Clive James uses the BBC to sell a Hollywood movie – and tell people how Australia doesn’t need no body, no how…
OK, I must admit I want to visit Australia one day – I suppose I could get past the Kangaroos, Wallabies and the odd Koala. They have a good swimming team, all named something vaguely Russian and can play cricket.
But dear Clive is on about – and quite derogatory, Canada, and…Lapland. We do have to remember that Clive is an Australian – he works really hard on his accent because he has lived in Britain for – well, like forever dude!
So what is it he is saying about Canada? What he is saying is the one thing that pisses me off – because unlike he, I live in Canada – and I know that the stereotype that Canadians want to be, or are like, Americans – well. G’night, Bruce!
Right there we get to the heart of this supposedly vital question about national identity. Small countries want the United States to have heard of them.
Britain counts as a big small country because it has a lot of people in it, but even the British are apt to waste time caring about whether the Americans have heard of them.
Not all their time, however, for which I bless their sanity. For smaller small countries – and I mean smaller by population – it can be a continuing obsession. The clearest case is Canada, which is large in area even by comparison with the US but is short of people.
Crucially, Canada is right next to the US, and speaks the same language. Everyone knows that Mexicans are Mexicans but few of us can tell a Canadian from an American unless the Canadian is speaking French. The Canadians are forever bothered by a sense of being dominated by their famous neighbour to the south.
The Canadians try to laugh, however. There was a Canadian best-selling book recently called Coping with Back Pain. It did so well that the Americans printed their own edition. But the Americans called it Conquering Back Pain because the US is a can-do nation that conquers, it doesn’t cope.
If dearest Clive thinks that Canada and the US speak the same language – he really should visit here, and soon! I have never met one Canadian that wants to be recognised by the US – to be even associated with the US other than a place where Canadians can, and do – often – take the proverbial piss out of Americans. A book about conquering back pain by Americans will, I can promise you, mean more fodder for Canadian comedians to write some classic jokes.
One would be about what has the US conquered lately? The answer would be contemporary silence.
This blog post isn’t about disliking Americans – but it is about and Australian, working for the BBC, in London, promoting a film about Australia because Australia doesn’t have many people and those that do live there are just about every nationality on the planet – especially Greek – and Turk.
And, of course, a lot of sheep.
Canada has an enormous amount of pride, that I can tell him from first hand knowledge. My wife is Canadian, and obviously so is her family. Canada has just about the most accommodating people on this planet – except for Toronto – but everyone hates Toronto – the city that tries so hard to be American. Is that what Clive is basing his bias on?
Come to Canada, Clive – come to the east coast and then the west. All the while promoting this piece about Canada and ‘small’ countries. You will see a very different Canada I can assure you. And you will be the butt of the jokes.
Canada laughs at herself just as much as the British do – but, and this is the crux of the matter – you live in and around London – Take a trip north once in a while, Americans do – and then they also know that those in the north don’t need their national identity being proclaimed something by those who live in the south.
PS: As a movie – Australia is shite!