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Essentially, Canadians regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise
December 15, 2002 7:40 PM   Subscribe

Canadian American Relations According to the Guardian: essentially, Canadians regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise.
posted by blue_beetle (87 comments total)

 
I'm a Canadian, and have been all of my life. I've lived in a border town (Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario), and a metropolitan center (Toronto). I've travelled Canada extensively. Except for a few months following Sept 11 when everybody felt that the US was unfairly attacked, I would say that this article is basically right - Canadians generally have a prejudice towards Americans at large, and frequently make jokes about how Americans know nothing about geography or history.

Not that I am slamming Americans here, just giving a man-on-the-scene perspective. I do have many intelligent and well-read American friends - I'm just reporting on the Canadian prejudice (shared by many countries).
posted by timbley at 7:50 PM on December 15, 2002


newsflash! Lots of Canadians (and everyone at the Guardian) hate Americans (or is that US-ians?)
posted by stupidcomputernickname at 7:50 PM on December 15, 2002


I, as an American, regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise.
posted by 10sball at 7:51 PM on December 15, 2002


Yeah... I'm a Canadian too, and I must admit that I agree with most of what is said in this article.
We, as a whole, look down on Americans.

No.
That's wrong.
We, as a whole, look down on America
And on the American president.
And on the American foreign policy.

But probably not Americans in general.
posted by Newbornstranger at 8:02 PM on December 15, 2002


Letterman's Top 10 Canadian Nicknames for Americans Number 4 has been my nickname for Americans since I saw the broadcast. And yeah, I'm American.
posted by Tacodog at 8:08 PM on December 15, 2002


Where's Canada again?
posted by eyeballkid at 8:13 PM on December 15, 2002


Oh dear. Yes, I would say that the article nails the general feeling towards America (the country) up here, but perhaps it also should mention that Canadians tend to like Americans just fine on an individual basis. Get a few Canadians together, though, in any Tim Horton's in the land, and the conversation, should it swing towards America, will inevitably come around to the same few ideas: America's so called health care system is a sin and a crime ("Did you know you can actually go bankrupt if you can't pay your medical bills?"); American foreign policy is conducted and arranged by aging, over-compensating cowboys with big guns and itchy trigger fingers; and the only thing that keeps America from walking across the border and helping itself to all the natural resources up here is that fact that they own everything anyway.

Also, we really like all those movies and TV shows and American music and American fashion. And we wouldn't mind working down South for a while and making some real money. And New York--what a town! And my friend Mike here is an American--Mike, you buy the next round, you're the one with the cash!

Yeah, it's contradictory.
posted by jokeefe at 8:17 PM on December 15, 2002


Like the great Canadian novelist once said, ". . ."

Well, nevermind.
posted by four panels at 8:38 PM on December 15, 2002


According to my informal survey, Americans don't regard other countries citizens -- at all. Well, if pushed we may say the french are snooty and surrender real quick, but that's just cause the joke has worn so thin that even people who don't understand it can reflexively make it.

Outside of that though - you know in The Breakfast Club where Claire says that the outcasts wouldn't throw her or the jock out of their parties because all of the outcasts look up to that group, and Brian says you're so conceited Claire? Yeah, it's like that.

And shock of shocks - we're pretty much OK with that. Because, while Claire was probably conceited, she was basically right too. And, even if she wasn't, in her (our) world - the outcasts don't really matter that much anyway.

But, feel free to keep sending us your charming raw and finished materials. You may not have noticed, but we're rich as hell and have a powerful appetite.
posted by willnot at 8:50 PM on December 15, 2002


Like the great Canadian novelist once said, ". . ."

I guess you've never heard of Margaret Atwood, then.

As an American, I must agree--our health care system is a sin and a crime!
posted by lannie628 at 9:12 PM on December 15, 2002


I disagree.

Isn't anti-American sentiment much stronger in Europe and the rest of the world? I think Canadians have a much more positive view of Americans than other countries (except maybe Israel).

Sure some Canadians think America is partially to blame for Sept. 11th, but that sentiment is much more prevelant everywhere outside of the U.S and Canada. In France the Sept 11th conspiracy book is a bestseller. I don't think Canadians would welcome that book at all.
posted by bobo123 at 9:17 PM on December 15, 2002


I guess you've never heard of Margaret Atwood, then.
Or Farley Mowatt, or Marshall McLuhan... here's a bunch more.
posted by Stuart_R at 9:22 PM on December 15, 2002


As a canadian I find it easy to hate the u.s. for all it does wrong in the world and to hate the average american for their ignorance.
Unfortunately this misses the point as negativity just provides an easy escape. The u.s. is the most important political, technological, cultural force in the world and any individual or collective attempt to do almost anything in this world must face up to this reality.
posted by nasim at 9:27 PM on December 15, 2002


Canadians regard all Americans as morons, unless proven otherwise.

Gee, what a coincidence ...
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:31 PM on December 15, 2002


As a canadian I find it easy to hate the u.s. for all it does wrong in the world and to hate the average american for their ignorance.

Oh, the irony.
posted by Ayn Marx at 9:32 PM on December 15, 2002


The article rings true except for the "Imagine, if you will, a homely kind of girl..." etc. passage. I don't believe for a moment that Canadians, on the whole, look longingly toward America.

I think NewbornStranger hit the nail on the head: we like individual Americans, but truly detest American politics, stereotypical American behaviours, and the general ignorance/egocentricity of the broad American public.

