July 2006


Trois questions

More Canada

Originally uploaded by elmada.

Since I asked Nome three questions, she reciprocated and it’s now time for me to answer.

1) Do you remember the first boy you had a crush on? How old were you, and what was he like? (Cuter than the water glass kid at the Sandbar, I hope!)

This one’s a difficult question. Going back in time I can identify people I was in love with as far back as 5th grade. The most notable one was one with a Norweigan or Dutch first name (I’ll leave ambiguity here) with whom I once spent an entire class period drawing dirty pictures. Beyond that the first person I can put a name to is Johnny Depp as Officer Tom Hanson in 21 Jump Street. I have memories of many dreams involving Officer Hanson—what a hunk!

2) What’s was your favourite and your most-hated thing about Canada? (or if you like, Vancouver, though I suspect you’ve mostly answered that already…)

It’s funny the things I like the most and least about Canada are reflections of what I like the least and most about the United States.

The thing I like the most about Canada is its attitude toward diversity. Although it’s not perfect, by your admission, the tolerance for gays and lesbians is much greater than that found in the United States. The appreciation for diversity in Canada is incredible—taking the bus through Richmond, BC, we went through miles and miles of businesses where the vast majority of the signs were in Chinese.

The worst thing about Canada is its total disregard for freedom or press and freedom of speech. Although the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms specifically states, “Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: … (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication,” this is limited by the “limitation clause.”

The intent of this constraint is good, the idea that perhaps not all speech is good is reasonable. However, I think it harms society to have speech bottled up. The United States ultimately benefits from the unlimited freedom of speech that allows not just Neo-Nazis to speak, but also homos—for remember, it wasn’t that long ago that in both the United States and Canada that homos were treated as third class citizens. Freedom of speech in the USA changed that, not just in the US, but also in Canada.

Now in the US, homos are merely second class.

3) Judging only by your own observations, what are the majority of Germans’ opinions on their country’s role in World War II?

Germans my age, and older, then to be embarrassed about World War II. I once hung out with a German in Hamburg, and when we came upon a memorial for all the soldiers who died in World War I and World War II, he expressed guilt and thought that it was inappropriate for Germany to honor soldiers from these wars.

Beyond that, I’ve never really had in depth conversations with people younger than me about World War II, and typically speaking, it’s not something I really want to bring up. The War has created two long standing German traditions as a result: the first is a reluctance to create laws that codify human behavior (e.g. banning smoking), and the second is a deep rooted suspicion of people who wave the flag excessively at inappropriate times (something Americans need to do as well).

2 comments to Trois questions

  • B.

    To the ww-II point… I think it also created a heightened awareness of, and participation in, the whole political process. Germans not only can discuss their countries politics with great knowledge, but they also seem to have great insight into world politics.

    I’m thinking it’s a result of the whole ‘fool me once… shame on you’ adage.

  • Great answers, Sir Elmada.

    I actually agree with you about Canada’s freedom of the press, or lack thereof. I had a conversation with an English friend of mine in Edinburgh and he was astonished to find out that the courts had issued a publication ban on the William Pickton preliminary hearing, which is the most serious serial murder case in Canadian history.

    I don’t know that a publication ban actually results in less biased jury selection. In fact, I think that allowing people to make up their own crazy stories for lack of credible information from the press is much more dangerous to the idea of serving justice.

    Thanks for a very thoughtful post!

    Oh, and I think Johnny Depp’s just about the cutest boy ever.