Guy Nantel and the two solitudes

Every time I see a new vox pop by Guy Nantel, I alternate between wanting to laugh and crying.

I laugh at the goofy responses from the respondents. But I am saddened by such ignorance. But with Guy Nantel’s latest vox pop, on Anglophones and Bill 96, we can only cry in front of so much contempt and denial of the French fact in Quebec.

To make sure people at Dawson College understand me: There’s nothing funny about it.


We hear about the bilingualism of younger generations of English speakers, who wouldn’t need three French courses at CEGEP. However, those whom Guy interviewed do not know how to comment call in French an eraser, a ruler to measure, a trombone. You go to school and you don’t even know how to name the objects you use every day in your classes? They don’t know how to call a watch in French! They are not being asked to spell unconstitutionally, misery!

And you would like, after that, that we stop shouting at the disappearance of French?

There is even a French speaker who calls a trombone a “paper clip”! And there are still commentators to tell us that we don’t need to apply Law 101 to CEGEP?

No one will be surprised that Anglos who attend Dawson College do not know who Véronique Cloutier is: Louis Morissette himself wrote a text in the magazine true to lament that young Quebecers do not know his wife.

More if in Dawson we don’t know who René Lévesque is… that says a lot about our education system! All these years of study and you don’t even know who is one of the most important political figures in the country where you live?

You remember the outcry that the caricature of Boris had reinforced in Montreal Gazette, or did we see a little dog pissing on a René Lévesque poster? There are English speakers who can’t even recognize the guy on the poster!

Not knowing who Michel Tremblay is, never having heard of the sisters-in-lawnever having heard of Yvon Deschamps or Gilles Vigneault, ignoring that French is the one and only official language of Quebec: the fellows interviewed by Guy Nantel tell us in the face that they don’t care about Quebec (its culture, its language, its history) like their first sock.

And the worst part of all this is that when we want to lip service, minimally, affirm our identity, promote our culture, defend our identity… it is we who call ourselves intolerant.


I have always found that Guy Nantel’s vox pops were much more than humorous clips.

They are small treatises on sociology, snapshots of Quebec reality, a mirror that the comedian holds up to his society, like a revealing bath to reveal a true photo of Quebec.

In this case, the image is that of young students who live in Quebec while despising everything that makes Quebec unique.

And there’s nothing funny about it.

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