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Can’t have it both ways. Sorry.

Stephen Marche of the Weekend Post got off on the wrong foot apparently. He’s pissed at Greg Gutfeld’s remarks about Canada on a late night Fox TV show. You can watch the offending video above.

In a nutshell Gutfeld essentially calls the Canadian army “soft” in response to the announcement that the Canuck troops are “at the limit” and need to take a year off “to restore [their] full fighting capability.”

But does Mr. Marche go a bit too far in macho protestations?

Canadians are one of the rudest peoples on Earth. Outsiders simply don’t understand that “sorry” means “go screw yourself.”

Well. I have to really rethink my entire five years in this country now. All this time I felt when someone bumped into me by accident on the bus, and they turned and said “sorry” they actually meant “sorry.” Here it was they were really telling me to “go screw myself.” I’ll have to keep that in mind and wear a nice scowl on my face when I hear it again, cause now I know what they really mean.

Although, the converse to that is also true, cause when I accidentally bump into a Canadian, I will really enjoy saying “sorry” now. Ha ha. Nice to finally figure out the language. Thanks Mr. Marche.

But wait. There’s more.

If you took the Canadians out of American comedy, it would be like taking African-Americans out of the NBA: still the same game but you wouldn’t recognize it and you wouldn’t want to watch it.

There is a lot of lunacy in that statement. Yes, Canadians have produced a lot of great comedians. Jim Carrey, ironically now a US citizen, comes to mind. But he ignores the point that like the NBA, American comedy is also dominated by blacks. What would happen if you took all of the black people out of American comedy Mr. Marche? Would you like to watch that? No Bill Cosby, Sinbad, Eddie Murphy, Bernie Mac, Chris Rock, Katt Williams et al?

The crowning nut on the fruit cake though has to be the equation of Canadian comics, all of the ones he names are white, to black athletes. Maybe Mr. Marche really has bought into Canadian multiculturalism and is so color blind that he doesn’t see the inappropriateness of his own comparisons.

Even if you put that aside, he’s still off. Yeah, I’ll say it, Canadians are not as important to American comedy as black athletes are to the NBA. Bad analogy.

What amazes me though is how Canada gets its knickers in a collective twist whenever its ‘macho-ness’ is called into question. Look here Canada (and you too Mr. Marche). You can’t have it both ways; you can’t be perceived as the nice guy on the block, Mr. Humanitarian, Mr. International Do-gooder, and be the macho Terminator at the same time. It just doesn’t work like that.

Sorry.

1 comment so far ↓

#1 Braden on 04.01.09 at 6:59 am

Right on Ward. The comparison to black athletes is particularly in bad taste for all the reasons you mentioned, but also because I love how he essentialized both African-Americans as athletes. That has to be one of the oldest stereotypes in the book regarding the raw manly power of African-Americans vs. the refined masculinity of whites. Gail Beadermann’s book does a good job of fleshing this out.

The masculinity of Canada is also a particularly annoying invocation. As a feminist I find it particularly offensive the way we jump to the defense of the masculinity of our baby-killing military. Perhaps, if our military, police and other violent arms of state power were less “masculine” Canada would be a much nicer place. Perhaps we’d have something more than glorified bullies with badges guarding our borders and neighbourhoods. A place where sorry would really mean sorry, as it does for some of us, still.

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