You see, for years, Irish people were happy to be the clowns of the world. We were like the freckly ginger kid in the corner of the class who was great fun but who never really got to hang with the blonde, sleek, superficial, popular kids. And then, like in Mean Girls, we were led to believe we could make the jump into the popular crowd. We weren't just good at "the craic" (getting drunk), suddenly we were into finance and property. So we dyed our hair blonde, we dyed ourselves orange and we joined in.
But, like all uncool kids who get to hang with the cool kids, we always tried slightly too hard. And as it started to become clear that we weren't really cool and it was all an illusion, we did anything to stay in with the cool crowd. We made fools of ourselves trying to make the hot shots in the markets approve of us, forgetting that, in life, the hotshots either like you or they don't.
And it turns out that all of them were only waiting to have a good laugh at us. Suddenly, all over the world, newspapers were carrying pictures of piebald ponies and cartoons of pigs in the parlour, leprechauns and Paddy Gorillas. This is the moment in the movie when we arrive in to school one day and they are all openly laughing at us. Even when they offered us a bailout they were taking the mickey. It turns out to be just another loan, at a fairly exorbitant interest rate.
At this point in the movie, the only thing to do would be to concede that we humiliated ourselves trying to be like other people. And now it's time to go home to our Mommy, and back to our old uncool friends, who will explain to us that we can never be like the superficial, cool people, but that in fact, we're better than them. We're good at making the best of a bad lot, at having Toy Shows and parties even when our world as we know it is ending. God has sent this adversity for us to triumph over, to reconnect with our true selves, our indomitable spirit, a spirit that is driven by a good healthy dose of old fashioned Irish self-loathing. And the best part of all that is that now we can stop trying to get the cool people to approve of us. And you'd need to check with an economist but in economic terms I think that's called defaulting.
Fair. Balanced. American.
Sunday, November 28, 2010
From the Sunday Independent