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"Five axiomatic propositions of Canadian Nationalism vis-a-vis the Americans:

1. Boy, we hate Americans.

2. We really do.

3. Really.

4. I'm not kidding. We really hate them.

5. So how come they never pay us any attention?"

--Will Ferguson, Why I Hate Canadians, Vancouver: Douglas & McIntyre, 1997, p.105.


Saturday, January 19, 2002

Canadian Sucker-Punching Doofus Award #1. It's annoying enough when Canadian columnists/commentators/people editorialize/speak/write letters to the editor that are explicitly anti-American. Earnest, in a shrill, nasal tone (how do they manage to convey that shrill nasal tone even in writing?), America bad this, America bad that. But there is another breed of anti-Americanism that permeates Canadian discourse. This is the apparently-intended-to-be-humorous anti-American non-sequitur, peppered throughout Canadian conversation.

And so, borrowing from Andrew Sullivan's "Susan Sontag Award" and TNR's "Idiocy Award," I bring you the "Canadian Sucker-Punching Doofus Award." Today's winner is Paul Hughes, whose letter to the editor appears in the Globe and Mail today:

It is interesting to note that Feb. 20, the date 20/02/2002, represents a palindrome. At 8:02 p.m. on that date, the effect is tripled to 20:02/20/02/2002. The next such situation will not be until more than 110 years from now at 9:12 p.m. on Dec. 21, 2112 -- 21:12/21/12/2112.

Of course, our American friends, who try to push 9/11 (for 11/9) down our craws, are still caught up in their own sphere.

Paul Hughes, Toronto

What the hey? This may have sounded pretty clever when Mr. Hughes said it (or heard it) around the water cooler one day, but...but...what the hey? This pretty much captures the essence of Canadian Sucker-Punching Doofus behavior. A factual statement is made. One is lulled into a false sense of security that this is just another boring, tedious conversation or article. And then...sucker-punch! Gratuitous swipe at the U.S. on non-factual, unrelated, and (let's face it, eh?) usually pretty damned stupid grounds. It's silly enough in passing conversation. But to take the time to write it out, print it, and send it to the newspaper -- of all the burning issues of the day, this is the one on which Mr. Hughes is exercised enough to expend his writing energies? Let's consider Mr. Hughes's motivation a bit more. Either he really cares about palindrome dates sufficiently deeply that he is inspired to take time out of his day to wax poetic to the newspaper about them, or his primary motivation for the letter was the "American friends" punch-line. Put differently, he is either a weirdo with way too much time on his hands, or a Canadian Sucker-Punching Doofus. Take your pick, Mr. Hughes. (Oh, by the way, extra points for your particular emphasis on snickering about the day of the terrorist attack.) So congratulations, Paul Hughes, for you are our first winner of the Canadian Sucker-Punching Doofus Award!

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