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BS: Plastic Paddy slur

Related threads:
BS: Are You a Real Paddy or a Plastic Paddy? (43) (closed)
Lyr/Tune Req: Plastic Paddy (Eric Bogle) (1)


Ernest 03 Jul 09 - 07:07 AM
Mo the caller 27 Jun 09 - 08:31 AM
goatfell 27 Jun 09 - 04:03 AM
heric 26 Jun 09 - 10:54 PM
Little Hawk 26 Jun 09 - 08:47 PM
GUEST,lox 26 Jun 09 - 08:28 PM
GUEST,mg 26 Jun 09 - 07:21 PM
GUEST,petr 26 Jun 09 - 06:53 PM
meself 26 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM
Little Hawk 26 Jun 09 - 11:42 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 26 Jun 09 - 11:11 AM
GUEST,Jim Knowledge 26 Jun 09 - 11:04 AM
GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser) 26 Jun 09 - 08:57 AM
Lox 25 Jun 09 - 04:09 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 25 Jun 09 - 12:12 PM
GUEST,Chongo Chimp 25 Jun 09 - 11:52 AM
Rifleman (inactive) 25 Jun 09 - 11:17 AM
Lox 24 Jun 09 - 05:31 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 24 Jun 09 - 11:41 AM
GUEST,lox 24 Jun 09 - 06:18 AM
Richard Bridge 24 Jun 09 - 05:56 AM
MartinRyan 24 Jun 09 - 05:20 AM
GUEST,lox 24 Jun 09 - 05:06 AM
GUEST,lox 24 Jun 09 - 04:44 AM
meself 23 Jun 09 - 10:53 PM
GUEST,Russ 23 Jun 09 - 10:42 PM
GUEST,mg 23 Jun 09 - 07:50 PM
Richard Bridge 23 Jun 09 - 07:22 PM
GUEST,mg 23 Jun 09 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,lox 23 Jun 09 - 05:15 PM
Rifleman (inactive) 23 Jun 09 - 12:05 PM
meself 23 Jun 09 - 11:51 AM
theleveller 23 Jun 09 - 10:46 AM
Richard Bridge 23 Jun 09 - 10:19 AM
Little Hawk 23 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM
Don(Wyziwyg)T 22 Jun 09 - 06:27 PM
GUEST,mg 22 Jun 09 - 05:54 PM
GUEST,lox 22 Jun 09 - 05:32 PM
GUEST,lox 22 Jun 09 - 05:27 PM
Richard Bridge 22 Jun 09 - 04:50 PM
GUEST,mg 22 Jun 09 - 02:44 PM
Ruth Archer 22 Jun 09 - 02:29 PM
GUEST,mg 22 Jun 09 - 01:59 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 22 Jun 09 - 01:59 PM
Ruth Archer 22 Jun 09 - 01:38 PM
goatfell 22 Jun 09 - 01:00 PM
GUEST,mg 22 Jun 09 - 12:34 PM
Crow Sister (off with the fairies) 22 Jun 09 - 12:25 PM
The Villan 22 Jun 09 - 11:55 AM
Backwoodsman 22 Jun 09 - 11:39 AM
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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Ernest
Date: 03 Jul 09 - 07:07 AM

Eric Bogle had to use the term "Plastic Paddy" because the copyright to the term "Plastic Mick" belonged to the estate of the late Michael Jackson...

;0)
Ernest


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Mo the caller
Date: 27 Jun 09 - 08:31 AM

I think this might be like other fields, where the more you learn the more you find there is to know.
So people who don't care much about it may think shamrocks and Danny boy sums up Irishness. And no harm in that.
We went to a workshop at a folk festival and learnt Irish Dancing. Then we went to another, at another festival and found that what we were taught was completely different. We now know that the varieties are almost endless, from step dancing of all sorts (not just the 'River Dance' kind), Ceilidh dance, Set dancing (the use of the term meaning dances in sets of 4 couples based on 19th century Quadrilles). And within Set Dancing there are different styles of footwork the figures are done in different ways depending on where and when the dance was collected.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: goatfell
Date: 27 Jun 09 - 04:03 AM

yes


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: heric
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 10:54 PM

