Exporting Culture

Quebec certainly has a very unique culture, and it appeals to the masses within the province. What is surprising, though, is that nobody else is even remotely interested in Quebec culture. If you look at practically every other nation, there tends to be something unique offered and, even with the American cultural imperialist dominating everything nowadays, there is a market or has been at some time or another for art from different nations.

Quebec has little to offer. If you look in terms of music, you will be hard-pressed to find a Québécois artist that appeals to anyone outside of Quebec (forget Celine Dion...I think she became American long ago). All I think of in my mind is crap like Roch Voisine, Ginette Reno, Gerry Boulet (ok, ok...other than cult status), Plume Latraverse, Beau Dommage, Les Cowboys Fringrants, Les Colocs, etc. Nobody else wants any of this shit.

In terms of film, practically the only movie that got any mention outside of Canada was Les invasions barbares, and not without reason. A lot of NFB-produced films, especially in terms of animation, used to be very influential years ago, but not so much nowadays.

Canada, a country with a much less cohesive identity and culture, has produced far more music and film which has been appreciated outside the country. Admittedly, it's difficult to say how much of this might be related to language issues, but language doesn't tend to be a barrier for real art fans, and it is precisely them who are not interested in Quebec culture. This is definitely a phenomena that should be studied in more detail, and something that I would like to look into, given the time. Definitely it has something to do with the Quiet Revolution, but the lines are blurred.


At 1/1/06 1:17 PM, Blogger Portelance said...

Yeah mmmmmm.... sorry about that. I somehow feel that that post really sucked. Apologies.

At 1/1/06 2:31 PM, Blogger Chartier said...

actually no, I'm really glad you mentionned how unappealing the Quebec culture is to the rest of the world. It's one of those things everybody knows, nobody tells.

Quebec feels like the loser gang in high school who are extremely arrogant and loserish, completely off tangent most of the time but don't realize it.

At 1/1/06 4:05 PM, Anonymous ben said...

mmmm yeah this post does suck ;) Not much because of the style but because it sounds poorly documented. I would also disagree with some of the "facts" you mention. Quebec does have an identification problem internationally, as many other cultures that differ significantly from their mother country. The border between Canada and the US on the cultural level is almost inexistent to the eyes of an outsider. In contrast, I think the political differences between US and Canada are clearer on the international scene. As for the absence of Quebec art outside of its borders, I'll just say you need to travel more to realize our "shit" artists are appreciated not only because they create mainstream material, but also because they have a distinctive touch. That of course, if very difficult for us to see as we're looking from within. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying they are better than you think. For example, Romania probably has a very interesting culture, but let's not forget the only sample we've seen in a while is the Numa Numa song...

At 2/1/06 2:52 PM, Blogger Portelance said...

I think maybe what people admire in Quebec, from what I know, is that it is able to coexist and sustain a complete counter-culture to the country of which it is a part. From your perspective, do people actually admire the art itself, or rather the nature of the unique culture?

As far as Romania goes, obviously not everything will be enjoyed everywhere. Especially in North America, we are extremely close-minded when it comes to any other cultures, and especially those that don't have English as their main language. In Europe, though, I get the impression that it's different. They have much stronger cultural and political ties, in part because of the EU, which I would think also makes people a little more open-minded. No doubt people in Russia, Poland, Sweden, wherever have a much greater knowledge and availability of Romanian culture, as an example, as well as American culture, of course. The first aspect is clearly geographical, and the second is probably language-related. Really a tough topic to discuss because there don't appear to be any clear lines we can draw.


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