It's Not Over When it's Over

So the head of the IOC declares the Olympics over, the flame is out, but there still seem to be people on the stage.  It seems that Canadians, so long without an overt sense of nationalism, have decided to use the stage to hold a pep rally for their country.   Can you imagine how unbelievably creepy, and probably scary, it would have been had the Chinese closed the Olympics in a similar China-uber-alles manner.  But since the Canadians are thought to be (mostly) harmless, I suppose its OK.

Postscript: Not 30 seconds before this started, I was lamenting the fact that Rush was not a musical act, with the silver lining that we had not seen William Shatner either, when lo and behold he rises onto the stage.

PPS: I thought the way they opened the show, with the clown fixing the broken torch, was much more consistent with the Canadian style, and more flattering in a sense than the goofy show at the end.  It is particularly funny, to me at least, to see that all the people who they have chosen so far to extol the virtues of Canada actually left the country for the US to make their fortune.  What are they selling, that Canada is a great place to be from?  They couldn't have found someone like Jim Balsillie who actually mad his fortune and reputation, you know, in Canada.

PPPS:  OK, it was only the talking quasi-celebrities I thought was odd.  Who couldn't love the giant inflatable beavers that followed?


  1. Eric:

    Canadians are great. Red Chinese not so much.

  2. bluntobject:

    Canadian nationalism is pretty creepy, in a frustrating passive-aggressive sort of way. We seem to tolerate -- and revel in -- the most irritating kind of exceptionalism, usually based around how wonderfully tolerant we are, then shrug it off as self-mockery (because hey, we're Canada, what're we gonna do to anyone?).

    I guess the creepy part comes from the fact that Canadians -- convinced as we are that we're (mostly) harmless -- are a bit too innocent about our nationalism.

  3. Evil Red Scandi:

    I think it was Robin Williams who once said that being Canadian is like owning a great loft ... over a really loud party.

    Anyway, it's hard to get too creeped out over Canadian nationalism... they're just too damned nice. I had one trip to Edmonton where I went out every night and actually wasn't allowed to buy any beer with all of the new friends I made (no, I wasn't doing anything special - just being some fun guy from out of town). Crazy times.

    How can you not like William Shatner? The guy's pretty much made a career out of parodying himself. I find it amusing. It would have been nice to see Rush, though. Speaking of which, just got the Snakes and Ladders concert BluRay disc... I like listening to live recordings of music mixed in uncompressed, high-definition 5.1 sound. It kicks the crap out of CDs.

  4. Evil Red Scandi:

    @the PPS - Heh heh heh... they could have had Steve McIntyre.... Oh I kill me...

  5. Bob Smith:

    Yeah, Nickelback over Rush? Bah! And don't forget that other Canadian trio, Triumph. Magic Power anybody?

  6. Max:

    A little off-topic, but still pretty interesting is the fact that A LOT of people make jokes about the Canadian military. They seem to be ignorant about the accomplishments of Canadian military during WW I. Since the Canadian military, unlike the British, French, German, Austrian-Hungarian or Russian military had officers chosen by their achievements and skills rather than nobility, they were cleverer and more careful in most circumstances. If the Canadians hadn't held Belgium and the front around Iepers, the Germans would have broken through due to chlorine gas usage. The funny thing is that they are uber-nationalistic when it comes to this issue... Something that seems to be easily forgotten...

  7. Tim:

    English Canadian entertainers go to the US because that is where all of the best opportunties for entertainers because the US market is bigger. e.g. an actor on a TV sitcom produced for 300 million is going to earn more than an actor on a TV sitcom produced for 20 million. It is not different than asking why all of the great entertainers from Ohio did not stay in Ohio.

    Things are completely different in Quebec because the language keeps most French entertainers in their home market but even they find it hard to resist the money to be made in the US market (e.g. Celine Dion).

    For some reason, I really don't think putting Balsillie on stage at the closing ceremonies would have had the same impact as Shatner.

  8. Methinks:

    Shatner, et al. Immigrants from Canada. Why not get that government official who went to the U.S. for heart surgery on stage as well?

