Kevin Myers

Mind Your Language!

Ireland in chains

Éire in chains

Following on from my post examining the scandal of a young Irish man arrested and detained in handcuffs by the Gardaí (police) in Dublin for answering in Irish to a question put to him in English by a Garda, here is a recent story from Brian Ó Broin, a professor of linguistics, medieval literature and Irish studies at William Paterson University, New Jersey, on the casualness of anti-Irish discrimination in Ireland:

“While hurrying for an American departure in Dublin Airport last week I heard the latecomers being paged on the terminal intercom. Reaching the gate several seconds later I humorously chided the gate agent for forgetting to call my name. “No,” she said, “I saw your name, but it was in Irish, so I left it out.”

I made my flight, and no damage done, but I returned to America amazed that casual acts of discrimination like this can still occur in Ireland without apology or consequence. Would the gate agent still have a job if she applied this policy to names in German?”

Ah, the joys of being a “non-person” in 21st century Ireland.

Just ask Irish Independent journo and professional Irish-hater Declan Lynch. He can tell the real Oirish from the Gaels when he sees ‘em! And thank God we have RTÉ, Ireland’s national public service broadcaster, to give airtime to the not-at-all-prejudiced views expressed so vigorously by so many Irish people journalists.

Eoin Ó Catháin has some more views on the increasingly strident anti-Irish sentiment being publicly expressed in Ireland here.

Update 11.00: To the guys from the same four or five IP addresses who keep trying to post abusive (and frankly racist) Comments don’t bother. I allow the vast majority of views and opinions on An Sionnach Fionn without interference or censure. However there is a line and you people are going well beyond it. If you oppose the Irish language and culture, and the rights of Irish-speaking citizens in Ireland to equal treatment with their English speaking peers, then make your case. I have no problem with a contrary argument, no matter how objectionable to me personally. However sinking to the level of hate-speech will get you nowhere.

Update 13.00: And here comes Squire Myers of Ballyshoeneen with his studiously gratuitous anti-Irish rant. At least I know where the anglophone fundamentalists leaving Comments on An Sionnach Fionn pick up their lexicon of discriminatory words and phases. “Young chimps” is it?

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Ireland – A Western Province Of The British Isles

In the Irish Times a Danish woman living in Ireland pens a passionate letter on behalf of the Irish language and the Irish-speaking communities of Ireland. As she so rightly asks: are we to be an Irish Ireland or an English Ireland?

“Last week I was watching Bernard Dunne’s ‘Brod Club’ — where he launched his ‘Speak Irish’ campaign — with interest and not a few giggles. Brilliant idea, may it live long and prosper!

Thus it was dispiriting to hear Kevin Myers on the same show discarding the Irish language as “a redundancy” in the modern world, and that Mr Dunne was, in his opinion, flogging a dead capall.

Being Danish born and bred I have very little Irish, but I’m a member of another linguistic minority, about six million worldwide, a fact that forces our kind to learn foreign languages.

So far I have — with a varying degree of success — spoken, written or read Swedish; Norwegian; Middle and Modern English; Old, Middle and Modern German and French; Provencal; Dutch; Italian; Latin; and classic Greek; none of which did me any harm but opened me up to other cultures.

Danish, however, will always remain my first language and a part of my identity, even though I live and intend to stay in Ireland.

That is why it puzzles me, as a linguistically challenged foreigner, that the Irish language is not widely used, but hidden away like some sort of embarrassment, something to be almost ashamed of. It’s the very thing that makes you uniquely Irish and not just some western province of the British Isles.

Iceland — a place rarely in the news unless its banks or volcanoes blow up — has a small Icelandic-speaking population, most of whom also speak other languages.

Does that make Icelandic — the closest living descendant of the Old Norse of the Vikings — redundant?

Some may find the Irish language on the brink of extinction and say goodbye and good riddance, a linguistic equivalent of the white rhino or the snow leopard.

But a lot of people work hard to save the snow leopard in the wild, not just relegating it to a curiosity in a cage in a zoo, because a world without the snow leopard is a smaller world.

It’s the same with the Irish language…

The only way to keep any language alive and well is by speaking it, which doesn’t even cost you anything.

The day the last Irish speaker is shut up, the living tradition of one of the oldest languages in Western Europe will be lost forever (and the English, by the way, will have won).”

