Saturday, January 17, 2009

I listen to John Moore most nights on my drive home, and heard him speak about the article he wrote on Quebec's New Year's traditional television celebrations.

John Moore is an ex-Quebecor and shares my distaste for Quebec humour.

I remember a friend and I going to Montreal for the first "Juste pour rire" (Just for Laughs) Festival. Back then, the festival was quite different. Not so much about stand up comedy, more of the street/mime/tricks/jackass type of comedy that I can't stand.
The Just for Laughs Festival has evolved quite nicely after it was invaded, and taken over by non-Quebecors in it's content.

Quebec comedy, for me has that distasteful European racist/sexist edge.
That laughing at you rather than with you feel, ridiculing and often an unfunny, unclever opportunity to reveal aversion to women and foreigners...I don't care for that kind of comedy.

A lot of European comedy is like this, and sometimes even when I watch Serbian comedy, I cringe at some of the things that are considered funny. It's a cultural difference I suppose, and one of the things that solidifies my "Canadian-ness".

But, that's only marginally what his article is about.

I think the article really reveals the small-mindedness, and freedom to say and do inappropriate things in a society that separates itself from the rest of a country.

But the evening’s most noxious moment came in a parody of former pop idol Nathalie Simard. The show mocked her for giving interviews in spite of having quit Quebec some time ago, insisting that she was seeking anonymity. The concept might have been funny had not Simard left the province after she finally broke her silence about the man who serially raped her when she was a teenager. It gets worse. That man is Guy Cloutier: the father of VĂ©ronique Cloutier, who produced the TV show.

and then...

Cloutier and her husband, the nominally funny Louis Morissette, declined to take any questions at the press conference. Their mea culpa amounted to the standard-issue apology people offer these days. Something like: If anyone was offended, then I guess we’re sorry. Now f--k off.

Indeed, it’s a setback for the population as a whole. In its unabashed racism, vindictiveness and infantile tone, the show laid bare a cultural fault line that should bring shame to any of us who call ourselves Quebecers.

A wide swath of the population has vigourously denounced the broadcast.

Quebec attitudes seem to be changing...Bye Bye is right.