There is nothing more frustrating for a professional anti-American like me than watching amateurs cutting in on my action--especially when they're American amateurs. Really, I am already painfully aware of the salient reasons to be richly sick of those petulant praetorians; I require no further data on the matter.
Nevertheless, those legendarily generous Yanks just keep on giving. A few weeks ago, we were reminded of the way Americans talk about Canada when they're being watched by millions of fellow xenophobes: with dismissive contempt. Today, we learn how Americans talk about us when they're just making chit-chat amongst themselves: with dismissive contempt.
FOX News saw fit to release a clip wherein a gaggle of anonymous FOX talking-head guests, apparently waiting for their segment to begin taping, discuss U.S. security matters. One of them complains that Homeland Security is spending too much time worrying about the Canadian border, when the Mexican border is much more porous. This aberrant and possibly treasonous outburst of rationality is soon smothered by a peal of condescending quips about Canadians "smoking snow" and threatening to attack the U.S. with maple syrup. Once the gales of laughter subside, the host feelingly, almost wistfully, recalls the time he went to the U.S./Canada border to chase a story: he remembers that there was "just a whole lot of wheat up there", in words carrying a faint trace of trauma. Heads nod in silent empathy.
At this point, a Canadian viewer is struggling to remind himself that he's not watching security-camera footage of a bunch of slow reform-school inmates serving a detention for smoking dope in the boy's room. He's watching the host and four guests on America's highest-rated cable news show display what passes for foreign affairs expertise down there. These people are among America's intellectual élite. God help us all.
Soon after, one of the guests, a writer for the right-wing National Review, recalls with fondness a story he once wrote entitled "Bomb Canada". He apparently argued that Canada needs "pin-prick assaults" to "slap" us out of our "EU-itis" (which refers, presumably, to our inadequate level of America worship). He is still clearly proud of having called us a "northern Puerto Rico with an EU sensibility". One of his colleagues jokes that his story was obviously an effective motivator, as Canada ended up co-invading Afghanistan: "They were afraid of being bombed!" she trills excitedly.
Another guest reminds the assembly that there was a U.S. plan to bomb Canada. He calls it "Plan Orange" (it was actually Plan Red, but America's élite tends to be as ignorant of American history as their proles are; it is one of the few authentically democratic features of their society). In fact, Plan Red was operative until 1939--twenty year after the end of World War I and sixteen years after the death of the “dangerous” alliance in response to which the plan was created (our own prime minister Arthur Meighen was instrumental in killing that alliance, for obvious reasons).
It thus occurs to me that the United States was still seriously meditating an invasion of Canada (and had appropriated funds through Congress for that purpose) when my mother was nine years old. I'll just add that incredible and sad fact to the vast body of evidence in support of the notion that hysterical, barking-mad paranoia is deeply inscribed in America's cultural DNA. Always has been; always will be.
I was most struck by the tone of this FOX discussion. It is classic. By "classic", I mean that it has a long and direct pedigree. While listening to their flippant talk of "assault", "slapping", and "bombing", I felt that I was hearing a group of senior British civil servants of the Raj--lounging in a late-19th-century Bombay tap room--chortle airily over the amusing pretensions of the simple wogs they rule over: their silly "dignity", their tedious insistence on being treated like equals, their slothful backwardness, and the unfortunately frequent need for their betters to slap them out of their languor--for their own good, of course--to get them to make something of themselves. Similar conversations could have been overheard near the quarters of royal governors during America's colonial era and near the tents of centurions during the Roman occupation of Albion. It's the language of the coloniser, the occupier, the slave-master, the overseer, the prefect, the procurator--the tyrant.
In other parts of the world, you don't get away with fantasizing about bombing people. You invite immediate and vituperate retaliatory rhetoric. Luckily for FOX vermin, Canada is widely, deeply ridden with self-loathing Vichyites. Here, Fox News insolence is not only tolerated but is actually granted a prime-ministerial charter; as one of Stephen Harper's networks of choice, FOX has been rewarded with exclusive interviews--of the kind Harper has consistently denied to domestic media.
Moreover, FOX News' favourite shrill viragoes are hero-worshipped by cringing Canadian right-wing autophobes, whose profound self-loathing is so corrosive as to make them joyfully genuflect before notorious Canada-haters and ask for their benediction (go to 2:00 in this video to hear a Canadian "conservative" ask Ann Coulter, "How can us[sic] Canadian Conservatives earn the love we have for you?”).
I suppose I can understand the American attitude. Why not kick people in the teeth when all you need to fear in return is a toothless, bleeding request (whispered politely--nay, reverently) for another…but harder this time?
The American formula seems to be that backwards, demoralised Third World countries get invaded; countries that behave like backwards, demoralised Third World countries just get insulted--relentlessly. In a way, it makes immaculate sense; we cannot blame an animal for behaving according to its nature.