Tuesday, 2 February 2010
Reading Paul Krugman’s latest column in NYT on the “boring” banking sector of America’s northern neighbour, Canada, reminded me of the animated movie: South Park – Bigger, Longer & UnCut.(1999).
SP:BLU had exactly what Krugman mentioned in his article about the perceived general perception of Canada(ians?)
The movie (if you can call it that) stars the four South Park’ers - Stan, Kenny, Kyle and Cartman – and features a movieload of profanities, crude innuendos and crass stereotyping, even Satan and (the late) Saddam and so on.
The list of “wrongs” in this movie would upset many moralists and drive them possibly to the brink.
I must say, though, that it was quite rip roaring "fun", especially if you view it from an American audience's perspective.
Especially the parts abut (this word featured in the movie, mind you) Canada and Canadians in general.
The animation itself was typical South Park – nothing to shout about, very 2 dimensional - and the plot was pretty flimsy, mish mash of everything, but it was meant as a political satire.
Krugman’s “Good and Boring” made me wonder how Canada/ians ended up being so stereotyped.
Then again, look at this list of well known Canadian artists: Celine Dion, Shania Twain, Karen Carpenter*, Neil Young, Bryan Adams, Sara MacLachlan, Bryan Adams, Paul Anka, Michael Buble...
Of course there is also Avril Lavigne and Alanis Morissette, but compared to say, Lady Gaga, even the two rocking singers are quite tame; very Canadian, in fact :) ).
In his article, Krugman noted that the tighter rein on credits exercised by the Canadian authorities over banks' leveraging was the crucial difference in sparing the country from a US-like meltdown.
Boring did Good, in other words.
What of Malaysians, you’d wonder? Ever think how we're stereotyped by others?
Amongst ourselves though, the stereotyping are usually race based – like we Malays being lazybones, or Amok prone, for example.
Stereotyping of a community (at least in my book) is something that is cultivated through time, reinforced mainly by highlighting examples that give credit to these same notions.
Drum the same over and over again, and these so-called “racial traits” will stick in the mind.
As in the case of boring Canadians. Or lazy Malays.
Boring proved to be quite fortuitous for the former, but can laziness ever be a virtue for us?
Doesn’t it make you sort of wish our forefathers were depicted as boring instead, eh?
(*As pointed out, the late Karen Carpenter was born in New Haven, Connecticut. Apologies for the slip.)