Thursday, November 23, 2006
I read this in today’s Globe. The article in itself isn’t particularly remarkable. Please just note the highlighted portion.
YouTubers take a shine to 'Canadian Idiot'
TORONTO — The stereotype of the Canadian as a beer swillin' hockey nut is alive and well on the Internet, thanks to the computer prowess of a bunch of teenage Americans.
Young fans of the parody song Canadian Idiot by Weird Al Yankovic have supplied the Net with cheeky homemade music videos about the Great White North's “Monopoly money” and “silly accent.”
The offerings, on YouTube.com, range from a simple animated video by 16-year-old Danielle Burke of Burlington, Vt., to the more elaborate lip-synching performance of 17-year-old Stephen Georg, of Myrtle Beach, S.C.
All, however, revel in the ludicrous Canuck images featured in Weird Al's song — a spoof of the Green Day hit American Idiot.
Several of the video creators admit that many Americans know little about their northern neighbours.
“Canada isn't really a place I often think about — but when I do think about it, I often think of maple syrup, Mounties, Celine Dion and Jim Carrey,” says Georg, a high school senior who dons makeup and black clothing for his video.
“I imagine Canadians wear a lot of red flannel shirts for some reason,” says Burke, a novice filmmaker who says she spent several hours on the computer project.
Weird Al has described “Canadian Idiot” as written from the perspective of an ignorant American and calls his song “a love letter to Canada.”
The ditty makes light of all things typically associated with Canada, for better or worse: “They all live on doughnuts and moose meat,” Weird Al croons.
“And they leave the house without packing heat, “Never even bring their guns to the ma-a-alllll.”
But it's clear that some Canadians just don't get the joke. Dozens of angry comments have been posted on websites featuring the homemade videos, with viewers admonishing the young filmmakers for encouraging the stereotypes.
“I am a Canadian,” lostxfreakx42 says in the comments section for a video tribute made by a 17-year-old named Anthony who goes by the moniker Apollo22237.
“I can laugh at this because pretty much all of it is untrue. But you sir, are an asshole.”
Canadians shouldn't be offended by Weird Al's lyrics, says Phil McCracken, a 13-year-old fan from Columbus, Ohio.
“It's really making fun of the Americans and their views on the Canadians,” says McCracken, who acts out each verse of the song in his simple video.
“Al is trying to show the quick judgment of those different to us.”
Brit filmmaker Dominick Allen says he went out of his way to state in his YouTube bio that he's from the United Kingdom, not the United States, to head off the flood of anti-American sentiment that initially flowed his way.
“The video is not meant to be racist in any way,” says Allen, a 15-year-old who lives east of London.
“It is more insulting to Americans than Canadians. It is saying, like: ‘Look you stupid Americans, this is what you think of Canada all summed up in 2:23 minutes, see how stupid you really are now?' “ Burke, whose video features stick-figure animation and pictures mined from the Net, says she's never heard of some of the stereotypes mentioned before, such as the claim that Canadians only eat “doughnuts and moose meat” or “Kraft macaroni.”
“When I hear kids talking about Canada where I live, it's usually about how they wish they lived there because the drinking age is 18, instead of 21,” says Burke.
“I know that you have a bit of an accent. I've heard that Montreal is very high-class, but it's different for the rest of Canada.”
Phil McKracken... Priceless.