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Dispatch / March 16, 2010

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So it’s that time of the year again. That time of the year when you put on the stupid, oversized green hat, get outrageously drunk, approach a young man/woman/shaved-ape in a bleary haze and ramble on about how your third-cousin’s friend’s half-aunt was Irish in a desperate attempt to get laid. Maybe some cringing Irish ballad might come on (you know, one of those songs about prison ships and birds of freedom) and there’s no way in hell you’re going to resists that urge to sing along. For shame.

That’s right; it’s St. Patrick’s day!

Here in Ireland we have an expression for this type of behaviour (yes, we Fenian folk act in a similar manner so often that we’ve coined a phrase); it’s called “acting like a total fucking gobshite”. And yes, Paddy’s Day is a day of doing precisely that. It’s a day when people idolise the old country (even if it’s not old, or their country); a day when they call to mind images of leprechauns, Celtic warrior kings and Enya.

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“No, really, baby – I’m, like, totally Irish!”

Well, as the Guinness induced intoxication begins to clear and those whimsical spirits fade away; when you wake up next to a stranger only to find that both of you have huge shamrocks tattooed on your arses; when you begin to survey the vaguely recalled chaos of the night before – now you’re ready to read about the fair green isles.

You see Ireland isn’t in a good way. Ireland’s coming out of a bad bender – and it fucking hurts!

“Jesus! How did this happen?” you ask yourself the morning after. Why is your novelty hat full of sick? Which drink was the “one too many” that pushed you into that self-destructive spiral? Well, the Irish are asking themselves – or, at least should be asking themselves – the very same questions. Let’s start from the beginning.

Historically, Ireland has been a very poor place. Up until the mid-twentieth it was basically an agrarian economy – an economy dominated by landlords, bailiffs and peasants. The landlords were prosperous class who laughed at the hungry poor; the bailiffs, a mean bunch of drunken bullies who liked nothing better than to batter some poor emaciated hut-dwellers with their shillelaghs (I believe your Bill O’ Reillys and your Sean Hannitys inherited the “bailiff gene”); and the peasants? They were a terrible bunch – a personification of the smell of a rotten potato.

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Family of “wretches” from the famine era

Sure there were a few built up cities – Dublin was alright, Cork wasn’t too bad – but even here the poverty was pretty disgusting. You know that Schopenhauerian idea that life is essentially embodied pain? Well, for most of their modern history, the Irish have been living evidence of this.

And the culture? It was crap. Completely saturated by a Catholicism spread by a well entrenched and highly organised Church (although in fairness to the Church, if it hadn’t been for their civilising influence, which only sort of half-worked, I’ll bet that the Irish would still be living in their own filth).

Anyway, then the revolts came. The big dates that you’ll be swigging to this Paddy’s Day: 1916, 1921 – 1923. They were okay. Well, to be fair 1916 was great; a bunch of poets, nationalists and an admirable Scottish Marxist called James Connolly basically signed a suicide pact and took over the GPO, one of Dublin’s main strategic buildings. Then the British came in and absolutely crushed them – oh well.

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1916 inside the GPO – Suicide has never looked so cool

Once the dreamers and the fools were out of the way a heavy and ignorant nationalism set in that can still be felt today. When the Civil War ended in 1923 no one really cared about anything except Catholicism and the tri-colour – well a few did, but they were just ignored.

For the next 60 or so years nothing really happened. The Church banned a few films; a load of people went to Latin mass and the new ruling-class that had taken power after the Civil War tried at some rather feeble attempts to industrialise the country. Pretty boring stuff – oh, well there was the troubles, but they’re a bit of a fetish; if you want a discussion of them do a Google search, you’ll get plenty.

So, then the early 80s hit. While Maggie Thatcher’s own version of the Cheka were murdering people in the North, the Fianna Fail Party – a bunch of corrupt right-wingers formed after the Civil War who refer to themselves as the “Republican Party” – got their hands on the doctrines of Milton Friedman and his cronies – in watered-down form, I’m sure (these people are cretins, real troglodyte types, in both brain and body). Neo-liberalism had come to Ireland.

The effects were slow to pick up, but the cuts in public services were quick, sharp and deep. The free-market warrior who implemented them was a man called Ray MacSharry. He quickly became known as “Mac the Knife”, after the seedy character in Brecht’s “Threepenny Opera”. He finished his career, like many of the characters we will meet along the way and also like many Friedmanesque reformers, in public disgrace – he was involved in a Watergate-style scandal, using police equipment to tape some of his colleagues. But no worries, even if an Irish politician ends his career in the proverbial stocks he’ll always be able to make himself a small fortune in the business world – where moral vice turns into practical virtue.

The cuts of the 1980s were to be felt for the ensuing decades. It might be expected that during the boom years the funding would be restored. To expect that would be to misunderstand the nature of the “boom”. One of the main policy measures which allowed the boom to take place was an extremely low corporation tax rate. Ireland was never able to fund its public services because it was, and still is, a tax haven for international corporations – an international money-launderer. We launder so much corporate money that economists don’t measure our economic growth in terms of GDP (the standard international measure), but instead measure it in terms of GNP, so that we don’t take into account all the money the corporations are washing through Ireland to avoid paying taxes in the countries where they set up shop. Somehow I doubt that magazines like the Economist took nuggets like these into account when they were championing Ireland as an economic paradise some years back.

In the mid-1990s economic growth was starting to pick up and by the late-90s it was accelerating at a rapid pace. The right-wingers were patting themselves on the back for their infinite cleverness. The stupidly named “Celtic Tiger” was here (the term is cut-and-pasted from the “Asian Tiger” phenomenon – further evidence that the international business press is full of drooling idiots and lobotomised hacks – especially since the Asian Tigers imploded in 1997-98).

To anyone who maintained their sobriety during this period it was remarkably obvious that the boom was dangerously unsustainable.

Actually, I won’t say “maintained their sobriety” because anyone who was remotely realistic throughout this period would have found it hard not to reach for the bottle. You see the Irish came up with a stupid colloquial phrase to describe critical reasoning: doom and gloom.

“Ah, Johnny”, Mary would say with a moronic smile plastered on her face, “sure he’s always talking doom and gloom”. The RTE’s (our national broadcasting service) economics editor who warned of the disaster that was coming? Doom and gloom. People who pointed out that spending your pension fund on a second home in order to turn around a quick bit of cash was a bad idea? Doom and gloom.

Throughout the so-called Celtic Tiger period the unquestioning subservience the Irish people had learnt under the rule of the Catholic Church fused with the facile optimism of the consumerist age to create a chemical compound of mass-stupefaction. Why vote out the corrupt bastards that were fleecing the country when a new Tommy Hilfiger shop had opened in the city centre (this one has jeans that come pre-faded!)?

Oh, and the corruption… no, I won’t move on to the corruption quite yet, we’ll stick with the culture of the era for the moment. You see, Ireland modernised remarkably fast – culturally speaking. Don’t get me wrong, I’m truly thankful for this – it really isn’t a bad thing when large swaths of the population stop believing that the immaculate Virgin has appeared in Bally-nowhere to tell some sexually abused girl that God loves her.

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“Mary says that God loves me – God is my new daddy; he’s a nice daddy”

The Irish culturally modernised by leaps and bounds. Most people of my generation sneer at the mention of organised religion – or at the very least are fairly flippant about the whole thing. But if history has taught us nothing it is that one superstition will inevitably be replaced by another. China got Maoism; we got consumerism.

A strange sort of consumerism it was too. The Irish writer Brendan Behan once said “Other people have a nationality. The Irish and the Jews have a psychosis”. How right he was. When both these peoples tried to forge their own national identities they were horrified to find a big, dark void where their nationality was supposed to be. The Zionists went mental – existential threat this and holocaust that. The Irish weren’t quite so unfortunate. They hung onto the whole Catholic thing for a while; but ditched that whole miserable affair at the first chance they got. When the imported American cultural goods started to arrive by the shipload, the shopping malls began to fill up – Dawn of the Dead style.

