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MSM stoking language wars and xenophobia

Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

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Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Recent events led me to think that maybe we should catalogue this phenomenon - specifically, how the mainstream media (and various politicians) publicize, sensationalize, exaggerate, and even invent anecdotal "evidence" of how much people supposedly hate each other.

Some of these examples of xenophobia become iconic. Just google "trampling Quebec flag in Brockville" for an example (1989). You may also recall several examples (real, exaggerated, and concocted) of "reasonable accommodation" gone wild which the media here repeated endlessly in 2007 - serving kosher food at the Jewish General Hospital and at a "sugaring off" party; sending male cops to calls from Hassidic Jews; frosting windows at an Outremont YMCA so that religious Jews wouldn't be distracted by lust-inducing aerobic sights; etc. And the Muslim woman who got thrown out of French language class because of her niqab. All that helped Mario Dumont's ADQ become the official opposition, ever so briefly, and produced the Bouchard-Taylor Commission.

So, in the spirit of documenting this stuff, I'll lead off with a silly example involving tomatoes, allergies, and assault:

Language tensions lead to arrest at hospital

This more ugly story (about an irrelevant incident involving some drunken idiot) was plastered all over the Anglo media here on election day:

Montreal language face-off media goes viral


autoworker
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Joined: Dec 21 2008
Allegedly having a sandwich thrown in one's face, for allegedly speaking English in public, contributes to tension-- not CJAD reporting the alleged incident.

Unionist
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autoworker wrote:
Allegedly having a sandwich thrown in one's face, for allegedly speaking English in public, contributes to tension-- not CJAD reporting the alleged incident.
Then of course there's the few like you who eat these stories up, always on the hunt for confirmation that the enemy is as bad as you think.

kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

In BC we also have many anti-Asian racists. To me the language is a minor part of the video of the two privileged white people berating young men for not assimilating fast enough. The language wars are unique to Quebec but the racism is something all Canadians of good will have to continue to fight whenever it raises its head. 

There is no language issue in BC and most people just don't understand what the fuss is about.  I understand better than most but frankly I see it as an internal Quebec issue and not something us Westerners can fix even if we were arrogant enough to want to. But then that is from a perspective of living where 27% of Lower Mainland people speak Chinese at home and another 9% speak Punjabi.  French is not even among the top ten languages spoken at home in Metro Vancouver. There is no French English language divide in BC because we don't have a significant French population or culture.


autoworker
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Unionist wrote:
autoworker wrote:
Allegedly having a sandwich thrown in one's face, for allegedly speaking English in public, contributes to tension-- not CJAD reporting the alleged incident.
Then of course there's the few like you who eat these stories up, always on the hunt for confirmation that the enemy is as bad as you think.
I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't read it here.

Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

autoworker wrote:
Unionist wrote:
autoworker wrote:
Allegedly having a sandwich thrown in one's face, for allegedly speaking English in public, contributes to tension-- not CJAD reporting the alleged incident.
Then of course there's the few like you who eat these stories up, always on the hunt for confirmation that the enemy is as bad as you think.
I wouldn't have known about it if I hadn't read it here.

Ok cool, but actually I'm talking about the media in Québec, which is why I opened this thread in the Québec forum. Sorry if you misunderstood.

 


Slumberjack
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Unionist wrote:
Recent events led me to think that maybe we should catalogue this phenomenon - specifically, how the mainstream media (and various politicians) publicize, sensationalize, exaggerate, and even invent anecdotal "evidence" of how much people supposedly hate each other.

Recent events lol!?  People by and large do hate, precisely as a result of everything you describe here.


Unionist
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Slumberjack wrote:

Unionist wrote:
Recent events led me to think that maybe we should catalogue this phenomenon - specifically, how the mainstream media (and various politicians) publicize, sensationalize, exaggerate, and even invent anecdotal "evidence" of how much people supposedly hate each other.

Recent events lol!?  People by and large do hate, precisely as a result of everything you describe here.

You're right. But I meant, the September 4 shooting and killing. We've been talking in another thread about the "isolated incident" vs. systemic problem hypotheses. It made me think we should look specifically at how the media report on such matters here. I didn't mean to present it as some brilliant discovery.

 


Unionist
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Councillor accused of ‘feeding’ anti-Semitism

Typical creation of a scandal over a non-issue:

1. Ruling party in Montréal City Council (Mayor Gérald Tremblay's Union Montréal) announces that council meetings will be suspended for Yom Kippur.

