AngryFrenchGuy

Québec Redneck Bluegrass Project: Québec is not where you think it is…

with 42 comments

I had to spend 27 minutes on the phone with a CBC producer last week to realize I had no real opinion about the upcoming federal election.

This of course is one of the great universal truths of our lives in this valley of tears: we know nothing, indeed are nothing, until we’ve got someone else to bounce off.

I had no idea what a America could possibly be until I went on my first trip to Europe. I can’t even count how many of my unpoliticized friends became sovereingtists in Spain, Belgium and BC. As a matter of fact the AngryFrenchGuy was born in the USA and the first post written in a Volvo 630 with Ontario plates parked at a Flying J somewhere near Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania.

Think about it, what could Canada possibly be if it couldn’t not be the United States?

And then, just as I was reflecting on this the Universe hooked me up with the Québec Redneck Bluegrass Project, drifters from the Lac Saint-Jean now based Kumming in the Yunnan province of southern China who sing in French, English and some southern chinese patois about the universal truth that we are so much cooler when we’re drunk.

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Written by angryfrenchguy

April 11, 2011 at 7:49 pm

42 Responses

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  1. @adski: To use your terms, yes, I believe that to maintain its own identity the ROC must continue to appease Québec because the fact that one quarter of Canada’s population speaks French is by far the largest factor that distinguishes it from the US.

    I wrote that Anglo Canada has its own national culture, which should put to rest your idea that I believe that it isn’t distinct from the US.

    Take QC away from Canada, though, and I think this disctinction becomes *very* blurred. I was once told by an Albertan roommate of mine, for instance, that the first thing he would do after QC left would be to have his province apply for statehood in the US.

    littlerob

    May 10, 2011 at 5:23 pm

  2. @adski: I wrote that Anglo Canada has its own national culture, which should put to rest your idea that I don’t think it’s distinct from the US.

    But to use your terms, yes, I believe that to maintain its identity the ROC must continue to appease QC, and that the fact that one quarter of Canada’s population normally speaks French is by far the largest factor that distinguishes it from the US.
    Take away this factor, and I think that the ROC-US distinction becomes *very* blurred. I once had a roommate from Alberta, for instance, who told me that the first thing he would do after QC seceded would be to have his province apply for statehood in the US.

    littlerob

    May 10, 2011 at 5:46 pm

  3. Double post. Sorry.

    littlerob

    May 10, 2011 at 5:52 pm

  4. More double talk. Anglo Canada has its “own national culture” that you think is “distinct” from the US, but it still needs the French component without which any distinctions would “blur”, thus implying that there isn’t that much distinction to begin with.

    Suppose you’re right. Without Quebec, Canada would blur culturally with the US. But what’s the alternative? Kissing Quebec’s ass for the rest of eternity? What do you think Canada is? A nursery for Quebec?

    As I wrote Margaret, there are no perfect solutions and that it might be better to risk a “blurring” of cultures, than to continue to pursue the policy of endless appeasement. Quebec should be treated as just another province from now on. If they don’t like it, they can continue to pursue their “winning conditions”. It’s fine with me.

    adski

    May 10, 2011 at 6:14 pm

  5. @adski: I think it would be out of place for me, an American, even to suggest what kind of policy the ROC should take towards QC, and vice versa.

    Your first paragraph pretty well sums up what I believe, which is that the distinction between Anglo Canadian and US culture isn’t all that great, and that the French element is the largest factor in the distinction.

    littlerob

    May 10, 2011 at 8:31 pm

  6. If a culture technically exists while nobody practises it or pays it any attention, what kind of existence is that? There definitely was/is a distinct Anglo-Canadian culture, but after living in Ontario for a couple years, I know that no one except hardcore Canadian nationalists gives a shit. Everyday, normal Canadians are not concerned with Canadian literature, film, television, current events, etc. They just want you to shut the fuck up about all that stuff while they watch American Idol. They live up to the cliché of the American with no guns and health care 100%. The only difference is a separate government, and thus different laws (though not all that different).

    Don’t ask the Québécois, or anyone else for that matter, to ‘respect’ the so-called Canadian culture if Canadians themselves don’t even respect it.

    Éric Tourillon

    May 10, 2011 at 10:26 pm

  7. Eric,

    It is true that very few people are interested in culture, but that is across the board. How many Québécois, besides the nationalists, pay much attention to the intricacies of their own culture? In fact, the primary differentiating factor for Québec is… the French language. This is admittedly a one-up on us, I’ll give you that, but Québécois literature and other cultural products have been replaced quite substantially by American cultural products – only difference is that they are translated into French.

    I don’t personally know many people who are obsessed with American idol, but I digress…

    I think you are spot on with the lack of attention given to “Canadian” films and literature, but that can be applied to much of Québec as well, and if that is all that you think culture is, then I think you have a very superficial understanding of culture.

    Ever been to Winterlude in Ottawa? Or Folklorama in Winnipeg, or the Calgary Stampede, or the Red River Exhibition? These are found only in the Canadian cities that they are hosted in, and draw large crowds every year. And I think that we can agree that if we do not share much else in common, many Canadians and Québécois have a most curious obsession with slapping a piece of rubber across a frozen surface. Furthermore, Canadian literature is still surviving, even if it is low-ebb. (Ever read “A Complicated Kindness”?)There is more to culture than what can be massed produced in Hollywood, my friend.

