In the words of Murphy McManus: “It’s St. Paddy’s. Everyone’s Irish today.”
I definitely have to agree with that, and not just because he’s a fearless little shit with a sexy accent. I think that the attitude of inclusiveness is great. Where Murph and I disagree a smidge is in what we’re celebrating. I mean, maybe he and Connor were celebrating lots of things, but what we saw in the film and what most Irish-for-a-day will be doing is using March 17th as an excuse to get hammered.
And, well. If you want to get shit-faced, you don’t really need an excuse. I think it’s truer to the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day to celebrate the example that the Irish have set for us. And no, I’m not talking about their resistance to alcohol poisoning, their propensity for brawling, or the gorgeous red hair the Celtic Irish mock us with.
I’m talking about their resiliency. The Irish never met someone who didn’t take a shit on them, but they endured through poverty and famine, misery and oppression and incessant rain. There is trauma in the collective Irish consciousness — an ex and I once joked that “the Irish are never happy unless they’re never happy” — and you don’t hear them denying that. Quite the opposite, really. It’s a common stereotype that the Irish are miserable, usually because of the pain and suffering that exists in their creative works. But that’s my point: they took these horrible things, and used them to make something beautiful. A beauty that might be tragic or desperate or harsh, but is still beautiful nonetheless.
The Irish are also a people who place very high value on freedom. No one can really blame them, given their ill usage at the hands of the British, and while I definitely do not condone war, the IRA or their tactics, I do have to admire and respect how far they’re willing to go to claim and keep their freedom. You can’t say the Irish don’t fight for what’s important to them. There’s a stubborn rebelliousness to them, a defiance in the face of overwhelming odds, that takes a special kind of courage, a certain magnitude of self, that is worth cultivating.
Plus, well. The Irish gave us Oscar Wilde — a brilliantly witty, sarcastic writer who was unabashedly gay in an era when it was illegal. And when he was brought before the courts, he took his punishment and then lived the rest of his short days in France, where his final words were “Either this wallpaper goes or I do.” We owe them for Oscar if absolutely nothing else.
Yeah. In case it wasn’t glaringly obvious up ^there^, I happen to be an Irish girl. I don’t tend to think about my heritage — Irish or otherwise — very often, but with the shamrock invasion going on right now, I’ve had some time to ponder.
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