Current Affairs Politics

The Human Centipede

The change of editors in the offices of the Sunday Independent newspaper, featuring the traditional anointing in incense derived from the ashes of Conor Cruise O’Brien and William Martin Murphy

So one of the principal figures in the incestuous gang-bang that is modern Irish journalism has handed over the reins to her successor as Anne Harris, current editor of the Sunday Independent newspaper, one-time deputy-editor and second wife of the late Sunday Independent editor Aengus Fanning (father of regular Sunday Independent writers Dion and Evan Fanning), former wife of long-standing Sunday Independent columnist Eoghan Harris and mother of Sunday Independent journo Constance Harris (daughter of Eoghan), retires from her position as Ireland’s most feared media head. And what words of wit and sagacity does the doyen of Independent House leave us with as she heads off into the sunset? From Harris’ last editorial:

“The Sunday Independent has ­consistently warned the Coalition that a gathering existential crisis of faith was poised to rock the very foundations of the State. If the current spectacle, in which a hated government is reduced to seeing out its lease without any prospect of renewal, was the sole consequence of our crony coalition’s moral inertia, this would be a small thing. Such, however, is the level of alienation today, we are moving towards the objective conditions required for the creation of a fascist state.”

Yes, of course we are. If your objective reality was filtered through the sort of partisan prism of ideological cultism that would make even the most fanatical Fox News host think twice. However there is more.

“Hopefully a new politics driven by independent iconoclasts may avert such a scenario. The Independent tide has certainly shaken the strut of Mr Adams and Mary Lou. That is no bad thing, for while we are a state governed by Pharisees, Sinn Fein consists of false, Haughey-style prophets. Happily, helped by the British parliamentary tradition, this is a state where though the mill of democracy may grind slowly, it also grinds exceeding small.”

That would be the British parliamentary system that denied our island people their democratic rights for centuries, that relegated them to the status of a colonised nation, that took up arms against our electoral wishes for independence at the start of the 20th century, and that makes use of such bizarre anachronisms as first-past-the-post and a legislative upper house whose membership is largely based on whose great-great-great-grandfather impregnated whose ancestral cousin? Though given the political loyalties and alleged system of familial patronage in the “Sindo” perhaps such things seem not so unfamiliar.

Meanwhile from another orifice of the human centipede that forms the pulsating body of the Irish media group-think comes this dollop of intellectual effluent via regular opinion writer Eilis O’Hanlon:

“The IRA committed some of the worst atrocities in the history of this island…”

Really? Some of the worse atrocities in the entire history of our island nation? Sometimes when one peers into the axis of INM newspapers it is hard to know where the hyperbole ends and the politically-dictated myopia begins.

51 comments on “The Human Centipede

  1. ar an sliabh

    ..and, of course, the right to the prima nocte must be preserved. Got to keep the “farm animals” in their place. The hills soaked crimson by the broken bodies of our women and children, the famines, forced servitude, the murder of prisoners of war, the “concentration” of dissidents, the executions of 1916, and the “cries that shook the very heavens,” were all due to IRA atrocities. That is rhetoric akin that of Nazi Germany, “As of this morning, we are returning fire.” after hundreds of years of “Black and Tan” justice, Enniskillen is the worst thing that ever happened (not wishing to to diminish how wrong that was). Vae Victis, as the winner gets to write “history.” The British Parliamentary Tradition, that only helps all things British, comes through again and saves the day…If that does not get any Irish blood boiling, what does? Again, just shows that the Indo is a British paper, with British lackeys, Fei…g libh, Indo staff.

    • Oz aka AmS

      Ar an Sliabh..So right about the Indo being British.
      It is so much the case I wonder why we need an “oirish Daily Mail” The Indo has that ground covered.

  2. I think it would be wrong to dismiss the comments of someone like Eilis O’Hanlon as “intellectual effluent” just because you happen to have a bee in your bonnet about the newspaper she works for.
    She is merely stating a fact when she says that the I.R.A. committed some dreadful atrocities, whether you think they were some of the worst in the history of this island is a matter of opinion, largely driven by your own political prejudices. I would be of the opinion that events like La Mon, Claudy, Bloody Friday, Kingsmills, etc, etc, the list is almost endless, were among the worst committed in the last century. I worked close to the site of the La Mon massacre in 1978 and will certainly never forget the horror engendered by the incineration of 12 innocent people while they attended an Irish collie club dinner. But, I suspect, photographs of their charred remains are unlikely ever to appear on this site : they might put some voters in the 26 Counties off voting for the saintly Gerry and co!

