canada's contributions to culture

There’s also Degrassi and the Next Generation spinoff/continuation

You have to understand that culture is a very vague term that encompasses a very large body of information and it is in the context in which we talk of culture that we address the various subsets of information that are encompassed by the word culture.

While you can talk about western culture, you can also talk about certain subsets of western culture. When we talk about western culture, we tend to talk about certain kinds of principles that are not necessarily addressed by a given region’s culture or that are slightly variant from 1 region to the next. While we can say that Canadian and American culture are very similar, they have their slight differences. The cultural experience of a blond and blue eyed white catholic school girl will differ drastically from that of a young black male in the inner city. However, these are aspects of western culture you will not find in a madrasas in Pakistan.

The region you live in will contribute to your culture in a variety of ways. While black inner city youths may be similar in canada and the us, that’s not what I’m trying to address. My point is that there are points that you can look within each society and it turns out that people will use their being from a given region to acquire a sense of identity (and we all know what I think about that). Having lived in Canada and the US for long periods of time, I can tell you there are very obvious cultural differences between the places I’ve lived and none of them have been mentionned in this discussion.

The irony has nothing to do with them being canadians or americans. It has to do with them being weak minded dickheads obsessed with reinforcing their own collective perceived sense of individuality and then getting fucked up the ass.

I could go on for a while, as my area of focus is Canadian society, culture, and identity, but suffice to say with the Americans constantly doing things, for better or for worse; many Canadians feel overshadowed and dislike being put into the same category as Americans. As such, many Canadians deal with this by asserting themselves as ‘Un-American’, ‘Anti-American’, and other such things that would remove them from being considered ‘American’; some even go so far as to put themselves at odds with Americans.

By saying how great Canada is, they simply reinforce the fact they are not American. This in a sense is a large part of the Canadian identity (not being American) and while that may seem silly, it is actually quite normal considering the relationship between Canada and the US, and the US and the world.


Really now, it’s just a sense of national pride. There’s nothing wrong with being proud of your country. People in third world countries are proud of where they come from, but they haven’t contributed didly to the rest of the world. But seriously, who cares? I think it’s healthy, but i’m your typical American, by which I mean i’m very proud of my country.

I didn’t mean to imply that regions had no cultural difference, only that it’s not so solid. Culture doesn’t drastically change as soon as you cross borders. Cultures will overflow both ways. I know this because I live in London. It’s almost as far south as northern California, and surrounded by four states. I’m almost as close to Detroit and Buffalo as I am to Toronto.

I agree that culture is vague, which is why it’s hard to draw the line between cultures. For example, how far north does something have to be before it becomes Canadian? Cultures aren’t like solid black lines in a coloring book, especially not between countries as closely related as Canada and the States, and especially since, like you said, subcultures exist on a more particular level than national.

That’s why I prefer to talk about culture in terms of specific people, not geography. It just doesn’t work to say that certain art is “Canadian,” and it sure as hell isn’t anything to be proud about if it is. I still didn’t create it, and I have no reason to be confident in my artistic skills because of it.

I understand what you’re getting at, Eden, but it seems to me when you define yourself in terms of being Not American, you’re still defining yourself in American terms. I read some of the coverage on the recent Canadian elections, and it appeared to me that many of the issues were defined in part in “We’re not American, so we shouldn’t do this.” I can understand the need for a national identity, and I can understand that when one country is a neighbor to the omnipresent world power (with whom it shares a great deal of culture), it will often feel the need to assert itself as its own country. Mexico doesn’t have that problem given the language and history differences.

However, I just find it counter-productive to try and identify yourself as being NOT something. I just see it as identifying yourself by American values then saying you’re not those values. Let’s say Austria always defined itself in terms of being Not German. That would just strike me as them identifying themselves in German terms by saying they’re the absence of said terms.

