Thursday, December 02, 2010

Is "Inferiority" Really Up For Debate?

I saw an online poll yesterday that asked if Canadians really have an "inferiority complex". What shocked me, the poll was divided, which meant some people actually believe we don't. I've thought this for years, that the one number one defining quality of what makes someone a Canadian is a sense of inferiority, it's existence permeates every dynamic imaginable.

Have you noticed when a big American personality visits Toronto, invariably the very first question goes something like this "so what do you think of Toronto, how do you like Canada?". We then get the "world class city" response, because Toronto is just that, and all our insecurities are soothed for another moment, we've been validated.

Now, before anyone who lives in another city pokes fun at Toronto's insecurities, it bears mentioning that everywhere I've been, Toronto seems to be an unhealthy obsession. Tearing down Toronto is a national pastime, someone people feel better and it cleanses their own jurisdictional insecurities. It's not a pride, so much as trying to be comparable. I don't sense the same type of insecurity with say New York, London, Paris, but in Canada the hate on is almost required and it belies some commentary on relative worth.

Quebecers are insecure in Canada, that dynamic plays out in every debate, what seems rational is reduced to pride. When Danny Williams retires, he cites his main accomplishment as giving NFLD an equal voice, showing the rest of Canada that the province is no longer the poor sister of confederation, it is all about addressing the inferiorities . This mentality extends all across Atlantic Canada. Turn your gaze out West, the new pride is to often a "well show em" attitude, again the psychological underpinning of which is sheer insecurity.

I firmly believe when a nation, a province, a city, a demographic, has truly arrived, they no longer seek validation, they just are, confident and assured. Unfortunately, our confederation suffers because what motivates isn't geniune confidence, but a true inferiority complex and all the handicaps that pre-disposition brings to the table. I'll know Canada has arrived when we don't react to not getting a Grammy nomination, when Alberta can display its pride without slagging the center of the universe, when Quebec can enter into a federal arrangement without a threatened disposition, when Brad Pitt comes to town and Toronto doesn't require a head pat. Until then, we are arrested, divided, all because of inferiorities, both real but mostly just perceived.


JimBobby said...

Inferiority, schminferiority!

If we're comparin' ourselves to the Merrkans, we got nothing to feel inferior about. We're better educated. We're in better health. We don't go around shootin' each other quite as much as they do. We tolerate diversity like same sex marriage and polygamy and poutine. We know how to drive in the snow. Our money's way prettier. We've got way more square kilometers per person. We know what kilometers are.

I figger it's the Merkans who got the inferiority complex. I mean who gets all antsy about how they're portrayed in dumbass sitcoms or cop shows? Merkan TV is always pokin' fun at Canajuns an', true to their stereotype, we're too polite to complain. The real reason we don't complain is we don't wanna make 'em see how stoopid they are. It's compassion more than politeness, I reckon.

Oh yeah... our tar sands are bigger and dirtier than theirs and we got pretty darn big carbon footprints, too. They only can go coast to coast but we can go from coast to coast to coast. We're whippin' their sorryasses 3 to 2 in the coast department an' I don't see 'em catchin' up, neither.

An' another thing, my dog's got a bigger vocabulary than most Merkans. He knows sign language, too.

Standin' on guard with a glowin' heart,

Omar said...

I can't stand the fact we make American baseball and basketball players sport red maple leaves on their uniforms. In the case of the Blue Jays ridiculously large ones right on the sleeve. Enough already. Everyone knows where Toronto is. I think.

The Mound of Sound said...

I don't feel remotely inferior to the United States, its notional wealth, its people or its culture but why would I? If your next door neighbour went on a binge, took out a huge mortgage on his house, maxed out all his credit cards, would you feel inferior to his trappings of affluence?

Quite honestly I find our Calvinist ways much superior to America's more immediate, and shallow ways. Harper used to entertain American nobs by describing our culture as backward but you won't hear him saying that again, will you? His flirtations with a militarist foreign policy and casino capitalism (40-year term, no money down mortgages) were brief and unpleasant.

Steve V said...

I understand an individual's position, but I also don't think there is any question that the mentality dominates our sensibility. I don't doubt Canada is better, for a host of reasons obviously, but the mere compare and contrast can be extrapolated as an expression of inferiority.

Unknown said...

I don't feel inferior. At times I felt superior (and then along came Harper). I don't buy that Canadians as a group feel any which way; it seems that the media and some gov'ts want us to feel that way and portray us that way for whatever reason that started, I have no idea, but it's outgrown itself and should be stopped.

I hate it when a Canadian media person asks an American what they think of Canada, of Canadians? It makes us look foolish and who really give a shit? Not I.

JimBobby said...

I think it's Canadian conservatives who feel Canada is inferior. If your ideal is a belligerent police state that worships its military, Canada will be found wanting. That said, I must agree with L. Lea that Harper is doing his best to drag us down into the Merkan gutter.

Steve V said...

"I hate it when a Canadian media person asks an American what they think of Canada, of Canadians? It makes us look foolish and who really give a shit? Not I"

I agree, but then the question becomes well why do they always ask it? It's the just the media then, or are they simply an extension of us?

Dame said...

hahaha I love all the posts and agree ...JimBobby is the king of the day...
My opinion is Americans have a Superior complex.
my american friend said more then once we ARE SMUG...
Does that mean we feel inferior???
The opposite.