    • Ginger, when our island nation has witnessed individual atrocities numbering in the hundreds or thousands of deaths one might be forgiven for believing that individual atrocities numbering in the several or dozens do not bare comparison on a historical level, however heinous their nature. If her point was specific to the 20th century she would be on far firmer ground. My problem with O’Hanlon, like the newspaper she writes for, is the ideologically-motivated twisting of Irish history to suit a narrow political agenda intended to control popular opinion and government policy in Ireland. The journalists of the INM group are no mere observers of politics – they have placed themselves at centre-stage as self-declared players. So they or their sympathisers can hardly object when they are called out for their partisan actions. Partisanship which they crow from the roof-tops.

      I have referenced war-crimes by (P)IRA during the period of 1969-2005 a number of times on ASF and no doubt will do so again. Those who committed them should be brought forward and made to account for their actions. I have also criticised Gerry Adams for his role during the conflict and his dishonesty over his military career with (P)IRA. When appropriate I have no hesitation featuring the photographic consequences of (P)IRA’s actions as they effected many local communities both in the north-east and nationally (as well as in Britain).

      However there is no requirement for a dedicated judge, jury and executioner in relation to the actions of the (Provisional) Republican Movement since the 1960s given that 99% of the Irish news media have fulfilled those roles for decades and with a great deal of enthusiasm. If I may be so bold, I would argue that a majority of the Irish press have acted since the 1980s at least as the dedicated voice of Britain in Ireland. Sympathisers, defenders, toadies.

      Which I suppose makes 2014 little different from 1914.

      • ar an sliabh

        1916 was in the 20th century. The hundreds of innocents that were incinerated during that year and those which followed closely, by far exceed the magnitude of anything the IRA has ever done. War crimes have been committed by all parties. But to over-emphasise those of one side is plain political posturing. Really bad is that this is a supposed “Irish” paper calling itself the “Independent” – that is such a bad joke. It is especially disturbing that the Republican side is and was comprised of a guerrilla without formal oversight, As anywhere else, this type of force is easily infiltrated by persons mentally unstable, criminals, and the opposing force’s agents. Not uncommon in war for one side making the other look bad by committing senseless atrocity upon the their own. In light of England purporting itself to be a civilised nation with a proper constitution and an official positive disposition to human rights, the street terror they unleashed, especially during the “long war,” was inexcusable. As their forces had appropriate oversight, these atrocities were committed with the full knowledge, consent, and, as it slowly becomes apparent over time now, even at the direction of “British parliamentary tradition.” – Am Englischen Wesen soll die Welt genesen – They are really their German ancestors’ product.

  3. re. “British parliamentary system that denied our island people their democratic rights for centuries”

    What did the British ever do for us…. apart from the parliamentary system? Roads, Railways etc etc.

    The relationship between Ireland and Britain is a complex one – it is not and was not simply about exploitation and colonialism we embrace their architecture(central Dublin) and their anglo-irish writing tradition (as examples) as our own when it suits us. The independent (which I never read except for sport) reflects this relationship – though not in a way I agree with – but it does reflect the views of a large percentage of the Irish population – and personally I don’t think we should be dismissive or abusive of that view – though it does need sometimes to be challenged.

    The Perfidious-Albion versus Immaculatus-Hibernicus view of the world doesn’t hold and I don’t think approaching 100 years after (3quarters) independence we should continue to propagate it.

    • Sammy, a fair few of those “roads” predated the British/English and the ones that came after were initially more concerned with facilitating the movement of invading/occupying armies than facilitating the needs of local Irish populations. Railways in Ireland arose from a convergence of British military and economic interests, not selfless ones on behalf of the natives. Apologisms for British rule in Ireland, as elsewhere around the former Empire, often turn on such dubious claims to “nation-building”. The only thing the British built was an empire, whether near or far, and the only thing they bequeathed through that empire is a catalogue of human suffering. I have little time for counterfactual historians like Niall Ferguson or the UKIP version of the “noble British Empire”.

      We “embraced” nothing which was not violently foisted upon us. Invasion, occupation, colonisation and ethnocide do not make for some anodyne tourist-waffle about the Irish “making the English language their own”. These are the delusions that inform the ideological foundations of the Sunday Independent cult.

