A year of clarity – we hope

As 2022 ended and 2023 began, the notion that the planet’s inhabitants need to get real began in earnest. 

The source for that emerging ethos was quite unlikely, considering we have never used an online dating service nor intend to ever try it.

An interviewer on one of the morning shows was chatting up some dating website folks. Little tips and observances were offered to help lonely people get online and find someone in the new year. 

Along with lessening the timeframe between the first glimpse online and the in-person encounter to quickly weed out non-desirables, the idea was floated to engage in positive language. As most hosts would do, an example was sought to clarify what might pass as a negative versus affirmative conversation point.

Rather than something on a profile like “no smokers” she encouraged use of a phrase something like “interested only in people engaged in a healthy lifestyle.” It was at that moment a flash of brilliance erupted as we leapt from the recliner toward the television and posited – “that is the problem, that is what we are talking about.” That was an aha moment for a concept we have been mulling over for quite some time. 

In the last decade, which includes the morbid stretch of pandemic years and the ultimate immersion of people into digital lifestyles, we have watched the demise of common English. Straight talk often takes a backseat to lingo-fueled rhetoric. 

It used to be that politicians and hucksters got the blame for talking in circles. Now anyone who has spent some time on social media can string together a line of cliches and run-on sentences to appear an expert. 

Half the time we find ourselves left in a state of bemusement,  failing to get the point being made, if indeed there is one.

Although there is understandable wariness at standing up to nonsense for fear of being shouted down, let’s hope 2023 brings with it more chances for clarity.

Have-lots and have-nots

My buddy Frank passed along some social notes this week. 

We had read the story earlier in the day about CEOs at large companies having made an average working person’s wages by 9:43am on Tuesday. His version came from a non-profit entity that regularly promotes social causes. 

On this occasion the Council of Canadians offered up a chance to lobby for higher taxes on wealthy people and corporations.

The 100 best-paid chief executive officers in Canada now make 243 times what a typical worker earns. For context, higher end CEOs make $14.3 million versus $58,800 paid to the worker.

The expanding gap between the ultra-rich and working poor continues to increase. Multiples determining that scale in other countries are not easy to pin down, but it is safe to suggest 243 times is a grievous amount. In some parts of Asia for example, the multiples are a fraction of that number. 

Efforts by federal politicians to impose wealth taxes are often decried, as is the idea of determining value for certain types of work. Without guidelines and left to their own devices, big business looks after its own and the spread between rich and poor will continue to widen.

While we get nervous on discussions of who is worth what, by letting costs and affordability go unchecked, there is great risk that the have-nots will reach a point of hopelessness. 

That isn’t good for anyone.