Saturday, May 9, 2009

It's Easy to be a Language Racist.

Last month, the thoroughly stupid Anglo-bashing book "ANGLAID" by Michel Brulé, made its appearance in bookstores across the province. The book makes some pretty dumb claims about the English language including the assertion that the language itself, is racist and ugly. I would have ignored the book, but for the fact that several nationalist organizations have begun promoting the book as a valid intellectual exercise.

There's nothing in the book remotely interesting or intellectually stimulating. It's mean and nasty tenor speaks more to Mr. Brulé obvious inferiority complex, than to any inference upon the English language.

About the only thing I agree with Mr. Brulé is that French is a beautiful language, which I heartily admit.
It is without a doubt a pleasure to be able to listen the fluid, rich, rhythmic and lyrical language that is French.

It's too bad that Mr. Brulé doesn't speak French.

No, what Mr. Brulé actually speaks is 'Quebecoise', a bastardized version of the language of Moliere, more closely related the incomprehensible crap that is spoken in Haiti, than what is spoken in France.

Listening to Quebecoise is as painful as is listening to the 'Ebonics' of the American black ghetto. Both groups make the argument that their version of their mother language is meritorious and rich, but nobody in France or in America would agree with that nonsense.

Both represent a dumbing down of a language which they clearly are unable to master properly. French is a difficult language to master and with a high school dropout rate of over thirty percent in Quebec, it's no wonder that the language has degenerated, exactly as has English, in the poor black ghettos of the United States.

While the French (in France) can still understand what Quebeckers say, they don't particularly like what they hear. Quebeckers who visit France are well-attuned to the snickers their language receives when they open their mouths.
If you think there are language purists here in Quebec, try visiting France and speaking Quebecoise.
In fact Quebec movies that do make over to France are usually dubbed into 'Parisian French' and if that isn't the ultimate insult, I don't know what is.

One of the problems of keeping French alive and relevant is the fact that there are so few nations still speaking it. The world-wide
'Francophonie' (as the brotherhood of French nations is known) is made up of just a few civilized countries that include France, part of Belgium (where 40% of the people speak French), part of Switzerland (where 20% of the people speak French) and part of Canada (where 22% of the people speak French). The rest of the membership is made up largely by a motley assortment of banana republics in Africa. The days when French was a common second language or used in trade and diplomacy are long gone. With just over 120 million speakers (less than speakers of Malay-Indonesian), French no longer has the critical mass to maintain itself as an international language and to maintain a world-wide culture. It is predicted that Quebecoise and French will be unrecognizable to each other within twenty-five years.

French is bad because ... Blah...blah... blah

Had enough?

I could go on and on and I could even write a book like
Michel Brulé , only this one, bashing the French language instead of English.

But to what end?

If you are a francophone and still reading this post, let me apologize. I'm sure you didn't enjoy what you just read.

The purpose of the above rant was not to denigrate or humiliate your language, but to make the point that in life there is an argument to made for anything, that's why we have so many lawyers.

Writing a book insulting someone else's language is about as wise as telling your mother-in-law that she is ugly.

Why? Why? Why?

ANGLAID is such a book, stupid and cruel in every respect.

It is written expressly for French language racists, nobody other than a fanatic would bother reading such drivel.

13 comments:

  1. Thanks for this post. It really satisfied the proudly bilingual, though cranky Québécoise Anglo, that is me!

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  2. One of the best thing of living in Montreal is having the opportunity to learn English and French. Les gens qui crachent sur le francais sont aussi stupide que les gens qui dénigrent l'anglais.

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  3. "I would have ignored the book, **but for the fact that several nationalist organizations** have begun promoting the book as a valid intellectual exercise."

    Which ones?

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  4. Try these sites;
    http://www.vigile.net/La-beaute-de-l-Anglaid
    http://www.montrealfrancais.org/node/1121

    Book of the month;
    http://citeboomers.com/livres-du-mois/generale/livres-du-mois/id-menu-62.html

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  5. This is great. Labeling it for what it is. Thanks.