      Apologies for the strong words but this nonsense needs to be confronted head-on by progressive republicans and not given a free pass.

      • “and the only thing they bequeathed through that empire is a catalogue of human suffering.”
        I’d rather live in Hong Kong when it was ruled by the Evil Colonial British Empire than in the Mainland China when it was ruled by the indigenous Chinese under Mao.
        Countries like India and Pakistan also were better off under the Brits.

        And the Irish have totally made the English language their own – that’s obvious to everyone who has spent any amount of time in Ireland..

        • ar an sliabh

          Yes, indeed, it was great, like anywhere else in the Empire, if you were British in origin or their lackey. The ordinary Chinese weren’t actually treated any better than those under Mao. The British lived great in India. The ordinary Indians you could find littering the ways in and out of the British enclaves, sometimes alive, sometimes dead.

          • Yeah – sure and the West Germans risked their lives to get to East Germany.
            And the Koreans are dreaming of living in United Korea under the rule of the almighty Kim.

            The truth was that hundreds of thousands of Chinese people fled to Hong Kong and preferred to be ruled by “the Evil Brits” instead of the indigenous Chinese.

            • ar an sliabh

              …the grass is always greener on the other side. Many simply traded locations, not status. Also, Chinese society at the time, despite Communist-forced “class equality,” was still very rigid in those norms. Hence people of the upper class and of the lower classes thought they would fare better where their status was either recognised or not known. Add to that the relatively large number of people that supported General Chiang Kai-shek that couldn’t make it across the water, and you have your numbers. Not that I support Communist regimes or any other fascist states, but I like to look at all sides of an issue. The Western so-called democracies can be equally repressive if you do not share their views, and colonial rule by England is not in any way comparable to how things worked in England proper at the time, and even today.

              • The grass was greener on the west side of the Iron curtain – that’s an objective fact.

                And the western culture is objectively better than cultures that practice mass murder, cannibalism, honour killings or things like female genital mutilation.
                There is no such thing as cultural relativism.

                That’s why the British were better rulers that the natives in most parts of their empire.

              • Northsider

                Yes, how kind and humane of the British to inflict massacres and famines on India and opium wars on China. And by the way, speaking of cultural relativism, what’s so very different about honour killings, and the use of the death penalty for stealing a loaf – which was part of this great British humane tradition. Not to mention barbaric penal laws for Catholics.

              • And no – the Western “so-called democracies” are not nearly as repressive as the USSR or China. By saying that you are insulting the victims of genuinely repressive regimes.

              • ar an sliabh

                Agreed, in their own countries, they are – which is my point. In the ones they occupy either directly or by means of a puppet government they are equally repressive.

              • The USSR, Nazi Germany and Japan were far more brutal to people they occupied than the USA and the UK during WW2.

                They also were far more brutal to their own troops as well.
                The Brits and the Americans did not deploy barrier troops that shot their fellow soldiers in the back if they tried to retreat or desert.

                Also Japan, West Germany and South Korea are/were far better countries than East Germany, Vietnam or North Korea.

                Totalitarian regimes are more brutal and repressive against their own populations and the countries they occupy than democratic countries.

              • ar an sliabh

                The only reason Germany got a break is because the U.S. needed a friendly base (just like Japan) against the common, Communist enemy, and was hoping to make it a market for their goods. The treatment the Germans got after World War I was what they would have gotten otherwise. These were rare exceptions in any of the involved countries’ histories. The Brits didn’t have any say in it, it was all up to the U.S. and the U.S.S.R. Neither of those countries gave a s..te about the liberty and freedom of any of the little guys caught in process. None of the countries occupied or subjected to either a U.S. or Soviet regime liked it, and over time, those not released from bondage virtually all eventually rebelled and went their own way. It’s all in the propaganda. The West was just better at writing history, and they treated their own people better than the East.

              • The Germans were treated differently because the previous treatment didn’t work and no one wanted yet another Hitler and yet another World War.
                None of the countries occupied or subjected to either a U.S. or Soviet regime liked it
                That’s not true.
                Had the USA not intervened, South Korea would be a totalitarian shithole.
                Also I’m very glad that Latvia is part of the U.S. dominated NATO military alliance and that the Americans have deployed their troops to Latvia and are helping to police the Baltic airspace – I hope that they’ll keep up the good work and keep the Russian barbarians at bay.

