Due respect and condolences to family, fans and friends of longtime Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, 80, who passed this morning from pancreatic cancer.

The Canadian-born Trebek was a widely admired professional, mentally agile and fast on his feet and always “a true gentleman”, as the saying goes. And he showed real steel and cosmic resolve as he grappled with cancer over the last couple of years.

That said, I never felt a profound kinship with Trebek — no offense. I may have watched two or three episodes of Jeopardy over the last 35 or 36 years, but that’s all.

Should we now condemn Sting‘s harshness and cruelty for having written “you could say I’d lost my belief in our politicians…they all seem like game show hosts to me”?

Or should we ease up and let it go, understanding that Trebek and others in his professional realm have a certain role to play in our culture, and that as shallow and appalling and angled at the mob as many game shows are (Jeopardy was at least amusing and informative) they bring no particular harm?

Trebek’s parents were George Edward Trebek (originally Terebeychuk), a chef who had emigrated from Ukraine as a child, and Lucille Lagacé, a French-speaking Ontario native. I had always presumed that Trebek was a Czech name.