On preview, I see a couple of (presumably) American folk are getting their panties in a knot what with having been called ignorant. Whinge on all you want, but the fact is that test after test demonstrates that the American public knows S.F.A. about people, events, geography, politics, and economies outside their own tiny, sheltered worlds.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:44 PM on December 15, 2002


Know what, in shear numbers, most Americans don't like Bush either. We also don't like our healthcare policy or foreign policy. We do the best we can. We dole out billions in financial aid. Are an economic power and a cultural center. It's not that friggin easy okay?

Although I agree too many Americans are ignorant of other countries and cultures, I have little doubt if Canada were in our situation they'd be much better. A good many of my friends are Canadian and we trade stereotypical insults for kicks. In the end we all know the situation could flip at a moments notice.
posted by madmanz123 at 9:49 PM on December 15, 2002


Oh, the irony

What irony?

The U.S. is powerful; the powerful are always resented. Another thing that powerful nations do, almost without exception, is to be happily smug in their ignorance of other peoples, cultures and opinions. I bet the same types of criticisms of the centres of power were topical in any province of the Roman Empire way back when.

The self-righteousness of some American discourse is what leaves me flummoxed; without any intention of minimizing or diminishing the attacks of September 11, I have to say it's remarkable how the States seems to think that they are the only country of earth to have suffered such acts of violence on their soil. This is one of the reasons why Europeans are, I believe, in less of a hurry to gear up the machineries of war. This opinion, by the way, seemed to be pretty widespread when I was in England this summer.

[sighs, puts on asbestos jammies]
posted by jokeefe at 9:49 PM on December 15, 2002


Perhaps the US is just Experiencing Technical Difficulties.

(Just found this link - might have been good enough for a front-pager)
posted by Stuart_R at 9:54 PM on December 15, 2002


Oh, brother. It's that lame crutch again, "They Hate Us Because We're Powerful."

Sorry, but that ain't the answer, not for Canada. Canadians really respects power.

But we dislike ignorance, loathe brute behaviour, and can not abide rudeness.

Canadians are, above all else, polite. We hold the door open for strangers, accept their apology for not holding it open for us, apologize for having the misfortune of placing our foot under theirs, accept their apology for having stepped on our foot, and then apologize to the door when it shuts too quickly behind us.

Being polite means that you must come to a mutually acceptable middle ground in everything. Just as you can not refuse a polite action without being impolite, you can not force a polite action on someone, for that makes it an impolite action.

We do not overthrow democratically-elected governments: we respect the right of the people to choose their leader and form of government. Contrast this to the brutish and ignorant behaviour America's government has shown whenever a third-world nation leans even a little to the left.

We do not provide weapons to tin-pot dictators, corrupt religious regimes, puppet leaders, or psychotic madmen. The American government, on the other hand, seems to have a bad habit of arming people who will then turn around and slaughter Americans.

We don't engage in cockfights with other leaders, whipping out our missiles and comparing sizes. We don't give out economy-saving loans with strings attached, we don't say one thing and then do another, and we don't offer peace-keeping forces and then divvy-up the country's assets among our overly-rich countrymen.

We communicate honestly, we offer support with very few conditions, we don't rape, pillage and plunder.

To behave otherwise would be brutish, ignorant, and impolite.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:23 PM on December 15, 2002


I would expect that, along similar lines, Estonians know more about Russians than vice versa--they need to.

I think of Canada sort of like a favorite band--I love it, I think it's too bad that more people don't care about it, yet am not suprised that they lack the good taste or intelligence to (see the "Great Novelist" comment above).

And when I visit, I make sure to properly pronounce "pasta," "bury," and "Toronto" so I don't have to take shit for my stupid government.
posted by mookieproof at 10:26 PM on December 15, 2002


i hold the door for people AND i'm an american
posted by folktrash at 10:30 PM on December 15, 2002


Is McLuhan a novelist? Pardon me, I'm American so English isn't my native language. Oh no I feel faint... I know I should've super-sized my happy meal when I had the chance. Maybe I can make a nice stew out of my ignorance.

For christ's sake, people. I'm a liberal guy, but the fact that my fellow citizens dislike public health care and like to execute people doesn't make them morons or evil. I really don't want to believe the right-wingers but you really are nauseatingly smug and sanctimonious. And I say that as someone who very likely agrees with you on most issues.

And history? If you're willing to give us a little more than 50 years, say a century, I think you'll find there's plenty of ignorance and evil to go around and we didn't fuck up the world all by ourselves.
posted by Wood at 10:32 PM on December 15, 2002


It's not that friggin easy okay?

Isn't that part of the problem, though? You, at least, don't appear to buy into the myth of American exceptionalism that is conveyed through the US media and political machinery. (something that jokeefe understands too.) It's this whole 'greatest nation on earth' spiel, and the 'moral example to the world' stuff, which I'd imagine piques the Canadian national psyche just as it does elsewhere. The Canadians I know are generally sanguine and self-deprecating and worldly (perhaps out of geographical necessity) and that's a more appealing stereotype, if you can call any stereotypes appealing. Apart from Conrad Black, that is - who I don't know personally, but is still obviously a total fuckwit.
posted by riviera at 10:33 PM on December 15, 2002


I'm a liberal guy, but the fact that my fellow citizens dislike public health care and like to execute people doesn't make them morons or evil.

Actually, the last thing does. And at the very least, it means that the US has piss-all chance of joining the EU once Bush sends the country's economy down the shitter.
posted by riviera at 10:36 PM on December 15, 2002


Riviera, that's great, I knew that would be controversial. I'm against the death penalty. I think it's racist and (perhaps more importantly) immoral.

