Celtic invasion to Buenos Aires

Gary Maclennan g.maclennan at SPAMqut.edu.au
Sat Jun 24 00:03:18 MDT 2000

Very interesting Lou.  I struggled through the Spanish.  Gotta get a

I am more than a little sceptical about the tide of Cetlic phenomena that
is spreading world wide.   In many ways it is very postmodern in the  sense
that the bourgeoise of the entertainment industries have to scour the globe
for new aesthetic phenomena to commodify and market.  It is though worth
pointing out the pivotal role of the Irish in literary modernity - Yeats,
Joyce, Beckett etc.  Always with the master slave dialectic that underpins
capitalism creativity comes from the margins.

In Australia the Celtic mania did not take off until the peace process in
Ireland neutralised Anglo resistance here. When I came to Australia in 1975
a tide of Irish jokes arrived.  These were the same jokes that British
comedians told British soldiers before they went out on the streets on
Northern Ireland to oppress the Irish.  I remember seeing a program where
the English comedian Ken Dodd told a whole string of Irish jokes to British
soldiers dressed in uniform and cradling their guns.  I thought then that
the Jews must have had a similar reaction to the Jewish jokes told by
Nazis. So when I got to Australia and heard the same jokes, I suffered
something of a crisis.

However the jokes  functioned differently here.  In Australia Irish jokes
served to reinforce and celebrate one of the great feats of British
colonialism - the total assimilation of the Irish culture in
Australia.  The upshot of the jokes craze was a deepening of the feeling
that to be Irish was to be stupid or mad and that it was a good thing that
Australia had turned her back on the Irish past.  Moreover while the IRA
remained a revolutionary danger it was not respectable to be Irish here in
Australia.  Not really.

Now it would seem that it is once more the raqe.  Yet it is a very fake
phenomenon.  In many ways as phony as those Irish songs that Bing Crosby
sang. As for the Irish Pub bit it is a 'load of shite' as they say back
home.  I have only been thrown out of one pub in my whole drinking career
and that was recently here in Brisbane because the Australian bar tender in
an Irish pub could not understand my accent.  True!



At 09:48 23/06/00 -0400, you wrote:
> >This is an article from Clarin.
> >Is there in the list someone who can explain this celtic wave in West world?
> >
> >Julio FB
> >Viernes 23 de junio de 2000
>It's hard to say, but along with the dance companies there have been other
>notable expressions of Irish culture and identity in the past few years.
>First among them is the runaway best-seller "Angela's Ashes", which is the
>memoir of Frank McCourt. Angela McCourt was Frank's mother and she had to
>deal with extreme poverty, an alcoholic husband and other obstacles. Frank
>was a high-school teacher up until the book was published. His brother
>Malachy McCourt is an actor who has published his own memoir and the two
>have co-produced an off-broadway revue based on their writings. What's of
>more interest is the fact that both of them are political radicals. Malachy
>had a radio show on NYC's Pacifica station which his brother used to sub
>for him every once in a while. In a delightful brogue, they'd attack racism
>and imperialism.
>The other important artifact is Thomas Cahill's "How the Irish Saved
>Civilization: The Untold Story of Ireland's Heroic Role from the Fall of
>Rome to the Rise of Medieval Europe" which was also a runaway bestseller.
>Cahill has since written a similar book on the Jews.
>These sorts of expressions seem positive to me, because the Irish have
>functioned in many ways as a bastion of reaction since the Civil War. They
>were co-opted by the ruling class as a reservoir of racism against blacks.
>The irony of the "niggers of Europe" willingly being used to keep blacks
>out of construction jobs or white neighborhoods has been extensively
>analyzed by scholars such as David Roediger and Theodore Allen.
>Louis Proyect
>The Marxism mailing-list: http://www.marxmail.org

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