Thursday, March 23, 2006

We haven't gone away you know...

After an initial flurry of activity, Cruiskeen Eile has been diverted by myriad demands on its time and energies, not least work, night school, domestic bliss, the leading of Plato's examined life. But the Colonel remains under watchful eyes and continues to provide much in the way of food for thought. CE plans to expose the Colonel's overarching goal which is nothing less than the renormalisation of Edwardian patriarchy in Ireland - and sadly it seems from a cursory inspection of the young people of the Blog O'Sphere that this may not be as dementedly lost a cause as it prima facie appears to be.

Fans of our particular brand of infantile humour - playing man and ball, rugby style - will be pleased to note that among the delights coming their way will be the Colonel's Modest Proposal For Preventing Bastard Babies in Ireland From Being A Burden to Their Parents or Country, and For Making Them Beneficial to The Public - yes kids, we are getting cannibalistic on your asses - a riotous tableau involving Austin Myers international sexist of mystery - Yeah baby, it's shagadelic. Lock up your Mary Robinsons - and, oh joy, oh bliss, a very special episode of University Challenging Times in which mein host demonstrates not a whit of bias against Sligo RTC.

On a serious note, however, we have discoverd that some rat fink has been interfering with our link over at the Kevin Myers wikipedia entry. Who could it be? Well, the IP of this censorious prig is 137.43.144.175, which a prodigious feat of detection reveals, o frabjous day, callooh callay, to be the campus ethernet out in Belfield. That's right, someone in UCD, bastion of academic disinterest though it purports to be, has taken it upon themselves to censor from delicate eyes the fact that someone out here looks askance at the Colonel's regular forays beyond the wider shores of reason.

Who do we know in UCD who's priggish, censorious and somewhat lacking in the humour stakes? Perhaps the gents at FI FIE or persons with a similarly impressive quality of mind can help us out. Answers on a postcard to Cruiskeen Eile.

If any wikipedia browsers notice the link has been deleted again, they should feel free to repost it - the satisfying work of seconds - and perhaps check the history to see from what IP the dastardly deed was done.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

Once more into the mailbag

This time it's from a Morgan in Co. Dublin. He writes:
Steyn and Myers

I find Mark Steyn’s writing gratuitously offensive and often unsubstantiated. Why do I bother saying this? I responded to an article of his recently. This got me a letter in the Irish Times which another columnist of similar ilk picked up on [...]
Read the rest here.

Friday, March 17, 2006

The Cat's in the Cradle

On foot of the happy news that the Blog O'Sphere has begun to reproduce itself, Cruiskeen Eile takes a trip into the future of An Irishman's Diary. But what's this? It isn't an Irishman's diary anymore!

Timeline - 2021. The place - Pembroke Street, Dublin 2. Celebrated polemicist and newly-appointed Irish Times diarist Noam Delevan and his son Fox News Mulder are about to enter Louis Copeland’s emporium of bespoke suitery:

The truth is in here son. Ha ha.

Fuck’s sake Dad, you bastard.

Sorry son.

!

Anyway, big day son. Your first suit. Soon to reach a man’s estate, we must enshirt you in like manner of your patrician antecedents. It is the tailor’s cut which separates us from the Trots.

That doesn’t sound like you Dad.

Oh sorry, the writer must have forgot I’m American. There, that’s better.

You lose Dad. Big time.

I’ll have you know son that back in the day the old man was considered quite the hep cat, the mack-daddy, el gran queso with cheese. I had game. All of us beleagured neo-cons did. George Dempsey, Mark Humphreys – I defy anyone to tell me they weren’t steeped in cool.

What the fuck, who the fuck, Dad?

George pulled a Salinger son. Writes one anti-Irish, energy security techno thriller per half century.

Never heard of him.

Well, give him a chance. It hasn’t been 50 years yet. Mark was killed leading a Marine Expeditionary Force in Iran.

I didn’t know there was a war with Iran.

There wasn’t. It was for a movie. But there was a mix up with the shooting permits.

Er, you guys kept it real huh Dad?

We sure did son. We sure did.

Dad.

Son?

I think I’ll pass on the suit.


Post script - congrats to Richard on the birth of his fine son. Cruiskeen Eile confidently predicts a bright future of blogging for the boy, perhaps on this very space!

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Feast of St. Kevin

The Colonel comes down hard today (Irishman’s Diary, 16th March) on the public drunkenness and loutishness that has become associated with St. Paddy’s day in Dublin (and elsewhere).
Hard not to agree with his disdain for public pissing, punching, and puking, but is it all a case of making mountains out of molehills? While there will (with certainty) be drunken feck-artistry on the streets tomorrow afternoon/evening/night there will also be families and couples in their thousands out watching the strange, bewildering, bricolage that is the St. Patrick’s Day parade. They will, of course, vastly outnumber the drunken idiots (nationwide) so why is there always a need to fixate on the gobshites rather than the good folk? Grumble…
I still feel Paddy’s day to be something of a 'festival' without a clear purpose or direction (some people fill the gap by just getting hammered), but that is fairly understandable when you consider both the history of the parade/day, and the recent changes in Irish society itself. As Hugh Linehan informed us in yesterday’s Irish Times:

…in the early years of independence, the Irish state saw no need for a parade, restricting itself to a celebratory Mass and a march past by the Army. After the Second World War, the day was reserved for an industrial pageant "showcasing Irish industry and agriculture".

That pageant was replaced in the 1970s by a Dublin Tourism parade, which saw as its major goal the boosting of revenue by attracting Irish-Americans and others back "home" so that they could step out on the streets of Dublin.

Since then, of course, the Celtic Tygger has left its mark on proceedings, leaving us with the curiously ahistorical, postmodern mishmash of the Dublin “St Patrick's Festival” (things have changed rather more gradually in other parts of the country). It’s still a day that just doesn’t know what it wants to be. Are we selling ourselves or clapping ourselves on the back? Are we celebrating ‘authentic’ Irish culture, or reinventing it? Are we simply, as the Col. might suggest, getting langered?
Lost in the body of today’s Diary was an admission that sent alarm bells ringing here at Cruiskeen Eile HQ. After offering casual speculations about the real origins of a mid-March festival the Colonel amazes us with the following:

Did the same axial shift which changed the shortest day to December 21st also shift the spring equinox from March 17th to the 21st? I don't know. Indeed, I am almost equally ignorant of just about everything that is now going on in Irish life.