Then something weird started happening – young people started mimicking the characters they saw on inane MTV-style shows like “The OC” and “One Tree Hill”. Why is this weird? Well, it’s a matter of geography, really. You see, we’re not L.A. – we’re REALLY not L.A. Ireland has shit weather – really, really shit weather (the Irish burn significant amounts of carbohydrates just complaining about it). So when you see the guys (yes, we say “guys” now) wearing beach shorts in the pouring rain, or the girls doing the oompa-loompa through the application of fake tan, it’s just that – a little weird.

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“What do you mean ‘gale force winds’? We’re going to the County Cork beach-party [giggle]!”

Anyway, let’s move away from the cultural pathologies and get back to the political pathologies. Corruption got pretty bad – no, scratch that… corruption got really bad. One of the major figures of the 1980s reforms was on-again off-again Taoiseach (translation: Prime Minister) Charles Haughey. Haughey was a crooked bastard and everyone knew it. A total pisshead (translation: regular consumer of alcoholic beverage) and a notorious womaniser; he was also embroiled in an IRA arms deal in 1970. “Cool”, you say? Don’t let this fool you – as I said earlier Irish nationalism is a murky ideology; where greed mixes with social responsibility and venture capitalist drug-dealers form alliances with committed socialists.

Through the eighties Haughey amassed a small fortune by accepting bribes from scumbag businessmen. He even bought himself an island – yes, that’s right, the Irish Taoiseach had his own island-lair! But it wasn’t your typical lair. It didn’t have sharks and scuba-men swimming around it or a skull-cave housing a biological warhead. Instead of playing the Bond villain, Haughey used to take helicopter trips to the island with his buddies on the weekends (his son owned Ireland’s biggest helicopter firm) and they all used to get so thrashed on whisky that many claimed Haughey couldn’t work properly come Monday. Corruption – Irish style.

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Inishvickillane also known as Haugheyland – “You bring the beer, I’ll bring the island.”

Haughey pretty much got away with it too. Everyone thought he was a scumbag – well apart from his elite buddies, and that’s all that matters. Unfortunately corrupt bastards don’t pay for their crimes in Ireland; they merely step down from public office, go in front of some bullshit tribunal that goes nowhere and end up in a cushy business job or live out the rest of their days on their private islands – drinking their brains out.

For the rich boozing isn’t the escape it is for the poor. Instead it’s a Bacchic dance of transgression. The elites in Ireland don expensive clothes, go to the trendy spots and get absolutely trashed. Enter one of these hip clubs and you’ll encounter the décor of a Parisian restaurant, the dress of an awards ceremony – and the stagnant stench of an alley bar. Approach one of the sneering patrons they’ll tell you, in their stressed, pretentious accent, all about their wealth, about their loathing for the poor – then they’ll stumble, try to steady themselves and fall on their ass. Coke is popular too – the perfect drug for Ireland’s verbose, yet vapid elite. What these people seek is a chemical to accentuate their vulgar arrogance – and vulgar it is. There’s no class about this arrogance. There’s no ironic distance toward it – it’s fully felt, fully embraced. Many Irish elites would get-off on telling you just how brilliant they are. There’s no need for culture of any kind – say, talking about Renoir or Joyce as a point of prestige – the arrogance sells itself. This is an attitude of pure brilliance, esteem and privilege and it feeds the corruption like cancerous tumour feeds off its host body – why would you have any responsibilities for a society and a country which you are so far above?

The corruption theme is a tired one in Irish political discourse – as drawn out and tedious as an Al Gore speech. To give a recent example take our last Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern (another Fianna Fail-er). You’ve probably seen him before. He’s the stammering, dithery monkey-man in the shabby suit you often see standing next to world leaders, complete with shit-eating grin. Ahern was also disgraced for taking bribes from dodgy businessmen and stepped down from his government office. As the financial crisis unravelled and the activities of some of the bankers came to light Ahern commented that “he’d only taken a few bribes” – a perfect example of the sense of arrogance and untouchability that pervades Ireland’s elite. Interestingly, Ahern’s autobiography went on to be a best-seller.

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“Jaysus, this doesn’t fit at all. I need some new clothes”.

This is another thing people need to understand about Ireland. Ask the average Irish person what they think of the politicians. “Feckin’ corrupt eejits”, you’ll be told – but in reality what Shaun O’ Shaughnassy really wants is to cultivate that drive to fuck over other people himself. This is what a large portion of the Irish population looks for in Ahern’s autobiography – but they find themselves only able to apply it in the most petty manner; say, by hiring a builder off-the-books, or by ripping their customers off by selling overpriced crap through their shit businesses. These people, who sneer at the arrogance and corruption of the elites, really just want in on the game.

In Ireland we have a term for the attitude of the corrupt (yes, another): “cuteness”. Cuteness is a strange one; it’s a sort of mix between criticism and praise. “Ah… he’s a cute bastard” means at once “He’s a corrupt dickhead” and at the same time something like “He’s very clever”. In reality these people aren’t in any way clever – they’re simply ruthless. They’re the type of people you wouldn’t leave your wallet around – and the Irish people have an intense love-hate relationship with them. The average Irishman’s conscience says “no, what these people do is wrong”, but the little Bertie Ahern-shaped devil on their shoulder says “ah, go on – no one will notice, you’ll get away with it!”.

In following these supposedly lovable rogues – and again I stress there’s nothing lovable about these rogues, they’re just crooks – Ireland has walked blindly into an economic catastrophe. As mentioned earlier an enormous property bubble inflated during the so-called Tiger. Who would have thought that a sty of corruption would be fertile ground for a speculative bubble to emerge? Well, emerge it did. Property prices went wild – prices tripled between 2000 and 2006.

People were fed the illusion of wealth. Their bank accounts were empty, as part of our economic policy was to artificially stifle wages, but people thought that because their house was worth €500k they were in the big leagues. Like a punter at a street-corner playing three-card monte, the Irish people bought what they were sold in a dizzy state of unquestioning optimism.

Then it all crashed. What a bang it was! The floors fell out of these houses; their value dropped into the netherworlds. Then the banks started going under. One after another they imploded. Property developer after property developer was discovered to have been bribing corrupt government officials. As in most developed countries, for most people the “boom” was never a boom at all – it was merely the using of the public purse to generate a speculation induced bourgeois orgasm. There was public outcry. Things really started to heat up. And then… silence.

As things quietened down, the government began setting up NAMA (National Asset Management Agency). NAMA makes the US bailouts look as transparent as a Spielberg film. The scheme pumped money into some of the worst banks; institutions that should have died a death, but instead were kept on life-support. Joseph Stiglitz, speaking at Ireland’s main university, commented “Countries which allow banks to go under by following the ordinary rules of capitalism have done fine. The US has let 100 banks go this year alone, as did Sweden and Norway in their crises… this bank bailout is a simple transfer from taxpayers to bondholders, and it will saddle generations to come. The only thing that might give you solace is that, as chief economist of the World Bank, we see this type of thing happening in banana republics all over the world. Whenever a banking crisis happens, the financial sector uses the turmoil as a mechanism to transfer wealth from the general population to themselves.”

Stiglitz’s comparison to a banana republic is apt. In those countries the ruling elite is so tightly knit, so closely interlinked that one of them couldn’t roll over in bed without getting a hand job from another. Here we see another of Ireland’s political diseases: localism. We’re a small community, with good social ties. “How lovely”, you might think, “I might go there on holiday” – but throw unregulated capitalism in the mix; then what you get is a tightly knit oligopoly whose members literally all know each other.

The Fianna Fail government, for example, used to have a tent at the country’s major horse-racing event where they would drink with the biggest property developers and cut deals. No one else was allowed in. No citizens; no press. You didn’t need a cool password or a complicated handshake to get in – you just needed your face to be recognised. “Jimmy, come on in, boy. Wait’ll I tell ye about this luvely piece-a land the Dublin council has and can’t afford to develop because we fucked them in the budget…”.

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The infamous “dodgy tent”: when the clowns are running the show, what to do but join the circus?

So when the property developers’ banks went under the government drove the tax-payers money in by the truckload without thinking twice about it.

