In Montreal People Who Don’t Speak English Are Uneducated Bigots

with 496 comments

Eric Amber theatre ste-catherine

About 10 or 15 years ago Blockbuster opened their first Montreal franchise on Ste.Catherine Street, between the Forum and Guy Metro. About every second evening me and my roommate JF would walk all the way up the hill from St.Henri to rent some videos because, a. we had no real professional or social obligations to speak of in those blissful days of our early twenties, and b. because the only commerce going on in St.Henri back then was the sale of beer and steamed hot dogs.

At Blockbuster there was this one employee that we called Tommy. Poor Tommy, we used to say, he just doesn’t get it. He wasn’t a bad bloke—although a bloke he certainly was—but he always had a look of confusion on his face and permanent hesitation in his movement.

One phenomenon that absolutely mystified Tom was that almost every single night me and JF bring to his counter a movie in English, and then proceed to address him and conduct the transaction in French.

Every single time Tom would pick up the VHS, open the box, read the title aloud, and then, with a grimace, tried to warn us: Mais… sé en Anglèse.

Je sais, I would answer. C’est cool.

Tom would then take our money and stare at us as we left the store, dumbfounded by these two French dudes who kept renting movies they couldn’t understand!

Poor Tommy. He just didn’t get it.

Mercifully guys like Tommy are rare in Montréal. We French bastards and Angry separatists are usually able to consume our hearts fill of Anglo-American pop culture and simultaneously uphold our right to be served in French simultaneously, without any problem. I can go to a downtown cinema, buy my ticket in French, buy my Pepsi and gummy bears in French, ask directions to the pimpled employees in French and even share my always entertaining and insightful commentary on the movie with my companion of the evening in French, and still enjoy the new Transformer movie in the original English version.

I don’t switch to English when I buy my Engelbert Humperdink CDs at HMV. I don’t try to order in Japanese when I order sushi. I can go to a bookstore, purchase a book in English and even discuss it with a librarian, speaking only French. Even when I go to McGill’s library to photocopy scientific papers and gawk at young girls from New Jersey I make it a point to speak exclusively in French with the staff.

Not only is speaking French not a problem at McGill, I’m pretty sure I get better service than English-speaking chumps. Staff seems to light up and come to life. It’s like it’s something new and interesting happening. Oh, French! I know this! I can do this!

Or maybe I’m just better looking than you are…

This said, poor Tommy’s are still out there.

Last week Eric Amber, the guy who runs the Ste.Catherine Theater downtown, sent out an email to all of Québec’s cultural media and institutions promoting his venue’s lineup as part of the Zoofest, a new comedy festival run by the folks at Juste pour Rire/Just for Laughs. When a few people complained that the email was only in English and demanded to be contacted in French or taken off their mailing list, mister Amber blew a gasket.

His theater’s shows were in English and, therefore, there was no point advertising them in French, essentially wrote the promoter, who, like poor Tommy, cannot comprehend that someone who has learned English does not immediately abandon his tribal language.

« You obviously can’t read English because you are an uneducated bigot », was the eloquent response of the theater to the demands for a French email. « Go fuck yourself. »

Sure, I’ll do that in a sec., but before I go I’d just like to point out to the Eric’s and Tommy’s out there that there are roughly 500.000 to 750.000 Anglophones in Québec and about 3 million Francophones like me who speak, read and consume English-language culture but still expect to be informed and to buy our tickets in French.

If you think you can run a business by only catering to « real » Anglos while four fifths of your potential market is jacking off in the shower, good luck with that.

We have our answer! As I’m about to upload this post, I learn that Eric Amber and the people at St.Catherine Theater do not want money spent by people who still nostalgically hang on to their backward cultures.  He is shutting his theater down and moving on to some other city where only people who have completely abandonned their primitive ways are allowed to talk back to the Anglos, somewhere like Toronto or Singapour:

« 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.»

Cool.  Now maybe some uneducated bigot like Gilbert Rozon, who happens to run the biggest English-language comedy festival in the world, or André Ménard or René Angelil can buy back the theater and make some money while Eric Amber relocates to Peterborough where no linguistic and cultural bastards will try to crash his productions.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

July 19, 2009 at 10:10 am

496 Responses

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  1. Why should I bust neurons dealing with you?

    Jean Naimard

    August 10, 2009 at 12:04 am

  2. Y’know, the funny thing is, this all resulted from a discussion about a sticker campaign that, from what I can tell, we all more or less agree was a bad idea, poorly implemented and insulting to both anglophones and francophones (okay, maybe Jean doesn’t agree or give a shit about that last part).

