Join 3,430 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


I don't understand what's so hard to comprehend.
October 16, 2013 4:33 PM   Subscribe

CBC host Peter Oldring discusses customer services at Canadian border crossings with Officer Murray Swift. Five minutes of unbelievable audio.
posted by dobbs (54 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Dang. Looks like I've been had and it's a hoax. Poop.
posted by dobbs at 4:36 PM on October 16, 2013


You're not the first to be had by This is That.
posted by jamincan at 4:40 PM on October 16, 2013 [7 favorites]


Not a hoax, satire. It's the CBC's radio version of The Onion. Remember when The Onion printed a story that the US Congress was demanding a retractable-roof dome, and some Chinese newspapers picked up as a serious story and printed it?
posted by thewalrus at 4:40 PM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


I'd hate to have to answer the phones at the CBC after each episode of This is That.
posted by klanawa at 4:47 PM on October 16, 2013 [9 favorites]


That was great. I was not aware of This is That and assumed that Canada had chosen its surliest representative to hold these workshops. Glad to hear that it's satire, I'm still laughing. Now off to listen to it again!
posted by ActingTheGoat at 4:49 PM on October 16, 2013


They should do a whole show of just messages people call in. The calls they played after the show where they claimed that the Calgary Aquarium was closing and they were going to barbecue all the fish "to give back to the community" were classic. I almost choked to death I was laughing so hard.
posted by sneebler at 4:55 PM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


Went through Canadian Customs this past weekend. Interviewee nailed the brusque, factual, impatient tone of the questions.

That said, I went through Customs at record pace. Incredible. Pre-clearance on the way back took easily three times as long.
posted by maryr at 5:03 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I went through Canadian customs once, touring with my band, and they detained us for an hour, questioned us, tried to trick us, scared us, searched the van. No joke. It was bizarre.
posted by Zerowensboring at 5:13 PM on October 16, 2013


Every time I hear This is That and they do the listener call-in, I too hope it's part of the joke because the majority of the "news stories" they run are too ridiculous to anywhere believable.
posted by Kitteh at 5:17 PM on October 16, 2013


I'd hate to have to answer the phones at the CBC after each episode of This is That..

I believe there's a bill going through Parliament right now to force a name change to "This Is Satire". Which would help, but there's still a solid 57 percent of the populous who don't know what satire is.
posted by philip-random at 5:21 PM on October 16, 2013


Every time I hear This is That and they do the listener call-in, I too hope it's part of the joke because the majority of the "news stories" they run are too ridiculous to anywhere believable.

Never overestimate the intelligence of a radio call in show audience. This is how Phil Hendrie makes his living.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 5:23 PM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


He was a little too mean a little too quickly, and so defensive right off the bat, my instincts kicked in (thanks, improv!) and I thought, This has to be a joke. Opened up the link for comments here, et voilĂ ! Suspicion confirmed.

And as someone who's been to Canada a number of times, the "spokesman's" demeanor didn't gibe with my experience of crossing their borders. They've always been very friendly, unlike officers in some places (lookin' at you, UK Customs at Heathrow!).
posted by droplet at 5:27 PM on October 16, 2013


This is That is one of the best radio things on the CBC
posted by Bwithh at 5:31 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Not a hoax, satire.

Satire usually has a point. Or, like, a funny part. This is That is just a load of lies and I hate that my tax dollars are paying for it.
posted by Sys Rq at 5:33 PM on October 16, 2013 [6 favorites]


He's almost as rude and hilarious as Judge Judy, and she's not satirical (although I pretend that she is).
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 5:35 PM on October 16, 2013


i was wondering why the reporter wasn't coming back with something like, "do you think you're really qualified to teach guards better people skills?" or "this is my interview, i'll ask the questions" - he seemed rather unsure of himself
posted by pyramid termite at 5:47 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


You're not the first to be had by This is That.

The first time I heard it, it was with increasing incredulity to an absurd "initiative" of the government, and then I realized that it was fantastic satire. It's done in such a deadpan manner it can fly under the radar for a while.
posted by nubs at 5:52 PM on October 16, 2013


Well, crap. I forwarded the link to two Canadian friends before I realized it's a spoof.

Fun fact: I fell for it, because that is exactly my experience crossing the CDN/US border.
posted by Short Attention Sp at 6:03 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


My first experience with This Is That was the report about the guy who commuted into Toronto from the suburbs by bicycle along the 401 highway. Even though it made no sense at all that the reporter and the guy were actually doing the commute in 16 lanes of rush hour traffic, it just sounded so real that it took me many, many minutes to accept that it was in fact not real at all. Weird.
posted by ThatCanadianGirl at 6:20 PM on October 16, 2013


This is That is just a load of lies and I hate that my tax dollars are paying for it.

Screw you, taxpayer!
posted by codswallop at 6:22 PM on October 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


I'd hate to have to answer the phones at the CBC after each episode of This is That.

