St Patrick’s Day In today’s politically correct world, comedy is like a fighter on the ropes. Say the wrong thing and the Twitter lynch mob wants your head. Any humor directed towards African-Americans is off limits. A misplaced gay joke can have you exiled to the same island that Kathy Griffin and Michael Richards are hanging out on. Italians are sensitive about the world associating them with mobsters, spaghetti eating, and TV detectives in trench coats. You risk torches and pitchforks for a tongue-in-cheek comment regarding women. Even white males with prostates as big as parking garages, you know, the people who still own almost everything, are like the princess and the pea if you jab them with a barb or two. It is a world where Judd Apatow is the apex of humor, which is like discovering vanilla pudding is too spicy for your stomach.   All I can say is thank God for St. Patrick’s Day! It is the one day of the year when all of America can celebrate a culturally negative stereotype. Everyone gets to be the personification of the drunk Irishman or woman walking into a bar and it is not going to end with your family holding an intervention. I know it is only a matter of time until a group of teetototaling sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle stand in front of a microphone and say, as they are wiping tears from their eyes, “No one understands how difficult St. Patrick’s Day is for us.  We are tired of the unwanted sexual advances that occur every March. Very few real Irish people advertise on t-shirts that they are so needy that they want complete strangers to kiss them. No real Irishman has ever said, ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish.’ Well, there is Charlie Sheen, but he is at best half- Irish, so he doesn’t count. His father’s real surname name is Estevez, Spanish, but they are already dealing with the burden of the cultural legacy of bullfighting, bringing syphilis to the new world, and Charo, without taking him on as one of their own as well.” “Our ancestors wore colors other than green. We wore the same colors as everyone else in Europe. It is no longer acceptable to pinch a woman, but pinch an Irishman who forgets to wear green and it is laughter had by all. St. Patrick, himself, wore a light shade of blue vestments. Leprechauns in Irish folklore wore red. How many Irish young people have come home with tears running down their faces with bruises on their bottoms and arms, all because they refuse to engage in a cultural stereotype?” “We are all not soulless gingers. That is painting us all with the same Nicole Kidman brush. The sons and daughters of Ireland include Ben Stiller, Barack Obama, Tom Cruise, Rosario Dawson, John Travolta, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro, and The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. None of them are redheads. Well, maybe Travolta could be, but no one has seen his real hair in years.  Scotland has a far larger percent of the population that is redheaded than Ireland.” “The modern caricatures of leprechaun, a minor fairy in Irish folklore, as mischief making, dancing, little people sitting on toadstools, cobbling shoes, fighting, and hiding their pots of gold is mostly 19th century derogatory stereotype of the people of Ireland and Tom Cruise ’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.”   (There is not such a thing in Irish folklore as a female leprechaun, which might explain why they still have all that gold and are always dancing a jig. Don’t believe me? Turn to the nearest divorced guy next to you and ask him what the world would be like if his ex-wife was never born. The dancing you would see would put Fred Astaire to shame. It also makes Notre Dame’s fighting leprechaun mascot make a whole lot more sense. If you are an eternal creature with no chance of having a co- dependent relationship with anything but your pot of gold and a pipe, basically a never-ending comic book convention, you would want to punch someone as well.) “Finally, not everyone in Ireland is an alcoholic. Yes, Irishmen have actually walked out of bars. It is not an urban legend. It has really happened. For most of St. Patrick’s Day’s history in Ireland, it was a strictly a religious holiday on which all pubs and beer sales were closed. In fact, throughout Lent, the Catholic Church frowned on the consumption of alcohol. The only exception in the whole country to this dry rule on St. Patrick’s Day was that vendors at a national dog show were allowed to sell beer every year.  It was not until 1970, when it became an official national holiday that bars and pubs were allowed to be open.” (I wish I had a great dog show and alcohol joke. I really don’t get why this strange linkage in Irish history happened. So, please insert your own bar at 2 a.m. story here.) “This bigotry has to stop. It is no more Irish to drink one’s self silly than any other ethnic group. Entitling pictures of men puking in toilets, passing out on the floor, and falling out of chairs Irish yoga is culturally insensitive. For goodness sakes, it is not like we are from Wisconsin or anything.”   