"Go fuck yourself?"

There's been a little language controversy stirring up Québec's blogosphere this week. It's nothing really dramatic, simply one of these sterile situations that betray the lack of judgment of a few individuals. The controversy involves Les Sages Fous, an unusual theater company, and Theatre Ste. Catherine, an English only theater in downtown Montréal.

Theatre Ste. Catherine has been distributing exclusively English information through its mailing list. All is fine. The theater is within its right to do so; the Charter of the French language doesn't prevent exclusive English advertisement for services available in English only. Other English language institutions like CHOM, CFCF or The Gazette are doing it for obvious reasons.

Still, when you're in Montréal's entertainment business, you're bound to stumble on some Francophones who might be interested in the program. One might think that simple courtesy calls for bilingual correspondence; I think it's sound business practice. As a Bishop's University Alumni, I get all my correspondence in English only. It's easy to understand why and I'm not complaining, but when I get solicited for fund raising, my initial impression is invariably: "Are they talking to me?".

Anyhow... Les Sages Fous was receiving Theatre Ste. Catherine's English only correspondence and asked for French information. According to the Journal de Montréal [Google translation], here's how it went:
  • Les Sages Fous: Bonjour, Merci de nous envoyer vos messages en français ou de nous retirer de votre liste d'envoi.

  • Theatre Ste. Catherine: The shows listed were in English and therefore so is the message. You obviously can't read in English because you are an uneducated bigot. Est-ce que vous comprenez l'expression anglophone: Go Fuck Yourself?

  • Les Sages Fous: Hello, [...] Your response is an incredibly inappropriate, ugly and aggressive message. [...] It seems that it is you the bigot. We, at Les Sages Fous all speak at least three languages, have traveled the world and are obviously more educated and open minded than you. I myself am one of the few Anglophones who proudly speaks French in a continent that insists on being monolingual. [...] [...] Ever thought of moving to Georgia Back woods Texas? They like people like you down there. [...]

  • Theatre Ste. Catherine: Just delete the message and move on with your life. ps: fuck you
Again, it's nothing really dramatic, just an example of how some individuals lack judgment, something that the manager at Theatre Ste. Catherine would normally swiftly denounce and apologize for. La Presse's Patrick Lagacé [Google translation] tried to get the story straight, but nobody returned his calls to clear things out. Instead, they decided to stop operating the venue and are now replying with these words:Due to the overwhelming racism and bigotry in French society toward minorities and non-French cultures, Theatre Ste. Catherine will be closing in protest. Effective immediately TSC will no longer be accepting bookings and will closed permanently Dec. 21, 2009.One has to wonder what they are protesting against.


deBeauxOs said...

Hé!?! C'était quoi, ça?

Bizarre aussi de lire aussi un texte en anglais magané de même. J'ai pris la peine de trouver la version originale parce que je pouvais entendre Shakespeare renifler, un p'tit peu.

Oui - bon débarras, en ce qui concerne M. Eric Amber. On a pas besoin de 'têtes carrées' bornées, soit à Montréal ou à Ottawa.

Nous, on est pogné avec Larry O'Brien, francophe exalté.

James said...
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