The meaning of "evil" is something that everyone gets to decide for themselves. That's why it's worth jack shit in public discourse. The EU? Eh? Eh? This is going to happen sometime soon? I haven't even heard any serious speculation about the US joining the EU. Wouldn't Canada be a considerably more likely candidate than us? When's that going to happen? Who's working on making that happen? Oh, I get it, you live in a fantasy land. The US economy is bigger than Bush or Clinton. We'll see what happens.

And seriously guys, with regard to that whole history thing, since when is Europe the moral beacon of the world? Sure, socialism is great, just don't accidentally nationalize it.
posted by Wood at 10:46 PM on December 15, 2002


once Bush sends the country's economy down the shitter.

God damn riviera. Usually you have facts, links, and credible arguments...but every so often, it's comments like these that reveal your true nature.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:49 PM on December 15, 2002


I truly hate it when I must agree with Blue Train. Riviera, there was once upon a time when you put away the poisonous invective of your first few posts and became a valuable member. Please return to those days.
posted by scottymac at 10:56 PM on December 15, 2002


You may not have noticed, but we're rich as hell and have a powerful appetite.

...and heavily armed. You forgot heavily armed.
posted by inpHilltr8r at 11:33 PM on December 15, 2002


Canadians have never gotten over the fact that Alaska isn't theirs. It's almost like, the US took the best part and left the rest for them.
posted by Beholder at 11:35 PM on December 15, 2002


I see a couple of (presumably) American folk are getting their panties in a knot what with having been called ignorant. Whinge on all you want, but the fact is that test after test demonstrates that the American public knows S.F.A. about people, events, geography, politics, and economies outside their own tiny, sheltered worlds.

The ignorant calling the ignorant "ignorant." Oh the irony. As an American I find it offensive and even racist (or at least the equivalent to ethnicity or national origin) that you are judging me by a few stupid people who have been interview on Jay Leno. I won’t judge Canadians by the above quote (I refuse to stoop to your level). Please, if you are going criticize me, at least measure up to own standards.

I agree that America acts heavy handed and many times our government takes certain steps it should not. But, how is that different from any other world power? UK? Russia? China? They do the same things, why don’t they take the flack? Oh that’s they not Americans. What can’t m country act its best interest? Why is it when other counties act their best interest they are lauded? Talk about your double standards. I know I’ll evil, I it love it when you telling me I’m evil, I will go repent now.

I have no problem with people telling me America does things that are wrong (most of the time you will find that I will agree with you), but at least keep the discussion to the substance of American policy, but no, the decision usually centers around the allege failings of 260 million people that are allegedly an innate flaw of my countries part of nation character. That’s same argument that has been use, and is still used, oppress peoples in the past. Just replace American with Irish, Jew, Black-America, Hispanic, Asian and see how that sounds.
posted by Bag Man at 12:09 AM on December 16, 2002


Oh, brother. It's that lame crutch again, "They Hate Us Because We're Powerful."

fivefreshfish-- (by the way, you're in Vancouver too, no?) What I meant by saying that "the powerful are always resented" in my post was that the US tends to misunderstand why they get flak, why they are not universally beloved, and why the rest of the world doesn't necessarily agree with their overweening self-love. And that strikes me as an example of political naivete, and, what is worse, an inability to listen to criticism, to sort out serious feedback from casual complaint, to work cooperatively, to countenance the idea that consensus might be possible.

Wood--with all due respect, you may be demonstrating exactly this--reading criticisms of American politics and foreign policy and taking them as personal attacks on the American people rather than as attacks on governmental decisions.

Beholder--Alaska? Really? Pretty country, bears. Already got lotsa those.

I hate to say this, but, sigh, some of my best friends are Americans--two exes included. It's not personal.
posted by jokeefe at 12:11 AM on December 16, 2002


Why would you hate someone for being ignorant? When I encounter someone I consider ignorant I either pity him, since he's missing out on a lot of things, or I envy him, for ignorance is bliss, as they say.
posted by epimorph at 12:36 AM on December 16, 2002


Whenever I'm in Canada and half an half hour or so to kill, I always ask the nearest Canadian what they think of the US. Then I try to look sympathetic as they rant (politely of course).
Then I ask 'em where they plan on taking their next vacation...it's usually California or Hawaii.
posted by black8 at 1:09 AM on December 16, 2002


God damn riviera. Usually you have facts, links, and credible arguments...but every so often, it's comments like these that reveal your true nature.

Yes, that pesky true nature, the one that apparently creeps up when he posts something without having appendixed links to factualize what he says. Wait a second, you didn't post any links backing up your refutal of what he just said, which in turn reveals your true nature!

My post, however, reveals now such, as I have neglected to state anything factually, instead relying on the powers of inter-thread observation and logical deduction. My secret identity is still safe!

-----

I went to Disneyland when I was eight; that would be twelve years ago. While standing in line to go on a ride--I don't know which one--I overheard two people talking about garage door openers. They then mentioned that people in Canada don't have them because we live in igloos. As far as my mother and I could tell (she heard them, too), they weren't kidding because they didn't laugh after, just sort of thought about it for a minute and moved on.

Now, that's purely anecdotal and doesn't prove anything, but I've always found it to be somewhat funny. The average Canadian is probably as stupid as the average American, perhaps a little more polite. The truth it, most Canadians hate America because that's what they think being Canadian is about, probably due, in large part, to not having any knowledge of the great things Canada does and has done on a world level.

