For our final flashback, we’ve dusted off George Bowering’s thoughtful 1989 piece on Americo-Canadian cultural relations. “Backyard Burgers: Thoughts about Transborder Culture” reflects on what it means to be a Canadian when such a large chunk of our daily cultural diet is imported from the good old U.S. of A. “I wanted to be an American when I grew up,” writes Bowering. Today, when Canada’s cultural, economic, and political life are more intensely intertwined with the United States than ever before, the very distinction begins to feel quaint.
Bowering has a knack for clever, nuanced prose; while he makes a strong case for cultivating a uniquely Canadian cultural landscape, “Backyard Burgers” is far from a piece of isolationist polemic. And as with any good writing, no easy answers are proffered. The reader is left with a sense of the complex and ambiguous nature of our relationship with our neighbours to the south.