Posted in Opinion

Un souper presque Epic

Epic Meal Time's Harley Morenstein and Sterling Toth on Tout le monde en parle (photo: Karine Dufour for Radio-Canada)

I’m a lifelong Montrealer who from two to 23 years old spent his life living in a home in Pierrefonds. I went to school there, learned French there, watched TV there.

It’s only in the past few years that I’ve really started paying attention to Quebec’s francophone culture. It’s not so much that I didn’t understand the language, although that certainly turned me off when I was younger. But it’s hard to just pick up a different culture, especially when you don’t understand its cultural references.

The fact that I was educated in an English public school also contributed. One of the unintended consequences of Quebec’s French language charter (Bill 101) is that it separates English and French-speaking children socially by having them go to different schools. Children whose parents were educated in French and not English were prohibited by law from going to school with me.

Maybe it was anglo guilt, or a desire to understand what was going on in francophone media, or perhaps just wanting to see, hear or read something that was produced close to home, I’ve started consuming Québécois popular culture. (Notice here I say “popular” – I’m a very uncultured person in either language.)

Among the cultural icons I consume is Tout le monde en parle, the Sunday night talk show hosted by Guy A. Lepage that regularly attracts more than a million viewers (despite being almost two and a half hours long) and some of the most high-profile guests you’ll see in Montreal.

Sunday’s episode was, for the most part, like any other. A mix of politics and culture, high brow and low brow, serious and funny. Discussions of autism and Libya, but also of filmmaking and comedy.

And Epic Meal Time.

In case you haven’t heard of them, this group of anglo Montrealers posts YouTube videos of massive meals they create, made up for the most part of meat (particularly bacon) and other fatty substances that send the calorie count into the stratosphere. They do this in character, for some reason thinking that having personalities that take themselves too seriously will improve the quality of their videos.

The Epic Meal Time videos have gone crazy viral, and have been watched tens of millions of times. Among those viewers, apparently, was Mr. Lepage’s son, who suggested his dad invite them to his talk show.

The viewers found out as Lepage introduced them to the plateau that Morenstein and Toth spoke very little French and so the interview was conducted in English. The two even had earpieces installed so the questions could be translated into English for them.

Montreal anglos unable to talk in French on a talk show with a huge audience. You bet that provoked a reaction.

I’ve rounded up some of the tweets I found on the subject.

Epic Twitterstorm

Those who think two anglos on a talk show shows some serious flaw in Quebec society:

  • mariezor: Epic Meal Time à #TLMEP : Une autre preuve que notre merveilleuse langue se meurt. Québécois, 0 connaissance du français. FAIL.
  • MaudeLaRouquine: Ça m’insulte des gens qui ont grandi au Qc et qui ne sont même pas donné la peine d’apprendre le français. Je le prends personnel… #tlmep
  • tachouan: A voir les 2 gars de EpicMealTime à TLMEP, ça me convainc encore plus de voter Bloc et pour Gilles Duceppe. Yeurk !
  • joeston: #tlmep on dirait que PERSONNE savait que 98,4% des gens du west island parle pas français, sortez de chez vous un peu…
  • Normand55: @Lwwwi Les 2 épais a TLMEP du west island pas un mot francais un air de cochon et de la bouffe beurkkkkk
  • JoseeLegault: Et quelqu’un pourrait-il dire aux 2«cooks» que parler des «French Canadians» en 2011, ça fait pas mal Elvis Gratton ds l’avion? #tlmep
  • MathieuMD: Hum des montréalais qui ne parlent pas un mot de français, vous ne trouvez pas ça insultant ? #tlmep
  • mcgilles: Rumeur: les 2 gars de #EpicMealTime ont convaincu plus de monde à voter Bloc que Gilles Duceppe. :)) #Tlmep [Retweeted by Guy A. Lepage]
  • danyturcotte: On aime bien se le faire dire en français;-)@EpicMealTime: #tlmep MUCH love to our French-Canadian fans and supporters!!!
  • Outsider32: Je veux me séparer du Canada, 2 twits du West Island ne parlent pas Français! à #tlmep
  • PatWhite70: Epic Meal Time : How come you don’t speak French after almost 35 years in Montreal ? #tlmep #donottgetit
  • delmarhasissues: Best of luck to @EpicMealTime & stuff, but what a sad sign for English Montreal that they can’t answer soft questions in French on #TLMEP!
  • JosianeGosselin: Pas parler français alors que t’as grandi dans le West Island, ça fait crissement dur. Bon, c’est dit. #epicmealtime #tlmep
  • malussier: Y a des enfants de la loi 101 qui ont visiblement séché une couple de cours on dirait… #EpicmealTime #tlmep
  • AAT19: Les gars #EpicMealTime parlent pas français et sont nés où déjà?? Ah oui Montréal #tlmep #fail
  • CODeux: Dégueulasse…. vraiment #tlmep #EpicMealTime comment peut-on vivre dans le #WESTISLAND et ne pas parler français ça me sidère à tout coup
  • furgen1289: Je ne comprends pas comment on peut vivre à Montreal toute sa vie et ne pas parler un mot de français #tlmep #jeViensDeLaCôteNord
  • CODeux: Dégueulasse…. vraiment #tlmep #EpicMealTime comment peut-on vivre dans le #WESTISLAND et ne pas parler français ça me sidère à tout coup
  • MC_Bonneau: WTF ? Ça se peut ça, avoir 30 ans, avoir grandi au Québec et pas parler français ? #tlmep
  • lebloguedediane: 2 anglos unilingues de Mtl. dommage que M, Duceppe ait dû quitter #EpicMealTime #tlmep
  • patybeetles: Je trouves dommage que des gars qui ont vécu au Qc ne parle pas français #EpicMealTime #tlmep
  • michel_20_100: #tlmep epicmealtime: j’espère que certains gens de Qc vont mieux comprendre la réalité montréalaise
  • eloizeb: Je comprends pas comment ça des Montréalais d’origine de westmount ne parle pas français. #epicmealtime #tlmep
  • etiennelj: Pour ceux qui pensent que toute la jeune génération québécoise parle français, #epicmealtime #tlmep
  • hugodumas: On dirait que ça m’énerve un peu que deux jeunes Montréalais du West Island ne parlent pas un traître mot de français. #bilinguisme
  • guyalepage: @hugodumas ça m’énerve grandement mais y en a un méchant paquet d’unilingue à Mtl totalement désintéressé par la culture québécoise. Réalité
  • guyalepage: Je comprend pas non plus mais c’est un pays bilingue ! RT @chantalsto @guyalepage j’comprends pas qu’on parle pas français à Montréal #TLMEP
  • MarcCassivi: Conclusion: on parle français au Liban; on ne parle pas beaucoup français dans le West-Island. #tlmep
  • gencotefrilance: 1 libanaise qui répond dans un français impec et 2 québécois qui répondent en anglais… Trouvez l’erreur! #tlmep

