Transcript: Margaret Wente on being An Accidental Canadian | Dec 18, 2004

Margaret Wente stands behind a lectern at a conference room. She’s in her mid-fifties, with short slightly wavy blond hair with bangs. She wears a black skirt, floral blouse and patterned brown scarf.

A picture of the book “An Accidental Canadian,” by Margaret Wente, appears on screen.

The logo of the University of Toronto Book Store appears.

She says MY BOOK “AN
ACCIDENTAL CANADIAN” IS, IS A
COMBINATION OF SOCIAL
OBSERVATION AND AUTOBIOGRAPHY I
GUESS.
AND THE PIECES I'M GOING TO
READ TONIGHT ARE MOSTLY THE
AUTOBIOGRAPHICAL BITS.

A caption reads “Margaret Wente. Author of An Accidental Canadian. University of Toronto Bookstore Reading Series. Old Victoria College. October 15, 2004.”

Margaret says I GREW UP IN A WONDERLAND
SUBURB OF CHICAGO IN THE 1950S.
EVERY KID I
KNEW WAS PALE PINK AND ALL THE
FAMILIES WERE NUCLEAR.
MY WORLD LOOKED LIKE THE
ILLUSTRATIONS IN “DICK AND
JANE” BOOKS.
EVERYONE WAS MIDDLE-CLASS,
VOTED REPUBLICAN --
EXCEPT MY
DAD, WHO WAS REGARDED AS A
COLOURFUL RADICAL.
THE ONLY DARK-SKINNED PERSON I
EVER SAW UP CLOSE WAS MY
GRANDMA'S CLEANING LADY, WHO
DIDN'T LIVE IN OUR TOWN.
I NEVER MET A SINGLE,
FOREIGNER.
THE GOVERNMENT CALLED THEM
ALIENS.
IN OUR TOWN DIVERSITY WAS
SUPPLIED BY A FEW, JEWISH
FAMILIES.
A LADY WHO PLAYED A HARP, AND
SOME UNFORTUNATE PEOPLE WHO
LIVED IN APARTMENTS.
WHEN I WAS A KID, WE'D
CELEBRATE THE FOURTH OF JULY
WITH A TRIP TO SOLDIER'S FIELD,
OR WE SANG “THE STAR SPANGLED
BANNER” AT THE TOP OF OUR LUNG
WITH THOUSANDS OF OTHER
AMERICANS, HANDS PLANTED OVER
OUR HEARTS.
THERE WERE MAGNIFICENT,
FIREWORKS, WHICH ALWAYS ENDED
WITH A DAZZLING, AMERICAN FLAG,
DEPICTED IN RED, WHITE AND BLUE
SPARKLERS.
I WORE MY FAVOURITE DRESS,
WHICH WAS WHITE WITH RED AND
BLUE TRIM.
MY LITTLE SISTER SALLY WORE A
MATCHING DRESS.
AMERICANS WEAR THEIR PATRIOTISM
WITH PRIDE FOR ALL TO SEE.
LIVE FREE OR DIE, THAT'S THEIR
MOTTO.
THIS DISPLAY OF NATIONAL
CONFIDENCE MAKES CANADIANS
CRINGE.
IF WE HAD TO COME UP WITH A NEW
MOTTO, IT MIGHT BE SOMETHING
LIKE, CANADA, NOT BAD.

The audience laughs.

Margaret says MI CANADA,
PALL MALL.
IN 1964 MY MOTHER, NOW
DIVORCED, MARRIED A CANADIAN.
AND THEN WE ALL MOVED FROM DICK
AND JANE LAND TO DON MILLS.
[Audience laughs]
IN HONOUR OF
MY NEW LIFE, I DYED MY MOUSE,
BROWN HAIR PLATINUM BLONDE AND
STARTED SPELLING MY FIRST NAME,
PEGGI WITH A BIG, ROUND CIRCLE
ABOVE THE I.
TORONTO WAS BY FAR THE MOST
EXOTIC PLACE I'D EVER BEEN.
IT EVEN HAD A CAFE WHERE YOU
COULD BUY ESPRESSO, A DRINK I'D
NEVER HEARD OF.
IN YORKVILLE, GORDON LIGHTFOOT
AND JONI MITCHELL WERE PLAYING
IN THE COFFEEHOUSES.
