30 Jan 2003 MichaelCrawford   » (Master)

Talking to Americans

If you thought my diary entry from yesterday was a little odd, then you have never seen This Hour Has 22 Minutes' feature Talking to Americans.

This Hour Has 22 Minutes appears on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. I get to watch it when I visit Canada. It is one of the funniest TV shows I have ever seen.

In Talking to Americans, host Rick Mercer visits some place in the U.S.A. to demonstrate the ignorance that Americans have about world affairs in general and Canada in particular.

This is particularly poignant for Canadians to watch because they are subjected to so much American culture from films and television that they all know far more about American affairs than they could ever care to, while it is obvious that the vast majority of Americans know nothing about Canada.

Yesterday's quote came from an episode where Mercer visited Iowa and explained to the people there that Canada used to use a 20 hour clock. He said that a Canadian hour had 65 American minutes. Then he would ask the American public whether they thought Canada ought to use a 24 hour clock. He would get them to say "Congratulations Canada, on getting a 24-hour clock".

Being from an important national network like the CBC, he is able to get appointments with State governors. And so he caught the Governor of Iowa on camera congratulating Canada for getting a 24-hour clock.

He got the Governor of Arkansas to congratulate Canada for saving its National Igloo (now covered with a dome to protect it from global warming) and both the Governor of Michigan and George W. Bush (while campaigning for President) to express their pleasure that Prime Minister Jean Poutine had given his support to Bush' candidacy. (Poutine is a tasty but fattening snack of french fries, cheese curd and gravy.)

(Before Mercer meets the Governor, we are told that the State of Michigan enjoys $156 million in trade with Canada every day.)

Among other things that Americans have congratulated Canada for are:

  • legalizing staplers
  • legalizing insulin
  • legalizing daily newspapers
  • getting 800 miles of paved roads
  • getting electric lights in parliament

In addition, Americans have congratulated Prime Minister Tim Horton for getting his first double-double (ostensibly support of both houses of Parliament, but really extra cream and sugar in one's coffee from the popular donut shop that was founded by a famous hockey player).

Mercer visited Mount Rushmore to explain to Americans that the mining rights to the monument were now owned by a Canadian company. His question was whether it would be better to explore via precision blasting through the nose or drilling from the back of the head.

He got such answers as that they should pursue the mining method that would cause the least environmental damage. No one seemed to actually object to having a Canadian company mine this prized American landmark.

The majority of Americans surveyed supported the bombing of Saskatchewan.

I thought to post this because a while back Bonita taped a one-hour special that was nothing but Talking to Americans. I watched it a couple nights ago and while I found it hysterically funny I found it quite painful to find my countrymen making such ignorant asses of themselves.

No American seems to be immune. Not just politicians but also students and professors from such universities as Harvard, Stanford and NYU.

While visiting Florida, Mercer discussed the merits of Canada's proposal to create a Navy. This was controversial because Canada (as he put it) has no access to the oceans. The plan was to have the Canadian naval vessels use U.S. ports. Generally Americans thought this was a good idea.

There's lots more but I think you get the idea.

I want you to think about Talking to Americans when you read news reports that most Americans support the planned war in Iraq. If the American public had their way, we'd be bombing Saskatchewan too.

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