Friday 26 May 2017

Kevin Myers: The day of indulgence is done -- the time of duty has arrived

SOME time in the 1990s, that old bore Hubris went with his chum Stupidity to the Inn, where they bumped into their old friends Celtic Arrogance and Irish Vanity, and over a few drinks, they concocted this preposterous confection that To Be Irish Is Always Best.

So they waved their wand and invented an entirely new form of Irishness that pretended to be ancient, but was really quite modern. It was a hybrid of the marketing man's stunts and the wet dreams of the Departments of the Gaeltacht and of the Arts.

The arrogance underlying the whole concept was how this new marketing concept of Ireland was personified in the pseudo-Gaelic "craic", which summed up the falsehood of the entire era. You won't find the word "craic" from the Celtic Revival through to the 1960s, with the great ballad revival, and the music revolution of the 1970s. For The Dubliners, the Clancy Brothers, Planxty, the Chieftains and The Bothy Band, the word was always "crack". These people knew what bad times were and they knew what the crack was, with drink or without it. It was only when that sinister feline the celtic tiger began to pad the boards that the bogus neologism "craic" was foisted on us. For changing the spelling from "crack" to "craic" coincided with the moment that Irishness became self-conscious, winsome, stylised, conceited, boastful, Dingle became Daingean, and most of all, everything became phoney, phoney phoney.

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