Contest - Find "The Nicest Canadian"
October 4, 2013
Left, The lemmings are saying, "After you" (
I need your help to find the nicest Canadian.
Please nominate a Canadian and tell me why.
c. 2013 The New Yorker
By Henry Makow Ph.D.
About ten years ago, the national broadcaster had a TV contest to determine who was "the Greatest Canadian of all time."
The finalists included Alexander Graham Bell, Frederick Banting, Terry Fox, Wayne Gretzky and Pierre Trudeau. The winner by popular choice was Tommy Douglas, the Freemason who brought in socialized medicine.
This contest was pretty easy because there are only a couple dozen people who might qualify.
A much more difficult and daunting task would be to choose the "nicest" Canadian.
Out of a population of about 33 million, there are at least sixteen million contenders.
We could narrow it down to a short list of about 1,475,987.
When I proposed this contest in jest, my wife said (predictably), "You don't stand a chance."
I agreed. I'm not competing. Rather, I wish to honor the nicest Canadian, and need your help. Please nominate someone and tell me why.
MEDITATION ON CANADIAN NICENESS
For the longest time, Canadians suffered from an inferiority complex. We felt we didn't have a distinctive national character.
We ignored what everyone else plainly could see. We are "nice."
This term cannot be applied to other people. The French have a reputation for being rude. Americans loud and obnoxious. British arrogant and superior. Germans methodical and industrious. And so on.
Canadians have cornered the market on "nice."
But, nice has a downside. While other countries measure lost productivity in terms of sick leave, Canada measures it in terms of time spent at STOP signs.
"You go first!"
"No, you go first!"
"Oops , I thought you wanted me to go first."
"OK, you go first then."
You could say we have turned our inferiority complex into a national identity.
When I lived in Israel, people would bump into you, and they wouldn't notice.
In Canada, they apologize for things you don't notice. You want to say, "No, don't apologize.
You didn't do anything wrong."
Even better, when you bump into them and they say they're sorry.
On Yahoo Answers, someone asked if Canadians are really as nice as everyone says. The reply:
"As for Canadians, generally yes, they are nice. I am sure there are some dis-likable Canadians, but in my experience I haven't met them, only friendly and obliging ones."
(left, Canada goose in attack mode)
But there were some dissenters:
"Like most people, they will be absolutely fine until attacked, then the fight-or-flight syndrome kicks in. "
"They are only nice until you beat them at the Stanley Cup." (The hockey championship.)
To the question, why are Canadians nice? someone replied: "Yeah, they are really nice and polite but i don't know why. Sorry i couldn't help."
Anyway, as the world lurches from crisis to crisis, please weigh in on this urgent topic.
Have a great weekend!
PS - Sorry if you didn't find this funny.
First Comment from Dan:
My vote goes to you, Henry, as the most sincerely nice Canadian. Slow to wrath, but swift in justice.
I have a theory that Canadian niceness is less about political or cultural climate, and more about human adaptation to surviving half a year under icy snow, fog, and dark without killing each other from 'Cabin Fever'. That's probably how it started. To my Southern perspective I've found residents of Minnesota, Maine, and Washington State similar in this way to Canadians.
There's something in human nature about having to be 'totally' nice ALL the time, that suppression of aggression has to come out showhow. For Vegans, "beta" males, "alpha" women, hippies and Greenies, lesbians, 'metro-sexuals' and 'geeks', all of which seem disproportionally abundant in urban Canada, it's called "passive aggression"
If a woman's first words to the man who's arrived to take her on a date says, "Are you really going to wear THAT shirt?" - that's passive-aggression.
A Canadian passive aggressive woman would say it without a trace of the sarcastic inflection of her American counterpart, and drop the "really".
Most Canadians don't know what many American encounter as visitors to Canada. My two experiences as an American tourist in two provinces of Canada was soured at the border by being detained passively bullied by the RCMP customs without probable cause. After a final lecture on not getting any ideas about staying in Canada they let me go. After a few beers to 'de-creep' in a nice Canadian pub or tavern or whatever it's called up there, people everybody was fine.
Maybe a good follow-up to this contest is "Most Passive-Aggressive Canadian Politician".
ps: I'm glad JG invoked the meme of the late TV actor Lorne Greene, (left.) The TV audience loved Lorne Greene as the wise, strong yet fair and kind 'father they never had'. Of course actors are usually very different in life than they are playing a role.
At the peak of the Bonanza TV series fame, the actor who played Lorne Greene's eldest son 'Adam Cartwright' on Bonanza quit the series saying, "Lorne Greene is a Martinet".
Americans had to go to their dictionaries to learn what the actor, Parnell Roberts meant by that: "Martinets often use etiquette and other rules as an excuse to trump ethics, to the point that etiquette loses its ethical ground." Basically that's an over-educated way to say "passive / aggressive".
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Henry Makow received his Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Toronto in 1982. He welcomes your comments at