Most of our problems in the art world have to do with the fact that we don't seem to have any respect for our art, instead trying to mimic American art (see: every band that the average American knows about from Canada--Nickelback, etc.) to a shameful end.

But, ummm, we've got strong beer. Yaaaaaaaaaaay, go Canada!

(ps - thanks for the movies)
posted by The God Complex at 1:14 AM on December 16, 2002


Whoops! that should be "and have a half hour"
posted by black8 at 1:15 AM on December 16, 2002


The self-righteousness of some American discourse is what leaves me flummoxed; without any intention of minimizing or diminishing the attacks of September 11, I have to say it's remarkable how the States seems to think that they are the only country of earth to have suffered such acts of violence on their soil.

That's absurd. Where do you get that idea? I think the more accurate statement would be; we just ain't as willin' to get used to it... that's all.

What is the point of this thread? Ok, America sucks already, we GOT IT! Jesus Christ. It would be one thing to discuss it once in a blue moon... but over and over and over and it's SO GOD DAMNED EXAGGERATED.

The anti-American bullshit that flies around this site is totally indefensible purely due its nature and not in it being factual or otherwise. It's a pile-on that only serves to make non-Americans feel better about ?... not being American I guess.

Whenever an American tries to offer an explanation as to why things are the way they are, the idea is immediately discounted as rubbish and nothing more than some half-assed excuse.

This isn't a discussion. It's the same peckers lining up to take their anonymous shot at "the man".

On preview, I see a couple of (presumably) American folk are getting their panties in a knot what with having been called ignorant. Whinge on all you want, but the fact is that test after test demonstrates that the American public knows S.F.A. about people, events, geography, politics, and economies outside their own tiny, sheltered worlds.

Yea... right. I am. Because IT'S OLD. Do you feel better now? Good. You're smart, we're dumb.

And that strikes me as an example of political naivete, and, what is worse, an inability to listen to criticism, to sort out serious feedback from casual complaint, to work cooperatively, to countenance the idea that consensus might be possible.

But that's not what it is. What a joke. It's insulting name-calling. It's a lame issue that's been beat into the ground so many times it's absurd.

Americans are ignorant filthy bullies and the rest of the world is "where it's at". Got it. Now shut the fuck up.
posted by Witty at 1:21 AM on December 16, 2002


Witty, it's not "America sucks", it's not "anti-Americanism", it's disagreement. And considering the stakes, with America being the most powerful country in the world and all, and with many of us scared to death of what a war with Iraq might mean for the rest of the world (not to mention Iraqi civilians) aren't we allowed to air our opinions?

Whenever an American tries to offer an explanation as to why things are the way they are

Uh, I haven't seen anything resembling that yet in this thread, many entries of which are in fact attempting to create discussion. Though I would say that telling us to shut the fuck up is not.
posted by jokeefe at 1:55 AM on December 16, 2002


Is that border between you two still undefended?
posted by vbfg at 2:29 AM on December 16, 2002


jokeefe: Uh, I haven't seen anything resembling that yet in this thread, many entries of which are in fact attempting to create discussion.

That's because it's already been done before too many times, with little to no effect. Canadians hate Americans (or whatever version of what that means you want). "Here's an article that states that fact... and to most Canadians, it's pretty close to true." Great!

And the point of this thread is? No one likes our ideas as to why we score lowest on a geography quiz. No one likes our explanation for why we might be more nationalistic than other countries. No one likes the reasons why most Americans don't seem to travel as much as people from other countries. Etc. Etc. Etc.

It's an opening for a bashfest... an opportunity for every non-American in here to belch out all the reasons why we suck... over and over again. The FPP is inflammatory in itself. Canadians can go eff themselves for all I care... or not. Whatever.
posted by Witty at 4:41 AM on December 16, 2002


vbfg>Not if our efforts to decriminalise pot go through, it won't be ;D

As a Canadian, I can verify that there's a lot of anti-americanism in the broad sense - disdain for the American people. However, it should be noted that it's not really a hatred or contempt for them, as those are far more serious emotions. Rather, it's just a sort of bellyaching, and should probably be taken about as seriously as any sort of complaining for complaining's sake.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 4:52 AM on December 16, 2002


we don't seem to have any respect for our art, instead trying to mimic American art . . . to a shameful end.

You may have overlooked the striking God Speed You Black Emporer, and A Silver Mt. Zion.
posted by four panels at 5:03 AM on December 16, 2002


Greeks hated Rome, too, all the while Greeks sold themselves into slavery in the hope of eventually becoming Roman citizens.
posted by swerdloff at 5:20 AM on December 16, 2002


You know, this is just plain silly. So what if we Canadians have negative things to say about Americans? Doesn't mean anything. Canadians certainly don't hate Americans, and if it came down to a fight we'd be side by side. So what's the big deal? We're not about to invade you, and you're not about to invade us (leaving aside that whole War of 1812 thing).

I have nasty things to say about my brothers all the time. Doesn't mean I don't love them, or I'm not willing to do anything for them. When you're enemies, you talk about how evil the other country is. When you're wary allies, you talk about how good the other guy is. When you're close allies, you snipe about petty differences with impunity. Only because we're both secure in our friendly relationship are we able to act this way.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 5:39 AM on December 16, 2002


Bag Man said What can’t m country act its best interest? Why is it when other counties act their best interest they are lauded? Talk about your double standards. I know I’ll evil, I it love it when you telling me I’m evil, I will go repent now.