Those who call the above “racist”:

  • JeanAymeri: C’est donc correct d’être un peu raciste vu qu’ils parlent pas super bien français? #EpicMealTime #TLMEP
  • terraindejeux: Salutations aux RACISTES qui sont pas fiers du succès des deux QUÉBÉCOIS de #EpicMealTime, parce qu’ils sont unilingues. #tlmep #montreal
  • lyne_ouellette: #tlmep chialer contre les anglais, c’est du racisme, pur et simple…

Those who play the “if the situation was reversed” game:

  • KatrineBeau: Je pense pas que les commentaires seraient mieux chez les anglos face a un unilingue franco dans un talk show anglo #tlmep
  • Dr_AlexKing: Je ne connais pas beaucoup de Québécois, francophones ou non, qui seraient à l’aise de faire une entrevue télé dans les deux langues. #TLMEP
  • TVQC: Un québécois qui vie en anglais à Montréal c’est comme un québécois qui vie en français en Floride :) #tlmep
  • delmarhasissues: Nous sommes pas tous des caves unilingue, quand même. Est-ce que @guyalepage pourrait se débrouiller a #CJAD? Je m’en doute. #TLMEP
  • StephanieBaron: Au Québec, selon les chiffres les + récents de StatCan, 66% des anglos parlent français, 33% des franco parlent anglais…. #tlmep
  • MacphersonGaz: Comme ça deux chefs cuisiniers du West Island ne sont pas bilingues. Puis après? La chef du PQ ne l’est pas non plus. #tlmep #EpicMealTime
  • missmanera: Si les gars d’Epic Meal Time étaient francos, certains trouveraient soudainement qu’ils sont moins cons. #TLMEP
  • JeanAymeri: Et les québécois qui parlent pas anglais a Montreal? #TLMEP #epicmealtime #doublestandard
  • lemportepiece: Préfère voir deux Anglo-mtlais parler en anglais dans une entrevue que des milliers de franco-québécois s’exprimer en anglais sur fb #TLMEP
  • Pat_Moreau: Pourquoi est-ce bien d’être unilingue français mais un sacrilège d’être unilingue anglais? 2 poids 2 mesure… #tlmep

Those who find other hypocrisies to point out:

  • Antagoniste_net: À #tlmep Duceppe a dit que le Qc respectait la minorité anglo. 1h plus tard on blast des montréalais parce qu’ils ne parlent pas français.

Anglophones and West Islanders who are embarrassed that one of their kind couldn’t string a few words together in French:

  • ToulasTake: Way to go, @EpicMealTime, for proving the stereotype of the unilingual West Island anglo true to French Quebecers. #TLMEP #embarassing
  • celesteparr: Bon, il me faut pratiquer mon français afin de ne pas finir la maudite anglaise montréalaise avec une traduction à l’oreille ;) #tlmep
  • TousNadine: Nous ne sommes pas tous comme eux dans l’ouest de Mtl! Mais y’en a pas mal… #tlmep #epicmealtime
  • alexxventura: Je connais des tonnes d’anglos bilingues qui ont grandi ds les quartiers anglo de MTL et qui parlent très bien FR #fail #EpicMealTime #tlmep
  • soupnancy: Not in the mood to defend Anglo Montealers or Anglo ‘chefs’ after Epic Meal Time on TLMEP

Those who apologize to Epic Meal Time on behalf of Quebec:

  • levraifrenchy: @EpicMealTime I am a fan and I’m not really happy with most of the reaction on twitter #tlmep but its not all quebecois who think like this!

Those who are just tired of the debate:

  • nickmorel: J’ai un peu honte que l’entrevue avec #Epicmeal donne lieu à une querelle Anglos vs Francos…on en est encore là? Vraiment? #tlmep
  • AndreanneS: Je suis tannée des débats sur la langue. Il y a aussi bcp de franco qui parlent pas un mot anglais. Dans un pays bilingue. Pas mieux #tlmep
  • Antagoniste_net: Transformer le phénomène @EpicMealTime en controverse linguistique. Il faut vraiment être loser/obsédé. Bacon=universal language! #tlmep
  • BasemBoshra: Re: Epic Meal Time on #TLMEP : if it wasn’t official before, it is now: ANYTHING can be turned into a Twitter debate on language in QC.

Those who think it’s all a conspiracy (okay, it was just one):

  • JulieClochette: J’ai bizarrement l’impression que ces deux la parle Francais autant qu’anglais… c’est juste pour la contreverse… sont pas fou… #tlmep

and those who have no idea what everyone is talking about:

  • ecalof: Ok guys…what does #tlmep stand for? Seen the @EpicMealTime guys using it.

There’s even some YouTube reaction:

and at least one blog post, which provoked a response from (someone claiming to be) Morenstein. The journalists who summarized the show glossed over the issue. (The silliness of this-is-what-was-shown-on-TV-last-night journalism is the subject of another post.)

You’re all wrong

It’s so easy to generalize based on two guys appearing (in character) on a TV show. It’s a sign that Quebec’s status as a French-language nation is fading. This is why we need Bill 101. This is why we need to close loopholes that allow immigrants to get into English public schools. This is what people from the West Island are like.

And yet, the peanut gallery doesn’t know all the facts. Were they really unable to utter a single word in French? Or were they just not comfortable enough to converse in their second language on a talk show where everyone at home would be judging them mercilessly? Are they victims of Quebec’s education system? (Were they even educated in Quebec?)

I don’t have the answers. I put in a request with Epic Meal Time’s agent (yes, they have one), but have heard nothing yet. For the sake of argument, let’s assume they’re like me and many others from the West Island and that they went to English public school. Let’s also assume they know some French but not enough to have an in-depth conversation.

It makes me wonder if I would have been judged so harshly if I had been on the Plateau of this show, and with a mix of nervousness and a desire to be clear I had asked that the interview be done in English. My conversational French is okay, but my grammar is awful. There’s a reason I don’t blog in French often. I have too much respect for the language to expose people to my destruction of it.

That in mind, it seems perfectly understandable that two guys from the West Island who make Internet videos aren’t the best French speakers and prefer to express themselves in the language they’re most comfortable in.

And yet, it bothered me.

It wasn’t so much that they were talking in English. But they had earpieces during the interview, which means they needed the questions to be translated. That’s kind of a depressing statement about the state of French-language education in English schools in Quebec (again, assuming that’s how they were educated).

But even that didn’t bug me as much as this: They didn’t even try.

One thing I’ve learned about Quebec’s French language protectors (at least the reasonable moderate ones) is that they appreciate effort. It’s the thought that counts.

When Brian Gionta introduced the Canadiens at the beginning of the season in quite possibly the most atrocious French anyone has ever heard this side of an Alberta public school, the fans appreciated it. It didn’t matter that he couldn’t pronounce the numbers right or that he called Maxim Lapierre “Maxim Laperrière”. He acknowledged that French is the language spoken here and he wanted to make an effort, if only a tiny one, to speak to them in that language.

