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Old 05-31-2004, 02:05 PM   #1 (permalink)
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Are Americans Ignorant to Canadians and Their Culture

I found this article written by David Hillis. I have never heard of him before, but he has a great perspective on the problems between the two countries. I hope this one stays open as I have provided the article, as well as the source site. Any opinions on the article or it's contents would be great to hear. Thanks.

I totally agree with everything that this man says in this article. In my opinion American's are ignorant to what is going on around them, I mean they still think Iraq is a just war.

Rick Mercer just proves it with his show Talking To Americans, they know nothing about the world around them, and not just average Americans but Ivy League Professors and Politicians. Theyare so wrapped up in themselves that it is turning more and more people against them.

I mean if they know nothing about Canada their apparent "closest ally" then how do they know what we really feel about them.
Here's the source site http://flathat.wm.edu/September28200...nsstory2.shtml

Quote:
Americans ignorant about Canadians and their culture

By David Hillis

In the course of a typical day, there are several international flights landing in America from all over the world, many of which travel over large distances of an ocean to reach the United States.

So, when a national emergency strikes and all airports close down, as they did on Sept. 11, what are all of those flights going to do? They can't return to wherever they departed from, because they don't have enough fuel left.

So what happens when every airport in America shuts down? We divert many international flights, which could also be hijacked and used as bombs, to Canada. Now, on top of that, Americans are being critical of Canada for being too slow to help on Sept. 11.

Ironically, one of the most moving tributes was not aired on NBC, ABC, CBS or CNN. Rather, it appeared on a station called CBC, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Many readers may have read former Canadian broadcaster Gordon Sinclair's commentary.

Still, when something goes wrong and our President thanks our allies during a joint session of Congress, the Canadians are not noted for their support, let alone any mention what a tremendous help it was that they took in several thousand American citizens at virtually the drop of a hat. It seems that the Canadians were, yet again, totally ignored.

Yes, Canada, the second largest landmass in the world. Yes, Canada, where all of those draft dodgers ran to in the '60s. Yes, Canada, that other cold nation where everyone is a socialist. Yes, Canada, the target of much good-natured jabbing from sources like Comedy Central's "South Park" ("Blame Canada"), Fox's "That '70's Show" (Canadians don't count) and countless other facets of American popular culture.

It seems as though American popular culture has, as Al Capone put it, "no idea what street Canada is on."

For all of the fun that the Americans have had insulting Canadians, however, the Canadians have had just as much fun humiliating Americans and have actually done a far better job of it. On one episode of the popular Canadian comedy show "Kids in the Hall," Scott Thompson quipped, "Americans know about as much as Canadians as straight people know about gays."

More recently, Rick Mercer has done a masterful job of exploiting America's ignorance of Canada. One of the hosts of the popular Canadian television show, "This Hour Has 22 Minutes," he hosts a segment in which he goes to America and asks all sorts of people questions about fabricated current events in Canada. As Americans, we are all to willing at act like pundits on issues we know nothing about, providing Canadians with countless hours of entertainment.

Examples include Harvard students signing petitions to stop the slaughtering of seals in Saskatchewan, people in Chicago congratulating Canada for "making beaver balls your national dish." The Governor of Arkansas, Mike Huckabee said, "Congratulations Canada on preserving your national igloo." In Iowa, Governor Tom Vilsack congratulated Canada for going to the 24-hour clock (they formerly used the 20 hour clock, like the French). Mercer even got Presidential candidate George W. Bush, who said "I'm glad to have the support of Prime Minister Jean Poutine." Poutine is a French term for French fries in gravy.

On Monday, Sept. 24, Bush and the real Canadian Prime Minister, Jean Chretien had a meeting, during which Bush praised Chretien as a brother, and officially said that he was glad to have Canada's support. With any luck, we, as Americans, will make nice with our neighbors to the north and maybe even learn a thing or two from them.

When facing a national tragedy, as we are now, it is always helpful to have a laugh at someone else's expense. In this case, I hope that we can limit that someone to Osama bin Laden and his followers and prove our strength by embracing both ethnic and religious diversity, as the Canadians do.

