Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Has Jan Wong ever been to Montreal?

If you want to read the kind of garbage that the Globe & Mail seems more and more inclined to print these days, then I send you to the entire column by Jan Wong on the Dawson shootings.

However, if you would like to avoid speculative, prurient, sensationalist journalism that should be left to the tabloids (and is done much, much better by them anyways), I will just pull out the most ignorant of her quotes so we can all tear them apart here. Previously, I never had a strong opinion of Jan Wong. Her backstory is quite interesting and she has done some intrepid journalism. I don't know what arrogance or editorial pressures drove her to try to come to some kind of conclusion about the social reasons for Kimveer's attack on students at Dawson. It is clear, in any case, that she doesn't have the faintest clue about Montreal or life in this city. Why is she allowed to have the front page?

Erroneous statement #1:
What many outsiders don't realize is how alienating the decades-long linguistic struggle has been in the once-cosmopolitan city. It hasn't just taken a toll on long-time anglophones, it's affected immigrants, too. To be sure, the shootings in all three cases were carried out by mentally disturbed individuals. But what is also true is that in all three cases, the perpetrator was not pure laine, the argot for a "pure" francophone. Elsewhere, to talk of racial "purity" is repugnant. Not in Quebec.

Okay, what? She is trying to blame the attack on Bill 101? This is just pure insanity and total ignorance. How does this kind of uninformed bullshit even make it TO the editor's desk, let alone past it. I love how she writes as if she's an insider. There is certainly a strain of cultural ignorance in Quebec that slips into racism from time to time, but overall it is no worse here than any other province and the immigration and assimilation policies here are far superior than the rest of the country. I did a 10-month french program where the student body was entirely immigrants from all over the world, learning french, learning Quebec culture and finding their place in the society and economy here. I also love how she is so proud that she knows what pure laine means. Excellent on the ground reporting, Jan!

And the nasty little "once-cosmopolitan". Ouch. Though I'll take that over Toronto's "never-cosmopolitan". (Okay, I'll be fair and give Toronto "once-a-year-cosmopolitan" when they have their film festival, if you consider a bunch of short guys in pressed jeans and blazers flying in from LA and acting self-important on their cell phones cosmpolitan.)

Mr. Gill's rampage has resonated through the anglophone community. Although Montreal is a big city, English-speaking Montreal is not. It is more like a small town, where everyone knows everyone else.

Uh, what? Is this really what people from Toronto think of Montreal? This just floors me, the complete lack of knowledge. To even call the anglophone society a minority here is a mistake. There is such a gradient now from old school hardcore west islanders to their bilingual children to the many newcomers like me living and working in french and a jazillion little subsets (italian bilinguals; portugues bilinguels; asian bilinguels, anglophones of french descent).

You almost get the feeling that Jan Wong wants there to be a deep schism between the french and the english, that she has some kind of hidden resentment towards the french (though where that comes from, I have no idea). I am outraged by the dis to Montreal and the unfounded and erroneous social analysis. But what really, really kills me as a Canadian when I read garbage like this is that it is on the front page of our national newspaper! When I was younger, I always considered the Globe and Mail to be a bit dry, but full of integrity and character. Now it is hard to tell if it is any worse than the Post. I have long since stopped reading Christie "Cornelius" Blatchford and her self-aggrandizing and warmongering "corrrespondence". And their terrible habit of starting a story with some sensationalist hook that they then contradict when you go to the continuation is absolutely inexcusable. Now I guess I'll add Jan Wong to her list. Maybe I'll run into her on the main so I can dump a plate of hot poutine on her ignorant head.