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

Recent Articles

The Anti-Irish Sentiments of H. P. Lovecraft

‘Criminals and Mongrel Wretches’: The Anti-Irish Sentiments of H. P. Lovecraft   From the Chicago ‘Irish American News’, November 2017     Well now, I’m not the better for that!  In fact, I’m almost sorry that I came across this correspondence from 1918/20. You see, I’ve been a lifelong devotee of the writings of Howard Phillips Lovecraft (1890 – 1937) of New England.  When I was a schoolboy in the 60s and 70s he was pretty much a fringe writer; but today, entire academic treatises are devoted to him.  Indeed, he is now regarded as an exponent of weird fiction on a par with fellow American Edgar Allan Poe.  To my mind he surpasses Poe, but that’s another day’s work.  And, although unknown to any but a handful of enthusiasts during his lifetime, from our vantage point his enormous influence on 20th and 21st century imagery simply can’t be denied, the word ‘Lovecraftian’ having entered the language and with even mainstream writers such as Joyce Carol Oates and Gore Vidal casually mentioning his work, with every expectation that his name will be recognised. His entire fictional output only added up to a little more than three volumes of short stories.  Yet it may happen that he will eventually be remembered by history for his tireless correspondence.  Leading Lovecraftian scholar S.T. Joshi gives a conservative estimate of his total output at 87,500 letters, out of which around 10,000 survive.  If they ever all see the light of day then this will amount to a staggering 100 volumes. (These weren’t short letters, either:  HPL could rabbit on for anything from a dozen pages to seventy.) The reality that I’ll never live to see the publication of them all used to be a source of regret to me; but after coming across a... Full Article →

Shearing the Sheep and the Blood Sacrifice

Shearing the Sheep and the Blood Sacrifice   Chicago’s Irish American News, October 2017   It’s probably just another sad example of my irredeemably perverse sense of humour, but one of the most amusing images I’ve come across recently is in a comic book where a panel depicts the Big Fella getting a kick in the goolies. I’ll get back to Michael Collins in a moment, though. As amusing as that is, I’ve been deriving almost as much enjoyment from the weasel-like behaviour of those who are rubbing their hands at the thought of getting back the money that they docilely and cravenly handed over to the now thoroughly discredited Irish Water.  Those of us who fought long and hard against the lunatic idea of paying for water more than once – and in a setup that would lead to the ultimate privatization of our water resources – can only smile as we watch those who denigrated us now falling over each other to be the first with the hand out. I’m not talking about people who were blackmailed into paying because they were in the process of selling their house; or the elderly who were terrified by threats from a swinish and unscrupulous government.  One example of that, by the by, was the contemptible (and unworkable) threat that their water supply would be ‘reduced to a trickle’, this being delivered by that thuggish lout, Phil Hogan – remember Phil, the minister for the environment who gave the managing director’s job to John Tierney?  And this of course would be the very same John Tierney who last year was paid a total of €655,000 in salary, severance and pension.  As always with politicians and their cronies it’s damned nice work if you can get it. Anyway… I’m speaking of people... Full Article →

The Narrow Minded Bigotry Doesn’t Come from Kevin Myers…

The Narrow Minded Bigotry Doesn’t Come from Kevin Myers…   Irish American News, September 2017     Well, of course, if there was any REAL Justice in this sad old world at all, then Irish journalist Kevin Myers would not only have been sacked from his position with the Sunday Times, he should have been strung up.  Hung from the highest tree, I tellz ye, after being chased down the street by all right-thinking, free-speaking folks waving lighted torches, brandishing pitchforks and dancing around like something straight out of Salem during the witch trials.  What he said was unforgivable, as you will know if you’ve been following the Saga of Ku Klutz Kevin and his dreadful, awful, utterly deplorable anti-Semitism. Except…wait; can I be a dissenting voice here for a minute?  May I go so far as to suggest that maybe Myers isn’t being pilloried simply for his supposedly outrageous comments?  That maybe… just maybe… this is a case of payback with a vengeance?  A lot of people don’t like Kevin, you see; and they have obviously been waiting in the long grass for just the right occasion to put the boot into him. The seventy-year-old Myers has been writing an opinion column since around the turn of the century – the previous century, it sometimes feels like.  Sometimes I agree with what he’s saying.  Sometimes I don’t.  And sometimes he actually makes me want to pull my own teeth out with a rusty pair of pliers.  But he’ll generally give you a different take on something and he’ll always make you think. His take on Irish history has often been called ‘revisionist’, for instance.  Now if you use the word ‘revisionist’ in terms of Western movies and sling in the names of Sergio Leone or Sam Peckinpah, you’re paying... Full Article →