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March 23, 2005

Dear Canada: It's Not You, It's Me

It's time for Canada to get over its junior-high crush/hate on America and find a country that it might actually have a chance with:

WHENEVER I THINK OF CANADA . . . strike that. I'm an American, therefore I tend not to think of Canada. On the rare occasion when I have considered the country that Fleet Streeters call "The Great White Waste of Time," I've regarded it, as most Americans do, as North America's attic, a mildewy recess that adds little value to the house, but serves as an excellent dead space for stashing Nazi war criminals, drawing-room socialists, and hockey goons.

Henry David Thoreau nicely summed up Americans' indifference toward our country's little buddy when he wrote, "I fear that I have not got much to say about Canada. . . . What I got by going to Canada was a cold." For the most part, Canadians occupy little disk space on our collective hard drive. Not for nothing did MTV have a game show that made contestants identify washed-up celebrities under the category "Dead or Canadian?"

If we have bothered forming opinions at all about Canadians, they've tended toward easy-pickings: that they are a docile, Zamboni-driving people who subsist on seal casserole and Molson. Their hobbies include wearing flannel, obsessing over American hegemony, exporting deadly Mad Cow disease and even deadlier Gordon Lightfoot and Nickelback albums. You can tell a lot about a nation's mediocrity index by learning that they invented synchronized swimming. Even more, by the fact that they're proud of it.

Why wasn't I informed immediately?

After slamming Canada for a time -- which is easy to do, of course, but, contra Conan, that is what is best in life, that which is easy -- he goes up to visit this Great White Waste and see what makes it such a compelling place for leftists fleeing the tyrannical Bush regime.

Why, it's almost like Colorado in Atlas Shrugged, except colder and far less interesting.

Thanks to Joe Mama, if that is his real name, which I doubt.

And Robert offers:

I have come to learn over the years that almost all Canadians have a problem with the better US economy, jobs, the exchange rate, etc.

To compensate, Canadians are forever talking up their country. Any cab driver will be happy to relate how clean Canada is, or how uncrowded, compared to the US, even if not asked. After hearing about the many that came during the Vietnam years - about a million times - I finally developed a strategy to deal with this crap.

Now, when I get into a Canadian cab I preempt them: I go on and on about how clean Canada is, etc., etc. Then, I look about with admiration and I say: "We should buy it".

This usually is the end of the conversation.

I will remember this. If I'm ever in Canada, which I really doubt I will be, I will use it, and silently hat-tip you, sir.

And Speaking of Ayn Rand... Time for one of my all-time favorite literary put-downs.

"You don't think much of me, do you, Mr. America?" asked Canada.

"I don't think of you," said America.

I love that line.


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posted by Ace at 01:35 PM

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