I saw some Irish kids "break dancing" in Dublin in the eighties. It was hard not to feel a just a little sorry for them. Kept it to myself.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 08:47 PM

I wasn't implying that Lox does fit into that category, "meself". I was just speaking in general terms, that's all.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 08:28 PM

"I simply don't care"

Yes I see - that explains your enthusiasm for commenting earlier.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 07:21 PM

I think we need to register our complaints in person when this slur occurs. ANd it is meant to shame people, have no doubt. At the very least you can say ouch and register that you do not find this a nice name to be called. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,petr
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 06:53 PM

several years ago as I was playing fiddle at a session (here in Vancouver)
An Irish fellow (non-musician) who sat beside us mentioned that he enjoyed my playing, and said I had the East Clare style down quite well etc. But When he asked where I was from and found I wasn't Irish he said, so you're a Plastic Paddy then - And Id never heard the term but thought it was a bit pejorative. The implication is that you are a wannabe Irish, and that deep down, you really should be Irish to be playing Trad Irish music.

(And it obviously doesnt work the other way, as American Country Music seems to be hugely popular in Ireland, you turn on the radio and it Big Tom or such like while traditional Irish is far down on the list of popular music styles)

Still there is some resentment of foreign players, when I asked one of my (Irish) music friends (I use the term advisedly) about where to find good sessions in Ireland - he said (without apparent irony) you don't want to go to Doolin because that's where all the feckin' foreigners go....


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: meself
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 11:45 AM

I hardly think that Lox fits into that category.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Little Hawk
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 11:42 AM

That's exactly how I feel about the more contentious sods who burden me with their pent-up hostility from time to time on this forum. ;-) I don't fecking care.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 11:11 AM

"To be fair, your response tells me that you don't wish to press the point"

No, No, my response means quite simply, You Can think whatever you want about me, I simply don't care.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,Jim Knowledge
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 11:04 AM

I `ad that Eric Bogle in my cab the other day. `e was looking quite chipper and asked me to take `im to a club in `ammersmith.
I said, "`ere Eric, you`d best keep you `ead down a while. They`ve all gone into one about that "Plastic Paddy" song. Whatever prompted you to write it?".
`e said, "Well, I was in this pub called the "`Dublin `ound" and they was all singing that "Danny Boy". I said to `em, `That`s a great song, it`s about the Old Country, ennit?`"
They said , " No it aint. It`s about a bloke who `ad a strip club in London!!"

Whaddam I like??


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,Chris B (Born Again Scouser)
Date: 26 Jun 09 - 08:57 AM

Being British-Born (and not actually having a problem with it) of Irish parents I've long become immune to the 'Plastic Paddy' line. What I've found is it's often used by mediocrities whose only claim to any kind of 'credibility' is the fact that they were born somewhere on the Island of Ireland - which is hardly something they can take any credit for.

A mate of mine prefers to describe himself as 'FBI' - Foreign Born Irish!

I like that one.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Lox
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 04:09 PM

Rifleman,

I didn't express a point of view, I asked a question.

To be fair, your response tells me that you don't wish to press the point and I likewise don't wish to argue it. I think our common ground in recent threads has far outweighed our differences.

All the best.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 12:12 PM

?


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,Chongo Chimp
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 11:52 AM

Okay, enough of this hoo-hah. You people are all missin' the point. This Bogle character is a closet pervert and he is flauntin' it in fronta his audiences in code. So ya think this Plastic Paddy stuff is about imitation-Irish musicians do ya? Well, yer so wrong!

What the phrase "Plastic Paddy" really alludes to is Bogle's penchant fer paddywhackin' his casual paramour's naked behinds with a plastic paddle! That's right. You heard me. Bogle's been a paddywhackin' pervert for many a year. He keeps a couple plastic paddles tucked away in his guitar case, wrapped in a polishin' wrag. He does his show and scopes out the audience fer any potential groupies that are taken in by his idealistic soundin' antiwar songs and stuff like that. He makes out like he is a big liberal crusader, but there ain't much truth to that. He's really a typical Aussie headbanger and hellraiser with all the sensitivity of a drunken warthog on a night around the town.

