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A Geo-Political Primer

by david    March 4, 2002


A week or so ago, my good friend Jeremy sent an email to all of us ClarkSchpiellians about the reported death of a guerilla leader in Angola, and the implications for possible peace in the region after long years of civil war. On the same day, I read a comment from Natalie Jeremijenko, an engineering professor at Yale (in an article in Salon.com about robotic reporters in foreign conflicts), which stated, "...for most Americans, Afghanistan might as well be Mars." My reaction to both of these comments was, "there are other countries?"

After some lengthy internet investigation, I was able to discover that there are indeed several countries outside of the United States -- these places often have their own laws and languages (though they still watch American television and movies -- no one on earth can miss "Must See TV"). From what I could tell, there may be as many as 10 or 15 of these "other countries." In fact, two of them, "Canada" and "Mexico" share portions of our continent!

I've put together a quick primer, based entirely upon un-substantiated information from the internet and the walls of a bathroom stall in the DuPar's on Sunset Blvd., comparing our dear United States with Canada, Mexico and "Other Countries," in a variety of important areas. After reading this, you'll be able to speak with confidence about international issues at keggers, gallery-openings, and State of the Union Addresses (we know you are reading, GW ;-). This is just one small example of CSP's continuing dedication to the intellectual growth of our dear troglodytic readers.

System of Government
United States The United States is a representative democracy, where electorates, representing a geographical grouping of the population and informed by a general election, vote for elected officials. Checks and balances keep any one official from gaining too much power.
Canada Canada, our "neighbor to the north", is ruled through a joint arrangement by a delegation of displaced, dirty Frenchmen and exiled British ex-patriots, whose decisions are balanced by a single Polar Bear with a magic 8-ball.
Mexico In Mexico, each town is governed in a totalitarian manner by a local bandit (or, "bandito") king, often referred to as "Hefe," who encourages his tequila-fueled followers to regularly ride through town, shooting their pistolas into the air.
Other Countries Each country is ruled through an agreement between a local military or religious dictator, and either the US President or Bill Gates.
Predominant Transportation
United States Nearly every person owns an automobile which costs only slightly more than a citizen of any other country will earn in his or her lifetime, and they are driven on a complex network of streets and highways.
Canada For downhill trips, Canadians rely upon bobsleds or luges. Uphill trips: ski-lifts.
Mexico For short trips, Mexicans walk or ride burros. For longer trips, a Mexican will eat anywhere from 3 to 10 carefully crafted Hot Tamales, after which his/her eyes will bug out, steam will explode from his/her ears, and he/she will be rocketed across the arid countryside toward his/her destination with flames shooting out of his/her ass.
Other Countries Camels. Occasionally, elephants or dragons.
Currency
United States The Dollar is the base unit of currency, and is broken down into coins of various denominations.
Canada In order to avoid confusion during gambling trips to the United States, Canada also wisely uses the Dollar. Unfortunately unable to print their own money (cold weather freezes the ink), they are forced to use Monopoly money.
Mexico Burritos, Enchiladas and Beef Mexi-Melts. 7 Burritos to an Enchilada, 4.5 Enchiladas to a Beef Mexi-Melt. The value of the Burrito base, in US Dollars, can be found at any local Taco Bell.
Other Countries Dollars, Burritos, little pieces of colored plastic -- whatever the United States gives them.
Chief Exports
United States Pride, Freedom, Frivolous Litigation.
Canada Snowmen, Hockey Players, Michael J. Fox.
Mexico Tequila, Sombreros.
Other Countries Drugs, inexpensive automobiles, and skanky, no talent actresses.
National Symbols
United States The majestic bald eagle.
Canada Maple Leaf & Michael J. Fox.
Mexico Quetzalcoatl, the feathered serpent-god, and "Tuko" from the Good, the Bad and the Ugly (oddly, actually played by Eli Wallach, who is not Mexican).
Other Countries A hammer, a star, a sickle and Mr. Bean, in various configurations.
Attitudes Toward the United States
United States We fucking love us! We think we kick ass!
Canada Although they greatly dislike being referred to as "the 51st State," they love to see the familiar Toronto or Vancouver skylines in so many of our syndicated television shows.
Mexico Mexico has a love-hate relationship with the US: They hate that we shoot them when they try to run across our border, but they love that we are perfectly happy to purchase their narcotics at ridiculous prices and shoot them up our smug, self-righteous asses.
Other Countries Who gives two shits?


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