Monday 5 December 2016

I’m sick of Rose-bashing by these too-cool arbiters of taste

Published 18/08/2015 | 02:30

Rose of Tralee contestants Bríd Madigan (Scotland) and Mairéad Comaskey (Philadelphia) enjoy an outing at Bird’s Amusements in Tralee, Co Kerry. In the background is Queensland Rose Niamh Healy. Photo: Steve Humphreys
Rose of Tralee contestants Bríd Madigan (Scotland) and Mairéad Comaskey (Philadelphia) enjoy an outing at Bird’s Amusements in Tralee, Co Kerry. In the background is Queensland Rose Niamh Healy. Photo: Steve Humphreys
'You know what’s an alternative to watching the Rose of Tralee? Not watching it'

Some things are an enduring, unalterable part of the Irish autumn. Leaves beginning to turn brown and gold. Leaving Cert results and the CAO scramble. All-Ireland semi-finals and finals in Croke Park. Everyone moaning about the fact that summer’s nearly over but we hardly had a summer at all and isn’t that sooooo unfair?

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Another autumnal ‘hardy annual’ is the Rose of Tralee, which finishes tonight. But an even hardier annual is the deluge of whining about the festival that we have to put up with.

You know how it goes. People take to Twitter and other social media with gusto, or pound out angry newspaper columns, making sure nobody’s in any doubt about how much they dislike the pageant.

Seriously, is there anything more boring? Yes, yes, we get it, you don’t like the Rose of Tralee. I couldn’t care less about it, and haven’t actually watched in donkey’s years – but I don’t spend all my time yammering on about that simple fact, as if my disinterest in some TV show somehow makes me special.

The funniest thing is that these too-cool arbiters of taste probably see more of the programme than anyone else. What a bizarre, masochistic way to spend an evening: glued to the box, getting annoyed at something you know beforehand will annoy you, just so you can bitch and feel all superior.

You know what’s an alternative to watching the Rose of Tralee? Not watching it. Switch channels, read a book, go for a walk. Then Tweet about how pathetic the pavement looks, and how you’re cooler than that other idiot who isn’t even wearing proper walking shoes.

It’s like those awful people who read entire series of mediocre books – say, Twilight – just to sneer at them. Hey, try reading a good book instead. Or God forbid, write something yourself. And not just, “LOL this #roseoftralee is soooo dum!!! Worst tv show ever #smugtosser #loserwithnolife”.

Slagging off the Rose is about the lamest thing imaginable. It’s all so tedious. The same dreary non-arguments are trotted out every year, by people determined to get offended. And, in a delicious irony, so unoriginal – critics bemoaning the lack of original TV by churning out the same article every year.

They’re so prissy and self-righteous. And the modern era of hair-trigger readiness to take offence has emboldened them, enflamed them, made them worse. God, it’s exhausting just listening to them – what must it be like actually being them?

But do they have a point, I hear you ask? (Albeit one that’s been hammered out so relentlessly and cheerlessly for so long that it’s lost all meaning.) Not really.

I understand the arguments: that the Rose of Tralee is an anachronism; that it’s patronising; that it has no place in the modern world. I’m just not particularly swayed by them.

Yes, it’s old-fashioned and out-of-time, but so are lots of things. That alone doesn’t make something bad or good. Yes, it’s silly and shallow and pointless, but that describes 90pc of popular culture.

The Rose is pretty harmless. Intelligent, confident, talented young women making chit-chat with a garrulous Kerryman – how bad? This isn’t Hustler TV or Girls Gone Wild we’re talking about.

On a tangential but important note, the Rose partly began as, and still is, a way to reconnect, for those Irish who had to emigrate. It’s easy to sneer at ‘Yanks seeking their roots’ and ‘plastic Paddies’, but they’re the ones whose ancestors made the sacrifices that kept this country afloat.

Ultimately, I couldn’t give a damn about the Rose, but I have this weird condition where I realise that, just because something doesn’t appeal to me, it doesn’t mean it won’t be of interest to others. Just look at the viewing figures the Rose gets every year.

Really, anyone getting all worked up has little to be worrying about. They’re like those eejits who want the Angelus banned. And I say this as a total, hard-line atheist. But come on, lads, it’s just the feckin’ Angelus!

And this is just the feckin’ Rose of Tralee. Get over yourselves, chill out, switch off the telly and go for a walk. Go on, it’s lovely out – the weather’s often nice in autumn, isn’t it?

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