THE CITY WAS FULL OF ALLURE FOR
A GIRL FROM THE SUBURBS OF
AMERICA.
IT WAS A GOOD PLACE TO REINVENT
YOURSELF.
IN THE 80S I WAS A LIBERATED
WOMAN, LIKE LOTS OF OTHER
WOMEN.
MARRIAGE WASN'T FOR ME, AT
LEAST NOT, RIGHT AWAY.
I BELIEVED IN WHAT GLORIA
STEINAM SAID.
A WOMAN WITHOUT A MAN IS LIKE A
FISH WITHOUT A BICYCLE.
[Audience laughs]
I KNEW WHAT
THE RESEARCH SAID.
MARRIED WOMEN ARE MISERABLE.
MARRIED MEN ARE HAPPY.
[Audience laughs]
SINGLE WOMEN
ARE HAPPIER THAN MARRIED WOMEN
AND SINGLE MEN ARE UNHAPPIER
THAN MARRIED MEN.
BUT NOT AS UNHAPPY AS MARRIED
WOMEN WHO ARE STRESSED,
OPPRESSED AND DEPRESSED.
[Audience laughs]
MARRIAGE IS
A LOPSIDED AFFAIR.
GOOD FOR THEM, BAD FOR US.
FORTUNATELY AS I LATER FOUND
OUT THE RESEARCH WAS BOLOGNA.
ONE DAY I TURNED 36, AND
NOTICED I HADN'T HAD A DATE IN
FOUR YEARS.
[Audience laughs]
I WAS
RAPIDLY APPROACHING MY SELL BY
DATE AND SO I DID SOMETHING
VERY WISE.
[Audience laughs]
I BROADENED
MY SEARCH.
I DECIDED MY FUTURE HUSBAND DID
NOT HAVE TO BE A SIX-FOOT TALL
INVESTMENT BANKER, WITH A FULL
HEAD OF HAIR WHO WROTE POETRY
ON THE SIDE.
[Audience laughs]
I DECIDED TO
KEEP IT SIMPLE.
I WOULD CONSIDER ANY MAN WITH
THE THREE “S”ES.
HE HAD TO BE SINGLE, SOLID AND
STRAIGHT.
[Audience laughs]
AND THAT'S
HOW I MET MY HUSBAND.
HE WAS SEPARATED AT THE TIME,
SO THAT'S TWO AND A HALF OUT OF
THREE.
[Audience laughs]
TO MY SHAME
I ALMOST MISSED THE WEDDING.
ALL OUR FAMILIES HAD GATHERED
FROM NEAR AND FAR.
ALL OUR FRIENDS HAD COME.
WE'D HIRED THE MINISTER WHO
MARRIES EVERYBODY AND SHE WAS
WAITING RESPLENDENT IN HER
MULTI-COLOURED ROBE, OF NO
PARTICULAR DENOMINATION.
[Audience laughs]
THE WEDDING
CAKE WAS READY TO BE CUT,
CHAMPAGNE CHILLING.
JUST ONE THING WAS MISSING, ME.
I WAS UPSTAIRS IN THE BATHROOM,
TRYING TO DECIDE WHICH COLOUR
LIPSTICK TO PUT ON.
NOW, IN REAL LIFE I AM THE MOST
PRACTICAL AND DOWN TO EARTH OF
WOMEN.
GOOD IN AN EMERGENCY, CALM AND
COLLECTED.
I HAD MADE THE WEDDING PLANS
WITH NO KINIPTION FITS, NO
SECOND THOUGHTS.
IT WASN'T THAT I GOT COLD FEET.
IT WAS THAT MY FEET HAD TURNED
INTO CEMENT.
I COULDN'T
MOVE THEM.
WHEN IT BECAME CLEAR THAT WELL,
I WAS STUCK, MY FUTURE HUSBAND
CAME UP FROM
THE GARDEN AND POKED HIS HEAD
INTO THE BATHROOM.
JUST CAME UP TO SEE HOW YOU'RE
DOING HE SAID.
HE USED THE SAME CALM AND
REASSURING TONE OF VOICE THAT
YOU USE TO TALK SOMEONE OUT OF
JUMPING OFF A WINDOW LEDGE.
