Prime Time Crime


(Published in the Chilliwack Times week of Jan. 4, 2010)

What would Hank Williams do?

  By John Martin


Personally, I find it quite difficult to get excited about year's end or New Year's Eve. If I recall correctly, I even managed to hit the sack before midnight on the eve of the millennium. If there's one night I'm not interested in going out, surely it's on New Year's Eve. There's something about crowds, overpriced hors d'oeurves and drunks blowing into party favours that just doesn't work for me.

Mind you, I don't totally shun the turning of the calendar. Just about every New Year's Eve I'll have a shot of whisky in memory of Hank Williams, the greatest country and western performer of all time who tragically left us at the tender age of 29 on New Year's Day, 1953. I've always maintained that the world would be a much better place if more people listened to Hank.

Otherwise, the fading of this year into the next is pretty well a yawner. I can't think of any movies and only a couple books released this year that were in the least bit intriguing. Still, like every year there were some notable ups and downs.

Watching Obamania fizzle out as quickly as it spread has been quite amusing. It turns out this supposedly brilliant orator can't even put a simple sentence together without the aid of a teleprompter and is quickly shaping up to be the most ineffective U.S. president in modern times. A year ago he was untouchable but today he looks more and more like a failed, one-termer.

The year was also noteworthy as the climate change cult pretty well forfeited any and all credibility it had manufactured over the last decade. Thousands of leaked e-mails from the cause's leading scientists clearly show they not only hid and faked data, but they also deleted whole data sets that questioned their doomsday scenario. Deliberately scrubbing data is among the most serious breaches a scientist can engage in. Conspiring to ensure that research reaching differing conclusions doesn't get published is nothing but academic thuggery. These aren't scientists--they're activist bullies. And it's gratifying that we're finally seeing the extent of this, the greatest attempted fraud in history.

Domestically, Canada weathered the abbreviated recession quite handily and it appears Stephen Harper's Conservatives will remain in government for quite some time yet. It must be infuriating for Liberals waiting for Canadians to come to their senses and return them to their rightful place in power. I mean, Michael Ignatieff even gave up a cushy post at Harvard to come back and lead us. How much more ungrateful can we Canadians be?

The year almost ended with a bang of another sort with the failed Christmas Day attack by terror suspect Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, accused of trying to blow up a Northwest Airlines flight with 290 people on board by detonating explosive material sewn into his underwear. So naturally the response was to make Christmas travel absolute hell for hundreds of thousands of innocent holidayers. It appears anyone travelling by air will now have to sit quietly in their seat with their hands folded on their serving tray just like a bunch of naughty fifth graders serving a class detention. I don't think I'm flying anywhere anytime soon.

For all the economic and political uncertainty of the past 365 days it would appear 2010 has a strong possibility of bringing something better than these past 12 months did. I, for one, certainly hope so.

And I can't think of a more optimistic way to start the next decade than by putting on some Hank Williams.

John Martin is a Criminologist at the University of the Fraser Valley and can be contacted at


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Contributing 2010