I have a good friend who is Canadian. And I respect Canada a lot. It's one of the greatest countries in the world and everybody knows that.
So I've actually thought about this very an unusual amount: why do Americans joke about Canadians?
The conclusion I've come to is actually very simple.
Americans find Canada funny because of one thing: to America, Canada seems like AMERICA WITHOUT THE PROBLEMS.
This is a bit confusing because I think that problems are part of the American psyche. Racial problems, money problems, health care problems, guns on the streets, an old-fashioned inefficient form of government, civil liberty problems, constant wars and tears, an obesity epidemic probably greater than Canada's (as far as I know).
AT the same time we can boast some pretty kick-ass movies that the world flocks to see (even if they don't like to admit it) the greatest literature of the 20th century my opinion! but I'll stand by it; and our culture has been a well-spring and inspiration of musical forms the world over for over a century; we put a man on the moon! We rule the oceans! Our big cities serve awesome cuisine from all corners of the globe! Our triumphs are many.
You see, Americans are dramatic by nature; we like overcoming obstacles and surviving difficult situations and enduring suffering. Our stories and literature and even history, the very mythology that shapes our national psyche, is filled with startling triumphs and crushing, humiliating defeats and failures. Heroes and bad, bad villains.
And most of the Americans I know tend to dramatize their lives and paint them in these terms.
So to think of an America without the problems...it's just bizarre. It's like an oxymoron. The problems America has are something that actually define America and we BROADCAST THEM FAR AND WIDE FOR ALL THE WORLD TO SEE AND JUDGE. It's hard to imagine living in a society without these deep-seated, seemingly unsolvable problems twisted into the fabric of said society and have that society still be 'like America.' There's something funny about it.
Now I know, of course, that no country is really problem-free. But most developed countries do not broadcast their problems with the vigor and enthusiasm that the USA does...that would be...well, unAmerican.
Realistically most of the time we take it as it is largely intended, a little bit of good-natured joshing between friends but wish if you were going to do it you would make a bit of an effort. So jokes about beer drinking, cold, snow, the word "hoser", accents that nobody in Canada actually have or accents that most of you also have, all a little tired. Make up something new.
We all know we're very similar, so we hide behind a country name to maintain our individuality.
I once had a New Zealander I met in Europe call me an American. I told him I was Canadian and that I expected that an "Aussie" should know that... He didn't find that quite as funny as I thought it was (Canadian humour).
Canadians also love to tell jokes about themselves. Self depreciation beats you to the punch, so your ribbing has less effect. Another humour weapon in our arsenal.
Don't take it serious. Treated like a boy making fun of a pretty girl he likes.
Marcia Peterson Buckie, I am an
(Folks, I don't know what the problem is, but boy, am I ever seeing a lot of spelling and grammar mistakes that I had to correct in these replies. Is is a result of today's computer and texting age, or the American educational system?)