Newfoundlanders love to hate things so much I’m sitting here wondering where the whole “friendly Newfoundlander” even thing comes from.
Take how we just treated Anthony Bourdain. A CNN travel-and-food show cannot come here and rave about how amazing the place is without us publicly lambasting them for how they went about it. Only in Newfoundland.
Yes, Anthony Bourdain pronounced Newfoundland wrong. But how many Newfoundlanders can pronounce Oaxaca, Mexico or Aquebogue, New York? Even popular spots like The Maldives are commonly pronounced wrong (No, it’s not Mal-Dives) But the people who live there would likely correct us with a friendly smile, tell us Mohl-Deeves. Us though, we act like it’s an affront against us he said it wrong.
The poor guy started the episode asking how to pronounce it, so he wouldn’t get crucified, but instead of respecting his efforts, we called him out. Despite the fact we Newfoundlanders basterdize all the remnant French culture in our province by pronouncing it wrong. I haven’t heard a single resident of Port-Aux-Choix pronounce their own hometown correctly.
And yeah, the word Newfie sucks, but flipping out at someone instead of explaining that to them gets us nowhere. It wasn’t even Bourdain who said it, but a person from his show in a Tweet, genuinely unaware it was insulting. And really, think about it, would he have typed that if he knew it was derogatory ( of course not, he’d be fired)? Do you know if people from New Zealand hate being called kiwis or Australians Aussies? I don’t, but I trust if I called a New Zealander a kiwi they wouldn’t eviscerate me online, but rather explain why it’s a bad word, and humbly accept my genuine apology. I wish we’d done the same. I wish we were as friendly as we claim.
The knee jerk reaction of Newfoundlanders is to flip out at people and tell them how stupid they are. And yeah, he said Capelin wrong (or not like we say it), but can you pronounce all the fish dishes served in a place you’ve never been? We’re farming Tilapia here, I’ve heard it called til-a-pee-a by more than one Newfoundlander, so there: we’re all stupid too.
We expect everyone to know all about us. It’s the epitome of being self-absorbed and uncultured. Maybe it’s an island effect: we’re landlocked away from other cultures, so we don’t know how to interact with anyone but ourselves. Not that we’re friendly to each other, either. Every day here, social media has its public pile-on of the day, on whoever said something too easily misconstrued, overblown, and flagged around unfairly, out of context, and in a simplified manner. In Newfoundland, there is no second side, nor nuance and context to a story – just idiots calling idiots idiots.
Sadly I can’t sign my name to this article, or you’d all hang me online. That is, if you’re not too busy yanking your kids out of classes on LBGT inclusion, or telling your youth they’re not welcome to paint a pride crosswalk.
Are we better than we’ve been lately? Can we try to be? I mean, if I was Anthony Bourdain, I certainly wouldn’t come back to a place that — in exchange for filming a show here and saying how amazing it is — we barraged him with insults over very trivial things.
Article by Face Palmer