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Sunday, February 28, 2010

D'oh, Canada

I was watching the closing ceremonies of the Olympics just now. I was actually double-watching it, I kept switching back and forth between the American and Canadian coverage. If you missed it after Neil no-longer-Young's warbling, the closing consisted mostly of saccarin, self-deprecating rounds of not-very-funny comedy from the likes of William Shatner, Catherine O'hara and Michael J. Fox. What followed was a jazzy, swingy rendition of "The Maple Leaf Forever" sung by Michael Buble. Accompanying this was a parade of kitschy Canadiana in the form of gaint, inflatable mounties, giant versions of table hockey players, dancers dressed as maple leaves, voyageurs, more mounties, more hockey players, lumberjacks and topped off with a half dozen huge beavers and two enormous inflatable moose floating around the arena, all meticulously coreographed.

I hated it.

Partly because it was so overly "Yay us!" but mostly I hated it because I got what they were doing; it was all supposed to be tounge-in-cheek, as if to say to the world "See? And you thought this was all we were!" Generally that might have worked except that the American coverage stopped when that part of the ceremony concluded! What followed was a REAL sample of what Canada is TODAY, not a dusty collection of archaic, cliched symbols and characatures. It was a full blown rock concert featuring Avril Lavinge, Nickleback, Alanis Morrisette, K-os and more. Not all my cup-of-tea to be sure but all undeniably top selling musicians showcasing Canadian talent at it's best. It was a high-energy cavalcade, hip, young, diverse. THAT'S Canada.

But of course, that's not what the Americans saw and it's not what their global affiliates will see. Nope, to them we conclude on the note "See? We're EXACTLY what you think we are! A clownish display of rodents and puck-slappers, wrapped up in plaid". They probably had some dancing bottles of maple fucking syrup in there too that I missed somehow.


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