Saturday, March 17, 2007

Thoughts (sort of) on St. Paddy's Day

My last post notwithstanding, I love a lot of things about Ireland and the Irish; the 40 shades of green, the rugged beauty and windswept coast, the preservation of the written word during the Dark Ages, Celtic music, Guinness and the pub as social center, and Maureen Dowd. I like corned beef and cabbage too, but that's not really Irish.

What I don't particularly care for is a bunch of drunk fat white guys with "Kiss Me I'm Irish" buttons marching down the street one day a year weeping in their green beer about their remote connection to a land they've never seen and murdering "Danny Boy" in the process.

So here's a St. Paddy's Day parade to be proud of:

DUBLIN, Ireland -- Lithuanian musicians, drum-beating Punjabis and West African dancers used Dublin's St. Patrick's Day parade on Saturday to celebrate their place in a booming Ireland that has become a land of immigrants.

One man dressed as St. Patrick in papal hat and sunglasses did the samba, while another float nearby featured "Miss Panty," Dublin's premier drag queen.

Dublin's freewheeling parade drew a half-million spectators and included Christine Quinn, the first openly gay leader of the New York City Council. Quinn is boycotting the more conservative New York parade because the organizers refuse to let gay and lesbian groups march.

This year, she accepted an Irish government invitation to be part of the Dublin City Council contingent.

"The fact I'm here in Dublin and able to march and participate in inclusive events should send a message of how backwards the New York parade is," said Quinn.

The Irish economy has been booming for the past 13 years, drawing immigrants from around the world to the country -- and its festivities.

"Nowadays there's far more color in the parade. It's great to see all our new Irish from across the world dressed up in green," said Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, who normally spends St. Patrick's Day in the United States but returned overnight after visiting President Bush in the White House.

Ireland musta looked really good after Bush!

It's nice to see diversity. In Ireland, apparently, drunks of any color weeping in their green beer are welcome. I'd like to hear "Danny Boy" in Punjabi!

I'm glad to see their economy booming and life improving for the Irish. They have it coming after about a thousand years of oppression by the English and the Catholic Church, among others.

Back to the mundane:

More than 1,000 police were on duty to deal with expected alcohol-fueled trouble in the evening, following widespread drunkenness that led to 700 arrests in 2005 and lesser trouble last year.

Not that there's ever any truth in stereotypes, but it is said that The Good Lord invented whisky to keep the Irish from ruling the world. He may have invented Irish jokes to remind us of it.

Erin Go Bragh*, y'all.

The Aulde Sot

*Ireland 'til the Day of Judgment

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