Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Anglo Press Silent on Theater Controversy

Perhaps the story isn't deemed as newsworthy as it is in the French press or maybe editorialists are taking their time before crafting a position on Eric Amber's vulgar response to a demand by a recipient of an English-only mass email. The complainer demanded that he be addressed in the French language or be removed from the mailing list.

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



  1. It was edited. Here' the original:

    RE: "Comedy fest exchange turns nasty" (A11, Saturday July 18)

    As an anglo-Quebec theatre artist I was deeply offended by Theatre Ste. Catherine founder Eric Amber's derogatory comments towards francophone artists his view that "francophone Quebec society in general" is racist and intolerant towards "minorities and non-francophone cultures." As someone who works in the theatre in both languages, I can attest that this is simply not true. I just hope the francophone community realises that Amber hails from Calgary, Alberta, a place where anti-francophone attitudes appear to be prevalent.

    I agree that is was weak-assed to take out the m,ost important part - the viewpoint is anlo-albertan, not anglo-quebecois. For Amber to speak on our behalf is an insult to all anglo-Quebec theatre artists. I do not know of any who harbour such anti-francophone views, but as someone who had the misfortune of living in Calgary, I can attest that such racist attitudes are the norm out there...

    D. King

  2. Golly, I don't know how an anglophone can tolerate the society you are brave enough to endure. No wonder there's been such an exodus out of Quebec. The world is such a big place- and New England so nearby...

    I do like the gutsiness of your blog.
    Bon Courage!

  3. http://communities.canada.com/montrealgazette/blogs/stageandpage/archive/2009/07/21/theatre-ste-catherine-owner-insults-francophones-embarrasses-anglophones.aspx

  4. As an Albertan living in Montreal I'm deeply offended by Donovan King's derogatory comments towards "anlo-albertains" and his view that "anglophone Alberta society in general" is racist and intolerant toward francophone culture.

  5. As an Albertan, having lived in the racist, bigoted province of Que. I experienced first hand the radical french mentality, the threats and hatred boiled over and people were murdered, maimed, and many lives destroyed. FLQ 1970 look it up, you obviously have not learned a thing. To call Albertans racist is the height of hypocrisy. In Alberta you are free to advertise your business, educate your children, in any language you want. We don't have English only hospitals, you don't get vandalized, or get threats of violence for the language you speak. These people are no better than the Islamic terrorists who use violence and threats of it to advance their cause. Makes me ashamed to be Canadian, except I don't consider Quebecers Canadian, True Canadians, like Albertans don't stand for racist comments like these blogs carry, SEPARATE already, I'm tired of this constant french whining.

  6. http://www.montrealgazette.com/Quebec+shuts+French+school+with+English+curriculum/3344022/story.html

    Random link, go report on this act of Quebec hatred too