Some corners of the Whistler web have launched some criticism that our annual Best of Whistler feature is nothing more than a popularity contest.
Well, truthfully, since the entry gaining the most votes wins, that's accurate.
But popularity doesn't necessarily mean undeserving. It's uncommon to say these days, but a person, establishment or event can find a way to be beloved by the masses on its own merits. I haven't yet familiarized myself with every winner on our lists yet, but I can't argue against any of the people's champions who have served me.
That said, of course, well-organized campaigns can spring up and, worthy or not, bring votes with them.
(I am, admittedly, shocked that I collected any votes at all, let alone enough to take third in the Best Writer contest. Many thanks to all who wrote me in, though I would endorse any of my talented colleagues if anyone is taking notes for 2016.)
It means a lot more in an age of voter fatigue. That term is usually reserved for things that actually matter, like when any civic, provincial and national elections are held relatively close together.
But these days, everyone is clamouring for your vote.
A social-media-savvy former co-worker recently won a contest for best crying-kid-on-Santa's-knee photo.
Snack companies are asking us to cast ballots on which waist-expander we would tighten our belts to purchase.
If I never see another entry in my timeline grovelling for some band or another to play some crowd-sourced show, it'll still be too soon.
Regularly, these appeals come in the form of a, "Hey, please vote for (me/this/them) as a favour because that would be cool and/or I'm bored. I'll never ask for anything again!"
You're not expected to scope out the competition. You're just supposed to look around for your acquaintance's name or suggestion and click it and wait for the good karma to roll in.
These types of campaigns make sense on the part of the organizers, of course. If you're putting together an event or selling a product, it's reasonable to expect that if some number of people can be peer-pressured to support an entry, some percentage of them will be persuaded to shell out some cash later on.
Even if it's a fairly innocuous contest, like the bawling baby photos, you're driving a heck of a lot more traffic to your site and helping out your #brand by having people plaster links to your site all over Facebook and Twitter.
But while the number of web hits you can generate seems to be the be-all, end-all these days, is there not something to be said for choosing the best entries yourself and having the strength of your convictions?
Sports fans, of course, are no strangers to begging, being constantly inundated with appeals to vote for their favourite players for inclusion in a meaningless all-star contest. Oh, and you can vote 25 times a day, every day!
Earlier this month, statuesque 6'8" Arizona Coyotes face-puncher John Scott was elected as the Pacific Division captain for the upcoming NHL All-Star Game in Nashville.
Scott's 11 points are roughly the league average for the 2015-16 season. Unfortunately, the 33-year-old from Edmonton accumulated that dunce's dozen total over 285 games since entering the league in the 2008-09 season. He's spent time in the second-tier American Hockey League this season since the mediocre Coyotes don't even have much use for him.
Contrary to the hordes of old-school scribes protesting the vote, this isn't about protecting any perceived sanctity of the event itself. Unlike other off-the-wall campaigns, like the one to send Canuck defenceman Rory Fitzpatrick to Dallas that fell just short in 2007, this one seemed to have a mean-spirited edge to it, hoping for the slow-footed Scott to flounder in the new three-on-three format with only two teammates — not the regular four — to cover for him.
Democracy is a central tenet to Canadian society that countless men and women have died for, but I won't feel horribly disenfranchised if Mountain Dew takes away my option to elect Code Red over White Out and Supernova just as long as none of those flavours end up deciding foreign policy for the years to come.
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