Have you seen this Canadian beer commercial, known as “The Rant”? Airing in 2000, it ran with what was then Molson’s slogan, and was pretty popular in Canada, airing during Saturday night hockey games. In fact, a good friend me a “I am Canadian” key chain back then and I still use–the double entendre of the pithy slogan evident to anyone who knows their brands of Canadian beer.
Apart from humorously (or should I say humourously?) inverting the notion of self-deprecating Canadians, this nationalist rant about misunderstood Canadian identity is a rather interesting thing when you start to think about to whom it was aimed. For, in suitably passive aggressive fashion, it was directed at American stereotypes about Canada yet, when considered on another level, the commercial was broadcast in Canada, to Canadian viewers (and, more importantly, Canadian beer drinking hockey fans–we can’t forget, it’s goal is to sell a certain type of beer). So it’s an alienated insider’s wink to other equally alienated insiders, grooming their sentiments of affinity when defining themselves against their southern neighbor (neighbour?)–a rant that was never really aimed at the source that they think generates the stereotypes in the first place.
Yet in never directly confronting those seemingly uninformed Americans–say, by taking out a 30 second commercial during the Superbowl–the commercial inverts nothing for it nicely reconfirms all the stereotypes it supposedly undermines. For its message is that we get plenty fired up, so long as no one’s around to get offended by it. The commercial works only because the disgruntled Canadians who were watching it in their living rooms were all sitting there imagining how some stereotyped American stereotypes and thereby misunderstand them, imagining what they’d say to them if given the chance, imagining all the other Canadians doing much the same. Oh, and all waiting for Hockey Night in Canada to come back on.