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Conanís Triumph
The American Spectator ^ | February16, 2004 | Colby Cosh

Posted on 02/15/2004 9:15:19 PM PST by quidnunc

Edmonton – The Spectatorians have asked me to comment on the outcry against Conan O'Brien here in Canada, and while I wouldn't dream of defending the phony indignation of a handful of socialists, kleptocrats, and race-baiters, there is a genuine cultural issue here. The people who are stamping their feet over the antics of a hand puppet are, I think, genuinely confused as well as politically opportunistic.

There is no cultural referent here, you see, for the thing Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is actually parodying, which is the tradition of the insult comic. Canada lived in a British universe, culturally, until quite recently — and that cultural heritage includes the British comic mainstream rather than the U.S.'s. British comedy, to risk a very broad generalization, is zany, intellectual, and playful, a product of the music hall rather than the strip club.

It is no coincidence that so many of the major Canadian comic figures on the Canadian scene are essentially sweet-natured, "cute" figures. This is the country of Mike Myers, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, and Jim Carrey (who admittedly has great reserves of anger, but mostly self-directed anger). None of these people made their names by going over the top.

So, to many Canadians, Robert Smigel — the voice of Triumph — must have just seemed like a guy walking around bellowing abuse in the street. They're not in on the meta-joke which is the essence of the thing. It's a foreign country, despite appearances to the contrary. Still: We've heard of Don Rickles. We're not complete idiots.

-snip-

Now, of course, it's all gone pear-shaped. The halfwits who denounced a plastic dog-shaped glove have put a brand-new weld in the sealed American conviction that the gay-marrying, pot-legalizing, military-hating, gun-registering, socialized-everything Canadians are completely bughouse — a freakish bastard admixture of Yippie and commissar. Even the Kucinich voters with braided beards and BUSH KNEW tattoos are looking north and going "Dude … it's a puppet. Chill." Given the uproar, who wants to visit Toronto and possibly touch off some kind of international incident by saying the wrong thing? Aren't there dank, fungal Turkish-style prisons up there for people who make ethnic jokes? (Answer: not yet, but check back in ten years.)

-snip-

(Excerpt) Read more at spectator.org ...


TOPICS: Canada; Culture/Society; Extended News
KEYWORDS: 2004election; americanspectator; antiamericanism; canada; canadians; cheeseandwhine; cheeseeating; chum; comedy; conan; conanobrien; dairyproducts; election2004; french; frenchcanadians; frenchwhine; hatecrime; insults; marksteyn; montreal; ottowa; quebec; scandal; socialists; tas; toronto; triumph; triumphtheinsultdog; waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

1 posted on 02/15/2004 9:15:19 PM PST by quidnunc
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To: quidnunc
Some of the Canucks just need to get a sense of humor
2 posted on 02/15/2004 9:22:56 PM PST by rllngrk33 (Liberals are guilty of everything they accuse Conservatives of.)
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To: quidnunc
Quebec exists in a state of constant rage over being merely a French speaking ghetto in an English speaking Canada, which is just a suburb of the US.
3 posted on 02/15/2004 9:24:06 PM PST by per loin
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To: per loin
I remember a comedian many years ago describing Montreal this way...

Montreal: A city in Canada, an hour from the United States, where they speak French and have the Queen of England on their money.
4 posted on 02/15/2004 9:30:50 PM PST by mwyounce
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To: quidnunc
Wow. I never heard of Colby Cosh before, but he (?) is a very, very good writer.

If you plow money into health prevention, it works only if nothing bad happens; and it's hard for a politician to take credit for an absence of catastrophe. Much easier, really, to bribe a famous American television show to move north for a week and let people see their compatriots on U.S. teevee. We must be important -- we're on after Leno!

Great stuff!

5 posted on 02/15/2004 9:33:07 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: per loin
Canada exists merely to store all our extra trees.
6 posted on 02/15/2004 9:35:28 PM PST by Lucas McCain
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To: quidnunc
The people who are stamping their feet over the antics of a hand puppet are, I think, genuinely confused disturbed
7 posted on 02/15/2004 9:48:01 PM PST by GeronL (www.ArmorforCongress.com ............... Support a FReeper for Congress)
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To: quidnunc

Triumph the Insult Comic Dog official videos

8 posted on 02/15/2004 9:50:03 PM PST by zipper (Don't Tread On Me)
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To: quidnunc
What is Canada? Is that near Michigan? I thought it was just a bunch of snow and polar bears. Is there a nation North of Washington? I never knew.
9 posted on 02/15/2004 9:54:45 PM PST by Porterville (Traitors against God, country, family, and benefactors lament their sins in the deepest part of hell)
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To: quidnunc
"Even the Kucinich voters with braided beards and BUSH KNEW tattoos...."

