Never be afraid to get dirty, but be sufficiently sure-footed to avoid the abyss of contamination.

Nations of the World

Fans of Animaniacs might remember the following song by Yakko Warner.

Two stories relayed to me recently may have led Yakko to rework his song, only to find out later that these reworkings were unnecessary. Just two weeks ago, Canadian Parliament passed a resolution declaring that Quebec as a nation within a United Canada. What’s in a name? In this case, absolutely nothing. The resolution does not give Quebec any special privileges outside of the right to be called a nation.

In other news, Belgium split into two nations this week. Oh, wait! That was a hoax. In fact, when the local station reported this as a legitimate piece, some diplomats stationed overseas, believing the report to be true, actually called the government to see how they should respond. What made the hoax so convincing was that it was reported by actual members of the Belgian news media on a public television station. Furthermore, the economic divisions between the Flemish and French Belgians has been a sensitive one.

Well before the Animaniacs even existed, Cecil Adams tackled the issue of starting one’s own country in his weekly column The Straight Dope. The nation of San Lorenzo, featured in Kurt Vonnegut’s Cat’s Cradle, just happens to satisfy all of the conditions he mentions. Unfortunately, one won’t find San Lorenzo in Yakko’s song because it’s foma.

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