APRIL FOOL’S Day will soon be upon us.
Pranks and tall tales will snare the unsuspecting. And pity anyone waking from a year-long coma, for they’ll have a hard time separating real facts from the alternative variety. So many events of the past 12 months could pass as April Fool’s jokes.
Brexit: Against all conventional wisdom, Great Britain voted to leave the European Union. There was stark division between older and younger generations and between globalists and nationalists. The surprise result was our first clue that pundits and prognosticators no longer had their fingers on the pulse of the people.
This, of course, was but a precursor to …
Donald Trump: The very idea of a Trump presidency was so outlandish and far-fetched that, years ago, it was first presented as a punchline on an episode of The Simpsons. The joke became real when the billionaire defeated one of the savviest politicians of the last quarter-century in Hillary Clinton. Maybe we should have seen it coming when it became nearly impossible to tell during the campaign if what we were watching was real or a Saturday Night Live parody.
Pranks and tall tales snare the unsuspecting. And so many events of these past 12 months could pass as April Fool’s jokes, except they are – sadly – real
Chicago Cubs: It took extra innings in Game 7 but the sad-sack Cubs ended a 108-year drought to become World Series champions. The last time they won, the Titanic had not been built and no world wars had been fought. Alas, sometimes winning is not as sweet as imagined. The Cubs’ identity as perennial and lovable losers has been obliterated and they now are – sigh – just another baseball team.
Leicester City Foxes: I’m told by fans of English football that lowly Leicester winning the Premier League title in May 2016 was on the level of the Swift Current Broncos joining the National Hockey League for a year and winning the Stanley Cup – or, come to think of it, the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series. If sports were biblical prophecy, then I’m sure these two victories happening in the same year would count as some sort of precursor to Armageddon.
Dow Jones: On March 1, for the first time ever, the Dow broke the 21,000 barrier – a sure sign that market indexes have more to do with mass emotion than hard financial data.
For those who think that the presidency of Trump has buoyed stocks and investor confidence, let me throw cold water on that by pointing out that it was under former president Barack Obama that the upward trend began and gathered steam. As with so many things in life, the coming correction will feel all the more painful to those who stayed in too long and didn’t take advantage of the irrational and dizzying heights to sell, sell, sell!
Savvy investors like two things above all – stability and predictability. I have a very nice, barely used bridge to sell anyone who believes either of those things is present under the current U.S. administration.
La La Land: The old-fashioned movie musical won the Oscar for best picture … oh, wait, no it didn’t – Moonlight did. When Faye Dunaway announced La La Land, Warren Beatty might as well have shouted “April Fool’s!”
For those who thought the mistake was but a minor blip in the history of the world, let me assure you that entertainment trade papers like the Hollywood Reporter and Variety treated the foul-up for a week after like their own version of the John F. Kennedy assassination. Replays were reviewed over and over for clues as to what really happened — with the same intensity once brought by conspiracy theorists to the Zapruder film of the J.F.K. shooting.
I thought the best part of the mistake was Beatty basically throwing Dunaway under the bus by letting her read the wrong winner. Women everywhere probably thought “How typical!”
There’s really no telling where we go from here – but somehow I think sanity will return to politics, the bizarre will give way to the ordinary and everyone is going to get along …
Gavin MacFadyen is a Canada-raised, U.S.-based writer and occasional lawyer. Blending insight and wit, he brings a unique perspective to the issues of the day.
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