After the show he gives out autographs and chats up the naive female fans who are taken in by his smarmy act. Then he lures 'em back to his hotel room where there are mirrors on all the walls and ceilings. Then the fun begins. Out come the paddles. Whack! Whack! Whack! All night long.

Yes, this is the perverse life of a well-known folksinger.....and that's not all! Bogle also likes runnin' over cats with his all-terrain SUV, and he cruises the lonely roads in the Australian Outback, endin' the lives of feral cats, kangaroos, wallabies, platypuses, and any other animals unlucky enough to be crossin' the road when Eric Bogle motors through!

The man is a menace. Somebody has gotta put a stop to his shenanigans.

Hmmm. "Shenanigans." Now there's a great Irish word that don't get used much lately...

- Chongo


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 25 Jun 09 - 11:17 AM

You may think as you wish.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Lox
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 05:31 PM

"kindly don't preach AT me in regards to racial prejudice and derogatory terms until you've walked a mile and lived a year and a day in my moccasins"

I'm not preaching mate.

And I'll never know what its like to walk in your moccassins.

And you'll never know what its like to walk in mine.

besides which there are many pairs of moccassins other than yours that I could wear if I wished to and each would have its own unique qualities.


I asked you not to Trivialise my experience.

Are you defending your right to do so?


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 11:41 AM

Lox, kindly don't preach AT me in regards to racial prejudice and derogatory terms until you've walked a mile and lived a year and a day in my moccasins. As I said I've been called and experienced far, far worse that 'plastic paddy'

Remember THAT one!


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 06:18 AM

Martin,

Your experience of the usage of this term is of course useful and adds to the overall picture in a helpful way.

My experience is different and hopefully provides you with a broader view of how the term is used.

The old Indian story of the Elephant being examined and described to the villagers of a blind community by three blind men teaches us to listen to the experience of others and add it to our own experience and not to rely solely on how we have perceived things.

In the above story, the three blind men have a fight - one of them says it is definitely like a snake, the next says it is definitely like a tree stump, the last refutes such absurd statements and says it is like a rope with a fly whisk on the end.

None are wrong, and though their experiences don't seem compatible, they are.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 05:56 AM

Lox, what you suggest is not the general usage of the term "Plastic Paddy" (both from my own experience and of my friend Paddy Cannon).

Also, if you read my post you would apprecaite that the usage that you cite of the term "coconut" (sometimes "Bounty Bar") is exactly as I said it was used.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: MartinRyan
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 05:20 AM

For what it's worth, in a debate that has gone beyond silly at times, my experience has been:

"Paddy" is often used, sometimes pejoratively, by people (mostly English) to refer generically to an Irishman; "Plastic Paddy" is used by Paddys, always pejoratively, to refer to non-Paddys who try too hard to be Paddys.

Clear enough? ;>)

Regards


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 05:06 AM

To add to my last post, It should be noted that a recent scandal in Bristol City council involved a Black Councillor acusing an Asian Councillor of being a coconut.

Coconut

So One does not have to specifically be Black to be on the receiving and of this type of abuse.


"If "Plastic Paddy" is now a pejorative term, does that mean that "Paddy" itself is not longer a pejorative term?"


Excellent question, beautifully put.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 24 Jun 09 - 04:44 AM

Richard, if you were to read my first post here you would see that the term has been used against me in a derogatory way and I happen to know that it is used against many others with Irish parents but who talk with English accents.

Terms, especially those not found in dictionaries, are defined by their usage, not by your greater knowledge.

In fact, what you are telling nme is that you are uninformed as to its pejorative usage.

I am informing you.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: meself
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 10:53 PM

To further muddy the waters: in Borstal Boy, Brendan Behan says that he doesn't mind it when an Englishman addresses him as Paddy, but he can't stand it when a fellow Irishman does (as one does in the narrative).


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 10:42 PM

Late and confused (as usual)

A request for clarification.

I am too cheap to subscribe to the OED online, but this is what askOxford.Com has to say about "Paddy":

"Since the 19th century it has come to function in English as a generic nickname for an Irishman."
and
"informal, chiefly offensive an Irishman."

