My Name is Joe, and I'm Not a Stereotype
By: Crystal C., Westgate CVI, Thunder Bay, ON
One of the best commercials to grace the small screen this year involved a guy named Joe, standing on a stage professing, “it’s pronounced zed, not zee, and the beaver is a truly proud and noble animal.”
Everyone’s seen it. They quote it on a regular basis.
logo from Molson Canadian website
They cheer when they see the sequel that involves another average Joe shirting the man with the cheesy grin and annoying laugh that thinks there’s nothing but lumberjacks and Eskimos in the Great White North. Joe is Canadian, but he’s no stereotype.
On TV and in movies, Canadians are portrayed as a bunch beer drinking, hockey playing, blubber eating couch potatoes that don’t know what electricity and running water are. We don’t know what the sun looks like, and we live in igloos. We say ‘eh?’after every other word, we’re uneducated, and we have a pronounced accent. There’s no doubt about it (or is it Doot aboot?), But Canadians are the ultimate international stereotype.
Well, now is the time to dispel the myth. Americans have too much fun with the Canadian stereotype, but I don’t think they realize what their culture would be lacking if it weren’t for all the friendly people in the second largest country in the world.
For instance, basketball, an “All-American” sport, was invented by a Canadian way back when. That’s right. A Canadian. And we can play it too. The Canadian team shocked the masses at the Sydney Olympics by showing that it’s not all about hockey up here.
The obvious argument behind hockey is that we’ve given the sport some of the greatest players to ever grace the ice. In fact we gave the sport the greatest of all, Wayne Gretzky. When he played his last game, the American fans cried more than the Canadian ones.
If it weren’t for the Canadians, the world, not just the States, would not have anything to laugh about. A lot of the funniest people ever are from up here. Jim Carrey, Mike Myers, John Candy – just to name a few. The first two actors mentioned are two of the highest grossing actors in Hollywood. A lot of catch phrases would not exist if it weren’t for the talented pair. Yeah, baby, yeah!
Then there’s the music industry. Think The Guess Who. Think Alanis Morissette. Think Bare Naked Ladies. What about Bryan Adams? Don’t forget Shania Twain and Sarah McLachlan. All of them are big time stars, and all of them come from this great country we call Canada. Also, the pop explosion of the past few years wouldn’t have had any ground. Most pop acts release their music in Europe and Canada first, because the audience here isn’t as harsh about judging the group, song or album as the Americans tend to be. Some of the biggest acts today have Canada to thank for the push into the vast and varied North American market.
While we do catch a lot of flak, and we are the butts of many jokes, Canadians will always have a great reputation because they are just that: Canadian. What do I mean? Well, if you ever travel to another country, be it Mexico, Egypt or the U.S., you will be welcomed with open arms by the locals. And it’s not because you’re a tourist with a wad of cash and a naive appearance. Canadians are known around the world as good, friendly people. And good sports, too. Countries love us. On the field or in the street, you’ll get a lot of respect if you have the Canadian flag stitched to your backpack.
Be proud of who you are and where you come from. This is a great country, in fact the best, if you agree with the United Nations. Okay, so the weather sucks, and we’re a little isolated, but we aren’t a bunch of bush people. We are the greatest. We are the best. We are Canadian.