In a similar vein, Irish Times journalist Pól Ó Muirí challenges the insidious lie spread by the militant minority of Anglophones in Ireland that Irish speakers are somehow stubborn, anti-pluralists because they continue to speak their own language: and not the English language (is that a definition of pluralism? Only speaking in English?).

“As one letter writer to The Irish Times wrote last week, Irish speakers often also speak another language (in addition to English) and have a great interest in languages in general.

In my experience, Irish speakers are usually very open-minded when it comes to learning (and respecting) other languages. Many of the Irish speakers I know also speak French, German, Italian and quite a few know Welsh and Scots Gaelic – languages which offer other views of what it means to be British.”

Perhaps that’s the problem. The only view of being British the Angloban extreme in Ireland want is one that forces the people of Ireland to speak English. In order to become…?

Kevin Myers On President Obama: Racially, A Half And Half Mulatto

As regular readers may have gathered I’ve long regarded Kevin Myers, the British-born journalist, as one of the chief proponents of the bizarre form of anti-Irish self-hatred that permeates much of the media establishment in Ireland. With his odd “racial” theories about Irish politics (that Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin politicians and voters are of “uncivilized” native Irish descent while Fine Gael politicians and voters are of “civilized” colonial British descent) and his frequent recourse to distorted or false representations of Irish history, in any other nation he would be relegated to the fringes of society. But here he finds a ready and comfortable home in our news media; a news media filled with people every bit as anachronistic in their opinions and attitudes as he is. This platform allows him to issue his regular apologias on behalf of British rule and misrule in Ireland, regardless of the facts (or the truth), as well as discussing his many other, er, theories.

Yet there is a strange kind of relief in knowing that it is not just the Irish (and our native identity, language and culture) that he loathes, or the British for whom he will act as an apologist. From an article he has penned for the Irish Independent on President Obama comes this delightful explanation of the US Civil War and its origins and consequences:

“As for President Lincoln, I can barely write about him without shattering my keyboard in rage at both his hypocrisy over slavery and his ruthlessness, as he visited ruin and death upon his fellow Americans.

He sought union rather like the Provisional IRA did, except that he had the resources to impose an overwhelming campaign of terror upon his enemies.

The Confederacy really didn’t want to be anyone’s enemies; the southern states simply wanted to go their own way, just as the American colonies had originally chosen to do.

The system of slavery was certainly evil, but it was also complex, and could not be ended by a simple fiat and the mass-release of a largely unlettered, culturally dependent and socially naive people. It required time and care, neither of which was available in the middle or immediate aftermath of a quite abominable civil war.”

If you’re now thinking to yourself, “Did I just read what I thought I read?”, well, yes, I’m rather afraid that you did. Not often that one reads a defence of the Confederate States of America. Or indeed that there should have been a gradual (?) end to slavery. How long, I wonder, does Myers think that should have taken? Ten years? Fifty years? A hundred?

Who says you can’t qualify evil?

But there is more. Myers provides this description of Barack Obama, President of the United States of America. Hold onto your hats boys and girls.

“Racially, he is half and half, namely a mulatto (not, however, a term ‘The New York Times’ has ever used about him).”

I’d say not. For all sorts of reasons that Kevin Myers will probably never understand.

Playing The Race Card In Ireland

Poor old Kevin Myers is at it again: propagating his “race theory” of Irish politics (and society) thanks to the platform provided to him by his acolytes in the Independent group of newspapers. His latest attempt to whip up some “ethnic tensions” centres on an old and cherished theme of his: that Fine Gael, Ireland’s centre right conservative party, is made up of people ethnically different from those of other political parties. In Myers’ peculiar world view the “right sort of folk” are those in Ireland he believes to be descended from British settlers, in particular the medieval Norman-British who came here in the 12th and 13th centuries. These men and women he argues can be identified through their surnames, even after several hundred years of their ancestors living here, and are quiet distinct in temperament and intelligence from the native Gaels.

By Gaels Myers of course means the Native Irish but he cannot bring himself to use those two words together (and horror of horrors – capitalized!). He believes that “Gael” is not the same as “Irish” (no matter what the history books or dictionaries may say). No. Gaels are another thing altogether. A separate people, race, lingering on in Ireland and quiet distinct from the broad swath of people who call themselves “Irish” today. They, the monolingual English speaking, reading, writing (thinking) men and women of the island of Ireland are now the true Irish (including those like yourself born and raised in England, hey, Kevin, me ol’ darlin’?). The Gaels on the other hand are those who speak the Gaelic language (a dead language that no one speaks, dontcha know), and who adhere to Gaelic culture and a Gaelic identity. They are the people of the GAA, of Celtic myth, of nationalist violence, of Fianna Fáil, Sinn Féin, Óglaigh na hÉireann, of 1916 and 1919. They are a poisonous vein in the body politic, an unwelcome reminder of Ireland’s primitive pre-English, pre-British past. Or so he likes to think.