"I have infinite antipathy for you ..."
posted by Kabanos at 6:42 PM on October 16, 2013


It's not even satire, it's just comedy. Now, it's posing as a news show a la As It Happens but it's not really political enough to be satire.

It is hilarious and the best comedy from the CBC in years though. Prairie sod hotel? Genius. Every week there's at least one absolutely genius piece.
posted by GuyZero at 6:44 PM on October 16, 2013


Which would help, but there's still a solid 57 percent of the populous who don't know what satire is.

That's easy. It's got goat legs, maybe plays a pipe.
posted by RobotHero at 6:45 PM on October 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


Earth Hour is a globally recognized holiday that encourages households and businesses to power-down for one hour each year at the end of March. By doing this they hope to raise awareness about climate change. Inspired by this annual event, a group in Calgary is proposing a similar day of action to raise awareness about human ingenuity and invention.

They are calling the event Innovation Hour and it would ask people of the world to turn everything in their houses and businesses on, or "run it hot," for one hour.
posted by mannequito at 6:51 PM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


God, those border guys are fuckers.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:04 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


Satire usually has a point. Or, like, a funny part. This is That is just a load of lies and I hate that my tax dollars are paying for it.

to be clear. Satire definitely has a point, but it doesn't need to be funny. Case in point, A Modest Proposal. Indeed, the humor often comes form the discomfort inherent in the point. You either laugh or scream. At least, that's what I picked up in English 12.

This Is That definitely has a point. Something to do with getting us to question the various tonalities of serious media. But unlike a lot of smart comedy (John Stewart etc), they don't give us any nods, nudges, winks. Eventually, the sheer absurdity of what they're presenting either gets us laughing or firing off an angry email.

The one that almost got me (the first time I ever heard the show) concerned an initiative in Newfoundland to make wearing of helmets mandatory for all automobile drivers and passengers. I'm tall. My head already brushes the ceiling of some cars. I was livid at the stupidity of it, and seriously contemplating some kind of response when I suddenly remembering hearing about this new radio show ......
posted by philip-random at 7:07 PM on October 16, 2013 [2 favorites]


The one I remember getting a lot of outraged reaction was their story on a Texas town adding sugar to its water supply to encourage more people to drink water.
posted by Dasein at 7:31 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


This Is That definitely has a point. Something to do with getting us to question the various tonalities of serious media.

Well, it's certainly aping the various tonalities of serious media, but, like, why? What is the point? What is this supposed satire actually saying?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:46 PM on October 16, 2013


This Is That definitely has a point. Something to do with getting us to question the various tonalities of serious media. But unlike a lot of smart comedy (John Stewart etc), they don't give us any nods, nudges, winks. Eventually, the sheer absurdity of what they're presenting either gets us laughing or firing off an angry email.



This Is That beats the pants off The Daily Show and almost everything comic on the radio. It's one of those brilliant things that seems all soft and cuddly, but the satire is cutting. It has all the form of many shows on CBC radio, but the content is absurd. I love it.
posted by anothermug at 7:50 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


I hate that my tax dollars are paying for it.

Jesus Murphy, there are so many other dumb things that our tax dollars pay for, like Don Cherry's salary, production tax credits for television programs that demonize illegal migrants, Kevin O'Leary... I'm damn sure Tom Flanagan sucks from the public teat, FFS.

This show is enjoyable.
posted by KokuRyu at 8:10 PM on October 16, 2013 [11 favorites]


I deeply enjoy watching folks on my facebook feed foolishly fall over themselves through failing to figure that this show's segments are satirical. That'll teach those itchy-trigger outrage vampires.
posted by blue t-shirt at 8:18 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


You guys, the "angry phone calls" they play on the show are all made by actors, too. I remember hearing some real call ins to another show the same day as This and That recently, and the difference was obvious. Real callers ramble, swallow their words, and miss the timing for their punchlines.

(OK, maybe there are a few real calls mixed in -- they obviously manage to hook some people -- but I hear the same voices almost every week.)
posted by maudlin at 8:40 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Sys Rq: Well, it's certainly aping the various tonalities of serious media, but, like, why? What is the point? What is this supposed satire actually saying?

They're saying: "Can you believe you fell for this absurdity? You really need to be more critical about what media (including the CBC) tells you to believe"
posted by Popular Ethics at 8:41 PM on October 16, 2013


I love This Is That. They just perfectly capture that annoying, "folksy," CBC Talk Radio vibe.
I was laughing out loud in the car at the segment about the Government banning phrases, like "bless you" after someone sneezes. Listen to the end, for the suggested replacement phrases.
posted by chococat at 9:00 PM on October 16, 2013 [3 favorites]


"There is absolutely nothing controversial about pants."
posted by oulipian at 9:26 PM on October 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


What happened? Until the CBSA came into being Canada customs was a pleasure to deal with. All of a sudden you have angry sarcastic (armed!?) young men and women who treat you like shit on their shoe.