Then the debt crisis hit. The politicians realised that they’d been haemorrhaging cash on utter shit – such as electronic voting machines that didn’t work – and now the government budget was fucked. Last January the budget was announced – two words: bad medicine. And people’s attitude? Those involved in running the country – political types, legal peeps, businessmen etc – have a weird masochistic attitude toward the whole thing. They take this weird pleasure in implementing the cuts. It’s a binge and purge mentality – and these people seem eager to administer the enema. The average worker, on the other hand, just feels powerless and finds solace in typical Irish cynicism – and drink, lots and lots of overpriced drink (we tax drink loads – ostensibly to stop people drinking so much, but really because it’s such an easy target).

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“Oh yeah! I LOVE it when you cut my account deficit!”

So when you’re out drinkin’, singin’ and reminiscin’ remember that the ol’ Emerald Isles aren’t the paradise many purport them to be. There ain’t no rainbow folks. No pot of gold either. Just a rather backward country that failed to modernise its institutions properly; that is now being run by an almost nihilistic group of cynics who know they can get away with almost anything – and which is now paying the price, big time.

Ireland followed the route that so many countries have since the late-1970s (Russia, the United States, Chile, Indonesia etc): neo-liberalism. They used economic policy to float the wealth to the top of the pond where it collected, like scum, until it smothered all those that lived beneath. In Ireland this was undertaken in a cultural atmosphere that many will be celebrating today.

To end on a more positive note: [raises glass] Here’s to the death of neo-liberalism, Reaganism, Thatcherism and monetarism!!! [swigs].

Happy St. Patrick’s Day eXiled readers!!! Have a fucking mad one!!!

Paddy O’ Fenian is an Irishman in eXile, after leaving the old country on a coffin-ship, he went to Boston where he set up a bar which caters to annoying American patrons who find Irish pubs quaint.

[ Note: In honor of St Patrick's Day, the eXiled's editors kept the author's original misspellings of American words to give it an authentic "Irish" feel. We will resume our regularly-scheduled cultural imperialism at 23:59:59 PST March 17, 2010.]

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68 Comments

Add your own

  • 1. paul cripps  |  March 16th, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Wouderfull observation that the cynical bottom wants to be like the top is spot on.consequentially, they must be arse fucked. once again ireland will go back to its biggest export for three hundred years ,people.i remember decades ago when i was a much younger man ,their was a large irish community in my city.so on paddys day we would head down to their bars. my mates and i would listen to all the songs and all the bullshit stories.then we would ask naievely was ireland not economically a third world country and that they were all economic refugees, so why were they singing the praises of such a shithole, a place they would return to only on holidays. needless to say we had some grand old punchups. ps nobody glassed or knifed you back then.have a happy st paddys day you poor simple barstards..

  • 2. RecoverylessRecovery  |  March 16th, 2010 at 4:38 pm

    If those three chicks in the picture above are representative of typical Irish babehood, I’d spend at least half MY waking hours COMPLETELY STEWED TOO.

    I think I finally may have figured-out what musta killed all those potatoes way back when; UGLY F’ING FEMALE POTATOE-PICKERS!

  • 3. Mad Nomad  |  March 16th, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    So “cute” in Irish means “хитрый” in Russian. Always good to know the local lingo…

  • 4. mike from Arlington  |  March 16th, 2010 at 5:48 pm

    Tiocfaidh Ar La

  • 5. Zirb  |  March 16th, 2010 at 6:04 pm

    What is the solution to “neo-liberalism, Reaganism, Thatcherism and monetarism” ??

  • 6. julios  |  March 16th, 2010 at 7:22 pm

    this was very enlightening. i’m currently studying neoliberal “reform” in latin america and the parallels are quite sobering.

    the simultaneous veneration and resentment of rulers is something that is very similar between the two cultures. although in latin america, more specifically in mexico since it is my area of focus, it is theorized to have roots in Mexico’s Spanish-Arabic and Aztec heritage; inherited from the veneration of the priestly warlords or caudillos. power is fetish-ized.

    i am not familiar with celtic traditions but it may be something similar.

    another similarity is the deformation of national identity by american consumerism. there is a fracturing that has occurred in identity because on the one hand you are irish or mexican, but your recent “appearance” in world history doesn’t allow you much to identity with. you’ve come to the feast of the Western nations late, and unwanted. yet you wish to be as wealthy or successful as these nations and in this way come to internally, subconsciously perhaps, resent or belittle your own heritage.

    on a side note it is interesting that in the U.S. something similar has taken place. the lack of a cohesive north american identity has resulted in white americans frequently identifying themselves with a heritage of their cultural past: “I am irish.” “i am german.” “i have some british in me.”

    well, im not sure i really had a point other than my agreement with your conclusion:
    death to neoliberalism!

  • 7. Natasha  |  March 16th, 2010 at 9:14 pm

    On a scale of 0 to 10 I would rate an average Irish prick at 2; 10 being, of course, an authentic African Negro and 0 my Jewish ex-wannabe-boyfriend.

  • 8. RonCanuck  |  March 16th, 2010 at 9:44 pm

    Amazing article.
    It remind me of War Nerd’s brutally honest columns analysis of histroy and culture. (Where are you Brother Gary B?)

    Hats off to Paddy O’Fenein for a very up-to-date analysis of Ireland as can only be expressed by a native son.

    Thanks to “Team eXiled” for finding guys like Paddy and Gary and letting them loose.

    RonCanuck

  • 9. De_la_Rapier  |  March 17th, 2010 at 12:36 am

    I absolutely love how so many of the Irish think that pretending to be English makes them better then anyone else on the island.

    Selling the North out along with their countrymen seems to be a a national sport for these idiots.

    The fact that Britain is even more seriously fucked up then Ireland never gets to them.

  • 10. BlottoBonVismarck  |  March 17th, 2010 at 12:48 am

    ERIN GO BRAGH

    A remarkably accurate portrait of the Ould Sod and we don’t just mean Charles J. Haughey.

    It was Paul Theroux who said that the only time an Englishman has any respect for the Irish is when the Irishman has a gun or a bomb in his hand. — Sadly true, but usefully so in the 1990s.

    Why is there a settlement in Northern Ireland? Because Japanese bankers failed to show the requisite British sporting attitude to the IRA planting bombs in The City of London , namely the British stiff upper lip. Japanese bankers of the late twentieth century appear to have completely lost their father’s WW2 British prisoners samurai-decapitating and inhuman torture spunk. That, or they didn’t see why they should be cannon-fodder for Her Majesty’s Empire to sacrifice in the continuing domestic spat with their former colonial doormat. In fact, rather sanely, the Japanse threatened to depart post-haste for the Continent — and mortifyingly for the British, for their eternal enemy Germany in particular — taking their banks and business with them.

    The British got religion so fast that their trademark smug arrogant smirk slipped fractionally, if regrettably only temporarily, and a settlement was miraculously arranged. So much for ‘not negotiating with terrorists.’ No change there, then. The settlement was largely due to the efforts of one US Senator, George Mitchell, whose showed truly amazing patience at listening to the interminable moans of both sides which should — in a just world — qualify him as a living saint. He didn’t just listen for hours. He listened to their moaning about eight hundred years of injustice — attack and retaliation endlessly repeated, — for days, then weeks, months and years. Any thousand ordinary mortals would have told both sides to fuck off already after thirty minutes. Seriously, GM _is_ a living saint. That, or deaf as a post.

    THE GIFT THAT GIVES ON GIVING – URBAN GUERILLA WARFARE
    The Irish finally gave the British Empire the boot in 1921, after a mere eight hundred years of rape, pillage, murder, torture and genocide, inventing a new form of warfare to do it – urban guerilla warfare. Details of which, below, will particularly appeal to the sick readers of The Exiled.

    But remember, when your (US / UK) imperial storm troopers are being blown to smithereens (yet again) with an IED, in their latest Imperial Crusade, by yet another wily peasant on a donkey with a sly ‘Who, me?’ look, saying the local equivalent of ‘Que?’ to all your questions, spare a thought for the wild colonial boys who invented the method. Which is why Michael Collins’s name is revered. – Ireland’s answer to Biggles? Or the reason we are free to fuck up in our own unique way. – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HqHwKjt6Rtc

    “Que?” – Manuel in Fawlty Towers – Tells us again how the Irish have (not) risen above cultural imperialism. ; ) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H-oH-TELcLE

    Now, youse can all fuck off. There’s some serious drinking to be done.

