest-paid NHL player. We won't talk about nurses.

We have retired members of Parliament raking in six-figure pension cheques while the federal government talks about increasing the length of working years and decreasing the amount of the average pension after that.

Of course, we knew all about the values of this federal government, so that shouldn't come as a surprise, even when clips are played of Harper promising a few short years ago never to touch pension benefits.

The feds are still admitting no wrong in the case of Burton Winters, the Labrador boy who died on the ice because no one came looking for him. And the provincial Tories are claiming to be doing everything possible in holding Peter MacKay et al. responsible for what happened.

They're writing letters, don't you know, and even making telephone calls to Ottawa . I dare say they've used up all the card space on their cellphones.

I am not, as you know, a cynical person. I might wax satirical (that's a different kind of waxing) now and then, or even touch on sarcastic when it's called for.

But cynical I am not. I have believed strongly in my fellow man and woman over the years, and may yet believe so again, but I think it'll have to come after at least one more election.

Since when is protecting one's political backside more important than getting at the truth? Gee whiz, Smith, you're shouting so that the cat is running for cover under the daybed; there is no way you are that naïve.

You're right. But sometimes I like to make a statement like that just to see what it feels like.

Rather stupid, really.

Ed Smith is an author who lives in Springdale. His email address is edsmith@nf.sympatico.ca.

Organizations: Yahoo, NHL, Toronto Maple Leafs Montreal Canadiens The Blue Jays Grapefruit League

Geographic location: Hollywood, Ottawa, Springdale Decker Vancouver Switzerland Green Bay White Bay Canada

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