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Wednesday, August 5 Front Page >> Random Rants >> More Americans are Funny

Dec 08, 2003, 9:10pm

Read a headline in the paper today: "Canadian flag causes flap in the US".

The story revolves around a federal report that says Canadians should be careful not to appear "boastful" to Americans, who are increasingly insecure about their stature in the world. Apparently, Americans don't like Canadians showing off the red maple leaf on their luggage and persona when they travel.

This is the result of four focus group studies done in the United States asking Americans about how they feel about Canada and Canadians.

The focus groups were universal in one thing - none of them seemed to know much about Canada. And many of them showed a kind of insecurity that you might not expect.

Some participants in the study "expressed a certain amount of annoyance at what is perceived as a systematic attempt by Canadians to make the statement they are not Americans by sporting the maple leaf. This underscores the American sensitivity at feeling rejected by the rest of the world..."

Hrmm. I got news for Americans. When I traveled Europe for a couple of years back in 1989 and 1990, I had the Canadian flag stitched onto all my packs and I had a bag of 200 Canadian maple leaf pins that ran out within a few months. I had these things specifically because I didn't want Europeans, 14 years ago to think I was American. Some (not all) Americans back then traveled with a certain air of superiority that most folks in Europe seemed to take offense to. By sporting the Canadian flag, I was automatically treated much better than my fellow travelers who happened to be American.

Remember I said that I had a bag of Canadian flag pins that I ran out of real quick? My intent when I brought these over was to give them to locals as I traveled. But most of the pins didn't go to locals. It went to fellow travelers who, at times, almost begged me for the pins - American travelers.

Back to the present, there was one standout case of hypocrisy in the report on the Canadian flag. Americans are known around the world for "showing the flag", saluting the flag, singing the anthem loud and proud, etc etc. I'm cool with that - good on ya, you Yanks! Salute that flag and what it means for you!

But here's the hypocrisy. One of the study participants, a man from San Diego, is quoted as saying this: What bugs me about Canadians, if I may, is that they wear that damn patch (huh? Patch?) on their bags - the Canadian flag patch. That way, they differentiate themselves from us."

Americans are so funny.

14 comments | reply

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