I dunno. It’s hard to voice what I mean. I can understand why Canadians identify themselves as Not Americans, but I just don’t see it doing much good in establishing its own independent national identity because they’re still identifying themselves with American terms.

Also, it’s silly that Canadians would even argue who would win in a war between the US and Canada. If the US put its full military might behind the effort (even excluding our nuclear arsenal), it would be an American victory. Barring, of course, outside intervention.

How far north DO you have to be to be canadian? Are you less canadian for being closer to the states? Do people behave in more canadian ways in the northern territories than they do in the south? It doesn’t matter where you are in the country for people to adopt certain attitudes and certain regions will be more prone to adopt certain attitudes. Rural quebeckers will be mindless sheep to the separatist establishment whether they’re near ontario, in montreal or at fucking Val d’Or. What matters to them is that they’re Quebeckers. Just like the other canadians and quebeckers ID themselves as non-American, the quebeckers ID themselves as non-canadians. The funny thing is though, the political tactics of the separatists are the exact same as the current American administration.

And 984 is exactly right. However, this is not a canadian or american phenomenon. This is part of the standard operating system which our species has when it comes to identifying itself and thinking about itself and others.

You don’t have to be very far north to label yourself as Canadian and live under the Canadian government, but how much do the values that vary with geography really affect an artist’s work?

When I think about what most people would consider Canadian art, I think big paintings of mountains and rivers and inookshooks, or a landscape of HMCS Whateverthefuck, but those things are just as much a part of alaskan or New York culture as they are yukonian or nova scotian.

That kind of art is one aspect of culture. I’ll remind you what my statment was in the other post: “You have to understand that culture is a very vague term that encompasses a very large body of information and it is in the context in which we talk of culture that we address the various subsets of information that are encompassed by the word culture.”

It isn’t because culture is different from 1 region to the next that all aspects of culture are different because of how broad a definition the word culture encompasses. We have “western” culture in a good chunk of the world, however that doesn’t mean there aren’t other aspects of culture which differ. Culture isn’t just limited to how canadians and americans eat burgers and hot dogs or have similar paintings. Culture is attached to other parts of the way a society thinks of itself and of the world.

For Canadians to say that Avril Lavigne is a representative of a uniquely canadian culture is bullshit. Avril Lavigne’s songs are not nationalistic. They are about another topic and the way this topic is approached is found in different places, in the same way black people in 1 region can have a similar culture as black people in a different region. People in Canada will nevertheless cling onto Lavigne because she’s canadian in the same way Quebeckers latch onto Jacques Villeneuve (race car driver) even though he barely ever lived in Qc. He grew up in fucking Monaco people. The perceived origin of the individual gives value to the origin itself and thus when people associate themselves with the origin, they feel they gain some of the unique value that this individual they perceive this individual has provided to the origin. Like the olympics.

Sorta like how Alexander Graham Bell made it into the top 10 of the Greatest Canadian poll despite being Scottish and spending only a few years of his life in Canada? Or Tecumseh making the list despite never even living in Canadian territory? >.>

Fair enough, but let’s get back to the original point: Canadian vs American artists and which have contributed more.

If the subject of the painting is the deciding factor of a painting’s greatness, since subject obviously changes with geography, geography must have some effect on the greatness of an artist. But that’s not how I think artists should be rated.

For example, consider a painting of an inookshook. The way I see it, the inookshook is the means, not the end. The end is the message, “We value the traditions of the people of the north,” and I think that transcends any arbitrary borders between countries.

What would make the inookshook a better painting than that of a texan horse ranch? In my opinion, it’s the skill of the INDIVIDUAL artist, not whether the north is better or worse than the south, or that one is labelled canadian and the other isn’t.

There’s no point in being proud of the artists we produce, because it’s not a uniquely canadian thing.