Thus Squadron Major Myers can write stuff like this in the Irish Independent and be lauded for it by those who follow a similar crooked path:

“Fine Gael really doesn’t know what it is, or what it wants. It largely accepts the gospel as written by Fianna Fail, that party of bamboozling boozers, frauds and terrorist-appeasers, which declares that Fine Gael is not authentically Irish. Which is pretty good, considering that Fianna Fail was founded by one man whose ancestors were (allegedly) from Spain… Actually, the only authentically “Irish” person left is probably some naked wet Hobbit huddling under a stone in Inishmaan.”

“Authentically Irish”? “Naked wet Hobbit”? Is this considered intelligent writing amongst the Anglophone establishment? And “Insihmann”? Is that what the rest of Irealnd (and the world) calls Inis Meáin? Wow. He can’t even bring himself to write in Irish. Oooops! Sorry. I meant of course, Gaelic.

And so on to his next big ball of crazy.

“Firstly, Fine Gael should start by slowly renaming itself.

…ditch the ridiculous name, Fine Gael the Republican Party. Firstly, all those Lucinda, Simons, Marks and Garrets are as much family of the Gael as they are the family of Dayaks. The best way for the party to rename itself is… by appending a slogan to the party name, which in time takes over the whole. Thus, Fine Gael: the Constitutional & Democratic Party can, by careful mutation, become The Constitutional Democrats.

The CDs will not do a tribal war dance at Bael na mBlath or Bodenstown. They will not “celebrate” the Rising. They will stand four-square behind the rule of law. Their children will learn politeness, punctuality, the piano and Chinese.”

Ah, and it’s off to the races – the racial kind anyway. No Gaels here, please. All those lovely “British” names, not an ugly Gaelic one in sight. We are definitely nothing to do with those people. Y’know. The others. The (whisper) “natives”. We vote Christian Democrat! Our kids speak English and learn Chinese, and trace their ancestors to good honest English folk. The seed of Britannia!

I know. It’s utterly risible. The ravings of a madman. But a madman who is given a prominent place of comment and opinion in our national press, and who is a regular guest on our news and current affairs shows. Which raises the question: where the hell does our media come from? A born-again Pale?

Kevin Myers - Rich, White And European (And White)

Kevin Myers – Rich, White And European (And White)

This stomach-turning bile, however insane it may seem to normal-thinking folk, is a familiar theme in Myers’ writing and one he has grown rich upon. Back in 2010 he wrote:

“…the nature of Fine Gael. It is defined by self-doubt and equivocation. With all its Lucindas, its Simons, its Garrets, its Olwyns and its Richards, its silly name notwithstanding, it is not a family of Gaels. It is a perpetual minority, largely of non-Gaelic, Anglo-Norman Catholics in ethnic origin: strong farmers, smalltown merchants and lawyers.”

Settler politics, hey? No Gaels in Fine Gael, just non-Gaelic (non-Irish!) Norman-British ethnos: an embattled minority surrounded by a sea of hostile, recalcitrant natives. What do Fine Gael members and voters actually think of this stuff? It’s the loonier fringes of British Nationalist and Unionist blogging. What next, descent from one of the Lost Tribes of Israel? Or have the British ethnic minority in the north-east of the country got that one all sowed up?

“Fianna Fail, with its eighty years of being in the driving seat — with the Simons being occasionally permitted to take over whenever Cuchulainn got tired at the wheel — still gets the obedient Soloheadbeg vote. But with so much political power for so long, it has colonised the old unionist boroughs of Pembroke and Kingstown, and the salubrious postal districts of Dublin 4 and 6. It has created a mandarin class whose accents and manners are identical to those of Fine Gael. Fianna Fail children go to Clongowes and Gonzaga, and their social camouflage is completed by their gloriously Protestant names: the Emmas, the Jessicas and the Jennies whose great grandfathers (or so the family legend maintains) were in the GPO.

