Crawl Across the Ocean

Friday, December 10, 2004

Anti-Americanism (or something like that)

Here’s an almost true story about something which happened to me the other day. Almost true because I changed one little detail, see if you can spot it.


So I was at the gym listening to the radio and they were doing a typical contest call-in or whatever, and the dj asked the woman on the phone where she lived and she said she lived on America Drive.

Well, you can imagine the reaction. Basically the dj told her she should move to a different street because nobody liked people from America.

So it got me thinking about this Anti-Americanism. And it’s true, people here do make jokes about how all Americans think their home is the center of the world and how they don’t care or know much about the people anywhere else. They tend to get a little more excited when they beat the Americans at sports. And they certainly complain about the politicians from America and remember all the ways those policies made in America have hurt them, even going back 30 years. They take a childish pleasure in seeing bad things happen to Americans or in getting a chance to one-up them in any way. They come up with derogatory nicknames for America and for things American. And they give you funny looks when they find out that you are (like I am) from America.

Yes, this anti-Americanism is some pretty serious business; it’s almost enough to make me feel like I’m not welcome here. It’s a good thing I’ve got such a thick skin.


OK, so did you guess what I changed? Well the station I was listening to was from Vancouver (95.3) and the person lived on Toronto St., not America Drive. So substitute Toronto (or Ontario), for America everywhere in my story (including me being from Ontario, not the U.S.) and you have the true version.

So what’s my point? That we need to do something about the serious problem of Anti-Torontoism in various parts of Canada? No, it’s that people who get worked up over Anti-Americanism should chill out and acknowledge the natural relationship between the peripheral and the central, between the relatively big and the relatively small.

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  • It makes you almost think people hyperventilating about anti-Americanism have an ulterior motive.

    By Blogger Captain Flynn, at 2:43 PM  

  • Okay, as an American, I understand the anti-American thing. Hell, half the time I"M anti-American. But the anti-Toronto/Ontario thing? Wonderful places, wonderful people. But, i can honestly say that about every place in Canada I've been.

    The relationship between big and small is complicated here too, made more so by race, region, religion, and education levels.

    To those Toronto bashers, I say, spend a month in Mississippi, and then you'll appreciate Ontario. Hell, Montreal will probably look really good after that. And, oh yeah, Red Lake, Winnipeg, and Flin Flon, you ROCK too!

    By Blogger greatwhitebear, at 7:45 PM  

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