  9. Siberian Khatru:

    I was jonesing for Rush, too, during both the opening and closing ceremonies. I wonder if they were they not invited or if they turned down the opportunity to play.

  10. ADiff:

    Well at least I haven't heard them point out that if one considers only Gold, they were 1st....yet.

    Beyond that smug 'better than you' attitude the less 'successful' everywhere effect, which is at least a tad annoying, Canadian nationalism is really very much a hoot: which of their 1st, 2nd, 3rd and what-have-you 'nations' does that 'Ism' celebrate, eh? It's so silly it's a bit endearing.

  11. Fred from Canuckistan:

    First off. You lost the damn hockey game. 'nuff said

    Comparing our games to Beijing is crazy. The Chinese games were a dictatorial government produced "mass" event designed by the Communist government to impress the world - which they did. The faked the fireworks, the singing, they wrapped empty buildings in fake coverings, put up hundreds of miles of 20 ft walls to hide the poverty and press-ganged tens of thousands of performers into boot-camps for six months of 12 hours a day 7 days a week rehersals. Pure old school, cold war, chest thumping faux greatness all designed to fool people into thinking how great communism is. Everything was a faux-front, just like the old commie mass rallies.

    Our games were just the opposite, simple, open, free & real . . . nobody organized the huge outpouring of street enthusiasm . . we just did it for the fun of it. Real people power, real tea party stuff.

    Ya, we are different and proud of it. We can & do admire America but find Americans to be very entertaining with all the loud mouthing and chest thumping, deserved or not. You guys gotta learn to relax a bit, get control of your nation before your political class flushes it away and realize that we don't want to, or need to, or have to imitate you.

    So lighten up guys, too bad you weren't here because the party was just a big happy blast of really great people having a lot of fun and celebrating how great it is to share our humanity with people from around the world.

  12. oddtyme:

    "Methinks the lady doth protest too much"

    It's almost as if the organizsers were doing everything they could to drown the image of Canadians as a polite, modest, and slightly self deprecating society. It felt dishonest, un-natural, and the whole thing was drowing in cheese.

    The closing ceremonies should focus on honoring your foreign guests, not pumping your fists in the air and yelling "look at me!".

    As a Canadian, I felt slightly betrayed by these closing ceremonies. (On the whole the games were fine, though I'm in the camp who rather would not bother with the expense of the whole thing. But I guess somebody "has" to host these things).

  13. rufusrastasjohnsonbrown:

    Maybe it would be more acceptable to you if our celebs & politicians indulged in more screwing of everything in sight.Now there is a sport that your elites excell at.Anyway USA,Pop.308 million 37 medals 9 gold.Canada,Pop.34 million 26 medals 14 gold.We still like you all though,EH !

  14. Lost Together:

    I was really hoping for some Blue Rodeo, my favorite Canadian band.

  15. Fred from Canuckistan:

    Blue Rodeo played the free concert site in Yaletown . . excellent show.

    We know you all really want to live here . . . and I must remember to close my blinds

  16. ElamBend:

    @ Fred:
    Canada is the only country where I see the national standard flown so much except for one other, the US. Indeed, when you cross the border the only real overt difference that one can notice is that all the stars and stripes have been replaced with various versions of the Maple Leaf. There IS a lot of chest thumping in Canada.

    As for culturally, the only difference I've ever noticed about Anglo-phone Canada over the US is that Canada has more people, as a percentage of total population, from a 'mid-western' culture. Even Toronto which is sort of an 'Eastern' city is more like Chicago than New York. I find people I meet in BC little different from those in Seattle, Oregon or San Francisco.

    I mean, c'mon, what kind of conceit is it to say that Anglo and Franco Canada must remain a single polity, but that Anglo Canada and the US are SO different. They're no.

    That being said, I love Canada, it's history, and its politics. Also, for many of the same reasons that make me skew libertarian, I'm really glad that there is a separate English Speaking sovereignty in North America.

  17. Not Sure:

    Anyway USA,Pop.308 million 37 medals 9 gold.Canada,Pop.34 million 26 medals 14 gold. - rufusrastasjohnsonbrown

    How many of those 308 million Americans live in places where winter sports are popular enough that they participate with a regularity that offers an opportunity to develop world-class talent in them?