Such imagery.

10 posted on 02/15/2004 9:56:49 PM PST by JoJo Gunn (Gut and raze the NEA! ©)
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To: per loin
Quebec exists in a state of constant rage over being merely a French speaking ghetto in an English speaking Canada, which is just a suburb of the US.

As Triumph said it's "the Canada of Canada!"
11 posted on 02/15/2004 9:59:07 PM PST by cartoonistx
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To: quidnunc
I love conan and I will continue to watch his show
12 posted on 02/15/2004 10:24:32 PM PST by Afro_conservative
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To: Afro_conservative
It's interesting that Canadian cabinet ministers have seen fit to put themselves on par with a puppet. Then again . . .

Has Mark Steyn weighed in on this yet?

13 posted on 02/15/2004 10:29:10 PM PST by AmishDude
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To: quidnunc
...Jim Carrey...None of these people made their names by going over the top.

He didn't?

14 posted on 02/15/2004 10:33:27 PM PST by skr (Pro-life from cradle to grave)
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To: quidnunc

"Calm down, everyone, please, calm down! Canada is a great country. The greatest country in the world.......... for me to poop on."

(by the way, isn't it homophobic of the Canadians to get all angry about the implication that they might be homosexuals?)

15 posted on 02/15/2004 10:41:51 PM PST by Cinnamon Girl
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To: Lancey Howard
You might like his blog.
16 posted on 02/15/2004 11:13:36 PM PST by MattAMiller
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To: MattAMiller
Thanks for the link!
Great blog - - I already posted a thread from it re: the crazy "gun registry".
17 posted on 02/15/2004 11:33:36 PM PST by Lancey Howard
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To: quidnunc
We've heard of Don Rickles. We're not complete idiots

Lousy analysis. Should be "We're not complete hockey pucks."

Gotta give US readers (old enough for the commercial, heck, old enough to remember who Don is, besides the guy in the
war movie with Dirty Harry) something other than idiots.

Of course, that just brings back memories of Cretin, er, Chretien, and his lackey that called Bush an idiot.

18 posted on 02/15/2004 11:55:39 PM PST by Calvin Locke
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To: quidnunc
Conan's show mocks the processes of television comedy.

Taking offense at it requires a level of cultural retardation only the Quebecois could muster.

19 posted on 02/16/2004 12:18:43 AM PST by Chunga
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To: Lancey Howard
Lots more of him here:

www.colbycosh.com

20 posted on 02/16/2004 2:25:07 AM PST by TheMole
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why do you guys always lump us all into one category. then insult all of us...'the canadians'...you guys have your freaky pc people in your country too. so chill out.

(grumpy cuz i worked all night...grrr!)
21 posted on 02/16/2004 5:48:45 AM PST by ecru
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To: Porterville
If they are Canadians, why isn't it Canadia?
If it is Canada, why aren't they Canadans?
22 posted on 02/16/2004 5:49:04 AM PST by steve8714
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To: ecru
Aw, we're only kidding, ya frog-lovin' Canuck whiny-boy.
23 posted on 02/16/2004 6:47:46 AM PST by LibertarianInExile (THIS TAGLINE VETTED BY THE TSA...it was sharp and had a point before they got to it.)
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To: quidnunc
Canada lived in a British universe, culturally, until quite recently — and that cultural heritage includes the British comic mainstream rather than the U.S.'s. British comedy, to risk a very broad generalization, is zany, intellectual, and playful, a product of the music hall rather than the strip club. It is no coincidence that so many of the major Canadian comic figures on the Canadian scene are essentially sweet-natured, "cute" figures.

*Ahem*


24 posted on 02/16/2004 7:30:09 AM PST by RightWingAtheist
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To: quidnunc
Canada's own version of Triumph (actually predates him by about three or four years):

His motto: If you don't have something nice to say, say it often!

25 posted on 02/16/2004 7:33:05 AM PST by RightWingAtheist
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To: per loin
Quebec exists in a state of constant rage over being merely a French speaking ghetto in an English speaking Canada

Only their politicians. The people themselves really don't care.

26 posted on 02/16/2004 10:34:31 AM PST by Squawk 8888 (Earth first! We can mine the other planets later.)
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To: quidnunc
Conan’s Triumph - Colby Cosh

The Spectatorians have asked me to comment on the outcry against Conan O'Brien here in Canada, and while I wouldn't dream of defending the phony indignation of a handful of socialists, kleptocrats, and race-baiters, there is a genuine cultural issue here. The people who are stamping their feet over the antics of a hand puppet are, I think, genuinely confused as well as politically opportunistic.