But Morenstein and Toth couldn’t manage even a “bonsoir” or a “merci”, perhaps because they were playing their tough-guy characters, or perhaps because they just didn’t care and had no respect for the show, the host or the audience they were addressing.

The language of poutine

It’s funny because Epic Meal Time has probably been one of the best ambassadors for Quebec cuisine of the past decade. Just two days before taping TLMEP, they released this video of them heading into the woods and preparing a meal that included tourtière and tire sur la neige (words that Morenstein utters in slightly accented but perfectly understandable French).

One of their earliest videos was of the Angry French Canadian, a “meal” that included poutine, steamés and maple syrup on a baguette.

They’re not exactly promoting Quebec as the healthiest place in the world to eat, but they’re not hiding where they come from either. If it wasn’t for the language thing, you’d think they were the most proud Quebecers you’d ever seen.

Except that in Quebec, everything is a language thing.

I conclude you can’t draw conclusions

It’s easy to judge so many things based on a short interview on a talk show.

The West Island is an anglo ghetto. That part is obvious. Just like there are ghettos for other cultures, there are spots – mostly on the island of Montreal – where English speakers tend to clump together. These communities find themselves with a population that is for the most part bilingual, but perhaps with a slight preference for English. Elsewhere in Montreal, it’s bilingual with a preference for French. And outside of the city, in Quebec’s “regions” (except perhaps some Eastern Townships), it’s a huge predominance of French.

Even in the most anglo part of the West Island, children learn French. It’s part of the curriculum. For some it’s a substantial part. For many, half their day is spent in French. It’s not a perfect system, and I’m not an education expert, but students come out of public schools with at least a basic knowledge of Quebec’s primary language.

One of the comments I’ve heard about this case is that it shows the need for Bill 101, or why we need to close that “école passerelle” loophole that allows students to get into English public schools. Of course, neither of those things apply in this case, or mine, because children of anglophones get access to English public schools. Unless the plan is to ban English schools (which would require Quebec sovereignty because the Canadian charter doesn’t allow it), no new language law is going to make a difference in cases like this.

And let’s be honest here, the cases like this are a minority. Statistics show that bilingualism among anglophones in Quebec is much higher than bilingualism among francophones. Most children, even in the West Island, know French well enough to carry on a conversation, and many of them are fluently bilingual. (StatsCan’s criteria for bilingualism isn’t precisely set at “comfortable enough to be interviewed in French on Tout le monde en parle”, but we can make inferences here.)

There are those who say that there are many francophones who don’t speak English, and that’s also a problem. But to really make this analogy work, the francophones would have to be in another province, and most francophones outside Quebec speak English pretty well. They have to, because despite Canada’s desire to be a bilingual country, few places outside Quebec, eastern Ontario and New Brunswick are really accommodating to francophones.

But I digress. We can discuss the state of English and French in Canada for years. This isn’t about that. This is about two guys who acted bizarrely during an interview on national television, and who for whatever reason didn’t want to be interviewed in French on a French talk show.

It’s a sad statement, not about the linguistic situation of Quebec, but about the linguistic situation of Harley Morenstein and Sterling Toth.

Let’s not tar and feather an entire community just because Guy A. Lepage managed to find two Quebec anglos who either didn’t have the proper skills to have a conversation in French or who just wanted to be dicks about it.

UPDATE (April 21): More discussion at Metafilter, which links to this post.

68 thoughts on “Un souper presque Epic

  1. Shawn

    I am no longer shocked by the prejudicial comments. It does continue to embarrass me though. The biggest problem is that those making the prejudicial comments are ignorant of the fact that their comments are prejudicial. At what point will the English speaking minority be protected against the prejudicial language laws?
    Does it have to be said here that everyone living in the province of Quebec should speak both English and French? To think anyone should get by without one language or the other is backwards thinking. I wonder why the guests of the show didn’t speak French on the show.
    I am all for protecting the French language. But protection of the language should not be at the detriment of the English language or of the rights of the English speaking population.

    Reply
  2. Margo

    I live in the West Island and I have to say that I hear so much French now, way more than I used to. Growing up here I didn’t hear much French and didn’t see the importance of it to put much effort into it at school. However, I feel now with the West Island being more mixed, kids do see the importance. I am amazed at the amount of kids I hear on the bus that are perfectly bilingual–a huge advantage over me.

    The funny thing is, I find that more and more public service workers in the West Island ARE French (for example, in Fairview Mall, so many workers seem to be French-speaking now compared to 10 years ago), and actually have trouble speaking English. Yet when I am downtown (example Eaton Centre), more French people seem to be speaking English with more ease. Although the stereotypes of the West Island will always stay dear to the hardcore French person’s heart, I really think that things are changing. I was even at the Cage aux Sport in the West Island just a few weeks ago, and my waitress couldn’t speak a word of English!

    However, I do speak French fluently, with an accent of course. It is impossible and ridiculous to think that someone in the West Island cannot speak a word of French if they’ve lived here their whole lives. Even in an English school. What bothers me is that whenever I go to a store or a restaurant, I ALWAYS speak french if the person serving me is French, and guess what? They always switch to English! It makes me feel really insecure about my French, and I feel rejected that people refuse to acknowledge that I am trying my best.

    Needless to say, with all this insecurity, if I had an option of speaking my native language on a French TV show, I would do it, especially with the pressure of being on a French TV show which is not my native language. Hell, even if I did speak French if I were on the show, those exact same tweets would probably be tweeted, but aimed towards the crappy accent, undeveloped vocabulary, and mis-conjugated verbs under the pressure of nervousness. There really is no winning with these type of people who will hate English no matter what. As for their earpieces–well, I can’t explain that one. But in my opinion it would be helpful to have as a backup in case the interviewer was using some French expression that I had never heard of before.

    Reply
    1. michele

      Hi Margo ,
      I just wanted to say about your comment on …when you go to the resto and the waitress switches to english .I used to feel like that ,one day I questioned a server .Her reply ;no not at all I want to practice my english .I never get to speak english .( All in a french accent of course ;) I was so flattered . ;) Have a great day !
      Michele

      Reply
  3. Tim

    On behalf of all Anglo-Quebecers: thank you, Steve.

    Of course… I have no more right to speak on all Anglo-Quebecers behalf than do Morenstein and Toth. And Morenstein and Toth never purported to represent an entire community.

    Oh well… Here comes another crazy thread!

    (takes a deep breath) (flips linguistic switch)
    (mode francophone activée)
    (se prépare mentalement pour la longue chaîne de commentaires qui va suivre) =)

    Reply
  4. Maurice

    I’m a francophone originally from southeastern New Brunswick (thus fluently bilingual and known for switching mid-sentence from one language to the other with some of my friends) who’s been living in Montreal for three years now. But I was surprised at my own reaction when these guys came on TLMEP: I switched the channel!