David Hillis is a guest columnist. His views do not necessarily represent those of The Flat Hat.

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Old 05-31-2004, 02:14 PM   #2 (permalink)
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Yes.
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Old 05-31-2004, 02:19 PM   #3 (permalink)
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Yes what? You agree with the article.
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Old 05-31-2004, 02:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Yes, we are ignorant of Canda's culture and history. I'm not proud of it, but it's true. I've discussed this with Canadians before and there ws no denying that they could slap us around in a game of cross-cultural trivial pursuit.

Edit: of course, I should probably speak for myself. I'm sure an average joe in Buffalo, NY would be a lot more knowledgable than the folks down here in southern Louisiana.

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Old 05-31-2004, 03:14 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I think apathy might be a better description, or at least the reason.

Something that popped into my head also:
People from other countries will often state that Americans no little about the rest of the world. This may be true, but how many of these other countries have 50 minicountires in them. Heck how many of our states are larger than most/all of the countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
I, of course, know I'm over simplify and there truly are alot of stupid people in the US, but still I think we are often unfairly given crap.

Last point: About the article, if the author has a problem with "Blame Canada", he problably shouldn't read "A Modest Proposal".
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Old 05-31-2004, 05:25 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Canadians like hockey and bacon.


What else is there?
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Old 05-31-2004, 06:23 PM   #7 (permalink)
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To repeat an old joke, the Canadians had the chance to have British culture, French cuisine, and American technology. They screwed it up so bad they have American culture, British cuisine, and French technology.

All jokes aside, I agree with what RAGEAngel9 said. There's so much going on inside our own country that we really don't need to worry about what's outside our borders unless we really want to.
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Old 05-31-2004, 07:05 PM   #8 (permalink)
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To repeat an old joke, the Canadians had the chance to have British culture, French cuisine, and American technology. They screwed it up so bad they have American culture, British cuisine, and French technology.
LOL!!

Beautiful...
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Old 05-31-2004, 08:20 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Well....most of us don't know jack about Mexico, but I don't hear them bitchin'.
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Old 05-31-2004, 08:29 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I like the 50 mini-country analogy. Most of my own foreign knowledge only comes into play with it effects national policy or something similar. To be honest I could barely tell you anything about other states in the union.
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Old 05-31-2004, 08:32 PM   #11 (permalink)
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No one is really bitching, it's more so why are Americans so wrapped up in themselves? They aren't any better than anyone else.
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Old 05-31-2004, 08:39 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I don't think us living our lives means we are wrapped up in ourselves... The only reason the rest of the world is so exposed to America is because of globalization and the exportation of everything, if someone else were top dog it would be the same way. I'll equate it to high school politics. Canada is the AV club, and we are the jocks and prom queens, and its upsetting because everyone is up our shit, but we aren't up in theirs... it's just we don't have, nor need a reason to care.
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Old 05-31-2004, 09:08 PM   #13 (permalink)
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Not caring about what goes on in the rest of the world is what gets Americans into trouble. I'm not sure about the high school comparison though because on the world stage America is "up in everybodies shit", and Canada is the quiet peacekeeper.

I can kind of agree that it has to do with globalization and exportation, but a lot of it has to do America's own ignorance and arrogance.
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Old 05-31-2004, 09:15 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Alright, you guys are the disgruntled nerd girl who wants us to ask you out on a date? Also I really don't think we are all that arrogant, and I resent you saying that. I'll admit as a human being I hate indifference, but seriously, tell me it matters if I know jack shit about what goes down in Canadian politics? I mean, it'd be one thing if we were exposed to anything from Canada outside of Labatt Blue, but we aren't, we have enough shit happening in our respective cities/states let alone the country.
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Old 05-31-2004, 09:47 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Sorry to have offended you by calling Americans arrogant but that is my opinion, I've lived in the States and have traveled there quite often, and that is what I have found.

I mean people have asked me if there is snow outside in Canada when it has been June, and many other odd things.

