Trouble In Fantasy Fiction

The phrase, two bald men fighting over a comb, springs to mind when reading this Guardian report on the legal contretemps in the United States between the relatively well-known Fantasy authors, Sherrilyn Kenyon and Cassandra Clare. The former (who also writes historical romances under the pseudonym of Kinley MacGregor) is suing the Iranian-born Clare (real name, Judith Rumelt) because of alleged similarities in… Read More Trouble In Fantasy Fiction

White Protestants Protest The Spanish Language In Arizona

  A letter from today’s edition of the Newsletter, a regional newspaper in Arizona: “I have received a number of complaints from staff working for Maricopa County about a “Spanish language skills audit”. Workers are being asked if they have a Spanish language qualification, how competent they are in Spanish, if they would be willing to deal with… Read More White Protestants Protest The Spanish Language In Arizona

The TV3/Newstalk Leaders’ Debate

So to last night’s TV3/Newstalk debate where the leaders of three right-wing establishment parties sought to pummel into submission the leader of a left-wing anti-establishment party – when two of them weren’t squaring off against the third. It was an extremely scrappy affair with no clear winner. Micheál Martin of Fianna Fáil seemed the most… Read More The TV3/Newstalk Leaders’ Debate

British Unionism In Ireland And Its Tea Party Moment

Over on the Slate journalist Reihan Salam has an interesting examination of the electoral demographic which forms the backbone of the Donald Trump campaign in the presidential primaries for the Republican Party: “…in an analysis of the Iowa counties in which the various Republican counties fared best, Patrick Ruffini found a striking contrast between the counties that… Read More British Unionism In Ireland And Its Tea Party Moment

The Power of Privacy With Aleks Krotoski

Technology journalist and psychologist, Aleks Krotoski, presents a Guardian documentary, “The Power of Privacy”, examining growing concerns about private data and online security. Well worth a watch for a general overview of the issue, one that most people simply choose to ignore – until it is too late. (Of course seeing Krotoski always brings back fond memories of legendary, late night Channel… Read More The Power of Privacy With Aleks Krotoski

A Captain Unafraid, A New Documentary

In a guest post, the film-maker and musician, Charlie O’Brien, discusses the inspiration for his new documentary, “A Captain Unafraid“, examining the life and legacy of the late 19th century Irish-American sailor and adventurer, Johnny O’Brien, hero of Cuba’s 1895-1898 War of Independence. O’Reilly Street, Havana The first I thing I read about Johnny O’Brien was an article, John Dynamite… Read More A Captain Unafraid, A New Documentary

Sinn Féin’s Manifesto Promises On Irish Rights

Sinn Féin has launched its bilingual 2016 election manifesto, to predictable scepticism from the right-wing press, and I’m sure most of you have seen analyses of its contents over the last few days. So I thought I’d focus here on the party’s Irish language policies, contained on page twenty-six of the fifty-six page document. “The government parties have done immense damage to… Read More Sinn Féin’s Manifesto Promises On Irish Rights

The Labour Party Suggests Free Hugs For Narco-Terrorists

If one needed an example of leadership in Ireland, an illustration of the competency and acumen of our political classes, and how they view the role of government, the Labour Party steps up to the plate with this plan of action to tackle and defeat the growing scourge of gangland crime in the country. From… Read More The Labour Party Suggests Free Hugs For Narco-Terrorists

Fianna Fáil’s New Slogan: Screw Our Republican Dead

With the general election just weeks away, and with all the polls pointing to a minority, Fine Gael-led government of the centre-right, Fianna Fáil leader, Micheál Martin, is keeping all his options open. From thejournal.ie: “In a robust interview with Cathal Mac Coille on RTÉ’s Morning Ireland today, Martin refused to rule out supporting a minority Fine Gael government.… Read More Fianna Fáil’s New Slogan: Screw Our Republican Dead