    It irked me that these West Islanders, without an ounce of shame, didn’t even try to speak French. But I didn’t expect the forcefulness of my reaction and I’m still at a loss to explain it.

    Reply
  5. dewolf

    I can understand why someone, in a moment of nervousness, might switch to English on a high-pressure show like Tout le monde en parle. I remember that Patrick Watson did that during his interview, after several minutes of speaking well in French, and he got some flak for it, which I thought was unfair.

    But these guys? They could have at least made an effort. No sympathy from me.

    Reply
  6. D

    I ‘deeply resent’ the ‘Alberta public school’ comment and demand a refund on my RSS subscription. I did immersion in Alberta, and in grade 9 social studies, we had two pictures on M Blanchard’s classroom wall: Karl Marx and René Lévesque. My teachers were nearly all québécois, and while I’m obviously not a native francophone, I did fine living in Montréal for many years. Outside of immersion though, yes, it’s another story.

    What’s shocking about Montréal’s school system is that it doesn’t manage to teach absolutely everybody to be literate both languages. This should be a basic expectation, whether one is in the CSDM or EMSB. My cousins in a European country went to public schools and sell RVs, drive trucks, and work as municipal col-bleus; they all speak their native tongue, nearly perfect English, and can get by in German and some French, too. While English is obviously pervasive in their small country, it is no more so than are both French and English in Montréal and yet somehow everybody figures it out.

    By the way, great commentary and analysis of the whole scenario. As per my experience, effort and good intentions do count for a lot; maybe I won’t cancel my subscription…

    -D

    Reply
  7. Thierry Daigneault

    As a francophone, my take is that people were irritated by their attitude.

    It’s easy to be forgiving of someone who tries a bit and has problems. It’s easy to accept that someone from outside of Quebec probably doesn’t speark French.

    It’s even easy to accept that someone from the Westisland doesn’t speak French if they at least smile a bit and try to be nice.

    But go on a French speaking mega-show (for Qc standards), don’t speak a word of French and look like you’re some kind of condescending thug… Well, you’re just asking for a twitter explosion. :-)

    Just my 2¢…

    Reply
  8. Karine

    I rolled my eyes following this on twitter. Seriously, I don’t get how two uniligual anglos are akin to a return of the anglo peril. I understand why Bill 101 is needed, but clearly those who wring their hands over those guys conviently ignore the fact that most anglos are bilingual (including just about all the ones we see on Quebec TV), most allophones are either bilingual, trilingual even.

    That said, I see you completely sidestep the whole Bernard Cantat theme in your recap of the show…

    Reply
  9. Alex H

    Actually, I sort of blame Tout Le Monde en Parle staff, because they should have seen this one coming. Unilingual english people from outside of Quebec (and preferably outside of Canada) likely would slide. But two West Island anglos is just not going to go unnoticed, especially on that show. That is perhaps the single most popular show in Quebec right now, and you know that everyone is watching.

    Then again, considering we are in an election campaign, and considering that the Pure Laine sometimes need a little reminding, perhaps this is a move to assure the BQ of a few more votes from the “sky is falling” types.

    I personally have a solution for Quebec: How about the Canadian govenrment pays 3 million english people to re-locate to Quebec, have an election that brings in a pro-Canadian provincial government, kill off bill 101, the OLF, and all the mindless duplication of services that cost us so much, and sign onto the Canadian constitution, services, and harmonize us into Canada again?

    That would be amusing.

    Reply
  10. Taylor C. Noakes

    I went to school with both these guys – Harley was in my grade and Sterling a year ahead of me at Riverdale High School; we graduated in 2002. I went through the French Immersion program of the PSBGM since my first day of kindergarten, and my guess would be about half the students at Riverdale were also French Immersion students. In other words, we were far from unilingual anglophones. I’m grateful too, since today I’m employed to speak and work with the public in both, and I love it.

    At our graduation ceremony, a rumour was circulating that Harley had something planned. He was the epitome of the class clown, and he was quite talented at getting people to laugh – even the crotchety old teachers no one liked. But he was also adept at reminding authority figures of what he thought of their rules and regulations, and it never seemed to me that he cared for them. So, when the big day came, Harley walked out across the stage, extended his hand to recieve his diploma, and promptly fell flat on his face. He’s a big guy – it made a big thunderous boom, and caused the principle to turn beet red. I laughed and laughed…

    That being said, my guess is Harley and Sterling have zero problems communicating in French, though admittedly, it’s been a while since I’ve seen them. I think it’s in keeping with EMT and their personalities to push the boundaries o what’s considered socially acceptable, and I can’t imagine they’d shy away from the opportunity to take on linguistic issues in a suitably assinine fashion. In other words, I think they trolled Guy LePage.

    Reply
    1. Hofferful

      Not to mention that their bread and cretons is humour, and that can be the hardest thing to communicate in a second language.

      Reply
  11. D

    I’ll be laughing with these guys when they’re sleeping on beds of money in New York or LA, rather than being caught in the usual petty and maddening Quebecois linguistic sh!tstorm. More power to them.

    Reply
  12. Kevin

    The idiot tweeters are offended because they think language=culture.
    They also don’t understand performance art.

    That being said, I’m certain these guys were just being dicks.
    I grew up in the West Island. Even my idiot younger brother who went through the French for losers stream speaks enough French to get by in his day-to-day life as a forklift operator. I highly doubt he would be comfortable enough to appear on TLMEP, but if he was appearing as a tough-guy ‘cook’ with an attitude, no way would he embarrass himself with his pathetic language skills. Better to offend millions of people instead of sounding tongue-tied.

    Reply
  13. gail

    Give your heads a shake…for g-d sake…they were invited guests…let them speak whatever language they choose…I am sure the producers and host were aware that these two very talented funny guys were going to speak in English…if that offended anyone…turn off your tv…and find something else to do..I saw the interview and I thought that some of the panel were quite rude and even left some of the audience aghast…I am from Quebec and I no longer live there because of the lack of opportunity to english speaking Quebecers so I left…I am sure if it was reversed the english population would have been more civilized and respectful…but that is why so many of us have left our homes to live in other less judgmental parts of Canada….

    Reply
  14. Mark

    Having grown up on the West Island myself, I find it extremely odd that they can’t converse in French. I have zero Anglophone acquaintances who cannot converse en francais.

    Reply
  15. Harley-EMT

    Remember when Serge said that eating all that junk was an “Anglo thing”? Well fagstein aka TheRealDick, that was a racist comment.
    Now remember when two English speaking characters from an English Internet show appeared on the same television show and spoke the language they felt like speaking? That’s not something you should be surprised about. What you should blog about is how we do what we do and we were interviewed about what we do and NO MATTER WHAT language we spoke…it wouldve turned into a language debate. So you can feed the fire, we’ll be hanging out on the front page of YouTube as usual. Hater.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Remember when Serge said that eating all that junk was an “Anglo thing”? Well fagstein aka TheRealDick, that was a racist comment.