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  6. you say "several nationalist organizations" promote the book as a valid intellectual exercise. For starters, the link at citeboomers is a review by an individual. It carries no imprimatur of a "nationalist organization." So that example is false. Then there's the opinion piece under the "tribune libre" rubric at Vigile (which I'd already seen btw), and, just as that rubric implies, that carries no imprimatur of a "nationalist organization" either. Vigile is a clearing house for info of interest to sovereignists, and for some reason you spare mentioning that all the other items on the Brûlé book at Vigile condemn it as an intellectual exercise, including the scathing review by respected sovereignist book critic for Le Devoir, Louis Cornellier. That *too* is posted at Vigile. So Vigile has not "endorsed" the book, but posted a range of reactions to it, almost all negative. Even the defense of Brûlé doesn't deal with the sociolinguistic aspect of his "thesis" but rather supports how the ethnopsychology of Anglo-Saxon imperialism inferiorized subject peoples. Read Nehru's memoirs and you'll find he says the same thing.

    Another piece of trivia you spare us is that most of the printed reaction by the francophone intelligentsia to the book has been negative. There has already been far more negative reaction in Québec to this self-published volume by an eccentric entrepreneur than there was condemnation of the Globe and Mail's Jan Wong by her journalist peers in English Canada for her racist garbage written on the morrow of the Dawson shooting trying to link the tragedy to Québec's language laws. In fact the absence of ostracism by her peers in English Canada was almost total. The editors of her racist rag stood by her, and it was the Québec Press Council which condemned the piece following a complaint filed before them, not her fellow English Canadian journalists. Mais lorsqu'on se regarde, on se désole...

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  7. Thank you for interest and comment.
    Unlike most bloggers who censor or use their editorial position to mock or ignore dissenting opinions, I read your comment carefully and with interest. Your point is well taken(that few nationalists overtly support the book) and so I concede the point.
    I shall however, watch closely sales of the book which I believe will be the best barometer of it's impact and support. On that the jury is out.

    As for Jan Wong. I believe that the lack of the reaction to her ill-conceived piece is the outright lack of interest in Quebec issues, west of the Ottawa river.
    I will remind you that there was one very important dissenting anglophone opinion, Prime Minister Stephen Harper who fired off a letter to the newspaper.
    As for anglophones supporting the piece, such is not the case.

    "Numerous journalists also weighed in — mostly against Wong and her damning cultural assertion — on the Canadian Association of Journalists listserv." http://www.rrj.ca/online/645/

    Should you wish to comment further, I would respectfully request that you create a pseudonym so that I better follow the train of thought. -Editor

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  8. Jacques (formerly anonymous)Tuesday, May 19, 2009 at 1:41:00 PM EDT

    On the Vigile site I count a total of 3 items dealing with Brûlé's book. In addition to the *one* to which you chose to link us, an opinion piece for which the author alone assumes responsibility, the other two bear titles which give a representative flavour of their content. They are

    La mauvaise croisade de Michel Brûlé : http://www.vigile.net/La-mauvaise-croisade-de-Michel

    Anglaid, de Michel Brûlé - La réduction d’une langue : http://www.vigile.net/Anglaid-de-Michel-Brule-La

    So much then, for the "nationalist organization" 's "promotion" of the book. Unless of course you'd like to adopt the logic that *any* publicity is good publicity. By that reasoning, your blog is "promoting" the book as well.

    The article at the Ryerson mag to which you link is of course hardly a condemnation of Wong, veering rather more to apologetics ("Buried in the rubble of the battle was the reporter's right to call it as she saw it" - huh? Try this No Dogs: "Buried in the Rubble of the Battle is [Ernst Zundel's/David Irving's/Robert Faurisson's] right to call it as he saw it." Ca va?) The problem, an interviewee explains, is "bad editing", (rather than say, an incompetent bigot who'd have suffered much greater consequences had her article similarly stigmatized other groups - aboriginals, blacks, Asians, etc, and using a *human tragedy* as the pretext no less). And we have criticism from the ombudsman for NPR, which last time I checked, was a *U.S. broadcaster.* Oh, the honour of English Canadian journalism is saved. Whatever was I thinking...

    Are we privy to the identities of people at the journalists' assn list serve who were critical? Any of them francophones or Québécois perchance, who I imagine are among the subscriber base? Did any of the gros canons of journalism in English Canada *publicly* ostracize Wong? She was defended by editor/honcho Greenspan. She was defended by Norman Spector. She was defended by sanctimonious Brit blowhard Robert Fisk who continues to demonstrate his blithering ignorance of Canada and Québec (http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/commentators/fisk/robert-fisk-no-wonder-the-bloggers-are-winning-458097.html). She was defended by former CBC Montreal news anchor Dennis Trudeau on the grounds that apart from the passage in question, it was a "good article" ("aside from that Mrs. Lincoln...").