It should matter that you know nothing about Canadian politics or Canada in general because well then you really have no right to complain about any decisions that the Canadian government makes (like not getting involved in Iraq), yet the States always has something to say even though they don't always know what is going on.
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Old 06-01-2004, 04:30 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by silent_jay
No one is really bitching, it's more so why are Americans so wrapped up in themselves? They aren't any better than anyone else.
The USA is the best country in the world -- why would Americans need to look elsewhere?

I think a better question to ask is why some Canadians are so desperate for approval from Americans. If you don't want to be treated as the USA's little brother, silence those who act like it.
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:37 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by The Original King
Canadians like hockey and bacon.


What else is there?
I was there this past weekend and I swear to God that 6 out of every 10 cars was a Pontiac. 95% of those were Sunfires with silly decals. I was dumbfounded. We came to the conclusion that Pontiac is the Microsoft of Canada (the actual conclusion was that, since GM has factories in Canada, there was less import tax, fees, etc.)
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:37 AM   #18 (permalink)
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The only people who think that America is the greatest country are well Americans. Now I know that everybody thinks their respective country is the greatest, but is any other country hated so much on a world scale? Why are they hated because they are ignorant about other countries politics and cultures. It isn't that you have to look elsewhere but you (most Americans) know nothing about the world around you.(most Americans)

I'm not desperate for approval from Americans (I think you meant me by typing some) if not well then IMO Canadians aren't looking for approval from Americans. Most Americans wouldn't like to hear what average Canadians really think of their country.

I wouldn't say Canada has been treated like USA's "little brother" look at the relations between Bush and Chretien not exactly on friendly terms. Now along comes Martin and I might start to agree the longer he is around the more we will be treated like "little USA" because Martin is really interested in kissing Bush's butt, for one reason or another.
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:38 AM   #19 (permalink)
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It always makes me chuckle when I hear Americans refering to Africa as a country.
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:40 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by MrSelfDestruct
I was there this past weekend and I swear to God that 6 out of every 10 cars was a Pontiac. 95% of those were Sunfires with silly decals. I was dumbfounded. We came to the conclusion that Pontiac is the Microsoft of Canada (the actual conclusion was that, since GM has factories in Canada, there was less import tax, fees, etc.)
There are an overabundance of shitty Sunfires with body kits and decals. In my town alone we have at least 20-30 Cavaliers, Sunfires, Sunbirds, with the whole fancy body kit and grapefruit launcher exhaust. It really is quite comical that they actually think they are cool. Everybody knows that the engine hasn't been touched in these cars just the outside so that makes them fast, in their opinion.
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:34 AM   #21 (permalink)
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On the "50 minicountries" argument, how many people know what is going on outside their state? Outside their immediate region(Northeast, West coast, South, etc)? I know that there were some tornados across the midwest this weekend, and that's about it for outside my state. We have an apathy about our own goings on too, probably because the media gives us so much bullshit sensationalism about Scott Peterson and Kobe and whatever else is selling newspapers that we don't have the energy to look past our own front door.
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:58 AM   #22 (permalink)
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Poutine is a French term for French fries in gravy.
That's French Fries with Cheese Curds smothered in Gravy. Sheesh!

And yes, that is fatal. And yes, it tastes good.

Why do Canadians care?
1> You are our neighbour. We get upsent when our neighbour isn't neighbourly.
2> If some terrorist blows up New York, Canada will get some fallout.
3> Your politicians play shell games with imports and exports in order to bribe constituates for votes. This causes economic damage, and it annoying.
4> Your government and corperations lobby for stupid things, like infinite-duration copywrite, or absurdly broad and generic patents, which distorts our political system.
5> Economic instability in the USA, due to Canada's massive-trade-nation status, and the size of our trading relationship, can cause damage to the Canadian economy.
6> Your constitution is a beautiful document, and many of the precipts upon which your government was built are laudable. The structure build up since is sometimes less so.
7> Many of your citizens are great people, who have done great things.
8> You can't spell colour or cheque.
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:38 AM   #23 (permalink)
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Do something interesting and I guess we'll start caring. All you guys ever do it seems is rag on us or claim how much more free/better you guys are.

