I'm Not Buying Plastique's New Accent

Recently, in The Fury of Firestorm #19, everyone's favorite Quebecker terrorist, and arguably both Firestorm's most visible villain and DC's most prominent Canadian character (I don't buy Booster Gold as a Canadian for one second), Plastique made her New52 premiere. Now granted, she may no longer be a Quebec separatist with ties to the FLQ, and she may not even be from Quebec at all. Reboot and all that. In the issue, she only gets few lines and is basically a cipher, along with other hastily introduced Firestorm villains. But there's also no reason to believe she ISN'T from Quebec. Except that accent... it's all wrong. Let's listen in:
First, I don't think I remember reading Plastique with an accent before. She throws French words around, sure, but as far as I can recall, her accent was never written phonetically. Mr. Jurgens should have left it that way. My beef is with the replacement of the "th" sounds (in "this", "the" and "things") by a "z". Not only are there two distinct "th" sounds there, which wouldn't be mispronounced the same way, but Plastique sounds like she's from France, not French Canada.

Were she actually French, she would pronounce the hard "th" of "this" as a "z", yes. But the softer "th" of "things" would probably sound like an "s". But she's NOT French, she's French Canadian (which I realize is an insult to a separatist). The way WE mispronounce a hard "th" is as a "d", and a soft "th" as a "t". A Quebecker would, in fact, produce a purer "d" and "t" for English words, than their own unfocused "d"s and "t"s which sound like "ts" and "dz" (depending on region, of course). So Plastique's dialog should sound like: "We must bring dis to an end." "As de name suggests -- When I am around, tings tend to explode."

Sorry to draw this out, but you know how it bugs me when comics get my language wrong. At least there's no Babel Fishing this time!


Anonymous said...

On pre-Crisis Earth-2, Quebec did manage to break away from Canada. I'm guessing the Earth-2 Bette Sans Souci lived in a trailer park and smoked a lot of weed.

Valero said...

You're right about the Ds and Ts. Comics rarely get Canada and, almost never, Québec right. What is worse is the reference to the FLQ; a movement that had, at its peak, at most a 100 extremist followers and has not really existed for the last 40 years... btw, I am from Québec.

Siskoid said...

Plastique seems to be pretty much on her own in the FLQ. I guess it's no more unreasonable a villain's motivation than taking over the world. It's interesting to think she's politically motivated. Or was. She seems like just another mercenary villain in this issue. Remember when Northstar had FLQ ties too?

Un gros bonjour du Nouveau-Brunswick, Valero! Né là aussi, mais de parents Néo-Brunswickois et puis, assez rapidement redéménagé en Acadie. Un supervillain devrait militer pour l'indépendence acadienne, comme le vieux Parti Acadien. Serait à peu prêt aussi pertinent que le FLQ.

ShadowWing Tronix said...

"We must bring dis to an end." "As de name suggests -- When I am around, tings tend to explode."

See my brain wants to read this with a Jamaican accent.

Siskoid said...

Exactly. Both Jamaica and Quebec are French colonies in North America.

Anonymous said...

Valero: I was "there" when Plastique first appeared in "The Fury of Firestorm", and in an ensuing lettercol, someone even complained that Quebec separatists were never nearly as big as the comic was implying they were. I was maybe only 12 or 13 at the time, but I certainly couldn't remember news stories about the terrorism problem in Quebec.

But this was the era when DC was trying to Marvelize itself, so this was Gerry Conway trying to get topical and current. As sad as that sounds, this was also an era where most DC Comics wouldn't even show the US President's face: he'd always be standing in shadows, as if just acknowledging who was in the Oval Office was itself controversial.

Sooooo ... could it be that DC wanted to do a story about terrorism, but they were afraid of being too controversial with the IRA or Basque separatists, so they went with Quebec separatists?

Siskoid said...

Only Gerry Conway knows for sure. I'm not holding my breath, but I hope he discusses it in the DVD interview I Kickstarted a little while back.

But yeah, Firestorm was designed to be a Marvel hero, so your analysis is probably accurate. As to why the FLQ rather than the IRA, who knows. Might have read something about the FLQ and been inspired to do something a little different. It's weird to think you have to stretch to find a way to tell a terrorism story back then.

Unknown said...

The Black Bison, really? Not that I'm complaining, I always thought he was pretty cool, but I didn't expect him to be in a comic in 2013.

Siskoid said...

Jurgens wanted to reintroduce all the old Firestorm villain in one go before the book was cancelled. I bet he originally wanted to introduce them one at a time.

Still missing Tokamak, Enforcer, Goldenrod, Bug & Byte, and Slipknot (to name a few).

Matthew Turnage said...

@ShadowWing Tronix: I read that as Cajun, perhaps because I grew up only a few miles from South Louisiana and that's how they also pronounce their "th"s. Again, another region colonized by the French.

Siskoid said...

Cajuns being descended straight up from the same people I am, i.e. 18th-century Acadians. My family just didn't get deported.


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