The daughters of these Fianna Fail mandarins might speak Californianised Kingstown — omigod, no way Lucinda! — but the pike lies in the spiritual thatch still. Take them to a social gathering of Sinn Fein/IRA, Fine Gael, Unionists, and they’ll join the Shinner table. Their suits might shimmer with expensive threads, but they embody still the weird morality of Fianna Fail, in which clan and conspiracy, cronyism and ancestral cordite define loyalty.”

Whey! Religious and racial intolerance in two easily digestible paragraphs. Why be a racist bigot when you can be a sectarian one too?! You show ‘em, Caoimhín. Imagine. Bah to Cú Chulainn! Ooops, sorry. There I go again. I mean, Cuchulainn. The horror of it all. Where is Cœur de Lion when you need him? Or Henry VIII? Or (tremble) the great Winston C? Oh, for the elysian fields of Eton. Sugary tea and wrinkled-up sandwiches, warm beer and the beat of leather on willow. Dieu et mon droit!

Of course, Squire Meyers being Squire Myers, it could be far worse. In fact, earlier this year, it was:

“A comparable survey at Trinity College Dublin showed that Fine Gael TDs are disproportionately more likely to have Anglo-Norman surnames — again, this comes as no major surprise. Our ancient origins can leave a far greater imprint on us than we usually care to admit, and the social residues might remain in our conduct, just as herds of sheep continue to leap over the part of the field where there once stood a now-levelled hedge.

The social hierarchy that exists in England is vaguely similar to that in Ireland; both bear the imprint of a Norman Conquest. Of course, other conquests followed here, in which the Anglo-Norman classes lost most of their old privileges, especially if they remained true to the Old Church. But even then, they remained self-consciously aloof within the mass of Catholic Ireland. Edmund Burke was a Norman; so too was Nano Nagle, the founder of the Presentation Sisters. Garret FitzGerald is clearly Anglo-Norman, no matter the absurd Gaelic confection that he occasionally translates his name into.

Indeed, the name Fitzgerald gives us a useful barium meal into social immobility over the centuries. Some 52 men of this largely Anglo-Norman Irish name were killed with the British army during the Second World War. Ten (20pc) were officers.

Of soldiers with the Anglo-Norman Irish name of Burke, 7pc were officers. But the proportion is strikingly less for men with Irish Gaelic surnames.

Of the 62 men named O’Reilly or Reilly, only one (1.6pc) was an officer. Of the more than 200 soldiers called Murphy, less than 4pc were officers. The 44 Nolans had one officer — as did the 41 Maguires — roughly 2.2pc.

No doubt the now extinct and largely unfeline Celtic Tiger raised the social status of many people of aboriginal Gaelic stock…”

“Aboriginal Gaelic stock”? What a sort of lunatic, mid 20th century Untermenschen talk is this? And “Irish”? Where is that? Oh yes, with the Anglo-Irish. The real Irish in the eyes of Kevin Myers and the rest of his “ethnicity” on this poor bloody isle of ours. It lies with the schizophrenic madness of folk who claim Irishness as their own while also embracing another identity of another nation. We are Irish! We are British! We are Anglo-Irish! We are we don’t know what…!

Welcome to the world of Kevin Myers. Angloland!

Know-Nothings – The American Right And The New Anti-Irishness

This week, under the thrilling headline question ‘Why Is Ireland Such a Bastion of Anti-Israel Feeling?’, long-standing Atlantic columnist (and former Iraqi War cheerleader) Jeffrey Goldberg highlights a piece by notorious Irish newspaper commentator Kevin Myers on the alleged anti-Semitism of the Irish people. The British-born Myers, a long time apologist for British violence in Ireland, historic or contemporary, complains that:

‘Israel – and its sole defender on the panel (is mise) – were then roundly attacked by members of the audience. But what was most striking about the audience’s contributions was the raw emotion: they seemed to loathe Israel.

But how can anyone possibly think that Gaza is the primary centre of injustice in the Middle East? According to Mathilde Redmatn, deputy director of the International Red Cross in Gaza, there is in fact no humanitarian crisis there at all. But by God, there is one in Syria, where possibly thousands have died in the past month.

However, I notice that none of the Irish do-gooders are sending an aid-ship to Latakia. Why? Is it because they know that the Syrians do not deal with dissenting vessels by lads with truncheons abseiling down from helicopters, but with belt-fed machine guns, right from the start?

