And you decked some fucking blackshirt

As you may know, I’m a big fan of Cedric the Entertainer’s epic “I Wish A Motherfucker Would” routine. For the uninitiated, the idea is that when some people are late for a show, they hope that no one sit has already taken their seats, whereas when others are late for a show, they wish a motherfucker would take their seats so that they can kick the motherfucker out of the seats. In Cedric’s telling, the hopers are white people and the wishers are black. But as anyone who’s spent much time in the northeast can tell you, that’s completely wrong, for no one could possibly wish a motherfucker would more than my mom’s Irish-Catholic family wishes a motherfucker would. It is unusual for me to spend more than ten minutes with my mom’s brother without hearing him tell a story a with this basic outline: (1) a person slights him in some way, (2) he pulls some kind of rank on the person, and (3) the person is forced to apologize and give him a free drink or better table or hotel room upgrade.

That’s why to me, “No Irish Need Apply” is the ultimate Irish-American song. The plot: (1) Irish man sees job listing with the note “No Irish Need Apply”, (2) Irish man visits the employer and is told he can’t have the job because he’s Irish, and (3) see the lyrics below:

I couldn’t stand it longer
So a hold of him I took
And gave him such a welting
As he’d get at Donnybrook
He hollered, “Milia murther”
And to get away did try
And swore he’d never write again
“No Irish Need Apply”

Well he made a big apology
I told him then goodbye
Saying, “When next you want a beating
Write ‘No Irish Need Apply’ ”

I suppose that that’s why I can never be an NPR liberal. I’d rather pummel my adversaries into submission — figuratively or literally — than politely agree to disagree.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

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105 replies
  1. 1
    BGinCHI says:

    You must be very proud to number Bill O and Peter King amongst this company.

    I wish the Irish would just stick to being mad at the English and leave American politics alone.

    What do people think….more progressive Irish Americans than conservative? What’s the tally?

  2. 2
    DougJ says:

    @BGinCHI:

    More progressive.

  3. 3
    muddy says:

    If you’re ginger people assume you are walking around constantly wishing a motherfucker would. Chicken, egg?

  4. 4
    Betty Cracker says:

    @BGinCHI: Gosh, that’s a tough one. I don’t know. On the one hand, there’s Hannity, but on the other, there’s Lawrence O’Donnell. Does Peter King trump Joe Biden? John F. Kennedy? Daniel Patrick Moynihan? My guess is the Irish-American liberal-conservative split would mirror America’s.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    @BGinCHI: I don’t know that they’re a monolithic voting bloc, but Mass and NY both have large Irish-American populations and both states heavily favor Dems.

  6. 6
    Violet says:

    I’m listening to NPR. Some libertarian guy is advocating for an increase in the minimum wage to $12 an hour. Up is down. Black is white.

  7. 7
    MikeJ says:

    Wikipedia says Tulsa, OK is the #4 large city for Irish American population.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/L.....opulations

  8. 8
    BGinCHI says:

    @MikeJ: Hmm. Dubious. Esp in NY. In Western NY there are lots of Irish Ams and it ain’t Democratic. It’s barely small d democratic.

  9. 9
    BGinCHI says:

    @DougJ: Evidence? I’m afraid that’s the liquor talking.

  10. 10
    BGinCHI says:

    @Betty Cracker: This is probably right though given the way older white people are trending I’m not sure this is going to hold….

  11. 11
  12. 12
    Roger Moore says:

    @Violet:

    Some libertarian guy is advocating for an increase in the minimum wage to $12 an hour.

    I suspect that’s Ron Unz, who has been advocating that here in California. As I understand it, his basic argument is that raising the minimum wage is a better, less intrusive response to poverty than various welfare programs. Somehow this goes from being crazy when Democrats say it to serious when anyone on the right does.

  13. 13
    daveNYC says:

    Rather a strange disconnect here. When I see ‘wishes a motherfucker would…’, I see the thinking that got us Curtis Reeves, George Zimmerman, and Michael Dunn. Admittedly, in two of those cases one should replace the noun, but the core desire to be given an excuse to be violent is highly fucked up.

  14. 14
    raven says:

    We went to an African-American comedy show at the local university. We were the ONLY honkies in the joint. We were a little nervous and sitting up near the top of the gym. I decided to go get a coke and as I walked out in front of the bleachers I hear “My Brother” and a woman that I officiated highs school basketball jumped up and gave me a big hug. We were less nervous after that. The comedians did make it a point to pick on us but only for a second. The show was awesome.

