I opened up the Montreal Gazette this week, and out fell a story about how great strippers are.
Well, that level of autonomy certainly makes it 100% OK. Whether or not it’s OK isn’t the point, though: the point is that The Gazette just went ahead and ran an article that says, “Ees stripping art? Thees I don’t know. Eet ees, ‘ow you say, up too de andeeveedual.”
Or, more literally, says:
And with that bundle of hasty and ill advised Quebecois stereotypes from all sides, let’s dig in.
It’s the only English newspaper in all of Quebec, attracting the readership of 13% of Quebecers. Mordecai Richler used to write for it, but that’s irrelevant- what’s going on in there right now? Well, for one, they’re still complaining about 1996. Which means that 1996 is now old enough to complain that it wishes it was never born. It also means, apparently, that a dismal student strike has somehow developed into a budget-busting video game industry. Which means that playing Call of Juarez or Madden 12 will always remind Quebec of how badly the 1995 referendum went. Never forget, guys. Or should I say, Je me souviens.
In other instances, the Gazette tackles our “absession” with abs, regularly publishes Canada’s Carrie Bradshaw, has had a birdwatching column for 20 years, and has a resident “laughologist” (apparently, there’s a cure or treatment).
Perhaps, though, subtle differences between Montreal and basically everywhere else can be explained by the Gazette. For instance, they publish a column by a transgendered editor, Jillian Page – and by some kind of miracle, it’s unreadable in the exact same way that anything in the Globe and Mail’s mercilessly vapid Life section is. By miraculously unreadable, I mean that it doesn’t stoke my bloodlust for the polemic; in fact, it talks about transgendered life as so normal (it IS!) and essentially the same (NO, REALLY, IT IS! EVERYBODY BUYS GROCERIES AND SECRETLY READS US MAGAZINE. ALL OF US) that I can’t bear it. For instance, Page turns to the same quasi-new age “I can’t believe I’m getting a year older” gabble that you would expect a woman to write. Because, after all, Page is a woman. It’s utopian. I hate it. Because in Toronto, there would be an angry fucking mob with burning torches led by Ezra Levant while he screamed about how torch wielding crowds of homophobes are entitled to freedom of fucking speech.
So fuck you, Montreal. Toronto doesn’t need you. What’s the use, though? We act as though our mayor has carte blanche to turn all of Yonge Street into the world’s longest 24-hour buffet, and Montreal can’t shut up about how much they distrust construction workers, the police and Jean Charest.
Ah, Charest; so corrupt he corrupted the once noble unions. Unless I’m reading the Gazette’s position wrong. But when you’re accusing the unions of going capitalist, it sounds like your entire culture might do something crazy like change the name of a street because it’s not grammatically correct, and then send out a journalist to write about it. Ah, Montreal, you’re just like God! I mean, Dieu!
Construction even comes up in articles aimed at Montrealers who are so cultured that the rest of Canada doesn’t have them. In fact, try and google who they are. You can’t. They’re above the internet. But they are all over the new concert hall. One of them even loved the parterre (yeah, I’m too much of a peasant to know what that is, too). Then there’s talk of Tiffany-stained glass windows, and Double Trios (a sextet, right? Or is that my peasant math?). Then there’s , because, you know, you’re worried about that, and if that wasn’t enough to satisfy your provincial aspirations, there’s outdoor yoga and pre-season ski training at this nearly perfect country inn near Sutton.
Did you enjoy doing ski-yoga in the parterre during fall fest? Great! Because now, it’s time to get fiscally responsible. J.D. Miller is sick of all of you buying your fur coats and rollerblades and huge TVs and just TAKING and TAKING from businesses who don’t know any better than to just sell it to you (what do you want them to do? Run a credit check?) and then you spend-happy, debt-drunk ingrates go ahead and blame the banks. Or worse, yell at politicians who have no other recourse, no other instinct but to act like the banks and the businessmen. Can you even hear yourselves? Your naivete makes J.D. Miller sick. He is a businessman who lives in Montreal.
Ah, La Presse: remember that time you and The Gazette both printed the same political cartoon but drawn by different cartoonists? What a fine tribute to the events of that day, remembered ten years on.
About the author: Matt Collins reads and judges the four major newspapers every week.
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