      I hesitate to use the term “racist” when referring to language debates, because they’re not based on race. But yes, that comment was crazy discriminatory, not to mention stupid. And he got told, by Dany Turcotte and by the peanut gallery on Twitter.

      What you should blog about is how we do what we do and we were interviewed about what we do and NO MATTER WHAT language we spoke…it wouldve turned into a language debate.

      Well, we won’t know now, will we? Maybe you should do another show in French and see what happens.

      Reply
    2. Alex H

      “So you can feed the fire, we’ll be hanging out on the front page of YouTube as usual. Hater.”

      All I can say is that by that standard, you would sell pictures of dead relatives if you thought you could get two more minutes of fame. That’s called being a fame whore, and that is pretty much bottom of the barrel. Enjoy your fame, you earned it.

      Reply
  16. Elizabeth

    Honestly the french education I received in high school was pitiful. Most of my teachers were anglophone, I spoke better french then they did half of the time. I went to high school in the west island and I noticed that most of the people I went to school with never spoke french unless absolutely forced to. I think the french in english public schools needs to be looked over again.

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      All the french teachers I ever had were from France. They pounded down grammar, verb conjugation, and officialese.
      This is all well and good, but in Quebec, we speak Quebecois — not Parisian — French. So all us West Island kids learn a language that our neighbours do not actually speak.

      How bad is it? I once had the assignment to translate a French song — so I listened to the radio and taped something by Rock et Belles Oreilles. There were many words that I did not understand, did not appear in the dictionary, and my neighbour just laughed his ass off when I asked… so I ended up having a very amusing conversation with my teacher who completely bowdlerized the song.

      That great divide remains today. Anglos are taught great french, but few of us speak joual, and the accents.. Yeesh. There are times I can barely understand my kid’s daycare teachers…

      Reply
      1. Kate M.

        Exactly. I went to English schools in various parts of Montreal. Our French teachers came from Algeria, France, even Hungary, but we did not learn the accent being spoken in the street outside. So to this day, I can converse easily with my current employer (a Franco-Swiss who’s been here for decades), I can perfectly well manage with the Radio-Canada radio accent, but if someone comes at me speaking outright joual I have to make a much bigger effort to understand and communicate. It’s incredibly stupid.

        Reply
    2. Catherine

      And the english education given in french speaking high schools is just as pitiful. I was lucky to have advanced english classes at my school because it was a priority for them. I don’t know what’s wrong with the Ministère. They wouldn’t allow this type of négligence for sciences classes but weirdly language classes are just not important to them. I don’t see why they decided to start teaching english since 1st grade because if it’s with the same quality it will give the same results: french speaking students who are too embarassed of their english to speak it.

      Reply
  17. wkh

    What you’re missing is that those kind of people are the reason Bill 101 won’t be repealed. I disagree with you that they are rare. In fact, I remember one time you and I were speaking several years ago and I (privately) wondered with great curiousity how the hell someone born and raised and educated in QC who was also bright and smart and articulate could be so weak in French. You told ME that you were somewhat jealous/impressed by (can’t remember how you said it now) the fact that while you spoke better French (and obviously had better grammar and writing) *I* had the far more extensive vocabulary. Complete with slang, idioms, expressions, and I even knew where many of them came from.

    Those guys? Yeah those guys are the reason Francophones hate WI’ers. How the fuck can they have to have English to work in a freaking dep but those guys can be born and raised here and not speak a damned word of french? It harkens back to an era where people didn’t speak French (despite the overwhelming majority not only speaking French but NOT speaking English)…. because they didn’t have to. And for every person who says “oh we don’t need to diminish English in order to protect French” two of these clowns pop up.

    To me it’s absolutely completely totally fucked someone can graduate from a public school *and not be 100% fluent in the province’s official language*. That just blows my mind.

    Over the years I’ve also come to decide that I think all schools, French and English, should be immersion schools. And the kids should regularly be socializing together through sports and field trips and projects. I totally agree with you about the lack of socialization thing. When I first found out how schools worked here some 15 years ago I told Pascal “no wonder you guys don’t get along. You don’t even play together.”

    And FTR… you’re still the reason there’s no way in hell my kids will ever set foot in an English school. I don’t mean that cruelly, so don’t take it that way but it really freaks me right the hell out how quickly French was lost in your family.

    Reply
  18. Alex

    There is one point that no one seems to have focused on, and it’s PARENTS.

    I’ve been lucky to have an anglo father and franco mother who’ve taught me each language since the day I was born. Today, both my parents are perfectly bilingual, and obviously so am I.

    If your parents are ignorant, chances are you will be too.

    Reply
  19. Alan Watson

    There will always be narrow minded people. Did this change the world? Think of the big picture bloggers.

    Reply
  20. Paul Rombough

    I agree much of the fault here lies with the show and not so much the guys. If the very first thing that was said about you when you were introduced on a “national” TV show was negative you would probably react negatively too. The show is decidedly separatist in its tone on most nights, so they probably saw it coming, but maybe didn’t know they would be introduced as two guys growing up in Quebec but not knowing the language. I agree with the other poster that they were just trolling Guy Lepage and the others.

    I am bothered by Anglophones who live a long time in Quebec and don’t learn French. Even though I know they are few and far between, it still bugs me. However, I am also bugged by the way there is a double standard here in Montreal. Too me it doesn’t make any sense for a Francophone to live all their lives on the island of Montreal (a city profoundly connected to North American culture as well, and one that has a huge, if not half, non-Francophone population) and that person still can’t speak a word of English. I once was shocked and even “offended” by that, and I got my head taken off for it. Montreal is bilingual. If you can’t accept that then you are hiding your head in the sand.

    About headsets, that is fine. You don’t go on a talk show without them if you are not sure. My French is excellent, but on such a large stage I think I would have opted for those too. Actually, the way the others were translated may have contributed partly to the way the two guests acted so glum. But I still think it was mostly from being insulted the moment you walked out on stage.

    Reply
  21. Vahan

    Boring! Has anyone been on a bus riding up and down Parc? English and French is being spoken and here is the kicker the kids from Ontario with the heavy accents are speaking French with the Montreal kids, who in turn are replying in English. Then to throw us a curveball they both switch it up and speak Frainglish to each other. Not once do they stop to realize that neither is speaking the same language TO EACH OTHER, but they understand each other, get their messages across and plan out their next get together. We have no language issues here. It is manufactured by people looking to profit from angst. So shut the fuck up everyone.

    Reply
  22. Jason

    Interesting blog post for someone to happen upon. This made me wonder if visiting foreign dignitaries are publicly chastised in the media for speaking in their native tongue? From my perspective seeing that there are so many in Montreal who are rabid anti-English language it makes me think that this bigotry would certainly affect foreign travel to your city.

