What to make of Reilly’s Hatred of Canada
Over the past few days, there has been a sort of mini-explosion across the internet concerning Rick Reilly’s pair of Canada-bashing columns. The first one, which I detailed here seemed relatively harmless. Really dumb, but kind of harmless. It was basically a list of Canadian cliches, which, naturally, quite a few Canadians took offense to. Understandable.
I received a few e-mails that some angry Canadians sent to Reilly, and apparently he read a few of them as well, because on Monday he came out with a column, discussed here where he took things to another level. He bashed Canadian hockey and the Vancouver Opening Ceremonies, made fun of Canadian bacon (original, I know), and taunted Canada for not winning medals. He was clearly angry at Canadians for getting mad at him. He topped it all off by telling a story about how a pool boy at some Vancouver hotel walked in on his wife while she was in the locker room shower. It was strange. Reilly was supposed to be guarding the door. And now, he thinks everything’s square. For some reason.
There was more outcry after that (also understandable). Candian colunist Bruce Arthur set off a mini firestorm by tweeting: “Rick Reilly wrote a follow-up Canada column. It’s almost impossible to believe that this overpaid millionaire hack was once great.” This got picked up by a few large websites, and off we went. I had a bit of a back and forth with Arthur on twitter and he praised Reilly’s earlier work (a point on which I agree), and said he didn’t mean to start anything. Anyway, he was a real nice guy, and he’s a very good journalist. Check him out.
OK. So now that we’ve recapped, and know where we are (tours are scheduled twice daily…get here early if you wanna ride the top deck), I’d like to briefly hypothesize about where in the hell this came from. That is: why does Reilly hate Canada? I think there are two things at play here:
1.) Reilly’s overarching problem–the cause of his shitty columns these days, as opposed to when he wrote really good stuff–is that he’s lazy. Perhaps that happens when you start getting handed millions of dollars. I wouldn’t know. Anyway, I think this originally started as Reilly, once again, looking for an easy column, and it bit him in the ass, because this time it wasn’t some meaningless drivel about Cha Cha or Closed Captioning, it was kind of insulting to an entire country. So one part laziness plus one part nation-needling is Reilly’s recipe for disaster.
2.) I think (and this is complete conjecture here) that Reilly has a bit of a chip on his shoulder over Canada, stemming from two things. First, a sports journalist from Vancouver plagaraized Reilly a few years ago. You can read about it here. I won’t get into the lunacy that is plagarizing Reilly, and Rick shouldn’t be too upset considering he plagarizes himself on a regular basis…c’est la vie. So maybe he’s still pissed about that, which wouldn’t make much sense since the guy got fired, but it still could have something to do with it.
Second, and this is probably the biggest thing, he was very angry a few years ago when Vancouver Canucks fans booed the Star Spangled banner twice in a playoff series with the Avalanche. Here’s his column about that. That’s a semi-legitimate reason to be mad, but to let it stew around for 9 years? I dunno. Certainly it was poor form for the Canucks fans to boo, but they were probably drunk, as well as high on playoff hockey. Anyway, does this warrant bashing Canada in two successive columns? Probably not. Does it give some insight into why Lazy Old Rick felt compelled to do it in the first place? Perhaps. It would make a goofy situation make a bit more sense at least.
Well, that’s that. Maybe it will all just die. I hope so. But we’ll see if Reilly comes back for thirds. He just might do it.