Saturday, December 12, 2009

je comprend bien le français.

Recently, due completely to my own version of grumpy old man syndrome, I posted a comment to the website of a Québecois television program. The comment linked to my post pointing out my perception of the snobbery of Montréal.

I probably shouldn't have. I'm not sure what I was trying to prove. Perhaps it was only because I wanted more hits on this blog thing. Perhaps I was lacking the proper amount of coffee and forgot my rule about angry emails.

Predictably someone, I assume associated with the show, read my post. It would be better to say that she/he completely mis read my post. I responded in anger, which I have taken down because I don't like my angry self.

So calmly, I would like to respond to my Québecois critic.

I'm sorry that you misunderstood the nature of my post. It was not an attack on french canada. I am very fond of french canada. My problem is how regional Canada is and how childish and false the concept is. The perception I had after 5 years living in Montréal was that the west is generally perceived as a backwater full of red necks. It is perhaps a clash of culture and language that created this view, but I feel it is important to correct it when possible.

This isn't my imagination. People actually said as much quite clearly. There was incredulity when I told tales of entire communities in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba that function nearly entirely in French, that I hold a degree that is from a french faculty from a western university. Even the fact that I might be speaking french to them was suddenly ignored when they learnt that I was from out west.

So, my french friend, I did not misunderstand the video piece. I think I saw it for what it was. It certainly wasn't intentionally insulting or nasty or curse the smelly anglos. It's just that the good intentions missed the mark. No one wants their home to be compared to an innocent pretty girl, too young to order a beer. It comes across as snotty. And the people out here are not in the least shy. You may be confusing that with friendly smiles.

And finally, this is where I tend to get angry, I can speak and understand and though my grammar is sloppy, I can even write in french. I don't need a translator, but I'm starting to wonder if perhaps you need to re-read my post with a translator.


Julien said...

Actually, I did read the comment the "Anonymous" Reader posted on your article named "Oh montréal,you are such a snob"...and I must say, I did agree with all of what that person wrote. As you speak of "preconception" of Montrealers, I think you could ask yourself if you didn't watch the mangetaville video with a preconceived eye on how it would treat the Vancouver city, or any other Canadian city. I must agree that the Quebec conception of Western Canada is influenced by a serious lack of information, and by the fact that in some cultural aspects, Western Canada and Quebec are separated, not only by language but also by many other things. I think the purpose of Mangetaville, again, as the "Anonymous" writer said, was to show something else, to show a city that is unknown to Montrealers. And in that idea, it's normal that they do take Montreal's references for is only natural. Again the exemple of french being the 9th most spoken language in Vancouver is an information that might seemed to you as a sarcastic critic, but that I found very interesting (as well as the 5 other languages that are mentionned before that)
It is unfortunate that you couldn't see that. I suggest, since you seem to be fluent in french, that you listen to more episodes of Mangetaville on the Montreal'd understand the general idea of the show.

Pamplemousse said...


I appreciate your comment.

I am annoyed that both comments completely miss my point. I will attempt to re state what I am saying in a later post.

As I find the "it is unfortunate that you couldn't see that' comment a little antagonistic, I will have to say that it is unfortunate that you couldn't see what I was saying.

Please re-read the first 3 paragraphs of this post. It was an honest attempt at re-stating my opinion and a full admission that I may have overstated my case.