Canada - the country younger than my country's national drink.
I'm kicking back for Canada Day and it is so cute watching this place acting like they have a history and culture. Canada was confederated in 1867 - the Guinness Brewery has a longer history than that, one with more excitement and tragedy: the legendary 9,000 year lease; the 'Breo' disaster; the heart-rending closure of St James Gate and the daring innovations of 'North Star' and 'Toucan'. Canada's entire notable history is:
1867 - Confederated by Queen Victoria, who was tired of dealing with the whole frozen mess.
1814 - Burning of the White House by Canadian forces. You will notice this was before the current 'Canada' technically existed. The fact it was achieved by British forces also eludes those Canadians who bring it up.
2007 - Taking smug pride in being "better than Americans", despite the fact that having your entire national identity defined in terms of another country is a tragedy.
For history and culture you need a set up like Europe: too many tribes, too little land, and they all get gunpowder at the same time so nobody ever gets any peace. This results in masterpieces like London, Paris, Vienna, and maybe just a few of the bloodiest and most nightmarish conflicts in recorded history. A band of gunmen expanding into deserted tundra, stopping occasionally to slaughter tribes whose military capacity is entirely based on combating fish, does not lead to excitement or culture. It leads to Edmonton and Kitchener- the Tenth and Eleventh Circle of North American Hell. Ask an Edmontonian what there is to do and they'll say "The Mall", then sigh, and possibly promise to bear your children if you will but help them escape. The downtown is what the Gobi desert would look like if you could build parking garages out of sand, and at least the searing desolation of the savannah doesn’t close at 5 pm sharp.
Perhaps realizing the terror of this vanilla suburbia the Canucks have set up a great simulation of the pride, arrogance, stupidity and selfishness generated by intracontinental tension with the Quebec situation; but it’s like training to be a boxer by giving yourself brain damage and breaking your knuckles. You're meant to have a half-reasonable goal as well as the stupidity and pain and the concept of a Quebecer nation just doesn't cut it. Not even "Because it would be really funny, then a bit sad". It's like that one episode of every lazy sitcom where a roommate decides to divide the house into two, but without the deeply thought-out financial planning of the average comedy character.
Smaller countries don't work anymore. Even Germany, who you might remember as "the country whose economy could kick the shit out of three other countries combined" and "that tiny nation that took on the entire world and nearly won that time”, is pushing the European Union. When they start gathering countries like Ireland and Estonia to bring up the numbers, shouting "I don't want to play any more" and heading off on your own is statesmanship right up there with the Alderaan governors famous telegram, "Fuck you Darth Vader, what the hell could you do to a planet anyway."
Some people encourage the screaming-child politics of Quebec by acting like it’s an actual issue, but until they find a way to weaponize arrogance we can just ignore them – this is a problem that will go away. Because the best thing I can say about French is: it isn't English and it isn't Mandarin, so it isn't something your grandchildren are going to have to worry about.