              • ar an sliabh

                South Korea was a mostly autocratic military dictatorship until 1987 (start of the sixth republic). It was no fun to live under. Now it is a liberal democracy like most of the European Countries. I agree, from the 60’s onward, the people lived better than they did up north, but the country was really not too different from East Germany from the perspective of personal wealth distribution and individual rights (minus that of travel – one way to steal the best and brightest is to give them opportunities in the U.S.). Although some argue the student revolt of 1960 shook the “U.S. induced” regime, all in all until 1987 pretty much like South Vietnam, a corrupt government in the style of many of those reigning over territories of U.S. interest,and its cronies held all national wealth. The constant rural uprisings were kept well contained and largely historically ignored. Only more recently can you hear of the Gwangju massacre on the outside, and then mostly the watered-down official version (I lived in South Korea for a little bit, btw.).

              • Northsider

                I’m replying to your comment below as well as to this one. You seem to have extraordinary difficulty distinguishing between tendentious Whig corporate media versions of history and the real thing. The British inflicted brutal and indiscriminate bombing on the peoples of Dresden and Hamburg – war crimes that have been more or less completely excised from modern political and media discourse. They also waged utterly vicious wars in Aden, Kenya and Malaya in recent times. Even more recently, they engaged in the torture of prisoners and the indiscriminate bombing of civilians in Afghanistan, Libya, and Iraq. The idea that their behaviour has been somehow on a higher moral plane than other countries does not stand up to the slightest scrutiny. And by the way, many of the hacks in the Sindo and elsewhere who cheerlead for British rule were not so very long ago equally avid cheerleaders for the Soviet Union and Communist China – not to mention North Korea. I’m thinking here especially of Eoghan Harris and his former wife, the outgoing editor of the Sindo, Anne Harris – both former stalwarts of the Stalinist Workers Party.

              • Dresden is not comparable to the Soviet atrocities like the expulsion of Germans after WW2 or the mass rape of German women by the Red Army.

                The Brits or the Americans were no angels, but they didn’t do anything as bad as this:

              • ar an sliabh

                Maybe not the Americans (although the genocide of the native American population ranks up there with me, and, nuclear bombs, anyone?), but British atrocities easily compare to Katyn and Stalin as a whole. Just look up Lord Kitchener as an example. The allied bomber campaign against civilians in Asia and Europe was found to be without measurable military effect, in some reports denounced as a factor steeling the enemy’s resolve to continue the fight even, and despite those findings, it was continued. Military experts then and now estimated that the focus of the strategic bomber weapon on industrial and infrastructure targets would have shortened the war in Europe by up to a year. It was clearly a war-crime. Many cities towards the end of the war were also allegedly bombed in a “scorched-earth” like fashion, as they would belong to the Soviets in accordance with the Yalta treaty. Dresden may have been such a casualty. The German atrocities against Russian civilians make those in return pale in comparison.

        • Why don’t you fuck off to Britain the nasty piece of human excrement? Maybe you should campaign to reinstall Moscows dominion over Latvia….ah but thats different…………

        • Jānis, the whole colonial argument is a tricky one. I have spoken to quite a few Indians who believe that Britain was good for India but also spoken to quite a few who completely disagree. It is not a simple argument – quite often colonial powers would bring infrastructure and technology – because they were good for profit or maintaining profit (via their army). But intentions are really irrelevant when evaluating what ‘good’ was done – and in many cases people simply argue on the basis of their ideology rather than the facts. I think it fair to remark that the propensity to be abusive is often inversely proportional to the possession of facts.

        • Gandhi described the British Empire as evil. And you’re no Gandhi! As a small example, around 3,000,000 africans were sold into slavery within the British Empire to work in British colonies in the West Indies. A considerable number of Irish people were also enslaved during the conquest and various genocides carried out by Britain in Ireland. (just google “elizabeth I irish slavery” “cromwell irish slavery”)

          And, Irish people speak English badly. English people will tell you this is they’re being honest and trust you enough to say it. i worked with a girl when I lived in England who would frequently correct how i spoke. the way i spoke really annoyed her. And of course she was being generous. By definition, the English speak English correctly. A corrupted form of English is spoken in Ireland.

          As for the British building Dublin. Obviously, a load of British workers didn’t come over to Dublin and build a city, and then leave again. Think of the expense. The people who built Dublin would have been local Irish people. What is meant of course is that Dublin was built while Britain was mis-governing Ireland.

      • john cronin

        “The only thing the British built was an empire, whether near or far, and the only thing they bequeathed through that empire is a catalogue of human suffering.”