Is this further evidence of the ‘chastened’ Myers I spoke of before? Is this a throwaway comment or an attempt, by the Colonel, to allow a touch of vulnerability to shine through? I couldn’t possibly say, but it’s a curious statement for a man who’s been ferociously commenting on ‘Irish life’ for aeons.
Thoughts?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Colonel "Category Error" Myers

Not a week since Irish commentators began finally to ponder the meaning for our narrative of Statehood of the violence done to 188 women by Michael Neary over 30 years, Colonel Myers offers us a sober reflection on the complaints of women at the violence done them and their children by their menfolk and, by extension, the need for women to knuckle down under the patriarchy and get on with it. Neary operated with the licence of the Church, State and medical profession and his handiwork with the scalpel and surgical saw was cloaked in collegial, professional and complacent silence. Not only that, but doesn't a man like Neary represent something of a ne plus ultra of the social order the Colonel espouses so passionately as the means to protect ourselves, and especially our women, from the paleolithic horrors which continue to haunt our libidinal selves?

So he removed women's reproductive organs to no medical purpose? Not to worry, in the words of the man himself "I took away the cradle and left the playpen". What japes.

Cruiskeen Eile is not entirely sceptical of the Colonel's thesis that man is a beastly creature of infamous mein, though we take great issue with his hoary prescription to save us all, which he seems to have cogged out of Baden Powell's book of scouting and back issues of Boy's Own. However, in the red mist which descended after he read Mary Robinson's recent incendiary remarks in his very own paper, the Colonel lept astride his high horse (all 16 and a half magnificent hands of him) and made straight for a massive and dangerous category error. Citing his statistically compelling Google search for "violence against women", Myers concludes that far from being cloaked in silence as Robbo avers in the most witless contention the Colonel has ever heard, physical abuse of the fair sex is being shouted about from the rooftops. (Putting the phrase in inverted commas produces a mere 7 million hits, by the way, and how many would you get from Ireland only?). But one wonders how many of the sites he managed to unearth are on the side of the feminazis. Cruiskeen Eile expects that if he checked out some of those 44 million hits, the Colonel could well find the odd celebration of man's inhumanity to woman.

On to the category error. Violence against women is quite rightly a matter on which many people are compelled as a matter of justice to speak. But the academics, politicians, lawyers and feminists Myers is tired of reading about have in all likelihood impinged not one whit on the consciousness of the wifebeaters, domestic rapists and professional butchers whose attentions it is the wretched lot of too many women to continue to put up with. And in many of our institutions, neighbourhoods, families and even operating theatres, the cloak of silence has, over the years, remained very firmly in place. In fact, it is difficult to understand how Myers can have lived in this State in particular and the world in general - a world of child rape, oppression and abuse of women and their "bastard" offspring, white collar crime and even uncomplained of meals in bad restaurants - and conclude that what injustice calls for is a little bit more shutting up.

Myers is a privileged, educated member of Ireland's media "elite" and for better or worse a significant player in the intellectual life of the State. He may be under the impression as one of the relatively few people in Ireland (adult population 2.7 million) who read The Irish Times (circulation 117,500, ABC1 readership) that violence against women is a subject constantly on everyone's lips out of all proportion to the level of violence to which women worldwide are subjected, but I'm sure the sexist bores and bourgeois knuckledraggers of places like Portmarnock Golf Club*, to whom Kevin expects us all to bend the knee (Diary passim), wouldn't know what to make of a sociological report dense with fact if it was shoved without ceremony up their fat, stupid arses. It is to be expected, however, that they would seize with alacrity on the Colonel's fatuous whinge as a way to prop up their molly-coddled world of ridiculous privilege and self-regard.

A penultimate point. Kevin asks how the Defence Forces (of whose members he takes a childish, unsophisticated and unhelpful view) have come to be one of the organisations engaged in the global fight against gender-based violence. He should have asked fellow Irish Times contributor Dr. Tom Clonan, a commentator for whom Cruiskeen Eile has great respect. A former Army captain with 12 years service and someone in a slightly better position than the Colonel to judge, Dr. Clonan found that 59 of 60 women serving in the Defence Forces whom he interviewed for his PhD thesis had suffered bullying and harrassment. Twelve claimed to have been sexually assaulted:

Just two of the women said they felt that they could complain to the authorities about the harassment.

I don't know, Kev, but in those words I cannot help but hear the whisper of a cloak of silence being unfurled.

Last word to Senator Geraldine Feeney commenting on the violent physical invasion of women at Lourdes Hospital occasioning the removal of their reproductive organs:

If a man had a minor procedure carried out on his reproductive organ and he emerged from the operating theatre minus that organ, there would be outrage. It might happen once but would never happen 188 times.

I think we can safely conclude that the cloak of silence wouldn't be thrown over that sort of thing.

*Under Irish constitutional law, Murtagh Properties v Cleary [1972] IR 330, the courts do not consider as an issue of equality for the purposes of Article 40.1 economic discrimination against women. So pay 'em peanuts, it's in the Constitution! According to Mr. Justice O'Higgins, the gobshitery of Portmarnock Golf Club also has the protection of the Irish Constitution despite being the site of a licensed premises and the beneficiary of planning permissions which benefit few in an area where there is severe pressure on property prices.

Boys will be Boys

The Colonel returned to his Irishman's Diary duties today (after a weekend of solemn reflection) in typical form - looking to boot our former president squarely in the trousers, while indulging in a fine bit of gender fatalism.

On the bill this Tuesday was (yawn) yet another Myersian attack on "liberal and ideological disingenuousness", this time perpetrated by Ex-Pres. Mary Robinson, whose recent Irish Times article caused the Colonel to foam at the nostrils in righteous rage.