My question:
If "Plastic Paddy" is now a pejorative term, does that mean that "Paddy" itself is not longer a pejorative term?

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 07:50 PM

It is such a useful term, although nasty, that it seems to have varous meanings depending on country etc. And we just hate giving up perfectly descriptive terms, whether they are nasty or not. Once we have a word that perfectly describes a phenomenon, we don't want to get rid of it. And just like Oreo seemed to spread to Apple and Banana, I am sure that something like "PP" has spread to other cultures. And they are all words that sneer at others. Probably the worse of that ilk is "wannabe." I don't think a person could use it in a respectful manner, because it is a disrespectful word. All of them suggest that a person is not OK the way she or he is..like saying Obama was not Black enough. Someone is not Hawaian enough, or Native American enough or really truly Irish enough or being Irish-American is not good enough and has silly rituals and costumes associated with it. Like we should get together on St. Patrick's day and read the Book of Kells or something and only drink the purest of meade. Oh well, not for me.   mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 07:22 PM

Lox, that is nonsense.

A plastic Paddy is someone who is not Irish whose pretence is the adoption of the caricature extreme stereotypes of Irish behaviour - the English Etonian who insists on starting sentences with "Top of the morning to you, begorrah!" It speaks of the non-Irish.

A coconut is a person whose skin is black but who has adopted the treachery of Babylon. It speaks of the black. NB "Black" used in the English sense.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 06:06 PM

I think there are many larger issues here, and one is how some groups in America essentially disowned their parents and grandparents because they were ashamed of the way they spoke, dressed, ate, etc. It is a great American tragedy..so many family tragedies based on teen-age shame of a mother in a babushka or cooking everything with garlic. America, especially in the days of much immigration, was not by and large populated by very sophisticated (in our minds) people. I think that was especially a problem for Mediterranean and Eastern European immigrants, but we don't want to back to those days, do we? I don't think it was an especially Irish problem, more with other groups, but I heard my ggmother wore red flannel petticoats and smoked a clay pipe and only spoke Irish, greatly embarassing her daughters...so for some of us at least we can't make fun of these stereotypes without making fun or or insulting our ancestors. I can't. Mine were hardly sophisticated..it is a wonder how I got to be. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 05:15 PM

Rifleman,

I would suggest that the term "plastic paddy" compares with the term "coconut" in terms of potential offense caused.

They do not run in perfect parallel, but the thing they have in common is that they are both based on a false premisse i.e. that if someone of a particular background conforms to the wrong stereotype then they are not authentic.

The problem is that in order to differentiate autentic from non authentic one must assume that there is a right stereotype.

In fact, all stereotypes are inaccurate.

And on this basis it follows that your understanding is not that dissimilar to mine or anyone elses whose identity has become subject to the generalizations of judgemental observers.

It is important not to trivialise the experiences of others, whether by comparing them to your own experiences or by saying something about them "having a chip on their shoulder".

Remember that one?


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Rifleman (inactive)
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 12:05 PM

I've been called much, much worse (being a non-white type person *LOL*), this so-called 'slur' is amusing by comparison.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: meself
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 11:51 AM

Nobody on this thread has called for censorship of anything.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: theleveller
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 10:46 AM

"But that's freedom for you - and I wouldn't have it any other way."

I think that hits the nail on the head, Lox. I can see why people might be offended by the term but, quite frankly, many of us have been called a lot worse on this board. LOL! What is needed is a sense of proportion. In his book 'Liberty in the Age of Terror', A C Grayling echoes John Stuart Mills when he says: "Sometimes the price of free speech is offence, but "feeling offended" can never justify censorship…..one of the main sources of danger to liberty comes from controversies that turn on "feeling offended"." Although, he then adds Mills' words: "No one pretends that actions should be as free as opinion."


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 10:19 AM

By and large I am not in favour of people pretending to be what they are not.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Little Hawk
Date: 23 Jun 09 - 09:58 AM

"As with all of us, he (Eric Bogle) has his moments when he hits the nail squarely on the head and at other times he is as cringeworthy as the plastic paddy he describes."

