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BOB WAKEHAM: And, the Stunned Arse Award goes to…

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Stunned Arse Awards recipients are warmly applauded... — 123RF Stock Photo

In this day and age of ubiquitous awards presentations — the country music industry alone seems to pat its gaudy jewelry-wearing and God-inspired members on the back with hokey ceremonies on a monthly basis — it should not come as a surprise that I’ve heard tell recently of a brand new, special prize of recognition to be conferred right here in this fair and freezing land of ours.

They’re called — drum roll, please — the “Stunned Arse Awards,” given to cerebral lightweights leaving a mark of stupidity in Newfoundland.

OK, full disclosure here: I’m the chief judge of the Stunned Arse Awards, a responsibility I take with the utmost gravitas, and a job I accept after a lengthy history of close observation of many a cement head act by politicians and other decision-makers who’ve had roles in our lives.

As you may have guessed, the inspiration for the dispensing of trophies for governing denseness in this part of the world was the recent news that the administration headed by Pierre’s boy Justin — whose diminishing credibility, by the by, has given even a right-winged lame brain like Andrew Scheer prime ministerial potential — took it upon itself to obstruct a truly magnificent view of St. John’s, a vantage point enjoyed by locals and tourists alike forever and a day, with a monstrosity of a wooden fence.

The foolishness of the argued rationale for such a wall was palpable, and had something to do with “security,” and making sure, perhaps, that wayward observers of the Signal Hill Tattoo didn’t wander into the line of fake fire, although there were suggestions in some circles that the federal Parks people wanted to ensure anyone who didn’t pay a few bucks to see young fellas and girls playing historical war games would be prevented from sneaking a free peek from the nearby parking lot at the musket-bearing actors.

OK, full disclosure here: I’m the chief judge of the Stunned Arse Awards, a responsibility I take with the utmost gravitas, and a job I accept after a lengthy history of close observation of many a cement head act by politicians and other decision-makers who’ve had roles in our lives.

Either way, it was stupid beyond words. Thus, its unanimous vote (mine) for a Stunned Arse Award.

A factor of total embarrassment did ultimately kick in — brought about by blanket condemnation in the media — and prompted the feds to haul the fence down, but the criteria for being a stunned arse had already been met, unfortunately for the stunned arses themselves.

(I have to wonder, in passing, if the same bureaucrats who made the wall call were involved in putting in place a few years ago that roundabout — a recent word in our local lexicon — halfway up Signal Hill, a useless traffic configuration that must come mighty close on a regular basis to causing a senior from Ontario to plow his rented van into a bicycle ridden by a middle-aged hippie environmentalist from Vancouver; if so, I award the person or persons responsible a belated Stunned Arse Award.)

And since I’ve therefore set a precedent here in arbitrarily allowing Stunned Arse Awards to be made retroactively, there’s another acknowledgement in the idiotic wall category I’d like to announce: the construction, several years ago, of that ugly iron fence that blocks a considerable length of the St. John’s waterfront from pedestrian traffic; its establishment by the St. John’s Port Authority, with help from a compliant city hall — taking place, once again, because of some ludicrous notion of “security.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t feel any more secure with that fence in place while walking near the harbour, although perhaps I’d be shivering in my sneakers if I was to discover what prompted the local intelligence community to block off an area downtown where the Portuguese once played endless games of soccer without ever being terrorized, and thousands of ships arrived and departed St. John’s with no reports of air or ground attacks.

Now, beyond the moronic establishment of walls and such, there are obviously other moves of dim-wittedness by our elected types and their mandarins that meet the criteria for Stunned Arse Awards; too many, in fact, to mention in this Saturday offering of mine (you might have your own nominations to make).

I read recently, for example, that Nalcor decided to give a number of its executives performance bonuses, a decision that was, at the very least, ironic, and a public relations fiasco, given the times we are in, when daily testimony of ineptness dominates the inquiry into the boondoggle that is Muskrat Falls.

So, for their timing alone, the Nalcor bosses are also the recipients of a Stunned Arse Award.

And speaking of Muskrat Falls, I guess you could argue that a majority of the residents of Newfoundland could also be given a Stunned Arse Award — retroactively, once again — for having acted like obedient little sheep, baaing their way in subservience to their infallible shepherd, Daniel of the Fields, when he first brought Muskrat into their existence.

And for those who might believe I’m flogging a dead horse in continuing with regular references to the genesis of Muskrat Falls, I would suggest there is no cut-off date for a reminder of stunned arse performances in Newfoundland.

Our dear trusted leaders, past and present, have assured us that such is the case.

Bob Wakeham has spent more than 40 years as a journalist in Newfoundland and Labrador. He can be reached by email at bwakeham@nl.rogers.com


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