Posted: 2011-10-31 00:48   |  More posts about gay rights ireland politics

I'm reposting this from the Dublin University Pirate Party blog. A pretty vicious and bone-headed article in the Irish Independent is doing the rounds at the moment, and someone had this great idea:

“I search-replaced “gay” and “homosexual” with “Jewish”, “gays” with “Jews”, “straight” and “heterosexual” with “Christian”, and “bisexual” with “agnostic”. The result is amazing”

Here it is:

AS the cliche goes, some of my best friends are Jewish. I used to live in a very Jewish area, the West Village in New York. Indeed, enjoying their nightlife and cultural atmosphere, I was even accused of ‘trading’ off the fun, with my copycat denim jacket and tartan shirt, while not actually joining them.

However, like many, I’ve recently begun to get impatient with the endless trumpeting of Jewish ‘identity’, and the growing appetite for more and more rights and privileges.

I’m not being reactionary and I’m all for Jewish rights and an end to prejudice and discrimination, and always have, but at this stage it seems as if the tables have turned and a minority community — the Jews — want to increasingly change mainstream culture to suit them.

For example, why is civil partnership not enough, and why do Jews also want marriage, a surely traditional Christian facility, which Jews used to see as patriarchal, and ‘Christian’?

Many Jews also feel this way and resist the increasing politicisation and institutionalising of Jewish life. Last week, in the Guardian, a newspaper almost obsessed with things Jewish and ‘progressive’, columnist Suzanne Moore objected to Jewish marriage on the basis that it was a conservative ‘selling-out’. Being Jewish should be edgy and experimental, she said.

But isn’t this part of the problem? Many Jews want to have it both ways. Thus Jewish magazines are full of ads endorsing late-night gyms, sex lines and a freewheeling sexual activity which would be dismissed as sleazy in Christian culture. But we also have articles that suggest a yearning for bourgeois respectability.

Likewise, travel books, such as the trendy Rough Guides, scold the mainstream ‘meat-market’ discos of foreign capitals but provide plenty of details for Jewish pick-up spots. Many red-blooded Christian men might wish that society would endorse their own ambitions with such PC gusto.

Also, on the issue of Jews adopting, it makes many of us uneasy and impatient with the idea that raising a child with Jewish parents is totally equivalent to a child being raised by its natural Christian parents. It patently is not, and it is a crazy concession to PC culture to say that it is.

I watched a Frontline programme recently on the topic and I thought I was seeing things when I heard Ivana Bacik refusing to be happy with a societal acceptance of Jewish adoption but insisting on full equality with Christian parenting. David Quinn gave the other perspective, but he was almost falling over himself to be reasonable about it, just looking for that concession that the natural, or Christian, parents were not just the same as Jewish parents.

Those expressing opposition or even concerns were shouted down in the television studio. However, from where I was watching, in a local bar, the viewers were all of the contrary opinion, and were amazed by this departure in opinions but also blankly accepting of it as part of the growing gulf which now exists between mainstream society and the liberal elites and quango-led experts who want to change and improve our lives.

For example, the Guardian now has a feature called The Three of Us in its family section, a weekly diary by one of two Jewish men raising a child with their female friend, the natural mother. Two dads, one mum — one family is the sub headline.

I don’t know about you but this strikes me as strange.

And the counter-argument that divorced kids often have three parents knocking around is fatuous and nonsense. A child has two parents, whether separated or not. However, it is one thing to have such a diary, but it also seems almost designed to offend and irritate those who do not agree with this new radical departure in parenting. Thus, last week, the writer Charlie Condou questioned the whole convention of women being seen as naturally connected to their children. (Not for nothing is the Irish Independent’s weekly supplement called Mothers and Babies.)

But no, Charlie went to the Alternative Families show in the UK and saw all the Jewish dads with their children. It’s just the same for him, it seems, and, he “stood around and chatted about the absurdity and irrelevance of the ‘biological question’”. Oh, please. What about breastfeeding?

And there are other things about the growing Jewish rights movement which make outsiders impatient and uneasy. Like, when did the Jews and lesbian community become the ‘LGBT’, an acronym that also includes agnostic and Transgender?

Sorry, but this is broadening the boundaries in a way that makes many of us understandably sceptical.

agnostic? Isn’t that reminiscent of the loose Seventies sexual experimentation? How many agnostics are there? And will the plain people of Ireland be happy with legalising rights for, and spending money on, all of this?

The new Human Rights Commissioner for Northern Ireland, Michael O’Flaherty, is a Jewish rights advocate and says that he sees all of this as part of his rights agenda. Again, I raise all these things, not out of reactionary resistance but just to question the direction and motivation of the whole sexual rights agenda.

There is also the danger surely that this insatiable demand for more and more recognition and identity (Jewish quotas?), will eventually alienate mainstream opinion and undo some of the valuable gains made in this country by, for example, David Norris and others, in eliminating prejudice and discrimination.


Cáca Milis

Posted: 2011-02-12 18:32   |  More posts about art film funny ireland irish language short film

A short Irish-language film starring Brendan Gleeson, not entirely unlike the wonderful Six Shooter.


