Saturday, March 17, 2012

What Would St. Patrick Do?

If St. Patrick were walking among us today, he would most certainly not read heretical articles criticizing his feast day. Yet there is nothing more Irish you can do today than read my article about a recent St. Patrick’s Day controversy on Taki’s Magazine.

Here are some paragraphs that were cut from the article by the editors. They were considered too serious for the piece.

The case against St. Patrick’s Day goes beyond it being commonly celebrated as a moronic swill fest. For a people who are still trying to unite their island and the two sectarian communities that make up the majorities in those two parts, having a national holiday that is the feast day of a Catholic saint runs counter to the cause. Also, the Catholic Church has abused its influence in Ireland; anything that knocks that institution’s grip on the Emerald Isle would be welcome.

To be fair, there are opportunities to experience real Irish culture and language if you want it. But beyond the drinking, the other common St. Patrick’s Day celebrations and customs are all pretty useless as well. Corned beef and cabbage is one hell of a depressing meal, especially if you’re in a city where delicious pastrami is so easily accessible (St. Patrick probably ate potatoes and gruel). There isn’t much you could do with a baked potato that hasn’t been done already, unless you want to fire a potato cannon guns at the British Consulate. You could go to church if that’s your bag, but that could drive someone back to drink.

A better Irish holiday would be June 16, which is Bloomsday, the day chronicled in James Joyce’s “Ulysses”. Never mind that “Ulysses” is overrated and difficult to read. It was a landmark novel that amassed literary influence despite being censored. It features fireworks, masturbation, and sex.

Tragically, there are real issues to worry about in Ireland. The Irish economy is in bad shape and the country has faced fiscal crises similar to those that have gripped other countries in the European Union. Like many other parts of Europe, Ireland has seen an inflow of Islamic fundamentalist immigration. While it’s been steadily pushed out of the news since the peace agreement was forged in 1998, the dream of a united Ireland is still unrealized.

1 comment:

Helen Griffin said...

OOps! potatoes are from new world--(south america) and St Patrick wouldn't have eaten them.

Oat cakes, yes; quick breads (ie, non yeast risen loaves--the irish are one of very few cultures that don't have a traditional bread made with yeast, of various whole grains, lots of veggies, lots of dairy(both the english and irish are great cattle loving people)some meat--but no potatoes till the 1700's.