May 30, 1997

Who's Canadian?

Notes and stories about the Canadians among us. Are they in fact any different from red-blooded Americans? They claim they're not. Skeptical Americans put their position to the test.


The true story of a dinner conversation in which several Americans came to realize how many iconic Americans are, in fact, Canadian. "If William Shatner's Canadian," one insists, "then I could be Canadian." Another opines that there should be a law against Peter Jennings, a Canadian, hosting a network news program. (6 minutes)
Act Two

The World's Most Perfect Pneumatic Vacuum

Canadians not getting any respect in two locales: A town called Little Canada, Minnesota; and in Canada, where a guy doing a Canadian-heritage art project gets ribbed by his neighbors, who joke that there is no Canadian culture to celebrate. Then, Sarah Vowell speaks with Ian Brown, formerly the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's long-running program Sunday Morning. They arm wrestle over what it means to be a Canadian, what it means to be an American, and whether the two are the same. (18 minutes)
Act Three


Or is that "Ooting?" 90210 expert Danny Drennan on the pro-Canadian bias in the hit TV show Beverly Hills 90210 now that Canadian Jason Priestly is not just a star of the show, but a producer and director as well. (3 minutes) Then writer Jack Hitt dissects the pro-Canadian bias in ABC's World News Tonight. (8 minutes)
Act Four

Who's Canadian?

A tale of two siblings — separated, but not at birth. Reporter Paul Tough and his sister grew up in Toronto, the most American of Canadian cities. Then she moved to more remote parts of Canada. He moved to Manhattan. He talks to her about whether she even considers him Canadian anymore, and about what it means to be Canadian. (7 minutes)

Assorted Canadian music throughout the hour.