Quebec's Conservatism

This is a thought that I've only began to materialize in the past week or so, and I don't think it's quite complete, but bear with me as I hash this idea out. I hope to elaborate on it further in the near future.

Quebec, ultimately, is a very conservative, close-minded culture. I believe that it now rests far from the radical changes that it brought upon itself during the Quiet Revolution. Allow me to explain. When I look at Quebec as a culture, there is a great deal of unity, but at the same time, there is a lot of resistance to change. Quebekers take great pride for what they have, and refuse to believe that they may not live in paradise. There is also a pride in the way of doing things, and the mentality that it has to be done in the traditional, Québécois way. There is constant debate over the manner in which to accomplish tasks, and how to proceed with them, but at the same time, it appears that it is still the Québécois way.

There is very little pride in the beauty of Quebec cities, and whatever pride is there rests on traditions and established institutions. In this regard, the status quo is preferable. A perfect example of this is the architecture in Quebec. Generally speaking, a very simplistic type of architecture is favored. Concepts of landscape integration are virtually inexistant. Conformity is the most important value, and it's seen in house design. Depending on the era, certainly houses that were built during the Quiet Revolution and the years after, appear to be overly simplistic, uninspiring, and cheaply built. In order to save costs, too, it appears some genius invented two basic home models and sold them off. You have the rectangle, complete with basement-level garage, and the infamous "mushroom" house, which was probably the more luxurious of the two. These, of course, probably came in a few different colors, so your mushroom could look a bit different from all the other ones around you. In the best-planned neighborhoods, mushrooms and rectangles would be alternated in order to be more pleasing.

After finally watching the entire "Québec Laid" report, it materialized alot of problems that I had thought about design and architecture in Quebec (or the lack thereof). What struck me the most was the disgusting state of our commercial boulevards (which I had noted in Laval and the South Shore, and everywhere else, while exploring). Most important of all, there was a movement for change in many of the illustrated cases, yet the resistance was always far stronger. "We can't reorganize, this is how things are. Deal with it!" or "It's part of who we are." seem like appropriate standard responses in many of these cases. Our society is falling apart, but it doesn't matter because it's ours, and we'll deal with it.

Quebec may be a complete shithole in many ways, but it's the people's shithole. They and their ancestors have worked hard for it, and they believe this is their place in the world. There are no other alternatives. There's nowhere else to go.


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