February 14, 2004
I loved this line from the story about official Canada's condemnation of Conan O'Brien and his show's less than respectful attitude to our northern neighbors. I don't watch the show, but apparently there's a hand puppet, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, on the show. Here's how Reuters puts the story into context of another flap going on in Canada:
The complaints over the puppet's comments come on the heels of a similar uproar following criticism of European French-Canadian hockey players on CBC television by the country's best-known sports commentator, Don Cherry.
Though the reporter contacted the network on which the show appears, apparently he made no effort to contact the puppet to allow him to defend himself.
Posted by Ideofact at February 14, 2004 11:23 PM
Er, are they Canadian or European? Or is this some sort of racial thing?
I think Mark Steyn answers this question as well as anyone:
On the January 24th show, the question arose of whether the NHL should make protective visors mandatory, and Cherry remarked:
"Most of the guys that wear them are Europeans and French guys."
As of now, it's the second item in that column, which is pretty funny (as is Steyn's take on the puppet incident -- the first item):
The country has chosen to go to war with a puppet – Triumph The Insult Dog . As his name might have forewarned, Triumph has insulted Canada. Nothing unusual about that. He insults people for a living. What’s unique in this case is that both Federal and provincial levels of government paid for him and his master, Conan O’Brien, to come to Canada to insult us; they put him up in the best kennel at the Chateau Frontenac, etc. Try and imagine how the good folk of Troy would have felt if instead of just falling for that Trojan horse gag they’d actually paid the Greeks good money for it up front.
Triumph has actually recorded an album, some singles, done various concerts, and appeared on various other shows, such as Leno. I don't know if Robert Smigel, his creator, with a long strange history at Saturday Night Live and elsewhere, would want to break character to be interviewed about him; I doubt it, though I suspect Triumph himself is available for interviews.
As I blogged, it's pretty silly to book an insult dog, and get upset that he's insulting. It's quite an accomplishment, though; he's previously pissed off such meaningful contributors to our culture as "J-Lo" and "Eminem," but a whole country is a leap upwards.