    Reply
  23. Fred BelAir

    As a graduate of the quebec english school system, I never learned oral french in school. 5 years of language labs where I never said a single word into the tape recorder thing. 5 years of incompetent teachers who didn’t give dang about their students.

    Of course, the southwest quebec area is anglo and it didn’t really matter then. I eventually picked it up and can get along fine now (although like you say, you probably wouldn’t like the see the grammar in the written french).

    But appearing on a top-rated french language tv show and not speaking (or trying to speak) french? That’s just nasty and utterly estupido on the part of these two clowns. Playing to their base… just the TLMEP producers. They know a ratings-grabbing controversy when they see one.

    Now about the impending cardiac crisis of the bacon clowns…. I hope they don’t expect my tax dollars to pay for their self-abuse.

    Reply
  24. Fassero

    Honestly…..is this any different than when, say, some Hollywood celebrity does a talk show in Germany, Japan, Italy, etc,? You can look it up – every time it happens, the host(s) talk with the audience in the native language but ask the questions (sometimes via an interpreter), and the celebrity answers strictly in English. The odd time, you MIGHT get a word or two of the local language but that’s it. Yet, few if anybody in those countries think anything of it.

    Quebec as a whole really needs to get a grip. A French show brought an English duo who do all their material in English and they chose to speak…English. So what? I’ll bet Celine Dion’s first son can barely speak a word of French and lives with a family that has barely spent two minutes in Quebec in the last ten years but check out all the stories you hear about Francophones by the planeload flying out to Las Vegas to see her new English-only show at Caesar’s Palace.

    Francophones and Anglophones in la belle province will all live much better lives when stories like this become the non-stories that they deserve to be.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Honestly…..is this any different than when, say, some Hollywood celebrity does a talk show in Germany, Japan, Italy, etc,?

      Well, yes it is. Because these people weren’t travelling to a different country. it would be the equivalent to someone who grew up in Japan doing a Japanese talk-show and requiring translation.

      Reply
      1. Fassero

        Then let’s be realistic – they would have been bashed here just as much (if not more) if they spoke a couple of words of French but not in pitch-perfect pronunciation. TLMEP itself basically caters to a segmented audience (or do I have to re-venture to Dollard or Cote Saint-Luc to check out all those TLMEP bus shelter ads that I have seen in the past…well…never?) Why don’t the Anglos all rise up in angst and whine that a network that is fed with national tax money irrespective of language produces a show that barely gives even lip service to them (or the Crees for that matter. Last I checked, Cree is just as indigenous a language here as French)? Because, for the most part, they hardly lose sleep about it.

        So a couple of locals within the aspiring (to some) “nation within a nation” promoted their product without speaking the majority language. Big deal. It’s their loss. If they can’t parlay their, um, lucrative YouTube business into something that even pays 1/100,000th what Justin Bieber rakes in, it’s their loss – not ours. But at least they are still here (and, well maybe, actually make enough to pay taxes) unlike the goodness-knows how many who squeak through the French education to get a cheap university one and run from the province right after at the earliest opportunity. Honestly – this province really needs to learn to stop worrying about who speaks what language when and get on with far more important issues. You know – like provincial debt….healthcare….if the Habs can win Game Three… :)

        Reply
    2. Susana Machado

      Also.. Britney effing Spears comes to Montreal and manages a “bonne soir Montreal” and “haul prochainnnn”. It makes people happy.

      Brad Pitt shoots in Montreal and manages a “Bonsoir Madémooselle” at the restaurant before switching to english. It makes people happy.

      Chis Noth comes to Montreal and says “Mon français très mal, je vous aime Montreal” at Schwartz’s. Not sure the dude behind the counter had ever been addressed in french before, but a bunch of people applauded him ( and he ate for free :P ). It makes people happy.

      Personally, I am an allophone, and I do find it rather rude that they didn’t even do the standard, “Bonsoir toute lé monde” before switching to english. I do not think they should have been able to carry the hole thing in french, but at least address the audience with a few words before switching!!!

      This would have also applied in the situation were reversed and if a francophone was invited to an english show. It is not a question of culture or language, it is a question of politeness.

      PS: I should stop hanging places where celebs go eat, makes my service slow.

      Reply
  25. Pace

    That’s my tweet in there ! lol @terraindejeux in da house :)

    You’re explaining the anglos’ side of the situation by demanding Bill 101 to be applied. What about enlightened francophones who wanna do more with their lives than die in the «Belle Province» ?

    This bill KEEPS us from the basic right & freedom of CHOOSING our academic establishment, based on language.

    No, we are not ALL wrong.

    You were lucky to be born as an anglo.

    I, as a french-canadian, was born with an handicap.

    Pace
    http://www.terraindejeux.ca

    Reply
    1. Kevin

      And now the PQ want to make sure your rights are restricted until you’re an adult! Ooh, it’d be funny if it wasn’t true…

      Reply
      1. Alex H

        Actually, they want to restrict your rights past the time you become an adult, and they further want to restrict the rights of your unborn (and perhaps not yet conceived) children.

        It is amazing that we live in a bilingual country, but some of the citizens (anglos and allophones in Quebec) have less rights here than they would have living in Ontario or New Brunswick). The future isn’t created by restricting language. The PQ are dinosaurs appealing to hard liners and radical students who just don’t know better – and who all watch American TV.

        Reply
  26. Stephane

    Epic Meal Time featured on the Tonight Show and ABC News, Arcade Fire wins a Grammy and Les Justiciers Masqués get canned from Tele QC but sign with MTV/VH1.

    D’un Montréalais très bilingue — il est temps que vous arrivez en ville Québécois.

    Reply
  27. Becks

    What I found interesting was how many of the Francophones who commented appeared shocked and amazed that even with Loi 101 there were still Anglos who couldn’t speak French…HELLO! these two guys just showed that we only learn another language and use it because its in our interest to do so NOT because of some attempt to legislate it down our throats.

    Reply
  28. jp no

    Cheers to all who live in Québec and not only learn a second language but who also like Steve take interest into the other Culture, that is what opens the mind and brings people together. That being said, I don’t think that many anglophones or francophones do that really. Learning a language and being able to communicate is a big step but to be interested into what is going on on the other side is a much more significant one for a united community. Learning a second language and getting to know another culture is not taking anything away from our cultural identity, it is just widening it. No one can steal our culture, it’s inside each of us and I believe in freedom of choice when it comes to culture rather than heritage.

    Reply
  29. Glenn

    Actually, if there’s any real tragedy about this whole thing it is why they weren’t speaking Iroquois. All other hurt feelings simply masked colonial delusions.

