The story certainly has legs in the French media and I wrote about it yesterday. On Sunday the radical French rights group Jeunes Patriotes du Québec ( an organization described in the Montreal Gazette as a sovereignist 'goon squad') picketed the theater in a demonstration that consisted of less than thirty people and again today the story continues to create ink.
In defending Mr. Amber I knew that there wouldn't be anyone in the mainstream English media that would dare to offer him support and I assumed that the same would certainly hold true in the French media.
How wrong I was on the second assumption.
A post by Mathieu Turbide on mechant blogue entitled "The other, less pretty side of the coin' complained that the reaction to the insult was way out of proportion.
Mais menacer quelqu'un physiquement parce qu'il a été con et qu'il a manqué de respect par courriel à deux personnes? Je ne sais pas pour vous, mais j'ai l'impression que certains dépassent les bornes.
But to threaten someone physically because he was an idiot and that he showed disprespect in an email to two people. I don't know about you, but it gives me the impression that they went too far.
Today in La Press in an article written by Marc Cassivi, he wasn't afraid to offer an alternate view, one that largely agrees with what I said yesterday.
"Il y avait dans le temps un joueur des Bruins et des Flyers, Ken Linseman, que l'on appelait le rat. Il faisait rager ses adversaires, par de petits coups vicieux, jusqu'à ce qu'il y en ait un qui lui sacre un coup de poing au visage. Évidemment, l'arbitre punissait la réplique bien plus souvent que la provocation. M'est avis que Les Sages fous sont moins sages qu'on le pense. Et qu'il y a dans leur courriel «innocent» une pointe de Ken Linseman, un soupçon de Marco Materazzi. Ils l'ont un peu cherché, ce coup de boule."
"There was a time when the Boston Bruins had a player, Ken Linesman, who was nicknamed the 'rat'. He enraged his adversaries with little vicious shots, up to the point where they clocked him in the face. As you can imagine, more often than not the referee punished the responder." Undestand that the 'Sages Fou" are less sage than then we think. And in the 'innocent' email there's a bit of Ken Linseman, a touch of Mario Materazzi (the Italian soccer player who goaded France's Zinedine Zidane's into a costly head-butt in the World cup finals.) They were looking to provoke.
"Un théâtre anglo fait par courriel de la promo en anglais pour des spectacles en anglais destinés à un public anglo. Il en a parfaitement le droit, même si, stratégiquement, il se coupe d'un public potentiel."
"When an Anglo theater sends a promotional email in English for an English show destined for an English audience, they have the perfect right to do so, even if it strategically cuts down the potential audience."
The only editorial opinion offered by the Montreal Gazette was that of a reader, in a weak-assed letter to the editor;
"As an anglo-Quebec theatre artist, I was deeply offended by Théatre Ste. Catherine founder Eric Amber's derogatory comments toward francophone artists and his view that "francophone Quebec society in general" is racist and intolerant toward "minorities and non-francophone cultures."As someone who works in the theatre in both languages, I can attest that this is simply not true." Donovan King