Sunday, October 21, 2007

We're #1!

In rudeness.

Reader's Digest set out to determine which city in Canada was the most polite. The Ottawa Citizen covered the results which included Ottawa coming in 11th. Of 11. More below.

RD sent teams of researchers to gauge the politeness of people in major cities across the country. The teams used three tests. At 10 busy intersections, they dropped a folder filled with papers to see if anyone would help pick them up.

The RD teams also walked behind people entering public buildings to see if they would hold the door open. and bought small items in 10 stores to see if the sales clerk would say thanks.

Maybe people here mistook the RD teams for Americans with their puny little dollars, and who needs to be nice to them anymore?

Besides, we're busy running this exasperating country. We don't have time to make nice with every butterfingers rube from out of town who lacks the hand/eye co-ordination necessary to walk and grasp a sheaf of papers at the same time.

Moncton finished first in the survey, and it's true Monctonians are unfailingly nice to visitors. But these are the same people who tell you with a straight face that the well-named Tidal Bore is a fascinating natural phenomenon. And they insist that Magnetic Hill is not a shabby trick to pull on innocent little children.

Montreal was ranked fifth, and there's no doubt that Montrealers are sophisticated. When blind drunk, for example, Montrealers never urinate on their own statuary. They much prefer coming to Ottawa on Canada Day to urinate on ours. Nothing says gracious urban living like drunks urinating in public at the War Memorial.

RD's head office is in Montreal, but that wouldn't influence the survey results, surely.

Calgary and Vancouver tied for second? Be for real, RD.

In Calgary, it's considered polite to talk about how much money you make and what a civic blessing it would be if Newfoundlanders were banned in Alberta. It's the height of wit in Calgary to refer to Red Deer as "Dead Rear."

In Vancouver, a visitor finds himself gagging on civic smugness. All they talk about is how much they paid for their house, and how much more it's worth now. Know what, you Kitsilano kook? Nobody cares about your paper fortune.

Toronto finished third from the bottom, no surprise there. People in T.O. are constantly crabby because the Maple Leafs are a foul blot on the city's fair face.

Anyway, who cares what RD thinks? RD is so boring we already forgot everybody in those "Most Unforgettable Character" articles. The survey explains why RD is only seen at the dentist's office. Because reading it is associated with pain.

In Moncton, they have a colloquial expression used to indicate total disagreement with any statement, political or otherwise: "And a pig's behind is pork, too."

Ottawa dead last in civility? Yeah, RD, and a pig's behind is pork, too.

The Most Courteous Cities

(Rankings as published in Reader's Digest)


1. Moncton: 80 per cent

2. tie: Calgary and Vancouver: 77

3. Edmonton: 73

4. tie: Victoria, Charlottetown, St. John's: 70

5. Montreal: 68

6. tie: Halifax, Winnipeg: 67

7. Regina: 63

8. Quebec City: 62

9. Toronto: 60

10. Saskatoon: 57

11. Ottawa: 50

Naturally, this has sparked some debate. There are a number of points about this whole thing that I find particularly amusing.

1. The seriousness with which some people are reacting in comment sections online and in the paper. Come one, people. Reader's Digest could do this once a month and come up with different results. This is hardly an exact science. Don't worry about it.

2. The variety of reactions across the country. In looking up the article, I came cross several recaps of it from newspapers in Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. Ottawa is last, and many people seem to agree it's deserving of its positioning. Vancouver is tied for second...and many people seem to think that's a a load of crap.

3. The reaction to the article above taking toungue-in-cheek shots at other cities. To those who think that the article was written seriously, I have an early Christmas present for you; a very tiny portion of which relates to the definition of "irony":

1, 2. Irony, sarcasm, satire indicate mockery of something or someone. The essential feature of irony is the indirect presentation of a contradiction between an action or expression and the context in which it occurs. In the figure of speech, emphasis is placed on the opposition between the literal and intended meaning of a statement; one thing is said and its opposite implied, as in the comment, “Beautiful weather, isn't it?” made when it is raining or nasty.

It's not fully completely applicable but it should lead you down the right path.

In any event, such studies are amusing, but that's about the extent of it in my opinion. I'm not from here but I've lived here many years, have no intention of leaving, and have met some great folks. Yet there are days that I come home ranting about how much I hate people in general.

The odd "test" in this survey is the one about having doors held open. I NEVER have that problem. I find that 95% of the time people will hold doors for others.

My great symbol of rudeness here, there and everywhere is the use of cellphones in public places. But that's a whole other topic for another day...

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