    POGUE MAHONE

  • 11. BlottoBonVismarck  |  March 17th, 2010 at 12:54 am

    SALLY O’BRIEN

    CULTURAL IMPERIALISM
    In the last great economic crash — the 1980s — lots of Irish went to Sordid Arabia to earn a tax free crust. It even featured in the ads. Most memorably with ‘Sally 0′Brien and the way she might look at ye.’ Naturally the actress playing ‘the perfect Irish woman’ was English. Some things can never be forgotten. Some things can never be forgiven. Occupation for 800 years? Fine. The original Bloody Sunday? No problem. The perfect Irish woman is English? Forgive and forget? HA! No chance. “Cold day in hell,” etc. Thank you Guinness marketing for setting back British-Irish relations by years. Well, minutes anyway. – ‘Sally O’Brien – 1980′ – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4hmFPBf-C8

    And now? Perhaps in another generation or two and there will be no one left who remember that Ad. Unless youtube keeps it alive …

  • 12. Tam  |  March 17th, 2010 at 1:13 am

    Best article here for ages! More foreign affairs please!

  • 13. Nicolai Cesky  |  March 17th, 2010 at 3:36 am

    Good read, although it went on a tad too long (excused due to the Irish inability to know when to stop talking).

    I don’t know much about Ireland except for what I hear from Irish travelers I meet across Europe. They uniformly complain about the economy and about the price of a beer.

    They seem to be a doomed people, desperate to have a quick laugh and catch a hard buzz. I like that.

  • 14. Pádraig Ó Buth Chanain  |  March 17th, 2010 at 3:40 am

    “Which is why Michael Collins’s name is revered. ”

    Why would his name be revered in connection with a method of warfare honed to a fine art by Tom Barry, Liam Lynch, et al., and with which he had in fact very litte to do? I suppose it’s the same freeness with facts which leads people to write “Ireland” when they mean the twenty-six county state…

  • 15. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 17th, 2010 at 3:48 am

    The recession is the best thing that ever happened to Ireland. Finally I don’t have to listen to the ugliest women on the planet (outside of Africa or Sri Lanka) screaming into their cellphones about their shopping trips to Dakkar or Bankok. Rents have come back down to Earth and food has got cheaper.
    No more buying shitty apartments in Eastern Europe. No more expensive weddings. Best bit: better looking women flaunting themselves in the bars at night.
    See, during the tiger, most girls who weren’t totally ugly, could pick and choose which future millionaire boy in their class to marry. By 16 they were usually out of reach (age of consent = 17, oldest in Europe) so a regular Joe like me didn’t stand a chance.
    Now, quite pretty girls are throwing themselves around in miniskirts at night and the beer is cheaper.
    The one good thing Ireland did was to open up its borders to East European hotties. Why Irish men haven’t deserted their Maggies in droves for Svetlanas, I’ll never understand. The alcohol bill for those hippos in that picture would be greater than the annual GNP of a small country (and they’re the better looking ones). Jewish Princesses are cheaper.
    If you want to see a catalog of beautiful Irish women, go no further than this faggot-run site here:

    http://socialdublin.blogspot.com/

  • 16. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 17th, 2010 at 3:53 am

    Everything about that Sally O’Brien ad reminds me why I left the Banana Republic in the first place. Shitty beer, spending all waking hours in the pub, shitty music (rarely as good as in that ad) and barfing it all up on the way home.

    If you grew up on this shit, you’ll know what I mean.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cfr9Btmtn5o

  • 17. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 17th, 2010 at 4:43 am

    Almost a decade ago, Ames wrote a nice review of Chuck Klosterman for the NY Press.

    http://www.nypress.com/article-8054-the-flip-flop-king.html

    What I didn’t appreciate at the time was the silent scream at something so moronic that people were worshiping en-masse without question and who was making millions while being a total cultural turd.
    Now, that I’m back in Ireland, whenever I try to explain anything to Irish people about the World beyond football, pubs and cigarettes, I get Beavis and Butthead blank stares and I want to scream in their faces and go postal. The stupidity here is beyond belief.
    If you want to really experience sub-redneck stupidity, try chatting up those hippos in the picture (real hippos are lighter). They have, guaranteed, no ambition in life beyond marraige, a semi-d in a housing estate, a EUR 30,000 wedding, fashion and Sex and the City. And the men have absolutely no taste they will actually pursue those monsters.
    Another thing I cannot fathom; Ireland once had the best rail system in Europe. Since independence, about 80% of the system has been shut down. During the Tiger, housing estates have been springing up all over the country. Yet no-one will even entertain the idea of rebuilding the rail system. It’s a national embarrassment that I can’t hop on a train to about 90% of the country like I can everywhere else in Europe. Dublin has no metro system and the buses don’t run to any timetable. They cut all the night buses during the week recently, thereby stifling the entire nightlife industry. Idiocy built upon idiocy. Yet people still celebrate life here like there was something to celebrate.
    It’s just like reading Chuck Klosterfuck. Stupidity layered upon stupidity and the masses gobbling it all up. I am really looking forward to Goldman Sachs gobbling up what’s left of this sick island. Sad part is, the morons will still celebrate.

  • 18. yeroulone  |  March 17th, 2010 at 5:14 am

    Class article. The one thing I’d add to this is the public service is (like a lot of banana republics) about twice the amount of people in the wrong places (local councils, backoffice staff, the fucking HSE) and not half enough in the right. (nurses, teachers – not fucking Gards though)

    I think I remember hearing the public sector employs 30% of the workforce. I’m not necessarily saying this is a terrible thing, but fuck, we should be getting a lot more for our money.

    I guess we’re all Gene Kerrigan these days though.

  • 19. Fissile  |  March 17th, 2010 at 5:22 am

    You dudes who are making sport of the 3 Irish lasses in picture #6 are picky, picky, picky. I’d bang all 3 like a screen door in a hurricane — sober even. The one on the left is perfect titty-fuck material. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it. Of course I wouldn’t marry any of them — goes without saying.

  • 20. Ms. Hinge  |  March 17th, 2010 at 6:31 am

    Some good points made there.
    However I don’t think your placing enough blame on the catholic church(they seat of power vacated by our english overlord in the early 20′s was filled by Fr. McKiddyfiddle’s fat overfed arse so fast it made eye’s water) for the erosion of celtic culture; language,poetry and novels etc. believe it or not the church once gathered up every copy they could of “the green man” by Patrick Kavanagh and held public book burnings because they found it a wee bit too risque.
    Do not underestimate the power the church had in Ireland and the fear they could strike into the heart of the average paddy(they closed all pubs across Ireland every St Patrick’s day up until the 70′s)
    and now we’re supposed to raise a glass to the father of organised religion in Ireland- a bearded welsh twat guilty of snake-genocide who heard voices in hie head?
    As that charming old irish saying goes “kiss me f**ckin’ hole”

  • 21. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 17th, 2010 at 8:04 am

    If there’s anything you still don’t understand about Irish intellectuals, read this:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2009/0709/1224250319175.html

    and this:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2009/1103/1224257962394.html

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/frontpage/2009/1202/1224259894300.html

  • 22. Jeanne  |  March 17th, 2010 at 8:16 am

    “Irish nationalism is a murky ideology; where greed mixes with social responsibility and venture capitalist drug-dealers form alliances with committed socialists.”

    Thank you for giving me new insight into how that scheming dwarf Bono fooled the world into thinking he gives a fuck about the poor. I see now where he learned his bullshit artistry.

  • 23. The Bishop of Ballyfucket  |  March 17th, 2010 at 8:32 am

    Spot on lad, well done. We’ll see you Sunday at Mass. Bring your kneepads.

  • 24. BigMick  |  March 17th, 2010 at 9:32 am

    Ireland might not be perfect, but then nowhere is, it’s my homeland and I think it’s still a great place to live.

    Fuck the begrudgers.

  • 25. Toba  |  March 17th, 2010 at 9:56 am

    ..have to agree with Fissile.I would fuck them without hesitation and would enjoy especially the one on the left with those awsome tits.

