Monday, May 19, 2008

The "Stereotypical Canadian Boor-Hick" Test

How do you know if you're a stereotypical hockey-playing Canadian? When a beer company brands you as such, that's how. Here's an advertisement I found in the Club Abstract bathroom. It annoys me.

Another Banal Beer Advertisement

I crave the approval of a beer company's ad campaign, so here is how I measure up to their concept of "Canadian."

* I don't drink beer very often, but if I did I would certainly replenish "the cooler" (because we all drink beer in the woods, eh?).

* I don't talk during another country's national anthem, but I also don't go to places where national anthems are played (not because I don't like anthems but because I don't like those sorts of placed).

* I most certainly DO shave below the neck, wow!

* I have shoveled my neighbour's driveway, but only because she made me feel guilty about it.

* I do not consider it a bad thing to talk about work on a long weekend (during which, of course, I am always in the woods drinking beer out of a cooler, eh?).

* Jesus, no, I have not "made a ball out of hockey tape" (this is the point in the test when I start to get annoyed)

* I don't hang around gym showers, but no, I wouldn't pee in one. I DO know that some people think it's okay to pee in their OWN showers, however, and I don't see anything wrong with that.

* Yes, I always say "sorry" when people bump into me. Of all these stupid stereotypes this is probably the most accurate.

* Why would I have my fingers behind my back? What sort of sneaky jerk do you think I am? I don't know what this one means but it sounds childish and stupid.

* If I were to EVER "cheer for a goal" I'm sure I wouldn't spill anything, because -- you know -- I am not an infant.

* The last time I was "the goalie" was when I was six, and that was because my sister knew it would hurt more.

* I agree...the driver should pick the music.

* Have I ever "thrown a hat on the ice?" Which ice is that? Is this a stupid hockey thing again? I don't wear hats and -- if I did -- I would respect them too much to just throw them around.

* I will happily end an email with a smiley face. :)

* Yes, I do put a loonie on the pool table to claim the next game.

* It would be silly to NOT bring utensils on a camping trip out of some general principle of "Canadian-ness." Do Canadians tend to eat with their hands? I guess only when they're in the woods, making a ball out of hockey tape and replenishing the cooler.

* I'm doubly Canadian because I help strangers out of snowdrifts and then agonize about my motivation for doing so.

* You should ALWAYS get in the lineup with the most competent cashier. At the local Valu-Mart there are two cashiers who are positively GLACIAL, and even if they only have one person in their line I'll always choose a different cashier...and I always get out first.

* I will not respond to any statement which contains the word "dudes." My annoyance has bubbled over, yo.

* No...I don't need lighter fluid to start a fire, in the woods, with the cooler etc.

* If my "buddy" is not allowed into a bar for a reason which I think is silly, I will happily go elsewhere. If my buddy isn't allowed in because he has a behavioural problem, however, I will stand and cheer as the bouncers kick him down the ramp and into the parking lot.


Anonymous said...

For a moment I was puzzled at the boor hate - after all boors are people too. :) but then I think got it - it is boors judging you by THEIR standards that gets your goat. Am I right?

Adam Thornton said...

If it were simply the BOORS judging me by their standards, I wouldn't be's a BEER COMPANY giving a list of "unwritten rules for Canadians" that reflect only a small element of behaviour (sports and camping). Doubly annoying that it's a Canadian company, and that they're presenting the "rules" as "wisdom" instead of "parody."

I only get annoyed at the boors when they get really noisy and aggressive, in which case I can hardly complain if I'm inside their venue...

Anonymous said...

but but but, beer companies the world project the boor image. I thought it went without saying.

tanzi said...

This was waaaaaaaaaay more interesting than the crappy advertisement! Thanks for making me laugh out loud many times! I loved the description of the cashiers as "glacial". :)

Also, I didn't get the ad's claim that people aren't allowed into bars b/c of their taste in shoes. Weird.

Adam Thornton said...

For sure, beer companies do project the "boor" image; it's just that in Canada the beer companies are somehow interconnected with the national identity, so they frequently say things like "this is what Canadians do."

Sort of like if a pantyhose company's line-of-thought was "Canadians LOVE pantyhose, and our advertisements will reinforce how pantyhose is connected with our national identity."

Everybody who DOESN'T feel that pantyhose are related to their national identity will be both confused and annoyed by that implies something about them that isn't necessarily true (and is, what's more, reduced to a list of stereotypes).

Adam Thornton said...

