Blog Me I’m Irish

Young Irelander and others have decided they no longer want to be listed as an Irish blog, at least on one particular site.

Here are my thoughts on having an ‘Irish’ blog.

Is this an Irish blog? Someone might have noticed that all the links currently in my blogroll are either Irish, Not-British-but-Irish, or perhaps Not-Irish-but-I’m-fine-with-Northern-Irish-thanks. This is partly down to laziness and partly down to the fact that I’m not that big into blog culture. I started off reading Slugger and moved on from there.

There are compelling reasons for running an ‘Irish Blog’. It would be pretty strange for someone with no prior interest in writing, the internet or some aspect of reality to get off the toilet and decide to write about the first thing that came into his head. So there has to be a starting point, and if you’re interested in culture or politics at any level, to align yourself a national or international identity, be it Irish, Anglosphere, European, Western, or whatever, is to give yourself a framework for writing and thinking about your subjects of choice.

And in Ireland, where history and cultural practices are so closely intertwined with those of Britain and America, there may be a more urgent need to anchor yourself as an Irish blogger in the internet’s sea of possibilities. Away from the shamrocks ‘n’ green beer associations, perhaps there’s still a tinge of the exotic, and maybe of post-colonial credibility, associated with Ireland and Irish nationality, at least in the English-speaking part of the internet. Also, because nearly all Irish politics is ‘local’ politics, there’s a sense of immediacy that might not come with other national affiliations. Due to the continued tribal political conflict in Northern Ireland, the hound of history, to misquote Tony Blair, can always be unleashed to give ample material for discussion and dissection.

So having a consciously ‘Irish’or even ‘Northern Irish’ blog can give you plenty of material to be productive in your blogging, but without the connotations of overt nationalism that might come from having a ‘German’, ‘British’ or ‘American’ blog. But maybe it’s a bit restrictive. There’s a contradiction between the possibilities offered up by blogging – the alternative, communities that transcend nationality, the means of challenging mass media orthodoxy– and the attendant restrictions of national affiliation.

But you can only really write about the things you know about. In that sense, this is most definitely an Irish blog: I would not be able to write from the standpoint of a Paraguayan. But do I need the blog to be identified as Irish? Hmmm. I’ll explore that further some day this week.

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