So just what is happening in Quebec right now? The Awl digs deep to explain while providing some historical and cultural context.
The period is all wrong, because “Mad Men” right now is in 1966, and in 1966 pretty young francophone girls from Québec were not perfectly bilingual liberated swingers playing sexy songs in go-go boots. In 1966 what is called Québec’s Quiet Revolution had just gotten underway and French Canadians were not singing “Zoobeezoobeeeezoo” to each other in go-go boots to pass the time. They were too busy digging themselves out of a cultural and economic hole.
Let’s back up a moment to explain why a revolution was even needed: before 1960, the province was basically run by the Catholic Church.
That’s the real change, by the way, the one more subtle and worrisome. It’s the sudden pervasiveness of the idea—widely held both within and outside Québec—that these students are whiners and freeloaders who have been so destructive and difficult that they don’t even deserve to win this fight. The Rest of Canada long ago drifted into this perspective, and while there’s still a lot of preening about how much cheaper education and health care are than in the States, those attitudes are usually just window dressing to a general trend of budget cuts and complacency. Québec has long been a holdout, but that era’s over.