    I will not deny that we are heavily influenced by American culture, but trust me when I say that there is more than what meets the eye.

    D.I.D.

    May 11, 2011 at 11:55 am

  8. One should compare the state of canadian movie industry – or industries; like India, there is the Quebec-French side, and the English Global Canuck side. And it is notable our movies have actually a following here, peoples actually go see them – the ‘plebe’ as well.

    the Ubbergeek

    May 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm

  9. DID,

    I would say that cinema, theatre, literature and music have much more to do with culture than do impromptu shindigs taking place in cities that are, geographically speaking, Canadian. Other than that, Quebec’s homegrown cultural sphere is much more developed than English Canada’s and it is largely supported by the public. The Québécois, federalist and sovereignist alike, share a deep collective unconscious and a sense of who they are as a nation that can only be the envy of any Canadian nationalist with similar aspirations for English Canada.

    The main factor in all that obviously is the language, but that’s just the way it is. You speak of it almost as an insignificant detail at worst or an unfair advantage at best. However, after everything French=speaking people had to do to keep their language alive in this country up until now, I think it is an earned advantage.

    Rubber on ice doesn’t unite French and English anymore than it unites Canada with Russia or Finland. It’s not the basis for a country.

    Éric Tourillon

    May 17, 2011 at 10:45 pm

  10. And many canadians/quebeckers/etc I bet dislike hockey or sports. Like me.

    Like how UKers and europeans, somes of them, truely despise football/soccer..

    the Ubbergeek

    May 18, 2011 at 8:07 pm

  11. Éric,

    I concede that the film industry and such is an important component of culture, but by no means is it all.

    “I would say that cinema, theatre, literature and music have much more to do with culture than do impromptu shindigs taking place in cities that are, geographically speaking, Canadian.”

    So, you accuse me of minimalising one component of culture, then go on to minimalise another? Odd…

    Those “impromptu shindigs” ARE important components of a national culture (or at least, a city’s culture) because they are thrown together by the locals to express themselves, and in that function are just as important, culturally speaking, as the film industry. You are also minimalising something important.

    “Rubber on ice doesn’t unite French and English anymore than it unites Canada with Russia or Finland. It’s not the basis for a country.”

    I didn’t postulate it as such. But then, what is the basis for a country in your eyes? What makes one country true and bonafide and another “artificial”?

    “Other than that, Quebec’s homegrown cultural sphere is much more developed than English Canada’s and it is largely supported by the public. The Québécois, federalist and sovereignist alike, share a deep collective unconscious and a sense of who they are as a nation that can only be the envy of any Canadian nationalist with similar aspirations for English Canada.”

    Are so sure of that? My own experiences both agree with you on some points and disagree with you on others. It is true, that Canadians have a looser bond than the one that unites the Québécois.

    For the collective unconcious bit, please tell me, o wise one, exactly what is a nation? Define what a nation is, and tell me why one form of national expression and conciousness is inferior to the national expression given off by the Québécois (who are, to your credit, indisputably a nation). Everytime I try to give an example of English-Canadian national feeling, you have simply brushed it off as miniscule or irrelevent. Who are you to judge what constitutes a nation and what does not?

    All I am asking, is for some measure of national respect. If you guys want to have your own country, then I look forward to working with and dealing with you as such. Whether or not a sovereign state, Québec remains geographically in the centre of Canada (and a sovereign Québec would divide an English-Canadian successor state in two) so we are going to have to work with each other in either case.

    All of your arguements here to me seem to say that you think that Canada and Canadians as a nation just do not deserve your respect. Very well then. I have confidence in my nation just as much as you have confidence in yours, and it looks like no amount of arguement will shake either of us. Canadians will be fine; we do not need Québec any more or less than you need us, and more and more of us are beginning to realize that fact. But be warned, for when the split inevitably comes, your attitude and the attitude of your first sovereign government will determine how we will deal with each other in the future, and a self-righteous arrogant attitude will not make for friendly post-secession relations, methinks.

    D.I.D.

    May 22, 2011 at 1:04 pm

  12. DID, you do realize that you won’t win this wide-ranging and rather circular argument. And that a lot of stuff this guy says about your Canadian culture is just a projection of his inferiority complex about his Quebec culture.

    I also hope you realize that this talk of secession is a baby’s cry for attention. Save for a few fanatical separatists and a bunch of selfish Quebec elite members, all the other “separatists” are no more than insincere opportunists. It doesn’t take 50 years to separate if all you need is a 50%+1 in a general referendum. And it usually doesn’t take a run-on sentence that can’t refrain from mentioning “economic partnership” and “Canada” multiple times, while desperately refraining from the word “independence”. Also, separating usually involves action and not, as is the case in Quebec, endless jabbering.

    And why do you Canadians take the “you have no culture” jibe as such a grave insult? Don’t you see that how this particular insecurity of yours is an ace up Quebec’s sleeve, and how skillfully Quebec has been playing this hand for so long now?

    adski

    May 23, 2011 at 1:38 pm


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