Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I like this short post at the Economist explaining the origin of many curse words in Quebec: the Catholic Church.  Hearing some Francophones use strange words to curse after a bad pass or play in Ultimate introduced me to this unique part of Quebec culture. 

I was able to make a reference to it yesterday in class.  I was teaching about the Clash of Civilizations and used this phenomenon as an example of the problems of arguing that shared religion can build grand unifying Civilizations.  That is, Quebec would be coded as being in the same Civ as the other Christian countries (well, the ones with white folks since the Catholics in Central and South America are not in the same Civilization according to Sam Huntington's knowledge-destroying text).  Given that the people of Quebec have such strong feelings about the Catholic Church that their curse words derive from Chalice and Tabernacle, well, call me a Clash of Civ-skeptic (well, that would be under-stating it).

Well, to be fair, I was a Clash skeptic long before I moved here because it is such bad social science, but living in Quebec reminds me that just because places started with a shared identity does not mean that the identification remains constant over time.

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