Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it whether it exists or not, diagnosing it incorrectly, and applying the wrong remedy. ~Ernest Benn

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An Informal Chat with Tony Slevin, former U.S. Marine Corps: 2

Chicago’s Irish American News, June 2019.     “What were you doing when you were posted to Korea?” I ask Tony. “I was working on helicopters as an aerial observer.” Right here is one of the frustrating things about interviewing Tony Slevin, originally from Dublin.  In the past, people I’ve spoken with – hell, people in general – are happy to talk about themselves.  Tony isn’t.  Beyond a polite surface answer to most questions, this guy is pretty much guarded in his responses.  Much is off the record and I’m pleased that I promised him it would be an informal chat or God knows I would be lucky to get anything at all. “When my brother came to me with flyers for the military I went along with him.  As I’ve said, it was in the back of my mind in any case.  Each branch of the service was in the same building.  Eric, he went for the army. “I’m not putting one over the other; but for me it was always going to be the Marine Corps.  In my mind it was more of a challenge and I liked the idea of being part of a smaller and more self-contained unit.” As a movie buff I can’t help but ask him what film he feels reflects life in the Marines most accurately; and there is no hesitation: “It’s the opening part of Full Metal Jacket, the bit set in the Boot Camp.  No question.  There are other decent films out there, but all of them have some flaws or other, ranging from the very small to the ridiculous.  But that first third of Kubrick’s film nails it. “I can’t comment on the rest of the movie, because it was set in Vietnam and I obviously wasn’t there, too busy... Full Article →

IAN : An Informal Chat with Tony Slevin, former U.S. Marine Corps.

An Informal Chat with Tony Slevin, former U.S. Marine Corps. [from Chicago’s ‘Irish American News’, May issue]     I’m something of a slow learner, always have been.  Come to think of it, maybe the only time I learned something really fast was when I never got married again after making such a screw-up of it the first time.  It’s funny because it’s true. For several years back in the noughties I had a terrific job, one that took me all over the world.  And in every country, no matter how far off, I was running into Irish men and women.  I didn’t take much heed of it at first; it was just something at the back of my consciousness, this awareness that the Irish got around to an extent that was ’way out of proportion to their country’s size. Then one evening I was checking into a hotel on one of the Cape Verde islands and I heard someone calling:  ‘Hey, Charley!  How are you?’ It turned out to be someone I had known back in Limerick in 1980.  He had been a young fella who collected glasses in a long-gone bar called The Davin Arms.  Now here he was, working as an accountant on a group of islands in the Atlantic Ocean – and we run into each other.  The following month I met up with a couple of brothers who hailed from County Roscommon and who had just opened a business in Panama.  Then there was the beautiful Irish woman who had been one of the famous Bluebell dance troupe in Paris and who was now selling high-end property in Mexico. With the penny finally dropped I approached Cliff Carlson, publisher of this magazine, with a suggestion that I do an extra column each month on the... Full Article →

Tea, Sympathy and Donkeys

Tea, Sympathy and Donkeys I can…. I c-c-c-can… *woah*… Deep breath there Brady, you can do it.  I can see, well kinda see… ah, what the hell:  I can kinda see Leo Varadkar’s point. There.  I said it.  I can see Leo Varadkar’s point.  Was that so hard? Oh man, you will never know how difficult that really was.  Me, agreeing with Mr. Smiley Tonsils Varadkar, the man who never ever saw a photograph of himself that he didn’t instantly fall in love with. Yet what do you want the guy to do?  Rewrite the Constitution?  Not a bad idea, come to think of it, considering that the Constitution was written at a time before we had people like the charming Lisa Marie Smith on the scene. As of my writing this, Lisa Smith is under detention and will be questioned by the United States after being captured and detained as an enemy combatant with a United Nations-designated terrorist group. Now, I know that I’m living in an age when we’re supposed to feel sorry for everyone.  This is a ludicrously touchy-feely era when we are subtly being trained to  forget about the feelings of those affected by utter outrages and are supposed instead to try to understand the motivations of those who perpetrate or are apologists for those same outrages. Lisa Smith is no victim, you can be damned sure of that. She is a grown woman of 37 and has made her own choices. She chose to become a soldier in the Irish Army.  Just stop for a moment and think about that:  at one point in her life she chose to serve and to protect the country that she was born in. She also chose to convert to Islam in 2009.  And good luck to her if... Full Article →