  15. 15
    a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q) says:

    Ah, the day my dear departed father said “brings out the professional Irishmen, whether Irish or not.” To his credit, he timed his grand exit for this day, fooling hospice and some of his kin. They (the kin only) laughed at me when I predicted it.

  16. 16
    canuckistani says:

    Yay Pogues!

  17. 17
    srv says:

    I’m offended, but given it is St. Patricks, I will save this Irish whelping for another day.

    Honestly, this is a day that BJ’ers should visit the local Drinking Liberally events and spew as many Gaelic insults as possible. Doug, you could at least call Diane Rheem today and troll her.

  18. 18
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    My favorite Pogues’ song.

    OTOH I would really rather a motherfucker wouldn’t.

  19. 19
  20. 20
    raven says:

    @BGinCHI: Mad Dogs and Englishmen!

  21. 21
    satby says:

    @muddy: This ginger verifies your statement. And is Irish-American liberal, as is most of the tribe I hail from. For every Hannity and O’Liely, I’ll raise you a Colbert.

    No frolicking idea why this posts weird from my kindle fire.

  22. 22
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @daveNYC: I don’t think it necessarily is a wish for violence; it is, IMO, more of a desire for confrontation.

  23. 23
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Betty Cracker: Just like “the Catholic vote”.

    In my own sprawling Irish American clan (49 first cousins, counting both sides), my mother’s side counts a couple tea-baggers and one “pro life because the Pope and babies” aunt, but they’re mostly secular, suburban, more affluent and most who were sort CNN-type “swing voters” seem to have been turned off by the streak from Iraq to Palin. There’s even a handful of soft PUMAs– voted for Obama, but waiting for the Return of the True One. On my dad’s side, he being easily the most liberal of that generation, they’re much more conservative, old school Catholics, and more prone to self-ID as “Irish”, including one uncle who died before Sarah Palin could make his dream come true by running That One out of the White House in 2012. The others are not as angry as O’Reilly, but they probably think he makes a lot of sense

  24. 24
    Trollhattan says:

    @Violet:

    Must be a ruse. “Raise the minimum wage to twelve bucks” [stage whisper: “And pass a twelve-percent flat tax.”]

  25. 25
    catclub says:

    @MikeJ: Makes me think the real money in wikipedia is changing something like that and then making a bar bet.

  26. 26
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Roger Moore: A true Liberterian would abolish the federal poverty line calculation and let the market decide who was poor. That’s been the problem – with minimum wage not keeping up with inflation, the indexed poverty line is causing poverty. That number is arbitrary. The market knows who is really poor.

  27. 27
    catclub says:

    @daveNYC: “but the core desire to be given an excuse to be violent is highly fucked up”

    Scots – Irish, and Appalachia, and southern US honor ‘culture’,…. Is highly fucked up.

  28. 28
    Rod Hoffman says:

    Q. What’s the definition of a well-balanced Irishman?

    A. A guy with a chip on both his shoulders.

  29. 29

    My Dad and one sister are gingers and they have a fearful temper but it’s nothing compared to mine–I have every stereotypical feature of a red head except the red head. I get mad quick but I forgive and forget just as quick. And unfortunately, I do “wish a mother” would far too often.

  30. 30
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Omnes Omnibus:

    For this holiday, I prefer “Young Ned of the Hill,” or “Thousands Are Sailing” if I’m feeling sentimental. Come on, the Irish are still cursing feckin’ Oliver Cromwell 350 years after he died!

  31. 31
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @MikeJ: That’s by percentage, which only goes to show that nobody lives in Tulsa, OK.

  32. 32
    Mnemosyne says:

    Also, my primarily Italian-American family is mostly Republican and my primarily Irish-American in-laws are Democrats. So there’s that anecdata for you.

  33. 33
    Yatsuno says:

    @Trollhattan: He wants a government intervention to prevent further government intervention? Uhh…lolwut?

  34. 34
    MikeJ says:

    @Another Holocene Human: It’s in the “large city” category. I think 400k is a pretty damn small large city, but Y, and apparently whoever edited that page’s, MMV.

  35. 35
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Mnemosyne: I am not remotely Irish and frankly my English ancestors would have been the backbone of Cromwell’s New Model Army if they hadn’t left for New England already.

    I like The Sickbed of Cuchuculain for the Spanish Civil War touches.

