Friday, July 01, 2011

Why I Cannot Bring Myself to Wear Flannel

The funny thing about being in Germany is that everyone treats me, a Canadian, as something rather special, even exotic.

As a Canadian, this is a profoundly unsettling experience. Maybe it's the constant taunting of drunken beer-bottle smashing Brits or navel-gazing imperialist Americans, but Canadians are more used to being respected diplomatically (well, at least until the current administration), while being snickered at culturally.

Anyway, it turns out that the Germans really think we're something special. I jokingly suggested that I should have worn a lumberjack shirt and a toque, and people thought that this would actually be a really great thing to see - a real Canadian, wearing real Canadian clothes. Also, I suggested I should have an axe - this they loved even more.

I suppose this is true - although I, like most Canadians, live in the thrall of urbanity, most of us cling to the quaint if not completely ridiculous notion that we, by virtue of being in a country with a lot of land, are somehow tied to the land in some mysterious way, even though we all pretty much are completely useless at looking after it in any meaningful way that might actually allow it to be there in oh say, 100 years. We aren't the least bit tied to the land except as consumers, and to be honest, the mythology itself is completely destructive and fraught with contradictions, but that's where we're at.

Anyway, a propos, this is my long preface to an fantastic essay at N+1 about flannel shirts. Enjoy!

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