    Not that I have anything against Canadians (one parent and most of my relatives are from Canada), but I don't think a raw comparison of population vs. medals won between the two countries is particularly illuminating. But then again, that's just me.

  18. bluntobject:

    @Evil Red Scandi:
    I grew up in Edmonton; glad you enjoyed yourself there. Central Albertan winters are enormously effective at producing great drinkers. :-)

    That's exactly the attitude I was trying to describe, especially "We know you all really want to live here".

  19. forester:

    Canada's best talents (especially in entertainment) go to the US for the simple reason that the US has a way bigger market for their talent and so it makes a good career choice. Canadians have no problem with this. Although it would have been nice to see a few truly 'made in Canada' figures as you point out :)

  20. Michael:

    I like Canada and Canadians. I live 100 miles from the border. Of course, 90% of Canadians live within 100 miles of the US border, too. So you can see why they want so very much to be non-US, even though there's not that much difference and the economies are tightly inter-twined. Our Kiwanis Clubs are connected, and at every meeting, every US citizen sings "Oh, Canada" along with the US anthem. So yeah, we got it memorized, thank you.

    And, yes, Canadians have a crack military, in my opinion. They were at D-Day, took a lot of hits, and they are today arguably the best snipers in the world. They are in Afghanistan and do their part. And lest no one forget, the US Canada border is the longest undefended border in the world.

  21. Another guy named Dan:

    I like to think of the four great countries of the Anglosphere as three sons of the same mother.

    Great Britian - Older, a bit wiser, Not what she once was but still formidible
    US - Oldest Son, Strongest, biggest, leader type. Went through a rebellious adolecence, but has no matured and taken over most of the family business.
    Australia - Youngest Son, loud, exuberant, works when he has to, but parties when he doesn't.
    Canada - The classic case of the middle son. quiet, polite, loyal (perhaps to a fault). Still has a sense of unease about own identity; Probably more like the older brother than either wants to admit.

    To complete the formulation, Egypt was an orphan who lived in the house for a while, India the cousin who mom put through college, and South Africa the Stepson who has since been disowned.

  22. thebastidge:

    um, who is Jim Balsillie?

  23. Johnny Canuck:

    Hey a dumb-ass or what? Look man, you show a lack of critical thinking and equally huge ignorance of the laws of science and physics, simple politics, the concept of public service ,not to mention having trouble mentally discerning the ordered and comprehensive assemblage of knowledge known as FACTS, or better yet, you sort of substitute them facts for the drivel and balderdash that are the speaking points of the American extreme right-wing wigglers ....but now you bash on your most loyal ally, Canada...WTF EH? We're creeepy? We have to leave Canada to be successful? Well, uh..yeah. USA has the biggest market. Didnt the , uh, BEATLES come to America to make it?? (OUCH!)That one comment made you look like a real hoser to all the simpletons on this , what the heck is this place anyway? A message board for halfwit GOP shills? Are you saying, mr. Hoser, in your opinion, that folks in South Carolina, or South Dakota, or Idaho, or Wyoming, or Arizona, cannot leave their tiny states to seek out their fortunes in say, New York or Cali under threat of being considered a loser by Huh! And as for the wiggler who said, I think his name is NOT SURE, he said,
    "How many of those 308 million Americans live in places where winter sports are popular enough that they participate with a regularity that offers an opportunity to develop world-class talent in them?" Hmmm, let me see, the populations of Wash.,Oregon, the Sierra areas of Cali, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana, the Dakotas, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Iowa, New York, Maine, Vermont, Pennsylvania....should I continue??? Well, eh, soory for the be-atch slappin' there, but I think you deserved it, eh? Just so you dont think we Canucks take criticism too seriously, I'll leave you hosers with a joke my old told me last week, its pretty funny ey..."A Canadian fella is walking down the street with a case of beer under his arm.
    His friend Randy stops him and asks, "Hey Dave! Whatcha got that case of beer for?"
    "Well, I got it for my wife, you see?" answers Dave.
    "Wow," exclaims Randy, "Great trade, ey."