Co-Editor Kurt Heinrich’s post has inspired me to write an open letter to Stephen Colbert on behalf of Ice-Holes and Syrup Suckers everywhere.
Dear Mr. Colbert,
So it’s a ridiculous gauntlet throw-down of ridiculousness you want? Game on, sir. And, before we get rolling: thank you so, so much for paying attention to us!
Once you, American speed skaters and The Colbert Nation have donned your bursting spandex and the official Pink Toque of Olympic Oval Ombudsmanship, there’s something else that we should probably talk about. As you know, sir, you have simply started another tired chapter in the history of Canadian/American binary opposition. We get it, man. Canada and America are the same, but different in minor ways. Hilarious! You know that whenever an American comedian (not Canadians who practice comedy in America) mentions Canada the Prime Minister drops everything, calls the CBC and holds a press conference telling us all to watch, right? We erupt with elation at opportunities like this. You’re doing us a great service (and probably boosting our maple syrup exports by at least 4%), but, my good man, there is more at stake than just speed skating. There’s a whole preconceived narrative we need to overcome. And we need to do it together!
We’re “syrup-suckers” because Canada makes and consumes a lot of syrup. Hahahahahahahahaha! Oh Stephen, cut it out. Honestly, I – nay, we – expected more than this simple joke, but I guess from your gorgeous hair to your intuitive gut you’re just a simple man. Or perhaps you were being ironic. After all, even though 80% of the planet’s maple syrup is produced in Quebec, it is also produced in Vermont and up-state New York (and its production reaches as far south as Virginia). Also, when it comes to syrup-sucking, America has Canada and, well, the entire world beat into a fine, molassassy liquid that just seems to be in everyting from pizza crusts to Jimmy Dean sausage-wrapped-pancake on a stick. Whether it’s maple or high-fructose-corn syrup, a recent study by the USDA’s Agriculture Fact Book argues that Americans consume over 150 pounds of caloric sweeteners each year. If there was a syrup-sucking Olympics, good sir, your team would surely, and deservedly, win gold, silver, bronze, and delicious pies for the fourth-to-tenth place finishers.
Ice-Holes? Really? Because it’s cold here, right? Hahahahahahahaha! Oh Stephen. My friend, this is Vancouver, not Montreal, Toronto, Saskatoon, or Iqaluit. Have you been to Vancouver? I mean, the average winter temperature is about 2 degrees Celsius (36 degrees Fahrenheit). New York City’s is certainly below zero degrees Celsius, which is around 10 degrees Fahrenheit. Look, I’m not calling you an Ice-Hole, Wikipedia is; that’s where I got the data from. But, don’t worry, you can get in there and change it right away. Sure, Vancouver’s not Charleston, South Carolina, but it’s not Pierre, South Dakota, either. But you knew that because you’re a smart guy – and your Ivey League writing team certainly is – so you must’ve been talking about how speedskaters skate on amazing ice we build and export around the world. You were never on Talking to Americans, right? And you were also going on and on aboot how and we “Saskatchewhine” aboot it. First, one of our Saskatchewanian speed skaters, Kim Weger, just retired after a fairly fantastic eight-year career. I’m not sure if she’s whining too much about it, but, I’m sure your jab was thoroughly research-based and not at all an Ivey League pun that came from the gut. Second, if anyone plays “dirty beaver” (what many Canadians named John Horn call “whining while cheating”) it’s you and the Colbert Nation; your segment Cheating Death with Dr. Stephen T. Colbert, DFA teaches people how to break the rules of life-living while falsely representing the Fine Arts community. Furthermore, this whole Wikiality business seems to be chalked full of cheating the Hungarian people out of their history. And speaking of an hisotrical example of dirty beaver, well, you showed us all what whining and social mischief can get us. It got you a treadmill on a node and, more recently, it’s gotten you a Pink Toque of Ombudsmanship. Well played, sir. Well played.
Needless to say, it’s time to transcend this tired, simple and, I’m one to say it, cliched approach to nationalism. We knew this was coming before you did. I mean, come on, this isn’t a Molson Canadian beer commercial, right? This is speed skating! Here’s why you need to transcend the whole Ice-Hole thing. A Canadian member of your nation, The Colbert Nation, made a great point to kick off the blog-comment-thread on your Comedy Central letter writing campaign:
Stephen… What about your Colbert Nation supporters that reside in Canada? I would hate for this issue to divide your supporters. As a proud Canadian and equally proud member of the Colbert Nation I hope to be the voice of peace and reason. Let us skate together in Vancouver 2010! But this letter campaign to be honest doesn’t really threaten us… the US postal system will probably only end up delivering a fraction of the letters successfully.
Enter Johnism. See, fueled by democracy, the Colbert Nation, like the global political system is still built in a way that attracts and enables people who want to
be the world’s powerbrokers and reap all the delicious, material, ill-gotten/gettin’ goodies that such power allows. We need leaders for our communities – from local to global – but we need a new selection process. No dictatorial Colbertism. Free market, libertarian, open source Johnism. Recent findings show that there are approximately 942,564,723 people on the planet named “John” (translation and regional dialects were taken into account during this study). So, this up-and-coming ideology isn’t based on status or age or experience or ability or education or qualification or people named Stephen Colbert or being good at anything. It’s based on having a really common name. A name so common that, when the random, name-based selection of global leadership takes place, we can be sure that the new team in charge are truly drawn from all parts and places of society. Wow – think of how much extra cash we can spread around when credentials do not include the ability to raise $1 billion in campaign funds or being sponsored by Doritos! Fun fact: a study from The Recent Findings Institute indicated that nearly 11% of the Colbert Nation is made up of people named John, Jean, Giovanni, Juan, Ivan, Jens, Johann, Yochanan, or Yayha (all variations of the name “John”). Members of the Colbert Nation named John (or one of it’s variations), it’s time to think beyond America; take your ideas everywhere my friends, not just to the Olympic Oval – although, I must say, the architecture is spectacular.
If your community really wants to grow, Stephen. It needs to go beyond the simple binary of Canada vs. America – or America’ s nation within a nation. Take on something bigger than you. Challenge yourself and your nation to be more ridiculous that it already is. Then, and only then, will you have earned your Pink Toque of Ombudsmanship. For Canada – and the Johnists who herein preside – we embrace and love the ridiculous. Just look at our government’s stance on Climate Change!
Keep building communities around the world, Stephen. After all, people are listening. Thanks for the memories and for the attention.