...education and free discussion are the antidotes of both. (Thomas Jefferson 1762-1826)
Another week, another sporting defeat, and again reasons to feel let down by my countrymen. This time though the feelings of despair and anger have nothing to do with sporting professions playing under our banner.
An older boy in the schoolyard once told me that if you find a c**t there's generally an arsehole fairly close by. In my virginal innocence I never really gave it too much thought until Friday night in the shadows of the Stade de France. I'm sure everyone has experienced, at some point, what I think of as pseudo-republicanism. You know the type, the idiot who thinks he knows everything but in fact knows fuck all about The Troubles but yet feels obligated to brief all and sundry about their views on matters of an Irish nationalist nature and particularly those relating to the terrible misdemeanours they see as having been perpetrated upon us by our friends across the nation. I've known a few lads like that growing up, people born in 80, 81, or 82 who spout this type of shite but once questioned are exposed as not having a clue.
I had the joy of a quite unpleasant experience with two of this kind ahead of the match. The fine folk of the Rugby World Cup laid on a fan's village ahead of the Ireland/France game, typical Plastic Paddydom had broken out - Guinness posters, leprechauns, Irish music, overpriced watered down beer, ya know the criteria. The craic was great, the French and Irish taking the piss and enjoying each other's company. At one point I went to les jacques where possibly the worst display of all that is bad about the Irish on tour was demonstrated.
Conversation in the queue had kicked off, there were easily 100 men in line for one toilet so you can imagine the banter. Amongst the parish was an English guy in a vintage Irish shirt, he started talking about the Irish in terms of "we", "us" and so on. All of a sudden these two, completely sober, Cork lads unleashed a torrent of bigoted abuse the like of which I've never seen before. It was pure vitriol about how this chap had the blood of Irishmen on his hands and shite like that. Despite a couple of people getting involved it continued to get heated, not by any means on behalf of the English guy who was trying to laugh it off. With threats of violence being made security eventually stepped in and lashed the two offenders out.
It turned out afterwards that the English guy had lived the guts of his life over here and was the son of a former Irish international who had owned the shirt he was wearing. A couple of us tried to make our excuses and apologised, the guy laughed it off primarily because he said he was well used to it, especially in recent years. That final bit has really stuck in my mind for the last couple of days. We're constantly being sold this new modern Ireland which it increasingly turns out is the biggest load of bollix that has ever being spouted. We're still going to be stuck with the old days of wankology once people like that are around. It's really been pissing me off over the past few days. Two friends on mine are emigrating (separately) this week, making it six from my year in college/school since the start of the year. The reasons to follow them are piling up.