Once, in a little diner in Iksan, I sat listening with deep amusement as two very enlightened fellows I know, an American and an Australian, bitched about Canadians. They were, of course, fairly justified. They were, I should clarify, complaining generally about a certain kind of Canadian who ends up as an expatriate in Korea. It’s a fairly true stereotype, I find, with myself as one of the exceptions.
The other day, the same American friend was asking me why the hell the Canadians around him never bloody well pronounce Korean words properly, but insist on saying them as if they were English words, or use English stresses on Korean phrases. (There is a noticeable difference, and average Koreans tend not to be able to figure what the hell you’re saying if both your stresses and your pronunciation are messed up… just as, even now, I sometimes mistake English for Korean when it’s spoken by someone who makes little or no effort to use the sounds and stresses particular to English and which are not found in Korean at all.) This friend finds that of all the people who knows who can’t speak Korean to save their lives, not even a few words, not even a word in some cases, that they more often than not are Canadians.
And I had to admit, as we went through the list of people who can’t pronounce worth a goddamn, a great deal of them were Canadians. It was a little discouraging.
The other charges levelled against Canadian expats in Korea, in the aforementioned conversation, were that they’re the likeliest to be jingoistic (and extremely idiotic about it when they are called on it, in a way Americans rarely even dare to be, and often know better than to be regardless of their personal opinions), and that they tend to be among the dumbest of the dumbasses (of which, in the expat community in Korea, there are oodles).
So please don’t think me jingoistic for posting a link to this article where an American writes about life in Canada as comparatively better than life in the USA, please please don’t.
Really, the only reason I wanted to post the link, which I found on Kassandra’s blog, is because of the following comment, which made me spit out my drink in amusement, and then, on second thought, I found was actually pretty astute (even if the comparison is a tiny bit of a stretch):
Canadians are, as a nation, less religious than we are, according to polls. As a result, Canada’s government isn’t influenced by large, well-organized religious groups and thus has more in common with those of Scandinavia than those of the United States, or, say, Iran.
As a straight white man who’s never had to live in America at all, I think there is a difference between the theocratic depredations of the Republicans and the depredations of the Iranian theocracy (here’s more on that); but the fact that there’s any room to compare theocracies, the fact that it’s true there are relative theocracies being compared at all, is stunning. And as I find Bush not only ridiculous but saddeningly rotten and foul, I think the difference is less important than the similarity. It’s not just oil that the American and Middle-Eastern theocrats share in common.
And on that note: political cartoons on Iran, from a year back… and this page, which claims to be all about bringing death to the Iranian theocracy… can’t find a thing by an Iranian on the front page, though. Which gaffe is the only reason I’m posting it… the arrogance, which is what I assume is at work, is quite astounding.