Tuesday 28 January 2020

How we lapped up JR's creed

More than De Valera or Collins, more than Lemass or Fitzgerald or Haughey, JR Ewing was the founding father of modern Ireland.

There was no sombre music on RTE to mark his passing, but in the hearts of the people there was a lament going on all day for the lost leader. His influence is everywhere.

All that light-touch regulation, that endless pursuit of the main chance that made us one of the richest countries in the world, ever – it didn't come out of some high-toned university. It didn't come out of our immersion in the illuminated manuscripts of the monks of Clonmacnois. It came out of Dallas.

Almost to a man, the buccaneers who made it happen spent their formative years watching Dallas, dreaming of that better place, wanting to be JR Ewing, wanting it so bad.

They were only teenagers when they first saw him becoming the big daddy of Dallas, cutting every corner that needed cutting, fixing whatever needed fixing, and then fixing himself a drink. But they loved that guy.

He had no interest whatsoever in the truth, and to this day his Irish disciples regard that level of absolute dishonesty as a sacred thing. In relation to all their business dealings at least, you can disregard every word they say as complete and utter BS.

Indeed, if they had a favourite book it would be BS – I Love You. The only time you can believe them is when they say that they saw Lord of the Dance 18 times, and it made them cry.

JR could get a little sentimental too, about stuff that didn't matter, and he could give it to you straight about trivial issues such as Sue Ellen's alcoholism. But he didn't make a habit of it.

Larry Hagman obituary, Page 37

Sue Ellen would claim that JR drove her to drink, and yes, even in this area, his influence on Irish viewers may be greater than is generally acknowledged.

An alcoholic friend of mine swears that his first and most important role model was JR Ewing, savouring his latest triumph by treating himself to a shot of bourbon. On the rocks.

His vision is alive in the very houses in which we live – or at least in the houses in which we want to live. Which, in a word, can be called Southfork. All over this land, again with the help of our old friend, the light-touch regulation, there are now many Southforks.

De Valera's vision of "cosy homesteads" was just an academic fairy tale. Southfork is the dream in the heart of every Irishman of ambition since about 1977. And it is a dream which has come true, many times, to the horror of the aesthetes who are of course in the minority.

To the vast majority of us, it just made sense to get our architecture from the man who was the architect of everything else in this country.

JR Ewing will buried in Glasnevin Cemetery after a State Funeral.

Sunday Independent

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