    To recap, the HIGHLY OFFENSIVE??? post of mine above was me speculating how some anglos might react. For my own opinion, you can see the post at the bottom of this page. How Jean or AFGirl concluded from that that I’m a raging angryphone rhodesian who wants to dominate the poor Quebecois boggles my fucking mind! Blind paranoia was the best explanation I could come up with and Jean has done nothing to disprove that theory.


    August 10, 2009 at 7:16 am

  3. What is offensive is that the english (and many french merchants) will think that french is synonymous with less profit.

    Jean Naimard

    August 10, 2009 at 9:50 am

  4. That document is full of straw men arguments. The authors ought to be ashamed of themselves.


    August 19, 2009 at 11:39 pm

  5. Fascinating, a blog completely devoted to the preservation and promotion of the French language, yet entirely in English!

    Angry English Guy

    September 11, 2009 at 4:15 pm

  6. God how i hate the Quebecois joual. It reminds me of the poor southern drawl in the deep South. Ouch hurts my ears and makes y’all sound so dumb and stupid. Stupid is a s stupid does …. Hee haa y’all!!!


    September 21, 2009 at 3:29 pm

  7. Dumb separatists like you are only good for making problems and fighting all the time. Get a job and start working. Get off the computer and work for a living instead of depending on the money of Canadian taxpayers already. Sheesh the French have no pride at all.


    September 21, 2009 at 3:32 pm

  8. Dumb separatists like you are only good for making problems and fighting all the time. Get a job and start working. Get off the computer and work for a living instead of depending on the money of Canadian taxpayers already. Sheesh the French have no pride at all.

    Dumb federalists like you are only good for creating the problems in the first place, and refusing to change and to adapt. Learn french and speak clear. Get off the crumpets and adapt to the majority of the people here instead of expecting to run the show just because you’re english. Sheesh, the english have no sense of humanity at all.

    Johan Neymaard

    September 21, 2009 at 8:26 pm

  9. Some of us olderphones have really tried to communicate in French, but the Parisian style lingo taught to us in highschool in the 60’s by unilingual English speakers just didn’t workout. Even did my B.A. at a French university but still don’t have the aptitude. Some of us would if we could, please never assume that if we don’t address you in French that it is purposeful, and mean-spirited. Life is difficult enough is any language. Montreal was a fantastic city when I was a kid, not so much anymore.

    angry olderphone

    October 18, 2009 at 3:07 pm

  10. Is this where I leave a comment?


    November 8, 2009 at 12:14 am

  11. Maybe more francs should embrace the English language as it is internationally accepted around the world instead of staying in their little seperatist bubble. And re movie theatres, why do we sit through french advertising in English movie theatres. Do the french ones show you English commercials? Big pet peeve. Oh, and if you work with the public you should be BILINGUAL.


    November 28, 2009 at 8:44 am

  12. […] quote of the year: Eric Amber. « You obviously can’t read English because you are an uneducated bigot. Go fuck […]

  13. I wanted to know, what’s the deal with you and why are you angry?

    I thought Quebec is already been declared in the federal government as a Nation already?

    So that means whenever the people want to leave they can go, isn’t it?

    Check out Galganov’s site and he’ll explain in detail why Quebec will be leaving in the near future.

    I think it’ll be great! Quebec can be a French republic and Canada can get back to it’s British heritage and culture. Everyone will be happy just like the Czech and Slovak people.


    January 22, 2010 at 8:59 pm

  14. are you commenters for real??? Long live Angry French Guy!

    Neon Rabbit

    January 26, 2010 at 4:37 pm

  15. montreal is my city too..I speak three languages,started a business 25 yes agoo,pay lots of taxes to the Fu…en Quebec gov t and have been living here since birth… My kids were educated in both languages and are respectful of both cultures…but I have this to say about Montreal francophones..say about 50per cent of them are the biggest bigots in north america and they live in a glass box..they have an inferiority complex and are taking it out on anybody that lives in English…. It s time to smell the coffee and wake up…try living in harmony and you ll be happier…give it a Try!

    Mario the canadian

    February 6, 2010 at 10:26 pm

  16. I live far away from Quebec,
    (thank God!) you separatists are nothing but snot nose whiners, your dumb ass language laws effect everything from coast to coast… Adapt! Get over it, you don’t even speak respectable french!!!