  • 26. JoJoJo  |  March 17th, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Those three chicks in that pic have faces so greasy it looks like they just came from blowing the Hamburgler after eating all his hamburgers. That charcoal drawing of the she-wretch is much more bangable. Perhaps another famine is in order.

  • 27. BlottoBonVismarck  |  March 17th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    A BIT OF IRISH

    CUTE HOORS
    Paddy O’Fenian – Did no one ever tell you about not washing our dirty linen in public? We might need the ignorant and benighted yanks (well their bankers anyway) to believe that Celtic Tiger bullshit once more. Though if Greece is any example, the last thing Ireland, Iceland, Lativia or any of the PIIGS need is any more of Wall Street’s ‘help,’ as in, apparently, help off a cliff.
    Greece – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/simon-johnson/senator-kaufman-fraud-sti_b_500146.html
    Greece – The Exiled’s version – http://exiledonline.com/message-to-greece-well-crack-down-on-our-wall-street-speculators-as-soon-as-you-stop-fucking-our-vacationing-girlfriends/

    U2 – KEEPING IT CLASSY
    Talking of fucking their girlfriends, at least make sure that you don’t tell them about that time U2 was playing illegally — no permit — on a New York rooftop. “Do any of you have a bit Irish in you,” cries Bono. Cheers from the crowd. “Would any of you like a bit more Irish in you?” Instant cheers from the girls. And, slowly, oh so slowly, quizical looks from the men. “Say what?”

    As you suggest, the Irish still admire those who are sly and cute and who can hoodwink the authorities. Something to do with eight hundred years of colonialism. The tribunals — was it eight of them? — investigating multiple corruption scandals looked like the first sign of the country growing up to being an up-to-date modern democracy with the rule of law. A faint hope? Certainly, if your version is true.

    KEY
    Cute – clever, sly.
    Hoor – ‘professional lady’ (as in _only_ professional )
    Cute Hoor – Used in admiration. Mostly said of sly, clever, crooked businessmen, or politicians – men. Go figure. Usually for ‘pulling a stroke.’
    Pulling a stroke – a coup – caper – scam. Illegal, unethical, crooked, immoral, or all four together

    SALLY O’BRIEN
    The perfect Irishwoman – who was English — Thank you, Guinness Marketing. — Vicki MIchelle in ‘Allo Allo’ – “Oh, Rene.” – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKlsgyWY21M

  • 28. SDaedalus  |  March 17th, 2010 at 11:39 am

    A lot of what this article says is correct.

    Cynicism is the great gift, and curse of the Irish.

    The article itself is typically Irish, being a cleverly cynical look at Irish cynicism.

    But if we’re to go beyond cynicism (as the author impliedly wants the Irish to do), shouldn’t he be suggesting some solutions.

    The difficulty with being Irish is that it’s so much easier to criticise the existing system than to change it.

    Rather than begrudgery, we need a can-do attitude.

    I would really like to hear the author’s suggestions.

  • 29. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 17th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    Guess what? To add insult to injury, we are now the ‘I’ in PIGS.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/8551660.stm

  • 30. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 17th, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Irish women have competition.

    http://www.boners.com/grub/811757.html

    (from last year’s parade in Dublin)

  • 31. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 17th, 2010 at 12:49 pm

    @fissile, @toba,

    IF YOU STILL WANT TO FUCK THOSE FUCKING ELEPHANTS AFTER SEEING THIS PICTURE

    http://exile.ru/blog/detail.php?BLOG_ID=16566

    YOU ARE A FUCKING HOMO!!!

    GET HELP NOW!!!

  • 32. BlottoBonVismarck  |  March 17th, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    THE WEARING OF THE GREEN

    Suitable background music – Dawn Upshaw – Gorecki, Symphony 3, ‘Sorrowful Songs’ ; ) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=chwDoQuD77g

    Do the six million Afghans killed by US / UK policy in thirty years look any different? Or the 3m Iraqis in twenty years??? No.

    NEOCONS
    1. Michael Moore’s article at ICH – “The Green they steal, the greed they wear” – A St. Patrick’s Day Lament – Jaysus, that’ll have them rolling in the aisles. Did he make an early start on the grog? – http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25009.htm

    Hard luck. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of Neocons and the Re-thuglican Property Party elite. Pity about the other ninety-seven percent of US though — Just like Iraq and Saddam. ‘Hard luck, old boy’ – Tony Blair. — Enjoy the irony. While you can.

    Your future, brought to you by the Neocons, who undoubtedly have some more plans for US. – ICH – http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article25006.htm

    Y’all be careful now. “Oops” – UXB – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NfcC0ki6uhI#t=02m28s

    1916 – Because making history is not a bloodless activity from behind a keyboard. Neither should it be “an attempt at mass suicide. As Paddy O’Fenian says “1916 inside the GPO – Suicide has never looked so cool” ; ) – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Aq7bcY9tuao#t=01m52s

    Today, after drowning in the waves of Guinness coming across the bar, a moderate amount of crying and wailing when in your cups is allowed, even required. – W. B. Yeats – “Wherever green is worn” – ‘Easter 1916′ – http://www.theatlantic.com/past/docs/unbound/poetry/soundings/easter.htm

    But tomorrow, before choosing violence, remember those faces above. And remember the words of Gandhi. Then make your choice.

    “I object to violence because (even) when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” — Mohandas K. Gandhi

  • 33. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 17th, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    @JoJoJo

    “Those three chicks in that pic have faces so greasy it looks like they just came from blowing the Hamburgler after eating all his hamburgers.”

    OK. Let me explain that pic to you. Those are Irish prostitutes. How do I know they’re prostitutes? Because there are 3 of them. IRISH PROSTITUTES ALWAYS OPERATE IN THREES. I have been whale-watching on the Temple Bar long enough to notice that.

    Also, the one on the right might have blown the Hamburglar for his hamburgers but the one on the left ate all the hamburgers AND the Hamburglar but was too fat to bend down and give him a blow-job (don’t ever ask an Irish girl for a blow-job, you’ll regret it). She did, however, get him to spend the last of his savings on 28 pints of Guinness, just to get the party started, so to speak.
    The girl in the middle is the underage sister of the girl on the left and she looks sad because she got no hamburgers. (But don’t worry. Soon she will be old enough to dump her moo-moo-cow sister and get to blow the Hamburglar all by herself, eat all the hamburgers and grow a big fat arse like all the other girls.)
    She is a common feature in Dublin nightlife. There are enough underage little-sister prostitutes any night of the week to keep Gary Glitter in business and out of Vietnam.

  • 34. SDaedalus  |  March 17th, 2010 at 1:49 pm

    Paddy

    Forget about the elephants, have you any useful suggestions? If not you are just as bad as the people you complain about.

    PS this would be a shame as you write rather well.

  • 35. senorpogo  |  March 17th, 2010 at 3:42 pm

    Great article.

    “Irish nationalism is a murky ideology; where greed mixes with social responsibility and venture capitalist drug-dealers form alliances with committed socialists.”

    FARC and the Colombia Three?

  • 36. dermotmoconnor  |  March 17th, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    One small nitpick in an otherwise excellent article:

    Ray MacSharry’s career didn’t end in disgrace following the phone-tapping scandal. This occurred in 1983, at which point he resigned to the Fianna Fail frontbench. He returned to cabinet in 1987 as Finance Minister, where he implemented the policies of the Fine Gael opposition party in a deal to keep the FF minority government in power.

    Since then, Mac went to Europe as a Commissioner, and is now a “respected” businessman.

    Yay!

  • 37. Toba  |  March 17th, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    @ Paddy O’Fuckoff. If you think those Russian dolls don’t tank up to elephant size either then you are in for a surprise.(Hint, check the ankles) At least the fee to TAP the Irish pussy wouldn’t be the price of a BMW when you consider these Russian girls you fawn over. It’s the same type of hole. You just have to make sure the fat girls know how to wash up.

  • 38. Frank  |  March 17th, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Exile: what do you mean by misspellings (well, we should be glad you got that one right, I think… all OED could come up with was “1. What is the origin of the word ‘OK’?”… oh God… is it Zen week in Oxford?)?

