The words “only in this province” are usually reserved for someone from the English community reacting angrily at some salvo on the language-war front.
This week entertainment critic Marc Cassivi of La Presse probably muttered, under his breath, a variation on the same theme.
Last week Cassivi, back from the holiday break, decided to write a light piece for his readers about the music he listens to when he’s out jogging.
The column also included funny advice on losing weight. The day after the column appeared Cassivi received an email from a Le Devoir fellow journalist saying “So what you’re really saying is that there’s only English that can motivate a runner. You could actually have entitled your column ‘When Elvis Gratton starts jogging.’”
Most of what Cassivi had put on his playlist was in the language of Shakespeare. Arcade Fire, DJ Champion and the “Franglais” of Radio Radio that were, brought calls of “odieux” from some readers that felt that more French artists should have been included.
Some readers went as far as saying that Cassivi was aligning himself with the Caisse de dépôt, the Banque Nationale and the Montreal Canadiens.
Cassivi reacted yesterday in his column in La Presse with: “Pousse, mais pousse égal, would say my mother! Should we impose a linguistically-correct musical list that includes a francophone quota for journalists who go out on a jog? Should we force them to lie to better promote ‘la chanson francophone’.”
Should I be forced to watch only French TV and movies that have been translated into French? That I read only novels that have been translated? That I pretend only to drink wines from Burgundy but not from Oregon?”
When I run, I don’t run in French, in English or in Spanish. I run listening to music to forget that I’m pushing myself. I don’t really listen to the words. The mood, the rhythm guide me.”
The last thing I do when I run is do politics.” To end his column Cassivi went on to list his favourite French song when he runs, Philippe Katerine’s Je vous emmerde.
It would seem that the linguistic correctness that has brought even the storied Montreal Canadiens in the maelstrom knows no bounds.
If Marc Cassivi of La Presse can’t even listen to Arcade Fire in the privacy of his own earphones I think in Quebec we may have crossed a linguistic rubicon.
I wonder what the guardians of my language will think up next. Should we force Apple to remove English albums and songs from iTunes so that Quebec customers promote, with their hard-earned dollars, la chanson de chez nous?
Maybe we should add Françis Cabrel to the black list, he’s not Québécois enough, c’est un Français de France. All this at times becomes a bit too ridiculous for my tastes.
There is no doubt that this latest episode in the language wars of Quebec has a bit of the surreal. Since the beginning of the sixties, decade by decade, we have become maître chez nous.
But sometimes I think that some outside observers may also think that were a bit une gang de fou.