The topic of the Robinson piece (which, alas, I was unable to source…thanks a million subscription-only Irish Times) seems to have been the persistence, despite advances made in the last 50 years or so, of "gender based violence" (or GBV as the Colonel fatuously calls it).

Myers first takes issue with the opening paragraph of Robinson's piece which, he informs us, spoke of "A cloak of silence [covering] one of the world's most widespread and persistent human rights abuses", i.e. 'gender based violence', involving victims who are "mainly women and children." Instead of focusing on the real substance of the issue under discussion, the Colonel instead fixates on the use of the phrase "cloak of silence", declaring that "this is very probably the most idiotic and inaccurate opening paragraph it has ever been my misfortune to read."

Hmmm…well if nothing else the above statement proves, as we've long suspected, that the Col. clearly doesn't re-read his own stuff (that sorry job is left to us).

Moving on, Myers shocks us with his internet savvy by declaring that he "[Googled] 'violence against women'", and found "4,580,000 non-specific global items". If the Colonel has become au fait with Google, how long can it be before his frantic searching leads him to our door? Surely it's only a matter of time…so quick, everyone, let's hide behind the sofa and pretend we're not at home!

Anyway, you can make your own minds up, dear readers, about what these Google stats tell us about the "cloak of silence" in question , but we need to press on, as the 'good stuff' is yet to come. Feeling that the sex of which he is a vigorous and potent representative is taking it on the chin a bit from Ms. Robinson, the Colonel launches into a bout of 'spade-a-spade-ism':
Cut to the chase. We all know that men are capable of the most appalling infamies - the atrocities in Darfur, the suicide bombings in Iraq, the "honour killings" of rape victims in Muslim countries, the catastrophe of the Congo, and the joys of Yugoslavia.
All of which, I suppose, one would have to put in the minus column (along with the Irishman's Diary of course). But hark!
Unsocialised, this is what men do - but far more to other men, as it happens, than to women and children.
I see. Ah well, that's alright then. Boys will be boys! However…
We also paint the Sistine Chapel, put a man on the moon, create grand opera and invent antibiotics.
Good for us. Hoorah! I feel like getting the lads round and toasting our collective ingenuity. I don't, mind you, actually remember helping to paint the Sistine Chapel, but I'm sure there's some tangential responsibility on my part. So what, Colonel, have the ladies done in comparison?
Name me a female composer, a female artist, a female war criminal. Not impossible, but. . .
You're right Colonel, it's not impossible. In fact it's remarkably easy, at least as far as the first two are concerned. The only reason anyone would find it remotely difficult would be if they had ignored the cultural products of the last century and a half, which (you can be sure) the Col. is only too happy to do. I'll leave it to our female readers to pitch in with lists if they feel the need, though there really isn't any necessity (Myers probably won't have heard of any of them anyway).

Moving towards a conclusion, the Colonel informs us that Ms. Robinson (or 'Robbo' as he dubs her) explains the "root causes" of "gender-based violence" as lying in "the imbalance in power relations and gender equality." Hmmm, that sounds suspiciously like a 'liberal' red rag to the Myersian Bull (& I mean bull), and so it proves:
Not true. The root causes are not institutional but hormonal. Long before the first king was crowned or the first law promulgated, man was violent towards other men and towards women.
Well there you are. We just can't help ourselves. It's all in the blood. Just a simple case, to use a term reactionaries are inordinately fond of, of 'human nature'.

Now I must away and find mah shootin' iron. I've got a hankering to do me some violence. Woo hoo!

Later.

Tumbleweed

Two thirds of the Cruiskeen Eile team members were in Dublin this weekend for the Irish Blog Awards...and we're still recovering from our...em...exertions. Expect new details of the Colonel's adventures to follow shortly.

Today's Irishman's Diary was a doozy, so I should have something to offer as soon as I get my thoughts together (and have me tea).

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Old Slugger O'Toole, I'll still beat you at Pool

With apologies to Mr. Tom Waits for the above, we are delighted to greet this morning's sluggerite traffic spikers - hat tip Mr. Naoise Nunn, wunderkind impresario and good chum of Cruiskeen Eile. As Aine Chambers would say, you are most welcome to Myerswatch dot blogspot dot com. We hope you enjoy our site and maybe you'll be tempted to hang out and experience for yourselves the many delights and enchanting atmosphere of Cruiskeen Eile.

Are you a gentleman of generous carriage? Why not pop into the library, settle into one of our capacious armchairs, its soft leather mellowed by antique use, and relaxing in our clubbable surrounds - you're among friends here - browse our mission statement, consider our meditation on Green Willow or follow the exciting adventures of our heroic protagonist in his quest to bring arch-nemesis BASTARD BABY to justice?

If you'd like us to freshen your scotch, just ring the bell by the Italian Marble fireplace. We'll hear it in the servants' hall.

Friday, March 10, 2006

No One Writes to the Colonel: Pt. 1

[Scene: The Irish Times post room, early morn. A hive of activity. Employees race hither and yon laden with parcels and letters. The guardian of the post bags, a dacent old skin by the name of 'Charley', leans against the wall, supping his tay and planning his day's labours. Enter Col. Kevin Myers stage left…]

Myers: Morning Charley, what, what!

Charley: [rather wearily] Oh…good morning Mr. Myers…how are you today, sir?

Myers: [nonchalantly] Oh fine…fine…can't complain. By the way it's Colonel Myers, Charley.

Charley: Ah yes, sorry about that Colonel…

Myers: Not at all Charley, not at all. [Distracted] Em…how are the wife and children?

Charley: Well, the kids are fine Colonel, but the wife…well, you know, she passed on about two years back…

Myers: Ah, of course! Murdered in her bed by a pair of glue sniffing ragamuffins, was she? Abominable, Charlie! Abominable! And for what? The meagre contents of her purse, and the few paltry bits of cheap jewellery she owned?!