        Roads. Railways. Trinity College. UCD. UCC. Maynooth. All that nice Georgian architecture in Dublin that the Yank tourists like so much. (The bits that were left after the corrupt philistines of Fianna Fail didn’t manage to destroy in the sixties that is) The RNLI (wonder if the more republican minded fishermen of Cork would object to being rescued by a boat with “Royal” written on the side of it) Yeats. Synge. WB Shaw. The RDS. The NHS. A place to get a job throughout the post war period when there were precisely none back in Ireland. What have the Romans ever done for us?

        • John, invasion, occupation, colonisation, ethnocide and genocide. Were the roads and railways built for the Irish natives? Was Trinity College and the Georgian mansions built for the Irish natives? Did Yeats, Synge and Shaw write in English because they favoured it over their native Irish language? Or was it the language imposed upon their island home by an alien and hostile power and the only one they were readily familiar with?

          What did the British do for us? Nothing we could have not done for ourselves. And much we struggle to undo.

          • Oz aka AmS

            Even more troubling to me about John’s “point” is that it implies that the Native Irish would have lived like an Amazonian “lost tribe” And who cares if they did?
            We are told the human race can’t live life of exploiting the planet..Hasn’t it been said that If every person currently alive was to have the same standard of living as the average American..We would need 5 planet Earth’s???
            Also hasn’t diversity of Europe been made worse by the British occupation of Ireland?
            What is the “opportunity cost ” of this loss of diversity?

          • john cronin

            “Were the roads and railways built for the Irish natives? Was Trinity College and the Georgian mansions built for the Irish natives?”

            No, but I presume you wouldn’t want to pull em all down now they’re there. My great great grandfather was an English railwayman who helped build the first iron horse tracks in Ireland back in the 1830’s: married a local girl in Antrim, converted to Catholicism, then died of something unpleasant that was doing the rounds during the famine (his Anglo-Saxon DNA did not protect him from dysentry or cholera) and was chucked into a mass grave in Co Wicklow.

            It was probably the railway that finished off Gaelic in the Antrim Glens, but that’s a different story.

          • What did the British do for us? Nothing we could have not done for ourselves.
            So why do the Irish women still have to travel to England to get an abortion?

        • Northsider

          Much of Europe seems to have managed to construct many beautiful buildings without British help, quite the reverse in fact – many leading British architects were foreign. The idea that it was “corrupt Fianna Fail philistines” who knocked Georgian Dublin is another Sindo/Irish Times cherished myth – with little relation to the facts. Dublin was redeveloped, for better or worse, in accordance with the prevailing fashion for architectural modernism – a quasi Marxist cultural movement, that was and is, as it happens, at least as fashionable in Britain as it was and is here – Richard Rogers, Norman Foster et al. But attacking trendy architects doesn’t give the same warm glow of righteous PC satisfaction as attacking old CJ, the source of all evil in Sindoland.

    • Northsider

      In fact the Act of Union annihilated many Irish industries, including brewing to take just one random example. The real simplistic Manichean dichotomy is promoted by folk like you – Immaculatus Albion versus Perfidious Albion, if you will. Really the people who refuse to move on are the revisionist neo-unionists – rewriting history for them is about justifying a modern agenda of constant war – which is why the likes of Eoghan Harris and the rest of the Sindo shills hastily abandoned their posturing pseudo-Stalinist anti-Americanism of the 70s and 80s and became sycophantic cheerleaders for the neocon agenda in former Yugoslavia, Iraq, Afghanistan and so on. And by the way plenty of folk, including me, don’t believe the British parliamentary system is anything to write home about.

  4. Riddle me this one – if the Englezes were so perfidious how and why do we embrace the Anglo-Irish writers that came from that Anglo-Irish tradition – Joyce, Yeats, O’Casey, Shaw, Beckett et al?

    • ar an sliabh

      Art is and always has been its own animal. Where its political connections are less obvious, it is enjoyed by many, regardless of any perfidious origin. The famous “Bayreuther Festspiele” celebrating Wagner’s works, are indelibly connected to one of the darkest corner of human history, but are enjoyed by millions all over the world. Many of the Anglo-Irish writers actually have very specific criticisms of the system of their time built into their works. It is just a matter of viewing them in the context of their time. If more of us were to embrace our own language, there is plenty of written art to be enjoyed there, most of which is older and, at minimum, equally enlightening and delightful (O’Bruadair for example).

