A parody on Canadian television highlights the divisiveness of religion

April 9, 2018 • 1:15 pm

Diana MacPherson sent these two videos, one of which is a real commercial and the other a parody. As she says:

 I hope you can view these. It’s for “This Hour Has 22 Minutes“, a political and satirical comedy show in Canada. Here they make fun of religion as divisive based on an Ancestry.ca commercial about finding out about your DNA.

The show Diana refers to appears on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, a government entity.

First we have the legit commercial—the one parodied by the satire below. It’s tribalistic and way over the top, but that’s how they’re sellling ancestry tests in Canada. (I wonder, as an atheist Jew who has ancestors in Galway, if I’d be greeted so warmly!):

And here’s the “This Hour Has 22 Minutes” parody:  [JAC: be sure to watch to the end.]

Can you imagine this being shown on any television station in the U.S., much less one run by the government? Ceiling Cat bless Canada!

It reminds me of this joke related by Richard Dawkins in The God Delusion:

A journalist, researching for an article on the complex political situation in Northern Ireland, was in a pub in a war-torn area of Belfast. One of his potential informants leaned over his pint of Guinness and suspiciously cross-examined the journalist: “Are you a Catholic or a Protestant?” the Irishman asked.”Neither,” replied the journalist; “I’m an atheist.”

The Irishman, not content with this answer, put a further question: “Ah, but are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist?”

42 thoughts on “A parody on Canadian television highlights the divisiveness of religion

  1. People want to get rid of the CBC. What fools they are. As Jerry says – where else can you see neat stuff like this?

    1. I suspect that’s one reason why people *do* want to get rid of the CBC.

      Amazing, though – lack of humour if that’s the case.

      I still remember I gained a tiny bit of respect for Preston Manning when he appeared as himself on Air Farce, with the guy who used to play him on their parodies. (“Hi, I’m Preston Manning!” “Hi, I’m Preston Manning!”)

      1. I like the This Hour Has 22 Minutes episodes where Mark Critch meets with Trudeau and calls him “Trudy” all the time. A lot of the commercial parodies are funny, especially the truck ones.

      1. Except mixed in with IPA.
        (India Pale Ale, not iso-propyl alcohol. But that’s a no-no too.)

  2. “Ah, but are you a Catholic atheist or a Protestant atheist?”

    That’s hilarious said the Jewish Atheist.

  3. (I wonder, as a Jew who has ancestors in Galway, if I’d be greeted so warmly!)

    As Yogi Berra said when a Jew was elected mayor of Dublin: only in America.

  4. Haha! When I lived in the US we had an Irish neighbour. Her son was a Catholic priest who owned an airplane and a Cadillac, which he got stolen in Atlantic City, where he went gambling. He refused one appointment by the local bishop because it was in a less affluent area, he would only play in posh areas. But the mother was known for continuously ask for rides from the neighbours. So when it was my turn she asked me in the car: what are you? Catholic, Protestant? I answered, “No religion.” She never asked me again.

    1. I once really shocked an Irish friend of mine.

      Mary (imagine an accent like Ian Paisley’s): “Richarrrd, are you a proddestant?”

      Me: “No, I’m an atheist.”

      Mary (horrified): “That’s worrrsse!”

  5. That Dawkins joke actually happened to me when I was a kid.

    I have family from both sides of Belfast’s sectarian divide. They often come over for the Grand National and one relative asked me the same questions.

    I’m not sure how serious they were though…

  6. I just spent my whole lunch watching clips from that show. It is incredible. I literally did two spit-takes.

  7. They continue to run the FFRF commercial here in the U.S. with Ron Reagan, but only on certain channels. I see it on MSNBC often. The one where he ends with – Not afraid of burning in hell.

  8. The Dawkins joke happened for real. My dad was a math professor at Penn State years ago. He related how one day the profs got to talking about religion, and one of them asked another what religion he was. The other said, “I’m nothing.” And the first prof asked, “Yes, but a Christian nothing or a Jewish nothing?”

    It was not meant as a joke. These guys were aware of the cultural issues that come along with religion.

    1. Colbert calls himself a Catholic. But I don’t think he is a believer. So does he view himself as a cultural Catholic?

  9. Just to clarify: The CBC is a crown corporation, which means it is owned by the government. It is our national public broadcaster. However, it operates very much at arm’s length from the government. It is NOT “run by the government”.

    If you like “This hour has 22 minutes”, you might like “The Beaverton”, a TV show and website. For example, here’s an article titled “Declining attendance leads Catholic Church to perform ‘ambush baptisms’”


    1. Hmmm, Chicago is 400-odd km from the nearest bit of Canukistan. Do broadcast TV signals reach that far?

      1. Perhaps, early in the morning.

        But there is also CBC International which I think one can get with satellite. No idea what shows it has though.

        (I had an American colleague at CMU who told me that CBC International struck him as less propagandistic than Voice of America and he watched it as a kid because he was the only one of his friends without cable TV.)

  10. For my money, the best show to parody television news is still The Day Today. I know that this Canadian show isn’t really of the same genre, but I’ll take any opportunity to mention a gem that isn’t known by nearly enough people.

    Here’s the first episode:

  11. I found that original ad in extremely bad taste. IMO the bullshit quotient is high in that one. It’s just so saccharine sweet and over-the-top phony warm-fuzzies it makes me want to barf.

    And it’s promising results that, 99% of the time, are just never going to happen, not least because the chances of neighbours having the same origin are small.

    If I can’t stand the next door neighbour, finding he comes from somewhere near me is not a recommendation.


    1. “I found that original ad in extremely bad taste. IMO the bullshit quotient is high in that one. It’s just so saccharine sweet and over-the-top phony warm-fuzzies it makes me want to barf.”

      My sentiments exactly!

      (But that’s how I feel about so much advertising…)

  12. There’s an Indian relative of the Catholic Atheist story, I think in one of William Dalrymple’s books.

    He’s interviewing the matriarch of an old Goan family, Christians all the way back to da Gama’s time, and proud of it. At some point he asks whether she knows if she has any Portuguese blood, and she’s deeply offended: “My family have always been Brahmins!”

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