Addicted to novelty since 2001

Go Canadian

Rob writes with this fluffy CNN story about an Albuquerque T-shirt company:

For $24.95, offers the “Go Canadian” package, full of just the kind of things an American traveler needs to leave their country and its politics behind. There’s a Canadian flag T-shirt, a Canadian flag lapel pin and a Canadian patch for luggage or a backpack. There’s also a quick reference guide — “How to Speak Canadian, Eh?” — on answering questions about Canada.

How did this story get on CNN? Who slept with which editor? It’s a blatant plug for a profoundly dull product. In light of the six-week spate of liberal-Yanks-coming-north news, it’s hardly an original or newsworthy story.

That said, if the publicist for Douglas Coupland’s Souvenir of Canada (and the recently-released sequel) is smart, he or she ought to get on the phone to T-shirt King. They could organize some kind of deluxe package that would include Coupland’s books.

UPDATE: The CBC picked up this story on tonight’s The National. Dear me.

8 Responses to “Go Canadian”

  1. MGarcia

    My guess is that it has something to do with politics, and the fact that Bush was there to visit recently.

  2. Mike Morales

    Seems that CNN is also sharing info with USA Today.

    This story also appeared in their travel newsletter that I subscibe to.

    …Must be a slow news day!

  3. Lisa Johnson

    Slow news day or not…

    As a journalist, with CBC, I can say that reporters love this kind of story. It’ll go at the end of the newscast, or below the fold on the front page of a newspaper. I’ve heard it called a kicker, an oddity, or (by a Van Sun editor) “a piece of chocolate.”

    I think As It Happens has mastered this type of story: i.e. the British scientist who invented a clock that tells time by decaying prawn sandwiches (I think mayonaise is the second-hand).

    Frivolous, sure, but it gets people talking. Although I kind of agree with Darren that this isn’t an awesome example of a good, inventive kicker.

    Now, the beer-carrying sasquatch statue in Creston! That’s a good kicker.

  4. Darren

    Lisa: Thanks for your comments. Indeed, I’m not opposed to lightweight news (well, I don’t want to watch it, but lots of other people do). We want to hear about the beer-carrying sasquatch statue in Creston. However, being in PR and marketing myself, I know the commercial value of getting a story in CNN and USA Today. This will mean a mint to the T-Shirt King, and really doesn’t have a lot to offer as a news item.

  5. Mike Morales


    Reporters like fluffy stories. They’re easy to find an angle for. It’s unfortunate that my home state–New Mexico–is now know for 2 things….

    A small t-shirt shop that prints up Canadian t-shirts in the godforsaken town of Mountainair, and…

    Bill Gates being run out of Albuquerque, only to form Microsoft in Redmond, WA.


    Suppose there were stories from New Mexico that not only were newsworthy, but had a human interest angle as well?

    Would reporters find that kind of story interesting and challenging, or…

    Would they opt for the cheap stuff?

    In my opinion…

    Too many reporters choose the latter. They get to see their stories in print much faster, and…

    It requires less work on their part.

  6. Lisa Johnson

    I take your point that media cover some cheap stories. Much press conference-generated news fits that bill, I think.

    But I’d disagree that light, quirky stories are cheap or lazy. If they’re original (and not re-hashing what CNN took from AP which borrowed from…) they take an eye or ear for what’s curious enough to talk about.

    I’d say we (some reporters) like them because they’re a break from the typical narratives (government screws the little guy, union vs. management) that we re-jig all the time. Also, the good ones get real people into the story, rather than spokespeople.

    Again — the Canadian t-shirt isn’t a great example. I can see why Darren might roll his eyes at the free publicity.

  7. Derek

    As a fellow Vancouverite of Darren’s, I think New Mexico is also famous for Roswell, Santa Fe, hot-air balloon festivals, and for Albuquerque always being the place where Bugs Bunny took a wrong turn.

  8. Mike Morales

    New Mexico is also famous for being the birthplace of Conrad Hilton, and…

    The home of “The Largest Tequila Tasting in the Southwest!”


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