Charley: Err…no, Colonel…it was actu…

Myers: [ignoring him and rising to the occasion] I feel ill Charley. I may vomit on your shoes momentarily. A decent woman, in her way, brutally cut down for a few pittances… to be used, no doubt, in the procurement of more bags of glue and another pair of those…um…sports running shoes. The world is a sceptic and vile place Charley, is it not?

Charley: It was actually breast cancer, Colonel…

Myers: [bewildered momentarily] Ah…are you sure, Charley? Perhaps it was just made to look that way…Yes, yes…that must be it! And what do these vicious, sub-human, scum get for all that, Charley? I'll tell you: A gentle slap on the wrists and six months in our Ritzy 'prisons' enjoying the Gamestation Playbox and internetwork access in every ensuite room, while the likes of you, my dear Charley, sit eating cold beans from a can in the lumpen squalour of your kitchen! I fear I may really wretch this time, Charley…

[The Colonel dry heaves thrice before reaching for his lavender-soaked handkerchief. A few deep breaths and he seems 'calm', once more]

Charley: [Attempting to change the subject] Em…was there anything in particular you needed this morning Mr. Myers?

Myers: [Muffled, through his hanky] That's Colonel Myers, Charley…but no, no, nothing in particular. Um…while I'm here though…I might as well enquire…has anything addressed to me come through yet?

Charley: Er…nothing you'd really want to see Colonel…the usual stuff…you know yourself…

Myers: Ah yes! The vile hate mail and death threats of the liberal 'intelligentsia', scrawled in hand-wringingly anguished prose on recycled paper no doubt! They really mean to stop me this time, Charley, but if I die (a victim of one of their home made explosive devices) who will take up the crusade in my stead? My demise would not, of course, be merely a personal tragedy, robbing me of my own company, but an unprecedented disaster for the whole civilised world! I must go on Charley, I shall go on! If not for myself, and Mrs. Myers, then for the hundreds of millions of readers who depend on me to raise my voice on their behalf. Speaking of which, Charley…

Charley: [Awkwardly] Ah…nothing from the fans yet, Colonel…maybe in the next post…

Myers: [Sadly] They are afraid to speak, Charley…so cowed are they by the vile, bullying of the quasi-liberal, politically correct media. Their silence speaks volumes though, Charley! [Becoming more animated] I hear their voices in my quite moments of meditation, rising up to a pleading, but magnificent, crescendo…they are scared and flaccid, Charley…they need me at my most robust, and toweringly erect, to boom forth their message…they love me, Charley…I can see their eyes welling with tears…I can SEE them Charley, they look to me as their saviour…their last hope…the lone voice in a wilderness of lesbo-feminist, tree-huggers! "Save us, Colonel!", they cry, "Save us from the damn'd jaws of bastard liberal hell itself!!"

Charley: [Shaken] Well…I'll let you know if anything arrives for you Colonel. [Finishes his tea] Back to the grind now. See you later Colonel M. [exits]

Myers: [wiping the foam from his lips] Yes…yes…later brave, noble Charley…if there is to be a 'later'. The signs align, the omens speak of ill fortunes ahead. The end times may be drawing near. But what can the Colonel do alone? He is but one man…one magnificent man…

[Exit Myers, lost in thought].

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Fan-mail for the Colonel

Correspondence in from one of the natives.

The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers.

Thus spake Dick the Butcher in Henry VI and, as our darling and erudite readers will know, his villainous prerequisite for the imposition of tyranny has been carefully observed by some of the worst fuckers who ever wore shoe leather. Narcoterrorists in South Amercia, for example, are never found wanting when it comes to vaporising lawyers and their families, and Palermitan Mafiosi have made something of a sport out of the murder of those noble advocates and magistrates who have stood up against their subversive, corrupting stranglehold on Italian society, politics and economic cromulence. Sad to relate, today the Colonel joins this fellowship of infamy.

His Colonelship is in full-on, foam-flecked-in-the-Shires mode today as he rails against various bits and pieces of the State, the legal profession and, of course, council estate scum. Myers gets stuck in from the off, setting out the horrific crimes of one Stephen Phelan of Kimmage, Dublin. And indeed, the serious and sobering outrages Mr. Phelan perpetrated on his peripatetic spree appear to demand the severest sanction from the bench. Alas:
The judges who are so judicious and measured with their sentences do not live in the same estates as such savages.
Cruiskeen Eile is under the distinct impression from his priapic evocation of yelping beagles, pinkly jacketted huntsmen and fox-ridden coverts that Kevin doesn't either. Furthermore, Cruiskeen is prompted to ask whether it is the judiciary or the Colonel whose quotidian labour it is to interact with council estate "savages" and attune themselves to the contingencies of life on the fringes of the Celtic tygger. We are also intrigued to know, given the particularly sensational nature of Mr. Phelan's crimes, which seem linked less to his social class than to certain psychiatric pathologies, why the Colonel felt it necessary to even mention his socio-economic origins. Is this unfocused rant about sentencing policy or lack thereof, or the endemic scumbaggery of poor people? Again, he cannot help but draw attention to the fact that the Cunninghams, another charming crew, could formerly be discovered in a "council" home. Bastards.

High horse hurtling towards the horizon with the Colonel flailing and bouncing in the saddle, attention is turned to another extreme and horrible criminal:
At Healy's trial, Det. Sgt Murphy agreed with Patrick McEntee SC, defending, that the accused did not get treated for a fractured arm as a result of a baton strike in the course of the arrest until the following morning. To which I can only say, good.
Great. In order to punish one man whose crimes and background are in no way typical, Mr. Myers wishes to deprive the rest of us of our civil liberties and protection from oppression by agents of the State. Funny how the very punters most often railing against the untramelled power of the State, its insidious influence and marginal propensity to expand its powers are the quickest to place us at its tender mercy. Let us not forget that when he was in Garda custody, Healy had not yet been convicted of any crime and was innocent until proven guilty. Ah, I hear the Colonel say, but he was subsequently found guilty. Let us not forget either that, while populated by plenty of decent coppers, this is the force that gave us Donegal, the May day beatings and plenty of other profoundly disturbing and undemocratic carry on. Does Mr. Myers wish to introduce a dispensation wherein we decide retrospectively whether or not to condone the failure of the State's agents to observe a person's rights? Readers will be well able to imagine the lengths to which certain unscrupulous gardaí would go to ensure that anyone whose rights they'd violated was convicted.

