Maple Leaf image via Shutterstock
I can't tell you how many times I've been complimented on the safe, peaceful oasis that is my homeland. I've been petted and cooed at in public; laughed at by airport security when my passport was presented; had my socks pilfered during a routine mugging in Baltimore after a red and white flag was found tucked inside my change purse. Get real, people! Canada and Canadians can be really dangerous and subversive, and you pretty much need to be on guard at all times. Here's what I mean.
1. Free, Uncensored Porn on Television
Forget HBO and Skinemax; from 9:00 p.m. till 6:00 a.m. daily, all Canadian television stations are allowed to broadcast softcore pornography to the masses. This is officially called the "late viewing period," where pretty much anything goes and violent, American cursing is a given. Non-sexual nudity—for example, a well-endowed, burly hockey player relaxing in a tub full of ice cubes—can even be broadcast during the day. I watched my first full-length X-rated movie when I was seven years old. I had learned all about middle-aged swingers, New Age tantra, and depressed New York City prostitutes before my 9th birthday. Unsurprisingly, standards and expectations were incredibly high when I entered the real world a decade later.
2. The Original Kumite "Bloodsport" Legend
Who's the #1 most feared man with an accent in America? The correct answer is and always will be Jean-Claude Van Damme, Belgium's most cinematically deadly export. But did you know that JCVD's breakout role in the 1988 martial arts masterpiece, Bloodsport, is based on the true story of an even deadlier Canadian, Toronto-born Hall of Famer and alleged world record holder in the barehanded breaking of bullet proof glass, Frank W. Dux? Say what you will about Dux (he's rather controversial), but the fact remains that he was strong enough to impress and inspire The Muscles from Brussels, who in turn took America by storm, shirtlessly. That must count for something.
3. Indo-Canadian Street Gangs in Vancouver
Saying I'm proud of these guys would obviously be wrong, given the heinous nature of their crimes—but I must admit, as a rather cowardly Indo-Canadian myself, I've had more than a few exhilarating daydreams wherein I join the ranks of the United Nations Gang (perhaps in a more executive, hands-off kind of role) and make a name for myself that doesn't involve an MBA, CPA, or J.D. at the end of it.
Drive-bys, drug trafficking and gun running—they can do it all. The Crips and Bloods have a significant presence in Canada, too, as do the Italian mafia and Hells Angels. And the Quebec Biker War (Guerre des motards) of 1994-2002—replete with car bombings, public shootouts, and gruesome hit jobs—left over 150 people dead.
4. Explicit Content Funded by Government
The Canada Council for the Arts—a government-run agency that provides substantial grants to Canadian artists in fields such as visual arts, writing, dance (lots of expressive dancing in Canada, by the way), and music—does not shy away from projects that other countries might consider inappropriate or indulgent. Paying for It, a detailed graphic memoir by Chester Brown involving the author's decision to frequent prostitutes to satisfy his sexual desires, while forgoing more traditional romantic male-female relationships, received $16,000 in sponsorship funding from the Council in 2005. Trailer Park Boys, the popular comedic television series which tells the story of drug-abusing, alcoholic, criminal-minded trailer trash in Nova Scotia, was "Produced with the participation of the Canada Television Fund created by the Government of Canada," as noted in the show's end credits.
5. Puppet Masters of the Occupy Movement
Do you and your friends like to call Canada the 51st state and poke fun at her for being shy, pacifistic, and meek? Well, sometimes what goes on behind the scenes can be incredibly powerful, too. The wave of Occupy movements that swept the U.S. in 2011, beginning with Wall Street, had its roots in a blog post from Vancouver's Adbusters Media Foundation. The idea of staging a peaceful public protest in New York in response to economic inequality in America, corporate influence on government, etc., spread and gained traction. Occupywallstreet.org had already been registered by Adbusters, a Twitter hashtag complemented the blog post, and the movement took off. #FearCanada.