    Back to my point.. do you seriously think the only alternatives in english orthography are a. Yank and b. smarmy Brit? Get a life, guys…

    There’s more to comment on in the comments than in the one-dimensional, if at least well spelt article, particularly for a guy who’s stuck drinking rum this evening, Paddy’s Day notwithstanding… having survived 72 hours in a Bielorussian tractor collective in the Carribean. Man, that sucks… the only highlight were the Bielorussians desperately looking for chicas and ron at the pool before they were shipped back to the only really communist country on Earth. Even the Venezuelans don’t need tractors. But the damn hotel sure does smell of cabbage…

    “The tribunals — was it eight of them? — investigating multiple corruption scandals”

    About that, I lost count. But, in contrast to some places, say Germany, countries like Ireland and Italy actually setup tribunals and looked under the rocks and found the culpable out. Germany, even with its “elephantine” corruption, couldn’t, or didn’t.

    And the catholic paedophile sex… we’ll it’s been happening everywhere else too. We Irish owned up and kicked the cunts out. Even Brady will go, and good riddance. What about your lot? Don’t gloat. Or even smirk. Kardinal Ratzinger could trip yet. His brother is toast, how close can you come and survive?

    “those three chicks in that pic”

    Hey, about the girls… we’ve been working on our race. Why do you think we’ve been letting in the Letts, the Poles, the Czechs, and the Hungarians (man, there’s Darwinistic inequality, never have I been where girls are so beautiful and the guys are so ugly…). In 2, maybe 3 generations we’ll have it sorted, and the only use you’ll have for pix like that is “when I were a young feller…”

    “Irish nationalism is a murky ideology”

    Any nationalism is murky. What do you expect? Like Yank natio…. oops I mean idealism… shining torch… light in the darkness… right… think Guantanamo: just murk all round. Oil, arms, racism, supremacy, dollars, whatever…

    “washing our dirty linen in public”
    We do. That’s what makes us great. Not very attractive… but without complaint, nothing changes. So we Irish are world champion bitchers. Political commentary in Ireland is a blood sport. None of your insipid US TV debates with an oh-so-polite moderator ensuring that everyone talks past each other. English (and I used the adjective deliberately, since they’re the only ones who count on their benighted island) political commentary is best in hindsight, like “Yes Minister”. You got to wash your linen? Do it now!!

    Whatever the author says, Ireland actually has a future. And not one made in China. We’ve got people who can actually think for themselves, a government who doesn’t need to arm its police to keep order, who doesn’t go out of its way to walk into trouble… yes, we needed and appreciate American economic help, and now it’s time for our Yank friends to pay attention and stop getting up the world’s nose.

  • 39. Erik Bramsen  |  March 17th, 2010 at 7:36 pm

    Well, at least you’ve got gorgeous chicks.

  • 40. Paddy O'Fuckoff  |  March 18th, 2010 at 12:33 am

    @SDaedelus
    I realized a long time ago (back in the 80s to be exact) that the Irish are a lost cause. They are essentially rednecks and since the Celtic Tiger, rednecks who won the lotto. People with lots of money and no sense. Instead of trying to change and pick themselves up, they made excuses like the Famine or 800 years of occupation. Bullshit! Back in my Bainbridge Avenue days, I watched Irish construction guys make $1,000/week (a real fortune back then) and go home in debt because they “pissed it all down the Hudson”. Very few of them tried to better themselves in any way. At least they worked, which is more than I can say for the present generation.
    Face it, Ireland has resisted modernity since kicking the Brits out and instead indulged in Catholicism and Guinness. Read the history of human thought in the 20th century. Read about the various political and art movements that emerged between the Wars, like Dadaism, Surrealism, Socialism, WHERE WAS IRELAND THE WHOLE TIME???? Oh that’s right, banning books, driving out our best writers, raping our children. Even Catholic Spain managed to produce Dali and Miro. Yet who created anything in Catholic Ireland???

    @Toba
    Yes I know Russian chicks tank up but at least they go to around 30 before they do. Irish chicks eat fish and chips or bacon and eggs for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day and tank up before they reach legal age. That’s why they have to snare a husband so young. Seriously, the only good looking Irish girls I see are still in school (the recession may change this).

  • 41. Alexander  |  March 18th, 2010 at 1:48 am

    It’s a little funny that corrupt politician can somehow become an argument against classic liberalism.

    Sure, the way to avoid corruption is to give the politicians even more power over the economy.

  • 42. SweetLeftFoot  |  March 18th, 2010 at 2:52 am

    Good article. Could have done more on the mental fucking Dublin coke fuelled gangsters shooting each other every day and night. Those lads are crazy. same with Limerick.

    I lived in Dublin for a few years at the height of the Tiger. Fucken awesome times. Glad i fucked off though.

  • 43. SDaedalus  |  March 18th, 2010 at 3:17 am

    Paddy

    Just a brief email as I am supposed to be working.

    I agree that Ireland has had a difficult adjustment to independence (various African & South American nations come to mind by parallel)

    Also once we got rid of the Anglo-Irish our culture more or less went to pot. I know not all our writers were Anglo-Irish but the ones who weren’t were still influenced by them. It didn’t help that we decided to get rid of/desecrate all English cultural symbols e.g. put up ugly corporation flats opposite great buildings.

    And yes, the Church stultified independent thinking (but we let them do it, basically the ideal situation for an Irish person is under the yoke and happily complaining about it – there is definitely some analogy with submissive sexual practices here)

    But by and large Ireland’s performance during the 20th century was better than most other countries. At least we avoided gulags, the atomic bomb, Senator Eugene McCarthy, collaboration & fascism (mostly). You have to be fair here, there is something to be said for inertia.

  • 44. SDaedalus  |  March 18th, 2010 at 3:18 am

    PS I also forgot genocide. Sorry.

  • 45. Vinnie  |  March 18th, 2010 at 11:46 am

    @ Anyone who wants some feel-good “positive solution” bullshit.

    There are two ways to fix Ireland’s backwardness:

    (1) Nine Hydrogen bombs.

    (2) Cultural revolution – complete with lynchings of politicians and bureaucrats and a little green book.

    Good luck with either of them…

  • 46. Brendan  |  March 19th, 2010 at 1:11 am

    Ireland vs Iceland. Who has been captured and who is still a free nation?

    http://somecommentsfromtheedge.blogspot.com/2010/03/public-choice-theory-in-small-stressed.html

  • 47. OstroNova  |  March 19th, 2010 at 3:28 am

    As I read this article, and tried to orient myself, I was reminded of this passage from English author T.H. White’s modern classic, “The Once and Future King.”

    [Three knights from King Arthur's Round Table, lost at sea, have just drifted to shore in a far-flung Gaelic realm, Lothian; Lothian is in Scotland, but for White, the Gaels were all the same race and culture, whether Irish or Scottish, as the book makes abundantly clear. The knights, one of whom is black, stand on the beach as the amazed locals approach and gather round.]

    *************************************

    The Gaels stood round the Galls [that is, the knights] with their mounts open, while the village children shouted the news in the distance and Mother Morlan came jogging with her skirts tucked up and the currachs at sea came rowing madly home. The young princelings of Lothian got off their donkeys as if in a trance, and joined the circle. The circle itself began to press inward on its focus, moving as slowly and as silently as the minute hand of a clock, except for the suppressed shouts from the late arrivals who fell silent themselves as soon as they were within the influence. The circle was contracting because it wanted to touch the knights – not now, not for half an hour or so, not until the examination was over, perhaps never. But it would have liked to touch them in the end, partly to be sure that they were real, partly to sum up the price of their clothes. And, as the pricing was continued, three things began to happen. Mother Morlan and the auld wives started to say the rosary, while the young women pinched each other and giggled – the men, having doffed their caps in deference to the praying, began to exchange in Gaelic such remarks as “Look at the black man, God between us and harm,” or “Do they be naked at bed-time, or how do they get the iron pots off them whatever?” – and, in the minds of both women and men, irrespective of age or circumstance, there began to grow, almost visibly, almost tangibly, the enormous, the incalculable miasma which is the leading feature of the Gaelic brain.

    *************************************

    Definition of “miasma” from the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Infectious or noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous particles or germs floating in and polluting the atmosphere; noxious emanations, esp. malaria.