[Audience laughs]
AFTER I PUT
THE LIPSTICK ON, I WENT INTO
THE BEDROOM AND SAT DOWN ON THE
BED.
I SAT THERE FOR QUITE A WHILE,
SOBBING.
THEN MY BABY SISTER CAME
UPSTAIRS TO SEE ME.
SHE WAS A SOCIAL WORKER.
WHOSE
SPECIALIZED IN COUNSELLING
EMOTIONALLY DISTURBED AND
SUICIDAL TEENAGERS.
[Audience laughs]
SOMEBODY HAD
TOLD HER THAT PROFESSIONAL
INTERVENTION WAS REQUIRED.
SHE TOOK MY HAND AND SPOKE
SOOTHINGLY TO ME UNTIL I
STOPPED SOBBING.
GENTLY, SHE LED ME DOWNSTAIRS
TO THE GARDEN.
I CLUTCHED MY BOUQUET OF WHITE
ROSES WITH ONE HAND, AND
GRIPPED MY POOR GROOM WITH THE
OTHER.
DON'T LET GO OF ME I MUTTERED,
OR I'LL FALL DOWN AND HE
DIDN'T, AND THAT'S HOW WE GOT
MARRIED.
AND THAT'S WHY I'VE BEEN
MARRIED TO HIM EVER SINCE.
SO, I'LL TELL YOU THE STORY OF
HOW MY HUSBAND GOT MUGGED IN
SHOPPER'S DRUG MART.
[Audience laughs]
IN CERTAIN
MATTERS MY HUSBAND IS AS
INNOCENT AS A NEW, BORN BABE.
ALTHOUGH HE IS A MASTER OF THE
INFIELD FLY RULE AND CAN
LUCIDLY EXPLAIN THE NEUTRAL
ZONE TRAP, HE SHOULD NOT BE
ALLOWED TO ROAM AROUND
UNSUPERVISED AT COSMETICS
COUNTERS.
[Audience laughs]
IN OTHER
WORDS HE'S A GENUINE GUY.
GENUINE GUYS ARE SOMETIMES
KNOWN AS RETROSEXUALS.
[Audience laughs]
TO
DISTINGUISH THEM FROM
METROSEXUALS, WHO ARE MEN WITH
THE GOOD TASTE OF GAY MEN ONLY
STRAIGHT.
METROSEXUALS USE HAIR GEL.
RETROSEXUALS ARE SCARED OF HAIR
GEL.
SOME PEOPLE THINK THAT
RETROSEXUALS AUTOMATICALLY HAVE
NEANDERTHAL VIEWS ABOUT WOMEN,
BUT THIS IS NOT THE CASE.
A RETROSEXUAL IS SIMPLY SOMEONE
WHO DOESN'T KNOW THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN TEAL AND AQUA, AND
FRANKLY COULDN'T GIVE A DAMN.
FROM TIME TO TIME MY HUSBAND'S
RETRO, RETROSEXUALITY DOES
BOTHER ME.
FOR EXAMPLE HE CAN'T UNDERSTAND
WHY IT'S TIME TO PAINT THE
KITCHEN WHEN WE JUST PAINTED IT
NINE YEARS AGO.
[Audience laughing]
HE DOESN'T
GET WHY WE NEED EXPENSIVE,
MATCHSTICK BLINDS ON ALL THE
KITCHEN WINDOWS WHEN ALL WE DO
IS LEAVE THEM ROLLED UP.
HE CAN'T FIGURE OUT WHY MY
HAIRCUTS COST TEN TIMES MORE
THAN HIS DO.
AND HE THINKS MASSAGES ARE A
WASTE OF TIME, EXCEPT FOR THE
ONE HE GOT FROM TWO MASSEUSES
ON THE BEACH IN THAILAND.
[Audience laughs]
BUT THERE
ARE CERTAIN ADVANTAGES TO MY
HUSBAND'S RETROSEXUAL
ORIENTATION AND THEY ARE FOR
EXAMPLE BEING COMPLETELY
INDIFFERENT TO APPEARANCE.
A RETROSEXUAL WILL NEVER
COMPLAIN THAT YOU'RE PUTTING ON
WEIGHT.
THIS IS ONE OF THE FOUNDATION
STONES OF A GOOD MARRIAGE.