I am part of the 11.1 percent of residents in America that can claim Irish heritage. When my Viking ancestors invaded Ireland, the fiery, half-wild women of the Emerald Isle transfixed the Norse warriors. (It is where we get the phrase “beyond the pale,” a line marking where civilization ended and the wild tribes lived.) I guess, when you are looting and pillaging villages and monasteries, risking your life in bad weather on the high seas and in battle, you need a little bit of a challenge. Manic depressants with suicidal tendencies having relationships with bipolar depressants with chemical dependency issues, what could possibly go wrong with that? Still, this small island has given the world so much. Almost half of the former Presidents of the United States can claim Irish heritage. Irishman James Hoban designed the White House, which is based on the House of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament), Leinster House. The Irish invented the automobile and modern submarines. They gave us potato chips and chocolate milk. Ireland even gave the world polar bears. Their ancestry can be traced to Irish brown bears, which might be the first time anyone or thing has left Ireland because it was not cold and dreary enough. There are so many things that could be celebrated from the rich Irish heritage. Yet, St. Patrick’s Day recognizes none of these things. It does not even really celebrate St. Patrick, the priest that brought Christianity of Ireland in 432 A.D., himself, anymore. Even though the legend of St. Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland is a modern “just so” story, a story meant to explain to children the reason thing are the way they are even when adults have no earthly idea themselves, St. Patrick’s life is still an extremely powerful story. (Ireland was too cold for reptiles, cold blooded creatures, to exist in early in the fossil record and the waters surrounding it acted like a natural barrier keeping them out for centuries. Yet, St. Patrick’s driving the snakes out should be seen in a more figurative light, with the snakes being the Druid priests and others taking advantage of the Irish people.) St. Patrick was a child born to Roman parents in England, Scotland or Wales. At the age of 16, he was taken prisoner by Irish pirates, who sold him into slavery.  For the next six years of his life, having lost all rights as a Roman citizen, he herded sheep and came to believe in the Christian faith of his childhood. He somehow managed to escape and made his way to England, where penniless and faint with hunger, he found a monastery that would take him in. After twelve years there, he had a vision that told him to return to Ireland. How many people would then choose to go back to the people that had enslaved them? A place where you had been treated terribly, a place where he would have no protection under the law, a place half wild and filled with pagans? A place where, upon your return you would be beaten, robbed, and put in chains? Using the shamrock to teach the Trinity, he transformed the country. St. Patrick’s Day is the anniversary of his death.  What? St. Patrick’s Day isn’t really about whiskey, Guinness, and beer dyed a bright shade of green? It is the one time of the year when you can go to the bathroom the next day and not be concerned that you might have to go to the hospital because what is coming out of you looks like Kermit the Frog in a blender. It is about loosening up, bonding with friends, tipping a few back. In an uptight world, that is slowly losing its humor, we all need to be a little more Irish, at least for one day.
St Patrick’s Day In today’s politically correct world, comedy is like a fighter on the ropes. Say the wrong thing and the Twitter lynch mob wants your head. Any humor directed towards African-Americans is off limits. A misplaced gay joke can have you exiled to the same island that Kathy Griffin and Michael Richards are hanging out on. Italians are sensitive about the world associating them with mobsters, spaghetti eating, and TV detectives in trench coats. You risk torches and pitchforks for a tongue-in-cheek comment regarding women. Even white males with prostates as big as parking garages, you know, the people who still own almost everything, are like the princess and the pea if you jab them with a barb or two. It is a world where Judd Apatow is the apex of humor, which is like discovering vanilla pudding is too spicy for your stomach.   All I can say is thank God for St. Patrick’s Day! It is the one day of the year when all of America can celebrate a culturally negative stereotype. Everyone gets to be the personification of the drunk Irishman or woman walking into a bar and it is not going to end with your family holding an intervention. I know it is only a matter of time until a group of teetototaling sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle stand in front of a microphone and say, as they are wiping tears from their eyes, “No one understands how difficult St. Patrick’s Day is for us.  We are tired of the unwanted sexual advances that occur every March. Very few real Irish people advertise on t-shirts that they are so needy that they want complete strangers to kiss them. No real Irishman has ever said, ‘Kiss me, I’m Irish.’ Well, there is Charlie Sheen, but he is at best half- Irish, so he doesn’t count. His father’s real surname name is Estevez, Spanish, but they are already dealing with the burden of the cultural legacy of bullfighting, bringing syphilis to the new world, and Charo, without taking him on as one of their own as well.” “Our ancestors wore colors other than green. We wore the same colors as everyone else in Europe. It is no longer acceptable to pinch a woman, but pinch an Irishman who forgets to wear green and it is laughter had by all. St. Patrick, himself, wore a light shade of blue vestments. Leprechauns in Irish folklore wore red. How many Irish young people have come home with tears running down their faces with bruises on their bottoms and arms, all because they refuse to engage in a cultural stereotype?” “We are all not soulless gingers. That is painting us all with the same Nicole Kidman brush. The sons and daughters of Ireland include Ben Stiller, Barack Obama, Tom Cruise, Rosario Dawson, John Travolta, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Harrison Ford, Robert De Niro, and The Boss, Bruce Springsteen. None of them are redheads. Well, maybe Travolta could be, but no one has seen his real hair in years.  