  36. 36
    muddy says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: Stealth ginger! Still, I always wonder if no one expected redheads to be volatile, would they be anyway?

  37. 37
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @catclub: I don’t believe this. I think it’s bullshit. I think circumstances explain behavior much better than culture. Culture isn’t nothing–just look at how the African-American community deals with grudges versus the Irish Catholic community–but everything that is attributed to “culture” seems more attributable to poverty and injustice when you get right down to it.

    You don’t have to walk around Wales with a billy club today yet in the US Welsh are drunken yobs who’ll fight if some guy who ancestors came from the next county over looks at them funny? Give me a break. And here we are equating Scots with Irish when mtRNA tells a story of two very different CULTURES despite a lot of shared genes. But in the US we have this idiot term “Scots Irish”. All it means is “poor white slob who isn’t English”. Is that a “culture”? Come on.

    All of that violence which Southern pundits (they certainly aren’t anthropologists, ethnographers, or really historians other than in the David Barton sense) ascribe to “Scots-Irish culture” leads back to one place: SLAVERY. Slavery, and landless Scots, Irish, Jewish, et cetera white men’s place in it. Their place in it as overseers.

    Let me ask you this: did Jewish culture make them merchants in Europe? Or was it the only fucking way BY LAW they were allowed to make a living? Did West African culture make their descendents indigent agricultural laborers? Why did white indigent agricultural laborers make good in the States during the last 19th and early 20th centuries and blacks did not? Culture? How about LAW. (Not to mention extra-legal terror and intimidation–but tacitly supported by law.)

    Culture changes so very, very fast. What a bullshit excuse. The reason the South has such a high murder rate has fuck-all to do with Irish “culture”. It’s amazing how the supposed culture of honor/violence was preserved when the language, religion, oral history, food, any cultural tie to the island is long gone. Huh. Almost as if it was a bullshit explanation to begin with.

  38. 38
    muddy says:

    @Mnemosyne: Irish Alzheimers, forget everything but the grudges.

  39. 39
    BGinCHI says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Spot on. Genetics is not destiny except at the cellular level.

    Marx said it very clearly: class. All the rest is ideological folderol.

  40. 40
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Another Holocene Human: And I’m not arguing both sides here talking about the difference between Scots and Irish. Aside from differences in language, historical issues like the Viking settlements in Scotland, and different material culture, for example in terms of the stone structures they left behind, it turns out that the Irish during the period of the kings were very much patrilineal while the Scots seemed to have a matrilineal system, a truly significant cultural difference.

    And that’s a real cultural distinction, rather than bullshit drawn from a facile reading of history.

  41. 41
    BGinCHI says:

    @muddy: I love to carry a grudge. So lightweight and portable. Never needs recharging.

  42. 42
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    But in the US we have this idiot term “Scots Irish”. All it means is “poor white slob who isn’t English”.

    Actually, “Scots Irish” means “Protestant Irish.” The Catholics from the same place are just “Irish.” It was basically a way for the Irish Protestants to separate themselves from those filthy Papists when everyone started immigrating.

    ETA: And the people from Scotland are just “Scots” or “Scottish.” It’s only the Protestant Irish who had “Scots” added to their Irish identity.

  43. 43
    BGinCHI says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Though the Tain Bo Cuailnge is full of women warriors and rulers….

  44. 44
    Epicurus says:

    @muddy: While we’re on the subject (and isn’t it a foine day fer it??), the Irish are reputed to be the only people immune to to psychotherapy.

  45. 45
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    @Ms. D. Ranged in AZ: I get mad quick but I forgive and forget just as quick.

    I sometimes pretend to forgive. I forget nothing.

    Though I find I’m getting more compassionate as I get older. Life is hard, and everyone you meet is walking a rough road. But I still forget nothing.

  46. 46
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @MikeJ: The point is that that is a terrible metric for Irish-American concentration. This is a case where absolute numbers would be more meaningful.

  47. 47
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @BGinCHI: I said patriLINEAL. These are the people that gave us “Saint Brigid” the Celtic goddess who granted the abortion…

    oh, and these

  48. 48
    muddy says:

    @Epicurus: O don’t be mean! I’ve been trying so hard!

  49. 49
    muddy says:

    @BGinCHI: Indeed. And if you’re bored you can get it out and polish it. When it’s really shiny you can see yourself in it!