Go away.
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:44 AM   #24 (permalink)
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Originally posted by silent_jay
Rick Mercer just proves it with his show Talking To Americans, they know nothing about the world around them, and not just average Americans but Ivy League Professors and Politicians. Theyare so wrapped up in themselves that it is turning more and more people against them.
Okay, just to clarify, I'm American.

Anyway...

I've seen quite a few of the "Talking to American" skits. I find them hilarious. That being said, I don't think that the people on the skits are that stupid, it's more of the fact that they have a camera in their face and they don't want to disagree with the guy interviewing them.

And Mercer says things really quickly. And in that Canadian accent that is just so hard to understand sometimes If you're getting interviewed and the guy asks you something that you know is just a bit off, are you really going to question it? I'm not sure that I would.

I love the skits though, they're so damn funny.

Am I ignorant? No, not at all. There are plenty of things that I don't know about Canada, but I think I know quite a lot. I'm lucky enough to have Canadian friends. I've spent time in Alberta and Ontario. I've been to Montreal, but is Quebec still a part of Canada?

I know much more than the average American I'd say. I've learned a lot through my Canadian friends and I've asked them questions. Would I know so much if I didn't have these friends? Probably not. But don't lump all Americans into one big bunch of idiots. And we won't assume that every Canadian can ice skate and is a lumberjack
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Old 06-01-2004, 09:28 AM   #25 (permalink)
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Canadians like hockey and bacon.

What else is there?
Well for one thing we have the best beer in the world and for another, the most beautiful women, which when mixed at the proper time should easily make Canada the envy of the world.

On the whole though I'd say proportionally speaking there are as many dumb Canadians as there are dumb Americans. This common bond at times seems eerily present more often than not.

Enough said, my neighbour is coming over for dinner and I have to send some smoke signals to confirm the time.
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:30 AM   #26 (permalink)
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The oddest thing about Canada is that everbody drives around with their lights on in the middle of the day.

God bless Canada. Our money's worth more there, the food's great, the women are hot in a simple kind of way, and good beer flows like rainwater. Go Canada!!
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:45 AM   #27 (permalink)
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I kinda gotta agree with Phaenx. What is there to pay attention to? Granted, im about as far away from Canada as you can get and probably know much more about Mexico's political affairs than Canada's.

But as far as i can tell, while you are a large land mass, and you are our neighbors, there isn't a whole lot to be interested in. It seems to me, that as a whole, Canada isn't active enough politically, militarily or whatever in the world to warrant our attention. Aside from trade with the US, Canada just isn't a strong enough force to matter what your opinions are. Be honest, if Canada doesn't like whats going on someplace else in the world, does it really make that big of a difference to anyone? Its not like your known for your strong military either....

If your politics dont make enough of a global impact to be in the news, well, practically ever, then there is no reason to expect American's to go spend their time learning all the intricacies of your culture.

Sure, you may all know about us, but come on, with as big of an impact as our politics make to the rest of the world...you kinda have to pay attention to what we are doing.

And as someone else said, its kinda like Mexico. As a whole what does a Canadian citizen know about mexico? Probably nothing. Why? Because Mexico makes almost no difference in your day to day living. Thats pretty much how Canada is to us... or at least to me.
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Old 06-01-2004, 11:08 AM   #28 (permalink)
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Originally posted by powerclown
The oddest thing about Canada is that everbody drives around with their lights on in the middle of the day.
Daytime running lights. Basically, a car with lights on looks like a moving car. A car without lights on looks like a car parked on the side of the road. The lights are for other people to see, not for you to see.

Newer cars have them standard, and sensible people with older cars turn on their lights manually. (by old, I mean pre-1990ish)

Quote:
Peryn typed:
It seems to me, that as a whole, Canada isn't active enough politically, militarily or whatever in the world to warrant our attention. Aside from trade with the US, Canada just isn't a strong enough force to matter what your opinions are.
Considering Canada exports nearly as many goods to the USA as China does... "aside from trade" seems like a pretty big exception!

The second, minor, impact we have had on the world was that wierd little idea called "peacekeeping".

The third impact is generally the fact that Canada is a rich industrialized nation that the world doesn't hate. And yes, this is an impact, and a useful tool.

