Sunday 23 October 2016

Paddy shows there is good and bad eejitry

Published 19/06/2016 | 02:30

Cartoonist: Jim Cogan
Cartoonist: Jim Cogan

In the great Western democracies it seems that the eejits are taking over, the worst kind of eejits indeed, the ones with a nationalist streak.

  • Go To

Nationalism, as we have observed in relation to IRA/Sinn Fein, is eejitry taken to such an extreme that it becomes a form of evil. And with Brexit in Britain and Trump in America, the profound truth of this can be witnessed.

These British nationalists and their American brethren are the barbarians at the gates of the empires, howling at the grandees within who have become so decadent, they can hardly even stir themselves any more to sign the orders handed to them by the money men.

In Marseille, the hooligans of Russia and England were making their own nationalistic statements, in the only way that they know, with some of the latter even thinking that they went to France to "fight Isis", who are always there or thereabouts. And all round you would think that our civilisation was in grave jeopardy, that it could no longer stand all this blackguardism from without and within, until along comes a man - or at least a kind of man - who is increasingly being seen, not least by himself, as perhaps the last best hope of the world.

His name is Paddy.

The hosannas he has been receiving - and not just from himself - for his many displays of high spirits on his tour of France have been well merited. While others have been trashing the old town, Paddy has done no harm to no man, only making things better in some cases with his invaluable assistance to people whose cars have broken down.

Such bonhomie is almost unknown in such a setting, especially on the part of people who are essentially, in the deepest parts of their being, acting the eejit.

So what Paddy is doing here, for the benefit of humanity, is demonstrating that along with all the bad eejitry to which we alluded, there may be such a thing as good eejitry. And that of all the people of the world, he is uniquely placed to drive that message forward. Paddy has shown no malice to his opponents, but bonded with them, finding a shared heritage with the Swedes in the roaring of Abba songs.

He has even ventured into areas which would usually be controversial, which would normally give offence to people who get offended by such things, and he has emerged somehow without their condemnation - as he "taunted" the Swedish supporters with the chant, "you're shit, but your birds are fit", in other circumstances he might have been accused of striking a note of sexist backwardness, yet in the circumstances of Euro 2016, with the bottles flying in the old port of Marseille, these words merely sounded like a fair-minded and succinctly stated analysis of the overall quality of the Swedish contribution.

And driven only by the power of that pure eejitry, of the better kind, Paddy showed that he is moving on from the traditional mores of his Roman Catholic heritage by breaking into a strange football terrace version of the Our Father as an elderly nun entered a train carriage, while in Paris he cheered wildly as a local resident emerged on to his balcony in a kind of parody of the Pope doing Urbi et Orbi.

But it was the Yaya Toure Song, and the way that he sang it, which proved that Paddy is really taking it to the next phase, really going for it this time. In case there's anyone who is unaware of the Yaya Toure Song, it is a tribute to top player Yaya Toure and his brother Kolo, originally popularised by the fans of Manchester City as a deeply-felt tribute to the Toure boys, a highly infectious chant with a certain tribal undertone which may be connected to the brothers' country of origin, the Ivory Coast.

Paddy fell in love with it last week, but more than that, he brought something to it that no group of fans, however crazed, had brought to it before. In the manner of election workers lifting the winning candidate shoulder high, he raised a black man above the crowd, apparently as the personification of Yaya and Kolo.

Let us suppose for a moment that we are somewhere in Africa, and a large crowd of black men finds one white man to raise aloft in this fashion, while they chant a tribute to some famous white footballer, say, David Beckham.

How unimaginably primitive this would seem, what a vision of absolute eejitry, even if the white man was apparently enjoying himself as the black man borne aloft by Paddy is apparently enjoying himself - and this seems to be Paddy's purpose here, to attempt to show that even in the throes of the most desperate episode of eejitry, even in this demented carnival of racial stereotyping, Paddy is somehow creating a goodhearted vibe.

He is trying to reinforce this message that like good cholesterol and bad cholesterol, there is good eejitry and bad eejitry, that even the most advanced forms of it can contain some trace of the good stuff, even if it's only to say "unlike the Russians, we will not kill you."

Helpless though Paddy is in the face of his own incorrigible, incandescent eejitry, he is trying, in his way, to declare: "Vive la difference!"

Declan Lynch talks about his novel 'The Ponzi Man' with Barry Devlin at the Dalkey Book Festival today, 2pm.

Sunday Independent

Read More

Promoted articles

Don't Miss

Editor's Choice