Saturday, March 17, 2012

"The Luck of the Irish" and a Link Round-Up

Ah. March 17th - Lá Fhéile Padráig, or St. Patrick's Day, if you will. Or as some of us like to call it, “Cultural Cringe Day.” To a good many of us (whether Christian or Polytheist), this is a day to celebrate our heritage, our ancestors, and the obstacles and adversities that the Irish people have endured. To others – the majority, it seems – it's a day to get shitfaced and generally act like a tit.

A great deal has been said about this day both in terms of the cultural side and in terms of St. Patrick misconceptions amongst Pagans (many of which are included below in the links), however, I would like to talk about an aspect that has always bothered me: the so-called “Luck of the Irish.” 

This phrase originates from late 19th to early 20th century America and it may seem harmless to most but like a lot of things, it's not as innocent as you might think. This phrase is pejorative, it's an insult directed at the Irish who immigrated to America during and after the Famine. Early Irish-Americans were a hated and persecuted bunch and there existed a racial stereotype that the Irish were somehow primitive or backwards. As such, they made good scapegoats. “The Luck of the Irish” actually refers to the belief that wherever there were Irish in America, shit was bound to go wrong. Americans believed the Irish to be the epitome of Murphy's* or Sod's Law.

So before you go around screaming you have the “Luck of the Irish” or blessing others with that so-called “Luck,” stop and think. Instead of perpetuating a racist insult, how about learning a bit about Irish American history, would ya? Also, don't be surprised if there's some of us who are offended when you “Irish For a Day” gits think our culture is all about finding ye lucky charms, getting shitfaced drunk, and shitting leprechauns and rainbows.

Link Round-up

  • It's Paddy Not Patty, you eejits

    from Polytheist blogs:

  • I don't want your gross green beer...

  • Anciente Orish Family Wisdomme

  • Leprechaun vomit... or Why I Hate St. Patty's Day

  • The inevitable Paddy post

  • Cultural Cringe 2012


    * Tidbit: 'murphy' is also another name for the white potato. I'm not necessarily saying the phrase has anything to do with the Irish (as 'Murphy's Law' seems to have originated in the 1950s and is actually a rule of thermodynamics), but it was interesting to come across that nonetheless.
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