The Null Device

"Don't shoot, I'm Canadian!"

Brand USA has a hell of an image problem, it seems; it's not just al-Qaeda who hate what America stands for these days. Now American tourists in Europe and other places are finding themselves the targets of abuse over their government's unilateralist policies and thirst for war and/or their compatriots' penchant for oversized cars. The abuse ranges from people spitting at them and calling their names to being interrogated by taxi drivers about "America's megalomania". Something else to thank the President for.

But one incident really stung. "Man, it was bad," says the Rat Pack-y star of Swingers. "These girls saw us and were kind of flirting, and they kept asking us if we were American. Finally we said, 'Yes,' and they just took off. "One girl turns and says, 'We were hoping you were Canadian.' Canadian? Since when was it cooler to be Canadian?"

(Mind you, it could be argued that that is a small price to pay for your nation being feared and respected across the world; at least until China takes over as the dominant superpower, and follows in America's unilateralist footsteps. If you want a good future for your kids, make sure they can speak Mandarin.)

Meanwhile, Americans abroad are advised to blend in, avoiding fast-food restaurants, clothing bearing the US flag or sports team logos and discussion of politics. To which one might add learning to say "I'm Canadian" in many different languages. (via Reenhead)

There are 4 comments on ""Don't shoot, I'm Canadian!"":

Posted by: Graham Wed Mar 5 12:13:16 2003

As far as I know, Canadian travellers have tended to sport the flag on their backpacks for a while to show that they're not Yanks. Same with Australians, I suppose, though our image has taken a bit of battering in the past few years courtesy of Howard's policies.

Posted by: acb Wed Mar 5 12:19:08 2003

There's always the New Zealand flag. Mind you, most terrorists and/or cheese-eating surrender monkeys probably can't tell the difference.

Posted by: Ritchie http:// Wed Mar 5 17:13:33 2003

Someone once wrote that the trick to fitting in anywhere is to carry a loaf of bread and a litre of milk. It makes you instantly local.

Posted by: Graham Thu Mar 6 00:33:05 2003

What's french for "I'm not a fucking yank!"