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I grew up with two brothers. The group dynamics of three boys in a five-person family are complicated to say the least. But we weren’t slouches. We knew who buttered our bread, and we also knew the best ways to get things out of our parents: get the youngest child to ask them.

My little brother had this supernatural power of getting my parents to agree to ridiculous things. My older brother and I caught on to this. Consequently, when we figured we were in need of something as simple as Dairy Queen Blizzards, a Nintendo, or a new car, little brother would have the unenviable task of asking for—and somehow receiving—the object of his (or our) desire.

If our household was a country, it would have been Canada—run by some older folks who had some, but certainly not a complete, understanding of the behaviour of their progeny (let’s call us kids provinces, then). I was exceedingly relaxed as a kid. Didn’t really get worked up about anything. Was contented to enjoy the clouds drifting by and languish in just being. I guess that makes me British Columbia.

My older brother was far more uptight. He would answer only when asked, would worry about niggling details and minutae of life, and watch a lot of hockey. Let’s call him Ontario.

My little brother, then, who always got his way whether it was fair or not, could probably be called Quebec. He could get Mum and Dad to agree to anything, and in my eyes at least, he never got into trouble. I blazed the trail for doing bad things. I was punished. And he just got to do bad things while my parents tsk-tsked at him, patted him on the bottom, gave him $20 and told him to stay out of more trouble.

Now that we’re older, the playing field is far more level. Big bro still worries, little bro is far more self-sufficient, and I’m living in Alberta… wishing I was in BC.

But if you look at the actual Nation of Canada, in spite of the fact that the provinces are older and potentially wiser, Quebec is still behaving like a spoiled youngest child, making noise about how it’s special and should get the things it wants as a result. To wit, this piece from the Globe and Mail:

Daniel Turp has started a petition to convince the ICANN, the international authority responsible for Internet domain names, to create an extension that would be unique to websites in Quebec.

Mr. Turp says one way to identify a nation is for it to have its own web extensions and that if his efforts are successful, Quebeckers would use the extension .qc.

I used to buy into the Quebec as a distinct society thing. But the fact that one speaks a different language is not in and of itself adequate to give a group of people a mark of distinction. Quebec operates under French common law. OK, that’s distinctive, I guess. But where does one draw the line? Beyond a certain point (and I certainly think we’re beyond it), all of this becomes petty nonsense. A good point was made in the discussion section of this article:

S Roddick from Ottawa, Canada writes: The last time I looked at a map of Canada, Quebec was still there. If Daniel Turp really thinks that International Standards Organization is going to agree with that he’s out to lunch. It requires that the Root DNS servers be updated for it. Not that I think that that is impossible but if one state, province, territory or district gets one why can’t all of them… Do you really know how many individual subdivisions of countries there are in the world. There are 83 states, 10 provinces, 2 federal districts and 17 territories in North America alone. That’s 112 entries for North America and 195 country entries. If Mr. Turp wants to get the domain names set up for this that’s ok, but I doubt he will get exclusive access to them for Quebec. [snip]

I know squat about the technical implications of adding a .qc domain to root DNS servers, but “S Roddick” makes an interesting point. What’s good for the goose should be good for the gander.

The whole situation reminds me of an old O Henry commercial where two Inuit are sitting out in the Arctic cold. One of them is enjoying a chocolate bar, and when his cohort asks him if he can have some, he’s told: “If I give one to you, I have to give one to everybody else.”

Whereas this ad contained only two actors, Quebec’s move affects internet users/companies/denizens/whoever the world over. Maybe instead of bickering over petty nonsense like this, Quebec’s government should be worrying about the real economic and social issues affecting its people. If I were in Quebec, I’d have grown tired of this whinging a long time ago.

And I’m supposed to be all chilled out like BC…

Also, congratulations to me on my 100th post!

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One Response to “dot-ridiculous”

  1. cDiddy
    April 24, 2008 at 2:24 pm #

    This 100th is your best post too I would think. Strangely enough, I have met this Daniel Turp. Used to sit on a law board with my Dad. He wore a bow tie, which always made a 12 year old version of me suspicous.

    This song and dance from .qc is so tiresome I agree. Lets end it once and for all with a cage match