  50. 50
    Schlemizel says:

    @BGinCHI:

    Back in the old days when one of the ‘Ks” in KKK stood for Kat-o-licks the Irish were sure Dem voters. But today the stanch Catholic is going to tend more to the anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-non-Christian, pro-Rand (yes, I am well aware those are broad generalities but that is the way of the American church) so they are going to be conservative. Its a classic case of “I got mine, help me pull up the ladder”

  51. 51
    BGinCHI says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Gotcha. Wasn’t arguing your point.

  52. 52
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    The whole Scots-Irish thing was a particular hobby-horse of Jim Webb, I didn’t know till I googled that he wrote a whole book about it. I was looking for an IIRC NYT piece he wrote that was an interesting window in his worldview, but was kind of troubling in its tribalism. Again, IIRC, it was a while ago that I read it.

  53. 53
    Belafon says:

    @Yatsuno: It’s one of the few libertarianish things that I would agree with. Our resident libertarian argued that the best path to small government was to encourage unions with their own power. I agree with that as well.

  54. 54
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: Since the Catholic church was pretty much nil in the Southeast except for Louisiana until the Italians brought it back in the 20th century, that made all Irish in the South “Scots Irish”, so my point stands. Completely meaningless term.

    (Anyway, Irish Catholics have another name for them. Speaking of grudges….)

  55. 55
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @BGinCHI: Any excuse to post that link, really.

  56. 56
    MikeJ says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    But in the US we have this idiot term “Scots Irish”. All it means is “poor white slob who isn’t English”.

    No, it means Scottish person who went to Ireland for the Ulster Plantation when King Jimmy wanted to civilise the Irish.

  57. 57
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Schlemizel:

    Back in the old days when one of the ‘Ks” in KKK stood for Kat-o-licks the Irish were sure Dem voters. But today the stanch Catholic is going to tend more to the anti-gay, anti-choice, anti-non-Christian, pro-Rand (yes, I am well aware those are broad generalities but that is the way of the American church) so they are going to be conservative. Its a classic case of “I got mine, help me pull up the ladder”

    I’ve seen Italian Catholics and German Catholics go that direction, but I really haven’t seen the Irish Catholics go that way. This is where it starts to get tricky, though — there are ethnic factions within the Catholic church and a (let’s say) primarily Filipino or Latin American congregation in an urban area is going to be very different than a middle-class Italian or German congregation in the suburbs.

  58. 58
    catclub says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I wrote this: “…and southern US honor ‘culture’,…. Is highly fucked up. ”

    Are you agreeing or disagreeing? cause it looked like all the words said you agreed with that, but that the reason for you was due to slavery.

  59. 59
    Schlemizel says:

    For Irish ‘campaign’ songs there are some gems from Tommy Mecheem & the Clancy Brothers. One of my favorites was about the time Dublin had a Jewish mayor. At the time there was a strict ‘English only’ law in Ireland. A Dublin cop saw what he assumed was Celtic writing on a store window and took the owner into jail. Turns out the shop was a deli & the lettering was Hebrew. Instead of a reward the cop had a meeting with the mayor & ended up walking a beat after that.

    The one that gets me the most is “Patriot Games”
    “And now as I lay here, my body all holed
    I think of the treasure all bargained and sold
    And I wish that my rifle had given the same
    to the quizlers who sold out the patriot game.

  60. 60
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Basically, you are rejecting the premise of Albion’s Seed.

  61. 61
    aimai says:

    @Mnemosyne: I think this is wrong. Scots-Irish is a term that refers to actual scots (protestant) settlers in Ireland. As well as the borderers, from the border of Scotland and England, who moved here who were ethnically and culturally aligned with the Scots who migrated first to Ireland and then to America.

  62. 62
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Schlemizel: According to last polls I saw, the “Catholic vote” is still 50/50. Which must include the self-identified but not practicing because you see what has happened with the churches lately is that all of us “ethnic Catholics” stopped going due to the breech of trust with the child rape coverup and the nastiness about reproductive rights, gay rights, etc, while super right wing a-holes have been converting to the RCC in the last decade since apparently it’s the new hotness. They are probably super-pissed about the current Papa and it couldn’t be more Schadenfreudalicious for me.

    I think my late gramma must have been wondering “why am I still Catholic?” towards the end of her life after her own parish was thrown into chaos by a priest who stole a lot of money and the bishop’s response to that. That is when she told me that vile “People of the Soup” story. I’d never heard that one before, and she was the sort to tell stories over and over.

