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Our dumb year

Lezlie Lowe got you riled up about all the wrong things in 2006.

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Peter Duffy I am not.

But if you’ll allow me an end-of-year indulgence, I will follow the oft-favoured format of that beloved Chronicle-Herald columnist—a smattering of bits and bobs à propos de rien.

Years are, after all, like that. They have no central themes or tidily arced storylines, no matter how desperately we try to squeeze them into the mould. Two thousand and six was not about the Harper government’s strong showing (can you believe the Canadian version of Time magazine named him 2006 Canadian Newsmaker of the Year!?), Sunday shopping, Maritimers moving to the oil patch or Britney Spears (and Lindsay Lohan and Paris Hilton) accidentally-on-purpose flashing the world her Brazilian-waxed lady patch.

If I had to bet which one of those news stories would come to mind first from this year, I’d put my money on Britney Spears’s sheared vulva.

Seriously?

Seriously.

I wrote about Brazilian waxing in this space last February and still, still people are talking to me about it. Strangers, even. They’re asking how it felt, how it’s done, how itchy it is growing in (not at all). The reason for that column was to point out that in its February 2006 issue, Elle Canada declared the once de-rigueur Brazilian wax is oh-so-five minutes ago. Apparently not. People are obsessed. At least with my birth canal. And Britney Spears’s.

Next biggest response about something I wrote?

Slugs.

In June I penned an open letter to the slugs in my backyard. I told the slime-propelled monsters they could have the place, lock, stock and barrel. I realized I just couldn’t stay the course against those mindless plant-eating invertebrate hermaphrodites any longer.

Just today—in December!—someone met me for the first time and mentioned my slugs.

I don’t know—maybe it’s just that people were hot for gardening in 2006. Because the number one most commented-on thing I wrote about this year was Crocs. For the love of Ralph. It was Crocs. Those tawdry-coloured foam clown shoes which should never (never!) be worn in public. Such outrage you people carry around regarding your damn ugly foam gardening slippers.

Crocs, slugs and hairless birth tunnels—not a very intelligent bunch are we? (Me for writing, you for ranting.)

I could write about anything—and did—in 2006: caricatures of the prophet Muhammad, the ethics of seeking fertility treatment at age 63, the American-run detention camp at Guantanamo Bay, abortion and safe injection sites—and people only get a mouse in their corsets about skuzzy squishy gardening shoes.

We invest our brainpower in getting worked up over things that don’t make a fig of difference in our world and leave the big stuff—Afghanistan, Iraq, climate change—alone.

That’s the good news. Kind of.

At least we have the ability to take a topic and laud or criticize it. We have the capacity to engage in outrage. The architecture is within us to get all riled up about stuff. Or at least to remember what’s going on in the world, even if it’s fanaticism centred on Styrofoam shoes.

We care. It’s just that we care about all the wrong things. Perhaps, for 2007, let’s try to talk a little less about Britney Spears’s waxed bits. Unless she has another kid and then: fair game.

Wait a minute, that wasn’t like a Peter Duffy column at all.

What will you take away from 2006? Email: lezliel@thecoast.ca

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