There is no cultural referent here, you see, for the thing Triumph the Insult Comic Dog is actually parodying, which is the tradition of the insult comic. Canada lived in a British universe, culturally, until quite recently -- and that cultural heritage includes the British comic mainstream rather than the U.S.'s. British comedy, to risk a very broad generalization, is zany, intellectual, and playful, a product of the music hall rather than the strip club.

It is no coincidence that so many of the major Canadian comic figures on the Canadian scene are essentially sweet-natured, "cute" figures. This is the country of Mike Myers, John Candy, Dan Aykroyd, Phil Hartman, and Jim Carrey (who admittedly has great reserves of anger, but mostly self-directed anger). None of these people made their names by going over the top.

So, to many Canadians, Robert Smigel -- the voice of Triumph -- must have just seemed like a guy walking around bellowing abuse in the street. They're not in on the meta-joke which is the essence of the thing. It's a foreign country, despite appearances to the contrary. Still: We've heard of Don Rickles. We're not complete idiots.

There's no real excuse for the outrage. It's being fomented by the social-democratic NDP, which is opposed to humor on principle, and by Quebec politicians, who have an interest in representing Quebec to Quebeckers as being constantly under siege by menacing Anglo imperialists (cultural and/or political).

NATURALLY, WE DIDN'T HEAR too many complaints from this sour-faced gang when the governments of Canada and Ontario chipped in US$750,000 last year to bring Late Night with Conan O'Brien to Toronto. (The NDP did object, but half-heartedly.) After Toronto's bout with SARS in the summer of 2003, it was decided that a little more tourism was just what the Hot Zone needed to put its economy back on its feet.

It's possible, one supposes, that there are Americans who choose holiday destinations by watching late-night television. And it's possible that tourism's benefits to merchants are worth the higher prices that locals have to pay for goods and services bid up by travelers. It's even possible that the net effect was worth the expenditure of a million Canadian dollars in tax money. Though I wouldn't want to bet the farm on all three things being true.

Given what SARS demonstrated about the state of public health in Ontario, it seems likely that a better use could have been found for the money. But then, there's nothing glamorous about preventing epidemics. If you plow money into health prevention, it works only if nothing bad happens; and it's hard for a politician to take credit for an absence of catastrophe. Much easier, really, to bribe a famous American television show to move north for a week and let people see their compatriots on U.S. teevee. We must be important -- we're on after Leno!

Now, of course, it's all gone pear-shaped. The halfwits who denounced a plastic dog-shaped glove have put a brand-new weld in the sealed American conviction that the gay-marrying, pot-legalizing, military-hating, gun-registering, socialized-everything Canadians are completely bughouse -- a freakish bastard admixture of Yippie and commissar. Even the Kucinich voters with braided beards and BUSH KNEW tattoos are looking north and going "Dude... it's a puppet. Chill." Given the uproar, who wants to visit Toronto and possibly touch off some kind of international incident by saying the wrong thing? Aren't there dank, fungal Turkish-style prisons up there for people who make ethnic jokes? (Answer: not yet, but check back in ten years.)

What we have here is the classic tale of the slick, savvy, and ultimately blameless American capitalist abroad. Conan took the money, came north, offered exactly what was ordered, and went home, leaving behind a bunch of baffled yokels who somehow felt cheated.

But remember, you can't cheat an honest man. Canadian authorities promoted Conan's show without performing one minute of due diligence. Triumph has been a centerpiece of Late Night for years, and everyone but the politicians knows that his act consists of insults -- insults of the precise sort that is gradually being socially proscribed, and criminalized, up here.

They confused entertainment for advertising, too. Show business is business, to be sure, but without the show, there's no business. Was Conan expected to spend a week lulling American audiences to sleep with some kind of stale Soviet travelogue expounding gustily on Canada's glories?

Oh, great idea -- for Triumph to poop on!

_________________________________

Quidnunc,

Keep up the good articles regarding news from Canada! I am an American-born citizen living up here in Canada -- and it is ALWAYS good to see these pompous Canadians put in their place (the Liberal media up here is SO SHABBY at dealing with "dissent"....

FReegards,

- ConservativeStLouisGuy

PS: Worthy of a full posting.......
27 posted on 02/16/2004 10:58:02 AM PST by ConservativeStLouisGuy (transplanted St Louisan living in Canada, eh!)
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