Few things can warm the cockles of your heart like seeing your hometown grace the front page of the national newspapers, even if the accompanying picture is of drunken college kids dancing around a blazing car fire, whilst pelting police and firefighters with debris. That's how one neighbourhood in my dear olde London towne (London, Ontario - not the real one) spent St. Patrick's Day this year.
Ye Olde London havin' a bit O' fun this St. Paddy's Day.
This latest display of hooliganism is one of several violent outbursts in Canadian cities in the last 2 years that have got some sabres rattling about the declining image that Canada is presenting to the rest of the world.
Vancouver, 2011: No Worries Bro, I just won't tag it as me.
Between the massive, chaotic demonstrations during the 2010 Toronto G20 Summit, last year's Vancouver Stanley Cup Riot, and other localized episodes of angst like this past St. Paddy's Day, the rumors are apparently starting to circle among our international neighbours...“Everything all right at home, there eh?”
Toronto G20 Summit: White People Democracy is my fav spectator sport.
As a Canadian I am reminded frequently by my countrymen that I have to contend with all sorts of Canadian stereotypes, that is to say, the little idiosyncrasies for which we used to be known around the world: Beavers, Maple Syrup, Hockey, our use of the word “aboot” and all that fun shit. Since I haven't traveled much since my hip replacement, I’m yet to experience any of these questions about igloos and polar bears firsthand, but of the aforementioned traits, chief among them has usually been our good manners.
It’s most readily apparent in doorways when two people heading toward each other meet at the threshold.
One will open the door and, as there is only enough width for one Cannuck to shimmy through, a stand-off usually ensues. “After you,” Mr. Door-opener offers and is met with a sheepish “oh, no – please you first.”
It usually ends when a third party, who actually needs to be somewhere, brushes passed the pair without a word.
In this case it’s my opinion that our characteristic gracious and meek demeanor is, generally speaking, a common trait of the true north, strong and free. So if we go back to the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, it was kinda refreshing, if a little embarrassing to see the headlines from newspapers around the world calling us, arrogant, ungracious, even downright rude.
We were accused of playing up the home-field advantage by not letting other teams practice at our facilities an equal share, that our facilities were so hardcore they were killing off our Luge competition in practice runs, and how our woman’s hockey team was so mercilessly cutting down every other team that the Olympic Committee entertained the idea of a "mercy rule."
Relaxing after ripping the tits off every other team on Earth.
How proud was I to see that our nation was banding together as it never had before in sharing these victories. It was our turn to take not just Hockey but all those lesser, really weird sports that we’re good at, and ram them down the world’s throat.
We didn't burn any shit down at the Olympics, we were great hosts.
In our chauvinistic behavior we were compared to Americans! This was maybe the start of a cresting wave of pent-up false-modesty, alcoholism, and impotent rage that in the ensuing 20 odd months has continued to crash against the shores off restraint hard enough to knock Bob Gainey's daughter off the deck of a Scooner.
Maybe we're just tired of maintaining appearances of niceties. After all, we're kinda in an abusive relationship with Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Conservative Majority Government that's trying to lay pipe without consent, roll back retirement, build larger prisons for all the future criminals the intrusive anti-crime bills like C-30 and C-10.