2. An opposition Vision Montréal councillor (VM is kinda close to the PQ and led by Louise Harel, a former PQ minister of municipal affairs) denounces the move, saying city government should be secular, there are only 3 Jews out of 65 councillors, we can't accommodate one religious group and not all the others, etc.

3. Marvin Rotrand (sort of house leader of the ruling party) condemns the condemnation and asks for a public apology - later says "I've talked to her" and doesn't need an apology any more.

4. Lest the whole nonsense die alone and unmourned, a councillor of Projet Montréal (third party on Council, allegedly hip, green, and progressive) condemns the initial condemnation, saying it feeds anti-Semitism.

5. Harel condemns the latest condemnation for mistaking secularism for anti-Semitism.

6. The Gazette loves it all.

Question: Who is taking the progressive stand in this scandal?

Answer: Wrong!


lagatta
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Remember that Anie Samson, the mayor of Villeray-Parc-Ex-St-Michel who denounced the suspension, is also the mayor who first agreed with the bigots who put out a leaflet full of false news about the planned respite centre for Inuit patients in Mtl hospitals, to be opened in the former Chinese Hospital. Don't know if she is so much bigoted as clueless (very multi-culti arrondissement, by the way). Need it be said that real-estate speculation was behind the objection to the Inuit centre? Yes, the Gazette loves this shit. François Limoges, the Projet-Montréal councillor who spoke out against anti-semitism, is my council member. He is a good guy, but I fear that here he is not very aware of how the Gazoo and some professional-criers-out-about-antisemitism will be jumping on the issue. (Obviously, anti-semitism still exists, and it is horrible, but I'm referring to right-wing knee-jerk jerks such as B'nai Brith)... But hey, secular Jews can take the day off, and still go out for dinner.

6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

That is absolutely hilarious. I think the mayor should cave into their secular demands and reschedule a session at 8 am Christmas morning.

 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

I have no problem with changing a meeting date to accommodate people's religious calendars.  We do it all the time in our co-op. But then out here we also let people wear kirpans in any public space including council chambers and legislatures.  So the question is should a society accommodate people's religion or tell people of religion to keep it to themselves and leave the public space free of all religious symbols and practices.

To be consistent politicians, like the Green guy who wants to accommodate people's religion and the UM party that suspended the sittings for Yom kipper, would be putting forward a motion to suspend council business on Thursday evening Oct. 25th and all day Friday October 26th. 


NDPP
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Joined: Dec 28 2008

The MSM relentlessly continues its campaign of Islamophobia. And it's working in Quebec

Muslims in Canada Facing Extreme Racism (and vid)

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/03/03/291667/muslims-in-canada-facing...

"Quebec is perhaps the most Islamophobic province in Canada. The President of the Muslim Council of Montreal is setting the record straight..."


lagatta
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The really weird thing is the article in the Guardian of all places about the (idiotic) Office de la langue française directive about pasta and polpette (Italian-style meatballs; by the way in Italian, polpette can also be fish-based or even vegetarian).

The Office said it was all a mistake and apologised to the restauranteur, by the way. Great publicity for his (glitzy and overpriced) restaurant, by the way.


Unionist
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NDPP wrote:

The MSM relentlessly continues its campaign of Islamophobia. And it's working in Quebec

Muslims in Canada Facing Extreme Racism (and vid)

http://www.presstv.com/detail/2013/03/03/291667/muslims-in-canada-facing...

"Quebec is perhaps [** one of **] the most Islamaphobic province[s] in Canada. The President of the Muslim Council of Montreal is setting the record straight..."

NDPP, just a suggestion. If you use copy and paste instead of retyping quotes yourself, the accuracy will improve.


lagatta
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Joined: Apr 17 2002

I don't think we are any such thing. What is strong here is a very militant secularism, not in reaction to Islam, but to the hardline, authoritarian CATHOLIC church of yore. And extended to all other religions seen as fundamentalist and patriarchal.

Just wanted to add, of course we have our bigots too, and here they tend to be old-school Catholics such as the mayors of Hérouxville and Saguenay. But no more than anywhere else (farther west they tend to be fundie evangelicals).


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

Yeah, unfortunately that Iranian report was over the top - not the video part, and the interview with the head of the Muslim Council, which was quite balanced I thought and exposed examples of discrimination against Muslims - but rather the screaming headline in particular.

