The Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America)
Jesse Brown is a pioneering podcaster whose Search Engine produced some of the best commentary on the intersection of the internet, pop culture and politics; when he struck out on his own to create a new podcasting empire, Canadaland (previously), he hit on a winning formula: analysing and critiquing Canadian politics by analysing and critiquing the Canadian press, with wit, irreverence and a sharp nose for bullshit -- all of which combine to excellent effect in the brand new Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America), co-written with Vicky Mochama and Nick Zarzycki.
Brown's magic is in his deep understanding -- and scepticism -- of the Canadian national identity, a set of smug myths and fairytales about the country's tolerance, sensibleness and even-keeled nature.
Puncturing these national myths is an old sport. Howard Zinn's seminal People's History of the United States demonstrated the enduring power of subjecting cherished illusions to a comprehensive look at the omissions that sustain them.
But the sport is best practiced by comedians, not historians. The clear precedent for the Canadaland Guide is John Stewart's still-wonderful 2004 book America (The Book): A Citizen's Guide to Democracy Inaction, which can't be a coincidence, given how significant Stewart himself is in the history of critiquing a nation by critiquing its press.
The Canadaland Guide is that perfect Stewartian mixture of scathing and hilarious, a style that has become critical to our modern politics from fellow Canadian Samantha Bee to John Oliver (both Daily Show alums). The media, after all, tell us what they think we want to hear, and so the stupidest excesses of the media are really just manifestations of our own awfulness.
Brown finds plenty of hilarious awfulness in Canada's past and present, especially in the way that Canadians talk about themselves when they expect Americans might be listening to them. From Justin Trudeau (who talks about refugees abandoned by Trump but takes no action to improve their lot, because he's too busy taking away the citizenship rights of naturalised Canadians with objectionable politics, greenlighting climate-destroying pipelines for the Tar Sands, and making the most of the sweeping surveillance powers he promised he'd abolish after taking office) to Rob Ford to Quebec separatism and the long, deplorable traditions of drunken, racist Canadian leaders who are remembered as wise, even-handed leaders, Brown punctures ever bubble that Canadians have ever blown over the border toward our American cousins.
I laughed aloud at many of these jokes, and they got under my skin, in just the same way that a perfect Samantha Bee rant will. This is a book of weaponised jokes about a country that has spent more than a century burnishing its credentials by blithely asserting its moral and temperamental superiority to its erratic and flamboyant southern neighbour -- and every shot hits its mark.
Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America) [Jesse Brown, Vicky Mochama and Nick Zarzycki/Touchstone]
“In lieu of flowers, please pay someone’s open bar tab.” That’s the request to those mourning the loss of one Randall Jacobs of Phoenix, Arizona, who died at age 65. According to his obituary, RJ, aka Uncle Bunky, “told his last joke, which cannot be printed here, on May 4th, 2020.” He sounds like a […]
Learn from the world’s best. Written and directed by Kathleen Cameron; starring Jim Cameron; original music by Bensound.com.
What do we have here? Why, it’s the 73rd Communique of the CPSUZOeD (May 2020), a rare video release from Soviet Unterzoegersdorf, with an important message about the coronavirus pandemic.
Last year, over 43 million Americans hit the road to celebrate Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer. That was the second-highest travel volume this century, according to AAA, but with COVID-19 fears and quarantine orders only now starting to ease, it’s safe to say this year probably won’t attract numbers anywhere close to that […]
It doesn’t do you much good to come up with a brilliant concept that you can’t translate into a working real-world prototype. Whether you’re thinking about building a home, a mechanical tool or a toy, that’s where the magic of computer-aided design and drafting software like AutoCAD comes into play. The longtime leader in the […]
Memorial Day has always been the traditional start to the summer season — and there’s never been a summer with more people more ready to get out and enjoy life outside their home than this one. Of course, food will be a big part (if not the centerpiece) of all of our summer celebrations, so […]