Friday, April 18, 2008

Hey Are They Laughin' at Us?

A few weeks ago Scott and I went up to Estes Park for the weekend with our friends, Wes and Nicole. Nicole is Canadian and we often have long philosophical discussions about politics and culture. I'm always curious about how Americans are really perceived by people in other countries, especially our nearest neighbor to the north. I just about died laughing when Nicole introduced me to these YouTube episodes of Rick Mercer's "Talking to Americans". The video quality isn't the best, but it is just hysterical.

After watching this and grilling some of my Canadian friends for a while, I've come to the conclusion that Canadians must think of us in the same way one would think of a likable but goofy cousin.

And P.S. the capital of Canada is Ottawa.

Enjoy! And if you're feeling wobbly about your Canadian geography, hop over to Seize a Daisy and check out a great virtual tour of Toronto.

14 comments:

Riss said...

hehe. I had a great experience talking to "Mr. Canada" as we named him at Burning Man (art thing in the desert of Nevada..). I learned a lot and we came to same "goofy cousin" reference. I dig it. Good ol' Canadia. You should read the blog called things white people like, it's funny and there's a bit about Moving to Canada. It's good.

Larramie said...

Funny "facts," Lisa, but oh how our ignorance is showing...that cute, smart young boy, however, saved the day and provided hope.

Many thanks for the link and maybe some of your visitors will hop on the train trip to learn as well as see more of Canada.

Ello said...

Ha! This is why I never never stop for people doing street interviews! You always end up looking like a shmuck!!!

Kim Adamache said...

Hysterical, Lisa! And you just added more reasons why I question why my Canadian born parents opted to become naturalized US citizens. Even though I was born in the US, I often feel I'm a Canadian at heart!

Billy said...

It's the islands I get mixed up--Prince George vs. Prince Edward.

Patti said...

um, most likely...

Charles Gramlich said...

Since Lana is Canadian we have many of these conversations.

The Electric Orchid Hunter said...

Bwahaha! The best was the "tunnel to China" bit! Wow, wonder what these people think about my home country?

I love Estes Park! It's so close, but I don't go nearly often enough. Planning on taking a friend there next week, though. And I know a married couple back home also called Wes and Nicole. I instantly pictured them when I read the names, tee-hee!

Julie said...

Have family in Toronto - thanks for the link to the Virtual Tour.

Lana Gramlich said...

Living close to the US border in the Niagara Region of Canada, we were inundated with tourists through much of the year (& just FORGET summertime!) Once, when one of these people were giving a convenience store cashier a hard time, I just had to say--loudly; "If it's tourist season, why can't we shoot them?" That shut him up pretty quick. Americans aren't "likeable but goofy cousins" when you live in a tourist area right across the border. They're obnoxious vermin. We called them "Yank-me"s.

moonrat said...

you've heard of that Canadian show from the 90s, i think it was called TALKING TO AMERICANS? yeah. sigh. the ryan seacrest announcer character went around to places like harvard and asked what people thought about eg the bombings in saskatchewan (sp) and the Americans embarrassed themselves.

Lisa said...

Yes -- it's all a little embarrassing, although surely nobody who reads this blog would have ever been caught off guard on Canadian TV.

I've thought about this a lot and it's probably not entirely our fault. American books, movies and television are such a huge export that people in other countries almost get a full dose of Americana all the time, whether they want it or not.

We need to make a little more of an effort to learn about other cultures, and fortunately, even fiction readers like us can do that as there are more and more books and translation available all the time, not to mention books written in English by non-American authors.

Orchid Hunter, I won't even try to guess what the average American knows about South Africa, although since you brought it up, I just spent quite a while on Wiki trying to get up to speed a bit. My uncle and his wife actually lived there for a couple of years in the 80s. I can say I'm sure we know more about South Africa than anywhere else on the continent. I'm sure we regularly embarrass ourselves by incorrectly identifying South African accents -- I assume you must have one and if you do, I'll bet people ask you if you're from England or Australia before they ever figure out where you're really from. Coetzee piqued my curiosity initially, so I'll probably try to study up a bit more.

Bernita said...

I've always liked Americans most of the time.

Melissa Marsh said...

Estes Park is absolutely gorgeous! I've been there a few times and I'd like to go back - although I have to fight my claustrophobia when I get there. I'm used to wide open spaces and seeing miles and miles of sky - not mountains and then a tiny patch of blue sky above!

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