|The odd Celts (photo credit: wikipedia)|
Andrew O’Hehir wrote this:
When the Provisional Irish Republican Army agreed to end its paramilitary insurgency (and/or terrorist campaign) against British rule in Northern Ireland with the Good Friday accords of 1998, it was unambiguously a good thing for the people of Ireland and their British next-door neighbors. It’s not like everything suddenly became hunky-dory in the long and troubled historical relationship between those islands, but the peace has largely held – splinter groups and isolated sectarian violence aside – and an era of relative normalcy and increasing prosperity has followed. Given the global context of the 21st century, an intractable religious-cum-nationalist dispute between two tiny groups of white people in the northwest corner of Europe looks pretty close to irrelevant.
But the end of the IRA’s guerrilla war had a less salubrious effect on the Irish-American population, and I say that in full awareness that on the surface that’s an offensive statement. What I mean is that the last connection between Irish-American identity and genuine history was severed, and all we’re left with now is a fading and largely bogus afterlife. On one hand, Irishness is a nonspecific global brand of pseudo-old pubs, watered-down Guinness, “Celtic” tattoos and vague New Age spirituality, designed to make white people feel faintly cool without doing any of the hard work of actually learning anything. On the other, it’s Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, Pat Buchanan and Rep. Peter King, Long Island’s longtime Republican congressman (and IRA supporter), consistently representing the most stereotypical grade of racist, xenophobic, small-minded, right-wing Irish-American intolerance. When you think of the face of white rage in America, it belongs to a red-faced Irish dude on Fox News.
In its finer moments, the Irish republicanism of the ’70s and ’80s sparked a global consciousness among a population of privileged white Americans whose cultural distinctness was fading fast. You didn’t have to support Angela Davis, Che Guevara and the PLO to understand that there was a historical relationship between their issues and the Irish Troubles. Ireland was the original colonized nation, and was subjected to a near-genocidal conquest centuries before the Holocaust. It was where the policies of the British Empire were road-tested for use in India and Africa, and where a subject population stripped of property and political rights was then blamed for its own poverty. The island’s native people, despite their white skin, were viewed as savage and barbaric because they did not speak English, practiced an alien religion and hewed to unfamiliar cultural customs. During the Great Famine of the 1840s, which produced a huge wave of Irish emigration to America, the Irish poor were starved to death or driven off their own land by the millions. Yes, the potato — a plant imported from South America by the British — had been ruined by blight, but the famine itself was avoidable. Its true cause was not the black fungus that turned the prátaí to inedible mush, but a pseudo-Darwinian, proto-Milton Friedman free market ideology, insisted upon at a time when Ireland as a whole was a net exporter of food.
Without exception, those people started from an understanding of their own cultural and national history. They began with Irish nationalist or republican politics, and moved from there to consider how Ireland’s story fit into a worldwide pattern that transcended the specific racial paranoia of the United States. Of course Irish history did not end in 1998, and the current situation in that country – a land of immigrants for the first time in its modern history – is exceptionally interesting. But Ireland is no longer a divisive and charismatic “issue,” capable of galvanizing people who live thousands of miles away. With Irish-American identity now split between an optional lifestyle accessory and a bunch of unappealing right-wing guys yelling at us, its social-justice component has evaporated as well.
Am I proud of my Irish heritage? Sure I am, up to a point: We’re all born with something, and I was born with a name no one can spell or pronounce, which is specific to a few townlands in County Clare. I’ve actually made it more Yank-friendly by inserting the apostrophe; my dad insisted upon “O Hehir,” and in retrospect I’m surprised he didn’t go all the way to Ó hEithir or Ó hAíchir. (As I have told strangers roughly twice a day for the last several decades, you say it “just like the airport.”) I inherited some of my Irish-raised dad’s snobbery about the hopelessly Americanized character of St. Patrick’s Day, which a serious alcoholic like him could only view as amateur hour. I don’t miss Irish-America’s dishonest relationship to Irish violence (although the worst offenders in that department were almost always the racist and homophobic old guard). But I’d put up with many choruses of “Danny Boy,” and many rounds of green-label Budweiser, to get back that feeling we briefly had of being an immigrant group that was trying to confront its history, and to see the prison of whiteness for what it really is. (“How did Irish Americans get so disgusting,” Salon.com)
With Irish-American identity now split between an optional lifestyle accessory
Maybe actually go for that. What an opportunity! Next step is for us to not factor it in as an option at all, and our identity is spared by necessity being linked to the tribal. The English were asses for dominating us for being odd -- actually, I personally think they were just projecting their own unwanted aspects onto us, and so weren't actually seeing us at all -- but it's quite possible we were nevertheless up to things like the Druidic sacrifice of children, and that we spent half our time in animistic dream states that were so enticing we didn't actually progress much -- however much I'm sure our songs and dances kicked f*cking ass compared to what they are now. I don't know for sure, but it strikes me we've all been getting much better over time, less barbaric, so it makes less and less sense to revere history.