Don't worry readers, Cruiskeen Eile is not about to skip lightly over the two fingers the Colonel gives Mr. McEntee, one of the most eminent practitioners at the Criminal Bar. We can well imagine that if the Colonel ever has the misfortune to be accused of anything untoward - like shooting a scabid oik caught rummaging around in his coverts - Mr. McEntee might well find a flustered Kevo battering down the door of the Law Library looking for him. And yet, how dare he introduce argument in the court on behalf of his client, Mr. Healy, provide him with the best possible defence and, as an officer of the court, point out the failure of the gardaí to do their duty. Cruiskeen Eile, however, is sure readers will realise that it is not Mr. McEntee's fault that he is able to obtain relief for his client on this basis, but the Garda Síochána's. And if they are forced to do better next time, isn't that a good thing?

Not for the Colonel it seems:
Anyone who has had the melancholy distinction of studying our courts will know how dangerous professional criminals and sexual deviants over the years have been the beneficiaries of an endless diet of lawerly babble and judicial clemency.
While Myers' scholarly survey of the legal system involves the words "wuzzums" and "lawyerly babble", Cruiskeen Eile will prefer to put its trust in the ancient freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution and the common law and protected by the professional and grave men and women in the wigs and gowns. That is not to say that there aren't problems with sentencing policy; of course there are. But the judges are governed by statute and statute is the preserve of middle-class, middle-aged politicians who represent very strongly the views of middle-class, middle-aged men like, er, Colonel Myers.

Sentencing and social disadvantage are related but different issues. The true dysfunction of the State is that middle-income taxpayers are required to subsidise the private education of creepy, stupid ingrates whose avowed aim in life is to function as the running dog cheerleaders of a class whose raison d'etre appears to be the taking of a giant shit all over the rest of us while the most downtrodden and wretched children in our society, whom the Colonel appears to view with such aversion are, in effect, deprived of their constitutional right to an education. Alas, no mention of that from the Colonel today.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Myers v Bastard Baby; the adventure continues

Following a bout of his usual sedulous detective work, Special Agent Myers produces a lead. Hot on the trail of his arch nemesis, Bastard Baby, Myers undertakes HALO* insertion into the British Army OP** at the top of Derry’s Divis Flats. Far below, working class Fenian teenagers swarm, their bellies swollen with cash-crop whelps.

The Bastard is down there somewhere Lieutenant. I can smell him.

Pardon sir?

His nappy, you fool. I can smell his bastard nappy.

Yes, sir. We’re brewing up, Colonel Myers, would you like a cup of char?

Oh, how delightful. I shall have it in a dear little china cup, with a crumpet balanced just so on the lip of my saucer.

Er, we only have tin mugs sir.

Sigh, they don’t treat me like this when I mess with the RIR.

The who, sir?

The Royal Irish Regiment. You probably know them by their original name, the UDR***. They bagged many’s the Tadhg when you were still in nappies. Speaking of which, Lieutenant, you’re not a bastard are you?

No sir.

No. Of course not. Couldn’t let the side down what, what.

Er.

The Bastard is an unreliable cove, Lieutenant. A creature of low cunning, and the litter whelp of the professional bitch, a confused, lazy and backward species of gel**** in whose womb the embryonic bastard finds easy purchase.

Steady on, sir.

WHAT DID YOU SAY?! Are you mired in the schoolgirl swamp of what is “hurtful” and “offensive”?***** Doth thith howwid talk make one want to cwy?****** Dear God! Has the media’s quasi-liberal, politically correct agenda******* penetrated even the doughty red line which held at Rorke’s Drift, and drove the Madhi into the White Nile?? This is your work Bastard Baby, YOU BASTARD!

Sergeant.

Yes, Lieutenant.

Show the Colonel the window, there’s a good chap.

At the double, sir.

*High Altitude Low Opening parachute jump - black ops tastic stuff.
**Observation Post.
***Ulster Defence Regiment - a fine body of men, not remotely a disgrace to their uniforms.
****I'm not making this up.
*****Really, I'm quoting here.
******This is the Colonel speaking, honestly.
*******Just look at the last post on Cruiskeen Eile, seriously.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Ms. Myers Investigates

The Col. kicks off the week [Irishman's Diary, March 7] with an extremely patchy and unconvincing broadside against one of his favourite targets: The (allegedly) all-pervasive culture of 'political correctness' in the Irish media (or specifically, in this case, The Irish Times).

Myers first views the apparently casual use or of 'Ms.' (in a story about a Romanian mother who stole 100 Euro from a "young mother's house in Blackrock"), and the non-declaration of a culprit's nationality (in the case of a 'foreign-sounding' woman "who attempted to steal an elderly woman's handbag on a bus") as damming evidence of the media's "quasi-liberal, politically correct agenda".

The Col. goes on to build on these (reasonably) minor details, suggesting that:
the terms "Nigerian" and "Romanian" are now allowed into headlines only if there is an implicit victimhood in the stories which follow. If there is any question of culpability, then their national identities would not be a main feature of the story.
Not only that, says he, rising to the occasion, but a 'reverse' scenario also applies. If the perpetrator had been a member of that (horribly put-upon) social group, "white, middle-class, heterosexual British males", then the same meedja would have been the first to crow about the individual in question's nationality (presumably due to inbuilt Irish bias against 'perfidious Albion'). The poor little lambs…they have it tough. It must be a terrible curse being a "white, middle-class, heterosexual male" in mainstream British society, as opposed to media darlings like "asylum-seeking, circumcision-fleeing, Nigerian lesbian Traveller[s]".

