Dot Scot

For a while now, I’ve had the .scot version of this site’s domain as well as the .com. They both point to the same site, and will continue to do so. I relinquished the UK variant some time ago, and the EU one was of course taken from me not long after the loss of my from-birth EU citizenship, as a consequence of Brexit.

It’s taken a decent chunk of my life to navigate the issues with national identity and self-esteem that Scottish — or Welsh, or Northern Irish — people have within the UK. Always as implicitly second-class citizens, often the butt of jokes and the target of prejudice, and marginalised in culture and policy. Indeed, the same could very much be said of the more northern and rural parts of England itself, which in my opinion should also have their own regional parliaments to better serve them. But I digress.

I felt shame about my own accent for decades. Former UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, before coming to power and in the long-ago year of 2004, in his then-role as a magazine editor published a staffer’s poem calling for the extermination of my people. Little more need be said on that topic.

This feels like an age of uncertainty and of re-evaluation; of questioning everything. The status quo is not only insufficient, but an active cause for suspicion. The mood of the age is of endings, current and portended. There seems to be dwindling and precious little time for unexamined momentum. Bet-hedging and equivocation are spent luxuries.

As is peace of mind. We’re donating, to charities and to food banks and to individual families who are struggling. Baby clothes yesterday. Men’s clothes yesterday. Both types again today. Books. Toys. Whatever else we can find and spare. We’re insulating the house and cutting down on use of appliances, and trying to prepare for the prospect of keeping our child warm if the power supply is cut off to conserve national gas supplies in the depths of the coming winter. We’re fine, but we’re mindful, and our outlook is wary. We’re also tired, in a long-term way.

With the societally-appropriate implosion of Twitter recently, I signed up for Mastodon, a federated social media service that’s in many respects a microcosm of a wider attitude shift. Presumably due to geographic IP detection, the server or instance that was first suggested was one that also has a dot-scot suffix — and something clicked into place in my mind. As it turns out, I’ve been angry with myself for doing exactly the same thing with domains that I did with my cultural identity: letting it sit quietly in the background, as a kind of subsumed alias, as if it were the source of shame.

I have a lot of page-rank or search-results authority accumulated at this domain, at its bland and palatable dot-com, but I’m not a company or even really a business in the primary sense. I’m an individual, and a writer, and in case it wasn’t clear already, I’m Scottish. The distinction has become urgently meaningful to me.

So, when I share a new article or book via a link to this site, and when long-established habit doesn’t cause me to temporarily forget, it’ll be from the version of this web domain that better reflects how I’d like to be seen and known.

All existing links, feeds, etc will continue to work, of course. Nothing will change from your perspective, dear reader. You probably won’t notice at all — but I will.

I’ve come to understand, all too slowly, that these ostensibly small things can be disproportionately important.