    She was critized by Warren Kinsella, who isn't a journalist. She was criticized by Prime Minister Harper, who isn't a journalist peer of Wong's either and was courting francophone votes in Québec. Do we need more of a picture here? She was critized by Premier Charest, also not a journalist and also courting francophone votes in Québec. And Charest's letter denouncing the Globe was not published following the normal convention when a newspaper receives a letter from a head of gov't or head of state. Instead it was published as a simple letter to the editor, an obvious slight in itself. And Wong was left entirely alone by the Ontario Press Council, though the piece ran in "Canada's National Newspaper" published in Toronto, one of the largest circulation dailies in the country. We're a long way from Michel Brûlé's vanity press here. She was defended in the pages of her former employer the Montreal Gazette (I know, quelle surprise, hope you're sitting down for this shocker) : http://www.vigile.net/Jan-Wong-was-misguided-maybe-But (and btw does this mean that Vigile is "defending" her too?)

    And to the Wong case can be added many others, such as that of the charlatan Rakoff whose "psychiatric profile" of Lucien Bouchard was grist for English Canada's media mill, (never mind that he'd never even met Bouchard and was basing his "diagnosis" on clippings from the English Canadian press..who needs professional ethics in the cause of saving Canada?), the Ottawa Citizen's disgraceful campaign agaist Quebecer David Levine's appointment to head the Ottawa megahospital, etc etc. All occasioned little to no real introspection or self-criticism within English Canadian journalism. This abject lack of self-awarness hasn't gone unnoticed in Québec either by Québec journalists: http://www.vigile.net/Fin-de-la-recreation

    Good on you for monitoring the sales tho of Brûlé's book. I commend your unerring sense of priorities. What about Lawrence Martin's? Any sales figures on that? Or Mordecai Richler's "Oh Canada, Oh Québec"? It sold well I understand, and is still easy to procure, while the English-language tome of Normand Lester's "Black Book of English Canada" was published a decade later and is already long out of print. Mais lorsqu'on se regarde... Or what about Michael Ignatieff's "Blood and Belonging", which depicts the Québécois as volkish blood-and-soil xenophobes? I understand it's done quite well, even including in the form of a video documentary broadcast in many languages all around the world. I hope it's quoted from extensively in the next federal campaign.

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  9. Jacques;
    I must tell you that I'm truly impressed with the fact that you can whack out 1,200 lucid words so rapidly!
    Because we are completely off the subject and your comments are all based on the one line of the original post that I have already conceded as not supported by the facts, I think it's time to move on.
    I will not defend English racists, but I must say that I do not consider Mr. Richler's among them.

    Mr. Richler enjoyed savaging everyone and every group. In this sense he was an equal opportunity insulter. Nobody suffered worse from his humiliating depictions and caricatures then his very own Hebrew people, some of whom considered him a self-hating Jew.
    At any rate his missives are nothing compared to the insults anglos suffer every day at the hands of nationalists and language crusaders.
    Conquerers, exploiters, humiliators, colonists, who's language is often openly described as an affront, a danger, a provocation and what not.

    I will allow you the last word, if you like, but it’s time to move on.

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  10. Regardless, I still agree that French is an important language to learn. Bon chance tout le monde!!!!!

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  11. Michel Brulé's book is not so much a racist's as an ignoramus's. It is true English has undergone a process of phonetical degradation thanks to adverstisement and rock culture, but Québécois has one of the ugliest pronunciations on earth, because New France was a military garrison colony where all word were barked rather than spoken, thy spoke much more like dogs than the English who are reproached by Brulé to sound so, but that doesn't mean the Québécois are dog-like nowadays. French is not at all a musical language, even in its most cultured form. It is considered by all practitioners to be less poetical than English and most other languages, for its being a diplomatic language, that is to say most suitable to hypocrisy. It is a beautiful language for law and politics, a very stylish one, but when it comes to rythm and nature, it is akward.

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  12. j'AIME L'AFFICHE DE MICHEL BRULE ET JE TROUVE CELA GENIAL !!!

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  13. I am an anglicized Acadien, and I find Michel Brule's book a bit too subtle. This deathstar of a non-culture destroyed every real culture in Canada. All that's left are cultureless drones who fight (with words AND cluster bombs) for commercial interests.

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