    Moose Rocket

    February 7, 2010 at 12:04 am

  17. I’m half French (Ashamedly) and live in “seperatist” Quebec, unfortunately. I want to punch every single frenchman I see, seriously. I’m so sick of this French crap. I REFUSE to speak French (even though I can very well) if I walk into a store and they wont address me in MY native language. This is, after all, still an ENGLISH country. All this bullshit about wanting to preserve their culture is crap, there is no culture. Unless you count having twelve children and being on welfare, then all of their kids being on welfare, who each have twelve kids who end up on welfare…Did I forget to mention the mullets…Lest we forget…Poutine…GREAT CULTURE. And now, this whole thing with the Olympics and how they want more French…blah blah blah. Guess what? You want to seperate, so seperate and FUCK OFF!!! Why should Canada bend over backwards for a province /country that wants NOTHING to do with it? I didn’t hear any inuits or native Indians cry about there not being any of either of their languages. Also, the population of B.C. itself, has a huge Chinese percentage. Did I hear them cry? NO!!!! So French fuckers, shut your faces. You remind me of spoiled little brat kids who get everything they want and still cry for more. Get over your French language crap, we don’t FORCE you to speak, read and write in English, why should we allow you to even utter a French word in an English country?


    February 16, 2010 at 9:14 pm

  18. I think it’s pretty rude to act as if you’re doing something wrong by requesting service in French in cases like those you mentioned.

    On the other hand, what I find ridiculous is that advertisements on buses for The Gazette or The Globe and Mail have to be in French.

    I understand the desire of some for Quebec to have a “visage français,” but even in the United States, which undoubtedly has a “visage anglais,” it would be surprising to find advertising for a Spanish-language publication in English only. Even bilingual ads for them would be strange.

    In fact, this kind of thing probably detracts from the “visage français” because it makes it obvious that the only reason the advertisement is in French is to comply with some regulation.

    I once visited Latvia, which goes far beyond Bill 101 in fighting Russian. Russian speakers form 40% of the population there (but many cannot vote, based on ethnicity and/or language ability). When I visited some markets in Riga, all the signs were in Latvian only, even though the only language you could hear spoken was Russian.

    The only advertising I saw in Russian was:

    1) Advertising for Russian publications and cultural events, such as at theatres. This was in Russian only.

    2) An advertisement on the side of a bus. The text was in Latvian only, but there was a photograph of a food product with the Russian side of the box the only one visible. That way you could tell what the product was even if you only spoke Russian.

    Advertisements like 2, I think, must be something of an embarrassment for Latvian Latvians. It shows that their “visage letton” is something of a sham.

    Things like 1, I would guess, result from an exemption in the law designed to avoid making Latvians look overzealous.

    It would be best for everyone if similar exemptions existed in Quebec.

    I. Hall

    March 24, 2010 at 4:26 am

  19. The KKK are to the United States as the bigoted Quebecois are to Canada.

    I’m so happy that Canada has its own form of white trash. I don’t even have to go to the southern United States to see discrimination against minorities, I can just head to Quebec!!! Woohoo!!!


    April 2, 2010 at 1:57 pm

  20. I’m an anglophone living in Montreal with a good working knowledge of French, and I have experienced the following situation on countless occasions:

    I walk into a store downtown and am immediately greeted in French by a friendly salesperson. I respond in an equally friendly manner, in French. The salesperson, perhaps noticing my slight anglophone accent, immediately switches to English. I continue speaking French. She continues in English and so on.

    And yet, when, on the flip side, I’m at work and I accidentally greet a customer with a “hello” before a “bonjour” I am berated for my perceived lack of respect.
    Lack of respect? I was born here too, I have the same rights. Why is it that the English minority is stomped down by the French majority when they dare to give a peep in our mother tongue?

    Quebec anglophones received mixed messages from francophones. Either we are patronized by francophones who pity us for our less than perfect French, or we are treated like a malignant tumor by separatist francs. I love speaking English and I love speaking French – why can’t they mean the same thing to everyone?


    April 21, 2010 at 10:36 am

  21. I personally think French people are the MOST racist and sexist people on EARTH. -______- they HATE all cultures that are not their own and esp. hate the fact that English is more popular than French.


    May 5, 2010 at 1:24 am

  22. You do realize that Quebec is slowly rotting away. Because of your language laws and bigotry, Anglophones and American Companies are moving out of Quebec, leaving you with nothing. Even Hollywood wants nothing to do with Quebec.

    Quebec is falling apart like Russia. Everybody is drinking themselves drunk to forget their problems. And there are a high percentage of suicides in Quebec, just like in Russia.