Right on, Lox. ;-) Even the finest songwriters occasionally lapse into a trite or awkward bit of verse. Even the best write the odd song that's a real turkey. You can't be all good all the time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Don(Wyziwyg)T
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 06:27 PM

If somebody wants to enjoy an evening, a day, a weekend , or whatever, by dressing up and getting rat-arsed, singing songs remembered from his/her childhood, and generally celebrating his/her/somebody else's culture and/or heritage, that's fine by me.

IT'S FOR THE CRAIC!

Don't analyse it, it's not susceptible of logical explanation. Just bloody enjoy it, and have a good supply of paracetamol handy for the morrow.
That's what we Folkies do best.

Simples.

Don T.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 05:54 PM

Some years ago I went to Carnival? in Quebec City. I enjoyed myself, but I didn't think, oh this is the essence of French culture (not even French Canadian) --- These people dressed like onions and people with their canes filled with booze are expressing the highest form of their culture. I thought, what fun. I think I will join in the merriment, perhaps not dressing like an onion, but more power to them if that is what they like to do. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 05:32 PM

"It's the foreign reduction of another culture, to such a specific and narrow stereotyping - affectionate or otherwise - which I don't really dig."

You have fallen into the same paradox as last time, as a term such as "plastic paddy" is nothing if a reduction of Irish culture into something that could not possibly include the plastic paraphernalia.

And wwhen the Irish go out and enjoy themselves in this fashion, after rugby and football matches, they are not being Ironic. They are having a good time.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,lox
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 05:27 PM

In the absence of any actual engagement with any of the actual points I've made I shall have to assume that people either agree with them or that they are unable to find fault with them..

Something to bear in mind about the Essex boys and girls and the Irish boys and girls who dress up in silly cliche'd clothes etc, whether its on St Patricks Night or after a footie or a rugby match, is that as they get drunk and become boisterous, and the same chemicals affect the same synapses, they are all doing exactly the same thing - having fun.

Having fun is a piece of Irish culture that we are proud of at home, that we export abroad and that I am glad to see other people enjoying in our name.

And while the Irish and English revellers enjoy themselves, you can be sure that both groups are equally unconcerned about the significance of Joyce or Flann O'Brien etc ...

Talking of Flann O'Brien, I am reminded of the matter of the poor mouth ... you know ... the truly gaelic gaelic ... as spoken by the truly gaelic gaels ...

This Topic has been subject to ruthless parody since long before the term "plastic paddy" appeared, or its implied antithesis; the "authentic Irishman".

And both sides of this "argument" are equally guilty of reliving the whole absurd farce.

Imposed definitions mean bugger all.


Those who keep saying "It's just a song, please pay attention to the fact that this thread isn't about a song, it is about a descriptive term.

It just so happens that a song was posted which illustrates the meaning of this term.

But while we are on the subject I will say this.

Eric Bogle has great strengths, and "the gift of years" is in the top five of my repertoire.

However, check this out.

In this chorus he is satirizing modern language and its deviation from English as he used to know it.


"Ah look what you've done to the old mother tongue
It's a crime the way we've misused it
It's been totally tis woggled crumb and blonged and golly woggled
and we've stranged mangled frangled and abused it"


As with all of us, he has his moments when he hits the nail squarely on the head and at other times he is as cringeworthy as the plastic paddy he describes.

But that's freedom for you - and I wouldn't have it any other way.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 04:50 PM

The expression denigrates fakery. Not a lot more to say.


Interesting however that St Patrick was not Irish and St George was not English.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:44 PM

I do not take it as an attempt at cultural engagement at all. I see it as a harmless but actually very historical and very important celebration that was put together by our ancestors and I personally respect it. And we are basically not talking about Irish culture, at least I am not, but Irish American culture, which is quite different. Also people are talking what goes on on one day of the year usually and confusing it with normal behavior. This happened to be the one day of the year we were allowed to really have fun and to not to go school and to not have to obey the laws of Lent. One day a year. We were not to get too happy around Christmas or Easter because Christ had to die on the cross..even at Christmas..he was going to sooner or later. We had one day a year to have fun and sing You're welcome as the flowers in May to Dear Old Donegal and eat ice cream with shamrocks in them and drink green Kool-Aid... How is that for sophisticated or uncultural? Some of us are those stereotypes and so were our ancestors and like all people we deserve to live and celebrate in peace and respect. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 02:29 PM

and as I said, mg: "if you are offended by the term "Plastic Paddy", you shouldn't be defending these stereotypes - you should be digging a little deeper to find out what Irish culture is really about. If you don't want to, that's fine - but don't expect anyone to take this false construct of American songs and green beer as a serious attempt at cultural engagement."