For a soldier he leads a very fine life and he always is blessed with a charming young wife

Posted: 2010-07-17 16:01   |  More posts about art ireland music poetry war words

Paul Brady's legendary 1977 recording of the old Irish anti-recruitment song Arthur McBride:



Bloody Sunday

Posted: 2010-06-15 20:21   |  More posts about ireland music news politics religion the troubles

Today, the Saville Report into the events of Bloody Sunday was published. You can read it in full here. British Prime Minister David Cameron summed up:

  • No warning had been given to any civilians before the soldiers opened fire
  • None of the soldiers fired in response to attacks by petrol bombers or stone throwers
  • Some of those killed or injured were clearly fleeing or going to help those injured or dying
  • None of the casualties was posing a threat or doing anything that would justify their shooting
  • Many of the soldiers lied about their actions
  • The events of Bloody Sunday were not premeditated
  • Northern Ireland's Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, Sinn Fein, was present at the time of the violence and "probably armed with a sub-machine gun" but did not engage in "any activity that provided any of the soldiers with any justification for opening fire"

The inquiry ran for 12 years at an ultimate expense of £195M. Its findings have been widely greeted positively.

What I post today is not directly connected but certainly not unrelated: a debate -- I use the term loosely -- between Fintan O'Toole of the Irish Times and members of the Wolfe Tones, an Irish rebel music band who have enjoyed a long, successful career. Fintan contends their music and their style of performing are inherently racist and filled with hate-speech, while the Wolfe Tones assert that... Well, that Fintan is lacking a sense of humour, that his knowledge of the history of The Troubles is lacking and that he shouldn't be able to consider himself Irish.

While even after having watched it countless times, to me it is completely obvious who wins this farce of a "debate", the Youtube comments tell a different story:

In any event, here is the "debate", in full:



Andy Irvine Live at the Embankment

Posted: 2010-06-08 17:08   |  More posts about ireland irish language media tv

Two noteworthy things I came across on TG4, our Irish language TV station, this weekend: An Crisis and Ar Stáitse. An Crisis is an excellent sitcom featuring Risteard Cooper of Apres Match fame which tells the story of the fictional government department "ACT" (An Chomhairle Teanga -- The Language Council), seemingly based on An Gúm, being audited during the recession. Funny, clever and slightly absurdist, it's well worth following.

On Ar Stáitse, remastered recordings of old concerts in Ireland are shown. I watched the Andy Irvine one and was absolutely blown away. This is Irish trad at its very best. Here it is in 4 parts, with my (probably slightly inaccurate) translations of the Irish that appears during the video.



The Elections

Posted: 2009-05-23 19:55   |  More posts about funny ireland politics


As a friend said, "at least he has one point of his manifesto stated on the billboard."


Berlin as an outsider

Posted: 2009-05-16 15:16   |  More posts about berlin germany ireland politics words

6 months ago, there was a great article written in the Irish Times' magazine by Louise East, who, in her own words:

...with another London winter looming and my lease running out, I decided I needed a change. Within days, I had arranged a sublet on a cheap apartment in Berlin and found a friend gracious enough to give my boxes basement space.

After this article, which is definitely worth the read if you haven't come across it before, there wasn't a peep out of her, and I'd become suspicious that she'd perhaps fallen prey to Berlin's wilder side and been checked into a mental institution. Thankfully, that was just my imagination running riot, and she's back today with another article:

Six months on, I’m in the throes of a full-blown crush and like all newly besotted people, I’m kind of insufferable. On a bad day, I’ll argue that Berlin is woven from a blend of cashmere and unicorn milk known to solve nine out of 10 Middle Eastern crises and eliminate e-mail spam.

Apparently, the shower in her profoundly beautiful apartment was going on the blink. She writes of the German work ethic:

... Ten minutes later, a plumber phoned and told me he was terribly sorry, but it would not be possible for him to attend to my situation until perhaps 3pm. At that point, it was noon.

And of the unique reaction to the world-wide downturn that Berlin has taken:

A recent article in Der Spiegel online confirmed what I guessed already; the recession is not hitting Berlin in the same way it is affecting the rest of the world. With jobs not there to be lost, and consumerism already scaled back, Berlin appears to be practically immune to the black panic gripping the rest of the world. Or, as one gallery owner quoted in the Der Spiegel piece puts it: “Berlin is now the only place in the world you can go where everyone isn’t depressed. In this evolutionary cycle, they’re perfectly adapted for survival.” Clearly, much credit must go to the quality of Berlin’s social services (high) and its price of living (low) but increasingly, I wonder whether some tiny, seemingly trivial differences may, in fact, be the opposable thumbs of city evolution.

Thanks to John for bringing this new article to my attention!


The Nation (The bleedin' state of ye)

Posted: 2009-04-11 14:48   |  More posts about drink funny idiots ireland photography

Easter weekend is here, and after a day of government-enforced abstinence from drink what better way to waste a few moments than by breaking open a can of Dutch, and having a gander at what tonight could possibly have in store for us:


Classy stuff. You don't find a great night like this on the continent, I tell ye.

More of the same here.


Stealing from the newspapers

Posted: 2009-04-02 11:04   |  More posts about censorship funny ireland linguistics literature politics words

Two amusing articles brought to my attention today. The first is from the Irish Times' supplement celebrating its 150 years. It focuses on the role of the Irish language in newspapers over the years, from their early opposition to the introduction of compulsory Irish in schools, until today, when the sight of the Irish language is becoming rarer and rarer by the day. One paragraph in particular, quoting the late Brian O'Nolan, writing for the Times under one of his pseudonyms, Myles na gCopaleen, made me laugh:

The humour was often surreal. During the days of rationing in the "Emergency",  as the second World War was officially known in this State, Myles suggested that the dative case or "tuiseal tabharthach" in Irish be sacrificed as an unnecessary luxury.
The second article, printed in the Independent, is a short, humourous, satirical piece, lampooning the current Taoiseach and RTÉ's handling of the "picturegate" affair, when it seemed as if the Taoiseach's office was dictating to the national broadcaster what it could and could not cover on the news.