Em…hang on…

Naturally Myers makes no mention whatsoever of right wing media scaremongers like The Daily Mail and The Daily Express who routinely trumpet the nationality of alleged criminals (or 'welfare spongers') as a matter of course, all too aware that keywords like "Nigerian", "Gypsy", and "Immigrant" will set off reactionary alarm bells in their alarmed readers.

If he'd done so he might have been forced to ask himself the awkward question - "Which is worse: underplaying a perpetrator's nationality for fear of adding to the 'negative impressions' surrounding certain minorities, or using just that nationality to advance your paper's own 'anti-Johnny-Foreigner' agenda?"

Answers on a postcard to Cruiskeen Eile HQ...

Monday, March 06, 2006

The Duke of Cruiskeen Eile

For reasons noted elsewhere, I've been out of blogly circulation over the weekend. As a result, Myers' contribution on Friday went unblogged (not least because my girlfriend chucked the paper out that evening while getting the gaff ready for her parents' visit). Cruiskeen Eile couldn't help but notice, however, that it was mere days on the case when clear evidence that it had already flashed up on the colonel's radar emerged. How else to explain his invokation so close on our heels of the Anglo-Gaelic peerage in general and the O'Briens in particular, with special reference to the schooling of its scions at Eton College?
Rufus's fag at Eton had been Paget Plantagenet O'Brien Paget, who had inherited Donegal on his 10th birthday. He had been sworn into the IRB when fagging for Rufus.
At this point in his riotous narrative, the colonel sets out a hackneyed tableau of public school bumlordery, but Cruiskeen Eile will pass over the episode in deference to Kev's superior knowledge. By way of comparison we note the recent Cruiskeen Eile posting to the effect that:
[I]t is...evocative of the essence of the human condition to stumble upon the graves in the grounds of St. Mary's Cathedral in Limerick of Right Honorable young O'Briens, killed flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britain, listed in Burke's Peerage but Dalcassian princes still; old Etonians, sure, but descendants in primogeniture of Brian Boruma himself, High King of all the Gaels.
Myers deploys his weak hyperbole in an effort to demonstrate the absurdity of the proposition that anyone coming not merely from a Protestant but Anglo Irish and even Anglo Celtic background in this country could ever think to make common cause with the nationalist strain of thought in what was under colonial rule a socio-economic basket case. It intrigues us it must be said that the voices raised most often to decry and denounce the people who tried to reverse the baleful influence of colonialism in this country are also those raised most often in praise of an open economy, self-interest and self-determination. But, of course, we have our own suspicions about their motivations.

Re the nonsense of Myers' position, it suffices to point readers in the direction of Freestater who advertises a forthcoming series of lectures on Church of Ireland figures involved in the struggle for independence. Those who claim that the people as a whole were not in favour of the overthrow of British rule might also like to dig around the folklore archive in UCD and check out the songs and stories of the plain people of Ireland rather than to look into their hearts and Winston Churchill's diaries from the period.

Sadly, the colonel's rant rips the piss out of the Irish Guards, a fine regiment whose men fought with such distinction in the marshes around Anzio in 1944. For shame.

The target of Mr. Myers' bile this week is an American punter who claims to be the legitimate heir to the Leinster Dukedom of the FitzGeralds, former occupants of Leinster House, the cockpit of Irish democracy, as the son of Desmond FitzGerald. Mr. FitzGerald Snr. is believed to have been blown up in 1916 in France during a training exercise involving a carelessly handled grenade. The colonel characterises the claim as a conspiracy of the order of the sang real intrigue at the heart of Dan Brown shitefest, The Da Vinci Code:
And that is the key to confections as trivial as that of the claimant to the Duchy of Leinster and as profitable as the "novel" The Da Vinci Code. What you need to believe is what makes you believe.
Wait a minute...

Having damned himself out of his own mouth with a pretty convincing diagnosis of his many ludicrous positions, Mr. Myers gets down to business:
Few deaths in the first World War have been quite so thoroughly attested to as Desmond Fitzgerald's. He didn't vanish mysteriously on the battlefield, but on a beach in Calais, surrounded by the cream of English and Anglo-Irish society.
And they, it appears, were surrounded by the cream of him. As soon as Kevin finishes tugging his forelock in the direction of his betters, he makes his thesis known:
You cannot prove that the Catholic Church is not covering up the origins of European Christianity. You cannot prove that Paul FitzGerald is not the true Duke of Leinster.
And I guess, Colonel Myers sah!, you cannot prove that there are no weapons of mass destruction buried under Iraqi sands or that prior to the Anglo-US invasion, there was no undocumented link between that state and the terrorist Hydra, Al Qaeda.
Cruiskeen Eile had previously read about the FitzGerald case and feels it only right to point out to readers that the legitimacy or otherwise of Paul's claim can, of course, be proven through a blood test and it is around this issue that the case currently revolves. Wonder why Kevin didn't mention it.

Mired in Green Willow

In the interests of thoroughness and good research practice, I suppose I (or Copernicus) should have a crack at reading Myers's 2001 foray into the world of fiction Banks of Green Willow…but you know what they say about life being too short…

The handful of reviews I've found online prove that at least 3 or 4 people (not including members of the Myers family) have trawled their way through it, but impressions are decidedly mixed…(although no less a figure than John Banville - perhaps out of a dutiful chumminess - called it "As fresh as tomorrow’s headlines", and, "a moving and accurate portrait of our terrible age").