The Continuity IRA And Other Journalistic Nonsense

Following on from last Friday’s gun attack at a sporting event in Dublin’s Regency Hotel, which left one man dead and several more wounded, all sorts of allegations and analyses have featured in the national press, each more prosperous than the last. The most important matter at the moment is a verbal statement issued to Vincent Kearney, a BBC… Read More The Continuity IRA And Other Journalistic Nonsense

Ireland Has Become The “Gun Land” Of Western Europe

Fearann claímh or “sword land” is a Medieval Irish term to describe a territory taken or held through violence. Perhaps unsurprisingly it was also used to identify a region where violent interactions had become the norm. In a 16th century panegyric by the famous blind poet, Tadhg Dall Ó hUigínn, the Norman-British were said to have made a fearann claímh críoch… Read More Ireland Has Become The “Gun Land” Of Western Europe

Feed The Rich, Eat The Poor

As many of you will be aware the would-be Democratic Party candidate for the US presidency, Bernie Sanders, has been hammering down in recent months on the corrupt practices of Wall Street and the soaring levels of income and wealth inequality in the United States. Now the millionaire business executive, Lloyd Blankfein, has emerged from the boardroom shadows to play the victim card… Read More Feed The Rich, Eat The Poor

Hating The Gaelic

Following a brief period of relative quiet the haters of Scottish Gaelic are back in full-swing, attacking new education legislation in Scotland which includes provisions to allow Gaelic-speaking parents to request Gaelic-medium schooling for their Gaelic-speaking children. The horror! From the Deadline News Agency, a press organisation with a certain reputation when it comes to reporting on Scotland’s indigenous tongue:… Read More Hating The Gaelic

Patrick Pearse And RTÉ’s Rebellion

With all the controversy stirred up by RTÉ’s dismal television dramatisation of the 1916 Easter Rising, its strange overtones of colonial denialism perhaps best summed up by the programme’s title, “Rebellion” (not, “Revolution”), I was reminded of this paragraph from a 2013 article by professor Bryan Fanning in the Dublin Review of Books. While examining a long forgotten “science-fiction” style story by Patrick Pearse published… Read More Patrick Pearse And RTÉ’s Rebellion

Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian Von Ungern-Sternberg

The Atlantic has a fascinating article on a little known, early 20th century warlord who once terrified Mongolia and neighbouring regions of Russia and China. Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian von Ungern-Sternberg, a scion of the Deutsch-Balten or Baltic German nobility, aligned himself with the “White Russian” faction during Russia’s communist revolution and counter-revolution of 1917 to 1922, eventually leading a rag-bag… Read More Baron Roman Nikolai Maximilian Von Ungern-Sternberg

Ayelet Shaked And The Rise Of Religious Nationalism In Israel

Der Spiegel has an extraordinary interview with Ayelet Shaked, a member of the HaBayit HaYehudi or “Jewish Home” party in Israel and the minister of justice in the country’s quintipartite coalition government. In recent years the formerly unknown politician has made a name for herself with some alarming pronouncements on Palestinians and Arabs, including Arab-Israeli citizens, which seem to… Read More Ayelet Shaked And The Rise Of Religious Nationalism In Israel

Facebook’s Opportunist Defence Of Non-English Languages

Given the relative antipathy or indifference of most major internet corporations to global minority languages, or indeed to any languages other than American English, this report from the Guardian newspaper is more than a little ironic: “Facebook is objecting to the use of English words such as “cookie” and “browser” in a Belgian court order, which has demanded the… Read More Facebook’s Opportunist Defence Of Non-English Languages

How Netanyahu Won The 2015 Election In Israel

In the week leading up to the 17th of March 2015, the day of the general election in Israel, the governing Likud party of the incumbent prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, seemed to be on the cusp of a humiliating loss of seats to a range of right-wing, centrist and left-wing rivals, notably the Zionist Union pact of the liberal-leaning Labor Party and… Read More How Netanyahu Won The 2015 Election In Israel