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May 1995, Week 4


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Ulf Dalquist <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Tue, 23 May 1995 20:56:19 CDT
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----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Date: Mon, 22 May 1995 08:08:40 CDT
>Reply-To: Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
>From: Lee Parpart <[log in to unmask]>
>Subject: Re: SCREEN-L Digest - 17 May 1995 to 19 May 1995
>To: Multiple recipients of list SCREEN-L <[log in to unmask]>
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>Ulf Dalquist says he doesn't understand why Daniel Seguin's goofy comment
>about not speaking French should be considered racist. (Paraphrase: Seguin
>admitting to Denys Arcand that he doesn't speak French -- despite the French
>origins of his own (Seguin's) name -- would be like telling Spike Lee "You're
>the first African-American I've ever met who doesn't own a handgun!") Although
>I find this comparison exaggerated, (and unhelpful to the extent that it con-
>flates the experience of white, middle class Quebecois and black Americans)
>it's useful to know a bit of the social context behind Kovik's remark. Without
>getting too deep into the whole sordid history of English Canadian blockheaded-
>ness in relationship to Quebec (a history that, in the words of sociologist
>John Conway, includes "the War Measures Act; the dirty tricks of the federal
>secret police; the economic fear campaigns; the "stab in the back" of '81, the
>collapse of the Meech Lake Accord in a welter of English Canadian hostility;
>the Charlottetown insult...and so on..."), there is also the daily fact of
>a linguistic double standard between English and French in Canada. English
>Canadians are notorious for not bothering to learn French while expecting the
>Quebecois to speak perfect English (even in their own province!), and this
>kind of widespread, systemmic nose-thumbing can only be infuriating to French
>Canadians. As an expatriate American who has lived in various parts of English
>Canada for the past 12 years, I can only guess at the level of Quebecois
>frustration over these issues. So while Kovik's remark may be an overstatement,
>it's not simply reducible to hair-splitting. There's a history here which
>others (including Kovik himself, no doubt) can explain in further detail if
>you're really interested. Hope this provides a beginning.
>Lee Parpart
>York University, Toronto, Ontario
Yes, I know the story behind the french/english problem in parts of Canada. But
I still can't get what's so insuling about the remark in question...
Ulf Dalquist                iNEW! Phone:  +46 46 2224266
Dept. of Sociology          iNEW! Fax:    +46 46 2224794
Box 114 221 00 Lund SWEDEN  E-mail: [log in to unmask]
'When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.'
                                                                                                                                                                                                Dr. Hunter S. Thompson