      • ar an sliabh

        “An English-language production subsequently had a successful run in Dublin. That success makes it quite clear that knowledge of the plight of unmarried mothers and so-called “illegitimate” children was widespread in 1960s Ireland….Ní Ghráda’s play was inspired by a young woman from the town she grew up in, in Co Clare, who had disappeared one day, pregnant, while the man responsible lived on locally as before,” Wow, talk about something hitting close to home. Thanks for that.

        • an lorcánach

          fascinating alright and Colin Murphy wrote another good piece in the Sunday Business Post few weeks ago about the Irish language

    • Sammy, I have to agree with Lorcánach on this one. The Anglo-Irish class of writers are very much the product and public expression of the “establishment” post-1922. They are the “respectable” face of Irishness because they are acceptable/admired/lauded in Britain and by the British (and by extension the Anglosphere). Thus our post-colonial sycophants hold them as the personification of Irish literature while ignoring the more disagreeable, British-unfriendly native stuff. When an Irish poet laureate or literary representative of the state was recently established what do we find but that the job description comes with an “English only” qualification. No natives, Irish language writers need apply.

      1500 years of Irish literature versus 250 years of Irish English language literature but our so-called state acts as if the former never existed.

      The riddle is why would any Irish-speaker or someone who identifies with our native language and culture be loyal to this bastard 26-county state?

      • If the logic of your (ideological) position leads you to dismiss the brilliant output of Irish literature – which the majority of Irish people undoubtedly hold dear – then you will have difficulty in convincing people of the merit of your argument when you attack the indo/the establishment – they don’t really deserve such an easy ride.

        • If we are talking specifically about the points made in the Comments it’s not a question of “attacking” Irish literature in the English language or those who produce it. It’s about questioning those who would exclude Irish literature in the Irish language from the same praiseworthy discussions as its English equivalents. Who indeed question the very value or existence of the former. The Sindo cult exists solely in a world informed by a Ferguson-like view that Britain’s invasion, occupation and colonisation of our island nation was – ultimately – a good thing. With few if any qualifications. On the opposite side are those – like myself – who argue that it was a disaster for a civilization that existed far longer than that which has so far succeeded it.

          To argue that the British gave us roads, railways, a parliamentary system is a logical fallacy. Would we have not had those things ourselves without British intervention? And were those things for our benefit or Britain’s? It’s like arguing that the state of Israel should be grateful to the Third Reich and Holocaust for its existence for without both it might well have never been established.

          If the Swedes, Danes or Norwegians could established their democracies, their nation sates, then so could we. Unless we fall for the revisionist argument that the Irish were/are incompetent, feeble-minded child-savages in need of external supervision and tutelage. The infantilization of the populace suits those in power – it does not mean we should go along with it.

          The issue about Anglo-Irish literature is a red herring. The issue is about historic colonisation and “normalising” it as a process of good. It was not, nor has it ever been. It was violent, bloody, brutal and tyrannical, and ultimately involved a process of ethnocide. Masturbatory fantasies about the Big House by Anglo-Irish wannabes should not be indulged. The Irish RM was a fiction. The Great Famine, the Land War and the slums of Dublin were not.

          • Northsider

            In any case literary reputation is a highly subjective and very transient phenomenon – dependent on cultural and ideological mores of the time. Harold Pinter’s first West End play was panned by almost all the reviewers – save one in the Times. Yet he went on to win the Nobel prize for literature. Shaw, for better or worse, is no longer particularly highly regarded in the literary pantheon. Ditto O’Casey. To construct a case for the beneficence of British rule based around these writers is tenuous to put it mildly. And are Beckett and O’Casey “Anglo-Irish” simply by virtue of being Protestant? And how does Joyce qualify for that label at all?

      • an lorcánach

        here’s a corrective to the calendar poster – although Brendan Behan works in Irish will hopefully be more appreciated – heard on radio some time ago actor Adrian Dunbar was working on a project aiming for just that. — .

    • Northsider

      I happen to think O’Casey is a verbose windbag – who was celebrated by the Anglo literary elite precisely because he peddled anti-nationalist propaganda. This is all self-fulfilling stuff. The Anglophile media promote certain writers who conform to their ideology as a way of promoting that ideology. And by the way I’ve always found this term “Anglo-Irish” rather odd. Does anyone describe Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison as Hiberno-English? Or David Bowie? Kate Bush? Morrissey? David Lodge? Alfred Hitchcock Danny Boyle? Does anyone describe Sir Arthur Conan Doyle as Hiberno Scots? Or Sean Connery?

