Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Canada, the 51st State

The title is not meant to be provocative, or even a joke. As I've mentioned recently, I've been listening - pretty much non-stop - to novelty radio (there are 95 shows, most 2 hours long, 5 gigs on the hard drive). Starting at Oct 22 2005, I've reached show #34 (July 2, 2006) whose topic is "America: Good, Bad & Ugly." There are a few Canadian anti-American type songs, trying to distance themselves from American stereotypes and decrying our crass ignorance and our missiles.

And what I find strange, and what these Canadians hate about people like me, is that I don't actually consider Canada a foreign country. I think of it as a combination of Vermont-Minnesota-Montana. All three states are cold, flat, and filled with White People; all may have cities; all are strange but brother locales.

It helps that Canada actually shares phone area codes with the US; and shares part of Baseball. Yes, our national sport, where we joke about the inappropriate title of "World Series" - yet, it's the only sport where we don't bat an eyelash that it contains non-Americans. And if we decided to do that with Football or Basketball, I don't think there'd be a problem. Note, hockey doesn't count because (basically) it's like baseball in reverse (the Canadians have allowed us to join *their* league).

I make no distinction between Canadian and American actors/celebrities, friends or students. And I'm probably not alone in this. Do people care that Mike Myers, Brendan Fraser (star of "The Good American"), Matthew Perry (what a "Friend"), Kiefer Sutherland ("Jack Freakin' Baeur") are foreigners?

Canadians are just as new a country as we are so there's no need for them to have the European snobbishness to our outre power. Whlie it sounds facile, I want to reassure Canadians that the fact that we consider you Americans is an unprecedented admission by our jingoistic selves. We don't feel that way about any other country. True, we have a special connection with any place that speaks English (so that explains why we - or at least the GOP - detest Mexico, even though much of our country actually came from there), but please interpret our mental incorporation of your country into our Union as sincere flattery.

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