Monday, March 16, 2009


On the good and bad aspects of outsiders’ nostalgic imaginations
Starting off with the decline of real Irish pubs... in Ireland
Members of the community no longer convene in public houses. (Yet another reason to dislike Starbucks, shopping malls and the Internet.)
Unromantic, pro-capitalist counterpoint: I understand the reason the Irish used to do that was many were too poor to entertain at home. As Rod Dreher acknowledges about foreigners’ expectations being unfair to the locals I’m sure the Irish don’t want to go back to those conditions (as Frank McCourt described 1930s Limerick).
Americans visiting, especially American Christians who come over, are often amazed to find that the England they’ve imagined exists from reading Tolkien and Lewis simply doesn’t exist.

One doesn’t have to idealize the past to recognize that in some ways, they really did know something about life and how to live it that we have lost. But again, it’s recoverable and renewable. Hope is memory plus desire.

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