[Audience laughs]
IT'S ALSO
EASY TO IMPRESS HIM WITH YOUR
CULINARY PROWESS.
MY HUSBAND IS SO GRATEFUL TO
GET OUT OF KITCHEN DUTY THAT HE
BRAGS ABOUT MY COOKING, EVEN
THOUGH IT'S USUALLY RATHER
LOUSY.
AND HE ALLOWS ME TO WEASEL OUT
OF CERTAIN HOUSEHOLD TASKS LIKE
GARBAGE DUTY AND DISPOSING OF
THE MICE THE CAT BRINGS HOME.
WE ARE AWARE THAT WE HAVE
LAPSED INTO TIRED, GENDER,
STEREOTYPES.
WE DON'T CARE.
WE ONLY WISH THERE WERE A THIRD
GENDER TO CLEAN THE KITTY
LITTER.
[Audience laughs]
SO BACK TO
SHOPPER'S DRUG MART.
THE TROUBLE BEGAN WHEN HE
NOTICED THAT HIS SHINS WERE
ITCHY.
HE BLAMED HIS SKI SOCKS.
SO HE WENT OFF TO SHOPPER'S TO
GET SOMETHING TO RUB ON THEM.
INSTEAD OF HEADING FOR THE
AISLE FILLED WITH JERGENS
CARING LOTION AND VASELINE, HE
STOPPED AT THE COSMETICS
COUNTER AND ASKED THE CUTE GIRL
THERE FOR HER ADVICE.
[Audience laughs]
MOISTURIZER
HE SAID, I NEED MOISTURIZER.
I DON'T WANT ANYTHING SMELLY.
I DON'T WANT TO SMELL LIKE A
GIRL.
HE WAS QUITE EXCITED WHEN HE
GOT HOME.
THIS WILL DO THE TRICK HE SAID.
IT'S GOT
LIPIDINS IN IT.
I ASKED HIM WHAT LIPIDINS WERE.
AND HE SAID THE COSMETICS
CONSULTANT TOLD HIM
THEY LOCK IN
YOUR NATURAL MOISTURE.
HE PROUDLY SHOWED ME A SMALL,
PLASTIC BOTTLE FILLED WITH
SOMETHING CALLED VICHY
RELIPIDIZING BODY CREAM FLUID.
[Audience laughs]
IT CAME IN A
SPECIAL, AQUA COLOURED TOTE BAG,
AND ACCORDING TO THE LABEL ON
THE INGREDIENTS INCLUDED
GENUINE VICHY THERMAL SPA WATER
FROM FRANCE, WHICH PROBABLY
EXPLAINS WHY THE BOTTLE COST
43 DOLLARS.
[Audience laughs]
YOU'VE BEEN
MUGGED I SAID.
I THOUGHT IT WAS A BIT
EXPENSIVE HE CONFESSED.
BUT HE'D BEEN TOO INTIMIDATED
TO COMPLAIN ABOUT THE PRICE.
HE DIDN'T KNOW YOU COULD GET
VASELINE INTENSIVE CARE, NO
VICHY WATER, NO LIPIDINS FOR
3.99.
NOW NATURALLY I'VE TEASED HIM
MERCILESSLY ABOUT THIS EVER
SINCE.
BUT THE TRUTH IS I REALLY HAVE
NO INTEREST IN MEN WHO ARE
INTERESTED IN SKIN CARE.
THAT'S MY JOB.
IN RETURN I'M HAPPY TO LET THEM
WORRY ABOUT THE OIL LEVEL IN
THE CAR.
NOT SURPRISINGLY MY HUSBAND WAS
TOO EMBARRASSED TO TAKE BACK
HIS RELIPIDIZING CREAM AND HE
STILL HAS IT.
AND TODAY HE'S PROBABLY THE
ONLY MALE IN THE WORLD WHO IS
RUBBING IT ON HIS ITCHY SHINS.
[Audience laughs]
I'M LOCKING
IN MY MOISTURE HE SAYS
DEFIANTLY.
[Audience laughs]
I DON'T HAVE
THE HEART TO TELL HIM IT MAKES
HIM SMELL LIKE A GIRL.
[Audience laughs]
IT TAKES ME
A LONG TIME TO GET OUT OF THE
HOUSE THESE DAYS.