I'm sorry, but I am speaking as an Irish-American myself. And I find it all rather embarrassing.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 01:59 PM

Of course. And most of us do not confuse being Irish American with being native Irish. it is different. Do we expect French Canadians to be like the French? No, we do not. Do we expect second or third generation Japanese to be like the ??Nissei? No, we do not. Do I tell a Japanese American how to behave especially on an important holiday to her? No, I do not. Should people in Japan tell them how to celebrate in America? Probably not but it is not for me to say. Would I call the French Canadian Fake Francoise because he celebrated differently, perhaps in a very unsophisticated manner, than people who remained in France and had very different lives? No, I would not. I would think (a) again it was none of my damn business how Francois celebrates, dresses, sings, parties, and (b) I would think it would be a very rude and cruel thing to do. He has a new heritage and he has a right to sing whatever he wants and assemble peacefully etc. to do it. Would I call someone Artificial Akiko because she has her unique and perhaps unsophisticated third or fourth generation Japanese-American celebrations, forged by various furnaces of relocation camps and discrimination etc. etc.? No, I would not. It would be absolutely none of my business how she goes about hers.

And what if Fake Francoise and Artifical Akiko wanted to come to my St. Patrick's Day parade and wear green shamrocks and funny hats? Would I try to kick them out and tell them how foolish they looked? No, I wouldn't, but I bet some of you would. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 01:59 PM

Well said Ruth.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Ruth Archer
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 01:38 PM

I am Irish-American (or half of me is). This is not about the people who went before, mg, this is about the people indulging in certain cultural behaviours now. I've seen the argument from several perspectives: as someone who grew up in America - and whose father worked in a Plastic Paddy pub when I was growing up; as someone who lived and worked with Irish immigrants in New Jersey and got an insight into what they felt about the "Oirification" of their culture in America; and as someone who lived and worked amongst the London Irish when I first came to England.

Firstly, there is a cheapness about the Irish stereotypes which abound in both Britain and the US. Part of their cheapness is borne of commercialism, it's true. But at the end of the day, there is a vast difference between being OF a culture, and having that culture as part of your (distant) heritage. There is a huge disconnect between indigenous cultures, which develop and evolve and constantly change, and their sentimental, tourguide depictions which are fixed in aspic. Probably there are few cultures which suffer from this more than the Irish. This is partly due to the vast numbers of people who claim Irish ancestry in America, but in my experience very few of those people have any direct or significant experience of Ireland or Irish people. In searching for some sort of cultural identity they have assimilated something which is in itself a completely false amalgam of stage Irish, Tin Pan Alley, Bing Crosby movies and troubles songs.

mg, if you are offended by the term "Plastic Paddy", you shouldn't be defending these stereotypes - you should be digging a little deeper to find out what Irish culture is really about. If you don't want to, that's fine - but don't expect anyone to take this false construct of American songs and green beer as a serious attempt at cultural engagement.

What I'm going to say now may offend some of the people on this thread - but my experiences as the descendant of an immigrant family, who became an immigrant myself, whose daughter is now the child of an immigrant family, has led me over the years to certain observations. Being Irish American - or Italian-American, or Greek-American, or whatever - is simply not the same as being Irish, or Italian or Greek. When I visit Ireland or southern Italy (the other half of my heritage), there are definitely things I recognise, which have a familiarity for me, and which resonate. But equally, being in those places underlines the fact that I am not of those people, do not belong to those cultures. To try to pretend that they belong to me in the same way that they belong to people who have spent their lives in those places, to assume an understanding and kinship because of some notional concept surrounding the blood running through my veins, is delusional at best and dishonest at worst.

