Friday 20 April 2018

Brendan O'Connor: This is Ireland

There's nothing like our national holiday to bring on some navel-gazing - and the making of self-celebratory videos, writes Brendan O'Connor

The Cliffs of Moher (stock picture)
The Cliffs of Moher (stock picture)
Brendan O'Connor

Brendan O'Connor

At this time of year, when we gaze deep into our navels and ponder what it is to be Irish, this great, unique, state of being, we like to make a video, to puff ourselves up a bit to the rest of the world, and tell them how special we are. These videos are what used to be called ads. Ads were about 30 seconds tops and they were an inconvenience that broke up TV shows. Now they are three, four, five minutes long and they are what's called content, and people actually choose to watch them. And the people making them love making them. Especially when they are making them about Ireland, because it means they can go all epic and deep and evocative.

Last year the video for St Patrick's Day was all about how creative we are, how "this is a seabed of imagination where ideas are born and flourish", how we are "free in spirit, wild at heart". They didn't mention how most of us went through an education system that did its damnedest to beat any hint of creativity out of us by teaching us there is a right and wrong answer to everything and by stressing us out with exams where we regurgitated useless information. They didn't mention that most creative people in Ireland are creative despite the State. They didn't mention either that most creative people in Ireland find it hard to make a living out of it. And, of course, they focused on tech as well. Coding is creative too, they told us.

They claimed in the video that our Irish language gave us wit. They didn't mention how it was beaten into generations of us who never speak it again.

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