The Sunday Times dwelled on the modesty of Myers's advance, and its deleterious effect on the Colonel's plans for a new conservatory (or possibly not):

Unlike the six-figure deals that some of his Irish Times colleagues have enjoyed, Myers's advance was modest. Nuala O'Faolain sold her first novel to Penguin for £500,000 and John Connolly got almost £1m for Every Dead Thing, but Myers's advance was in four figures. "It was under £10,000. Obviously you hope for a £1m advance and £10m on the film rights, but I'm just happy to get it published," he said. [Sunday Times, August 26, 2001]

The Scotsman took a rather different approach, implying that Kev may have let his love of girls and guns overwhelm the romance at the book’s core:

What may linger longer in the mind, however, is Myers's approach to sex and war, both of which are written about in such a graphic style that an uncomfortable sense of vicarious thrills being played out looms over an otherwise classic tale of love across the barricadess. [The Scotsman, November 9, 2002]

The Telegraph (surprisingly) ticked off their boy for being excessively maudlin, while hinting at a potential post-Irishman's Diary career as a Fair City scribe:

This is a novel full of incident - far too full, in fact. Ironically, it is the account of the activities of a Serbian death squad that provides the story with its most understated and convincing narrative. Gina's life, by contrast, is ripe with climaxes straight out of a soap opera. Virtually everyone who comes into contact with her ends up suffering some appalling tragedy, from car crashes to cancer. It is all shamelessly tear-jerking. The worst of it is that, as the Bosnian sections demonstrate, Myers had no need to resort to such cheap tricks. He plays the melodramatist, but has the makings of a sensitive and intelligent novelist. [The Daily Telegraph]

The bizarrely monikered "Dr. Seamus Earwicker”, over at irishresistancebooks.com, undoubtedly launched the most ferocious attack on the Colonel's opus, being particualary scathing about the book's more 'steamy' passages. Mind you, in fairness to 'Dr. Earwicker', he didn’t exactly try and hide his disdain for Myers and all his works:

I once read a book worse than this – mind you, it was written by Barbara Cartland. However, in the interests of fairness I, should point out that since I, along with most right thinking sentient human beings, despise Kevin Myers, what I write must be taken with a dose of strychnine.

The last word on the subject goes to a reviewer who found himself so captivated by the novel that he was moved to explode rapturously thus:

Banks of Green Willow is the finest work in all of Western literature. Its author is an outrageously talented man. Anyone who doesn't buy at least 10 copies of this book so that there is one in every room in the house is a fool. I nominate the author for the Nobel Prize for Literature.

The name of that passionate Myers fan? Why, Kevin Myers (in 'humourist' mode) of course...[The Irish Times, November 7, 2001]

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Myers Resplendent

Though it was tough work finding any useable images of Col. Myers's large (pumpkin like) head, I have managed to throw together a rather groovy 'photoshopped' portrait (see 'header') that captures KM in all his pompous, 'wind-baggy', glory.

Hope you like it Myers fans.

Friday, March 03, 2006

Backing the Wrong Horse?

Any kind of 'back down' by Col. Myers is (or should be) blogworthy news, particularly when it involves matters military. While yesterday's Irishman's Diary (2 March, 2006) didn’t exactly see the good Col. popping out to hug the armies of peaceniks and feminists that camp (at least in Myers's imagination) on his front lawn, the tone of the piece was equivalent to a tame, Myersian version of "War, huh, what is it good for?":
But I concede. Since the invasion led to the present appalling state of affairs, my principled support for the invasion was in practice wrong. I backed a horse which had been trained for seven furlongs, when ahead of it lay a grand national.
Of course there was plenty to offend/exasperate certain Irish Times readers in the rest of the "Diary", but perhaps we’re finally seeing a cuddlier, more chastened Myers emerging from the wreckage of "Bastardgate". He even had time to 'humorously' send up his own predilection (noted by EWI) for rampant inconsistency:
Some letter-writers - apparently expecting intellectual consistency of some kind, always the sign of a boring mind - have been contrasting my opinions over the Easter Rising and the Iraq war. Why not?
I've never, I should add, bought Myers as a humorist (despite the hallowed newspaper ground in which he resides) for his brand of 'humour' always reeks of smug 'preachiness' and self-satisfaction...but perhaps the above hints at a jollier, more self-deprecating Myers (trapped within)?

Hmm…maybe not…

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Sticks and Stones...

To dig what Saturday's riot tells us about our society, Jack, you also need to know that that while the average house price in Ireland is approximately €300,000, the average mortgage held is a mere €100,000. Bear with me.

Kevin Myers made much of the sectarianism of Saturday's events, attributing that vile motive not only to the particular mob in the instant mayhem, but to the denizens of the southern polity as a whole. If memory serves, he called the outbreak of disorder an anti-Protestant riot, a curiously ahistorical charge with not a little whiff of the 19th century and Punch magazine if not the Wars of the Three Kingdoms about it. I didn't know, for example, that Charlie Bird was a Protestant, but according to Kevin that was what particularly exercised his attackers in their assault when they called him an Orange bastard. It's a good thing Charlie was the loin fruit of happily married individuals, or Myers might have had it in for the "bastard" himself. While Kevin might well be technically correct about the facts of the assault, his implication is that a) we all knew Charlie Bird dug with the other foot and b) any one of us would have been delighted at the opportunity to give him a good Fenian hiding. (I have strong views on the notion of coterminous religious and national identity in Ireland, but that is the stuff of another post.)

However, as Richard Delevan can attest, Charlie was not the only journalist threatened or physically assaulted on Saturday and the reason for that is related, not to the endemic sectarian colour of the State but to the same circumstances which led to the murder of Veronica Guerin. Yes, there is a sectarian element in our society, and yes, the State in particular and the population in general have not always covered themselves in glory in embracing the minority denomination, but this is a republic and efforts have been made, belated and inadequate though they may occasionally have been. Protestants live happily among us, practice their religion, enjoy the benefits of the Block Grant in education and on occasion adorn with aplomb and elan the chambers of our bicameral parliament. Seymour Crawford, this means you.

It should also be remembered that there are natural contingencies in our history which divide loyalties and cloud issues. I, for example, find it poignant but intellectually stimulating and evocative of the essence of the human condition to stumble upon the graves in the grounds of St. Mary's Cathedral in Limerick of Right Honorable young O'Briens, killed flying Spitfires in the Battle of Britain, listed in Burke's Peerage but Dalcassian princes still; old Etonians, sure, but descendants in primogeniture of Brian Boruma himself, High King of all the Gaels.

