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Sunday, September 9, 2007

Irish boycott: Literature and politics

Tom Carew of Safra-Vesaifa (No Surrender Ne pararan ) sent this charming explication of the Irish trade union boycott, inspired by the article of  Kevin Myers which originally appeared in the Irish Independent.
The tendency in  Irish use of language that Myers identifies here, and the contrast with the Jewish  Talmudic orientation, recalls a comment on RTE Radio 1 by Dr. Mary Henry, the former Trininty College Senator, after the Dec 15, 1993, Downing Street Declaration, in effect that there was to her, a Cork-born Protestant, a very alien quality to that mandarin-drafted inter-govermental document, signed by Albert Reynolds and John Major, in its systematically obscure use of language, which was to cloak conflicts with vague and unintelligible terminology, not reveal them, and to bury real differences by avoiding verbal distinctions, what later became known as * creative ambiguity *, and in contrast the Protestant tendency, attributed by her to their strong and ingrained respect for the biblical text, was to be very limited and meticulous in their use of language.

 The stark linguistic contrast between that visionary, declamatory Platonist, Hume [ RC grandson of a Scottish Presbyterian mason]  and the pragmatic, forensic  Aristotelian  Trimble [ grandson of a Cavan Presbyterian RIC/RUC officer], also echoes this. And Haughey, unlike Bertie, clearly belonged to the former camp.

This orientation also suggests to me the stark contrast between Beckett's austere and increasing minimalism, and Joyce's orotund and increasing logorrhoea, or between the sparse style of Presbyterian churches, against the ornate and intricate Baroque of some Roman cathedrals.

The linguistic counterpart of High Church * bells and smells * is to adorn, not commit, to impress, not convert.

And the dilution among a trendy media/cultural/academic elite, of 19th Century Marxism by other ersatz, unverifiable, ideological confections, such as *feminism*,  post-modernism, pacificism,  and multi-culturalism, allows intellectually and morally bankrupt ICTU bureaucrats to hide their increasing nakedness and irrelevance, not to mention ineffectiveness,  behind such uncritical *progressive * PC-posturing.

An original and admirable analysis, the poetic truth of which will stand regardless of my niggling analytic objections. "since feeling is first, who pays any attention to the syntax of things, will never wholly kiss kiss you" wrote the poet, ee cummings.
Ami Isseroff

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