An American sociologist living in Canada writes about that country’s growing anti-Americanisn in today’s Washington Post. It’s an interesting look at an issue that was broached earlier this week and gives a rather pessimistic view of what our neighbors think of us.
The anti-Americanism I experience generally takes this form: Canadians bring up “the States” or “Americans” to make comparisons or evaluations that mix a kind of smug contempt with a wariness that alternates between the paranoid and the absurd.
Thus, Canadian media discussion of President Bush’s upcoming official visit on Tuesday focuses on the snub implied by his not having visited earlier. It’s reported that when he does come, he will not speak to a Parliament that’s so hostile it can’t be trusted to receive him politely. Coverage of a Canadian athlete caught doping devolves into complaints about how Americans always get away with cheating. The “Blame Canada” song from the “South Park” movie is taken as documentary evidence of Americans’ real attitudes toward this country. The ongoing U.S. ban on importing Canadian cattle (after a case of mad cow disease was traced to Alberta) is interpreted as a form of political persecution. A six o’clock news show introduces a group of parents and children who are convinced that the reason Canadian textbooks give short shrift to America’s failed attempts to invade the Canadian territories in the War of 1812 is to avoid antagonizing the Americans — who are just waiting for an excuse to give it another try.