Also, I'm not exactly sure what's going on in Russia, but I'm guessing it might come to be associated as being about the emptiness and triviality of modern times, and the wish to reconnect with the authentic Russian. If so -- let's not do anything even vaguely close to that.
Instead, ignore everyone who insists your current lifestyle is vapid and trivial -- disconnected -- so long as you're as well voting as progressive as you can. Buy the latest tech toy, be completely ignorant of when your ancestral tribe was at its heights (and undaunted when your ignorance is called disgraceful), and vote for gay marriage, minimum wage hikes, legalization of marijuana … and safe bet you'll be completely unlike those who took down the towers.
Scott du Nord
Was a time, you could drink and fight with the Irish. Before preachy, whinging, mincing step flower pickers and self-loathers like this undescended testicle of an author came along and assured us that we need to find an Irish woman for a decent fight.
Prison of whiteness? How long before this stooge escapes the prison of the male body he was born into.
Hating sissified men is neither xenophobia nor misogyny. It's the most primordial of instincts among alphas, male and female.
@Scott du Nord We fight those we've projected our own unwanted aspects into. Alphas pick on sissies because they remember when they felt feminized from being used to entertain and mop up maternal depression (an "asset" children historically have depended on for the sheer fact of being raised at all), and need to disown themselves of and destroy this powerless, distraught self. The best of men were raised better, closer to what they deserved, and have no defensive need to go all Putin.
The worst of the hyper-masculine refuse to have sex longer than a minute for fear of being poisoned by the vagina. You remain someone who I expect has posted here at feminine Salon for quite awhile, so if you want to go all the way Alpha you'd probably have to begin by leaving the site. It might be erroneously contaminating you.
Even the fact that you used the word "sissy" should maybe concern you more, if when you say it you momentarily mimic the dolled-up man with lollypop in hand, joined to the frivolous sisterhood of humanity.
More generalizing trash on Salon. Developing a trashy reputation Salon! Allow me to generalize. I am of Irish decent. I live in Montana. Butte Montana has one of the highest per capita "Irish" populations as well as many others that came to work the mines. The "Irish" in Montana don't sound like some loud, hyper-macho, urban, upper east-coast irish-stereotype following douche like Hannity or Oreilly. What you are criticizing is an East-coast behavior, not an Irish one! These guys are Americans acting out a false-macho male behavior learned in America. Same as "Italian" Americans in Jersey Shore or some such nonsense. They aren't Italians! They are idiot Americans longing for an identity. The "Irish" descendants across the midwest and west just act like plain old Americans. They don't cling to their supposed ethnic behaviors like on the East coast. Explain that! Why do people from Boston incessantly talk about being "Irish" and claim "Irishness". They aren't Irish! Fantasy.
@DaveD So the Irish that went to Montana to work the mines, aren't douches, aren't false macho, aren't longing for identity, don't cling, don't incessantly chatter, but are just plain old quiet-type Americans with nothing to prove, who rightly hate East-coasters?
If this is the identity they’re vested in, no wonder Democrats are sticking to professionals, minorities, and millenials for their success, because it's hard to imagine handing them out anything that wouldn't leave them feeling compromised and priss.
I describe bigotry as focusing on the lowest common denominator of a group.
Despite British genocide and demoralization of the Irish, the Irish who came to America also enjoyed the same levels of class, education and intelligence as any other group. The Carrolls of Carrollton (Charles was a Signer) were reputedly the richest family in the colonies, and Irish Catholics were the most educated group in the U.S. by WW One.
Radicals among the Irish included Mother Jones (Mary Harris), Margaret (Higgins) Sanger, co-founder of Planned Parenthood, Elizabeth Gurley Flynn, head of the U.S. Communist Party, and Michael Harrington, head of the Socialist Party. Martin Luther King in part descended from the Kings of County Cork. I and thousands of others, many, many of us of Irish ancestry, marched with him against the Boston school district. Liberal commentators of Irish background: Phil Donahue; Bill Maher; Dylan Rattigan. TV by its nature is a corporate mouthpiece; how
liberal will it ever be? The premise of this article reflects a certain amount of internalized bigotry.FYI, I also descend from the Hehirs of Clare.
@tony Scully You've put your army onto the field, and it's considerable -- somehow all the dead Hehirs seemed risen to momentarily stand by you in pride. Someone down below is also marching his Irish clan, and it's of the lowest common denominator you seem to want to be distinguished from-- the uneducated and maybe not most intelligent, but they insist, the most manly of the flock.
If I had to pick between the two, I'd go with what you assembled. But you know, I think I preferred when I didn't like some of the people you mention because I could count them part of my stock -- that is, when I liked them simply because, like me, they seemed to be people who cared.