  63. 63
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    Since the Catholic church was pretty much nil in the Southeast except for Louisiana until the Italians brought it back in the 20th century, that made all Irish in the South “Scots Irish”, so my point stands.

    Uh, hello, Maryland? Specifically created as a Catholic refuge by Charles II?

    And, again, you’re missing the point — the divide between “Irish” and “Scots Irish” is one the Irish created themselves on the basis of religion. You’re completely ignoring that it’s a religious (and thus cultural) divide between two groups from the same country. It’s like try to gloss over the differences between Lebanese Christians and Lebanese Muslim.

  64. 64
    Schlemizel says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    I grew up in very Irish, very Catholic St. Paul, MN and my experience is the Irish ‘crossed over’ with the Poles and Italians following after. But that may not be universal, they pretty much ran the town when I was a kid so I don’t think they took the abuse that earlier arrivals and those from places where the Irish had no real power did.

  65. 65
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @aimai: It means all of that AND MORE! aimai. It’s a dessert topping AND a floor wax! Again: completely meaningless term.

    It’s kind of like Black Irish: nobody has a fucking (fooking?) clue what that means. I do know this one guy whose family came from coastal Ireland and he swears he’s part Portuguese because the loose morals of port-town bar wenches were not exaggerated. He calls himself Black Irish. He’s got that little turned up snub nose, though. Hey-o.

  66. 66
    Schlemizel says:

    @MikeJ:

    Please, you are speaking of my ancestors! They were kindly given the 6 Northern counties of Ireland as a reward for the fine job they did in repressing the desire for freedom and self determination of the Irish. I assume one of my foreflushersfathers either did’t get his share or got caught stealing horses because the beat a path for the US pretty early on.

  67. 67
    Mnemosyne says:

    @aimai:

    According to Wikipedia (I know, I know), the term is supposed to apply specifically to Protestant Irish who immigrated from Ulster (Northern Ireland):

    It was not until a century later, following the surge in Irish immigration after the Great Irish Famine of the 1840s, that the descendants of the earlier arrivals began to commonly call themselves Scotch-Irish to distinguish them from the newer, largely destitute and predominantly Roman Catholic immigrants.

    It really is a religious divide — unless they were recent converts, you won’t hear a Roman Catholic Irish-American call themselves “Scots-Irish.”

  68. 68
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Omnes Omnibus: Too right, I am.

    Albion’s Seed is not a new idea. It used to be expressed as this linguistic wankery that claimed that US accents could be traced to specific parts of England, like the cuts on a steer. (“And Southern Ohio, that’s from Midlands, but not East Midlands, more like West.”)

    Give me a break.

  69. 69
    Roger Moore says:

    @Schlemizel:
    I think you’re being overly broad. The average Catholic voter is awfully close to the average American voter. The bishops may be pushing social conservatism- certainly the loudest ones are- but the actual Catholic voters aren’t paying too much attention. Of course a lot of those Catholic voters are Hispanics, who are strongly Democratic, so the remainder of the Catholics are presumably right of center, but you’re still painting with far too broad a brush.

  70. 70
    Schlemizel says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    I have never hear “people of the soup” would you please share?

  71. 71
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Mnemosyne: Catholic ENGLISH.

    You’re the one glossing over differences between English, Scots, and Irish, as well as the Scots who were made landowners during the Plantation of Ireland. One would think, historically, that only the latter would be called “Scots Irish” but we know that in fact just about any Protestant Irish-American gets called that, which means that AS A CULTURAL SIGNIFIER it’s pretty much useless.

  72. 72
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    It does have a specific meaning — see the Wikipedia entry above. As with so many things humans do, however, I think you have a fair amount of people who have declared themselves “Scots-Irish” who don’t actually fit the criteria. I’m probably only about 1/8th Irish (though “real” Roman Catholic Irish), but I’m wearing green today.

  73. 73
    muddy says:

    @Mnemosyne: This is my understanding. You mostly get Catholic Irish in cities, the north. The Appalachians are the Protestant Scots Irish.

    Scots Irish being the transplants the English sent to Ulster. The first time the English sent transplants (well, still French practically) c. 1200 something they just settled in and turned Irish. 400 years later they try again with greater success.

  74. 74
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @Schlemizel: I linked above but the short version is they were starving and the Anglicans offered them soup if only they would renounce the Catholic Church.