Scotland has a far larger percent of the population that is redheaded than Ireland.” “The modern caricatures of leprechaun, a minor fairy in Irish folklore, as mischief making, dancing, little people sitting on toadstools, cobbling shoes, fighting, and hiding their pots of gold is mostly 19th century derogatory stereotype of the people of Ireland and Tom Cruise ’s appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show.”   (There is not such a thing in Irish folklore as a female leprechaun, which might explain why they still have all that gold and are always dancing a jig. Don’t believe me? Turn to the nearest divorced guy next to you and ask him what the world would be like if his ex-wife was never born. The dancing you would see would put Fred Astaire to shame. It also makes Notre Dame’s fighting leprechaun mascot make a whole lot more sense. If you are an eternal creature with no chance of having a co- dependent relationship with anything but your pot of gold and a pipe, basically a never-ending comic book convention, you would want to punch someone as well.) “Finally, not everyone in Ireland is an alcoholic. Yes, Irishmen have actually walked out of bars. It is not an urban legend. It has really happened. For most of St. Patrick’s Day’s history in Ireland, it was a strictly a religious holiday on which all pubs and beer sales were closed. In fact, throughout Lent, the Catholic Church frowned on the consumption of alcohol. The only exception in the whole country to this dry rule on St. Patrick’s Day was that vendors at a national dog show were allowed to sell beer every year.  It was not until 1970, when it became an official national holiday that bars and pubs were allowed to be open.” (I wish I had a great dog show and alcohol joke. I really don’t get why this strange linkage in Irish history happened. So, please insert your own bar at 2 a.m. story here.) “This bigotry has to stop. It is no more Irish to drink one’s self silly than any other ethnic group. Entitling pictures of men puking in toilets, passing out on the floor, and falling out of chairs Irish yoga is culturally insensitive. For goodness sakes, it is not like we are from Wisconsin or anything.”   I am part of the 11.1 percent of residents in America that can claim Irish heritage. When my Viking ancestors invaded Ireland, the fiery, half-wild women of the Emerald Isle transfixed the Norse warriors. (It is where we get the phrase “beyond the pale,” a line marking where civilization ended and the wild tribes lived.) I guess, when you are looting and pillaging villages and monasteries, risking your life in bad weather on the high seas and in battle, you need a little bit of a challenge. Manic depressants with suicidal tendencies having relationships with bipolar depressants with chemical dependency issues, what could possibly go wrong with that? Still, this small island has given the world so much. Almost half of the former Presidents of the United States can claim Irish heritage. Irishman James Hoban designed the White House, which is based on the House of the Oireachtas (the Irish Parliament), Leinster House. The Irish invented the automobile and modern submarines. They gave us potato chips and chocolate milk. Ireland even gave the world polar bears. Their ancestry can be traced to Irish brown bears, which might be the first time anyone or thing has left Ireland because it was not cold and dreary enough. There are so many things that could be celebrated from the rich Irish heritage. Yet, St. Patrick’s Day recognizes none of these things. It does not even really celebrate St. Patrick, the priest that brought Christianity of Ireland in 432 A.D., himself, anymore. Even though the legend of St. Patrick driving all the snakes out of Ireland is a modern “just so” story, a story meant to explain to children the reason thing are the way they are even when adults have no earthly idea themselves, St. Patrick’s life is still an extremely powerful story. (Ireland was too cold for reptiles, cold blooded creatures, to exist in early in the fossil record and the waters surrounding it acted like a natural barrier keeping them out for centuries. Yet, St. Patrick’s driving the snakes out should be seen in a more figurative light, with the snakes being the Druid priests and others taking advantage of the Irish people.) St. Patrick was a child born to Roman parents in England, Scotland or Wales. At the age of 16, he was taken prisoner by Irish pirates, who sold him into slavery.  For the next six years of his life, having lost all rights as a Roman citizen, he herded sheep and came to believe in the Christian faith of his childhood. He somehow managed to escape and made his way to England, where penniless and faint with hunger, he found a monastery that would take him in. After twelve years there, he had a vision that told him to return to Ireland. How many people would then choose to go back to the people that had enslaved them? A place where you had been treated terribly, a place where he would have no protection under the law, a place half wild and filled with pagans? A place where, upon your return you would be beaten, robbed, and put in chains? Using the shamrock to teach the Trinity, he transformed the country. St. Patrick’s Day is the anniversary of his death.  What? St. Patrick’s Day isn’t really about whiskey, Guinness, and beer dyed a bright shade of green? It is the one time of the year when you can go to the bathroom the next day and not be concerned that you might have to go to the hospital because what is coming out of you looks like Kermit the Frog in a blender. It is about loosening up, bonding with friends, tipping a few back. In an uptight world, that is slowly losing its humor, we all need to be a little more Irish, at least for one day.