“Now it’s swung too far the other way!” Ah, the pendulum. Do you remember first hearing about it? Perhaps in school? There are two senses in which it’s taught: 1) Scientific. What a pendulum does, how each swing decreases in distance, how it comes to a stand still, etc. and 2) how this correlates with ideas and actions; i.e. we swing from one extreme to another.
Oh, and if you’re wondering what this has to do with Batman… Well, he does swing from being a hero to being “the dark knight.” So there you have it.
Just this morning on the radio I heard that statement I’ve heard a gajillion times since my childhood: “…swung too far the other way.” The subject was rights and privileges of French and English people in New Brunswick. He said that he did agree that Frenchpeople in the early to mid part of the 20th century were “second class citizens” and that this was wrong. But he went on to say that we are “on a pendulum” and that it has now—let’s say it together—swung too far the other way. He said that English-speaking residents in NB now have less rights than the French do.
I felt that his claim was a little exaggerated. More rights? I think he was confusing rights with privileges. Unless he’s speaking of actual rights that I haven’t heard about yet. But most of us living in this area have some knowledge of what this gentleman was referring to. For instance, here in New Brunswick there are those whom others’ call “the language police.” They want to make sure that every road sign and every cereal box contains both official languages. They also make sure that the certain jobs, especially government-related ones, are bilingual. Often the language they use and the demands they make seem unfair and biased. On top of that, our provincial government has made some serious bonehead moves. They have terminated jobs in this process instead of grandfathering in bilingual requirements. This, of course, is one example amoung many. Many many bonehead moves. Not like we’re surprised or anything. I mean… it’s government, right?
But here are some things to consider about this dreaded pendulum swing:
- If it’s true that French people were treated as second class citizens in the 50’s and 60’s, then having “language police” in the province that is much more often guilty of being annoying than actually being harmful, isn’t really all that bad.
- Now let’s assume that it’s worse than just a pain in the neck. The biggest issue I know of concerns jobs. Non-French-speaking NB’ers have long felt that French speakers get jobs easier in a province having a perpetually struggling employment rate. I can’t say much to this, seeing as any job I’ve ever applied for never did require bilingualism.However, I will say that just about every francophone I’ve ever known or met in New Brunswick spoke very good English. Good enough to use in a job requiring it. Not all, but a commanding majority. Anglophones? Most I’ve ever known could not speak French fluently. Many could, but a large majority could not.
I would also add that after being on unemployment myself and going through the process of career change and job seeking, you’ve got your own fate in your hands. If things aren’t fair, take classes and learn another language. Go through the rigors of learning a brand new skill. Invest in yourself. Don’t blame others. And please excuse my repetition here, but for every story I’ve heard of people struggling to get a good job because of bilingualism, I’ve heard ten more of French people (Even national heroes, i.e. Rocket Richard!) being publicly mocked, denied work, or treated unfairly. It’s even more ridiculous when whites use this pendulum cry when talking about equality with black people. I’m pretty sure the pendulum has quite a distance to go before you can say “too far the other way,” or worse “the opposite extreme.” Perspective is important here.
- It’s a pendulum, isn’t it? It’ll swing your way eventually. Then it’ll land in the middle somewhere. Be patient. The French have had to be. And let’s not get started on how painfully patient First Nations people have been over the centuries.
Congratulations The Dark Knight. This is your week.
And the Oscar goes to…
Best Actress: Daisy Ridley as Rey in Star Wars: The Force Awakens.
Best Actor: I’ll leave out our three nominees who are all outstanding. I think this one should go to Mark Ruffalo as Bruce Banner/The Hulk in The Avengers.
Best Quote: “Excuse me, did WE come to YOUR planet and blow stuff up?” — Robert Downey Jr as Tony Stark in The Avengers.
Whether or not you agree with the above, please (for me) take time to read these next few sentences. I want to state that I’m not bilingual, nor am I French Canadian. I do come from some Acadian descent (of which I am proud); however, most of my ancestry is very English. The reason I share what I shared is simple: I highly value the act and virtue of understanding, and I can say that pursuing it has enriched my life greatly. It is my hope that the words I’ve written can be practically used to step into another’s shoes. Trying to make you agree with me is not my purpose.
And here is the full top 10 list of actors with the most box office mojo (total earnings of all movies in their filmography):
10. Scarlett Johansson ($3.34 B)
9. Michael Caine ($3.35 B)
8. Johnny Depp ($3.37 B)
7. Tom Cruise ($3.59 B)
6. Eddie Murphy ($3.81 B)
5. Robert Downey, Jr. ($3.95 B)
4. Tom Hanks ($4.34 B)
3. Morgan Freeman ($4.44 B)
2. Samuel L. Jackson ($4.77 B)
1. Harrison Ford ($4.87 B)
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