July 1 is Canada Day. This year, our neighbors to the north are celebrating the 150th anniversary of the confederation of different British territories into one nation.
Meanwhile, here in the US, we are all checking our family trees to see if we have citizenship rights in other countries. For example, my grandfather left England for the oppressive reason that he was born on July 4. Had he caught a ship for Canada instead of for the US, I would be able to receive residency in the UK. Instead, he came here, and now I know more about Mike Brzezinski’s plastic surgery than anyone should and have my senators’ mailing addresses memorized.
Into this world comes a new book, The Canadaland Guide to Canada, by Jesse Brown. He is the impresario of the Canadaland podcast, a regular show about Canadian life and culture. The target audience for that show are his fellow Canucks. The target audience for the book, though, are those of us south of the 49th Parallel who dream of having a president who looks and talks and acts like Justin Trudeau.
Even if we can’t or won’t leave, we need a laugh. The Canadaland Guide to Canada is good for at least a few. This is a book that is a) willing to make fun of Canada and b) willing to go far, far beyond the stereotypes of Bob and Doug McKenzie. We learn that Canadians are not environmentalists, are not sorry for their treatment of the First Nations people, and are not even all that nice. They do like hockey, though.
And, they write a fun book about their country. I’m not sure any Americans could do such a thing about American life, at least not right now. That, alone, makes this book as poignant as it is funny.
Happy Canada Day! Joyeux Jour du Canada!