I have lived around half my life in America, the other half in England. These are the two cultures I know, and understand, and which I feel belong to me, because I have lived them. It is nothing to do with the colour of the blood running through my veins (which is definitely not green) nor the colour of the beer I drink (though I did once have a green English beer that was brewed with nettles).

One point I would make is that the worst excesses of the sentimentalising (is that a word?) of very real suffering that accompanies the "Plastic Paddy" culture is what happened in America in the 80s, where gullible Americans in shamrock bars in Boston and New York and Los Angeles would thump their bodhrans and belt out Fields of Athenry and The Men Behind the Wire before chucking their money into the IRA collecting tins. That's what comes of over-romanticising a culture that you don't really understand.

"For men and women are not only themselves; they are also the region in which they are born, the city apartment or farm in which they learnt to walk, the games they played as children, the old wives tales they overheard, the food they ate, the schools they attended, the sports they followed, the poets they read, and the God they believed in. It is all these things that have made them what they are, and these are the things that you can't come to know by hearsay, you can only know them if you have lived them. You can only know them if you are them."

- Somerset Maugham


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: goatfell
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 01:00 PM

it's only a song for god sake


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 12:34 PM

Well, first of all I personally call it St. Patrick's Day and would never call it Paddy day or Paddy's day or whatever. Secondly, you need to have a better understanding of the Irish American experience. This has all been going on way before Disney. It is real for what it is, and that is a battered and sometimes broken people getting together in defiance and for fun and for many reasons. For many the extent of their cultural heritage was back-breaking work as serfs. I don't know how much of the culture they had in those days...some to be sure..stuff was passed down. Many were illiterate and of course there was a strong oral culture.

Anyway, it is still not nice to put them down. Some of what you see is quite real, the desire for shamrocks everywhere etc...painting a green stripe etc. These Irish Americans were not very sophisticated, very well educated, knew next to nothing about the heritage. They did what they could. mg


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Crow Sister (off with the fairies)
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 12:25 PM

I think the Bogle song, is a related, but tangential issue to the core thread.

One of the things that has me somewhat intrigued however is that some posters maintain the right to behave in the fashion described by the Bogle song on Paddy's day in particular (with green beer, plastic shamrocks and all the rest of the Disneyesque lampooning) *without* engaging in any further depth in more serious or diverse elements of Irish culture - but then object to that intentional and restricted form of cliched Oirish err 'homage' say, being termed "plastic".

Maybe a particular section of the Irish community in Ireland do enjoy lampooning classic Irish cultural cliche's themselves when out having a drink, but I imagine they possibly do other stuff too. Or even if they don't, this narrow 'ironic' self-lampooning of Irish culture, is not descriptive of "Ireland", "Irish people" or "Irish culture" any more broadly than that. It'd be like everyone who maintained a belief that they are an Anglophile, thinking that dressing up in beefeater costumes and eating whelks on St. Georges day was an expression of their love for Merrie Ye Old Englande or something - Ahhh that's a different thread - I think the BNP have that one covered already.... ;-)

It's the foreign reduction of another culture, to such a specific and narrow stereotyping - affectionate or otherwise - which I don't really dig. It descends too far into ShamMockery for me. And the Irish have been badly represented in a variety of negative stereotypes over the centuries.

Maybe I'd do a ridiculous Plastic Paddy night if it were amongst Irish people? I'm not exactly uptight - perhaps I'll give it a go sometime to find out and have fun. But I rather doubt I'd enjoy it with a bunch of Essex lads and lasses at O' Neils, who have no other interest in Ireland or Irish culture than getting pissed up on Guinness at an Oirish theme pub on Paddy day.

Otherwise, I'm happy to differ with anyone who disagrees. I've run my course of interest in this subject I think...


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: The Villan
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 11:55 AM

I like this one that has just been wrritten by Big Al Whittle.

The Bakelite Brummie Song

Nice one Al, and I am a true Brummie. Love it, keep the humour going.


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Subject: RE: BS: Plastic Paddy slur
From: Backwoodsman
Date: 22 Jun 09 - 11:39 AM

LOL!


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