Missed the opportunity to talk about this last week, but Denis McGrath’s post about Canadians and their lack of sense of humour is dead on.
It’s not just teevee – although god knows the general priggishness of Canadians as regards mockery of public figures is what leads to bloodless, neutered crap like Air Farce polluting the airwaves for decades at a stretch – it’s everything. When I worked for Torontoist, I got complaints about making fun of Conrad Black, for Christ’s sake. Let me repeat: Conrad fucking Black. People were getting offended on his behalf. Not even people who liked him.
And that was Conrad Black – you don’t even want to imagine the shitstorm that went down on the occasion when it was revealed that Patrick Swayze had cancer. A simple, innocuous joke about Road House (since Jeff Healey had died of cancer the year before) erupted a jihad of self-righteousness like you would not believe. Cancer, apparently, is serious business and you should never make fun of cancer because people die from cancer and it is tragic. (Because I was polite, and because I did not want to give my editor a hard time, I did not suggest that they quit making blog comments and get down to finding a cure for cancer. I mean, if it’s so serious, why aren’t you going to med school, huh?)
Oh, and don’t even get me started on the Canadian literature scene, which is the biggest pile of gladhanding shitbags imaginable. You cannot say a bad thing about Margaret Atwood in this country. Not that there’s much cause, she’s generally pretty cool, but if you so much as mention that her attitude about Oryx and Crake was insufferably pretentious (it is a fucking science fiction novel, Atwood, and if you don’t like it, then don’t write science fiction and then say you “don’t like that label”) – well, be prepared to be corrected by the Canadian media, who will remind you that she is Very Important and a Proud Canadian and so on and so forth.
Honestly, the Canadian social polity in general needs a huge kick in the ass. An enormous one. By someone who’s not going to fucking apologize right afterwards. The reason we don’t have a Jon Stewart in this supposedly funny country is because all the potential Jon Stewarts either leave or turn into Rick Mercer, who I am pretty sure has sucked every dick in Parliament so politicians will give him theoretically funny interview segments.
Top comment: Americans were pretty humorless until Mark Twain came along. By contrast, the first piece of British literature is Canterbury Tales, aka Extended Fart Joke Tales. — Rebecca