All that changes when these complaints about Quebec society are made in the United States where Quebeckers seem extremely sensitive to their image.
Mordechai Richler could have lived a life of ignominy in Quebec had he not written devastatingly critical articles about Quebec in publications like the New York Times and the Atlantic Monthly. His book, Oh Canada! Oh Quebec! Requiem for a Divided Country, a scathing portrayal of Quebec society, set the province into a raging fury. He became Quebec's biggest scoundrel and most hated Anglo. He remains today the most powerful example of betrayal and for many Quebeckers mention of his very name still elicits a nasty response.
interview in Montreal's La Presse newspaper, ostensibly to promote his movie The Trotsky. In the end the interview degenerated into a panning of the Quebec film industry and as such made a much bigger splash;
"Quebec society is extremely turned in on itself. Our art and our culture shows only white francophones. Anglophones and immigrants are ignored. They have no place in the québécois dream. It’s shameful.Macleans.ca magazine writer Philippe Gohier commented that Tierney would probably regret having given the interview altogether and I tend to agree. Read his article here.
I'm not going to discuss the merits of Tierney's argument because I'm not really qualified. Like most Anglos, I almost never watch Quebecois films..... Hmm
But the reaction to this little known filmmaker, an ex-Montrealer now living in Los Angeles is quite telling.
Had the comments been made in Toronto or Montreal , the story wouldn't have earned more than a couple of inches of ink, but because the comments were made in the USA, watch out!
I don't think that Jacob Tierney will become as notorious as Mordechai Richlier, but he didn't win many friends with his comments and garnered many enemies. I hope he won't be showered with the the hate mail and threats that Richler and his family received but he will get some, no doubt.
The reaction to the comments made by this relative nobody is nothing less than astounding.
"Did we ask to have Atom Egoyan to necessarily portray Quebecers in all his films?"...."I think these kinds of comments are outdated and unnecessary." commented the President and Chief Executive Officer of cultural enterprise development (SODEC), François Macerola. LinkThe directer general of Téléfilm Canada, Carolle Brabant, countered the criticism by saying that the investment the agency makes in English Quebec films in disproportionately higher than the what demographics would dictate.
"As is still the case unfortunately, an Anglophone Montrealer, Quebecker, Canadian has spread unfounded prejudices about Quebeckers, Jarrett Mann, président du festival SPAS
"His rhetoric of contempt for us is deeply offensive. I do not think that that is the way to rally us to his cause. " Stéphanie Chalu
Mr. Tierney seems to describe Quebec society as a backward-looking and intolerant society, thus opening a new chapter in the book of "Quebec bashing" Reynaldo MarquezAn over-reaction? I think so.
The phenomenon isn't restricted to Anglos.
"The battle for a free Quebec died in 1970"
It seems that the weight of the argument is less important than the locale in which it is expressed.
Make depreciating remarks about Quebec society in Montreal or Toronto and you'll be roundly ignored. Do it in Los Angeles or New York and all Hell will break loose.....Interesting, eh.