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 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 →

Loveable, Laughing Leo and Empty Cant

Loveable, Laughing Leo and Empty Cant   Taken from the Chicago ‘Irish American News’ for August, 2017   I received a few nice emails on the back of last month’s piece, Robbery with a Fountain Pen.  They are always welcome and many thanks.  The graphic novel I mentioned was ‘Woody Guthrie and the Dust Bowl Ballads’ by Nick Hayes; and in it one of the things that came across for me was the way in which, despite the Depression, people mainly mixed well together. Also, Professor Dale Nelson of North Dakota sent on an essay he had written called Lovecraft’s Comfortable World; and there is a passage in it that resonated with me: “Conservative commentator John Derbyshire picked up the ‘old, weird America’ phrase when writing about the roots of Hank Williams’s experience.  Derbyshire describes ‘the old, weird America’ thus:  ‘a place where “multiculturalism” was not an empty cant phrase mouthed by social-engineering bureaucrats, but a daily reality of white, red, and black, hillbilly and Cajun, bluegrass and blues, all jostled together – bickering, fighting and oppressing, to be sure, but also working, drinking, singing and coupling.  That America has now gone forever, paved over with strip malls, industrial parks, community colleges and trimmed suburban gardens.  We gained a lot in the process, no doubt, but we lost something too.  We lost it, and it will never be seen again in life:  but the ghost of it is still there for anyone who seeks it, in the songs of Hank Williams’”. And also, I would suggest, in those of the great Woody Guthrie. *** *** *** Well, that’s that:  there will be no living with him now.  Yes, coming a few years after his predecessor Enda Kenny, our beloved new leader Leo Varadkar has only gone and gotten himself on... Full Article →

Robbery with a Fountain Pen

This article appears in the July issue of Irish American News.  It was written just before Leo Varadkar surprised no one at all by indicating that he was to be a case of “Out with the old, in with exactly the same…”   It’s a bit messy-looking, to be honest.  In fact, I’m surprised they haven’t already been moved on, just in case they frighten the tourists. It’s just off Galway’s central Eyre Square; so it should be disconcerting to see the homeless settling themselves down for the night, spreading out their few belongings and huddling up in the doorways.  It could give people the wrong idea; it could make a lie of the oft-repeated boasts about the country being in ‘recovery’. ‘Let’s keep the recovery going’, crowed Enda Kenny and his motley sideshow in an endless loop last year.  Until it dawned on even those as disconnected from reality as our lot, that perhaps it was a more than usually ignorant soundbite. I’m talking to an eleven-year old boy and his gran – or ‘Nan’, as he calls her.  She tells me that for some reason he has suddenly become concerned about the people down here that he sees waiting listlessly for evening time.  So, since they only live ten minutes’ walk from the Square, up in Bohermore, they thought it would be an idea to make up some soup and sandwiches, hand them out. It’s a lovely thought to come from a kid.  Empathy is in short supply these days and I hope that it doesn’t get knocked out of him as he enters the pragmatic grown-up world that doesn’t have much time for such things. Come to that, neither do some of the many keyboard warriors, the new breed which haunts the internet.  Later on, I’m looking... Full Article →