Funny movies; pretty lanterns; francophone bigots

Looking over Pond of Dreams
Looking over Pond of Dreams

So I’m still too busy. I skipped French class Friday and again today to get a project done for a client who’d been getting impatient, and on Thursday, my choir rehearsal was largely a waste of time because I had spent basically no time practising during the week. However, Aylwin visited this weekend, which got me out of the house despite feeling overworked, and for that I was grateful. We had planned to see a display by the Critical Art Ensemble Friday night, but it turned out that we had the date wrong, so we watched The Constant Gardener instead (not bad, assuming you’re not yet fed up of movies starring white people who save Africa). A film festival was just wrapping up on the weekend, so we saw two more movies Saturday (La Suerte está echada, which was very entertaining, and Wu Song Da Wo, which turned out to be kinda silly), had some beer and poutine with Shannon, then wandered looking for interesting live music while she went to work. Sunday, all three of us we ate at the current fave restaurant of Shannon & myself, and then Aylwin and I checked out the lantern display erected for 中秋節. Well satisfied with the weekend, I saw Aylwin off at the bus station, and headed home.

And then, just 10 metres from my house, I saw a vandalized poster which made me feel rather uncomfortable. Someone had stapled an announcement of a moving sale to a light pole, with a list of items available, in English. And someone else had written “101” over most of the text with a magic marker, then added “stupid English” underneath (in English). It’s true that the poster didn’t comply with Loi 101, which (among many other things) requires all commercial signage to have text in French in “marked predominance” to other languages. I even think that bill is for the most part good for Québec, although it took me a while to come to this understanding. But that sort of commentary just isn’t helpful. I think I’m more offended that they wrote it in English, as if to make sure that the original poster understood exactly what they wanted say. Ironically, the ad contained a few minor grammatical errors in English of the sort often made by people who learnt the language as an adult, so the odds are good that it wasn’t written by an “ethnic” anglophone anyways.

To be clear, this really isn’t that common. Almost all the francophones I’ve met here have been very welcoming, especially after seeing that I’m working hard to learn their language and culture. The occasional person with that attitude really gets me down, however. I’m really not used to living in a culture where I’m an unpopular minority. I suppose this is a good life lesson, but that’s not enough to cheer me up. Writing “tu es un bigot!” on the sign might, however.

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