    Reply
  30. michele

    They didn’t invite themselves on to the show ….what is there no decussion before hand .How many Quebec politians(french) are interviewed in english and can’t answer in english ?
    When it comes to provincal politics, English speaking citizens don’t even get a debate in english .Furthermore there is not even one in Iroquoi…as Glenn commented . ”FIRST NATION”

    Reply
    1. sco100

      Who ever said the Iroquois were a first nation around here? We mereley offered some of them shelter at some point, but this was never their homeland. The Hurons in Wendake are also refugees that we took in after they’d suffered a severe beating back in their homeland (at the hands of the Iroquois). We granted them rights, sure, but never on the basis that this was their land to start with.

      Reply
  31. sco100

    They were in character. That’s all there is to it.

    Had they been themselves, as Montreal-born individuals discussing the whys and wherefores of their business, things would probably have been different. The bottom line is they were wearing their EMT masks and that rules out any compromise.

    “Bonnjouwr Monnttréal” could have been cute and fuzzy, but their characters don’t do cute and fuzzy. They didn’t bow and pretend that French-speaking Quebec is God’s gift to Mankind. They just stuck to their guns and I thought that was absolutely fantastic. But that’s just me.

    Reply
    1. Kate M.

      I suspect this guy has it. You can be much more forceful in your native language. Speaking your second language always makes you more tentative and that’s simply not the character these guys are cultivating. It’s virtually impossible these guys don’t know French; it’s entirely possible they could not “translate” their boisterous characters into the equivalent characters chatting in joual.

      Reply
  32. Jack

    I was stunned when I saw these guys.I have been saying for years to francophone friends and collegues that the post 101 anglophones speak french. I was really embarrased.

    Reply
  33. John Breese

    Funny, but no one recalls that the chick from Twilight (a Montrealer) and Nadia G (another Montrealer and host of Bitchin’ Kitchen) appeared on Guy LePage’s Gong show, and initially attempted to express themselves in French only to slip into almost full English out of sheer nervousness.

    From a business standpoint, the guys from Epic Meal Time have worked hard on their franchise and chose not to put their image at risk over looking bad for their insufficient (not non-existent) French skills. Good move.

    Canadians know Epic Meal Time. Americans know Epic Meal Time. But how many people recognize those random, anonymous Francophone Tweeters who were projecting their tired insecurities and general dissatisfaction with their lives on the Internet?

    None.

    Funny how many of those Francophone haters used the term ‘FAIL’ in their Tweets.

    Reply
  34. Mylène

    Je suis heureuse de lire cet article. Je suis une québécoise francophone (comme vous pouvez le voir) et je suis grandement attachée à la langue française (je vise d’ailleurs l’enseignement de la littérature). Toutefois, suite à l’entrevue d’Epic Meal Time, je me suis questionnée, c’est-à-dire que je me suis demandé comment l’on se sentait lorsqu’on état un Québécois anglophone. Par rapport à la culture, se sentait-on aussi attaché à la musique francophone ? Se sent-on aussi attaché à la littérature québécoise qui a été, pour le Québec, une arme de combat ? En lisant ce “post”, je suis contente puisque vous avez partiellement répondu à ma question.

    I’m very happy to read this post. I’m a french Canadian and I love the french langage (moreover, I want to be a literary teacher). However, after the Epic Meal Time’s interview, I was asking to myself: how do you feel as an english speaker Quebecois ? I mean, for the music culture or the the literature (who was very important for the french fight).
    By reading this post, I have learned a lot of things and my question is now half answered. Thank you and sorry if my english is not perfect (or if it is very bad, but I hope not haha).

    Reply
  35. Person who lives under a rock

    What???!!!??? There are unilingual anglos in the West Island???!!! Holy crap, I’m shocked, stunned, and confused beyond description!!!!! Next, you’ll be telling me that there are people speaking Chinese in Chinatown!!!! Or people in Cote-St-Luc practicing Judaism!!!! ****Hands in the air, running around like a panicked madman**** Aaaaaahhh, aaaaaahhh!!!!!!! I just saw an Indian person speaking Punjabi!!!! DOES NOT COMPUTE ***Stabs self in head nine times***

    Reply
  36. Torontonian

    It’s funny because I can tell you’re trying to show both sides of the issue, even though you pull out all the same entitled Anglophobic bullshit as the people on Twitter. Jesus, maybe they’re not from Quebec. Maybe they’re like a lot of Ontario hipsters and just moved there after high school. Maybe they grew up in Anglo neighbourhoods in Montreal and stopped French in grade 10, and more importantly, maybe that DOESN’T make them cultural Manchurian Candidates just waiting to pollute la belle province with their imperialistic grunts.

    You’re so funny. How DARE they not even TRY to embarrass themselves and the host by struggling through with broken French? If there’s one thing “Quebec’s French language protectors” appreciate, it’s effort. After all, Quebec is so allergic to English that they’d rather watch someone haltingly string together rudimentary French sentences than, you know, speak their native fucking language. On a talk show.

    You are a stupid, stupid person and your political sacred cows are laughable. Get a new issue.

    Reply
  37. RobM

    As an Ontarian who learned a lot of French in school, but never enough to speak with the speed and vocabulary of a born-and-raised francophone, neither myself nor any of my friends have ever had a positive reaction in Montreal for “trying” to speak in French. It sounds like a generalization, and I’m sure that there are plenty of people who would “appreciate the effort,” as you put it. And perhaps it was because we were traveling in the most touristy areas of the city, where I’m sure the employees deal with someone wanting to try out their butchered French every five minutes. But just as you’ve apparently learned that the language-protectors appreciate us trying, I’ve learned the exact opposite. It’s now just the go-to reaction for us, whenever we’re visiting, to simply interact with employees in English because we’re all so used to an eye-roll, a wince of pain, or a local employee flat-out asking us to switch to English if we attempt to converse in French.

    I love the city, I love the language, I admire the culture, but I just had to take issue with your blanket statement that effort is appreciated above all else.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      It’s now just the go-to reaction for us, whenever we’re visiting, to simply interact with employees in English because we’re all so used to an eye-roll, a wince of pain, or a local employee flat-out asking us to switch to English if we attempt to converse in French.

      There’s a difference between conversing on a TV talk show and ordering dinner at a touristy restaurant. Most service industry workers will switch to English if the client is struggling with French, simply because that facilitates communication and they want to get things done fast. That doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t appreciate the effort (no doubt some do, some don’t), but in those cases expediency takes priority over national pride.

      Reply
  38. Steve

    I just moved to France. I don’t speak French. I am learning and I am trying. It seems to be true that even trying gets a 100% positive response. I would say that maybe they could have done a better job to smooth things over, self deprecation, or just directly pointing it out before the interview.

