The Usual Glaring Omissions, and “Going Canadian”

:: Rolling Stone is back with another list, this time The 500 Greatest Songs of All Time. RS chose a “jury of singers, musicians, producers, industry figures, critics and, of course, songwriters”, 172 in all. For the list, “the word song refers to both a composition and its definitive recorded performance, as a single or an album track.”

As with all lists of favorites, the results are based on subjective judgement. Reading through the list, I expected to see at least one song by The Guess Who, Steely Dan, The Dave Clark Five, Dave Matthews Band, The Moody Blues, the Doobie Brothers, The Pretenders, The Fixx, Genesis or Peter Gabriel, but by the time I reached 400, I sensed none of these bands would have an entry. No “American Woman”, no “Do It Again”, no “Anyway You Want It”, no “In Your Eyes” – astonishing, in my view.

Regardless of what you think of any of these artists, and probably countless others who belong here, there were individual gems among their collective output. Each of these bands might have placed two, three, or more tunes on a list of this size. However, “Do Ya Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart checked in at #301.

What’s wrong with this picture? Also, from my POV as a Canadian, there are some great national artists missing from the list as well. Did I mention The Guess Who?

:: And how much worse can it get in America? The right in the US detests my liberal country, but that doesn’t discourage T-Shirtking.com from selling their new “Going Canadian” kit:

Americans Traveling Overseas – Consider Going Canadian!

Rather travel overseas or in Canada without having to discuss your politics with everyone you meet? Consider Going Canadian!

For $24.95 you get a complete disguise. A t-shirt with the Canadian flag and the saying “O Canada! (National Anthem), a patch for your luggage or backpack, a window sticker and a lapel pin. Plus – Free Report – How to Speak Canadian, Eh?!

Now when someone asks you about American politics, you can say, “I’m on vacation, I don’t want to talk aboot it.”

Aboot it? How about a boot to the head? How bad has it become in the USA when its own citizens want to disguise their identity when leaving the country? Marketed as a gag gift after the Nov 2 US election, sales have skyrocketed since the item was picked up on newsfeeds. From an article in the Edmonton Journal:

The company’s website also suggests the Go Canadian kit makes “a great gag gift for that friend that wants to move to Canada” — a much-debated urge among many left-leaning Americans in the wake of President George W. Bush’s re-election.

“It’s not meant as a slight against the United States or Canada,” Bill Broadbent told The Associated Press. “It was meant as something Republicans could give their Democrat friends to say ‘C’est la vie.’ …But maybe not ‘c’est la vie’ because that’s a French word.”

The guide teaches buyers that “Cowtown” is a nickname for Calgary and “Hogtown” is Toronto. The words “hoser” and “Mountie” are among those defined in a Great White North glossary and phrases such as “deke out of a meeting” are explained for non-hockeyists.

“If your vacation is to be stress-free,” says the company’s website pitch, “leave those heavy politics behind and travel with a light heart and quick wit, Canadian style.”

4 Responses to “The Usual Glaring Omissions, and “Going Canadian””

  1. Tony Says:

    It’s billed as the greatest 500 songs of all time, but the list is limited to Rock and Roll which limits it to American and UK pop of the last 50 years. It is reasonably spread out over the 50 years, but the songs seem to be there because they were ubiquitous in their day and have become ubiquitous in retro radio. It’s hard to quarrel with some choices, but I see too many minor Beatles and Dylan songs, some songs that are supposed to honour a movement or style (Cream).

    The whole thing seems to invite comparison to Jack Black’s character in High Fidelity. It’s an interesting exercise, but impossible to reduce thousands of songs – the soundtracks of 3 generations – to a list of 500 top songs.

  2. Brad Says:

    Yankocentric dolts……

    A few years ago, in a semi drunken state late in the evening, I succumbed to an infomercial’s blandishments and ordered the Time-Life/Rolling Stone collection. 25 years worth of “essential” rock. This was accompanied by the Rolling Stone Album Guide.

    Try as I might, I could not locate the Guess Who in the Album Guide. There were many (IMHO) lesser bands listed, and what writing there was seemed cogent and well reasoned. However, the absence of the Guess Who and other significant Canadian content (Stampeders, Chilliwack)at the expense of some pretty marginal U.S. groups (Chi-lites?) told me everything I needed to know about Rolling Stone.

    Culturally Imperialist promulgators of rock n’ roll manifest destiny, the bastards.

  3. cindi Says:

    The temptation to “go Canadian” is not new, even if the kit is. Seeing how Americans acted abroad in 1997 and 2000 made me want to hide, but we stuck out like sore thumbs, even if we were quieter (and thinner!) than most of our countrymen. More amusing was the exasperation resulting from Europeans assuming that Canadians were American; it was equal to the annoyance and indignation from the Australians mistakenly called English (not to mention the New Zealanders that were assumed to be Australian!).

  4. steven Says:

    The whole “go Canadian” thing was done with much more flair about fourteen years ago when marines shipping out to Iraq got Canadian flags tattooed here in Vancouver in case they were captured! The sad thing is that the dreadful few who are fueling the conditions that make people feel this is a good idea, or even only a relevant bit of humour are unlikely to modify their behaviours in a more humane direction.

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