    I think a little forgiveness is in order but apparently my forebears disagreed.

  75. 75
    muddy says:

    @Another Holocene Human: I think there is a large cultural difference between Catholic and Protestant. That’s the basis of it.

  76. 76
    Schlemizel says:

    @Roger Moore: I’d disagree simply because so many American Catholics today are not of the European variety. So Catholics may be split 50/50 but that is simply due to the very large number of non-European Catholics.

    I’m more than willing to admit this is just my impression based on what I see in Minnesota politics today but It feels right. Michelle Bachmanns CD is heavily European Catholic (German, Scandinavian and Irish). Thats anecdote not data but it appears to be more true than not.

  77. 77
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Another Holocene Human:

    One would think, historically, that only the latter would be called “Scots Irish” but we know that in fact just about any Protestant Irish-American gets called that, which means that AS A CULTURAL SIGNIFIER it’s pretty much useless.

    Given that its current meaning is “white fundamentalist Christian,” it’s actually a pretty useful cultural signifier, IMO. If someone tells you that they’re “Scots-Irish” these days, you can pretty much predict their voting patterns and beliefs on the spot (Republicans good, Democrats bad. Taxes bad, guns good).

    ETA: And given the current politics in the US, knowing who’s culturally Protestant and who’s culturally Catholic is still a pretty useful thing to know, despite the attempts by right-wingers on both sides of the religious divide to pretend they’re the same thing.

  78. 78
    PJ says:

    @Another Holocene Human: As others have pointed out, the Scots-Irish are a distinct group of lowland Scots who were settled, primarily in Ulster, to colonize it in the 17th century, partly as a way to keep the native Irish down, and partly to rid Britain of these quarrelsome people: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plantation_of_Ulster. Many of them subsequently immigrated to America in the 18th century. While they were Protestants (mostly Presbyterian), they were also distinct culturally from the ruling Anglo-Irish (who would have been CoE or CoI) and native Irish who converted to Protestantism.

  79. 79
    KG says:

    I don’t think it’s uniquely Irish. I actually have a theory, or well, an idea… my idea is that when you leave people on an island for a few generations, they tend to become crazy – not in a psychological way, but culturally. I use my Cuban family as an example all the time. Fucking nuts. I think the Irish might be the same way.

  80. 80
    hoodie says:

    @Mnemosyne: They’re one in the same. The Scots-Irish descended from families relocated from Scotland (low and borderlands) to Ulster. Highlanders, what people think of when they think of Scots, were largely Catholic and rebelled against the Crown. The obsession with this nonsense can be comedic. My grandfather, a lowland Scot, loved tartans and all things highland, loved Irish tenors and whiskey, hated the Pope, revered the Queen and wore orange on St. Patrick’s Day.

  81. 81
    Mnemosyne says:

    @hoodie:

    wore orange on St. Patrick’s Day

    So your grandfather liked a good fistfight on St. Patrick’s Day? ;-)

    Just anecdata in this case, but the only people I ever met who deliberately wore orange on St. Patrick’s Day were either Scottish or Scots-Irish, all Protestants, and liked fighting.

  82. 82
    pharniel says:

    Funny story about Tulsa OK, IA and the farm belt states.

    Only place you Can find eateries like “Juan O’Tools” mexican-irish bar/grille.
    Because after the Mexican-American war you had a bunch of irish who were not considered ‘people’ who fought a bunch of Mexicans (who were also not people) and both were catholic and well the girls were pretty and the land was there and there wasn’t anyone around to give you shit about being catholic aside from other people who moved the fuck away from those assholes back east.

    So you wound up with odd little enclaves of Irish-Mexicans. Oddly enough the same situation is what cause the Irish to become ‘white’ instead of filthy papist foreigners – the catholic orphanages were sending Irish orphans down to Phoenix & Tuscon where Latino catholic families would care for them – the ‘progressive’ white women of NYC threw a fit what with allowing the Blahs to raise perfectly good ‘white’ babies.

  83. 83
    Another Holocene Human says:

    @muddy: The cultural difference is that Irish Catholics maintained cultural ties to Ireland and to their culture, however weakened over time, but Irish Protestants did not. You can see this with something as simple as how they spell their names. Their names have been anglicized a second time. It’s been bizarre for me to come to Cracker country after having grown up around the Boston Irish. Some Cracker folk* are desperate at this late date to find some sort of tie to the old country that was long since lost to memory. So, all this crap about Irish being pastoralists (but Irish in the North did every kind of job), of Irish being fighters (because Cu Culainn and Irish boxers, yet actual Irish culture puts great emphasis on wit, not fighting prowess), or Irish eschewing authority structures, and so on.

