Hey, did you guys see that video of the drunk guy singing Bohemian Rhapsody? How about last weekend’s punch-up between Justin Trudeau and Patrick Brazeau? Awesome, right? Though, true, not as awesome as those news stories about pink slime in fast food and crushed bugs in frappuccinos.

In the cultural marketplace that assigns high values to buzzy ephemera through traffic measurement and social-media sharing, there are plenty of reasons for pessimism among those who care about the future of an engaged citizenry. If people can’t even be trusted to pay attention to the issues that directly affect them and their communities – because, frankly, the online parade of bread and circuses is so much more fun – what chance do we have of changing what ails us?

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