July 22, 2009
Admit it. You wish you were Irish – well, except for that kelly green thing … or worse yet the Protestant orange. Damn, Ireland, does someone need to bust out a Pantone color swatch? That’s it? That’s all you got? Makes you appreciate the fashion sense of the Crips and the Bloods. And yet, Irish gangstas are O-tothemotherfucking-G. They’ve been going at it for centuries: first the Vikings, then the Normans, then the British, then one another. Militarily, the color scheme makes sense – well, at least half of it. In Ireland, kelly green is pretty decent camouflage – especially useful considering that the Irish skin tone leans hard toward alabaster even during the summer months. Wearing orange, on the other hand, is just crazy, not only in Ireland but pretty much anywhere in the world – well, except in Texas during deer and football seasons. Otherwise, unless there’s some tacit agreement between all parties involved, it’s like wearing a huge fluorescent sign that says “shoot me.” Not surprisingly, Irish Catholics obliged Protestants by using them as targets for a few hundred years, not just because of their horrible fashion sense, but because surrounded by all that green they were so hard to miss. Fortunately for the Prods, Irish Catholics were so poor they could only afford to throw rocks for the most part. Had they dropped some coin on some guns and ammunition rather than in the collection basket, they could have had themselves a real Donnybrook. Back in the day, the Catholic Church rolled strong. They had expensive vestments, huge cathedrals, and a seemingly inexhaustible supply of altar boys, all provided by the sweat and toil of their mostly poor, mostly illiterate parishioners. Of course, there are worse places to be poor than in Ireland. It’s not some windswept patch of Somali desert. There are plenty of trees, grass, rivers, and rainbows … and the promise of leprechauns and lucre at the end of them. And, even though you might go hungry in Ireland, you’ll never go thirsty. There’s always a pint of stout or a shot of whiskey to keep your stomach from growling and your mind from dwelling on topics like inequity, injustice, and insurrection. There’s also music. Anything you can beat, pluck, or squeeze is fair game in the Celtic tradition – especially if it’s made of dead animal parts. It seems all those years of illiteracy paid off in a musical legacy that’s second to none, Bono not withstanding. Celtic music’s reach extends far beyond the Irish diaspora … as long as that reach doesn’t extend too far beyond white, middle-class people who also don’t mind dropping $8 for a turkey leg at a Renaissance fair. Regardless, Irish music is good fun, not only because it involves drinking, but because everybody gets involved – sort of like a piano bar without the Kenny Rogers songs. Before you start thinking it sounds too creepy for you, you might want to check it out yourself. This Sunday night at 9pm, B.D. Riley’s is having one of its Irish Tunes sessions. Head on down to Sixth Street, and join in the fun. Just remember, check the Lucky Charms voice at the door. You don’t want to end up in a Donnybrook.