    Everybody is suffering in poverty, even the French people too. But I guess the French people would rather suffer and die, rather than learn English with the rest of the world. Pathetic.

    I’m going to tell the President of the United States, that Bin Laden is hiding in Quebec and Taliban Weapons-of-mass-destruction is also hiding in Quebec.

    The United States Military, will invade Quebec and turn it into another American state.

    And don’t go crying to the Canadian Government for help. They are too scared to stop the Americans, just like they are too scared to stop Quebec with their stupid language laws.

    The FLQ will be powerless to stop the Americans. If you thought Pierre Elliott Trudeau was tough, wait until the might of the Military American Superpower attacks you! You will all learn english by force! Compared to the Taliban, the FLQ is a joke!

    Quebec is going to rot and die, it’s just a matter of time. Any of you English Anglophones still living in Quebec? Then move out like I did. Get out while you still can.


    May 6, 2010 at 8:32 pm

  23. I really don’t understand all of this anger and animosity. Why is everyone so angry over language? Canada is BILINGUAL meaning the official languages are both French and English. I really don’t understand these superiority complexes that the extremists in both groups seem to have. Language is a beautiful thing and we should be embracing both languages instead of looking down upon others for not speaking the one you wish to converse in or for not speaking it up to your standards. If anything our only complaint concerning language should be the education system’s underepresentation of both languages.

    Rocky Raccoon

    June 6, 2010 at 8:12 pm

  24. Canada is bilingual at the federal level, but Quebec is the only province which is unilingual at the provincial level.

    Bills 22 and 101 made French Quebec’s only official language back in the 1970’s.

    Some good news is that Gilles Duceppe is flogging separatism and another referendum to world leaders.

    If the BQ and the PQ can align their stars then maybe they can orchestrate a successful referendum and get Quebec out of Canada.

    Good luck and good riddance to the Separatists.


    T. Kirke,

    Thomas Kirke, Ottawa

    June 15, 2010 at 4:58 pm

  25. I find it very shameful and appalling to see montreal,not to mention the entire province of quebec as well, losing out its own fair share of its english-speaking population. those seperatist fascists don’t seem to realize that they have brought up nothing but harm rather than good all by enforcing the 101 bill law in order to make it a unilingual province while we’re actually supposed to be living in a bilingual country where discrimination should be frowned up and non-existant, so to speak. On top of that, since the seperatist plague have been spreading all across the province, it is no suprise to my awareness that Quebec is on its way to become a third-world country due to it’s relentless uprising escalation of buisness relocating in toronto and elsewhere around the globe…Toronto is what Montreal should have been by now and it gives you an idea of how badly it affected the city on a long-term basis.


    July 19, 2010 at 9:29 am

  26. I’m an African-American and an Anglophone. I visited Quebec (more specifically, Montreal) and liked it. My French is atrocious, but I tried to converse in French first. Why? Out of respect for the culture/country I was visiting. Unlike a lot of my fellow countrymen, I know a little about Quebec’s history. The Québécois were brutalized by (English-Speaking)Canadians for many years. That type of behavior might translate into resentment–and a fierce need to protect one’s culture. Trust me, no one know’s better than I…

    Maya from the States

    April 24, 2011 at 11:09 am

  27. Wait a second Maya, are you learning Spanish back in the states out of respect for the brutalization of Hispanics? How about the dialect of the local Native Americans? As a fellow estadounidense, I suggest we both stay out of any issues of Quebec, OK?


    April 26, 2011 at 7:57 pm

  28. Although I am perfectly bilingual in French and English, French assholes in Quebec still treat me as a second-class citizen because I did not have the divine privilege of having French as a first language. I even went to unilingual French school for all of elementary and high school in order to have perfect French and I now speak with no English accent at all. However, I was ostracized all throughout school because people knew I was English and was bullied for speaking English in the hallways or on lunch hour with some friends who were also English. If you’re English in Quebec, they will never treat you as just another person, even with perfect French, you will always be an ANGLAIS to them. If you can speak French without an accent, just don’t let them find out your name and they might not realize they have to hate you cause you’re English.


    June 1, 2011 at 10:54 am

  29. You’re not French – you’re Canadian.


    November 15, 2011 at 12:11 am

  30. People who do not speak English are uneducated idiots ?
    Of course they are. English is compulsory second language even in French school so someone who does not speak English is a high school dropout !!
    Since we have free education and if that person does not even have high school English,
    calling him uneducated idiot is being kind.


    March 18, 2012 at 8:25 am

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