Disclosure: I am Irish.
I know the politically correct way to say it is Irish-American. The accurate way to say it is American of Irish descent.
But I grew up in South St. Louis where we were just Irish. And the Italians were Italian and the Germans were German. (That’s about all we had in my neighborhood, plus a few Jewish converts to Catholicism, but they caucused with the Germans.)
The cool thing about being Irish is that I’m genetically immune to being offended.
Yesterday I wrote about a Yale student who verbally assaulted a professor, one of the finest social psychologists alive (and a fine humanitarian), because the professor had the temerity to tell his wife, “we shouldn’t tell college students what not to wear for Halloween.”
It’s called “political correctness,” and it means “your freedom of speech ends wherever the hell I feel like saying it ends.” We’ve extended the “right” to remain free from offense to everyone, and we’re in danger of making all speech illegal. Or, at least, subject to violent retribution from which the offending speaker has no recourse.
To an Irishman from South St. Louis, this is insanity.
I’m proud of all the Irish blood that’s in me. I’m also proud of all the Irish whiskey that’s passed through me. And I don’t deny the Scotch, the Bourbon (French, right?), and the Reinheitsgrebot-pure beer I’ve passed through my kidneys. And I’ve been in a few fights, not all involving alcohol.
I’m proud that Notre Dame’s mascot is a Fighting Irishman. Not a docile, sober, hard-working, studious scholar of Irish descent. A Fighting-bloody Irishman, damn you!
I forwarded to everyone I know the Onion’s St. Patrick’s Day story (about 10 years old) with the headline: Irish-Americans Gear Up for the Reinforcin’ o’ the Stereotypes. And, despite my efforts to keep those stereotype alive and well, I still REMEMBER THAT STORY!!
What we need in America is a sense of humor, people. I realize that for many of you it’s an emotional shock to realize the world doesn’t take you nearly as seriously as you take yourself, but get over it. Even if we follow your pretentious, childish, meaningless PC rules in public, we go home and tell cruel jokes about you self-appointed PC police. Not stereotypical, bigoted jokes about the identifiable group you belong to. No, we tell (and enjoy) very personal, cruel jokes about you, you narcissistic, self-important pricks who think you’re the first person in history to be taken down a peg or two.
So take a lesson from the sons and daughters of the Emerald Isle and embrace the stereotypes and crude imitations. Whether you’re a woman, black, gay, Jewish, Caribbean, Hispanic, Pacific Islander, German, or Pole . . . eh, I can’t do it, so Pole . . . appreciate that the world has recognized your particular peculiarity enough to attempt to mock it. At least they’re paying attention.
Now I’m going to sample a 100 proof tequila sent by a friend in Texas with the warning, “Bill, you’re Irish. This stuff wasn’t tested on your kind, so, for God’s sake, be careful.”