Thursday, June 24, 2010

Cool line

I was in Ireland in 2007 when Bertie Ahern (the Taoiseach -- PM-- of Ireland) gave a speech to the UK Houses of Parliament, one of the most complex rhetorical situations ever, perhaps (800 years of oppression, continuing economic interdependence, revolution, hatred, all that).

Anyway, I was driving and listening to this speech, and I very clearly recall an absolutely terrific line, where Ahern was trying to honor Irish history but also move on into the future by acknowledging the two countries' commonality, and here's what I remember:
"And we must never forget the greatest forced marriage in history: between the English language and the Irish people."

(That is, English was forced upon the Irish, but they made it sing-- Wilde and Swift and Yeats and all those guys.)

Well, you know, I've quoted that line, and attributed it to old Bertie, and recently went looking for the exact quote and the date, and guess what? Here's what he actually said:
"One of the most creative moments in human history was the meeting between the English language and the Irish people."

Huh. Hey, what I remembered was a better line! It sounds like Wilde or Shaw. So, anyway, I'm going to claim it (unless anyone can find another source). :)

So here's what I say:
The greatest forced marriage in history was between the English language and the Irish people.

Ta-da!

19 comments:

Fawn Neun said...

And I would have to agree... :)

Lu said...

I like your version better, too. :-)

Wes said...

Your line is better, and I'm not sucking up to you like Murphy believes.

How the English could feed their cattle during the potato famine before helping the Irish is beyond me. And my heritage is Scots-Irish, the oppressors.

Edittorrent said...

I call myself Irish, Wes, because I love the people and the music and the poetry... but I'm actually Scots-Irish too. Let's raise a pint of Guinness and make this our own little secret. :)

I went to Scotland once and felt NOTHING. I mean, there was no "ancestral homeland" feeling at all. It was just another travelspot. But Ireland... well, that felt like home.
Alicia

Wes said...

Sounds like a plan......since we're agreed on sharing a drink sometime.

In my WIP which I'm sending to your new endeavor, my MC gets hassled by Spanish priests for being an Ulster-Scots, and being a backwoodsmen from Missouri, he doesn't know what that means.

Dave Shaw said...

'The greatest'? I can claim enough Irish (true Irish, not Scots Irish) ancestry that I won't argue too vigorously, but my Welsh and Scottish ancestors would feel much happier if you said 'One of the greatest'. I hate it when they spin in their graves and come out to haunt me, you know. The Welsh are so bad about that. (lol)

Edittorrent said...

I don't think the Welsh or Scots can claim the literary heritage of the Irish. Robbie Burns and Dylan Thomas... but that's not the level of the Irish. In fact, considering England has 20 times the Irish population, I'm not even sure England can claim to have (proportionately) the literary heritage of the Irish.

But the Welsh musical heritage -- not too many little places can claim that. Love those tenor choirs!
And I have to say that the Welsh have the best national anthem. Well, South Africa too. But Wales's anthem is too beautiful.

I think I should go back and this time, explore Wales. :)
Alicia

Murphy said...

Way better version, A! And I’m an Irishwoman through and through! :)

And, um, Wes? Thanks for clarifying something for me. I now know it's true that a guilty conscience speaks to a person - and you’ve been listening to yours and blaming me! Now, cut that out. If you feel guilty over doing a little brown nosing with T & A ;)...well, that’s your problem. I have enough troubles of my own to deal with. Honey read the blog and found out I’ve been trying to duck out of laundry duty. (Between you and me? I think he started to become suspicious when parts of his wardrobe started to disappear.)

Hey, *insert innocent shrug here* if the clothes have to be ironed - even after being washed and dried? Say hello to GoodWill! Sheesh, the way he carried on about one missing shirt in particular, you would have thought it was made out of gold or something. Why, he was so upset, I bet he’ll never let me near the laundry pile again! *insert me blowing on my wet nail polish here* such a shame... ;)

Murphy :D

Wes said...

I do laundry very well, Ms. Murphy, thank you. But I haven't ironed since I discovered in college (yes, there were colleges back then) laundries will do my shirts with medium starch.

And Dave, you can claim superior ancestory. The most the Scots-irish can claim in the U.S. is being great warriors: Boone, Crockett, Houston, half the Confederate army, etc. Oh, yeah, there was that guy named Presley who made music with poetry like "Kentucky Rain" and "In the Ghetto".

Murphy said...

@Wes: Ha! I noticed you focus in - right on the laundry and not the brown nosing, guilty conscience comment. *Shaking head in disappointment* Typical male tactic.

*face brightens up* But, hey, for the record on the subject of wash? Honey does laundry REALLY well too, that's why I think he should stick to doing it. :)

Gee, we solved that dilemma. Now, about the brown nosing, guilty conscience you're suffering from...*tapping index finger nail on front tooth* How do you figure on fixing that? I'm just saying...

Murphy :D

Dave Shaw said...

Wes, superior ancestry? No such thing. I'm an American mongrel and proud of it, but I know just enough about genealogy to know that everyone has great ancestors, no matter where they're from. Some are just easier to find out about than others. (Yeah, I've got a bunch of interesting stories accumulated.)

Of course, as a Yankee living in the South, I do enjoy mentioning now and then that I had two direct ancestors in the 123rd New York Infantry, one of the regiments with Sherman on his travels through Georgia and the Carolinas during the Rebellion. The reactions are always interesting. (grin)

Wes said...

Murphy, your question is a little like "Are you still beating your wife?", and I won't dignify it with a response. (He wonders if that will work.)

Really, Dave? I need to check my great grandfather's discharge papers and find out what unit he was in. He enlisted at age 12 in Elyria, NY and went thru nearly the whole damned war, including Sherman's March to the Sea. He was discharged at 15. His discharge papers list him as 4' 11". Since his son, my grandfather, was 6' 4", I figure the old guy hadn't gone thru puberty yet when he got out of the army.

Edittorrent said...

I was noting that they were naming a bunch of generals (because of McChrystal), and half of them were "Mc" or "Mac". I thought, "Hmm, the warlike Scots."
(But notice who actually achieved independence by revolution-- Those flighty Irish and the airy-fairy Americans. :)

(Of course, it could have something to do with kilts.)
Alicia

Murphy said...

A says: (Of course, it could have something to do with kilts.)

Murphy says: Or, um, what's underneath them... ;)

And Wes? You don't have to answer me. Nope, your silence on the subject says it all!

Murphy :D

Dave Shaw said...

Alicia, the Scots threw the English out of Scotland several times before the Union of the Crowns. The English had to co-opt the Scottish royal family to get them to heel. ;-)

Wes said...

Have you guys heard the country song "The Scotsman"? It's a classic. I'll see if I can find it on the net.

Yep, there are several versions there. Google "The Scotsman song". It deals with what is and is not under a Scotsman's kilt.

Also, country and western refers to two genres of music. One is country. The other is western.

Edittorrent said...

But what country? And what west? :)

Wes said...

With titles like "Her Teeth Are Stained, But Her Heart Is Pure" and "At Two I Went To Bed With A Ten, and At Ten I woke Up With A Two" it's hard to find a country that will claim them.

Edittorrent said...

I love country music titles. Sometimes I think that only in country music is anyone having fun with puns anymore.

Fun with puns. I could write a poem.
Alicia