This article originally appeared the New York ‘Irish Examiner USA’ for 9th April 2013
‘Tiny’ Gilmore Hides in His Bunker Whilst I Hide From the PC Police
You know, I just have to tell you: maybe it’s only Old Father Time mellowing me out a little but I’m beginning to develop mixed feelings about Germans. Yes, the ones who pull the strings of our docile little Merkel-whipped political puppets here in Ireland. Those guys. The Germans, the ones at the forefront of the European experiment that put the fear of God into their representatives here, Dame Edna Kenny and his ghastly sidekick, the turncoat Eamon Gilmore.
Obviously I’m not going to like the Germans as a race on principle. I’m not going to give you that Politically Correct nonsense that means that I have to lie and say that some of my best friends are Germans. They’re not. I know a couple of individuals who are really good people and that’s it. No sense of humour (did I mention that they were German?) but good just the same.
Anyway, I’m talking in general and obviously I’m not going to be too crazy about people who humiliate and boss around my fellow countrymen and women with every chance they get. I may not like our politicos much but I still don’t like to see that. I also don’t understand why they take it. They say that it’s on our behalf. That’s a typical political lie. Our lot are bending over and taking a lot—supposedly for our own good, like we were little kids– that we never gave them a mandate for. If Fine Gael and Labour were companies they would have been closed down a long time ago. At the very least they would have been had for false advertising. What else do you call it when you go back on every single thing that got you elected in the first place? And then you send out a blowhard like Pat Rabbitte to openly say that this is what you do when you are doorstepping voters. It’s EXPECTED that you lie. I’ve said it before: we are one hell of a soft nation.
So I can’t entirely blame the Germans. They see a weak country and they go in with the big leather boots. Of course, first off they’ll offer the carrot. A fierce man for the carrot is Enda Kenny. He loves being told what a great job he’s doing with his raggle taggle subjects. Sure, all the applause for him is coming from people who don’t actually have to LIVE here—and a lot who do can’t afford to immigrate—but it’s applause just the same. It’s your face on the cover of Time magazine just the same. It’s being patted on the head and being told what a good boy you are by the People Who Matter just the same.
So what that people have their electricity cut off every week? So what that people are evicted from their homes? So what that one person has committed suicide for EVERY DAY SINCE JANUARY FIRST? We don’t want to be dealing with that. It wouldn’t look great.
Still, the Germans: as I say, mixed feelings because I may not like their bullying (Phil Hogan studies them religiously) but you have to grudgingly admire a nation that single-handedly plunges the whole world into two wars over the course of just over three decades, gets the bejeesus kicked out of it on both occasions…and still emerges the clear victor, the clear make-no-mistakes- winner!
Did you ever see that Sam Peckinpah film called Cross of Iron? Great World War II movie, but don’t take my word for it. No less than Orson Welles considered it the finest anti-war film ever made. (It’s not, but it’s up there. The best for me is the Russian Elem Klimov’s masterpiece Come and See.) In Cross of Iron Peckinpah shows things from the German point of view and there’s a scene near the end when it’s obvious that it’s all over for these soldiers whose fortunes we’ve been following. “What will we do when we lose the War?” asks Colonel Brant (James Mason) of Captain Kiesel (David Warner). “Prepare for the next one” is the answer. Well, that’s off the top of my head so maybe it was Kiesel to Brant, but you get the idea. They did prepare for the next one, only this war was an economic one and they had a resounding win this time around.
I always find it amusing that Ireland now finds itself in painful thrall to Germany when we were the only country in Europe to fly the flag at half-mast when Uncle Adolf blew his addled brains out. You have to admit, it’s funny…although perhaps not ha-ha funny.
As I watched Tánaiste Eamon Gilmore get a severe kicking this week and while I laughed as the rats began to desert his sinking Labour ship, another reason for liking the Germans occurred to me: don’t they have a great bloody language just the same? I mean, they have these wonderful words like ‘ubermensch’. What a cracker of a word. You don’t even have to know what it means. You don’t even have to know how to pronounce the damned thing. Even their philosophers sound great, for heaven’s sake: Nietzsche or Theodor Wiesengrund Adorno. It doesn’t matter what they’re rabbiting on about, those are just great names.
Here’s another terrific German word that came to mind as I felt no pain at Gilmore’s discomfort this week: Schadenfreude. Another wonderful word. It just summed up how I felt. I was ‘taking pleasure from someone else’s suffering’. “Ah”, I thought. “Only the Germans could compact that lovely feeling into one word.” As it happens I was wrong. It seems that there’s a Finnish word that means the same thing: vahingonilo. But seriously, are you going to tell me that sounds as good as—shout it!—SCHADENFREUDE! Not a chance. There’s just something really Alpha-male about those words, especially when the ultimate Alpha-male Angela Merkel is yelling them at poor old Enda, ha ha.
Here’s another context in which Germany was mentioned to me in the past few days.
Wafting towards my ears in that nasally smug whine that tells you that you should have collected your pint farther down the counter came the provocative words: “We should have done what the Germans do.”
You’ve been in the situation, I’m sure. You know that you should just say “that’s right” and move on; but nosiness gets the better of you. What, pray tell, should we be taking the advice of the Germans for this time? The answer comes, delivered with that certainty that tells you there’s no point in going there: “They wouldn’t let that eejit Tom Cruise into their country, so they wouldn’t. Him or any of his cult followers. And we shouldn’t be letting him in either.”
