March 18, 2009

Kiss Me, I'm Half Norwegian On My Father's Side

Huh. Turns out that yesterday was St. Patrick's Day. I literally did not notice. Wasn't an issue at all. Now, if people want to wear green and drink a lot of booze that's cool, but the point, I thought, was to celebrate Irish people and Irish culture. A fine people, those Irish. But if you're not Irish, it can get a little bit annoying to be continually exposed to people pining for the green fields of Kilkenny or the great food at so-and-so's pub in County Cork or insisting that Guinness tastes better when it travels less, so you've really got to go drink it in Dublin. And it gets particularly more annoying when the person telling you this has never traveled to Ireland in the fire place, so you can't be sure just how much of what you're being told is a load of blarney.

As it turns out, I am not Irish. I am, however, almost eligible to join this fine legal organization. But you don't see a whole lot of Norwegians trying to impose their food and sartorial choices on the rest of society like those damn Irish. Now, that could be because homespun gray isn't as interesting as kelly green as a color choice for clothing, and because lutefisk and aquavit are just plain nasty. I would much rather have corned beef and cabbage and a shot of Irish whiskey. So if it's a question of old-world cultures to celebrate, I suppose you could do worse than the Irish.

Well, I'm part Italian, too, and I don't suppose I could find any examples of Italians trying to impose their culture on the rest of the world, either. Or of Americans getting all misty-eyed and romantic celebrating the traditions of a country their ancestors came from but they've never been to by doing things like re-screening The Godfather and listening to Frank Sinatra music while eating a big plate of noodles and gravy. So this sort of silliness is hardly limited to Irish-Americans; they've just managed to market St. Patrick's Day a lot better than Italian-Americans have managed to market San Gennaro.

So "Erin go braless!" or whatever that phrase is, belatedly, to all my Irish-American friends.

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