What about a humanitarian ship to Libya? Surely no-one on the MV Saoirse could possible maintain that life under Gaddafi qualified it as a civilised state. Not merely did it murder opponents by the bucketload at home and abroad, it kept the IRA campaign going for 20 years, and it also – a minor point, this, I know – brought down the Pan Am flight at Lockerbie. Yet no Irish boat to Libya. Only the other way round.

And then there’s Iraq. Throughout the decades of Saddam Hussein, whose regime caused the deaths of well over a million people, there wasn’t a breath of liberal protest against him. Gassing the Kurds? Not a whimper. Invading Kuwait? Not one single angry placard-bearing European liberal outside an Iraqi embassy.’

This of course is the usual nonsense from Myers, overblown, verbose rhetoric with himself, as always, at the centre of the action. Next week he will be back to lecturing people on why Irish men and women with an Ó or Mac or in their surname are genetically different from everyone else on the island of Ireland and are part of a violence-prone, intellectually challenged race of Untermenschen, unlike those on the island whose descent is of a pure, unsullied British line (and who vote Fine Gael or UUP!). The usual quasi-racist drivel that has become his forte and only refuge from sanity.

Which naturally makes Goldberg’s uncritical quoting of the mad ramblings of Squire Myers all the more remarkable. He could have examined the claims against the facts of Irish-Israeli relations over the last few decades or the long (and successful) history of the Jewish-Irish community over the last century and a half. He could have looked at the historic links between Irish and Jewish revolutionaries dating back to the mid-1800s, when Fenian and Zionist militants rubbed shoulders in the radical circles of London, Paris, Berlin and Rome. There could have been mention of the many Jews in Ireland who dedicated themselves to the cause of Irish freedom and democracy (and language and culture too). Where are the names of the Jewish members of the Irish Republican Army and Sinn Féin who helped free the greater part of Ireland and the greater part of the Irish people from British rule?

No mention of Robert Briscoe, an officer of the IRA and elected Sinn Féin politician who fought in the Irish Revolution, served in Dáil Éireann for decades, became lord mayor of Dublin, brought Ze’ev Jabotinsky, leader of Irgun, to Ireland for training in guerrilla warfare tactics, and ran weapons and explosives to Israel during its War of Independence? What about Michael Noyk, leading Sinn Féin lawyer, or the Chief Rabbi of Ireland, Isaac Herzog (the father of Chaim Herzog, President of Israel), a noted Irish language scholar who was dubbed the ‘Sinn Féin Rabbi’ by the British? Where is the mention of Éamon de Valera, an acknowledged friend of the nation of Israel who saw the similarities in the experiences of the Jewish people with those of the Irish, in the dispossession of our lands, their settlement by others and the great Diasporas that provided the road to nationhood once again?

Such simple facts could have been the beginning of an article destroying the fallacy of Ireland’s supposed anti-Semitism (amongst the American right wing) instead we get more of the same. For Goldberg’s Atlantic column then features a follow-up article featuring an email from one Andrew Exum, that apparently provides ‘some depth’ on the matter (try not to laugh while reading it):

‘There are a few explanations for why the Irish do not have a lot of love for Israel. Here are two:

1.  During the Troubles, Ulster Protestant politicians consciously identified with the Israeli side of the Israel-Palestine conflict, comparing their own struggles against Irish Catholic terrorism with those of Israel against Palestinian terrorism. Irish Catholics, especially in Ulster, often reciprocated by sympathizing with the plight of the Palestinians living under occupation. (The PIRA, quite separately, had close contacts with Palestinian militant groups such as the PFLP in the 1970s and 1980s.)

2.  A lot of Irish have served in southern Lebanon as part of UNIFIL. It is very difficult to serve in southern Lebanon as part of UNIFIL and come away with a positive view of the IDF and, by extension, Israel.  (Imagine spending six months in Baghdad in 2004 living with Iraqis and then drawing all of your conclusions about the United States and Americans from that experience.) It is a lot easier, by contrast, to strike up lasting relationships with the people of southern Lebanon. (There is a shop-keeper named “Rosie” in southern Lebanon who speaks English in the most incongruous and delightful County Cork accent as a result of decades of trading with Irish peacekeepers. She is a star of Irish radio – as a gag, they once put her on and had callers from all over Ireland guess where she was from by listening to her accent.)’

Seriously? ‘Irish Catholic terrorism’? Would that be like Islamic terrorism? Of course in Ireland we are very familiar with black-suited Roman Catholic terrorists blowing themselves up in Protestant churches while mumbling out a few decades of the Rosary or calling upon the congregation to follow the strictures of Vatican II in our ancient Gaelic tongue…

Jesus. Literally.

