Published March 24, 2009
The Irish Times – Letters
Madam, – We have a public sector at war with the private sector, we are the laughing stock of the world economy, we have scum shooting people supposedly in our name in the North, but look what we can achieve by working together, all 32 counties of us. – Yours, etc,
Ah yes, the old ‘If Barry McGuigan can be champion of the world, there’s no reason why I can’t successfully ride my spacehopper down the outside lane of the M1′ argument, tarted up a bit, with a few more actors.
Published March 24, 2009
A ‘grieving’ public must draw the line – Analysis, Opinion – Independent.ie
There is something distasteful about the morbid interest in Jade’s death, but even those of us who are turned off by it can, if we are honest, see the allure of dabbling with death at a safe distance.
SOOOOOOOooooooOOOOOOoooo true. For instance, when I read this I considered doing the sharpened pencil thing with my nostrils.
Published March 23, 2009
Lord help me I caught some of Scene Around Six or whatever it’s called these days. One of the main stories was about vandalism to an Orange Hall, or Orange Halls. A lone sprayman had written ‘RIRA’ in a line of black paint over the walls, in perhaps the most pathetic display of incendiary graffiti I have ever seen. The head of the Orange Order went to the scene, where he declared unto the nation that he was quite satisfied that this was not something that the nationalist community approved of at all. The news reporter said there was speculation that it might have been the work of a single teenager. Cut to another vandalised hall, with the same graffiti, and ladies sewing or something, the reporter saying ‘like GAA clubs, Orange Halls have other uses in the community too’, as though he were auditioning for an Education for Mutual Understanding DVD voiceover.
Did I ever mention I once had a job that involved polishing the floors of Orange Halls? Very drab places. Often the brightest thing about them is the badminton court markings. The most decadent thing about them is the kettle for making the tea. Also, when I was a kid, our house got covered in paramilitary graffiti, far worse than that on the Orange Hall today, in a case of mistaken identity. Didn’t make Scene Around Six though.
Published March 22, 2009
A junket-free St Patrick’s Day, for most – Eoghan Harris, Columnists – Independent.ie
We follow and find ourselves at the annual Patrick Day’s Mass of the New York Sanitation Department. The faces that gaze devoutly at the altar are faces from home, filled with pride in their work, and how far they have come, as a people and as persons: the blue-collar Irish, salt of the earth, people who are prepared to fight and die for democracy, people who deserved better than the bad politics that has been patronisingly pumped into them for years, and people who, we later discover, are now fully signed up for peace in Ireland.
Who would have thought that bin collection involved fighting and dying for democracy? And to think I’d been complaining about the increased bin charges!
Published March 20, 2009
I just wrote a long draft post on the Pope, the Catholic Church, AIDS and secular liberalism. It stinks. Instead, a brief summary:
- The Pope is the absolute monarch of an earthly corporation with a long and distinguished history of involvement in torture, castration, paedophilia, subjugation of women, alliance with fascist powers, slave labour etcetera. The problem with the Pope is that he exists, not that he expresses the wrong opinions or was in the Hitler Youth or is a bit too old or too conservative or too out of touch or too German.
- John Waters, the Irish Times’s David Quinn, says ‘once you advocate condom use, you are accepting that abstinence is no longer a persuasive option’. One could always advocate both abstinence and condom use at the same time. That is, one should not have sex, but furthermore, one should use a condom when not having sex.
- David Quinn, the Irish Independent’s John Waters, says ‘Africans are dying…. because of Western aid agencies and Governments and their blinkered, dogmatic, anti-religious opposition to fidelity programmes’. See, the problem I have with fidelity programmes is this: I’m not discounting the possibility that they can limit the spread of AIDS under certain circumstances, but even if they did not work at all, the Catholic Church would still be pursuing them, because it opposes the use of condoms under all circumstances, since it considers that sex should always be open to the possibility of procreation. As I understand it, were the Church to approve of the use of condoms, then it would approve of sexual activity for the sole purpose of mutual pleasure, which would mean it would end up approving homosexual relationships, menages a trois, maybe even sex with space aliens.
And so on.
Published March 18, 2009
Some diverting commentary from Slugger O’Toole on the latest bout of drunken eejitry in the Holylands, with my own comments in square brackets.