  • 48. OstroNova  |  March 19th, 2010 at 3:56 am

    As I read this article, and tried to orient myself, I was reminded of this passage from English author T.H. White’s modern classic, “The Once and Future King.”

    [Three knights from King Arthur's Round Table, lost at sea, have just drifted to shore in a far-flung Gaelic realm, Lothian; Lothian is in Scotland, but for White, the Gaels were all the same race and culture, whether Irish or Scottish, as the book makes abundantly clear. The knights, one of whom is black, stand on the beach as the amazed locals approach and gather round.]

    *************************************

    The Gaels stood round the Galls [that is, the knights] with their mounts open, while the village children shouted the news in the distance and Mother Morlan came jogging with her skirts tucked up and the currachs at sea came rowing madly home. The young princelings of Lothian got off their donkeys as if in a trance, and joined the circle. The circle itself began to press inward on its focus, moving as slowly and as silently as the minute hand of a clock, except for the suppressed shouts from the late arrivals who fell silent themselves as soon as they were within the influence. The circle was contracting because it wanted to touch the knights – not now, not for half an hour or so, not until the examination was over, perhaps never. But it would have liked to touch them in the end, partly to be sure that they were real, partly to sum up the price of their clothes. And, as the pricing was continued, three things began to happen. Mother Morlan and the auld wives started to say the rosary, while the young women pinched each other and giggled – the men, having doffed their caps in deference to the praying, began to exchange in Gaelic such remarks as “Look at the black man, God between us and harm,” or “Do they be naked at bed-time, or how do they get the iron pots off them whatever?” – and, in the minds of both women and men, irrespective of age or circumstance, there began to grow, almost visibly, almost tangibly, the enormous, the incalculable miasma which is the leading feature of the Gaelic brain.

    *************************************

    Definition of “miasma” from the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Infectious or noxious exhalations from putrescent organic matter; poisonous particles or germs floating in and polluting the atmosphere; noxious emanations, esp. malaria.

  • 49. Anto  |  March 19th, 2010 at 5:58 am

    @BlottoBonVismarck

    Bono didn’t said that, it was actually Phil Lynott from the band Thin Lizzy. Check out the track Emerald from the ’78 live album Live and Dangerous.

  • 50. BlottoBonVismarck  |  March 19th, 2010 at 11:31 am

    #46
    BRILLIANT. Cynical, the truth (or a facsimile thereof), scurrilous _and_ deroratory. Five stars. Could use more ‘derogatory.’

    “Case one: The Irish. Long time cannon fodder of the British Empire, the Irish can be expected to take one for the team pretty much on demand.”

    “The Icelanders, on the other hand, put it to the people and the people said “No thanks, generally we get chocolates and flowers before we let people do that to us”.”

    #49
    I have a memory of watching the video (youtube?). Must have been put there by space aliens. My bad. (Whatever that means). “Never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” – ould Irish proverb?

    “In writing, truth and lies can be used to tell the truth. In politics, no.” – Harold Pinter, paraphrased badly – Nobel Acceptance Speech – an evergreen piece of brilliant truth-telling –

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-5779318336871023559

    ‘Don’t mess with writers,’ because they write the version that will be history – “But he will not be bullied. He will not be intimidated. He is a fearless, formidable, totally independent voice. He does something which is really quite simple but highly unusual. He tells the truth.” Harold Pinter Introduces Noam Chomsky. St. Pauls Cathedral, London, 2002. –

    http://tinyurl.com/6o8sqh

  • 51. SDaedalus  |  March 20th, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    Vinnie

    That’s really helpful. However I was kind of hoping that Ireland would be still around as a physical entity at the end of it all, which puts the kybosh on your first suggestion. The second suggestion is tempting though.

    OstroNova
    Miasma doesn’t exist. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miasma_theory_of_disease

    Also, it was White’s case that everything that went wrong for Arthur started in Lothian. He had an anti-Celtic bias.

    This idea that the Irish are perpetually doomed is a great way to sit around on our arses feeling sorry for ourselves without doing anything about it.

    PS the Scots (also Celtic, and also within White’s quote) managed to take over Great Britain. Twice.

  • 52. Vinnie  |  March 21st, 2010 at 8:32 am

    @SDaedalus

    While I may or may not have written this article I would make one point: it’s satire – it doesn’t have to point to a solution.

    Nor does it point to some quasi-genetic defect with the Irish themselves – as some ghastly Galtonians seem to be implying. The Irish are the way they are due to their history, which has left them petty and their institutions in an aborted state of modernisation.

    It’s a terrible pity because there’s a lot that’s good about the country. However, if the Irish ever want to crawl out of their primitivism they need to grow up. It’s that simple – and that complicated. Grow up.

    Stop moaning. Stop being subservient. Stop allowing the elites to get away with murder. Stop blaming the Queen for everything. Stop enviously eyeballing your neighbours potato patch. Stop voting for “thu luvly bloke” from Fianna Fail. Grow up.

  • 53. SDaedalus  |  March 21st, 2010 at 11:47 am

    Vinny/Paddy/Whoever/Whatever

    The idea of satire without a solution is so Irish it makes me smile (in a nice way). We specialise in non-constructive criticism.

    The suggestion “stop moaning” would be of mutual relevance, no?

    The other suggestions on stop being subservient, voting for the local gombeen man, blaming the Brits, land-grabbing etc. are spot on.

    We Irish are so apathetic (miasmatic?) that we really do need to be given concrete suggestions on how to improve if anything is to change.

    Thank you for these suggestions. Maybe we can hold off on the hydrogen bombs for the time being.

  • 54. Toba  |  March 21st, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    Actually Vinnie it isn’t a question of growing up, it’s a matter of the cyclic natures of all things and that includes nations. The Celts have had their glory and then it became the time for the Anglo saxon to make his mark in the world . However, the Celts have ruled the entire European continent for a longer time than any other european people and they did it united. Traces of their dominance and empire can be noted in the names of many places in European and Asia minor. They ruled Britain longer than the Anglo Saxons and whereupon the Anglo saxons submitted to the Normans within some years the Celts held out in Wales in particular for over 800. The British as brutal as they were had real fear when in Ireland than in any part of their empire and that includes up to the recent times of dealing with the IRA.
    Caesar did much to destroy them and their history. His army killed over 5 million of them and right before he was assassinated, preparation were underway by him to take to the field against them once again. He then, as the Anglo saxons now, was and are pitted against a people whom are wearied from fighting throughout the centuries. Against the Celts in their prime, the Romans died as the Normans and Anglo Saxons, like flies.
    I’am not a Celt but I give credit where it’s due.

  • 55. Vinnie  |  March 22nd, 2010 at 4:50 am

    @SDaedalus

    Another point: I think that people should stop conflating “moaning” and genuine criticism. Had I gone to my local pub and complained about the price of a pint I’d be moaning. Had I returned home from a sterile, oppressive, soon-to-be-downsized office and complained to my spouse about my supervisor, I’d be moaning.

    Making direct criticisms targeted at specific persons and institutions – as well as certain institutionalised character traits – is far from moaning. If you don’t believe me, give it a go. The former will ensure that you fit in nicely, live in a half-deserted suburb and die in a puddle of your own stress still working at 70 years old.

    I’m not 100% where the latter will get you but you certainly won’t fit in nicely. People don’t like hearing that shit – because they’re too busy moaning!

    @Toba

    I scanned your post like a CIA computer scans people’s e-mails. I identified the words “cyclic nature of things” and “Celts” and have thus concluded that you are some sort of pagan or Wiccan or something of the sort. I have no love for Catholicism, but I thought we got beyond all that. Oh, hang on, I just picked up my local newspaper, there’s an astrology column – guess we didn’t…

  • 56. SDaedalus  |  March 22nd, 2010 at 12:15 pm

    Making direct criticisms targeted at specific persons and institutions – as well as certain institutionalised character traits – is far from moaning. If you don’t believe me, give it a go

    Ok point taken, well put. I now appreciate the subtle pitch difference between a generic & specific moan.

    The difficulty is that most people are thick and lazy and if you want change (as opposed to just criticism for the sake of criticism) it’s essential to offer a solution, they won’t think it up themselves.