 


kropotkin1951
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Joined: Jun 6 2002

In BC we still have a lot of anti Asian racism that needs to be confronted. I think that for any nation it is best that the dominate culture not pat itself on  the back too much for its own view of how accepting they are of other cultures.


ennir
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Joined: Feb 8 2009

As someone living on the prairies I can't speak to the hostility that is promoted within Quebec, such as the incidents you posted Unionist, but certainly Quebec is slagged sufficiently in the MSM that many people I have talked to would not think of travelling to Quebec because they feel they are not welcome.

I tell every person I have the opportunity to that Quebec City is a place that all Canadians should visit at least once, I assure them that they are many people in Quebec that are happy for tourists.

I think this is because the people of Quebec are much smarter at enjoying life than we are on the prairies, or perhaps anywhere else in Canada other than Newfoundland.  I think the tradition of the spectacle, which is vibrant there,  has been lost to us and therefore we are isolated from the joy of community life.  As I said elsewhere, the perfect victims willing to inflict our victimhood on others. 

Always this tradition of divide and conquer.  We need to be smarter than that.


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

ennir wrote:

Always this tradition of divide and conquer.  We need to be smarter than that.

Amen [in a purely secular sense of course]!

 


NicycleBicycle
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Joined: Aug 26 2011

As far as I'm aware the Globe&Mail is the only newspaper in Canada with the editorial policy to render the term First Nations uncapitalized. I just assume this to be an example of racist "dog whistling." Has there been any word from the editors at the Globe&Mail on their rationale for this policy? 


Ken Burch
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Joined: Feb 26 2005

Unionist wrote:

ennir wrote:

Always this tradition of divide and conquer.  We need to be smarter than that.

Amen [in a purely secular sense of course]!

 

Shouldn't that be "Aperson"?


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

lagatta wrote:

The really weird thing is the article in the Guardian of all places about the (idiotic) Office de la langue française directive about pasta and polpette (Italian-style meatballs; by the way in Italian, polpette can also be fish-based or even vegetarian).

The Office said it was all a mistake and apologised to the restauranteur, by the way. Great publicity for his (glitzy and overpriced) restaurant, by the way.

And the fallout:

OQLF head steps down as minister seeks modernization

Quote:

The Office québécois de la langue française needs to be “modernized” and its inspectors must be more “supple” in enforcing the French-language Charter, Cultural Communities Minister Diane De Courcy acknowledged Friday.

De Courcy made public a hastily-produced report in the wake of the “Pastagate” scandal. The report calls for the creation of a new position at the OQLF to field complaints from merchants who feel they have been unfairly targeted by French-language inspectors. De Courcy also announced that the longtime president and director-general of the OQLF, Louise Marchand, will be stepping down.

 


6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

It's a bummer, of course.

But I'm sure those who enjoy lutefisk, gravelax, schmandkuchen, sui mai, goi ga, and haggis will appreciate the loosening of the law.

 


Catchfire
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Joined: Apr 16 2003

Yes because Ford knows it was impossible to find them in Montreal before this tyrannical office came to its senses.


Unionist
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It's not just the MSM, is it?

6079_Smith_W
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Joined: Jun 10 2010

...or perhaps its the lack of refrigeration. Because lord knows you need to keep that stuff chilled.

 


Unionist
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Joined: Dec 11 2005

This is starting to look like the comment page of the Montreal Gazette, or the Calgary Herald. Ridiculing Québec, ridiculing its struggle to protect its culture and language, ridiculing the mistakes made by some low-level functionaries, ridiculing Québec's own efforts to correct its mistakes and move forward.

It's crap like this which is used, over and over again, to bolster the "yes" vote in referenda. Understandably.


autoworker
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Joined: Dec 21 2008
If the shoe fits...

ygtbk
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Joined: Jul 16 2009

Well, if the PQ wants the OQLF to use a more conciliatory approach, after the head of the agency has stepped down, as documented here:

http://www.winnipegfreepress.com/canada/fate-of-new-quebec-language-law-...

because of incidents like this:

http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2013/03/08/graeme-hamilton-quebec-la...

then there's an implicit acknowledgement that the OQLF were making themselves look ridiculous. The media play things up to sell papers, advertising, etc. - we all know that. However, it's really hard to see what legitimate public policy the recent high-profile cases have been in aid of.


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