Wednesday 13 November 2019

Not so funny when the joke is on us

• The capacity of the Irish to make a joke of whatever misfortune comes their way never ceases to amaze, as well as infuriate, me.

Whatever dire calamity is visited upon him, sure can't Paddy always be relied upon to make light of his circumstances? Sure what's that you do be sayin' sir, we're up to our oxters in debt for another 50 years? Ah sure, divil the point of worryin' about it. We'll all have to stump up some more, begob, to keep the troika happy and cover the gambling debts of our country's finest; ah sure, not to be worry, it could be more they'd be lookin' for.

And, sure order me another pint of the cratur there sir, and don't be worryin' at all. Sure isn't it all just a bit of oul craic?

Now, I know and appreciate that the Irish love their "craic" more than most, but there's times when this attitude grates.

This is not a matter of being po-faced or a fuddy-duddy, and maybe I could accept this were there evidence over the last four years or so that at least a significant number of us protested the economic injustices which continue to be heaped upon us.

Do we call this talent to make light of serious matters being the possessor of a sunny disposition or sheer blind cowardice in the face of these injustices? Now, given that billions of public funds used to prop up what was once Anglo Irish Bank, I fail to see the funny side of the upcoming 'Anglo: The Musical' and unlike the other 4,000 theatre goers, many of them PAYE workers no doubt, I won't be booking a seat to chuckle along at the antics of the bunch of buffoons who ran this country into the ground.

I wonder, to be frank, who are the "muppets"; Ahern, FitzPatrick et al or those put-upon-punters prepared to shell out upwards of €40 a seat to view this romp.

So, this makes me ponder, what further rib ticklers might we expect? Given that the Ewing clan have returned to TV for an updated version of the 1980s soap classic 'Dallas', anyone for, 'The Quinn Dynasty'? A glittering collection of Irish acting talent assembled to tell a rags-to-riches, then fall from grace; a tale of a simple Cavan boy who pulled himself up by his jockstrap, so he did, to become a swashbuckling but philanthropic tycoon.

Then, when he fell upon hard times and the might of the judiciary conspired to bring this great man low, how the dacent, honest folk from Co Cavan and all the counties thereabouts rallied to his cause against this shameful injustice. Sure, only hilarious it'd be.

While I accept that somebody is making money from the Anglo musical and the best of Irish to them, I can't help my feeling that there's something immature and indicative of arrested development about any nation which constantly seeks to turn misfortunes and injustices into fodder for humour in the absence of any rebellion to counterbalance it.

Then again, history has shown the Irish to be significantly more accomplished in the art of humour than the skill of successful rebellion!

J D Mangan
Stillorgan, Co Dublin

Irish Independent

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