    • next time you’re on the dart, look around and see what people are reading. the guys you mention are not embraced. no body reads them at all. Ask yourself, how often do you read any of that stuff (frankly, having read some of them, they’re not that good anyway). give me an Iain banks novel anyday. you remind me though of a conversation i ‘over-heard’ on the dart one evening a couple of years ago. it was between some tourists sitting in the seat behind me and one of them said that the irish have no culture, the rest all agreed. of course they were right. or at least what we have is a lowest common denominator, tv, pop culture. and that’s because we speak english. And because english is spoken so widely, the lowest part of lowest common denominator has to be VERY low. without a gaelic culture the irish can never have any culture of their own.

      • Northsider

        The sterile lowest common denominator Anglo-mania of Sindoland/RTE has narrowed our cultural horizons to vanishing point. We’re not really interested in any country we don’t see depicted on the telly in soaps and sitcoms. When I started in college in the mid-1990s the head of the programme board told us that as part of the Erasmus student exchange programme we would study a semester abroad in a foreign land. He said the chances were most of us would end up going to Scandinavian countries, but he would do his best to get as many as possible to Australia or the States. His assumption was clearly that all students would prefer to go to Anglophone countries. And sadly he was right – by the time the semester abroad came around the Scandinavian places had been ditched by the college, due to lack of takers in previous years. Last year I was in that pub in O’Connell Street that shows multiple football matches on big screens. We were sitting close to a Portuguese and a Spaniard. There was a Liverpool match on one screen and a Man U match on another. Irish fans of both of these clubs shouted abuse at each other across the room, and chanted English footy terrace slogans such as “We’re not racist – we just hate mancs” etc. etc. The Spaniard at one point turned to me and said “Now I’ve seen English football hooligans in the flesh”. I cringed to tell him these guys were not English, but Irish. He found this utterly, utterly bizarre – as well he might.

  5. re. ” The Anglo-Irish class of writers are very much the product and public expression of the “establishment” post-1922. ”

    The self-abuse metaphor works both ways and arguably sits more comfortably with those who believe the there is some desire/likelihood for Gaelic purity. If you have ended up dismissing the most brilliant (known) period of Irish literature because it doesn’t match some pre-conceived idea – then it absolutely clear you need to revise your theory.

    In the shadow of a gunman by the Anglo-Irish Sean O’Casey captures part of the complexity of the relationship between Britain and Ireland and attempting to force that relationship into some narrow ideological straightjacket is neither sensible not plausible.

    Anyway happy xmas. x

    • I am not arguing for “Gaelic purity” or anything like it. Irish civilization, Gaelic civilization, has always been informed and influenced by external forces, whether it was Roman Europe in the early centuries AD, the advent of Christianity in the 4th to 5th centuries, the Scandinavian incursions from the 800s onwards or the Norman-British invasions during the Medieval period. Christianity brought us writing and access to the remnants of Classical literature and knowledge, though at a price. The Vikings changed Irish artistic styles and socio-economic patterns, though again with a price. While great Irish writers, poets and historians emerged from the Norman-Irish communities during the Middle Ages, the consequence of their presence was generally far more deleterious and ultimately destructive to indigenous Irish life than anything that went before. It was not evolutionary but revolutionary, in the Reign of Terror sense.

      I am not dismissing Anglo-Irish literature and erecting straw horses serves no purpose but to distract and obfuscate the central argument. Despite his politics, class and language I admire Lord Dunsany as a great Irish fantasist, possibly one of our greatest alongside CS Lewis. However the Sunday Independent acolytes are simply an Irish version of the Neo-Confederate or Lost Cause movement in the United States (the similarities are startling). Except that here such “revisionist” or more accurately “apologist” ideologues enjoy unprecedented power and influence. Imagine if Fox News was the mainstream not the outlier of the national news media in the US, while ABC, CBS and NBC/MSNBC represented the lunatic fringe. That is what we have here. Cult-like revisionists waging their own culture war.

      Of course this is the same culture war that was being waged when the “dangerous radical” Patrick Pearse was invited in 1915 to speak at the Thomas Davis Centenary lecture in Trinity College along with several others (including WB Yeats and Thomas Kettle). The Unionist student body and faculty sought to prevent it, supported by a sizeable chunk of the so-called “nationalist” and Roman Catholic Irish Parliamentary Party and press, including the Irish Times and Irish Independent. The meeting was banned and the students who requested Pearse’s presence were threatened with expulsion.