FIRST, I HAVE TO FIND MY
GLASSES AND MY KEYS.
THEN I HAVE TO FIND MY SHOES.
THE OTHER DAY I STOPPED TO CASH
A CHEQUE ON THE WAY TO WORK.
I LOCKED THE CAR AND LEFT THE
CHEQUE IN IT.
THEN I GOT THE CHEQUE AND
LOCKED THE CAR AGAIN AND LEFT
MY PEN IN THE CAR.
ANYWAY IT TOOK THREE TRIES TO
GET IT RIGHT AND THEN I LEFT MY
UMBRELLA IN THE BANK.
WELCOME TO A WOMAN'S WISEST
YEARS.
THAT'S HOW THEY'RE BILLING IT,
MENOPAUSE.
NO LONGER A DAMN NUISANCE.
IT'S BEEN REBRANDED AS A
POWERFUL TOOL FOR SELF-
IMPROVEMENT.
MENOPAUSE IS
AN OPPORTUNITY FOR
UNPRECEDENTED PERSONAL GROWTH,
PROMISES DOCTOR CHRISTIANE
NORTHROP WHO IS THE REIGNING
GURU OF THE CHANGE OF LIFE.
SHE HERSELF IS LIVING PROOF.
AFTER SHE STARTED HAVING HOT
FLASHES, SHE DUMPED HER
HUSBAND, BECAME A TV CELEBRITY,
AND WROTE A BOOK CALLED “THE
WISDOM OF MENOPAUSE,” WHICH
RODE THE BESTSELLER LIST FOR
MORE THAN A YEAR.
NOW, SHE'S RICH AND FAMOUS AND
HAS INNER PEACE.
FOLLOW HER ADVICE AND THIS
COULD HAPPEN TO YOU.
MENOPAUSAL WOMEN ARE A TERRIFIC
TARGET MARKET BECAUSE THERE ARE
SO MANY OF US.
IN THE NEXT YET DECADE,
40,000,000 WOMEN IN NORTH
AMERICA WILL BE GOING THROUGH
THE CHANGE.
AND SINCE BOOMERS ALWAYS TREAT
EACH STAGE OF LIFE AS IF
THEY'VE PERSONALLY INVENTED IT,
THEN AMPLIFY THEIR REVELATIONS
TILL EVERYBODY GETS TOTALLY FED
UP.
I KNOW ONE THING FOR SURE
MENOPAUSE IS HOT.
[Audience laughs]
IN FACT IT'S
SO HOT THAT EVEN MEN ARE
DEMANDING A PIECE OF THE
ACTION.
HOW LIKE THEM.
MEN ARE SUCCUMBING TO A BRAND,
NEW SYNDROME CALLED ANDROPAUSE,
WHICH IS SIMILAR TO MENOPAUSE
BECAUSE IT MAKES YOU CRABBY AND
EVERYTHING STARTS DROOPING.
[Audience laughs]
BUT MEN SKIP
THE NEW, AGE MUMBO, JUMBO, AND
GO STRAIGHT FOR THE QUICK FIX.
A LITTLE TESTOSTERONE GEL,
VIAGRA.
THE OTHER DAY I BLANKED OUT ON
THE WORD FOR WINDSHIELD
SCRAPER.
ENGLISH SUDDENLY BECOMES A SORT
OF FOREIGN LANGUAGE AND YOU'RE
FORCED TO GROPE FOR SYNONYMS
FOR WORDS THAT HAVE GONE AWOL.
IT'S NICE TO TELL OURSELVES
THAT AGING IS ALL ABOUT SELF-
ACTUALIZATION.
THAT WAY MAYBE WE'LL FORGET
THAT IT'S REALLY ABOUT
RE-INFANTILIZATION.
FOR EXAMPLE I'VE FINALLY GIVEN
UP AND PUT MY GLASSES, MY OTHER
PAIR OF GLASSES ON A STRING.
IT'S A JAUNTY, PURPLE, STRETCHY
STRING, THE KIND THAT ATHLETES
WEAR.
BUT IT'S STILL A STRING, AND IN
MY HEART I KNOW THAT I'LL NEVER
BE MISTAKEN AGAIN FOR A SURFER.