America is a special case because it is much more powerful than any other country. When America makes mistakes with its foreign policy, whole countries are ruined, regions are destabilised, people stave. When Norway makes similar mistakes... well, nothing much happens.

With great power and influence comes great responsibility. It is for this reason that riot police can't throw those rocks back at the protestors.

Anyway, I'd just like to share an observation. We talk about Americans as if they all share this wealth and power. But there are plenty of people living in America who are negatively affected by the laws of that country; there is a scary amount of poverty in the USA. In fact, the vast majority of people living in America do not benefit as you might expect from residing in the world's only superpower.
posted by MarkC at 5:58 AM on December 16, 2002


I guess what I was trying to say was... the people who should be complaining most about America on this thread, are those living in America. Why aren't they?
posted by MarkC at 6:01 AM on December 16, 2002


Well, as an American who subscribes to NHL Center (er, Centre?) Ice, I can verify that Canadians have the funniest frickin' commercials I have ever seen.

Wasn't there a Molson one about an American dude making fun of a Canadian guy in the office, and the Canadian dude pulled his suit jacked over his head like a hockey jersey and proceeded to pummel him?

That was really funny to this American.
posted by adampsyche at 6:04 AM on December 16, 2002


we burnt down your white house. :)
posted by mrplab at 6:06 AM on December 16, 2002


Pseudoephedrine vbfg>Not if our efforts to decriminalise pot go through, it won't be ;D

Speaking of irony . . . I will watch with interest how the strongest anti-smoking regime around digests a new smoking material.
posted by dazed_n_confused at 6:09 AM on December 16, 2002


Speaking as a Canadian, American ignorance is definately something to laugh and talk about up here. But when people criticize Americans or America, we're usually talkin' 'bout their government or 'bout the body of American civilians known as "lowest common denominator" (think the type of people who enjoy Fox, minus the brilliant Sunday evening lineup, and generally way too much cable TV).

The unfortunate reality is that this body of Americans are the hard-working Joes who're driven to the ground by American corporations to such an extent (long hours, unreasonable stress, etc.), that they become politically, socially, and culturally isolated. After a hard day's work, Americans want quick food (think of the barrage of crap that passes for food) and lotsa TV, not engaging themselves in anything intelligent or socially fulfilling.

Yeah, it's quite Chomsky of me to say so, but that's the way I see it.
posted by freakystyley at 6:28 AM on December 16, 2002


MarckC: America is a special case because it is much more powerful than any other country. When America makes mistakes with its foreign policy, whole countries are ruined, regions are destabilised, people stave. When Norway makes similar mistakes... well, nothing much happens.

Which only magnifies the fact that we are humans like the rest of the world and therefore inevitably make mistakes.

We talk about Americans as if they all share this wealth and power. But there are plenty of people living in America who are negatively affected by the laws of that country; there is a scary amount of poverty in the USA. In fact, the vast majority of people living in America do not benefit as you might expect from residing in the world's only superpower.

Preach on brother. Nothing teaches you about who a real American is until you do not have enough money to eat three meals a day. (Hint: It isn't you.)
posted by Tystnaden at 6:31 AM on December 16, 2002


madmanz123: Know what, in shear numbers, most Americans don't like Bush either.

I'm not really one of the Americans that likes Bush, but I think a +/- 70% approval rating shows that, in "shear" numbers, most Americans do approve of Bush's job performance (of course, maybe you meant something else by "like" -- like as a friend, maybe?)

Anyway, I do have to agree with Witty on this one -- why do so many people get their rocks off on "____ hates America" posts? Fine, we suck. We are the scourge of the earth. My proposed solution? We point our ample supply of nuclear missles at our own cities, ridding ourselves of ... ourselves. We'll be sure to wait for a day that a north wind is blowing, so the radioactive fallout doesn't harm our universal health care-loving* friends. Of course, that could be bad for Mexico, but I think I once read in the Guardian that Canadians don't like Mexicans, either.

*somewhat off-topic: I have a daughter with a fairly rare genetic disability, and I participate in several email lists for parents. I can't tell you how many times a Canadian family has expressed despair over (for example) the fact that their daughter started having seizures, but they couldn't get an appointment with a neurologist for months. Most were so desparate that they were planning to travel to a U.S. doctor and pay out of their own pocket. I'm not passing judgment -- just passing along anecdotes.
posted by pardonyou? at 6:39 AM on December 16, 2002


Ahh, Canada. How I love your beer and Degrassi Jr. High.

Just an admirer to the south.
posted by jbelshaw at 7:02 AM on December 16, 2002


The only reason that Bush has 70% approval ratings is that he and his pals have whipped up a constant state of "war" (Oceania has always been at war with Eastasia) for the past while. Americans love to rally around the flag in times of "war", and that is one of the things that Bush does know.

This "war" and (newly-discovered) "terrorism" is a gift horse for the current US government ratings. If you'd like to know about approval, take some pre-Sept 11 2001 numbers...
posted by websavvy at 7:05 AM on December 16, 2002


i never new canadi-uhnz were soo smart!!

freakystyley said it right, the U.S. thrives because it lets corporations run their hardworking folk into the ground, and our politicians live in the pocket book of these businesses.

There are many of us here that are saddened and frustrated by what our foreign policy has done, and also saddened about the uphill battle it is for the have-nots to get a decent education.

