Parochial Resentments of the Past

Good news for Montreal: one of the candidates for the position of the mayor of the most beautiful city in the world is completely bonkers.

Staunch Quebec independentiste Michel Brûlé announced Thursday his long-shot candidacy for the November election. . . He has written extensively in the past about English, which he says is not a nice language. For example, he points to the capitalized first-person singular in English – “I” – as a sign of individualism.

This brave linguist doesn’t stop here and ventures into other fields of knowledge, such as history and cultural studies:

In a recent piece for Le Devoir – titled For or Against Anglo-American Cultural Imperialism? – he bemoans the omnipresence of English culture and says the language of Paul McCartney is also the language of the genocide of aboriginal peoples and the Acadian deportations.

And he appears less than enamoured with Americans. He told Metro newspaper in 2009 that not all Americans are dumb, obese, imbecilic, uncultured ignoramuses – only about 80 per cent of them.

“If I say Americans are a bunch of big, obese, imbecilic, ignorant, uncultured dummies, it’s the truth,” he told the newspaper. “Of course it’s sure bet that out of 303 million Americans, there are maybe 50 million who aren’t like that. But, collectively, they’re still a bunch of uncultured imbeciles.”

Of course, this clown stands no chance of winning (for now), but I have heard these opinions voiced by inhabitants of Montreal. It was especially funny to hear such anti-American rants from a guy who made his living by serving drinks to American tourists in the touristy neighborhood of the Crescent Street.

Between Canada Day and 4th of July, I read several posts by American bloggers that said something along the lines of “Oh, Canada, you are so enlightened, I wish we were you.” I love Canada and I especially love Montreal but let’s remember that idiots abound everywhere and there is no need to entertain an idealized and unrealistic vision of Canada. Doing so is as silly as what Michel Brûlé does.

Time has come, I believe, to look past the parochial resentments of the previous decades and see Canada, the US and Mexico as part of one beautiful continent.