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Sunday, March 15, 2009

Happy (Saint) Paddy's bingefest 09

Well, it seems the annual bingefest is upon us.

Soon, deluded Americans will stand, shivering, on O'Connell Street in Dublin, perplexed at a series of crap floats trundling by in the drizzle.

Later, locals decked out like leprechauns will commence binge drinking in earnest, while their teenage children pass out mid-afternoon from too many Smirnoff WKDs, or have sex in public.

Later again, very drunk people will urinate on each other, vomit on each other, punch each other until blood flows from each other.

Eventually, everyone will pass out, get up late for work the following day and limp in ruefully clutching a handful of paracetemol.

When did celebrating a Christian feast day become this horror show?

You'd think, well, the one positive element of this tawdry annual bacchanalia is that at least it can't get any worse. I've news for you. Sure, it can.

I heard the head of the 'St Patrick's Festival' on the radio yesterday morning. He's reportedly a very nice chap, Donal Sheils by name. He's only the front man for the event, so in a sense cannot be personally blamed for everything.

A priest rang in to complain, legitimately in my opinion and I'm an avowed atheist, that it was ridiculous that Christian themes were barred from the St Patrick's parade.

This festival bod Shiels then wittered on about how the 'festival' wasn't anything to do with a Christian saint - it was a 'celebration of the people and the country' and therefore couldn't have any narrow religious elements whatsoever.

Then he added - to my growing incredulity - that "there will be a float entitled 'City Fusion' in the parade, celebrating 20 different nationalities and 14 different religions will be represented on that."

So, in short: St Patrick's day is neither a day (it's a festival) nor is it anything to do with a Christian saint.

Instead, it's a secular inclusivist 'celebration' of Ireland and the Irish. Hmmm. But let's run with even that debased and state-enforced definition. If it's a celebration of Ireland and the Irish people, then what are they doing with a float with 20 nationalities on board from 14 different religions?

I couldn't care less for the annual bingefest. At it's best it was self-regarding kitsch, and at its very best it was self-regarding kitsch enacted by diaspora descendants in other places. After all, the first parades were in New York.

But as if the annual bingeathon wasn't bad enough, this multi-culti state-funded gobshitery that St Patrick's Day has been turned into is a classic of that odious genre - the public celebration designed by committee.

It represents neither me nor my nation, and consciously denies the feast's origins in Christianity. It is, in short, a state-enforced propaganda spectacle, aimed at proselytising a specific political ideology while seeking to destroy existing ones.

St Patrick's Day, in the hands of Donal Shiels and his paymasters, has become Ireland's Arirang - a thought-police spectacle:

The thought police ideology is, like all such ideologies, utterly simplistic:

Catholic Ireland - bad. Christian Ireland - bad. Irish Ireland - still bad.
But secular Ireland - good. Multicultural Ireland - very good.

Mention of celebrating Patrick's Christianising of Ireland is officially verboten. Instead, we're permitted only state-vetted Paddywhackery with an obligatory side dish of multiculturalism.

The irony is that when the Orla Barry radio show went onto the streets to ask people what the festival meant to them, not one of the foreign born respondents said it meant anything to them other than a reason to drink Guinness, perhaps.

I'm proud to be Irish - not all of the time, but most of the time. I'm proud of Ireland, again not all of the time, but most of the time. One of the times I'm ashamed to be both is on a day when we're told to ignore the origins of our culture and debase it into kitsch and alcohol.

Count me out.


Paddy said...

You won't get me near a St Patricks Day parade. I see enough 'scangerism'
on our streets on an ordinary day.

Christine said...

Well said. I guess in the states the holiday is more an "everyone is Irish and should drink and go crazy" day. There is no Christianity involved. Just lots of beer with green food coloring and people making asses at of themeselves. Not that I mind that...but it gets off the basic principal of what the holiday was supposed to be about

Peter Slattery said...

Saint Patrick's day's always felt like Halloween. Fun for some, but utterly redundant. But at least with Halloween, there's no chance of stripping it of spirituality and religion. Now, believe me, I'm not at all religious. I was christened a Catholic, but apart from weddings and funerals, I've no cause to step inside a church and I have no interest in anything coming from the institution. However, I do agree with you that the 'festival' has completely lost the point. After all, it's SAINT Patrick's day. Not generic pretend to care about diversity as an excuse to be drunk at 2pm in public day. It all just feels contrived and pointless. Same thing's happening to Christmas, or as it's known in the US, Holiday Season.

I absolutely agree with the last paragraph.

Rua said...

Paddies is for tourists and knackers, thats why I'm dreading being in the city for it

EvotingMachine0197 said...

Skinner, you did it again. You put down the words that were in my head, scrambling to escape but could not.

Screw that shit. Dinner at home, no TV.... Well, the kids can watch the city parade on TV, and maybe a movie after that. Then stories and music.

Real stories. Real music.

Any idea what bastard sold us out ?

FutureTaoiseach said...

I share your frustration with the increasinly obsessive "post-nationalism" of our Irish elites. It needs to be viewed in the context of the wider post-nationalist agenda which encompasses what I consider to be the unholy-trinity of post-nationalism, multiculturalism and Eurofederalism. This is a rather strange coalition, encompassing largely the Left but also large elements of the Right who see the world in terms of markets rather than nations (and who indeed regard the concept of the nation state as a barrier to the movement of capital and labour). For most - though not all - of the official Left on the other hand - post-nationalism serves 2 purposes - firstly , the supposed peace-insuring abolition of the nation-state, on the false premise that it led to 2 world wars (which the Left insists on associating with nationalism as a whole, rather than ultranationalist fascism in particular). Secondly, it allows them to push an agenda of replacing an identity based on nations with one based on being part of the global community of what they call "workers". These disparate elements have competing aims in other respects, and they can't all be right. Eventually, one or the other of them are in for a nasty shock. For example, how will the Left feel if Sharia law gets introduced in this republic - having led the secularist movement against Catholic theocracy since the 1960's in particular? If Ivana Bacik thinks the restrictions of Old Ireland with its bans on contraception and divorce were bad, wait till she see's what the Sharians have in store - including the Saudi-style tyranny of women's testimonies accounting for only half the credibility of that of men in court-cases, the execution of rape-victims for 'adultery', with rape-victims so sentenced unless they can produce 7 male witnesses to back up their claims, and much, much worse.

I firmly believe that identity can only be about defining the nation if the nation is defined as different in some respects to other nations. While an ardent secularist, I do not believe secularism requires the exclusion of religious organisations from national festivities. We are still - like it or not - a primarily Catholic country - in which the Church has played a crucial role - for good and ill. It seems reasonable that floats with religious connotations be admitted to such parades. Shame on those who would play down our separate identity in the name of Political-Correctness and a post-nationalist agenda the Irish people rejected in the recent Lisbon referendum.

mellobiafra said...

Personally I prefer our own unique NI cultural contribution to the Paddy's Day tradition...the now annual Holy Lands Student Riot!


JC Skinner said...

Holy Lands students make Baby Jesus cry.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post. It is a great shame that it was because if it were not needed it would not have been made.