    I think though you would be interviewing different people in French than in English. I just met up with a French guy who moved back to Paris, where he was born, from LA. He said that even though he spoke enough English to get by he didn’t feel like he was really able to communicate who he really was, in terms of slang and jokes and subtleties, for at least 2 years. I’m experiencing the same thing here. I speak like a child and it takes so much energy to listen and comprehend that I can’t really talk in a group or joke. I can’t imagine trying to speak on television…

    Folding that all into a single thought: They have a bit where they are playing up the douchey side. Even if they could communicate in French, could they be themselves? I’m assuming the point of having them on is to interview them, and the point of interviewing them is that people find them entertaining. Watching 2 people, who’s entire bit is to be cocky tongue in cheek assholes, trying to speak French would defeat that purpose. It would be like asking a musician to sing their song in a different language. If they couldn’t speak that language it’s not going to be good.

    Maybe it would be a nice way to make light of the situation for the show/channel/someone to teach them French and air it as a recurring bit/portion of the show/podcast. Everyone wins. French speaking people get to see these guys embarrass themselves, English speakers get to learn some French.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      Maybe it would be a nice way to make light of the situation for the show/channel/someone to teach them French and air it as a recurring bit/portion of the show/podcast.

      I doubt the Epic Meal Time folks would go for such a thing, but that sounds like an interesting idea for a Quebec reality show: French camp for West Island anglos!

      Reply
      1. JoLalo

        Isn’t there a bilangual comedy movie coming soon that relates to the situation? I think it was partly filmed in the Mile-End…

        Reply
  39. Brony

    The thing is that there are people in the United States, where I live (please don’t hate) who don’t speak an ounce of English (of all language types), and sometimes are put on public television with translators and/or subtitles underneath because they simply don’t have enough skill in the language to speak it clearly and effectively. J’ai recu un education francais en immersion jusqu’au Cinquieme anné, quand j’ai déménagé aux Etats Unis, et durant mes étudies Francaises j’ai fait mieux avec de pratique. Mais, ce n’est pas parfait, comme vous pouvez voir. Si j’aurrais un chance de faire un interveu, ou meme partager dans un conversation sérieux, je n’ai pas assez d’expertise et expérience de prendre un conversation en Francais. I find that I’m much more articulated and am able to clearly express what I want to say if I speak English. If they weren’t comfortable speaking french, at least they weren’t speaking a bunch of French babble and were able to clearly speak what they wanted to say. If people were complaining that a Mexican man had to speak in Spanish in an interview in the US, those people would be called some very nasty names. If Québec is part of Canada (a French AND English nation), they shouldn’t be surprised if some people don’t feel comfortable speaking a language they don’t feel is their own. Je ne peux pas meme demander l’enseignement de notre prof. de Francais, des jours, voulez vous que je parle en télévision avec un accent et avec de grammaire horrible? Or in articulated and properly expressive English? I’ll get better at French, mais pour maintenant, je parle en Anglais.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      If Québec is part of Canada (a French AND English nation), they shouldn’t be surprised if some people don’t feel comfortable speaking a language they don’t feel is their own.

      Of course, many people don’t think Quebec should be part of Canada, and those tend to be the same people who are upset when people born in Quebec don’t speak French.

      The analogy would be more if someone born in the U.S. – say a Spanish-speaking ghetto of southern California – couldn’t speak English.

      Reply
  40. chris

    i am from the west island as well. i disagree that this stuff was being translated, their answers are almost instant, as well as the interviewers responses. so i doubt there was any translation happening.

    i can speak french and english. nearly 100% of the time i chose to speak english, not because i have anything against the language, but because french in quebec is being shit on by it’s own people. they take english words and mix it into their own language. a few examples: (char=automoblie, stoppez=arretez, email=courriel, download=telecharger)

    i would speak the language more often if it wasn’t being transformed into some lazy heap of garbled french/english hybrid words because people are too lazy to speak the language they are trying to hard to defend. “franglais” is NOT a language.

    Reply
    1. Fagstein Post author

      i am from the west island as well. i disagree that this stuff was being translated, their answers are almost instant, as well as the interviewers responses. so i doubt there was any translation happening.

      Tout le monde en parle is recorded, it’s not shown live. When guests are shown that require translation, the delays are edited out.

      Reply
  41. 4th Horseman

    So let me get this straight.. They’re upset because these guys couldn’t speak French on a French show with an English title? The irony is very tasty!

    Reply
  42. Dom

    Brilliant, bravo. Je crois que tu as bien analysé la situation ! Je vous comprends maintenant un peu mieux, vous qui grandissez en anglais au Québec… Et merci d’être si respectueux envers notre langue ! Pour ma part j’adore ma langue mais aussi l’anglais.

    Brilliant ! I just think you did a good job analysing this whole story ! After reading this article, I had a better understanding of all you Quebec anglophones, growing up in english… And thanks for the respect you show for French. I love my language but I also enjoy English too.

    Reply
  43. Éric Tourillon

    It’s Bill 101’s fault that you are under-exposed to the French culture in Quebec because it kept French kids from going to school with you? May I then ask what was keeping you from going to French school with those other kids if exposure to French language and culture was so important? Oh, it wasn’t important?

    The only thing keeping all Quebec children from going to the same school is the Canadian Charter, iimposed on Quebec by Ottawa without its accord, forcing them to pay to maintain the English bubble.

    In any normal situation, you would have gone to the same French school as everyone else.

    Society normally offers a public education in the national language of the jurisdiction in question. If you want to be educated in a foreign language, there are private schools for that just like in any other country. If you lived in Spain, would the Spanish pay for your children to go to English school? Certainly not. That’s what I say to Francos who bitch about not being able to go to English school. You think Americans get to go to a Lycée français for free? Wrong.

    Reply
    1. ffff

      the last time i checked quebec was still in canada, and our national languages are english and french….

      Reply
      1. Bidouleroux

        “the last time i checked quebec was still in canada, and our national languages are english and french….”

        Constitutional fail.

        Education is a provincial competence. Technically, the Assemblée Nationale could do anything it wants in that regard. But the Federal Government objected to the language policies of Bill 101 on human rights grounds, i.e. they put in a requirement for providing higher education to Canadian Citizens in the language of their primary education in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. This enables English Canadians and French Canadians to have access to higher education in English/French wherever they are in a sizable minority anywhere in Canada. But since it concerns itself only with higher education, the problem of the “écoles passerelles” is created, where immigrant/French children can pay to go to a private English primary school in order to gain the right to public (i.e. free) higher education in English.

        Also, every provincial government can set its own official language(s). Only Quebec (French unilingual) and New Brunswick (French-English bilingual) have done so up until now. But the Assemblée Nationale, because of the Constitution Act of 1867, has to provide all it’s official Acts in English too.

        Basically, if what you said were true, every province should be officially bilingual. Only New Brunswick is. Even then, you may say that all provinces should provide services in both languages. Only New Brunswick and Quebec do so on a province-wide scale (Ontario gives some in some places only). What you get is this: Federal Government = bilingual, Quebec Government = bilingual, New Brunswick Government = bilingual, ROC = not bilingual.

        Reply
  44. Epique

    The new episode of the Nerdist podcast features Harley’s thoughts on French, Quebec, etc.

    He lives in L.A. now…

    Reply

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