I will admit that the USA spends 1/3 of Canada's GDP on their military alone. =) (They also spend 1/3 of Canada's GDP on health-care forms. Not health-care, just the paperwork surrounding it. baka) So, if your only goal is not to be nuked, you can safely ignore Canada. Canada has never chosen to build an atomic bomb (although we did rent a few for a bit, we have none currently). However, to be fair, if Canada chose to become a nuclear power, it could probably happen overnight.
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Old 06-01-2004, 04:09 PM   #29 (permalink)
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I dislike the way that "americans are..." is being thrown around.

Don't you think it's a little self-indulgent and narcissistic to say that "all americans" are anything in particular?

You like to get your opinions of Americans from your own biased reporters and that moron Rick Mercer- whose only existence is to furhter himself by putting people on the spot and make fun of them for your entertainment. He is just trying to make a name for himself and some money for his pocket. His show, while humorous at times, is useless as an "example" of Americans as a whole.

That'd be like me taking every Rick Moranis/John Candy movie I've ever seen and taking that as my "example" of Canadian culture.

There are a lot of people whose responsibilities far outweigh the ability to take time to educate themselves on other people's cultures. Like lower-class people care about your culture when they're trying to put food on the table? Like middle-class people care about the particulars of the Canadian lifestyle when they're trying not to get fired, downsized, or trying to get rehired from the same. Not to mention that the people in this country are hounded by the news media to constantly be afraid- it's what keeps us all in check and them in control. People who live in fear are easy to control. The upper-class and the rich sometimes don't care about anyone but themselves, but that goes for any culture. For those who DO care, they are great philanthropists and are concerned with the world at large.

In the days of constant fear tactics lobbed at us by the media, job problems and money tightness, not to mention all the other problems like social security, health care, etc., when exactly do you think we're going to stop what we're doing- when we already are running behind in our own lives- to bone up on Canada?

I think it's a liiiiiiiittle unnecessary to assume that because you're not the center of our attention we (as a whole country) don't care about you. In a country with as many people as we have, it is not all that difficult to find a handful- or even several handfuls- of ignorant people.

Shit, I know entire neighborhoods of redneck morons. Doesn't prove anything about Americans as a whole.
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Old 06-01-2004, 04:43 PM   #30 (permalink)
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As a Canadian I find the whole... why don't Americans know anything about us rather boring. My reply, much like those above is why should they care what happens in Canada (or the rest of the world for that matter?).

The reason many Canadians notice this lack of interest by Americans is because we, as your nearest neighbour, are inundated with American culture (moreso than any other nation in the world). We naturally assume that the information flow is a two way street and when we discover it isn't it has two general effects: 1) we resent the lack of attention, 2) we feel superior.

It's comforting to feel superior.

As for Rick Mercer... moron? Not even close. This guy is one of the best political satirists of today... in any nation. Talking to Americans gets blown out of proportion. It's funny not because it is nasty humour, belittling Americans... it's funny, especially to Canadians because it taps into that superiority I mentioned above. There is a bit of smugness involved but mostly it is just poking fun at the bully... you know if he gets wise he's going to smack you down.
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:24 PM   #31 (permalink)
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Do Canadians know German politics?

The reason I ask is because Germans get annoyed if Americans don't know about our culture. So do Mexicans. So do the British, and the French, and Italians... They all get annoyed because they think that since they know who OUR president is, we should know who THEIR leader is.

However, since Germans don't know the Canadian PM, they don't care if a Canadian knows the German PM.

Americans are held to an insanely higher standard than anyone else. The fact of the matter is that Canadians dont know who the US president is because they are more cultured or intelligent, they know who he is because he is much more important to their lives than the Canadian PM is to Americans' lives.

Americans knew who was running the USSR, back in the day, because it was important to. It simply isn't important to know who Paul Martin is.
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:31 PM   #32 (permalink)
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I agree, Rick Mercer is far from a moron and I agree that I shouldn't lump all Americans into one pile. There are ignorant people in every country.

I do get my opinions of Americans from different sources, I watch CNN but it is a terrible news channel, nothing but propaganda and bullshit. Something huge can happen in the world and CNN will show the cat that got stuck in a pipe in Mississippi before it will show anything about the story. I'd much rather watch CBC or BBC they have more information on the world as a whole.