What Goldberg fails to mention before quoting from the email is that Exum is an ex-US military counter-insurgency and terrorism expert, a member of the Centre for a New American Security (‘Developing strong, pragmatic and principled national security and defense policies’, a conservative Washington think-tank), a very well known blogger on Islamic militancy (initially behind an assumed non de plume) and has attended the Department of War Studies at King’s College London. So much for American journalism’s much vaunted boast of ‘full disclosure’.

And what Andrew Exum could have mentioned in his email is perhaps at least one reason for the antagonism towards the state of Israel held by a minority of Irish people, namely the co-operation between Israel and Apartheid-era South Africa to supply weapons, explosives, funds and training to British terrorist groups conducting a campaign of violence in Ireland. Such actions tend to make for enemies rather than friends.

The supposed anti-Israeli (for which read, anti-Jewish) feeling of the Irish has become the big myth of the American right wing – usually the lunatic right wing – but as can be seen by this alleged piece of journalism it can make it into the mainstream too. The Atlantic is a relatively influential online publication on the American centre-right, small ‘c’ conservative and well respected for its journalistic ethics. Yet even it can succumb to this modern version of anti-Irish bigotry.

And as Kevin Myers proves the Irish themselves are not immune to it – or at least an anachronistic version of the Irish that hates all things Irish and looks to Britain for – well, everything. This atavistic type of British ex-colonial in Ireland has embraced the anti-Semite myth wholesale. Largely to prove that we really were better off under dear old Blighty. As student non-radical (and non-sequitur) Bernard Mccabe writes over on The Commentator:

‘Where does all this hatred come from? Are my compatriots Nazi sympathisers? Has Ireland been taken over by a radical Islam that makes Ian Paisley look as harmless as Christine Bleakley? No, the truth is that anti-Semitism in Ireland has a long history.

In the old days, it came from (as it did across Europe) an extreme Catholicism. Latterly, anti-Semitism has found its provenance from Ireland’s consistently pro-Palestinian position. Ireland was of course for 800 years oppressed by the evil hand of British rule (that brought us roads, education, some form of civilisation), and the fight to ‘free’ her could take as many lives as possible.’

Ah. Well now we are getting somewhere. The British civilized the uncivilized Irish? Of course, we Irish did have roads, and education and an advanced civilization that sparked the Renaissance across western Europe long before the British, but hey, Bernie, don’t let facts get in the way of a good diatribe. Really, don’t.

And I suppose it is the fault of the Irish people, really, for all the deaths caused by the Irish people trying to free, er, the Irish people. And apparently rape victims, like, ask for it. It’s true, really.

Actually, now that I think of it you don’t think that the Jews were actually to blame for the Holocaust, do you? Like they brought it on themselves? Hmmm, maybe we should ask Kevo or Bernie? It sounds like the kind of logic those guys could get down with!

Of course I have had my own run-ins with the extremist fringe of the American Christian fundamentalist right, that some American-Jews and Israelis now (foolishly) make common ground with. One article was so extreme that I found myself forced to comment, which led to a dialogue of sorts with the author of the piece that rapidly descended into the mindless white noise that the American extreme right deafens itself with. The original can be found here, though you might want to hold your nose before clicking on the link.

One of the great failings of the American people is that they don’t do history: they simply don’t get it. Theirs is a nation that lives in the now, a nation of the essential moment, which though admirable in some ways is also their great Achilles Heel. The Palins and Bachmans of US politics revel in their ignorance of historical fact over a-historical myth. They sneer at those who try and present the truth when they know that the Hollywood simplicity of the myth is all the greater and more malleable. You can have your myth and eat it too.

The alleged anti-Semitism of the Irish is the new myth of the American right. It is the new wisdom of the old Know-Nothings. It does not matter a whit that there is little or no real substance to it or that any (even casual) study of Irish history shows it to be a manifest lie. American ignorance of their own history is so vast that I suppose one can hardly expect them to be aware of anyone else’s. But when that ignorance becomes dangerous, not in the educational or cultural worlds, but in the political one, where lives and jobs and money matter – then it is a far more serious thing. For the Atlantic enjoys an influential readership in the conservative business circles of the United States. Circles where the conspiracy theories of the fringe can be taken as real if given airtime in the mainstream.

The editorial team of the Atlantic should know better. The sad part is they probably don’t.