Canadians are polite.
Did I say “polite”?
I meant very polite. Extremely polite. We’re so polite that it’s the first thing we tell people. You know how certain species of monkeys greet you by shoving their asses in your face? Same thing. Except sometimes the monkeys also offer a banana. Canadians just offer a veiled insult. “We’re polite,” we say. “You’re a loud-mouthed rube.”
Of course, that’s only if we’re meeting an American. One of the most popular Canadian pastimes is making fun of Americans. We have entire shows devoted to it. That’s because America is the single most important aspect of the Canadian identity. What is a Canadian? A non-American. Whatever Americans are, Canadians aren’t.
Take Canadian movies. American movies are up-beat, filled with people doing things. They have heroes and villains. They’re extremely successful and are watched by hundreds of millions of people both in the States and the rest of the world. Canadian movies are depressing, filled with people doing nothing but waiting for someone to die a lingering death. There are no heroes or villains – except for smokers, they’re always villains. Canadian movies are box-office flops watched by a few hundred of the film-makers family and friends.
Without America, Canada would have no identity.
Well, except for our smugness.
We’re not talking about the kind of smugness you see in people like Bill Gates, Arnold Schwarzenegger, or even Ben Affleck (although what Affleck’s got to be smug about is anybody’s guess). Canadian smugness is so all-pervasive that over the years it has developed a life of its own. It’s the kind of smugness that can shop at the grocery store, pick up prescriptions from the pharmacy, and sit for its own passport photos. According to recent studies, 65% of the Canadians you see are not real people, but autonomous smug-entities going about their business.
America has Al Gore, who’s admittedly a pretty smug bastard; but he’s a self-effacing wall-flower compared to our David Suzuki.
Canadians thrive on this smugness. We’re smug about our politeness. We’re smug about our un-American lack of success. We’re smug about being smug.
Canadians are also flexible. We’re not talking about a mental flexibility here, the kind of flexibility that allows us to see both sides of an issue. We’re talking about the kind of flexibility were you bend over and take it. You’ve left a country with oppressive laws against women and now want to set up these same laws in Canada? No problem. You find the prominent religion offensive? We’ll just get rid of that manger scene and ban the school kids from writing anything about Christmas. You want our softwood lumber trade? Here you go, and be careful of the splinters. Take our water while you’re at it.
Still, that’s not to say we’re complete losers. We’ve got Avril Lavigne.
Apparently she’s a singer or something.
I don’t care. We’ve got her: you don’t.
And I’m pretty smug about that.
You American imperialist.