Careful what you wish for. In an earlier post, I hoped my home country would experience unapologetic pride. According to Gil LeBreton in today's Fort Worth Star-Telegram, my fellow Canadians not only got patriotic, they turned into jack-booted thugs. Yes, he likened the Vancouver Olympics to those of Berlin in 1936.
It's ridiculous--more a matter of bad writing than real sentiment, at least if you believe LeBreton's apology on the Star-Telegram website this afternoon. It's also pretty rich coming out of someone from the land where people who don't wave flags unabashedly have their patriotism questioned. But it's horribly insulting and in dreadful taste. It's embarassing to me to know the headline: "Dallas Fort Worth Columnist Compares Canadians to Nazis" reflects on my adopted hometown.
Lebreton's views are in no way representative of the way my friends and neighbors here viewed the games, and even if they might think the host country's enthusiasm was a little too much, they would never call Canadians fascists. Nevertheless, Lebreton hasn't done much to help the image of Texans, and his words are what's out there for all to read.
The best response came with trademark humor, published today in the Vancouver-based The Province and originally on writer Cam Battley's blog, and did me proud: "It took the investigative skills of intrepid Fort Worth Star-Telegram sports columnist Gil LeBreton to uncover the ugly truth...Sure, Canadians seem multicultural, friendly and good-natured on the surface. But that’s just what they want you to think. Dig a little deeper and you’ll find that they’re plotting to crush the world under their jackboots. Or snowshoes. Whatever."
Read Battley's whole post. It's smart, funny and insightful---everything LeBreton's is not.