Saturday, April 25, 2009

Moving Forward...

It took me awhile to get around to it, but here it is, the e-mail that got me so worked up in January:
Subject: You SHOULD be concerned

Our National Anthem - at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics

Please read and forward to as many Canadians you can think of. Thank you - WE ARE PROUD CANADIANS
Bruce Allen is on the 2010 Vancouver Olympic Committee and new Canadians (specifically Hindi's/Indian's) want him fired for his recent comments outlined below:

Pause to fact check:

1. Does Bruce Allen exist? Yes. He’s a Canadian entertainment promoter.

2. Is he on the 2010 Olympic Committee? Yes.

So far not too bad, eh? It continues:
I am sorry, but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Hindi - enough is enough.
Nowhere or at no other time in our Nation's history, did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish,
Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, or any other language because of immigration.
It was written in English, adapted into French, and should be sung word for word the way it was written.
The news broadcasts even gave the Hindi version translation - which was not even close to our National Anthem.


(The above, supposedly a quote of Bruce Allen’s "recent comments")

Fact check:

3. Did Bruce Allen make “recent comments”? Yes.

In September 2007 (recent, by email forward standards) he did make some anti-immigrant remarks on a BC radio show.

However.

Bruce Allen’s remarks did not include the above “quote”, nor anything related to the singing of O Canada in any language at any time. His comments have been picked over and dealt with and are old news but if you want to see them, go here and here.

4. The Canadian anthem was written in English?

Actually no, it was written in French and much later adapted into English. The English version has continued to evolve during my lifetime.

Furthermore, there is no law that prevents anyone from singing the Canadian anthem any way they wish. It is allowed, the only proviso being that alternate versions are not “official”. Which sounds pretty fair to me.
And the "not even close" Hindi translation? Nowhere to be found.

The email forward continues:
I am not the least bit sorry if this offends ANYONE, this is MY COUNTRY; My Grand Dad served in the military, other family members also served, as well as my wife & I served a combined total of 56 years between us. We made many sacrifices for our country and do not feel we should feel obligated to allow invited people we've welcomed with open arms to influence & change our society to better resemble the one they chose to leave to come here!!! - IF YOU AGREE ABOUT THIS GREAT COUNTRY, SPEAK UP BEFORE ITS TOO LATE...

(edited out some repetitive stupidity)

...ARE you PART OF THE PROBLEM ??? Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone, will we still be the Country of Choice and Still be CANADA if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries who have come to live in CANADA because it is the Country of Choice??????
Think about it!
IMMIGRANTS, NOT CANADIAN'S, MUST ADAPT.
It's Time for CANADIANS to speak up.. If you agree ? Pass this along; if you don't agree?
Delete it and reap what you sew (sic) because of your complacency!

I have left the spelling and punctuation errors in. They give the screed a certain “je ne sais quoi”.

Oops. Not English. My bad.

Okay so if Bruce Allen didn’t actually say the above then where did it come from?

This is good:

It’s an adaptation of an American rant concerning American immigrants wanting to sing the American anthem in Spanish! So the patriotic CANADIAN rant is actually a rip off of an American rant!
Those 56 combined years of military service between the ranter and his wife? American. Or imaginary.

What Bruce Allen "said"? Lifted and adapted from an American rant such as this one.

I actually was a bit disappointed in that. Can’t we Canadians, apart from Bruce Allen and a certain small Quebec town, work up some good xenophobic energy on our own?
Not like the Americans, apparently.

What I most object to here, though, is the bullying tone:

ARE you PART OF THE PROBLEM ??? Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone, will we still be the Country of Choice and Still be CANADA… blah blah blah.

There is indeed a problem, but it's not immigrants who wish to sing a translated anthem of the country they chose.

The problem is how otherwise reasonable people just click and forward every piece of nonsense that comes into their inbox, thus putting themselves at risk of perpetuating an extreme agenda that, if they thought about it, they might not even agree with!

I'm all for free speech but THE SPEAKER HAS TO HAVE CHECKED HIS FACTS AND STAND BEHIND THE MESSAGE HE IS SENDING!

Sure, some email forwards are fairly harmless (can bananas really do all that?) but some are pure poison, complete with veiled threats about the consequences of not passing along the drivel.

Happily I'm not alone in my outrage. Sites such as snopes and about.com have comprehensive debunking services, although I'm not too thrilled about the way snopes tries to open pop-up ads.
I also found breakthechain.org, another site dedicated to eradicating this scourge.

And finally, another reason to object to this form of clutter: Once you do get it in your head that most of these forwards contain false information, you are likely to discount the rare one that is true, such as this warning about attempts to impersonate the Canada Revenue Agency to gain personal data.

The boy who cried wolf, digital edition.