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Independent.ie

Wednesday 24 January 2018

We play the stereotype

What do you do if an Irishman throws a grenade at you? Simple, take the pin out and throw it back at him.

Despite producing such great minds as Boyle, Hamilton, Burke and Joyce, the Irish have always been cast as being a few cards short of a full deck; not the full shilling; or as the Americans may put it, a few fries short of a happy meal.

Daley Thompson, the former Olympic decathlete, furthered the stereotype this week after he remarked on the BBC that a misspelt Olympic tattoo must have been the work of an Irish tattoo artist.

In the aftermath,Thompson, an Englishman born to a black Nigerian father and a white Scottish mother, was accused, mostly by people with fadas in their names, of racism.

But despite his profuse apology, Thompson's remark has a very small degree of truth in it. With most stereotypes there is a small kernel of truth.

There are certainly more than a few French who have never felt the cleansing effect of soap.

Truer still, humour is about as foreign a concept to some Germans as paying tax is to some Greeks.

Unfortunately though, we seem to affirm our negative stereotypes more often than others. Just walk down any street in any town in Ireland and you're bound to find more than a few Irish who've somehow managed to subvert the laws of evolution.

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Worst still, many of these candidates for natural de-selection are in the public eye. Tallafornia, Bertie, and Derek Burke of Crystal Swing scoring five points on Celebrity Mastermind are just a few examples of why we'll continue to be the long-time stalwarts of Europe's remedial class.

Christopher Jackson

Sunday Indo Living