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Friday, March 02, 2007

Nobody likes me, everybody hates me

I hear a lot about how people all over the world hate Americans. This is an established fact in Canada. If you try to suggest that it might not be true, you will hear a story. It will always be the same story:

When Canadians travel internationally, the locals are always suspicious and hostile until they see the Canadian flag on the traveler’s backpack/purse/lapel. (Of COURSE there is a Canadian flag somewhere on the person’s body! Go ahead and forget your passport – just don’t forget your maple leaf!) Upon seeing the flag, the locals reverse course and welcome the Canadians to their homes/iglus/yurts. Personality doesn’t matter: the only thing that’s important is that the locals don’t think they’re Americans.

Don’t bother suggesting otherwise. Canadians cling to this story like it’s the last helicopter out of Saigon. They are already preparing to defend it to the death in the comments box. They KNOW this is true! They’ve seen it happen! It happened to a friend! How dare I suggest otherwise?

The funniest part of this story is that Canadians are convinced that they have a fabulous international reputation. All those threats from al-Qaeda specifically naming Canada are just a joke. Osama’s mistaken. We aren’t the enemy! What’s important is that we’re not in Iraq! Everyone knows this, and it changes everything!

Canadians are so frantic to distinguish themselves from Americans that they haven’t bothered to establish a Canadian identity. Go ahead: ask a Canadian what it means to be Canadian. If you get any answer at all, it will be something along the lines of “Um, NOT an American.” How descriptive!

I am reminded of Borat’s interviews a few months ago in which he passionately defended Kazakhstan and viciously denounced Uzbekistan. Hilarious, right? How many differences could there possibly be? I imagine that this is what the locals in Poland, Botswana or Turkmenia think when they watch Canadians desperately flashing their maple leaves.


Anonymous said...

I have heard this story! I've actually heard of Americans claiming to be Canadian just so they're treated better.

Steve & Megan said...

Americans believe this story too?

Torq said...

Heh, yeah, because CANADIANS are never taken hostage or mistreated! That's why when I was living overseas I told everyone I was Canadian.

Anonymous said...

Hey, at least for you it was half true.

Steve & Megan said...

Right. Tell that to Jim Loney.