Thursday, September 01, 2005


We are all prone to indulge in a bit of stereotyping from time to time. I suppose its inevitable given the human propensity to classify and label.
Racial stereotypes are one of the most ancient and indelible sources of prejudice. The Greeks kicked it off by referring to everyone who wasn't Greek as barbarians. They labeled them thus as, to their ears, everyone speaking a language other than Greek sounded as though they were constantly saying "bar, bar, bar".
If the people who gave us classical civilization were prone to taking the piss out of up country yokels, what chance have we got.
At one time, racial jokes were extremely popular, and not intended as a form of gentle ribbing: they were used to reinforce existing prejudices. In Britain, the most popular butt of jokes were the Irish. As emigrants from a rural, catholic, uneducated peasantry, they inevitably occupied the lowest rung of the social and economic ladder. The dislocated, drunk, Irish navvie was a perfect example for those seeking proof of the intellectual inadequacies of the Irish.
The British aren't unique in picking on one racial or ethnic group as a butt for their humour. The Americans like to have a go at the Poles, and the Germans like to stick the boot into the Bavarians. Even the Irish like to rip the piss out of Kerrymen.
Of course, as a high minded individual, I wouldn't dream of demeaning any nationality or culture. The Irish, for example, have produced such internationally acclaimed writers as: W B Yeats, Oliver Goldsmith and Samuel Beckett. Here surely is conclusive proof that the Irish can produce genius's as well as the next man. The fact that the aforementioned were Anglo-Irish protestants of English descent is, of course, completely beside the point.
The fact that Bono is a short arse, pontificating, munchkin git is no reason to take the piss out of the rest of the Oirish. Bejasus, begorrah and top o' the mornin' too all of yis. Sure if we weren't able to laugh at ourselves who could we laugh at.


Merkin said...

But it's always the Southern Irish. Why do you Ulstermen get away with it? My theory is that for 40 years we were all too terrified to rip the piss out of the Northern Irish in case the famously-humourless Gerry Adams/Ian Paisley (delete as appropriate) turned up in a balaclava to wreak revenge. To be sure.

garfer said...

Yeah, we get off pretty lightly.
You'd better not start Merkin. I know where you live!

Rowan said...

a fantastic post!

garfer said...

Why thank you. I thought I was just spouting my usual drivel.

MHN for short said...

Aye sir! Being a quarter Irish meself, I remember me old Grand Dad tellin' stories of the plight o'the Irish. Not really, but he did tell me that the Irish were treated like dirt when he came to America. What is sad is that even today, if you are different, you must be bad. That's a huge load of bull crap.

I really enjoyed your post.

MHN for short said...

Will you please send me your email address? I'd very much like to participate in the Trans Atlantic Cultural Exchange Program. My e-mail is on my profile. :-)

A well aged T-Bone steak was it for a box of Tunnocks Teacakes?
Thanks Garf.

becca said...

I can speak volumes about stereotypes, babe. Trust me. Nice post.

pissoff said...

You know, my grandfather's great greandfather was Irish. What does that make me? LMAO.

garfer said...

About 0.0025% Mick. Add in a smidgeon of Canadian squaw and you have the perfect recipe for a pycho nutbag.
You seem to have escaped quite lightly. Probably all that spotted dick has kept you sane.

Rowan said...

:P you've been tagged.

suburban wonder said...

Gee, and I always thought it was the Welsh that got picked on. The Irish, huh? I guess I'm off the hook.

Can I get in on the Cultural Exchange, too?