Oh well, back to trying to find a new job.
posted by yeahyeahyeahwhoo at 7:08 AM on December 16, 2002


It’s a little late in this discussion to be introducing this idea, I guess, but did anyone else notice that article made Americans look stupid and made Canadians look like pathetic wannabes? As an American, I believe that the Canadian gifts of hockey and John Candy more than make up for Shatner and Celine Dion. What did the English give the world? Crumpets? Mr. Bean? I think we all know who the real enemy is here, and I’m not going to take anymore shit-talking about our continent. Down with England!

All this stereotyping is making me hungry. Time for a Big Mac, supersized!
posted by Samsonov14 at 7:47 AM on December 16, 2002


This "war" and (newly-discovered) "terrorism" is a gift horse for the current US government ratings

{i can picture savvy doing the "quotation mark hand gesture"}

perhaps i cannot none the less: savvy, Fighting a war against terror is a gift horse? Are we looking it in the eye? consulting said horses' veterinarian? Padding him down for dental records are we? Bosch.
rallying around the flag, with no "war" kinda looks like Godot after a year or so wouldn't you think.
so are we doing that, waiting for godot, roughing up poor nations, dictating policy world wide, sending threats world-wide in hopes of starting "wars"?

Maybe you are right and this is just an imperialistic fashion show
posted by clavdivs at 8:14 AM on December 16, 2002


As a Canadian, I am tired of the media play this is getting. It does seem rather petty. I am also sick of Canadian identity being defined by how we are not American. Canadians seem to dislike American flag waving patriotism but I find Canadians to be just as nationalistic, what's worse, we need a lame beer commercial (hello Molsen) to make us feel good about ourselves. My two cents, eh.
posted by btwillig at 8:22 AM on December 16, 2002


The only area where Americans are more ignorant than we are is in their knowledge of Canada, which, of course, is what hurts our feelings. We grow up watching American TV and movies, reading American books and periodicals, listening to American music and taking American vacations, so we're reasonably well informed about the U.S.

American ignorance about Canada is no greater than Canadian ignorance about Mexico, for example.
posted by timeistight at 8:49 AM on December 16, 2002


I agree Timeistight, I always found Rick Mercer's Talking to Americans to be a cheap shot. Funny, but cheap.
posted by btwillig at 8:55 AM on December 16, 2002


Well... I always did like "You Can't do that on Television".
posted by LoopSouth at 8:56 AM on December 16, 2002


This thread, and it's premise, are bashing American people. Read the linked article in the Guardian (certainly not the home of objectivity). Read the comments that assume 70% of Americans are so stupid they're brainwashed by corporations.

Luckily, here's the thing. Americans don't really care either way. We'd love for the world to love us, but if not, we're not going to make decisions we disagree with. And in any case, I don't know of any one thing that there is an American consensus on. Have we made mistakes in foreign policy? A lot. But when you're asked to intervene in every foreign policy matter, you can't expect at least a few. Should we atone for some? I think so, but that's beside the point.

Americans are the stupidest people in the world? Amazing how even though we don't know the capital of Kyrgyzstan (well, I do, but I'm going to assume that most don't), we still have the world's greatest universities, the world's greatest R&D firms and the world's strongest economy. We still have the most charitable giving from private sources of any nation in the world. The most health care breakthroughs. The best health care (though it's not free, it's also not filled with red tape).

We joke about Canadians being stupid drunks, but they don't print Guardian articles that say "Americans hate Canadians, think all are stupid drunks" because it's just friendly jocularity. What the Guardian did was apply the same thing in reverse. Proposterous.
posted by Kevs at 9:08 AM on December 16, 2002


Having read the article & the subsequent discussion I had to go back & re-read just to make sure but I think that if anyone is being criticized by Engels, its Canadians. He's trying, quite carefully IMO, to paint a picture of the conflicting relationship Canada has with the US.

So why Witty feels the need to resort to petulant foot-stamping and the whole 'Not fair being anti-American' whine is kinda confusing. But amusing nonetheless ;-)

On preview: Kevs. Take yer own advice. Read the article.
posted by i_cola at 9:22 AM on December 16, 2002


The truth it, most Canadians hate America because that's what they think being Canadian is about, probably due, in large part, to not having any knowledge of the great things Canada does and has done on a world level.

Or Farley Mowatt, or Marshall McLuhan...

and james cameron! i saw it in parade :D
posted by kliuless at 9:29 AM on December 16, 2002


Back to the topic at hand: we sure do!
posted by monkeymike at 9:54 AM on December 16, 2002


What kind of cheese is that? American cheese? That's right, American cheese. American cheese.
posted by gyc at 9:58 AM on December 16, 2002


Most Americans don't know who their own senator is so, why should they care about Canada? Americans are lazy and ignorant for one reason--they can be.
posted by batboy at 10:12 AM on December 16, 2002


Read the comments that assume 70% of Americans are so stupid they're brainwashed by corporations.

Interesting figure, considering that nearly 2/3 of Americans are overweight. I'm pointing this fact out to clearly show the relationship between corporations and American consumption.

While I wouldn't go as far as calling it brainwashing, the effect that occurs can't be denied. Through advertising, corporations have taught Americans that fast food is now healthier than ever, the freezer should be filled with pizza pockets, and eating properly requires time and money.

Not only is the questionable foods industry enjoying this irresponsible consumption, but the pharmaceuticals have gotten on this bandwagon by teaching Americans that pills can solve everything. Consider the barrage of new medication advertised on the telly we're seeing recently. Medication for depression, weight, ADD, etc.

