RSVP was SHOCKED when we heard this article on the Neil Prendeville show on Cork 96 FM this morning. It was written by Irish-based German journalist Antje Joel for the Swiss magazine Die Welt Woche, and is extremely critical of the Irish. The article below is a translation. What do you think? Does she have a point about us or is she completely wrong?
And more importantly, does the rest of the world really think we all have rabbits’or rats’ teeth???
Ireland? Forget it! – Die Welt Woche – Switzerland
The Irish bowed out of the European Football Championship quickly. For this, reporters enjoyed the red-faced Irish fans as they bellowed “The Fields of Athenry”.
There’s hardly a country in Europe with so many stereotypes that are as false as those of the Green Isle. Here’s a correction.
(By Antje Joel)
Ireland? Forget it! Forget everything you’ve ever read about the Green Isle in wishy washy guide books. The Green Isle? Come on, for 353 days of the year, the colour of this blob of land far out in the Atlantic is dominantly grey! Forget what you have dreamt up (with the help of guidebooks and other crazy gobshite storytellers) about that blob where it mostly rains. That the rain in Ireland is romantic. That the people out here are still friendly, always cheerful and ever so helpful. Original somehow. So to speak, natural. And that the Irish, not least due to this beautiful purity, are all or most of them frantically musical: playing the fiddle, playing the tin whistle, playing the Bodhran, Riverdancing, that is in the blood of the Irish. Just like the telling of stories and the boozing of Guinness, right? Forget it!! That’s all nonsense. Except that with the boozing of course.
More money on beer than on education
As the Irish world economist David McWilliams puts it, each of the Pope’s children are spending annually EUR 1,584 on alcohol. No other nation in this world can match this. The Irish spend EUR 1.6bn alone on Starkbier. That’s 20% of the world market and it is EUR 400m more than what the Irish state spends on the Primary Schools of the country. That has to be noted. Two of my children often returned home in great distress from the first Primary School they visited. In two years of their attendance at this school they never once managed to get over themselves to use the school loos. These were in as much need of renovation as the whole building. One winter the temperatures dropped a little bit below zero and our school, just like most schools in the country, were closed down for two weeks. They didn’t have the money for heating the school. The children were already cold before then. What does Ireland need schools for anyway? A country where boozing is seen to be honorable? My 65 year old landlord was all proud to announce that he drank his three sons under the table over the weekend. A nation which has managed to get the whole world to believe that this is funny, kind of original. Who have made the world believe that they’re lovable – why not, if you can lure millions of tourists and earn money with t-shirts reading “if found please return to the pub”.
The children have learned that too. According to the statistics, every third Irish teenage girl gets plastered at least ten times a month. If German statisticians would throw these kind of figures around your head, the Germans would be deeply ashamed. The Irish are the cuddly alcoholics. Recently, when thousands of Irish soccer fans were bellowing out the famine classic “The Fields of Athenry”, while their team was conceding one goal after the other against Spain, the German press wrote “Thank You Ireland! These were the most beautiful moments of the European Championship!”. Well then. And what about the much praised friendliness of the Irish? This worldwide known Irish welcome towards strangers? Have you forgotten that Ireland is a (mostly grey) island? Far, very far out in the Atlantic. Isolated from the rest of the world. Think of the hidden regions in the Amazon delta.
In Ireland they will affectionately welcome ambassadors of other cultures in for a cup of tea and biscuits only for the reason to check them out for possible exploitation. When an Irish person hears “German” they think “rip off target” – that’s what an Irish person once told me. I don’t know what the Irish synonymous for “Swiss” is, but when I watch Swiss people dreamingly roaming the streets of Ireland, I can’t help thinking that it is somewhat the same as for the Germans.
Dear Swiss people, don’t take that personally. You must know that the Irish think that if you’re not born and raised in Ireland, that you’re a bit stupid. At least stupid enough to be ripped off by them. After all, it is quite stupid to think that the Irish are friendly and helpful. This gives them a certain advantage.
The other day I was with an Irish friend, sitting in one of those terrible gloomy pubs, which I would never have put a foot into in Germany, and we talked about how the Irish are trying to screw each other at every given opportunity. The Irish don’t trust each other at all at all. Even though, or maybe because, they all know each other. This constant atmosphere of “not to get caught out” is everything but the typical Irish way of being relaxed.
“That’s so exhausting” I said to my Irish friend “Not a bit relaxing”. “Exactly” the friend replied, “that was one of the reasons I ended up leaving for New Zealand”. That was before the short lived Celtic Tiger and the subsequent crash. Today, the Irish claim that this Celtic Tiger (together with the British of course) are to blame for the island to be tainted and turned into a gangster eldorado. As if there had not been some sort of “asshole potential” before the British and the money and then again since the money. The friend stayed three months on the other side of the globe, before he fell for the praising songs about Ireland and forgot about reality and returned to the Green Island. The Irish are not a capacity when it comes to integration.
Everything is Beautiful
Enrichment through different cultures is Greek to the Irish. Even that doesn’t have to surprise anyone. Ireland is small, with a population of nearly 5m people. Vast parts of the population have a dental deformity. One owner of one of these dental deformities once told me that it was the result of incest. To prove that, he threw back his head, opened his mouth and showed me his rodent like narrow upper jaw. This man was a scientist, he must know. He also said, that young couples have been advised by the government over the last few years to have an DNA test done before marriage, in order to prevent a further spread of this dental deformity. Alone the successful spread of the Irish gene pool is worrying.
School mates of my 16 year old son are giggling when they see a black skinned boy in one of their school books. A female student recently called a Polish pupil a “foreigner bastard”. He replied “fat cow”. One of the two was expelled. Guess who? An Irish acquaintance of mine adopted two Russian babies. They are now teenagers with mainly Irish history and pure Irish accents. And yet, since the school mates found out that they are not Irish bred, they made life hell for those “Russian f*ckers” (original “Russenaersche – could also mean “Russian c*nts”). Same for the Irish mother.
If this doesn’t end, in the distant future the Irish will look like rabbits. Never mind. We, the stupid, will find that beautiful as well. Ireland is just beautiful and somehow romantic. Alcoholism, narrow curvy roads, perforated with pot holes, the rain. And the fact that 70% of the adult population has hardly any teeth in their mouth, or that the teeth they do have are narrowly aligned like those of rabbits.
And of course, the queer music. Diddel di diddel di dainden da, diddeldidaindenda – yes, that’s hard on the legs. And if you’re listening long enough, it will also be hard on the brain. Of course, there are completely different sounding Irish singers and bands: Imelda May, Cathy Davey, Jerry Fish & The Mudbug Club. But they’re nearly unknown outside of Ireland. Instead there seems to be a global agreement that Irish traditional music is nice. I would bet that the passionate lovers of the ever so monotone fiddly dee music, are not ardent advocates of the Irish folk music’s jigs and reels. They probably find it boring and stuffy. That’s what it is. The Irish however have managed to catapult and establish this Psycho Diddelidi out all over the world.
Just like the Irish pubs. From Zurich to Berlin, those wooden baroque style catacombs with this forced sociability. They suddenly experience certain popularity. Why? Why does one want to overlook the shortcomings of Ireland more so than that of other nations? One doesn’t have to. One doesn’t have to overlook the outmoded sociability, which they export, neither the damaged roads and teeth, neither the boozing nor the rain. More so the compulsion to cheat on each other. To be too soft on people means that you don’t take them seriously. Means: to see them the way we would like them to be and not the way they actually are. Romanticisation may be attractive to the romanticised but it won’t help the future development