TO: Sir Paul McCartney
Congratulations on the successful show, sir–it’s wonderful that you were greeted by such a warmly enthusiastic crowd yesterday, and addressing it in French occasionally was a very nice touch. But in the future, in the course of mollifying one Canadian ethnic group, it would be best if you would try to avoid pissing off another ethnic group. Please be advised that comments like “I think it’s time to smoke the pipes of peace and to just, you know, put away your hatchet because I think it’s a show of friendship,” (emphasis mine) may reasonably be interpreted by the First Nations peoples as invoking outdated stereotypes about Native warriors and First Nations cultures. Both First Nations peoples and Francophone Canadians have heard it all before when it comes to displays of “friendship” by English people and other Anglophones.
Please also be advised that your performance was on the site of the battle where the people of Québec were conquered by the English and Anglophone Canadians, at least for the following 249 years. Therefore, perhaps it would have been wise to avoid overtly militaristic metaphors lest you be suspected of not respecting Québecois politics or of not appreciating that the Plains of Abraham is not just a pretty park now, but also a sacred space in Québec history, not to mention a graveyard for many of the soldiers who died there in 1759. This impression was only reinforced when you said, “The kind of thing I read about in the schoolbooks when I was a kid was … who was General Wolfe?. . . . I still haven’t figured it out.” En Anglais, they made you sound like a condescending jerk, especially since your performance was part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of Québec history! (French Canadians know that the vast majority of Anglophone Canadians, Britons, and U.S. Americans don’t really know much or care at all about Québec history, but let’s try not to rub in in their faces, m’kay?)
Always looking out for you, baby! Your pal, Historiann.
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