  • 57. Vinnie  |  March 22nd, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    That’s “genuine criticism” not “generic moan”. Personally I’m perfectly happy with criticism for criticisms sake. *Puts on Rodney Dangerfield accent* “Just ask my ex-wife, yuk-yuk-yuk”.

    Seriously though… I’ve never been married… oh, and, yeah, its not that people don’t care, its that they don’t want to hear solutions. Why? Well, I could give the elites plenty of pointers on how to run a more equitable economy in Ireland – I think they’d probably just call security.

    As for the peasantr… I mean citizenry. Well, as stated above they don’t even want to hear advice like “No, don’t take out that second mortgage there’s going to be a crash”. They’re so aped up on the cultural equivalent of prozac – and sometimes prozac – that they don’t want to hear something that remotely criticises da syztem.

    No, I’ll stick to my criticism: the Irish elite are corrupt; Irish people are complacent and “Two and a Half Men” is one of the worst shows ever broadcast on any television… anywhere!

  • 58. SDaedalus  |  March 23rd, 2010 at 4:20 am

    Yes there is way too much herd instinct in Ireland & not enough individualism.

    It’s that small town village attitude.

    If Mary down the road takes out a 2nd mortgage to pay for a 100,000 Euro kitchen, we have to do so too and also buy that apartment in Berlin (the Germans must really have been laughing at the Irish property investors here)

    But if Kevin across the street actually gets off his ass and does something useful, he’s too big for his boots.

    PS Leave Charlie Sheen alone, at least he keeps trying (an achievement given that he is part-Irish), we have to foster some initiative here.

  • 59. SDaedalus  |  March 24th, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Vinny

    I note you draw attention to the fact you’ve never been married. I’m trying to work out the significance of this – is it connected to the whole Irish thing you write about in your article, or am I missing something?

    SDaedalus

  • 60. Vinnie  |  March 25th, 2010 at 3:47 pm

    @SDaedalus Nah… ex-wife joke… did that bomb or what? I’m gonna go cut out my funny bone… back in a minute…

  • 61. SDaedalus  |  March 25th, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    I am so sorry, my sense of humour hamster must have been on strike, please accept my apologies.

    I thought you were impliedly saying that all Irish people were genetically cursed & should not pass this on, looking at yr reply at 52 above I see this was not the case

    PS perhaps you’d be less cranky if married though? (joke)

  • 62. A. Begrudger  |  April 6th, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    Well, just… bullshit.

    What a load of left-wing navel-gazing Frank McCourt-style whiny wankery.

    So, we’re supposed to be so edgy and cynical because we’re reinventing the devil and original sin and mortification of the flesh in the form of businessmen being the root of all evil, and we’re all tooo Catholic for tooo long (we are sooo guilty! Bless us and save us Fr. Marx! GUILLLLTYYYYY!!!) and liking money too much.

    Well, actually, we do like money too much, fair enough; it’s as though we were teetotalling old bachelors who fell off the wagon spending the entire farm mortgage over an entire weekend in in a lap-dance bar full of polish strippers while blitzed on redbull and vodka.

    And the girls in the photo remind me of some brit’s quip that at one time all the girls in Ireland used to have orange hair and skin the colour of straw, whereas now it’s the other way around.

    You missed the obvious dick joke: our ultimate monument to the Celtic Tiger in the middle of Dublin’s O’Connell Street. Most public monuments in history are about claiming the public space for a symbol of collective membership. We got membership of the servile state and atomised global consumer society via the vacuous, vomit-worthy, enema-inducing “Spire” – i.e. the Spike, as in heroin needle, or perhaps an overpaid over-important underachieving civil servant’s paper spike, or just “A Giant Prick” (i.e. every south-side Dubliner or provincial dick-drip suburban semi-detatched wannabee you meet joyriding like a teenager on speed in the rest of Ireland every single goddamned bankholiday weekend – or the entire managerial class of Ireland, but I repeat myself).

    In the Ireland of the ’80′s was there were whispers of a military takeover by the President to preserve public order in the face of 21% unemployment; it sure as hell wasn’t because we weren’t bankrupting ourselves on civil servants who thought they were a secular incarnation of Marx’s living church on earth, with 60% tax rates that practically legitimised tax fraud and bribery.

    But all the neo-stalinist head-fuckers in the Workers Party cadres like Eoghan Harris who infiltrated the media, and entered into a kinder, gentler Hitler-Stalin Pact with royal-fucker cartel-capitalists like Tony O’Reilly, got to complain to this day about how terrible, how awful the Irish are about following the proper rules. (You may remember Eoghan as the paid spindoctor for neocon fraudster Ahmed Chalabi…) We really do need our betters to guide us – the global corporate mercantilists with their Economic forums and trade blocs; and their useful idiots from the “house negro” Left, who believe that all traditional institutions need to be broken down before Hegel’s wheel can turn fully to the revolution.

    We have 300,000 assholes in the Civil Service who shit the money everybody else has to actually go out and earn with all the responsibility of Frat Boys with a permanent case of Spring Break squirts in Tijuana. Then we have 400,000 economic roadkill out of work, of which approximately 180,000 living brain-dead have been out of work for about 3 generations, right through the Celtic Tiger years when we were importing Eastern Europeans like french hookers to an arab yacht party.

    Oh, and shout-outz to the EU for fucking us up with a one-size fits all Eurozone methamphetamine injection of bank-rates designed for a morbidly obese German savings regime under economic cardiac arrest. “why don’t they save like us?” because then no one would buy your exports, you pig-latin fucknuts.

    Maybe Ireland is more like the mediterranean countries in temperment, so what? I’d rather be ruled by the equivalent of an Italian fascist than a super-efficient German feminist; you could at least bribe the Italian.

  • 63. Sean O'Caoinleain  |  May 6th, 2010 at 8:59 am

    Article sums up the country in a nutshell. Fianna Fail and their policies have been a disaster; the only good thing is that people are genuinely fed up with them and are in for a sore result next election. Bad news is we’ll get Fine Gael who can be just as worst as them (remember Michael Lowry and the Moriarty Tribunal). Labour aren’t going to make much of a difference here. Only hope are groups like Sinn Fein, the Socialist Party and People Before Profit.

  • 64. mook  |  May 10th, 2010 at 7:12 pm

    Ok Ok, thanks for the doom and gloom! American’s of Irish decent have no use for Ireland, please, our roots are deep and we are American to the core. God bless America, Ireland sounds like a nice little Island with little budget problems. The blog was a waste of time and we are all more stupid for reading it! Good day and may the sun rise again some day in Ireland.

  • 65. mook  |  May 10th, 2010 at 7:20 pm

    Oh yes one other thing, if one has a Big Mac for the first time, does he or she not want another, its called being human! From Africa-Iceland that 1st Big Mac sure does taste mighty good. Education of the soul brother, how can we all be at peace and live in harmony, seek to have great children and turn them into non consumer center driven beings thats the only way out.

  • 66. Theologian  |  May 16th, 2010 at 10:34 am

    This might succeed in being an analysis if it did not exhibit sheer factual ignorance at every step. Some basic information about Irish history might help you along; no wonder your analysis is about as politically useful as a beached whale. It’s the kind of cast-up, defeated, ignorant rant you can read on any third-rate blog (try Politics.ie). As No. 64 astutely observed, after reading this article you know less than before you started.

  • 67. AmericanRefugee  |  June 21st, 2011 at 5:39 am

    You totally nailed the Irish, Paddy! I found out:

    The Irish are white people. Walking down the streets I used to amuse myself by looking freakishly ugly! If a mere American tries to tell the USA “I have never been around people so lacking in any moral standards, so perversely admiring of cheating and theft as you Americans” good luck. My theory is that immorality of every kind is “cool”!

    I am looking forward to getting fat!

    Thanks for telling the vermin.

  • 68. AmericanRefugee  |  June 21st, 2011 at 11:03 am

    I am lame, Mr Censor. I am so, so lame. I stink from here. Does it amuse you to laugh at me on your own site? The hurting–you know that song by Tears For Fears? Where they wear those hearcuts and they cry “The truth hurrrrts huuurrrts hurrrrts”? I bet that hurts hearing Tears For Fears.

    Censor this asshole.


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