The Null Device

A thought-provoking rant about the commodification of St. Patrick's Day, and the tendency of everybody from British royals to Hollywood celebrities to ordinary people wanting an excuse to get blotto to assert their newly-contrived Irishness. An Irishness which has been reduced into a "concept", a "feeling", or a sanitised, Disneyfied lifestyle package for mass consumption.
Anyone can become Irish today. You can show our Irishness by going to the right pub, having the right attitude, by ticking a box on a census form - but not by getting drunk, fighting, shouting 'Fuck the Queen', or any of the other activities you might traditionally have associated with being Irish, which are especially frowned upon by fake Irish pubs like O'Neill's (no relation).

Is plastic-shamrock cod-Irishness, as some speculated, the one acceptable way in which white people can claim a funky, rootsy tribal identity; one with enough? (via Plastic)

There are 5 comments on "":

Posted by: Graham http:// Tue Mar 19 08:49:42 2002

I've got Irish descendants which came out here about the 19th century, too bloody long ago to even be bothered about, especially since they're from the uncool half. See also the wave of faux-Irish bars with prefabricated fittings.

As someone said, Australians don't need a holiday to get shitfaced.

Posted by: acb Tue Mar 19 13:36:26 2002

There's one called Father O'Flanagan's, or something to that effect, in Collingwood. Which is a fine paragon of Oirish authenticity; some marketing flack who was working on the brand obviously knew that Ireland has (a) lots of priests, and (b) lots of pubs, and put two and two together concluding that the former run the latter.

The disappointing thing is that they get away with it, because most people's attention spans are too short to notice. Which is because they've been fed on bullshit designed for morons.

Posted by: Andrew http:// Thu Mar 21 06:03:44 2002

i've long felt that the wave of Irish Pubs where actually an american commodifcation of a culture. i met an irish couple in Japan who told me that Guiness was overpriced crap. There were lots of irish pubs in Tokyo actually - filled with Americans. Go figure.

Posted by: acb Thu Mar 21 06:19:42 2002

Most franchises are from Boston, run by Irish-Americans. Mind you, much of Irish folk culture was preserved in the American diaspora during the British occupation, and reimported back, so things are a bit more complex. (Much as there are now traditional Scottish reels about clans' emigration to Canada.)

I once heard that the authentic pubs in Dublin are being bought up by US-based plastic-shamrock franchises and refitted to be more conspicuously "Irish".

Posted by: Anton Fri Mar 22 19:35:50 2002

Oh dear. Which is the uncool half of Ireland? I hope it's not the part that sent the Scots to Scotland.