tuque /tūk/ n Canadian English, var. toque [19th c. Canadian French, from the French toque, from the Basque tauka] 1 A close-fitting knitted cap, often with a long tapering end or tassel or pompom. 2 fig Something quintessentially Canadian.
souq /sūk/ n from the Arabic سوق var. souk 1 An open-air marketplace. 2 fig A central meeting place for the circulation of news and ideas.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Even TSN loves Nazem Kadri, as long as he's more Canadian than Muslim

Nazem Kadri, the Lebanese-Canadian hockey star, whose name loosely translates as Sublime One Who Submits to the Will of Fate, is on his way home to London (Ontario) with a silver medal around his neck, after Team Canada dropped the championship game in overtime to the Americans tonight at the World Juniors in Saskatchewan.

The debacle in the gold-medal game notwithstanding, the Canucks excelled on the ice and Kadri in particular shone with 3 goals, 3 assists, and 472 hits principally of the bone-crushing variety.

TSN's television coverage was predictably patriotic. They ran regular featurettes on Canada's stars, and it was finally Kadri's turn for a profile tonight. Naturally, TSN played up the immigrant angle. The clip of the piece can be found here.

At the outset, the narrator tells us that Nazem Kadri's father, Sam, was "four years old when civil war broke out, prompting the family to move to Canada in 1968." (Note to TSN fact-checking department: the Lebanese Civil War in fact began in 1975.)

Later, we learn that Sam's decision to encourage his son to play hockey met with disapproval from "some members of the Lebanese community." (Note to TSN editing department: Please locate some stock footage less stereotypical than Muslims praying in a mosque to depict "some members of the Lebanese community.")

And, at the end of the clip, Sam says of his talented son that "at the end of the day, he's just another Canadian kid doing what Canadians do." (Note to TSN producer: Please don't encourage the use of pallid idiomatic expressions. At the end of the day we're just fed up with that saying.)

TSN also treated us to footage of a trio of Arab-Canadian former hockey players. They left out at least one other part-Arab who is in the NHL right now. Justin Abdelkader, a second-round pick of the Detroit Red Wings in 2005, is a Michigander whose parternal grandfather hailed from Jordan. The 22-year-old left-winger has 3 goals and 3 assists in 38 games this season.

However, you wouldn't guess his pedigree from the way his name is spoken. Far from an Arabic pronunciation, CBC Hockey Night in Canada announcers pronounce Justin's last name as something close to abdicator. Telling? (To be fair, Justin's bleach-blond hair doesn't exactly make him look like King Abdullah.)

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