...is that we have an excessive social focus. It's not entirely a joke that a Canadian is defined as someone who believes that she can find a cure for cancer solely by being a hit at cocktail parties. It's even partly true, as, in Canada, securing funding for scientific research depends much, MUCH more on how good you are at socializing than on the scientific merit of your proposed research. That's one reason Canada will always be second-rate, despite the plethora of brilliant people we've exported to other countries, where technical merit actually counts for something.
Nowhere has this been more apparent than in the history of Canadian literature. For decades, Canadian literature was stunted by an adolescent cliquiness and personality-cultism that annihilated the potential careers of writers who were either social outsiders or just not good at shmoozing. This was exacerbated by the nature of writers in general, as writers are the most socially-focused professionals on earth, and quite often their social side destroys their creativity even before they can launch their careers. The absolutely worst thing an unpublished beginner writer with real talent can do is join a writers' group filled only with other unpublished writers. The excessively intense social demands of such a group, and its brutally overpowering social dynamics, are almost guaranteed to transform her from Bronte to Kardashian. Such a promising talent is stillborn by the very, well-meaning people who most want to help her. Yet the Atwoods of Canadian literature long formed just such a writers' group consisting of writers who just happened to have been published and to have become the foci of personality cults. This stunted Canadian literature until very recently, and to an extent is still stunting it.
But there is good news for you Americans! Many of our most successful human exports moved, and are still moving, to your country. Toronto's lawyers and physicians have always dreamed of opening a practice in New York City, where they can make ten times the money for one-tenth the work (and this is especially true of mental health professionals). Toronto performers have generally dreamed of making it big in the Los Angeles area. Parallels can be drawn for pretty much any walk of life in which a young Canadian is technically gifted to the point of brilliance and therefore disgusted with the excessive social focus of Canadians, which would stunt his income if he remained in Canada. Nearly all of those people became American early in their careers, and few of you even know that they weren't born American. They have influenced the Democrat-supporting pockets of the United States (those sometimes large strips of land along your east and west coasts, if you look at the electoral college map from your last presidential election) and promoted the primacy of shmoozing in American life as well. Thus New York City also now has an excessive social focus, to a far greater extent than Toronto ever did, and let's not even mention California. The schism of your country is not political or economic but perspectival. It's a schism between the coastal residents who presuppose the prime importance of flapping their gums and the heartland residents who presuppose the prime importance of actually _doing_ concrete stuff. And actually doing stuff has always been the truly American way, so it's no surprise that the heartland won the last election. it's just a tragedy that it gives you a windbagging buffoon for a president. That's not what your heartland really wanted.
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