Tuesday, February 19, 2002
The scary part is that Jeffrey Simpson is among the least anti-American of the Globe and Mail columnists, and in this column he goes out of his way to be nice, so I'm going to have to go with answer (c).
More importantly, though, Angie is unsure what to make of Simpson's assertion that, to Americans, "[Canada] is like a wayward Minnesota that got away a long time ago, a mistake that might be put right some day." She asks:
I've seen this the-Yanks-can't-wait-to-annex-us stuff from Canadians before. Is this a national in-joke? A sort of national shibboleth, showing that we're all Real Canadians here? Or maybe more of a cultural tic?
But surely they can't be really serious? Do Canadians really believe that Americans want Canada? What the hell would we do with it?
Then she gets a bit mean, so I won't reprint any more.
I'm glad you asked me about this, Angie. As an American who has spent more than 3.5 years in Canada at various times, I have a vast wealth of experience on which to draw. And here's my answer: I haven't got a clue what these crazy Canucks are talking about. It seems that some drunken mountain men in northern NY staggered over the border back in 1813, and the Canadians are still crowing about how they repulsed this elite fighting force and how the U.S. continues to salivate over the prospect of devouring its neighbor to the north. Perhaps you've seen Laura Secord brand chocolate. Do you know who Laura Secord is? She's the Canadian heroine who overheard some Yanks plotting their invasion in a tavern, and alerted the Royal Canadian Border Police or whatever they were called. It's as if in the U.S. we had a brand of fudge named after the stable boy who overheard British soldiers talking on April 18, 1775 and went and told Paul Revere about it. So my advice to you is to just smile, nod, and think fondly about the battle scenes in "South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut."
But Angie's email has inspired me to propose a new AmeriCanadian expat game, patterned after "Hi Bob" and called "Erosion of Sovereignty." Let's all open up the Globe and Mail or the Toronto Star at an agreed-upon time each day, with our favorite beverage next to each of us, and take a swig each time we read the ominous term "erosion of sovereignty" in the front section of the paper. A double swig if the War of 1812 is also mentioned in the article. How about it?
The University of California at Berkeley suspended a student-run, for-credit course on male sexuality on Friday after the student newspaper reported that some members of the class had participated in an orgy and watched an instructor have sex onstage at a strip club.... "Those activities were not part of the approved course curriculum," said Marie Felde, the university's chief spokeswoman.
The course was sponsored by the university but run by students as part of a program known as "de-cal," which stands for "democratic education at California." Other de-cal courses offered this semester include an introduction to Afghanistan's history and politics, Greek folk dancing, and "Copwatch," which teaches students "how to safely and effectively assert their rights when interacting with police."
Christy Kovacs, a freshman who took the male-sexuality course, wrote in an e-mail message to The Chronicle that "the reporters I have talked to, thus far, have only been interested in the 'scandalous,' minute, extra-curricular details which I don't even believe pertain to the class. The focus on these trivial details has resulted in a gross debasement of the DeCal." She said that the male-sexuality course "was one of the best experiences of my life." [ExpatPundit note: Christy's parents must be very proud.]
Well, I certainly should have spent more time checking out the course catalog when I was at UC-Berkeley. The Chronicle's story is password protected, but a less humorous version appears in the Daily Cal.
"The popularity of U.S. retailers is transforming once legendary Canadian brands such as Eatons, Simpson's and Woodward's into museum pieces...."
For the record, Walmart and Home Depot entered Canada in 1993. Simpson's and Woodward's went out of business sometime before this January 1997 report came out (see the 4th paragraph from the bottom). And Eatons first filed for bankruptcy in 1997.