The American president more important to Cnadaians lives, I hardly agree with that Canadians know who he is because they want to see what he is going to pull next.

Be it invade a country, stutter through another speech, tax softwood lumber, play with the steel market again, piss off the rest of the world. He thinks the world is his playground and he can do as he pleases. Time will tell the legacy George W. Bush leaves behind, my opinion is it won't be good.
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:54 PM   #33 (permalink)
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This is not something new since Bush took office. Americans were just as ignorant of Canadian culture when Clinton was in office too. And Clinton was more important to Canadian lives than the Canadiam PM was to American lives at the time too, hence the source of apathy. Bush has nothing to do with this issue.
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Old 06-02-2004, 05:47 AM   #34 (permalink)
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IMO the American president is never more important than the Canadian PM to Canadians, that just makes no sense, Clinton, while I think "Slick Willy" is great he was not more important to Canadian lives than Chretien, and it would be nice if you backed it up with something at least not just saying it.

Bush just as unimportant only more comical to watch and listen to.
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Old 06-02-2004, 08:28 AM   #35 (permalink)
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Canadians are sheep.

Last edited by analog; 06-02-2004 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:18 AM   #36 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by bad30th
Canadians are sheep.
Such a pity statement... and so polite too. What a nice American.

Last edited by analog; 06-02-2004 at 12:32 PM..
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:32 AM   #37 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by silent_jay
IMO the American president is never more important than the Canadian PM to Canadians, that just makes no sense, Clinton, while I think "Slick Willy" is great he was not more important to Canadian lives than Chretien, and it would be nice if you backed it up with something at least not just saying it.

Bush just as unimportant only more comical to watch and listen to.
No one ever said the american president was more important to Canadians than the Canadian PM. We're saying the American president is mopre important to Canadians than the Canadian PM is to Americans. Read: America has an impact on Canada, Canada has almost *zero* impact on America. Hence, you know about us, and we don't know about you. What your PM does has almost no effect on us.
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:36 AM   #38 (permalink)
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Originally posted by Charlatan
Such a pity statement... and so polite too. What a nice American.
I thought that since it was cool to bash Americans while stating an opinion in this thread that it was a two-way street. Guess not.

Last edited by bad30th; 06-02-2004 at 09:46 AM..
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Old 06-02-2004, 09:50 AM   #39 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by analog
There are a lot of people whose responsibilities far outweigh the ability to take time to educate themselves on other people's cultures. Like lower-class people care about your culture when they're trying to put food on the table? Like middle-class people care about the particulars of the Canadian lifestyle when they're trying not to get fired, downsized, or trying to get rehired from the same. Not to mention that the people in this country are hounded by the news media to constantly be afraid- it's what keeps us all in check and them in control. People who live in fear are easy to control. The upper-class and the rich sometimes don't care about anyone but themselves, but that goes for any culture. For those who DO care, they are great philanthropists and are concerned with the world at large.
Damn straight.

When I don't need to worry about all of my bills, my education, the health of my family and many other factors, I'll take the time to go out and read about another countries news and such. In general though, in my current position knowing what happened on the corner of 1st and 2nd in Montreal doesn't really help with my daily life. And knowing the PM of Canada(Although I do anyway) won't readily help me out either. My ignorance(Hey at least I admit it) of Canadian culture isn't so isolated. I barely know what happens in the Western part of the country. I just don't have the time to find news from over in that area and read/remember it. I also don't take the "We're holier then thou attitude." If I had the time, I would try to learn about these other places if it were more pertiant to my life.
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Old 06-02-2004, 10:10 AM   #40 (permalink)
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I'm the last one to say that American, in general, need to be concerned about anything beyond their borders. Why should they give a damn.

The fact of the matter is that Canada is important to America. We are your number one trading partner among other things. Our economies are very closely tied to one another.

It is annoying to be taken for granted.



It's funny though, I have bills, education, a family, etc. and yet I know quite a bit about what is happening beyond the borders of my country (not to mention what happens in my own vast nation).
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