English Montreal Hates Celine Dion

with 131 comments

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In her entire career, Céline Dion has has produced one and only one acceptable recording:  1992’s Je danse dans ma tête, 4 minutes 14 seconds of unintentional pop pleasure which has finally been properly recognized and covered by Orange Orange.

The rest of her music should be banned like hip hop in Iran (Iranian hip hop actually is the bomb and shouldn’t be banned, but sadly is… You know what I meant…)

I remember clearly sitting on my bed in the late 80’s, looking for pictures of cute girls in one of sisters Québec celebrity magazines and finding instead this article about this very ordinary looking Jesus Freak who was confidently informing us that she was going to be as big a Micheal Jackson.  I laughed.

Look who’s laughing now.

I have tremendous respect for Céline Dion and her manager/husband René Angelil for an impeccable commercial carreer. I especially appreciate how she has been as loyal to her fans.  She goes on Oprah and talks to America as if she’s in her living room talking to her sisters.  Even as she became one of the biggest selling artists in the United States she kept on appearing on local Québec TV, hosting l’ADISQ, Québec’s music awards and participating in Québec’s cultural scene.

Others, like Roch Voisine (who actually was a bigger star than Céline for a while) tried to follow her footsteps down the middle of the road, but failed because he did not understand the need to consolidate what he had built.  He used the Québec market as a stepping stone to France, and French success as a springboard to the English-speaking market.  Focused on the Holy Grail of the best selling English album, he ignored his first public for years and years.  When he came back, defeated, for a consolation prize French career, his fans had moved on.

Céline has one career.  She is an international star who sings in French and English.  Céline brought all her fans along with her to the top.

Except English Montreal, apparently.

Brendan Kelly, a reporter covering the French-language showbiz beat at the Montreal Gazette posted a couple of lines a few weeks ago about Céline Dion’s pregnancy.  The story triggered a deluge of, in Kelly’s onw words, “not just negative, but bitterly negative” comments.

The comments are apparently not only about Céline’s crimes against music, which would certainly be justified, but about her being Franco, about the old story of her infamous “I am not an anglophone, I am a Québécoise” quote and about how she really is a separatist mole…

“I’m actually not sure but it underlies once again that Céline is something of a lightining rod for feelings of discontent amoungst anglo Montrealers”, speculated Kelly.  “Like I said, weird.”

Yesterday Kelly expanded his theory on his blog:  “Could it be that this anger is a kind of odd manifestation of the discontent felt by some in the anglo community as francophones here gain more and more power (politically, socially, in business)? Céline rose to the top at the same time that we anglos were slipping far from our previous dominance and, to add salt to the wound, Céline was becoming the most famous franco Québecoise in the universe by singing in English, the language on the downswing chez nous.”

I would say that Brendan is correct.

I would add that Céline’s success also shatters two important Angryphone myths:

Myth one: Francophones need the benevolent unilingual Anglos to take them by the hand and  guide and and protect them in the wider English-speaking world.

Myth two: Once you have made it in the real (i.e. English-speaking) world, you do not go back.

Céline’s success brought home the fact that the English-speaking world is only a part of Céline’s world.  Céline Dion, Québec, the French language and the world go on beyond English.

Written by angryfrenchguy

September 4, 2009 at 4:00 pm

131 Responses

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  1. I guess separatism is double dead in Quebec. About 2 million Quebec immigrants don’t want to be poisoned with the FLQ and PQ/BQ separatist ideas.

    Another illustration of the immigrants being used as tools by the english to defeat the french.
    Aren’t you pissed to merely be a tool? Noooo, you want to be an english!

    Very hard to convince us to be a loyal part of the super nano French society in North America in order to help some of you to cut it from the ROC. What’s the point for us?

    Why do you want to be english? Why do you want to be english, in Québec? Is it because you’re a tool?

    Let’s talk about economy in Quebec, how to improve it and how to be independent from billions of equalization money. Arret to be an all canadian beggar and let the dead bury the dead.

    Yes, let’s talk about the economy. Why is the economy going slower in Québec, EVEN THOUGH QUÉBEC IS A PART OF CANADA? Obviously the problem is Canada, eh…

    Јеаn Nаimаrd

    September 13, 2009 at 11:04 pm

  2. Everybody knows that if you’re not French, once you learn both English and French, you tend to stick with English. It’s easier, more practical, and firmly established as the universal language.

    Јеаn Nаimаrd

    September 13, 2009 at 11:06 pm

  3. (Dunno, but it seems my box had a brainfart, so here I try again)

    Everybody knows that if you’re not French, once you learn both English and French, you tend to stick with English. It’s easier, more practical, and firmly established as the universal language.

    Why do you absolutely insist in becoming english in a french place?
    Why do we absolutely insist in NOT becoming english?

    Јеаn Nаimаrd

    September 13, 2009 at 11:08 pm

  4. I read the Millenium trilogy ( in French translation) and some anglophone friends were craving for the second and third books to appear in English. I also saw the Swedish movie ( French subtitles) which was excellent. I also find it a mystery that this hasn’t taken off elsewhere in NA.

    I remember in the ’80’s.when the British group Supertramp had sold more albums on the island of Mtl than in all the rest of North America. Go figure ?


    September 15, 2009 at 5:07 pm

  5. Always hating on the anglos blah blah blah. Get used to it. English rules you negative hater. Get off welfare and get a job already you’ll feel better about yourself and be a contributing member of society instead of a waste of human flesh constantly being negative all the time. You’ll get cancer very soon just like that bitter separatist guy who just died. Bitter angry separatists always get cancer you schmuck!! hahahhaa

    anglo girl

    September 29, 2009 at 5:31 pm

  6. Celine Dion made commercials in Japan for an English-language school. But hey, she’s NOT an Anglophone.

    Allo, phone?

    May 16, 2012 at 7:28 am

  7. I luv ur music very much and i also luv u. Pls carry on, i pray that this legacy wil continue 2 reign in ur generation no one can stop it

    Nkechi eve uchefuna

    June 10, 2012 at 9:37 am

  8. I had the time of my life in my first visit to Montreal. I admire the French speakers for trying to keep their culture alive for generations to come. I’m a Cuban- American who speak both languages (Spanish- English) and I think there’s no contradiction, you can be a French or English speaker but it doesn’t make you more or less Canadian same with me speaking Spanish doesn’t make me less American. Why can’t people just live in peace regardless of the language they speak? By the way Celine is my favorite singer and i enjoy her music in both languages,even her few songs in Spanish. Je t’aime Celine !!!

    Joel DuCastille

    September 14, 2012 at 3:17 am

  9. Broad generalization. Poutine and Celine Dion are two of the few things that Quebec has produced that I actually enjoy. :)

    Lunar Archivist

    March 13, 2014 at 12:46 pm

  10. Greetings! Very useful advice within this article! It’s the little changes that
    make the largest changes. Thanks for sharing!

  11. She is exploiting the anliphones of America. anglophones in Quebec hate her because she has the nerve to refuse an English based award for the arts, yes she is a sep
    But who cares she’s a sell out.


    September 17, 2019 at 12:31 pm

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