Do you know the glacial cashiers I mean? They're the only ones over 25.

The "shoes" thing must be referring to swankier bars/clubs which have a dress code to keep out potentially rowdy people: they always specify "no running shoes."

So by saying that a REAL Canadian will shun such places, the ad is reinforcing the "we just drink beer and play hockey and eat with our fingers" thing, as though getting dressed up (or not getting into a bar fight) were elitist behaviours that Canadians aren't into.


The Vicar of VHS said...

There's a largely execrable US comedian named Jeff Foxworthy who has made his entire career on this sort of thing, only using "redneck" instead of "Boor" for his schtick. (I sincerely hope you have been spared Foxworthy-mania in Canada...the horror, the horror!) As a happening, refined, sophisticated, well-educated hipster in the American South myself (ahem) I didn't fit any of his "You Might Be a Redneck If..." jokes (sample: "...if you have ever climbed up a water tower with a can of white paint to protect your sister's honor..."), but for some reason all the real rednecks around--THE VERY PEOPLE HE WAS RIDICULING WITH HIS JOKES, mind you--were his biggest fans and took it as a point of pride whenever they fit one of his pronouncements.

I just wanted to say, "Don't you realize he's making fun of YOU?" But I didn't. I was too scared of the gun racks and the chawin' tobaccy and the banjo solos...

VanillaJ said...

Yes, according to Molson, being Canadian has a lot to do with being a MALE boor. The females that drink beer and live here have more of a nether land identity.

Adam Thornton said...

I'm familiar with Jeff Foxworthy, but only because I read a lot of blogs where they cringe at his style of humour. I certainly see how you would have avoided both Huck Finn and Foxworthy. :)

This is an excellent point, and I'll extend it a bit: the "Canadian Hockey Player" (aka "Hoser") stereotype is so similar to the "Redneck" stereotype, in that it is so NEGATIVE...but it is totally EMBRACED by the parodied subculture.

A beer company or a comedian would not get far by saying "you're a conservative, uneducated, unskilled, unattractive Canadian with no future IF..." but if they couch it as "redneck" or "hoser" then people are lining up (even the smart ones who DO have bright futures, because it's somehow cool to PRETEND to be dumb).

Adam Thornton said...

To be fair to Molson, this ad is obviously targeted at bathroom advertising, so they may have "male" and "female" variants. I doubt they were counting on the unisex nature of the Club Abstract Wonder-Toilet.

Anonymous said...

yeah! And not just any toilet. Inside a BAR toilet! It's really not their fault if they choose the wrong bar, is it? :)

Anonymous said...

Everybody who DOESN'T feel that pantyhose are related to their national identity will be both confused and annoyed by that approach...

The problem is, they are appealing to the nice patriotic side of fat beer-drinking hockey fans and you somehow assumed they were questioning YOUR Canadianess(sic) :-)

Adam Thornton said...

Nope! I didn't think they were questioning my Canadianess (sp indeed!), I thought they were relying on a stereotype of Canadians as uncouth, hockey-obsessed yokels.

As for the "nice patriotic" side of the boor...well, the boors are exactly the people I DON'T want to be patriotic. Look what that demographic got the USA during the last eight years...

Anonymous said...

I dunno...while I see your point, there is one other thing to consider. Specifically, the brand of beer. As a beer drinker, I personally am not a fan of Canadian. And those I know who are, do, in fact, seem to conform to many of these alleged 'rules'. Maybe if they changed 'Canadian' to 'Canadian Drinker'?

I personally conform to them in approximately the same ratio as you.

Adam Thornton said...

Aha, I wasn't considering the brand...that's a good point.

Crazy Newt said...

Hey. Stumbled on this blog, posted a link to it on my own blog. Figured I'd add my own two cents.

First, I think it's funny that Molson Canadian does this ad campaign - Molson is just the canadian arm of Coors (an american company).

Second, you have to admire their ad campaign. Basically, they say "Hey, you like being canadian. And these are things that canadians do that set us apart from americans". They then make a list of things that Canadian males frequently do - and they set this list up so that most people can get quite a few of them right. This makes you feel very "Canadian" - and more likely to identify with "canadian" products... in this case, beer.

For what it's worth, I've done most of the things on that list. But I'm far from a beer-drinking hoser. I can't even drink beer (it makes me sick).

ANyways, browsing through your blog. Good stuff! Just figured I'd drop a heads-up that I've linked to you.

CarleeC said...

I think about half of that is just common courtesy while the other half is just bizarre. :\