    Sometimes cultures are transmitted over time and sometimes they’re created to fit a need, like Julius Caesar’s Aeneid. The Iulii family is from Greece–didn’t you know?

    I strongly suspect as well that some of those red-head genes showed up in Cracker country AFTER the Civil War, further confusing the issue.

    *-I think it’s fair to say that most don’t care, although a lot of them are pretty meh about all the immigration to Florida and the gradual loss of the Floridian identity they grew up with

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    Another Holocene Human says:

    @pharniel: Fascinating. I do know there is or was a beautiful Mexican Catholic church in Dewey, OK with murals of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

    I recently found out about this: http://www.choctawnation.com/h.....l-culture/

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    PJ says:

    @Mnemosyne: @Mnemosyne: Someone born Irish RC and who subsequently converted to Protestantism would never call themselves Scots-Irish because they have no historical “Scots” background.

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    Old Dan and Little Ann says:

    I am Irish and have a handful of Irish friends. They think I’m a dirty hippy. My dad has turned out to be rather progressive at age of 70. His 5 brothers and sisters on the other hand think everything’s Obama’s fault. Go figure. Oh, and my two sisters both vote GOP thanks to marrying rich assholes.
    o/t but I just read RedState and they’re all bent out of shape b/c:
    “To coincide with the start of NCAA basketball tournament, a White House official says the administration is launching an all-encompassing push around the annual basketball bonanza that will feature athletes, coaches, and others, in hopes of spurring more Americans to sign up for health care before the March 31 deadline.” Too bad for them.

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    Bob In Portland says:

    I can’t be an NPR liberal because Cokie Roberts is always setting the boundaries of permissible thought. At the end of the Eisenhower years she and her husband were working in Gloria Steinem’s CIA propaganda mill at those International Student Festivals.

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    Another Holocene Human says:

    Oddly enough, in my experience, the Scots in this area (North Central Florida) call themselves Scots and are Presbyterians.

    @hoodie: Those tartans are a lot older than we thought. http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....13638.html

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    danielx says:

    T-shirt legend at IrishFest….

    I just wanted to quietly enjoy me Guinness, but ye’re clearly in need of a good beating and I’m always willing to help a poor bastard out.

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    danielx says:

    @pharniel:

    True dat, and led to some very weird…stuff. The Mexican name Obregon is derived from O’Brien, for example.

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    scav says:

    @Another Holocene Human: Genetics are interesting, but plaids as patterns given the structure of weaving is less dramatic. There’s a lot of invention about hallowed traditions actually. Tread careful about tartans and aran / fair isle sweaters and whatnot.

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    mantooth says:

    “I suppose that that’s why I can never be a (pithy term for people not as badass a liberal as me). I’d rather (post under a pseudonym and only appear in photos wearing sunglasses and hats so that my true identity is safe) — figuratively or literally — than politely agree to disagree.”

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    TG Chicago says:

    @daveNYC: Agreed. I know Doug is trolling, but trolling about committing acts of violence is still stupid and ugly.

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    TheMightyTrowel says:

    My Boston irish Catholic family all vote left. Two of my cousins are state level dem staffers.

    Having said that, the irish stereotypes here are all hitting a little close to home. I almost never yell and I certainly don’t but people, but, yeah, I wish a motherfucker would.

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    Trollhattan says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Just anecdata in this case, but the only people I ever met who deliberately wore orange on St. Patrick’s Day were either Scottish or Scots-Irish, all Protestants, and liked fighting.

    And hapless Dutch?

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    Mnemosyne says:

    @pharniel:

    Oddly enough the same situation is what cause the Irish to become ‘white’ instead of filthy papist foreigners – the catholic orphanages were sending Irish orphans down to Phoenix & Tuscon where Latino catholic families would care for them – the ‘progressive’ white women of NYC threw a fit what with allowing the Blahs to raise perfectly good ‘white’ babies.

    Other way around — the nice white ladies of NYC were fine with sending dirty Papists off to be raised by other dirty Papists (Mexicans). It was the white settlers who didn’t like it one bit and actually kidnapped the children from their adoptive families. The nice white ladies in NYC only changed their policy when it turned out there were even more suckers who would take these Irish trash kids off their hands.