Going back to my "lowest common denominator" post, most Americans have waved their right to personal responsibility by literally eating up this sh*t. Think of Court TV, where 90% of the people are obviously unreasonable to begin with. Think of that guy who's suing those 4 fast food chains. Think of the existence of infomercials.
posted by freakystyley at 10:31 AM on December 16, 2002


Rebuttal from the Toronto Star. Or whatever.
posted by blue_beetle at 10:44 AM on December 16, 2002


"We joke about Canadians being stupid drunks, but they don't print Guardian articles that say "Americans hate Canadians, think all are stupid drunks" because it's just friendly jocularity. What the Guardian did was apply the same thing in reverse. Proposterous."

I do not feel this article is simply cheap anti-americanism, but the correct illustration of a country's state of mind.
The guardian may not be the top for objectivity, but they still have to write about current issues, right?

Here in france anti-americanism is considered as:

1/ a way to reassure ourselves, and to hide our own flaws

2/ a way to prove that we, too (by we, i mean Europe, not France) are a great nation capable of many things. YOu should have read what the journalists said here after Chirac (who i tend to dislike but who was right on this one) told G.W.Bush he could where he could shove it about the Iraq situation and the unwillingness shown by the American gvt to listen to the UN.

People in Eu (except for Blair that is) were proud of it.
Can it be anti-americanism?

....No, we were just happy that for once, a president stood up against a certain form of america imperialism.

I see the canadian situation quite in the same way.

That said, we in EU (or at least, most of us), even when in disagreement with the US' policies/capitalism/ect, do still admire for America's first ideas/thoughts about democracy.

I mean, just read Tocqueville's essay about democracy in America.


Sorry for my english btw.
posted by Sijeka at 10:48 AM on December 16, 2002


freakystyley...you've actually proved my point. The assumption that people become overweight because they're decieved by commercials or corporations is what I can't accept believing. No one will tell you that they think fast food is healthy. Everyone knows it's bad for you. Very few believe that Prozac is a miracle cure.

However, many think that McDonalds tastes good, and for many, Prozac does help with depression, for example. It's a matter of personal choice. Whether we on Metafilter think that the guy who eats McDonalds every day is ignoring long-term risks, and likewise, whether MeFiers think that voting for Bush is leading to calamity, the people who eat at McD's every day or vote for Bush know exactly what they're doing. To assume that the 'masses' can't make rational decisions but we can requires quite a lot of chutzpah, I would say.

Apologies for going slightly off-topic; back to Canada...
posted by Kevs at 10:58 AM on December 16, 2002


Dear [Canada],

This is an automated response thanking so much for your helpful input. Due the the extremely large volume of opinions, however, we may not be able to get to it right away, as unfortunately "Telling America How It's Wrong" has become quite the rage (in fact, we understand it's even become a required course at most European universities - and, strangely enough, at a number of US universities as well).

We will, however, put your submission in the Great American Inbox, under the several million other equally insightful pieces we've received from just about every freakin' country on earth. Due to the fact that we answer our correspondence in the order in which it is received, you can expect to hear from us in approximately [9.75] years.

Sincerely,
The United States of America
posted by MidasMulligan at 11:01 AM on December 16, 2002


For the record, I think Engels' argument in this piece overstates the "envy" factor in Canadian attitudes toward the US, and misses almost completely the "resentment" factor. Much moreso than any other country on earth (with the possible exception of Mexico), Canada is forced to take the US into account with regard to seemingly every detail of its domestic affairs.

A contemporary example: the currrent move toward decriminalizing marijuana, which most Canadians think is a fine idea. It in no way affects the US - positively or negatively - what sort of criminal charge is levied against a person possessing small quantities of marijuana on Canadian soil. The suggestion that it'll lead to more pot being exported to the US not only overlooks the current reality of the cross-border pot trade but the basic economic rules of supply and demand. (Pop quiz: which factor is most likely to cause Canadian marijuana exports to increase - the decriminalization of simple possession or the 300-percent mark-up on the product available south of the border?)

And yet still the news is quickly filled, within days of the announcement, with the stern warnings of Washington's drug czar and threats of a tighter border.

The average American's ignorance about Canada is perfectly understandable (how would such knowledge be useful to the average American?) and really more amusing than irritating. It's the overall power imbalance - and the certainty that there's nothing the average Canadian can do to change it - that breeds genuine resentment.

And that, perhaps, is why "anti-Americanism" (a term used so broadly and in so many contexts as to be virtually meaningless, by the way) in Canada is mostly directed not at the American people but at the American government.
posted by gompa at 11:07 AM on December 16, 2002


Personally, my dislike of Americans stems directly from their basic lack of manners. I just got back from a couple of weeks in Belize, and, as always, I was amazed at just how rude, loud and obnoxious Americans can be outside of their own country. Then again, they're not much better at home either...
posted by Polo Mr. Polo at 11:27 AM on December 16, 2002


as always, I was amazed at just how rude, loud and obnoxious Americans can be outside of their own country.

Come to Florida and watch the %^*#& snowbirds, me bucko.

Lots of people from everywhere are boors, at least when traveling.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 11:41 AM on December 16, 2002


Snowbirds aren't Canadians, they drunk Quebecois. We send 'em to Florida 'cause the alternative would be to push 'em out on ice floes.

Come to think of it, we should push 'em out on ice floes...
posted by five fresh fish at 12:20 PM on December 16, 2002


American cheese.

Pah! American cheese. Bland, plastic, only Edam comes close in the zero-flavour stakes. There are many things worth praising America for, but trust me, the cheese isn't one of them.

Likewise mints, and chocolate.