These holyland vermin are the living embodiment of the nineteenth century English newspaper cartoon images of ape-like Irish savages.
the students who riot in the holy land are from tyrone and they’re inadequate, bigoted, crude scumbags, just like most everyone else from tyrone [it's wrong to generalise: they're not all from tyrone]
they’re molly coddled by their mammies , taught at school that they’re the best and they come and shit all over everyone at Belfast [yes]
Interesting to see rugby shirts among the students. [Indeed: a sign of progressive embourgeoisement among the quasi-lumpenproletariat. I can't recall ever seeing a rugby shirt during my occasional visits to the Holyland. Then again, I can't recall seeing anything]
As a Dubliner I think it’s important to point out for accuracy’s sake that people from Belfast also count as culchies.[Yes! But in fairness, show me an urbane cravate-wearing Dubliner and I'll show you a Denny Gold Medal sausage-munching, red lemonade guzzling halfwit who's only 3 generations out of the bog himself]
of all the troublesome neighbours I had, (and I had shit loads of ‘em over the years) 95% were from Armagh. Don’t know why particularly, but they don’t give a fuck about making too much noise and annoying people, generalisations are not usually my thing, it’s generally very wrong, but in the case of the Armagh students it’s very accurate. [Ah! The age-old virulent hatred of anti-Armachianism raises its chilling profile once again]
Published March 16, 2009
Pitchfork: K’naan: Troubadour
Still, I wish I left Troubadour feeling like I knew more about Somalia than I did going in, and I’m not entirely sure that’s the case.
If you wanted to know more about Somalia, you could always, y’know, pick up a book or something, if that isn’t dreadfully retrograde of me.
Published March 16, 2009
20 People Who Will Save Ireland
wo weeks ago, the Sunday Tribune listed the people who had played a role in getting the country into its current mess. But we are where we are. The focus now must be on getting out of the hole we are in. Here we identify the 20 people who can play a leading role in getting the Irish nation back on its collective feet.
Well, 19 men and one woman (we can exclude both ‘Sean and Mary Citizen’, whose role is to take whatever’s coming on the chin).
To paraphrase a well-known priapic war criminal of Irish extraction, ‘ask not what your country can do for your man, ask what you can do for your man’.
Published March 15, 2009
Capitalism will get us out of this – Analysis, Opinion – Independent.ie
Of course that is not true. In a very literal sense, recession, boom and bust are an intrinsic part of the capitalist model. It feels a bit more extreme than usual this time and it has perhaps been exacerbated in its magnitude and its speed by technology and new forms of debt, but what we are experiencing right now is still just a part of the cycle. It is no consolation to the man with no job that he is part of the cycle, but it is important to be aware of it all the same. At least it gives us a hope that this too will pass.
Brendan O’Connor is quoting Slavoj Zizek today, indicating that we live in interesting times. But this paragraph was the most striking. Here, O’Connor, perhaps without knowing, delivers a fairly vulgar Marxist, perhaps Trotskyist (thinking here about how for Trotsky boom and bust was like capitalism breathing in and out)
analysis of recent events, the only difference being his judgement that although capitalism’s crises get ever more severe and extreme, this is just something we have to live with. The expectation that ‘this too will pass’ will, by the logic of capitalism he has correctly identified, be met, only with an even bigger crisis, though this is something he greets with equanimity, if we’re being charitable. It would be uncharitable to say he hasn’t a notion what he’s talking about.
Published March 13, 2009
Only huge taxes can pay for Left’s spending plans – Analysis, Opinion – Independent.ie
The left is doing an excellent job at shifting all the blame for the crisis on to that malign thing, ‘neo-liberalism’. Labour and the trade unions, backed up by RTE and the left-wing commentariat, are persuading an ever-growing portion of the public that if they turn to the State and allow themselves to be enfolded in its compassionate, social democratic arms, all will be well. There they will find refuge from merciless, pitiless neo-liberalism.
Someone point me the way of the left-wing commentariat. I could do with a good read. Also, some decent conservative commentators wouldn’t go amiss. There is something quaint about seeing ‘neo-liberalism’ in scare quotes, as though proof of its existence were comparable to that of unicorn hoofprints. But such are the wonders of ‘the internet’.
On ‘Questions and Answers’ ICTU’s Paul Sweeney was practically salivating at the prospect of a bigger State
Without wishing to come over all Radio 4, I think we should put a stop to the use of ‘practically’ to mean ‘nearly’. To be practically salivating means you are drooling at the mouth in a manner that is very close to salivating without actually salivating.