Article 44 of our Constitution guarantees not only the free profession and practice of religion, but not to endow any religion in particular. And the State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status. Across the water, however, the heir to the throne - in whom is made flesh the will of the divine and through whom the realm itself finds its corporeal expression - is prohibited from contracting a marriage with a person of the Roman Catholic persuasion. The Prime Minister of the self-same sceptred isle appears to head up a Roman Catholic household, but has refrained from taking the plunge into that particular Jordan, perhaps on grounds of conscience (he has reportedly taken the RC sacraments), perhaps on foot of more temporal considerations.

The point is that Myers himself wrote in 1995 in respect of the hideous Parachute Regiment having watched being beaten himself in turn a 16 year old boy with whom he was attempting to assist a victim of that outfit's red-beret-wearing thugs:
What happened to that 16-year-old boy? Did he join the IRA, as I suspect I would have done if I had been him? Is he now dead in Milltown Cemetery? Did he find himself doing 15 years on terrorist charges because of what happened to him that night?
If Kevin could reach those conclusions and recognise the villainy of the Parachute Regiment, especially on Bloody Sunday, why can he not admit the possibility that certain of Saturday's protestors had engaged in a similar intellectual process in respect of the injustices of the past 30 years? I don't agree with them either by the way, but that's not really the point. Instead, Myers sought at the expense of the truth of what Saturday's riot has to tell us - and compels us to understand - to bolster others of his hobby-horse arguments. And that's not very cool.

The political fallout from Saturday's public disorder is disproportionate and unilluminating because of administrative failures on the part of the authorities rather than the inevitable result of a sectarian tendency in Irish society. The lesson we should learn involves the complacency and incompetence of the State at every level; senior Garda management who not only failed the public but their own officers whom they exposed to an unacceptable level of risk; the incompetence of the local authority which authorised the intended route through the O'Connell Street building site and the Government itself, to whose members it seems not to have occured that these were significant events with a potential public order dimension. Of course, there are intolerant, ignorant and short-sighted elements in our society, but we have a right to expect the Government to ensure not only that limb and property are protected but that the likes of Kevin Myers does not have the excuse to tar us all with the same brush at the expense of peace on our island.

The other lesson we need to learn from the riot is that we have complacently allowed to develop among us a poisonous and dangerously thuggish element because people with glass houses have generally kept them in leafy suburbs and away from any stones; unlike O'Connell Street. Gay Mitchell reacted on Six One directly after the riot, correctly to my mind, by referring to the fact that the behaviour we witnessed in the city centre on Saturday afternoon is the quotidian stay of those whom we have, by the corruption in our planning process and our disdain for the lower orders (despite republican pieties of a classless society) relegated to the peripheries of our socio-economic imagination. But they don't vote, or if they do, trouble the polls in insufficient numbers to attract the extensive attentions of the political classes. The lack of services, educational opportunity and diversity of experience and expectation unfortunately coincide with a reactionary drugs policy which has enriched and empowered criminal gangs who communicate their lack of values and inculcate in vulnerable, blank-slate youths a casual attitude to violence and authority the fruits of which we see in the throwing from point-blank range of a Molotov cocktail at a garda officer in broad daylight in the commercial and social centre of our capital city in full view of the media and a hundred mobile phones and digital cameras. Attacks on journalists also took place in an implicit assault on free speech and the right to know, very seriously compromising all our rights to help effect criminal activity. It is something you would scarce see in parts of the world in which order has broken down almost entirely, and of far greater concern than the fact that there are a couple of hundred bigots among us with whom the authorities, if motivated, could easily have dealt. If someone had asked you on Friday if you would see looting in Dublin city centre the next day, what would you have said?

We are all responsible for how the country is run. We vote, or don't vote, to allow the parties of complacency to enact their narrowly focused, populist, lobby-influenced agendas. In the same way that working class areas are left to deal with anti-social elements (I'm not in favour of ASBOs by the way), the underrepresentation of young people at the polls means that any party which attempts to address the difficulties of getting on the housing ladder will inevitably be taking approximately €200,000 (in equity) from middle-class, middle-aged people who do vote and can punish them at the polls and giving it to people who don't vote and affect very little various party political careers. To be honest, a politician would be mad to do it. We should remember that the Minister for Finance in office for the greater part of the Celtic tiger's development prescribed for its beneficiaries a rather vulgar, undignified existence about as far from Plato's examined life as it is possible to get without entering the same philosopher's cave and chaining oneself to one's fellows with one's back forever to the light. In the same way, we were all responsible too for the way in which the likes of Fr. Sean Fortune were permitted to conduct their repulsive abuses as the rest of us faffed about, unwilling to upset the status quo and deal with the undignified hassle which would inevitably result.

But the chickens have come home to roost. It is no longer the working poor who have to deal with the consequences of the nihilism the rest of us have incubated among them by our neglect, complacency and corruption. Imagine wanting desperately to join the tygger world and leaving your west-Finglas, terraced abode to go to work only to find that for the umpteenth time your car has been stolen, joy-ridden and burnt out. A police officer might easily have been killed on Saturday as a journalist has been killed before. It was not for want of trying that one was not. And that should terrify us more than a few embittered, misguided flagwavers whose greatest wish is to fight and die for an Ireland which never really existed.

'Mad Myers' is M.I.A.

This is getting worrying…

Day 2 of "Myers Watch" is upon us, and the Colonel is (once again) in restrained, sensitive (for him), and reflective mood.

Two days of sober commentary in a row! Is this some kind of record? Where's the Raw Myersian bile we know and…er…'love'?

Not only was there an alarming absence of the usual lunacy in today's "Irishman's Diary" but the Colonel actually came off sounding like a multi-culturalist embracer of the huddled immigrant masses (no, seriously). Take the following for example:

So it's worth bearing in mind that the black girl with the funny accent serving in the supermarket, the Filipino changing your bandages in the hospital, the slender Pole serving you in the restaurant, the Ukrainian builder struggling to make himself understood - why, these are not foreigners at all. Our foreigners are the violent, vicious natives we saw rampaging through Dublin last weekend.

Will the real Kevin Myers please stand up? If things don't change we’ll have to pack in this venture for lack of good, old-fashioned, scandal…