Your produce, on the other hand, now there's something worthy of praise. I've never enjoyed salad so much...
posted by inpHilltr8r at 12:53 PM on December 16, 2002


four panels, I know who Godspeed You! Black Emperor and The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-la-la Band are. You could have mentioned Setting Fire to the Flames, too, but they're still comprised mostly of the same members. I wasn't disparaging all Canadian art, simply pointing out that on a general scale Canadians have no respect for their own music and try to mimic an American sound. We also validate our success in much the same way, sadly. Being a good band in Canada doesn't count for much in Canada, unlike, say, Australia, where they don't seem--at least from an outsider's perspective--to care nearly as much about American success of their bands.

Also, it's pretty late in the thread and perhaps nobody will read this, but someone told me recently that the last Canadian book printer went bankrupt and now Canadian publishers have to send their stuff to the states to be printed. If that's true, it's pretty sad. Perhaps they should have used Cancon to help literature, too.
posted by The God Complex at 2:59 PM on December 16, 2002


I just assume all people are morons unless proven otherwise, regardless of nationality (or any of the other factors, for that matter).
posted by Ufez Jones at 3:20 PM on December 16, 2002


A person is smart. People are dumb. Heard that some where at some time. Sounds like a good way to look at things. Except for the individuals on Jay Leno.

Leno: What is bigger, the sun or the moon?

Stupid person: Uh....the moon?

THE MOON??!!! I need aspirin.
posted by Ron at 3:33 PM on December 16, 2002


Also, it's pretty late in the thread and perhaps nobody will read this, but someone told me recently that the last Canadian book printer went bankrupt and now Canadian publishers have to send their stuff to the states to be printed.

that may be, but US comic books are all still pretty much printed in canada :D ho ho ho!
posted by kliuless at 3:51 PM on December 16, 2002


Post #1

Whenever an American tries to offer an explanation as to why things are the way they are

Response to post #1 (Post #2)
Uh, I haven't seen anything resembling that yet in this thread, many entries of which are in fact attempting to create discussion. Though I would say that telling us to shut the fuck up is not.

Um that's not the point. The point poster one making was that when the US tries to defendant itself and present legitimate reasons for doing what it does, many MIFIs simply pooh-pooh legitimate proffered reasons with out even responding to their substance. They dismiss them because the US government or an American said it, regardless of the content of what he/she said. That’s unfair and it makes people look stupid, ignorant and racist. Not to mention it make your argument very week. Americans and the American government do things for a reason, sometimes for good reasons, sometimes for bad reasons.

I think what poster #1 was getting at something I feel strongly about. It is that every other country in the world takes actions and makes justifications for their action, good or bad. The difference between the people’s reactions to these countries and US? Most of the people on the site and around the world do not even the criticize substance of what US has done. Often the "debate" is no debate at all; it is simply a free for all filled with cheap shots and mud slinging. Further, few people outside the US acknowledge that the US and it's government do things for good reason, not just we because we like to fuck over the rest of the world. I guess I'm just a self-righteous American for wanting to debate on the merits and my view consider for their content. How rude of me for not wanting to join in your bigoted bashing of an entire country.
posted by Bag Man at 5:42 PM on December 16, 2002


Americans love to rally around the flag in times of "war", and that is one of the things that Bush does know.

As do ALL PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. The above comment is ignorant to the politics and history.
posted by Bag Man at 5:58 PM on December 16, 2002


Whenever an American tries to offer an explanation as to why things are the way they are[...]

A hefty chunk of chunky working-class Americans is scared. They are afraid of being assimilated into the wide wide world, because then they will have to compete, on equal footing, with people who are smarter, prettier, and less voracious, for withering wealth-packets which are reckoned by merit rather than buffered by birthright. The warranty on their "Grace of God" lifestyle is approaching its expiration date, and they can't stand it. So, they regress to knuckle-dragging stupidity and chest-thumping swagger, and they throw primitive, imperialistic mudpies, in a forlorn attempt to stop their assimilation, to tourniquet their hemorrhaging egos...to shore up their shores, azzitwhirr.

(Just one in a series of nonsensical, dime-sized, chicken-fried observations from the fine little folks at Moe's Miniature Almanac and Apothecary.)
posted by Opus Dark at 9:50 PM on December 16, 2002


Dear [Canada],

This is an automated response thanking so much for your helpful input. Due the the extremely large volume of opinions, however, we may not be able to get to it right away, as unfortunately "Telling America How It's Wrong" has become quite the rage (in fact, we understand it's even become a required course at most European universities - and, strangely enough, at a number of US universities as well).

We will, however, put your submission in the Great American Inbox, under the several million other equally insightful pieces we've received from just about every freakin' country on earth. Due to the fact that we answer our correspondence in the order in which it is received, you can expect to hear from us in approximately [9.75] years.

Sincerely,
The United States of America


Dear America

Thank you for your automated response. We are rather disappointed that you couldn't answer in person, especially since we were asked quite directly by your President whether we were 'with you' or 'against you'. Until that point we hadn't actually had an opinion on the matter.

Yours in confusion

The rest of the world
posted by Summer at 3:30 AM on December 17, 2002


A project which would do wonders for Canadian/American relations (as well as Upstate NY): A New York-Montreal TGV. It would be so nice to train up there in three hours, or so. Very pretty ride. Wonderful city, Montreal. Lots more Americans would discover their neighbors to the north (and no, taking a plane doesn't cut it and doesn't have the cultural impact of a train).
posted by ParisParamus at 7:49 AM on December 17, 2002


French fries and mayonnaise? Come on.
posted by hama7 at 11:15 PM on December 17, 2002


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