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Politics popular culture Religion

If ’twas a dog. ‘twould bite you

I was chatting to a friend yesterday, as one does, and he mentioned that somebody was dead. I knew he was wrong, but even though I was the one correcting him, I could hear my late mother’s voice: “Who did you send to kill him?”

My mother, and many others of her generation, had a lively and ready store of all-purpose phrases. Who did you send to kill him? “If you die with that face, nobody will wash you”. Or, if you wanted to try something a bit risky: “Sure, won’t we be dead and rotten long enough?” My favourite as a child was “You should be shot with shit, so you’d be dead and dirty”.

When some ill-considered demand for money would come home from school, perhaps for a new book or a costume in the school play, my mother used to say “It’s soft the wool grows on them”. I still don’t understand the literal meaning of it, but I know what it meant. It was a recognition that those requesting this money had no experience of poverty, despite their vows. We went to religious-run schools for the most part. I’m pausing here as I write this, because I’m trying to find some way to imagine the people who ran these places, some point of commonality, but you know, I’m failing. It’s a gap in my education: who exactly were these twenty-two-year-old brothers and sisters? These overbearing virginal youths who so intimidated our adult hard-working parents twice their age? Where did these angry, sometimes violent young men come from? What happened to them to make them so enraged?

They certainly didn’t come from the rectangular redbrick blocks of inner Limerick. They had a different accent, a different demeanour and their culture didn’t feel like mine. I didn’t like the way they patronised my decent, honest well-read parents. I didn’t like it when I was nine, and I don’t like it now, looking back on it. The difference is that time has moved on and I wouldn’t accept such nonsense from a jumped-up labouring boy (or from anybody else, for that matter).

That was then and this is now.

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Politics

Goebbels

What the fuck is wrong with McDowell?

Goebbels? Fucking Goebbels?

Do you know something, I’m really starting to despair of Irish politicians. You hear all this shit about Irish wit and repartee and yet this is the best these fools can come up with. Goebbels????

He couldn’t even get his insult right. I heard what he said, and it wasn’t what the incompetent hacks in RTE are now reporting. He didn’t say “the Goebbels of Fine Gael” -that at least would have had some kind of internal logic. He called Richard Bruton “the Dr Goebbels of propaganda”. What does that mean? Depending on your point of view, it either means nothing at all, or it means Bruton is a very effective propagandist. It’s actually an extremely silly comment, and beneath McDowell in many ways. Who is the Dr Goebbels of propaganda? Goebbels, that’s who. What the fuck are you talking about, Michael? Richard Bruton, if anything, is the John Creedon of propaganda. The Nicest Man in Politics. (I think I’ll email that to Morning Ireland for the crack: see if they use the soundbite. Listen out for it – you heard it here first!)

McDowell is losing it. He really is.

Categories
Politics World

Later

Amazingly, I actually made it out for a pint, but only to the local pub with Jimbo. A good walk, which is probably as well since we both need the exercise.

A good chunk of our night, I’m sorry to tell you, was given over to the late Mr Milosevic, a thundering bollocks, in my humble opinion, and no loss to humanity. An individual who, for opportunistic reasons, facilitated a gratuitous war in which there were absolutely no winners. At least Babic had the decency to acknowledge the evil of his actions before ending his life. I was looking at the news last night, at footage perhaps of the Dayton talks or something like that, and there were Milosevic, Tudjman and Izetbegovic. Table quiz question!! What do these guys all have in common? Yep, they’re all fucking dead.

While musing on the Yugoslavian conflict, and in particular on the flaccid European Union response to the genocide on its doorstep, my thoughts wandered to the Rwandan obscenity of 1994. Now, admittedly, we did just as little about both genocides, but I thought we probably agonised a good deal more about the European one. We were upset about people like us being killed. In truth, we achieved an astounding thing, by inventing the concept of racist apathy. It’s that kind of original thinking that makes the EU so great today.