Edit: Funny you should mention the olympics, because I feel the same way about that. I was going for the Fins and Swedes because a good chunk of their teams were Vancovuer Canucks players (a team I love for the individual players), and I was hoping a gold would supercharge them in the NHL. Which apparently it did, they won over their toughest rivals last night :smiley: :smiley:

Exactly. And there’s a guy called Sir Osler that’s really famous because he’s from McGill. The thing is he ended up in Oxford.

And Hades, the whole point isn’t that canadians or americans have contributed more. Simply that people feel important because of the contribution. The importance of the contribution as I am sure you know is highly subjective. Its the meaning people will attach to it. THAT is the culture. Any jackass can make a painting of a ranch or of a barren arctic field covered in mutilated seal pups. That’s not what makes it culture.

What you’re doing is arguing different aspects of culture which itself don’t change. What we’re saying is that there are other aspects of culture you’re not taking into consideration. A culture’s artistic expression can be done in a variety of ways. However the way it is expressed is merely a reflection of the culture of that particular society.

And Hades, the whole point isn’t that canadians or americans have contributed more. Simply that people feel important because of the contribution.
Can we agree that those people are deluded? That’s all I want to know.

Of course. That was my whole point about “The perceived origin of the individual gives value to the origin itself and thus when people associate themselves with the origin, they feel they gain some of the unique value that they perceive this individual has provided to the origin.” It is all about “weak minded dickheads obsessed with reinforcing their own collective perceived sense of individuality”. People acquire their identity passively and thus conform to their environment and don’t have to worry about acquiring beliefs or values. The blind lead the blind. Culture is how people give their lives meaning.

Damn I missed this thread. I wanted to talk about you can’t quantify culture contributions. :frowning:

Also I’ve been very pleasantly suprised by Hades posts in this thread.

I forgot to mention the most important aspect of Canadians “superiority complex”, they think that their politicians are sexier than American ones (and that includes Jean “the Sex Bomb” Chretien).
The next Canadian Prime Minister? Belinda!

Mud fight: Belinda vs. Hillary anyone?
Talk about high culture :wink:

Dude, admit it. The irony was delicious. As Sinistral explained, it is ironic because they were bragging about how great Canada is, and them being Canadians, how great they are. YEt BLAMMO they lost every time. HAHAAH.

Anyways, I agree with you on the art thing. I don’t think art is limited by imaginary lines seperating countries. Someone who lives in Nunavut could easily paint the swamps of lousiana, mind you s/he would need a lot of good reference photos or to have actually visited there for it to be authentic. But, I think the governments can influence what an artist spits out aswell. Take a look at Picasso’s “Guernica”. Crazy 'ol Pablo was from Spain, and if I remember my art history class well enough, Guernica was about the spanish civil war. So there you go, art influenced by culture and it’s country of origin.

I think boasting about superiority in a completely unrelated way to the game at hand is just begging to get your ass kicked in said game.

Speaking of which, any RPGCers play any multiplayer Half-Life mods very often?

The Superiority Gap (in the face of the team’s national pride) was what first drew my attention to Canada’s dearth of exported culture.

Countries don’t have culture or attitudes. People do. “American” culture doesn’t begin or end at the 49th parallel.

What I was trying to say in my last post was that the borders a person lives between have nothing to do with the artistic skills of other people within those borders.

Culture and attitudes do affect artists, but they have nothing to do with countries and their effects are superficial. What they see and express changes, but their ability to see and express does’t change.

American culture doesn’t end at the 49th parallel. Canadian culture does.

For the most part.

I live in Cleveland, as far, as the crow flies, from London as Hades is from Toronto, although I can’t remember the last time I read a novel by a Canadian author, saw a Canadian movie (although perhaps one filmed in Canada by Hollywood), or listened to a Canadian symphony (or even a tone poem). I’m willing to bet the inverse is true for almost every Canadian. While I’m at it, I might mention the auteurs of the Arcade Fire and Of Montreal are from Texas and Cleveland, only because I was once under different impressions, that latter not actually being Canadian in any way, I guess.

I’ll elaborate later, I have to go now.