[Audience laughs]
SO, SAID A
FRIEND OF MINE THE OTHER DAY I
SEE YOU'VE GOT THE STRING, JUST
LIKE MITTENS.
[Audience laughing]
THE OTHER
PROBLEM WITH CONQUERING
MENOPAUSE, INSTEAD OF JUST
IGNORING IT
AND SHUTTING
ABOUT IT THE WAY MY GRANDMOTHER
DID IS THAT IT TAKES QUITE A
BIT OF WORK.
IT'S NOT ENOUGH TO JUST GET IN
TOUCH WITH YOUR INNER WISDOM.
YOU ALSO HAVE TO EAT VAST
AMOUNTS OF SOY PRODUCTS AND
GROUND, FLAX SEED.
[Audience laughs]
BECOME AN
EXPERT ON H.R.T, GIVE UP BREAD,
CUT DOWN ON BOOZE, START
LIFTING WEIGHTS, DO PILATES
FOUR TIMES A WEEK, MAYBE RUN A
MARATHON.
YOU HAVE TO TAKE YOUR CALCIUM
SUPPLEMENTS AND ANTIOXIDANTS,
PRACTICE BIOFEEDBACK.
GET RID OF ALL THE NEGATIVE
PEOPLE IN YOUR LIFE.
[Audience laughs]
AND IF YOU
DO ALL THESE THINGS, PLUS HAVE
A FACELIFT, PERHAPS YOU'LL LOOK
AND FEEL AS GOOD AS DR.
NORTHROP, BUT EVEN THEN YOU'LL
STILL NEED A STRING FOR YOUR
GLASSES.
[Audience laughs]
WE BOOMERS
ARE AN OPTIMISTIC LOT.
WE'RE DEDICATED TO THE
PROPOSITION THAT WE CAN TURN
EVERY BAD THING THAT HAPPENS, A
DIVORCE, FIBROIDS, GROWING OLD,
LOSING OUR SHORT TERM MEMORY,
INTO THE NEXT STEP IN OUR
PERSONAL, SPIRITUAL
TRANSFORMATION.
20 YEARS FROM NOW GAIL SHEEHY
WILL PROBABLY WRITE A BOOK
ABOUT OVERCOMING THE CHALLENGE
OF PERSONAL MORTALITY.
[Audience laughs]
IT'LL BE
CALLED “THE FINAL PASSAGE.”
[Audience laughs]
IT WILL
ARGUE THAT DEATH IS A GOOD
THING.
AND NO DOUBT IT WILL BE A
BESTSELLER TOO.
LET ME DO JUST A LITTLE BIT
MORE ABOUT BEING A CANADIAN.
JUST A LITTLE BIT.
A COUPLE OF MORE MINUTES.
I'VE BEEN A CANADIAN FOR 25
YEARS NOW, AND LIKE LOTS OF EX-
AMERICANS I NEVER DREAMED I'D
STAY HERE FOR LIFE.
BUT ONE DAY YOU REALIZE YOU'VE
BEEN HERE FOR YEARS AND YEARS,
AND PUT DOWN ROOTS AND YOU'RE
TIRED OF PAYING TAXES WITHOUT
VOTING, SO YOU DECIDE TO SWEAR
ALLEGIANCE TO THE QUEEN.
AND THE DAY THE CITIZENSHIP
JUDGE PRONOUNCES YOU CANADIAN
ALONG WITH A HUNDRED OTHER
PEOPLE FROM ALL CORNERS OF THE
EARTH YOU'RE CAUGHT UNAWARES BY
HOW EMOTIONAL AND PROUD YOU
FEEL.
SHE TELLS YOU TO SHAKE HANDS
WITH THE PEOPLE NEXT TO YOU,
YOUR FELLOW CITIZENS AND YOU'RE
OVERWHELMED WITH LOVE FOR ALL
THESE STRANGERS.
YOU ALSO FEEL LIKE A LITTLE BIT
OF A FRAUD, I GUESS BECAUSE YOU
KNOW THAT ALL OF THEM HAVE HAD
A FAR LONGER AND HARDER JOURNEY
HERE THAN YOU DID.
AMERICANS WHO HAVE CHOSEN
CANADA, TEND TO BE VERY, SELF-
CONGRATULATORY.
