Reading about the people who shaped 2012 is interesting and all. But let’s face it: it’s cooler to be ahead of current events. With that in mind, I give you the Newsmakers of the Year—for 2022.
Stephen Harper. As 2022 comes to a close, Harper is celebrating his 17th year at 24 Sussex Drive—which is quite an achievement considering he ceased to be prime minister five years ago. To this day, political scholars continue to study Harper’s memorable 2017 concession speech, in which he announced: “I’ve placed a call to prime minister-elect Trudeau, congratulated him and told him that I’ll be damned if I’m giving up this job or this house without a fight. They’re mine. TRY AND TAKE THEM FROM ME, PRETTY BOY.” Sources say a bearded Harper spent much of the past year roaming the walled grounds of 24 Sussex in a thick flannel shirt hollering, “Canada! War of 1812! Troops!” at pigeons. He has three times gone to court in an effort to prorogue reality.
Xi Jinping. After a successful 10-year term in office, the leader of the world’s largest country was this year given an important new assignment: to take over as CEO of Alberta, which China purchased in its entirety from Canada in 2018. Xi said he looks forward to visiting Banff’s famed “Gigantic Hole in the Ground Where Banff Used to Be.”
Rob Ford. The flamboyant performance artist who for years convinced the people of Toronto that he was their mayor pulled off his most impressive stunt yet: serving out a full term as secretary-general of the United Nations. In retrospect, the global community probably should have been tipped off to the prank when Ford pulled peacekeeping troops out of Sudan to give him a lift to his team’s football practice. Or that time he tried to build a subway from Yonge Street to Ghana.
Pfizer. The company behind Viagra made news by announcing that its ad agency had, after two decades, officially run out of subtle euphemisms and tasteful imagery for intercourse. “It was just a matter of time,” Pfizer’s CEO said, while repeatedly throwing a football through a tire swing. He used the occasion to unveil Pfizer’s final commercial for its erectile dysfunction drug: it depicts a handsome middle-aged man forming a circle with his thumb and index finger, into which he repeatedly inserts his other index finger while whispering, “That means ‘doing it,’ okay? I’m talking bonertown, population: you!”
High Voltage. Arrested after his novelty song Me Like Pony surpassed two billion views on YouTube, the rapper became the fourth entertainer to be convicted under the Gangnam Style Act of 2013, which outlaws viral videos of irritating songs—unless they include a sneezing panda, which in 2016 was granted mitigating adorableness under international law. A judge sentenced High Voltage and his entourage to the harshest penalty available: one viewing of the Gangnam Style video in its entirety. There were no survivors.
Zombie Steve Jobs. Yes, Apple was in trouble after consumers showed little interest in its iPhonePad MaxiMini (billed as “the biggest smallest super-small big-screen tablet/phone on the market”). And yes, reanimating its visionary CEO did result in a temporary boost to the company’s stock price. But at what cost? Many say Apple has crossed a line by violating the fundamental laws of nature and mortality. Others are just bummed that zombie Jobs seems only to approve apps that are about brain eating.
The sentient swarm of nano-robots that has enslaved us all. Their hive mind is monitoring this and all communications, so: good enslaving, nano-swarm—keep it up! Hey, did you guys lose a few zeptograms?
Gary Bettman. The longest-serving commissioner in pro sports history set a new mark by presiding over his fourth lockout, which he has described as “my favourite, by far.” Looking back, the 2012 stoppage “was good, it was enjoyable, I pulled off some really dickish moments—but I hadn’t yet mastered the ‘Mwaha’ part of my ‘Mwahahahaha.’ It really needs to come from a dark place.” Asked to explain his success in shuttering his sport for a record 2½ years, the commissioner said: “I attribute it to experience, persistence and realizing that, deep down, I just can’t stand hockey. I mean, skates . . . ice . . . the whole thing makes no sense.” Bettman’s plans for 2023 include relocating NHL headquarters to a remote island fortress, where he is building a missile to destroy the moon.
Follow Scott Feschuk on Twitter @scottfeschuk