31 août 2011

The Gazette : Here we go again...

I seriously should not be writing this, but god damn is it just about time I contributed to this blog again. It's not that I'm lazy, it's just that I've been waiting for the right moment. That moment has come.

I've decided to neglect my reading assignments to quickly point out some more bullshit in the Anglo-Canadian press.

The subject, as usual, is Quebec. More specifically, it's the Parti québécois and it's leader Pauline Marois' decision to hold a meeting on the general condition of the soveregnty movement. Our friends at the Montreal Gazette have jumped at the opportunity to once again share their anti-sovereignist bias.

In a tragic attempt at erudition and to live up to the cosmopolitan, bilingual image that (mostly Francophone and Allophone) Montrealers have earned for the city, the anonymous online editorial writer for the city's flagship Anglo paper has proven that he or she, despite ostensible efforts to the contrary, doesn't really know shit when it comes to French language and culture.

The point of contention rests on the author's (mis)understanding of the French term 'états généraux'. A quick Wikipedia search on the subject, which is obviously the only attempt at research the nameless author made when he or she saw the term and didn't know what it meant, will give you the history of certain famous états généraux. Specifically, Wiki will speak to you of the French revolution and the Ancien Régime, during which famous états généraux were held to discuss matters of national importance.

The author's understanding and familiarity with the term basically ends there, which leads him or her to erroneously conclude the following: The PQ must be pathetically attempting to draw parallels between the French Revolution and its own political cause.


The term 'états généraux' is used quite frequently in the French-speaking world to refer basically to any large assembly or meeting called to discuss the current general condition of a particular domain, be it in art, literature, politics, social issues, etc. The topic of the meeting really isn't important at all. Hence, there has been and continues to be a countless number of 'états généraux' meetings on a myriad of subjects. To name a few that I can remember off the top of my head :

Les états généraux du cinéma
Les états généraux de l'alphabétisation des enfants
Les états généraux du Canada français
Les états généraux de la bioéthique
Les états généraux de l'éducation

So the implication in this Gazette article that the PQ has some sort of  pretentious revolutionary complex in calling such a meeting is preposterous to say the least.

To say more, this is just another example of the ridiculous situation of the Anglo community of Montréal. The Gazette and other Anglo media make them out to be some sort of oppressed minority when in fact, despite swearing up and down that they can speak French and that the good old days are long gone, they continue to display a shocking lack of knowledge about the French language and culture inside and outside of Québec and all while living in the second most important Francophone city in the world.

In my estimation, these people should normally be completely and utterly fluent, even natively so, in the French language and well versed in the culture before they reach an age high enough to be writing editorials for a major newspaper. This should be the prime concern of the English public schools paid for by the Quebec government. I hear and read bitchy, whiny rants about how all the Anglo youth are leaving the Province for the West or for the States, yet how can you expect them to stay here when they never bothered to learn the language well enough to succeed?

Those who are up to the challenge and do master the language and stay end up being among the happiest Anglos anywhere in the world, in my experience.

Anyways, point is, fuck the Gazette. It's a rag. I'm going back to my case outlines.


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