Friday, March 17, 2006

"Plastic Paddy"

‘Plastic Paddy’ by Eric Bogle, from I Wrote This Wee Song:
He’s just a Plastic Paddy, singin’ Plastic Paddy songs
in a Plastic Paddy pub that they call The Blarney Stone
There’s plastic shamrocks everywhere, there’s Guinness and green beer
And a sign in Gaelic above the bar which says ‘God Bless All Here’.

His guitar sounds like a wardrobe, and it’s out of tune at that
His singin’ voice it ranges from a sharp to a flat
He’s just desecrated ‘The Holy Ground’, ripped apart ‘Black Velvet Band’
Sang some nights drunk and now he’s sunk ‘The Irish Rover’ with all hands...

The publican’s a proddy Scot by the name of McIntyre
Who does not allow collections for the men behind the wire
I interrupt this delicious satire to say that while I’m no apologist for John Knox, arguably this can be counted unto Mr McIntyre for righteousness as many in ‘the cause’ seemed Marxists, not really Catholics, otherwise they wouldn’t have shot and bombed innocent civilians.
He's just thrashed his way through ‘Galway Bay’ and ‘My Wild Irish Rose’
and if he starts singing ‘Danny Boy’, I’m gonna punch him in the nose!

There’s Aer Lingus posters everywhere showing pretty Irish scenes
all peaceful and idyllic, and very bloody green!
It’s nothing to do with Ireland, which is really commemorating the saint today — in church (at least those who still go). It’s about Irish immigrants and their descendents making it in America.

I understand this sort of thing, like Plastic Paddy songs such as ‘My Wild Irish Rose’, is as unknown in Ireland as Lucky Charms cereal.

Thus saith Slate:
Irish immigrants first celebrated it in Boston in 1737 and first paraded in New York in 1762. By the late 19th century, the St. Patrick's Day parade had become a way for Irish-Americans to flaunt their numerical and political might. It retains this role today.
I like the Irish from Ireland I meet. Over there at least until recently they would stop in the streets to pray the Angelus and it would be broadcast on the TV (RTÉ?).

Some Irish-Americans, as Thomas Day* explains, made a lot of the the liturgical and other messes in RC churches, and the problem goes back long before Vatican II, which only aggravated/metastasised it.

In short:
• They’d turned Jansenist (puritanical), as over-dramatised in the film The Magdalene Sisters.
• They were persecuted at home so they couldn’t do high church even if they wanted to.
• They developed class hatred/envy that associated nice church architecture, music, language and even ceremonial with the English. (ICEL and the pseudo-folk guitar Mass are relatively new ways for them to flip the bird at that culture. Like the way many Jews go in for ugly art like Marc Chagall.)
• ‘The office?! That’s for priests and nuns! Our people do devotions!

When the ethnic Irish ‘made it’ in the 1950s there could have been a ‘Catholic moment’ in America thanks to that (the success of Bing Crosby, Pat O’Brien and Spencer Tracy movies the decade before showed that the mainstream finally accepted the church socially) but IMO both the real JFK and Vatican II squandered it.

A friend once described the brand of RC traditionalism that looks back to the 1950s as partly nostalgia for that ‘arrival’: ‘We’ve got the house in the suburbs and a car in the garage and isn’t life grand?

In Ireland today is a holy of obligation so Catholics are in church, not the pubs. Fr Peter Robinson, who lived there, writes that the Protestant Irish (Presbyterians like Barry Fitzgerald) ignore this day religiously — they’re in the pub.

Fr Robinson continues:
Irish Anglicans such as Douglas Hyde, W. B. Yeats, Liam Cosgrave and Sir Roger Casement were very prominent in the Nationalist Movement. Paradoxically the Roman Catholic Church was often more hostile to Nationalism than the Church of Ireland.
The Yanks can keep ‘V(-Sign) for Villanova’, the green beer and ‘On Turkey’s Eagle’s Wings’ — if you’re after getting some religion look in places like this**.

From Slate
Explaining the fake-Irish-pub revolution
Better than plastic shamrocks and Bud Light but still...

One can see it as a good example of the free market, though. Thanks to it, if one wants to make money from Irish culture, one must do things well (buildings and staff actually from Ireland, etc.).
The concept is not properly served by joke names like McSwiggins or Filthy McNasty’s
There’s a Tipsy McStagger’s near here.

Cultural cliché that AFAIK is true: The folk music is very good and there’s lots of it, in just about every pub there, so much that the Irish are rather sick of it.

This craic is wack

From the real Ireland

From local barman Fergie, who is from there (and says there are parades but agrees there isn’t drunkenness there today): Beannachtai na Feile Padraig do mo chairde go leir. The blessings of St Patrick to all my friends.

Hymn: ‘I bind unto myself today’
I bind unto myself today
the strong Name of the Trinity.
The Lorica (breastplate) prayer
Of the real St Patrick (who wasn’t Irish)

While I’m on this ethnic theme:

From Deacon’s Blog
Collect for St Patrick... in Polish

From Katolik Shinja
Parallels between the Irish and the Koreans
Here’s another: a visible minority of them are Presbyterians
Drink a round to Ireland, boys, I’m home again
Drink a round to Jesus Christ, who died for Irish men.
P.S. Pop quiz: What’s today’s liturgical colour?

*Search the blog and/or the Amazon link on the right side of this page.

**St Bartholomew’s, Dublin is actually Anglican, and dressed-up Broad Church (Modernist) at that, but architecturally they had the right idea.

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