SOME OF US ARE EVEN MORE SMUG
AND CONDESCENDING TOWARDS THE
UNITED STATES THAN NATIVE, BORN
CANADIANS ARE.
[Audience laughs]
THE CRIME,
THE GUNS, THE ARROGANCE, THE
RACISM, THE DEATH PENALTY, THE
QUAGMIRE IN IRAQ.
THE 45,000,000 PEOPLE WHO LIVE
WITHOUT HEALTH INSURANCE, THE
MORON IN THE WHITE HOUSE, THE
FAT PEOPLE AT DISNEYWORLD.
THE CHRISTIAN RIGHT, THE
BANALITY OF POPULAR CULTURE.
THESE THINGS ARE PROOF OF OUR
WISDOM IN CONVERTING, AS WELL
AS AUTOMATIC PROOF OF CANADA'S
IMPURE, VIRTUE.
WELL I USED TO BADMOUTH AMERICA
TOO.
BUT NOW THAT BADMOUTHING
AMERICA IS CANADA'S SECOND MOST
POPULAR NATIONAL SPORT, I'M
PUZZLED.
WHY ARE WE SO SENSITIVE TO
BASH, ABOUT BASHING OTHER
PEOPLE'S CULTURES, BUT SO QUICK
TO BASH AMERICA'S?
WHY DO WE TEACH OUR KIDS THAT
STEREOTYPING PEOPLE IS
DREADFULLY WRONG, THEN
GLEEFULLY STEREOTYPE AMERICANS?
WHY DO WE CONDEMN INTOLERANCE
EXCEPT WHEN IT'S DIRECTED
AGAINST THE MOST TOLERANT AND
DEMOCRATIC COUNTRY IN THE
WORLD?
WELL I KNOW THE ANSWERS.
THEY'RE ARROGANT, THEY'RE
BULLIES, THEY'RE WARMONGERING
CRUSADERS, BECAUSE THE MORONS
IN CHARGE OF THE COUNTRY ARE
IMMORAL OR FOOLHARDY.
BECAUSE THEY DON'T GIVE A DAMN
ABOUT THE REST OF THE WORLD.
BECAUSE THEY'RE ENTIRELY TOO
POWERFUL FOR THEIR OWN GOOD AND
FOR EVERYBODY ELSE'S.
SO, HERE'S A QUESTION.
IF YOU HAD TO CHOOSE ANOTHER
COUNTRY TO BE ENTIRELY TOO
POWERFUL, WHICH ONE WOULD YOU
PREFER AND WOULD YOU RATHER
LIVE NEXT TO THEM INSTEAD?
DO YOU EVER THINK OF GOING
HOME?
PEOPLE HERE
SOMETIMES ASK ME.
I THINK THEY MEAN YOU'VE GOT A
CHOICE.
SO WHY DON'T YOU LIVE WHERE
TAXES ARE LOWER?
SALARIES ARE HIGHER.
WINTERS ARE SHORTER.
OR MAYBE
THEY MEAN THAT SINCE I STICK UP
FOR AMERICA SO MUCH, WHY DON'T
I JUST MOVE BACK THERE?
BUT MY ANSWER IS THE ONE THAT
ALL IMMIGRANTS GIVE.
FOR BETTER AND FOR WORSE, I AM
HOME.
I HAVE ONLY ONE WISH FOR US,
ONE, MODEST, LITTLE WISH.
CAN'T WE BE A LITTLE BIT MORE
PATRIOTIC?
WE CAN BARELY MUMBLE A FEW BARS
OF “OH CANADA” WITHOUT SOUNDING
HALF-HEARTED, AND EMBARRASSED.
MY ONE WISH FOR MY HOME AND NOT
NATIVE LAND IS FOR US TO GET
OVER THAT.
I ADMIT OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM IS
NOT THE BEST, BUT WE SHOULD
GROW UP AND BELT IT OUT WITH
PRIDE.
AS A WAY OF GIVING THANKS THAT
BY SOME STUPENDOUS, HAPPY,
ACCIDENT, WE HAVE THE GOOD LUCK
TO BELONG TO THE MOST,
FORTUNATE NATION ON EARTH.
THANK YOU.

The audience applauds.

Watch: Margaret Wente on being An Accidental Canadian