Ah yes, I had forgotten that Cruise was being made an honorary Irishman last week. Actually, I don’t have any particular axe to grind as regards Tom Cruise. I enjoy his films. And I freaking loved him in Neil Jordan’s Interview with the Vampire. His religion sounds a bit mad but as I’ve said before so does believing that a dead man can rise again (unless you ARE a vampire, obviously); or that strapping a suicide vest on you will have you welcomed to the other side by 77 virgins. It’s all baloney as far as I’m concerned. But I really didn’t have a problem with Cruise. He appears to be a polite man; and as far as I can see, unlike a lot of the puffed-up, full-of-their-own importance, Z-list celebrities with no discernible talent that we have around the place he seems to have a lot of time for his fans. He certainly just doesn’t just rush through signing a few autographs. OK, so he landed in his own private space ship and he had his own chef and all the rest of it. But if he didn’t enjoy himself he put on a bloody good show of it and gave some people a bit of Hollywood glamour in dark times. What’s wrong with that?
We got to see Tom pour a pint of Guinness and you know he wouldn’t have been allowed to leave until he had one of those thrust into his hand. This gave the wits a chance to say “half pint pours pint.” It was all good stuff.
As for taking a cue from the Germans on who we can or can’t invite into the country, I’ve got a few choice words for that. But…this is a family newspaper. However, do you not think that we take enough orders from them as it is? To anyone who found it worthwhile to moan about our making a big deal over Cruise…you’d be better concerned with some real issues. Cop on.
And I’ve just realised as I’m typing these words of tolerance and wisdom (TWO words you don’t often see in this column, just to beat you to it) that Eamon Gilmore had a starring role here as well. You know what, for once I am going to give a very big “well done” to our beloved leaders on the decision to send Gilmore as the official representative who met Tom as he received his Certificate of Irishness or whatever it was called. Was it you, Enda? Come on, don’t be shy: a good idea is a good idea no matter where it comes from.
Can you imagine what Tom Cruise felt as he saw Gilmore approach him? I mean, apart from “Who the hell is this? Why wasn’t I briefed?” I’ll bet it was absolute delight that we had the courtesy and aforethought to send someone to shake his hand that is actually smaller than him! Well, it seems that Tom Cruise and Eamon Gilmore are in fact the exact same size (five foot, seven inches) but everyone I know thought the same when we saw the RTE footage. We hadn’t realised how tiny Gilmore is until we eyeballed him next to Tom.
You know, I’ll bet that right now Tom is so enamoured of this country that he’s looking into visiting more often. Think about it: apart from Tiny Gilmore we have one of the world’s most popular rock stars in the shape of Bono, who is one inch SMALLER than Tom; we have one of Ireland’s least liked…eh, singers in Chris de Burgh at two foot five; and if it comes to that we have an actual President of the country who is an entire THREE inches more diminutive. (Guess which of those heights is made up.) If we had just thought of it earlier we could nearly have arranged for him to meet ONLY people of the same size. And I’d better quit now before the PC police hit me for ‘sizeism’ or whatever the buzz-word is this week.
I’ll bet that Tom is over in LA now, going over the logistics of a move here.
Nah, only kidding: ten-to-one he never gives Ireland another thought.
Still, it was the only good thing that happened for Tiny Gilmore. Since their absolute hammering in the Meath East by-election Labour have been acting as if they just found out they were unpopular. There are all sorts of mumblings behind his back and his troops have already begun to take what they hope will be seen as the moral high ground. Too late, rats! Sure, we’re suckers but even we can see through you this time. Why did it take a by-election for you to get a grip? Why could you not have listened to the complaints of those who once voted for you? It’s too little and too late now to be jumping ship.
Meanwhile, Gilmore was unavailable for comment as he was hiding in his bunker, which is a really small one in fact. Little thing, it is; custom made. No, PC police: it’s just an expression. I’m not comparing him to a certain German fascist. Even he’s not that bad. Although now that I think of it I believe they were the same size.
Sunny South African Thoughts
One politician who won my respect for being a breath of fresh air this week is Independent councillor Gerry Ginty. He certainly wasn’t keeping one eye on the PC police when he commented on Archbishop Tutu’s visit to Mayo next month to endorse a library in ex-president Mary Robinson’s name. Gerry didn’t only have a go at Tutu but thought he’d take a swing at Nelson Mandela whilst he was at it. He says that he’s fed up seeing these two portrayed as “paragons of virtue” and that the trip “makes my blood boil”. I love it already! Over to you, Gerry:
“Tutu should go home and do something better for his own people. [Ginty said that South Africa remains one of the most frightening places in the world.] I have nothing personally against him, but I don’t think he has any business coming here. He should stay home, and…spend on building a few houses for people in the townships.
“It’s a country that has a €5.3 billion spend on military hardware and their military apparatus every year—and yet people go from this country to build houses for them.”
Councillor Ginty went on to say that he was a one-time supporter of the African National Congress and of Mandela but:
“They have let their people down. They have behaved very badly… A small minority of black men have become enriched, and a tiny minority of black women. But the living standards of the ordinary South African, they haven’t improved.”
Whew! A politician who speaks his mind. It’s hard to believe that this guy is from the same county as Dame Edna. He had better watch out, though. Even as we speak, I just know that the Politically Correct Police have him in their sights. He has been warned.
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