      However with much fanfare and publicity Pearse went on to speak at the lecture outside the college about the Irish language and home rule, supported by the person who invited him, Russian-born, Irish-raised, Hebrew- and Irish-speaking scholar Leonard Abrahamson (Leonard Mac Abraháim) and other Jewish and Protestant members of the Dublin Union Gaelic Society.

      So much for notions of “Gaelic purity”. Give me Gaelic pluralism any time!

      Nollaig shona duit, a chara 🙂

  6. Seán McGouran

    Joyce was probably really a European (Catholic) intellectual – he very decidedly was not Anglo-Irish, meaning a member of a pyramidal Ascendancy. Wilde was – but from the lower slopes of the pyramid. The relationship between Ireland and the Crown was not complex – Ireland was oppressed until London needed cannon-fodder for its anti-Revolutionary wars against France. Then after it had ‘won’ it returned to oppression, though the majority of the natives were allowed to practice their religion relatively unmolested. ‘Catholic Emancipation’ meant that the molestation stopped, & RCs could sit in Parliament (including the Lords – a whole crowd of Papists entered the Upper House, (which stopped Irish Home Rule Bills – in the plural – which had been passed by the Commons)).

  7. Seán McGouran

    The Easter Rising may be seen as a more significant event than the October Revolution (a rather over-grand name for the Bolshevik coup d’état). The Bolshevik state made an unambiguous judgement on itself 20-odd years ago, it dissolved into its component parts (a tribute to Stalin’s work on the Nationalities). The Fenian state – despite the valiant efforts of the revisionists & the political class – will be celebrating its centenary shortly. It will be as low-key as they can manage. They are clowns, Ireland could make a mint out of proper celebration, practically every state in the ‘developing world’ was inspired by Ireland, – India, Pakistan, Bangla-desh, Myanmar / Burma – London’s African colonies (including the Boers…). HoChi Minh was labouring in London when the Irish War of Independence was being waged, and he followed it very closely. Nehru felt India should not the Irish path (not that the Irish particularly wanted to fight, they / we were forced into it) the Hindu Bengali Subhas Chandra Bose thought otherwise and set up the Indian National Army in 1941. The Muslim Bengali who founded the state of Bangla-desh Shaikh Mujibur Rahman, referenced Oglaigh na hÉireann / the IRA, & “Mr. De Valera”. Practically every African leader in the ‘independence’ phase, e. g. Kwame Nkrumah, was educated by Irish ‘missionaries’. And the latter didn’t preach subservience to ‘Whitey’ – you’ll recall Bishop Lamont being chucked out of ‘Rhodesia’ in the 1970s.

    • ar an sliabh

      Excellent post!

      • Northsider

        Arriving rather late to this discussion, but let’s not forget that the incestuous neo-Unionist Revisionist Sindo-RTE gang bang also extends to Brendan O’Connor – married as he is to the daughter of John Caden – Gay Byrne Hour producer and erstwhile Workers” Party Stalinist hack and Eoghan Harris’s “best friend”. Caden admitted in the 1990s to the Sunday Business Post that the Gay Byrne Hour paid for letters from listeners. Many of the letters on this radio show were of course virulently hostile to the notion of an independent Ireland. Go figure.

        As for all the guff above about our relationship with Britain being “complex”: that is precisely what the Sindo Freemasons’ Journal/RTE crew will never allow. Their Unionist fanaticism is so simplistic as to be infantile. For them, the British can never be guilty of anything – the many heinous acts of British loyalist and Unionist terrorism are completely airbrushed from their coverage and political “analysis”. I say “worldview” but that is surely a complete misnomer. It would defy statistical logic for journalists to all share the same identical views in the way the Sindo shower do – not just on Northern Ireland, but on almost every issue imaginable, from Palestine to the Iraq War, to the banker imposed austerity. So to impute personal conviction to these folks is to give them way, way too much credit. The very close historical relationship between the Workers Party – Official IRA and the British State, and its various agencies, (see The Lost Revolution: The Story of the Official IRA and The Workers Party, by Scott Millar and Brian Hanley) surely provides a very vital clue as to who really pulls the strings at Independent Newspapers and in RTE.

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