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    Mnemosyne says:

    @pharniel:

    Also, we have some of those Irish-Mexican restaurants here in Los Angeles — Barragan’s is a small chain. We also get Mexican-Italian and Mexican-Jewish (Jose Bernstein’s — not a joke!) It sometimes seems as though if two people of different ethnicities got married in LA, they immediately opened a restaurant together. My favorite combo was Peruvian-Iranian, but I think it closed down.

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    Origuy says:

    @pharniel: During the Mexican War, a group of Irish (and German Catholic) immigrants who got recruited right off the boat to go fight in Texas. Thanks to the bad treatment in the Army, they decided they had more in common with the Mexicans and switched sides, forming Batallón de San Patricio, St. Patrick’s Battalion. If they were caught, the Army usually tried them as traitors, despite the fact that they’d never become US Citizens. The Chieftains did a whole album about it.

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    Dean says:

    Wait? What? There’s Liberals on NPR? Always struck me as more of a “Nice Polite Republicans” club. I do like their music though if that helps..

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    StringOnAStick says:

    Last Christmas I saw the family tree that someone had worked on for years. I was hoping for something interesting, but instead it was the story of some stick-up-his-butt Presbyterian minister from Scotland riding around in crackerland acting like quite the racist cracker and hellfire preacher. The family surname is “Ireland”, which I suppose had something to do with the plantation of Ireland history or some such thing. In any case, I hope the other side of my family was a whole lot more interesting.

    I just finished reading Craig Ferguson’s autobiography; a fun read, except about how brutal the discipline was at Scottish public schools in the 1960’s and 1970’s. Nothing like a good Presbyterian beating, either from the teachers or the fellow students. They even had different weights of belts made specifically for beating kids across their outstretched palms; it is sick to think this was an item manufactured exactly for this purpose.

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    Nutella says:

    Scots-Irish, often spelled Scotch-Irish, is a group that does exist. They were, as some have noted above, originally people from the border country in the south of Scotland who were offered work and land in northern Ireland on the assumption that they would be more docile than the Irish Catholics and at least they were Protestant.

    Those plantations brought a lot of both English and Scottish people to northern Ireland to displace the Irish but many of the Scots were not all that thrilled to be stuck with English landowners and continued west, along with some of the Irish, to the American colonies. They wanted their own land so didn’t settle in the coastal cities but went farther out to the Appalachians and are the ancestors of what we now think of as hillbillies (to use the non-PC term).

    Later, larger numbers of 19th century immigrants from Ireland settled more in the cities. They and the Scots-Irish have distinct histories but are often confused now that the descendants of both groups live all over the US.

    But their are still a lot of descendants who have stayed in their Appalachian, Scots-Irish homes or their eastern city, Irish Catholic homes and they’re not completely assimilated.

    The whole thing gets confused by the ‘professional Irishmen’ who go nuts about the old country. And also by the Appalachian Scots-Irish who used to refer to themselves as ‘Anglo-Saxon’ in the early 20th century to make sure everybody knew they were 100% white.

  102. 102
    Mnemosyne says:

    @StringOnAStick:

    Half the fun of genealogy is finding the hidden family scandals. According to legend, my paternal great-grandmother was getting fewer and fewer letters from my great-grandfather when he went to America first, so she hopped on a boat with the two (or three) youngest kids and turned up on his doorstep.

    One of my husband’s co-workers discovered her great-grandfather was Chinese. This was a little bit of a surprise because her family is from Mexico and she hadn’t even thought of that as a possibility.

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    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Trollhattan: Um, where do you think the orange originally came from?

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    PhilbertDesanex says:

    @Nutella: Jim Webb’s book ‘Born Fighting’ is excellent. The Scots and quarrelsome northern English that ‘settled’ Ireland then went to America one up on the English settlers with the new ideas that 1) they were superior to the original inhabitants who could be run off and shot at and 2) you could be what can make of yourself, rather than determined by birth. This ws a big difference from most of the rest of the English settelers pre-Revolution America very much had a class society in the cities. This has all faded but is still there, I know a number of them once I figured it, and they are offended at the name or moreover being grouped in with anyone. The classic American Redneck. Might be poor sometimes but amazing what they can come up with. Fun as all hell with some boozing, and generally bad people to fuck with. Favorite childern’s recipe: Vevlveeta fudge!

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