Hit up YouTube and you can watch reality TV shows that cover customs/excise/immigration from the UK, Australia and Canada. One of them is clearly not like the others.

I tell you what, it's un-fucking Canadian is what it is.

I don't get it? What changed? Can we change it back? I sure as hell don't think we're any safer!
posted by fingerbang at 9:42 PM on October 16, 2013


I don't get it? What changed?

Stephen Harper's Canada stepping up
posted by philip-random at 11:03 PM on October 16, 2013 [4 favorites]


After crossing the border into Vancouver a couple of times it'd been hard for me to feel too bad about how US customs treats people.

We're not the only assholes.
posted by flaterik at 11:38 PM on October 16, 2013


On a scale of 1 to 10 of dickitude, CBSA ranks somewhere around a 5 or 6, US CBP/ICE at 8.5 or 9.
posted by thewalrus at 12:36 AM on October 17, 2013


I hate that stupid show. It's NEVER funny.
posted by antiquated at 9:17 AM on October 17, 2013


They're saying: "Can you believe you fell for this absurdity? You really need to be more critical about what media (including the CBC) tells you to believe"

So... They're lying, and then blaming the people they're lying to for believing their lies.

Bravo.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:40 AM on October 17, 2013


So... They're lying, and then blaming the people they're lying to for believing their lies.

Everyone in the news game lies, whether intentionally or not. These can be small lies like getting reactionary interviews about complex policies, or large lies like taking quotes out of context and giving prominence to non-credible expert opinion. We cannot easily escape our biases. It is thus incumbent on all of us to be critical about *everything* we hear. At least with This is That, the biggest consequence of the "lies" is wild laughter and/or mild embarrassment.
posted by Popular Ethics at 9:56 AM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


At least with This is That, the biggest consequence of the "lies" is wild laughter and/or mild embarrassment.

And rising public support for defunding the CBC.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:02 AM on October 17, 2013


Fine, nurse your grudge. I bet you get angry at the Onion, or when Marg Princess Warrior interviews politicians too.

Obviously this hit some important notes. Read Fingerbang's comment. The CBSA has changed over the years, to the point where we aren't as surprised as we should be that a caricature of a border guard harasses a journalist. That's a message.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:21 AM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


I bet you get angry at the Onion, or when Marg Princess Warrior interviews politicians too.

I'll take that bet.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:47 AM on October 17, 2013


I bet you get angry at the Onion

IT'S NOT EVEN A REAL ONION. It's some kind of newspaper!
posted by oulipian at 11:22 AM on October 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Don't believe half of what you see and none of what you hear.
posted by fullerine at 12:08 PM on October 17, 2013


See also: North American House Hippo
posted by oulipian at 12:36 PM on October 17, 2013


The point of This is That is to make my laugh hysterically once a week. Personally, I think it is a great use of tax dollars. Maybe I'm a little biased?

My partner got a chance to meet two of the comedians from This is That and asked me if I wanted to ask something... ZOMG YES! ... are the call in's real? YES! Apparently, some people who have been duped actually call back, chagrined. Knowing that the talk-back is real makes it funnier. That guy who thinks that a rule to make every Quebecer where the same pants is a good idea for provincial unity? He is in on the joke and is probably stoked to get on the radio.

This show is soo Canadian, and in particular western Canadian. I grew up on Codco and Kids in the Hall, and to hear the overdone prairie accent; it slays me.
posted by Gor-ella at 12:38 PM on October 17, 2013 [4 favorites]


After crossing the border into Vancouver a couple of times it'd been hard for me to feel too bad about how US customs treats people.

We're not the only assholes.
posted by flaterik at 11:38 PM on October 16 [+] [!]



on the other hand, cross into Vancouver and you'll see some of the most smartly dressed (a la Demolition Man future cops) - and hottest! - border control men and women you'll ever hand your passport over to. US border guards slobs by comparison
posted by Bwithh at 2:21 PM on October 17, 2013


This show is soo Canadian, and in particular western Canadian.

oooh that's interesting. What is it that makes its style Western Canadian?
posted by Bwithh at 2:22 PM on October 17, 2013


New list ranks Canadians as the most unattractive people in the world

This Is That is hit or miss for me, but the hits can be legendary.
posted by PercussivePaul at 9:23 PM on October 17, 2013 [1 favorite]


Every time I hear This is That and they do the listener call-in, I too hope it's part of the joke because the majority of the "news stories" they run are too ridiculous to anywhere believable.

You want Down the Line for that.
posted by MartinWisse at 6:39 AM on October 18, 2013


This week's episode was one of the better in recent memory, particularly the second segment where they talk to a daylight savings expert.
posted by mannequito at 1:05 AM on November 3, 2013


« Older Interiors of the Chelsea Hotel...  |  The Scout Report "is the flags... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments